ELLSWORTH — In a short meeting on April 14, School Board members unanimously approved the eighth-grade trip to New Hampshire as well as a trip to Atlanta for local medal winners in Maine’s recent SkillsUSA competition. They will be participating in the SkillsUSA national competition there in June.
Board members Tara Young and Beth Alteri were not present, in addition to some administrators. The meeting competed with an open house at the high school for eighth graders.
The eighth-grade trip is a one-day June event. Students will board a Cyr bus headed for Canobie Lake Park in Salem, N.H. They will return the same day, with no precise date yet set, Middle School Principal Travis Wood said.
The Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC) SkillsUSA team will head to Atlanta for the SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference to showcase their skills and also engage in leadership training. The conference begins on June 20, with some students arriving early for pre-conference events. Fundraising will cover student and teacher-chaperone travel costs, with the Boggy Brook 5K on May 15 the largest event in support of the trip.
Interim Superintendent Katrina Kane said 300 students have registered for HCTC programs next year.
She also noted updates to the Maine Department of Education’s COVID-19 guidelines, with pool testing ending May 13. “Pool testing, per officials, is not particularly effective,” Kane noted.
Governor Janet Mills’ administration, in announcing the end to pool testing in schools, noted pool testing’s “reduced effectiveness in limiting the spread of the highly contagious BA.2 variant and the widespread availability of free and convenient at-home tests for students and school staff.”
“We have applied for and will receive at-home test kits” for students and staff, Kane said.
In other news, following superintendent interviews, Personnel Committee member Paul Markosian had nothing yet to report on the search to fill the position. The following day, April 15, board Chairwoman Kelly McKenney announced that the district would hire Kane to fill the role permanently, pending an official board vote at the next meeting (see related story, Page 1.)
Several staff members submitted retirement or resignation letters: Rebecca Faulkner, LCSW, Dakota Jewett, head wrestling coach at EHS and EEMS, second-grade teacher Jen Beal (end of school year), ed. tech. Samantha Shepard (May 6) and eighth-grade teacher Josh McCormack (effective immediately).
The last day of school for students is June 14 and will be a half day, with staff’s final day on June 15. Looking ahead, the first day of school for the 2022-23 year will be on Wednesday, Aug. 31.