Posthumous gift supports dyslexic students in Falmouth

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FALMOUTH — The School Board on Monday night unanimously agreed to accept $20,000 to support students with dyslexia.

The board also unanimously approved revisions to the high school graduation policy, and heard the first readings for new policies on educating homeless youth.

The $20,000 came from Andrea E. Soule Supplemental Care Trust, named after a woman who grew up in Falmouth and died last July.

She graduated from Falmouth High School in the 1980s, and the funds are in memory of three teachers – Edna Ruth Bready, Eleanor Costa and Eva Schools – “who assisted Andrea in meeting her potential,” according to a note to Superintendent Geoff Bruno from Spinnaker Trust, the trustee.

Any gift over $5,000 has to be approved by the board. The funds will go towards, but not be limited to, “training for teachers, and books and/or computer programs for students,” suffering from dyslexia, according to terms of the gift.

Dyslexia, a developmental reading disorder, is the most-diagnosed learning difficulty.

New policies

The board heard the first reading of the new policy for high school graduation requirements at its Nov. 17 meeting.

In short, the policy requires students to achieve proficiency through semester-long “school-approved learning experiences.” Students are required to take eight learning experiences in English language arts, meaning they take a full four years of English. Other courses have equal or fewer requirements, depending on the course.

The polices regarding educating homeless youth are something board Chairman Andrew Kinley said “has been in practice” in the district, and they were “just putting it on paper.”

The policies recognize the department’s obligation to provide free public education to homeless youths, essentially an assurance of equal education regardless of housing status.

The policy also says the department will file with the Maine Department of Education a description of services provided to homeless children. It also states the superintendent will designate a liaison for homeless children and youth, who will coordinate the School Department’s services for homeless students.

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.