Thursday, March 14, 2002

Cape parents asked to fight substance abuse

Published in the Current

The Cape Elizabeth School Board bid farewell to a longtime teacher and asked parents to assist with the enforcement of substance-use bans for athletes at its regular monthly meeting March 12.

Superintendent Tom Forcella noted the resignation, effective at the end of this year, of longtime teacher and coach Anine Burgess, who has been out on medical leave all of this school year.

Middle school Principal Nancy Hutton described Burgess as “a great question-asker.” Board member Kevin Sweeney remembered Burgess’s efforts to promote civil rights and diversity. Board chair George Entwistle said of her, “There was just so much energy and excitement, and certainly she’ll be sorely missed.”

The board also gave first readings to several athletic policies, and suggested adding a new contract for parents and students to sign which would include a promise not to use drugs and alcohol.

It would be similar to the one presently required, but would include reference to abiding by the rules and supporting their enforcement, rather than a simple acknowledgment that they had been read and understood.

Other new policies laid out the philosophy and beliefs behind the athletics program, codified existing practices, set rules for booster clubs and admission charges at sporting events, and defined the framework for coaches’personnel records.

While budget discussions did not play a role in the business meeting, at the finance committee meeting preceding it, some members of the board indicated their sense that there was too much cut, while others said they may need to do more.

In other business, the board:
– heard a report from the high school representatives that the student government is working on a new policy for spectator conduct at sporting events, following inappropriate behavior by three Cape students at a hockey game in Yarmouth last week. There is also a new study hall policy under development.
– heard a report from the middle school representatives that the eighth grade band has been asked to perform for the state Legislature in Augusta later this school year.
– heard and praised a presentation from the organizers of Cape Play to improve the playgrounds at Pond Cove and the middle school.
– heard a report from middle school Principal Nancy Hutton that several parents have volunteered to teach Steve Price’s classes for a couple of weeks so he can work on preparing the school play. Also, the Wonder Years day was a big success.
– heard from Pond Cove Principal Tom Eismeier the school has nominated second-grade teacher Kelly Hasson for the Maine Teacher of the Year 2003 award.
– heard from high school Principal Jeff Shedd that he is expecting high demand for the new Latin course at the school. Shedd also noted that the Cape one-act play will continue to statewide competition, as will the jazz band.