RSU 9 School Board discusses new laptops for district

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FARMINGTON – On Tuesday night the Regional School Unit 9 board met to hear committee reports and to be updated on the search for a new superintendent.

Chairperson Angela LeClair updated the board on the progress being made with the superintendent interview committee.

“The committee has confidentiality training this Thursday and we have some interviews scheduled for next week,” said LeClair.

Teacher contract negotiations are also progressing according to LeClair.

“We’re making progress and we continue to move forward,” said Leclair. “We fully understand the importance of finalizing this contract and we just want everybody to know that we’re working hard at it and committing a lot of time to make sure it gets done.”

Future negotiation meetings have been scheduled, as well a potential Saturday meeting if necessary.

Director of Technology Jeff Brazee presented to the board a tech update.

The tech department wanted to make sure students and teachers were ready to go on the first day of school by making sure laptops got into their hands in a timely manner.

“We got over 1300 laptops out to students on the first day if they were hybrid learners. They were able to pick [the laptops] up ahead of time if they were on the remote learning plan to be ready for that first day,” said Brazee.

The tech department was also able to issue over a 1000 iPads to students and teachers, kindergarten through grade 5.

“Within two weeks of delivery of iPads hitting our shores we were able to get those into the hands of students and teachers,” said Brazee.

Brazee also mentioned that the time may soon be coming to replace school laptops which are nearing the end of their 5 year lifespan.

In Board Member Kirk Doyle’s update on the Personnel and Finance committee he brought up the finances of purchasing new laptops.

“If we decide to move forward with having the same amount of laptops that we have right now for our students and the same quality of laptops it’s going to be a substantial cost. So we’re going to have to look at options that we have in order to accomplish that,” said Doyle. “We’re moving baby steps forward on trying to figure that out.”

The Personnel and Finance committee is also looking for a better method for judging the performance of the district’s superintendent.

“We’ve been working on for a while now a more robust and accurate evaluation process for our superintendent. Using several different sources [we] wrote up a new evaluation format,” said Doyle.

Curriculum Coordinator Laura Columbia has been sharing possible ways at the administrative and staff levels to increase on campus students while also meeting CDC guidelines.

“How do we maximize the current model that we have [while] still ensuring that our health and safety guidelines are still being followed. This week I’m working with the staff. I’m going to different zoom staff meetings to share some possible modifications to our current model that would allow for more on site days for students,” said Columbia.

Columbia requested that the March 26 half day be made an entire teacher workshop day to make sure there is adequate time to explore different options with all staff present.

The board agreed unanimously.

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