New SAD 51 program blends math, science, other areas

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CUMBERLAND — With an eye toward better preparing its students for the 21st century workplace, School Administrative District 51 is introducing the “STEM” program to its Greely Middle School curriculum.

An acronym for science, technology, engineering and math, STEM will be taught by Rebecca Keith as the school starts its 2012-13 year.

“It’s a very interesting area,” Superintendent Robert Hasson said Tuesday of the course, which will ultimately be taken by all the school’s students. “Schools are being encouraged across the country to become more and more immersed in it.”

With a recent retirement at that school, the district had both the space and resources to fund the new position, Hasson said. Math and science will still be offered as separate classes.

“We didn’t have engineering before, but it’s an area that our students and obviously the world is calling for,” Hasson said. Referring to scientific accomplishments such as this week’s landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, he noted, “that really is STEM.”

Professional development in the literacy field continues, Hasson said, pointing out that writing, reading and communicating are critical skills.

The Teacher Evaluation Design Team, composed of teachers and administrators, is also working to establish a new assessment system. Peer observation, with teachers observing teachers and offering feedback, is part of that new design.

“That’s a very powerful model,” Hasson said. “That’s the way it goes on in many professions.”

The SAD 51 Board of Directors is also expected this fall to vote on a task force’s recommendation to close North Yarmouth Memorial School and move that school’s students to an expanded Greely Middle School, in order to cut costs.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.