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RSU #71 News from the PR Committee

posted Apr 9, 2018, 12:40 PM by Betty Lu Davis   [ updated Apr 9, 2018, 12:42 PM ]

February 2018

Greetings residents of RSU 71 (Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont, & Swanville):  As chair of the RSU 71 School Board, I want to share with readers a description of efforts and events taking place at our district schools:

The Captain Albert Stevens School (CASS) 5th-grade experienced a cozy restaurant-styled event (complete with virtual fireplace, snacks and music) in the library filled with the Maine Student Book Award (MSBA) winner and nominee books. Students rotated through three tables filled with books to preview and each student was able to sign out a MSBA book. As part of the LabVenture! Program, CASS 5th-grade students visited the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland to learn about becoming scientists and about the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. 

At Troy Howard Middle School (THMS) this month, 7th graders in social studies and the garden program are interviewing local people about the history of local agriculture: farmers of veggies, Christmas trees, goats, flowers, oysters, llamas, mushrooms, chickens and micro greens, as well as lobsterman, loggers and beekeepers, focusing on what they do, why they do it and how the world of agriculture is changing. Stay tuned for the podcasts of the interviews soon to be released, broadcast live on Belfast Community Radio and streaming on the internet.

The district now has official Chess Clubs at both the high school and THMS with engaged student participation and teacher coaches. Practicing is underway for the Maine State Chess tournament held in March. THMS held its school competition of the National Geographic Bee (an eighth grader won) which includes for the winner a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship. This is the first round in the 30th annual National Geographic Bee, a geography competition designed to inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world. 

In collaboration with the Belfast Soup Kitchen and the Technical Ed program, the 6th grade general music class is making and playing diddley-bows, a single-stringed instrument that originated in the rural South and had a major influence on American blues and rock music. Students are using scrap lumber provided by the Tech Ed Program and soup cans from the Belfast Soup Kitchen for the project, building student connections to the local community.

The THMS job shadowing program for 8th graders is underway helping s
tudents get exposure to real life options for careers, and explore their interests before actually seeking a job. And, social studies classes are studying the UN Sustainable Goals and fundraising (through DonorsChoose and GoFundMe) to buy UN classroom posters. Soon 8th graders will be getting out into the community to promote the Global Goals, part of THMS’s effort to become globally competent (investigate the world, recognize perspectives, communicate with diverse audiences, and take action.) For sustainability podcasts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqo6b9JkWMU&list=PLfDyas-1XLrWXB8pL7zc9uYb3V7Kf8-0G&index=2; for more 8th grade events: https://sites.google.com/rsu71.org/8thgradeexploration/whats-happening  


The THMS Academic Audit has been completed; it examines classroom experiences of students and teachers through data gathering, focus groups, and analysis. The Audit has resulted in recommendations to address the findings and provides a rich supply of information to guide and implement future action plans in many areas including school academic schedule, development of common routines and structures, and professional development and planning.

Belfast Area High School (BAHS) is in intense preparation for the  final phases of New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Accreditation process (occurs every 10 years) which includes a review of many aspects of school performance and culminates with visit from the NEASC Accreditation team in early March. BAHS also continues to address findings of its 2017 Academic Audit and to work toward school goals of keeping students at the very center, improving relationships and providing active learning.  BAHS is piloting a change to the academic schedule that includes several periods a week of longer time frames (75 minutes) and is alert to the need for common teacher planning time and increased professional development. The preliminary construction schedule has been set and bidding begun for Phase 2 of high school improvements, including: a 2-story addition in place of old energy-wasting “math-wing” to provide improved classroom space and new home for Central Office, revamping of sports locker rooms and corridor space, and replacement of the entry canopy.

BAHS has begun a Students of the Quarter program; students are nominated and voted on by BAHS students. Qualifications include demonstrations of communication, social responsibility, ethical integrity, perseverance, respect for diversity, self-reliance and problem-solving. Students are recognized at quarterly all-school “Spotlight on Core Values” assemblies.  A first ever AP (Advanced Placement) Summit will be held Feb 15th—for students enrolled or planning to enroll in BAHS AP classes, AP teachers and parents/guardians. The Summit will include lunch, small group sessions and discussions of goals, AP class process and test preparation plans.

On February 27 senior members of the BAHS modern band will be performing for a Maine Arts Commission hosted statewide luncheon on the economic impact of Maine’s arts and cultural sectors. Students will be performing five pieces by diverse composers-- Dire Straits, The Fray, Johnny Cash, Of Monsters and Men, and Coldplay.   Seven THMS and six BAHS students auditioned and were selected to perform at the Kennebec Valley Music Education Association Festival in February with a final concert on Saturday the 3rd to show off the students’ musical accomplishments. And, four BAHS students auditioned and were selected to perform at the All-State Music Festival this May 17-19 at UMaine. For tickets to the All State Concert: http://mainemmea.org/2017-state-info/


Students at Belfast Community Outreach Program in Education (BCOPE) have been participating in community service by pitching in to move and stack wood at the Searsmont Waldo County Woodshed, http://waldocountywoodshed.org/index.htm . The Searsmont location is one of seven in the greater Waldo County area. The Woodshed is a non-profit program providing wood for anyone needing heating assistance.

So much going on in our schools. For information on these programs, sports events and more, please go to the district website (www.rsu71.org) and/or the websites of the individual schools. Our schools work hard for the children and families of the district!

Caitlin Love Hills
Chair, RSU 71 School Board


Troy Howard Middle School Academic Audit

posted Mar 27, 2018, 11:34 AM by Betty Lu Davis


The purpose of the academic audit was to examine and verify the classroom experiences of students and teachers in grades 6, 7, and 8, resulting in recommendations for action to help and support improved learning and teaching.  Click on the image to view the document details the findings of this audit. 


posted Feb 1, 2018, 6:34 AM by Betty Lu Davis

Blues Soup!

As a part of our unit on the Blues and in collaboration with the Belfast Soup Kitchen and Mr. Groening, Tech Ed teacher at Troy Howard Middle School, the 6th grade general music class will be making and then playing diddley bows.  What’s a diddley bow you say?!

The diddley bow is a single-stringed instrument that originated in the rural South and has had a major influence on American blues and rock music. It consists of a single string of wire pulled tight between two nails mounted on a piece of wood. It was traditionally considered a starter or children's instrument in the South.  It was created by plantation slaves from West Africa who made them out of whatever they could find.  We will be following in these early musicians footsteps by using scrap lumber provided by Mr. Groening and soup cans from the Belfast Soup Kitchen.  The soup will be donated by our music class to the soup kitchen in exchange for the cans.  This is a very exciting way for our students to connect with our community and we are very thankful for the opportunity to collaborate!

4th Annual Mattress Sale!!!!

The BAHS Visual and Performing Arts Department and Footlights Booster Club would like to thank all of those who came and supported us (and consequently themselves with the purchase of a new mattress) at our 4th Annual Mattress Sale this past January.  We had a lot of traffic through the doors and the students generated a lot of excitement, we are so proud of you.  23 mattresses and an assortment of bedding accessories will now have new homes thanks to you!  Funds from this and next year’s sale are helping to send music students to NYC (2019), art students to Boston, and will help pay for production costs for our theater department. If you or anyone you know is in need or will be in need of a new mattress we will be hosting this sale again next school year so we hope to see you there!  

Modern Band seniors to perform for Maine Arts Commission

On February 27 senior members of the BAHS modern band class (Taylor Kinney- bass guitar, Jesse Kulbe- guitar and vocals, Jesse Perry- drums, and Macartney Wyatt- keyboard and vocals) will be performing for a Maine Arts Commission hosted statewide luncheon on the economic impact of Maine’s arts and cultural sectors, featuring guest speakers Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy, Americans for the Arts (AFTA), and Dee Schneidman, the Program Director for Research and Creative Economy at the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA). The luncheon will also include the first release of membership information for ArtsEngageME, the Arts Commission’s new nonprofit support and advocacy organization.  BAHS art teacher Caitlin Alger and her students will be creating centerpieces for the luncheon also.  Students will be performing “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits, “How to Save a Life” by The Fray, “ Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash, “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men, and “Fix You” by Coldplay.  This is an exciting opportunity for all BAHS students involved and another great showcase of the work being done in the arts at RSU 71!

Students selected to participate at the KVMEA and All-State Band/Orchestra/Chorus Festivals

Congratulations to all musicians who auditioned for both the KVMEA Music Festival and All-State Band/Orchestra/Chorus Festival, we are proud of your hard work!

Students selected to perform at the KVMEA Festival on February 2 and 3:

Troy Howard Middle School

Marina Bannister- 6

Annabelle Lisa- 6

Luna Carlson- 7

Karyn Kilby- 7

Brynne Sawyer- 7

Hayle Withee- 7

Matthew Shelton 8

Belfast Area High School

Phoebe Norman- 9

Emily Wakeman- 9

Cameron Johnson- 11

Olivia Laroche-DeFrees- 12

Madison Hemingway- 12

Macartney Wyatt- 12

Students selected to perform at the All-State Band/Orchestra/Chorus Festival this May 17-19:

Belfast Area High School

Phoebe Norman- 9

Emily Wakeman- 9

Cameron Johnson- 11

Olivia Laroche-DeFrees- 12

Again, congratulations to all students!  Concert ticket information can be found at the following websites:

KVMEA- http://kvmea.org

All-State- http://mainemmea.org/2017-state-info/

Elementary and Secondary Education Application Information

posted Jun 8, 2017, 11:49 AM by Betty Lu Davis   [ updated Jun 7, 2018, 7:30 AM ]

Date: June 8, 2018

To:  RSU #71 Parents and Community Members

Referencing:  Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Application

Federal funding is allotted to school districts throughout Maine through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Application.  Our district completes the application process, requesting funding for supplemental teaching services and Family Engagement opportunities (Title l) and professional development opportunities for staff and administrators (Title ll).  Funding for these projects is based on evidence of student needs using district and school data.

You are invited to attend the July 9th RSU #71 School Board Meeting at the Troy Howard Middle School at 5:30.  You will be provided with information about the projects identified in the RSU #71 ESEA application and  have the opportunity to share feedback on the use of federal funds in our district. The information shared will also be posted on the Title l webpage at www.rsu71.org under the Departments heading.  

If you are unable to attend and would like to share feedback, please feel free to contact me through e-mail. (lmiller@rsu71.org) or call at 338-1960.  

Laura Miller

Laura S. Miller

RSU #71  Curriculum Coordinator

ESEA Coordinator

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 May Newsletter

posted Nov 15, 2016, 8:13 AM by Betty Lu Davis   [ updated May 30, 2017, 6:47 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.

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