SAD 51 wants input on future of Cumberland, N. Yarmouth schools

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CUMBERLAND — The Strategic Planning Committee of School Administrative District 51 will hold a community dialogue meeting on Monday, Nov. 10, to discuss with Superintendent Jeff Porter the district’s focus for the next few years.

The event, to be held at Greely Middle School, will start with light appetizers and beverages at 5:15 p.m., followed by discussion and data gathering from 5:30-8 p.m.

The discussion is “intended to bring everybody that has any interest in the school system into the room together,” Porter said on Oct. 23. He noted that the event is open to anyone – including students, parents, staff and other community members.

“We’re going to preface everything with 21st-century learning skills, and what that means, and what it means to MSAD 51,” he explained.

Earlier this year, Porter said that “this district is … high-performing to begin with, but how can we take this high-performing district and … take it to the next level? That’s what strategic planning does.”

Participants will discuss in small groups where they perceive SAD 51 to currently be, and how they want the district to spend its time, resources and energy in 2015-2018 – a period encompassed by SAD 51’s strategic plan, a document that has been in the works and should be complete by next summer.

Information from the forum will be used by the Strategic Planning Committee, a panel composed of representatives from various district stakeholder groups, Porter explained. The input, as well as data from other sources, will be compiled with an eye toward issues that have continually arisen.

Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP by Friday, Oct. 31, through msad51.org or by calling the district office at 829-4800.

“I think it will be a really robust and … exciting event,” Porter said. “We hope to draw a lot of people.”

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

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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.