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05/17/2017

Work on school instruction policies ahead for fall

Curriculum policies will be a focus of the School Board's policy subcommittee when it resumes work in the fall.

The School Board on June 13, 2017 took a first look at proposed revisions to policies governing curriculum development; promotion, retention, and acceleration of students through the grades; and proficiency-based graduation requirements.

Barbara Powers, chair of the policy committee, credited Director of Teaching and Learning Cathy Stankard for offering language that reflects current practice and matches state education policies.

In a related matter, the School Board on May 9 received a draft statement of graduation standards in eight content areas that High School teachers believe Cape Elizabeth students should attain upon graduation. The draft was also reviewed by Middle School teachers and align with Maine Learning Results, said Stankard at the May 9 meeting.

The major change proposed for the promotion, retention and acceleration of students policy shifts the decision of holding back students from the principal to a team of educators and the student's parents, Powers said. "We really talked about the fact that in those rare cases of retention you really need a full team consensus," Powers said. "You need to have parents comfortable with the recommendation the team has made," she said.

A team would also be responsible for final decisions on accelerating students, but principals would have more of a say in those decisions, Powers said.

Proposed rewrite incorporates Wellness Committee recommendations

Also on tap for the fall are proposed revisions to the student wellness policy that incorporate recommendations of a systemwide Wellness Committee. The proposal is an essential rewrite of the existing policy addressing physical activity, nutrition, and mental, social and emotional health. "A lot of new language in here and I think it reads really well," Powers said.