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To parents of students in RSU #71 schools

posted May 1, 2017, 10:19 AM by Betty Lu Davis

School personnel have become aware of a very disturbing program on Netflix called "13 Reasons Why." The show concerns a teenage suicide. Please see the attached RSU 71 parent letter for a response to the program and recommendations for families and their children. Thank you

A Letter to RSU 71 Communities from Superintendent Knowles

posted Apr 27, 2017, 10:09 AM by RSU71 Webmaster   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 10:13 AM ]

Dear Citizens,

 The RSU #71 proposed budget for 2017-18 is $27,209,790.48, a 2.517% aggregate increase over the 2016-17 budget. Because of sound fiscal management, RSU #71 will recognize an approximate $2 Million Dollar balance which will be carried forward to the next budget year. The school board has voted to use $1.5 Million Dollars of the carry forward funds to help reduce the impact of the initially proposed 2017-18 budget. Five Hundred Thousand Dollars will be placed in a designated fund to help pay for future capital construction and maintenance projects. Voters will be asked to approved an article at the Budget Validation Meeting to allow for this action.

At this time, RSU #71 has received preliminary calculations from the Department of Education outlining the amount of state funding RSU #71 will receive for the next fiscal year. When the state officially notifies RSU #71 of the exact amount of state funds the school district will receive, and if there are additional funds awarded beyond what the preliminary calculations have identified, the school board has voted to use those additional funds to reduce the town/city local assessments. This also will be an article voters will be asked to approve at the Budget Validation meeting.

The RSU #71 Budget Validation Meeting will be held on Monday, May 22, 2017, at 6:30 pm, at the Troy Howard Middle School Gymnasium. The RSU #71 Budget Referendum Vote will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at your local polling places.

The proposed budget allows continued forward movement of the school board’s priorities. The Belfast Area High School Renovation and Energy Conservation Improvement Projects are taking shape with final planning. The BAHS Pool and Kitchen Renovations, and the Energy Conservation Improvement Projects will take place this summer. The remainder of the BAHS renovations will take place over the next two years. The school board voted recently to move forward with the planning process to construct a new Tri-Town school in the Tri-Town area in the next five to ten years. This plan will address the aging infrastructure issues at the Ames and Gladys Weymouth Schools.

System-wide academic programming review continues with the finalization of the math, music, and library curricula, and a review of the English/Language Arts Curriculum in its final stages. Laura Miller’s leadership as the Curriculum Coordinator, and the hard, dedicated work of teachers, has led to a more streamlined, student-focused curriculum, that will be future focused on how best to prepare students for life, careers, and/or post-secondary educational experiences.  

An Academic Audit for Belfast Area High School has been completed. The results can be viewed on our website (rsu71.org). Three major recommendations evolved from this work: (1) Explore the redevelopment of the Belfast Area High School Schedule; (2) Explore ways to strengthen relationship between teachers, administrators, students, families and communities; and (3) Continue to explore teaching practices. During the next year, the BAHS staff will develop a work plan that will address these recommendations.

The state mandated teacher and principal evaluation and professional growth system (TEPG/PEPG) is being piloted successfully. Some adjustments will be made to the system this summer, with a goal of full implementation during the next school year.

RSU #71 continues to evolve into a stronger and more vibrant educational system. Much has been completed since the new school system was formed. I continue to ask for your support, as we strive to make RSU #71 an optimal educational experience for all students. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, or any of the RSU #71 School Board Members.

Yours in Education,


Paul D. Knowles, Ed.D


Children and Teens Can Enroll in Affordable Health Care Insurance Year-Round

posted Mar 17, 2017, 10:05 AM by Betty Lu Davis

It’s not too late to sign up for free or low-cost health coverage! Enrollment is open year round. Children or teens in a family of four earning up to $52,404 a year may qualify for MaineCare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Parents may be eligible for MaineCare as well. With health insurance, kids get the medical care they need to make sure they’re able to fully participate in classroom and after-school activities.

For more information about Connecting Kids to Coverage, speak with your School Nurse or call the Consumers for Affordable Health Care Helpline at 1-800-965-7476 to discuss your child’s eligibility and get linked to a local enrollment specialist who can help you complete a MaineCare application.

BAHS Academic Audit Report

posted Mar 1, 2017, 6:30 AM by RSU71 Webmaster

In the spring of 2016, the RSU #71 School Board commissioned an academic audit for Belfast Area High School. The purpose of the academic audit was to examine and verify the classroom experiences of students and teachers in grades 10, 11, and 12, resulting in recommendations for action to help and support improved learning and teaching.  The attached document details the findings of this audit.

BAHS goes through their Accreditation Process

posted Dec 7, 2016, 7:03 AM by Betty Lu Davis

Belfast Area High School (BAHS) is presently undergoing their Accreditation process. The Accreditation Process is overseen by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The process takes 18 months and will be completed in March, 2017. The first step in the process involved redeveloping the school’s Core Values, Beliefs, and 21st Century Learning Expectations, (Core Values). A link to the newly released Core Values can be found on the BAHS website’s front page.


     Accreditation occurs every ten years and BAHS is one of 650 high school in New England that participate. Accreditation assures adherence to seven Standards; Core Values, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, Culture and Leadership, Resources for Learning, and Community Resources.  The Core Values Standard can be found throughout the other Standards and establishes the foundation for much of the decision-making at the high school level. The recently developed Core Values maintains many aspects of the previous Mission Statement and reflects recent changes in education and updated NEASC expectations. BAHS is proud of their recent work and hopes members of the community finds the time to familiarize themselves with this recent document.


BAHS Accreditation Steering Committee

Charles Hamm

James Davis

Mary Alice McClean

Diana Leighton

Jan Banks

Tim Doran

Elizabeth Small

JMG February Newsletter

posted Nov 15, 2016, 8:13 AM by Betty Lu Davis   [ updated Feb 10, 2017, 5:03 AM ]

We hope you will take a minute and read the attached JMG - Jobs for Maine Graduates - newsletter and see the wonderful things that these students are doing.

School Menus Focus on Local Meats and Produce

posted Aug 26, 2016, 1:27 PM by RSU71 Webmaster   [ updated Sep 1, 2016, 4:32 PM ]

View the attached PDF if you do not have a VillageSoup account.

Voters approve bond

posted Aug 26, 2016, 6:25 AM by Betty Lu Davis   [ updated Nov 18, 2016, 10:22 AM ]

On November 8th  RSU #71 residents voted to approve a bond for renovations at Belfast Area High School. Attached is the Concept Project Budget. Please feel free to contact your Board Representative or Superintendent Knowles for more information regarding the renovations.


posted Aug 8, 2016, 12:22 PM by Betty Lu Davis

Technology Update for Fall 2016.

By David Fournier, Director of Technology

We are excited for the start of a new year in the technology department at RSU #71!

The tech team has been busy over the summer inventorying and cleaning macbooks, iPads, and Chromebooks in preparation for the start of school.

We have upgraded the wireless networks in both the Belfast Area High School and in the Captain Albert Stevens School, and will be adding additional wireless capacity in the other schools in the district in the next few months.

The RSU #71 Board of Directors approved the RSU #71 Technology Plan for 2016-19 in July, and the new plan was submitted to the Maine Department of Education shortly thereafter. The final plan addresses our desires for student learning and the technology needed in supporting that learning. Click here to see the plan.

And finally the new Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) laptops are being delivered in early August for deployment this fall, we now have three 3D printers for students to use in Troy Howard Middle School and Belfast Area High School, new laptops and iPads will be deployed throughout the district in classrooms, and we are still planning on upgrading memory and hard drives for our white macbook fleet this fall.

We are always excited to get new technology into the hands of students, and we hope to continue helping our students leverage technology to enhance their learning!

Maine Educational Assessment

posted Mar 9, 2016, 9:43 AM by Betty Lu Davis   [ updated Mar 9, 2016, 9:51 AM by RSU71 Webmaster ]

March 9, 2016

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Maine’s public school students in grades 3-8 and in the third year of high school are required by both state and federal legislation to be assessed each year in the areas of mathematics and English language arts (ELA)/literacy.  As a result of state legislation enacted in June 2015 http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0872&item=5&snum=127, the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) for mathematics and ELA/literacy has changed this year.  In selecting a new MEA for mathematics and ELA/literacy, the Maine Department of Education set out to reduce the amount of testing time while still providing the detailed information educators and parents need to inform school and student progress toward meeting standards.

At grades 3-8, Maine will be using an assessment called eMPower™ME, a computer-based assessment developed by Measured Progress, the same testing company that develops Maine’s science assessment.  There will be a 4-week testing window, from March 21 to April 15, 2016, during which students will sit for 7 separate testing sessions.  Sample eMPower™ME items can be viewed here: http://www.maine.gov/doe/assessment/math-ela/administration/index.html.

For 3rd year high school students, Maine will be using the re-designed SAT, developed by the College Board.  A priority consideration in selecting the new high school assessment was the relevance of the test for students and their parents as they focus on preparation for their next steps after high school.  The SAT in the spring of 2016 will be administered as a paper-based test on a single day, April 12, 2016.  For students who miss the April 12th administration, there will be a make-up test available on April 27, 2016.  Information about the re-designed SAT can be found here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat?affiliateId=aruhome&bannerId=nwsat.

Both eMPower™ME and the re-designed SAT are aligned to the content and skills outlined in Maine’s College and Career Readiness Standards, adopted in 2011 to guide instruction in Maine’s classrooms.  Information about Maine’s content standards can be found at the following links:

For mathematics:


For ELA/Literacy:


 While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, the MEA combined with other information, can help us all better understand the progress of our students.  These assessments can help schools and districts review and improve curriculum. They can also help to identify areas where a particular student needs additional support and where he or she has mastered the content and can be challenged to go deeper into the subject matter. Teachers can use the information to guide their instruction and provide more personalized learning opportunities for students.  Parents can use the information to help support their child at home and to guide a discussion with their child’s teacher.  Students can work on the areas where they need improvement to ensure they are staying on track to be successful in the next grade level.

We encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher/school administrator with any questions you may have about the MEA or your child’s progress.

Thank you,

Paul D. Knowles

RSU #71 Superintendent

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