SAD 4 to relaunch website

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GUILFORD — SAD 4 officials have found a solution for design and access issues with the district website at and providing information to students, parents and the community. During an October 8 school board meeting at Piscataquis Community High School the directors authorized Superintendent Kelly MacFadyen to use up to $15,000 from the minor capital improvement fund to contract with Apptegy on revamping and then maintaining the website.

MacFadyen said PCHS Principal John Keane researched various website companies and discovered the Little Rock, Arkansas-based Apptegy works exclusively with schools around the country.

“The (transportation, building and grounds committee) liked the product, it’s not just user-friendly it will reach more of our community and parents and it has an app with it,” Keane said. “I think it will get a lot more use than our current site.”

District Technology Director/PCES Assistant Principal Jessica Dunton said Apptegy is the only web developer that handles just educational clients. “They build and market a product for schools,” she said, saying she performs some of these tasks currently for the and the district Facebook page.

A video from Apptegy said the company provides mobile strategies, allowing administrators to post on the site, Facebook page, other social media platforms, send text messages and more with a click of a button.

“Old Town and Veazie are currently using it,” MacFadyen said about Apptegy. Keane said school districts in Sanford and Kennebunk are also clients.

“One of the powerful things I see is parents and coaches could be helping us,” Keane said, saying this content would be sent to the respective administrators for review and posting.

MacFadyen said the approximate $15,000 total would cover the site setup by Apptegy. Moving forward the annual cost would be $4,500 plus $3 per student . The superintendent said the current on-call system cost is $1,272 and this expense would be no more under an agreement with Apptegy.

When asked, Dunton said phone calls would still go out to those on the list without Internet access or cellphones.

“The cost stays locked in at $4,500, they don’t increase it,” MacFadyen said. She explained that Apptegy charges more for school districts adding its services than those already working with the company.

“They are going to go up higher, I’m sure they are because they are the only ones doing it,” Dunton said.

MacFadyen said the minor capital improvement fund after Apptegy website start up costs and other projects planned for the current school year would be around $50,000. “We were looking at redoing our website anyway,” she said.

In other business, PCES Principal Anita Wright mentioned several items in her report.

She said new kindergarten students have enrolled and the school has been interviewing for an ed tech to help alleviate the crowded classes. “The students can get more individual attention, that’s the big thing,” the principal said.

In her report Wright wrote there are 43 students and two teachers in kindergarten. The ed tech will work with both classrooms.

“(Mayo Regional Hospital Community Outreach Supervisor) Hillary Starbird approached me about the Positive Action Committee, extending it from high school to seventh and eighth grade,” Wright said.

She wrote the committee is intended to reach younger students before they begin to experiment with substances and to give them a voice. The group will initially be made up of eight students, one selected by each homeroom teacher, and these pupils will select a friend to bring.

Keane reported that board members were likely wondering why the LED sign on Route 15 has not been on for the previous two weeks. He wrote that a surge of power took out the circuit board and the school is awaiting a part. A surge protector has been installed and Keane said the hope is to have the sign up and running within the next week.

MacFadyen reported that the week before she, Chair Niki Fortier and board member Stephanie Hewitt attended the grand opening of the Piscataquis County Ice Arena in Dover-Foxcroft, a ceremony featuring Gov. Janet Mills and Hockey Hall of Fame member and longtime Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque among the speakers.

“We found out we would be invited to be part of a cooperative hockey team,” MacFadyen said.

The Penquis Youth Hockey Association is starting area children with skating and learning the sport and in future years the hope is to have a cooperative ice hockey team between Foxcroft Academy, PCHS, Greenville and Penquis Valley high schools.

The $5.5 million Piscataquis County Ice Arena was funded by the Libra Foundation and the facility will be managed by Foxcroft Academy.

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