Optional end of intervention time is off to a good start at PCHS

GUILFORD — Piscataquis Community High School recently enabled the end of day Tuesday to Thursday, 45-minute Response to Intervention time to be optional for eligible grade 11-12 students who have parental permission and do not have commitments during this timeframe. If they choose, these high schoolers can sign out of school early to depart from the building.

After a few weeks the program is working well, the SAD 4 School Board learned during a Tuesday evening meeting at Piscataquis Community Elementary School.

Social studies teacher Emily Wilson said she has not heard any complaints from her colleagues, and not as many students have been signing out as she had initially thought. “So some are using it, not a huge number, and it’s going smoothly.”

“To our pleasant surprise it’s being used by a lot less students than we were expecting,” Student Council School Representative and junior David Tuttle said.

He said there were some worries the early sign-out would be abused, but Tuttle said after checking for several days less than a half dozen students had departed before the final bell.

“It shows it’s only being used by people who deserve to be out of school at that time,” he said. Tuttle said a number of students have after-school sports and activities and they are staying on campus before these begin.

Teachers can virtually tag students through PowerSchool to come into their classrooms to make up work and tests and RTI can also be used by pupils seeking extra help, for various clubs to meet, and by those who would like to relax in the gym or cafeteria.

Some PCHS students had felt that the time is not the most productive for those without specific obligations and students in good academic standing should be able to sign out and depart from campus. The student council brought this possibility to administrators, including Superintendent Kelly MacFadyen and to the school board during the October meeting.

The request being made is different from senior privilege which enables eligible 12th-graders to depart before the end of the school day.

In other business, MacFadyen said HVAC and LED lighting projects have been completed at both schools. She said this work was all planned but a back wall at the secondary school had to be replaced due to water damage sustained over the years. This project is done and during the summer the inside walls will be painted.

MacFadyen said the district began the year with $200,000 in the renovation reserve account. The total is now $93,000 after spending $60,000 for the wall work and $103,000 for LED lighting and heat pumps at PCSS.

The gym bleaches at PCSS will need to be replaced and quotes will be gathered. Scrapping the seating was looked into but deemed to not be cost effective as the job would be too labor intensive with all the screws that need to be removed and the care needed so as not to damage the new floor.

PCES Principal Anita Wright said the school was awarded a $3,800 grant which will allow for the purchase of more robotic cars. There will be enough kits for the students to work on their own rather than in pairs.

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