Thursday, January 10, 2002

Cape School Board handles business

Published in the Current

The Cape Elizabeth School Board set a speed record at its regular Tuesday meeting: 40 minutes, gavel to gavel. The previous record, 46 minutes, was set at December’s meeting. But longer meetings are in store soon, as budget discussions begin.

During the short meeting, the school board learned that part of the Portland Arts and Technology High School’s budget was “killed by one of our neighboring school districts,” according to board member, Kevin Sweeney, who also serves on the board of PATHS.

The budget was revised, and the planned biotechnology program was saved, Sweeney said. The board voted to approve the revised budget, and to pay the amount PATHS requested from Cape, which will not exceed the amount the board previously approved.

The board also learned that longtime Pond Cove guidance counselor, Sara Berman, will be resigning at the end of this school year.

In other business, the board:
– Heard from the high school student representatives that the senior class is in danger of losing its privileges due to misbehavior and parking violations. “Some students accumulate a lot of points, while others aren’t accumulating any,” said representative David Greenwood. Midterms, Greenwood reported, begin soon, ending the first semester. Also, a good number of Cape students volunteered over the holidays, including participating in a gift drive for area teenagers. And, the day after Christmas, some students painted the names of active duty military personnel from Cape on the rock on Route 77.
– Heard from the middle school student representatives that there will be a regional student leadership conference Jan. 10 and a career fair at the school Jan. 24. The student council and advisory groups also are very involved in community service. The council adopted a family over the holidays, purchasing food and gifts which were greatly appreciated by the family. And teacher, Andy Strout’s, advisory group is having a book drive for a school serving underprivileged students in Boston. Also, 150 students auditioned to play a part in the school play, “Peter Pan,” which will be performed the first weekend in April.
– Heard a report from Superintendent Tom Forcella that the Future Direction Planning process is well underway, and that several goals for this academic year already have been met, while others are in progress or on the schedule to be completed on time.
– Heard from high school Principal Jeff Shedd that the mock trial team did very well in the state finals, narrowly missing beating Hampden Academy, the school that beat Cape last year for the state title. Shedd, a former attorney, was very impressed with the quality of the students' work and performance. Also, Spanish teacher, Angela Schipani, is having excellent success with a new teaching method, involving roleplaying and story-telling. Mark Pendarvis has begun experimenting with that method as well.
– Heard from middle school Principal Nancy Hutton that the fifth grade teaching team has planned an integrated unit on recycling, which will involve a visit to the school by the town Recycling Committee. Hutton also explained the nature of the educational teams with an anecdote about the eagerness of the seventh grade team to get its hands on the new laptops from the state. All of the teachers, with the help of district technology coordinator, Gary Lanoie, volunteered to be a part of a demonstration program in which the school would get its laptops shortly and then host a series of visits by teachers from around the state to see how laptops can be used effectively in classrooms. Hutton said the school has not yet been approved to be a demonstration site.
– Approved several winter sports coaches for the middle school.
– Announced the municipal election, which will be held Tuesday, May 7, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Two seats on the School Board will be open, those held by George Entwistle and Jim Rowe. Nomination papers are due to the Town Clerk’s office by 5 p.m., March 25.

The school board’s next regular meeting will be at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 12, in the Town Council Chambers.