Foundation's millionth dollar will plant greenhouse for Falmouth schools

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FALMOUTH — The School Board on Monday unanimously accepted a $40,000 grant to the School Department from the Falmouth Education Foundation.

The board also unanimously approved the first proposed revisions to a policy regarding graduation requirements.

FEF President Stacy Ryan presented the foundation’s millionth dollar in grant money for the district to use on a greenhouse. She said the money will be held in a designated fund.

According to the Dan O’Shea, the School Department director of finance and operations, there are two key components to the greenhouse. The first is food production for food services and community needs, and the second is use as an educational space for all students and staff from kindergarten through grade 12.

The greenhouse will be installed and constructed next summer of 2015, and the School Department and FEF will collaborate on naming it.

School Board Chairman Andrew Kinley noted any gift over $5,000 has to go before the board for approval.

Graduation requirements

The board also heard the first reading of revisions to its policy on high school graduation requirements.

The policy states “all students will demonstrate proficiency in the content area graduations standards of the Maine Learning Results.”

Students will achieve proficiency through semester-long “school-approved learning experiences.” For example, students will take eight experiences in English language arts, which means they will take four years of English. Similarly, students are required to take seven learning experiences in math and science, meaning 3 1/2 years of those courses.

Students will take three years of social studies, one year of physical education, world languages, and visual and performing Arts. They will take one semester of health.

High school Principal Gregg Palmer said approved summer courses can count towards these learning experiences. He also said the 3 1/2 years of math and science are not a change per se, as most students already take that amount.

“The graduation standards are flexible for students that need flexibility,” Palmer said.

In other business, the board:

• Unanimously approved Jessica White as a new social studies teacher at the high school. She will begin in January.

• Heard from Palmer that the SAT test for juniors this year will be held on April 15, which falls on a Wednesday instead of the usual Saturday. Palmer said they were looking for an off-site location to administer the test, rather than give it on site, since most students will still be in class.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.