SAD 75 readies new elementary, high school classroom models

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TOPSHAM — Among changes in School Administrative District 75 in the 2010-11 school year will be a full-day teacher program in kindergarten, Superintendent Mike Wilhelm said last week.

Elementary schools across the district have run a program where kindergarten students work with a teacher half the day and an educational technician the other half.

“Early intervention in terms of literacy, in particular, is critical,” Wilhelm said. “And the more you can reach kids at the earlier ages, the greater the foundation they have for later skills.”

While the previous model has been effective, Wilhelm said, the new one “brings skill levels to bear all day, and I think that will make a difference.”

In its fiscal 2011 budget the district cut six elementary KinderStart educational technicians, but added six kindergarten teachers.

SAD 75 has also converted some elementary special education positions to those requiring both special and regular education certification, Wilhelm said, “so that we can put them more on the regular ed side of the ledger and help provide greater support … for kids on the margin who aren’t necessarily special ed identified but who need that extra help.”

Mt. Ararat High School will go to a block schedule in the upcoming year. Instead of having seven daily rotating periods of more than 50 minutes, the block schedule will include four approximately 80-minute blocks a day, for a complete eight-period schedule over two days.

“The blocks are constant, so they’re always at the same time,” Wilhelm said.

Students will be in the classroom for longer periods of time, and the new arrangement will better facilitate scheduling of activities outside the school, he noted, such as attending vocational school and job shadowing.

The district will also be seeking a replacement for its assistant superintendent position, which is being vacated by Sally Loughlin. Loughlin will begin as director of curriculum, assessment, instruction and professional development in SAD 51, which includes Cumberland and North Yarmouth, on Aug. 23.

Elementary schools and grades seven and eight at Mt. Ararat Middle School and grade nine at the high school will begin on Aug. 31. Sixth-graders will start Sept. 1, followed by all other middle school grades the next day. All other high school grades will begin Sept. 1.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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.