Wiscasset school committee

Officials talk accreditation extension, safety, staffing, COVID

Mon, 09/19/2022 - 8:45am

Due to having a lot of new staff and the school department’s new goal of collective efficacy, Wiscasset Middle High School Principal Charles Lomonte wanted the school to have a year off from work on renewing the school’s accreditation with New England Association of Schools and Colleges. He sought and got the extension from NEASC.

“It’s not going away. It’s on hold,” Lomonte told the school committee Sept. 12 about the renewal process. It will resume next year, he said. Chair Jason Putnam asked if Lomonte sought the extension due to the collective efficacy goal. He recalled Lomonte was “pretty concerned” for the reaccreditation work to get done.

Lomonte said he had been, because it was time to do it. But with so much that is new this year, he said, “We want to make sure that we’re all paddling the same boat.”

In another update, Lomonte told the committee the school is nearly fully staffed for the first time in a while.

“Pretty good, considering what you hear about schools, all over the place,” Putnam said.

Also Sept. 12, school nurse Marilyn Sprague said under the updated COVID policy, when someone tests positive, they quarantine five days and then can return “if they are significantly better and all the symptoms are less than they were on day one ... But they do have to wear a mask ... five more days.”

Damariscotta Police Chief Jason Warlick spoke on training that officials said the safety committee and the state are eying for active shooter incidents. The ALICE program and others teach “how to get the heck out of there,” Warlick said. He is also working with Healthy Lincoln County to offer parents training on what to teach their children. “If everybody is on the same page, from the parent level to the student level to the staff level ... hopefully we can ... minimize mass casualties.” 

The staff training does not end until staff have asked some questions, Warlick said. “So we force that interactive side of it and the questions that come out of it are really great,” he said. “How do I get from upstairs downstairs? And the response can be very simple. Maybe you’ve got to jump. Because if that guy’s coming in your room, I’d rather have a broken leg ...”

Committee member Desiree Bailey brought up bullet-proof backpacks; and Vice Chair Michelle Blagdon mentioned her hunting family educates its children about guns not being a toy. That came up when Warlick noted he tells people to not to handle a gun that has fallen from the pocket of a shooter heading down a hall with a rifle.

He encouraged the committee to read more online about the training programs. 

The committee took under advisement ReVision Energy’s net energy billing offer. According to the proposal, ReVision projects the school department would save $8,381 in year one, and 20 years of savings would come to $198,422.

Sunny Lee has resigned as guidance administrative assistant, Brian Trelegren as WMHS educational technician III; and Jennifer Mooney as speech/language pathologist. Hired are Rebecca Shaffer, special education teacher, Aspirations; Erin Sturgeon, school counselor at WES; Chelsea Taylor, WMHS educational technician I/long-term substitute in health; Amanda DiMauro, van driver; and Andrea Lovell, special education director.

Due to the pre-K staffing shortage, that program is going from full day back to half day for now, Interim Superintendent of Schools Robert “Bob” England said.