Trenton Transition Plan (2/19/2009)

Trenton Transition Team – January 22, 2009


Trenton Elementary School is the newest member of Union 98 (soon to be Mount Desert Island Regional School System). Trenton School will officially join the island school system on July 1, 2009. In the meantime, an ad hoc group of Trenton Elementary School and Pemetic Elementary School teachers and support staff met on Thursday, January 22, 2009 to begin conversations about how to provide a smooth transition as we create Mount Desert Island Regional School System together.

The Trenton Transition Team includes Gary Bosk, Dianne Helprin, Dianne Waters, Joanne Harriman, Lynn Bean-Ingram, Angela Paulsen, Anne Welles, Cindy Lambert, Diane Clark, Heather Bird, Ivey Menzietti, Katie Frothingham, Shannon Snurkowski, and Midge Boshko (an oversight: we will include Norm Hill and Bev Locke in our next meeting because we identified lots of TECH issues and we’ll need these experts to advise us.)

Moving forward, our first step is to begin introducing teachers to one another. To facilitate this, all Trenton faculty members invited to join our Grade Level Teams and other committees beginning this year. Additionally, Trenton school staff will be participating in a whole school visit to Pemetic Elementary School on March 27, 2009. This visit is designed to allow Trenton teachers with an opportunity to meet each other and to begin nurturing collegial relationships.

The following list of Needs was generated by the Team

  • Curriculum Synchronization
  • Training time and money
  • Guidelines for Standards-Based Grading and Reporting
  • Knowledge/Understanding of Common Union 98 Assessment System
  • Knowledge and synchronization of policies
  • Time for Visitations (both ways Trenton to Pemetic/Pemetic to Trenton)
  • Knowledge of Programs and Practices
  • Knowledge of Mission, Goals and Priorities
  • Technology Synchronization (Power School, Pearson Inform, etc.)
  • Budget/contract
  • Clarification on what can stay the same at Trenton Elementary School vs. what needs to change
  • Clarification on how the Transition Team/Sister School can address the needs

The following list of Questions was also generated by the Transition Team – I have tracked down the answers, and can do this with additional questions, as well. So please don’t hesitate to ask for more clarification.

Rob Questions (with his answers)

What do the MDI teachers unions look like (will we merge)?

It is unknown if you will merge, in the end the superintendent doesn’t have any control over this. It’s up to the separate teacher associations. Right now each school has a separate teacher’s association. You don’t have to merge, but you could.

What will the contractual protocol be (personal and professional days)?

Things in the Trenton contract remain in place until your current contract expires. As part of the Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) Trenton agreed to plan for consistency between the Trenton contract and the island-wide contract. There is a suggested plan that was approved by the commissioner on the website. That plan is subject to change and negotiation to accomplish it in a shorter period of time.

Will we have the same policies (code of conduct, sports eligibility, honor role)?

Eventually Trenton will require consistent policies—that’s part of the AOS requirements. It will take time.

What will consolidation look like when it is done? (How will we know if it is working? What are the expectations?)

Seamless, it will look like you have always been part of the Mount Desert Island school system. The expectations are that Trenton becomes an equal partner like all the other schools on the island.

Joanne Questions (with her answers)

What is it going to look like when it is done (the “sister school” piece specifically)?

The “sister school” idea was borne out of a desire to create for Trenton staff a transparent window into the culture, practices, procedures and programs of U98 schools. Rob and I want the Trenton school community to feel comfortable asking many questions—but realize that there will be questions that are best answered by someone who is doing your same job. This is where the idea of a “sister school” came from and it is our hope that Trenton and Pemetic teachers will develop meaningful collegial relationships over the next months and beyond.

Does everything need to be aligned with the current U98 curriculum and standards?

Eventually, yes. Union 98 schools have a common curriculum and for the most part use the same text/kit resources as a curriculum foundation. Trenton will gradually begin using the U98 curriculum and will join our cycle of curriculum review and revision.

How are we going to synchronize the curriculums (is it going to align with U98 or combine them)?

Yes, there will be synchronization of curriculums. We have put a two-year hold on U98 K-8 curriculum revision to allow Trenton the opportunity to make the transition into our curriculum teams. This means that there will be no major revisions or resource purchase in 08/09 or 09/10. Curriculum teams review and revise curriculum and team members have full control of this process. The teams are comprised of representatives from all of our schools—and Trenton teachers will have an influencing role in this same manner.

How flexible is the content across grade levels?

The explicit curriculum is not flexible at all—it is required—grade level learning goals are critical for students to be able to access the content in the grades that follow. In other words, teachers rely on the introduction of concepts in previous grades in order to develop them in the current grades. Each grade level learning goal has suggested resources. Teachers can use the suggested resources or they can design their own resources so that students are able to achieve (or nearly achieve) the goals at the specified cognitive level.

What are the local assessments?

Current assessments are:

Grade NWEA MEA Writing Prompt DRA Other:
Kindergarten MAP for Primary Optional: Math & Reading FA & SP Spring only PLSS (Pre-Literacy Survey of Skills)
Grade 1 MAP for Primary Optional: Math & Reading FA & SP FA & SP
Grade 2 FA Math only, FA/SP Math & Reading FA & SP FA & SP
Grade 3 FA/SP Math & Reading Reading Math Sp 08 (FA 09 NECAP) FA & SP FA & SP
Grade 4 FA/SP Math & Reading Reading Math Sp 08 (FA 09 NECAP) FA & SP for students scoring below 25th %ile on NWEA Reading
Grade 5 FA/SP Math & Reading Read Math Sci -Sp 08 (FA 09 NECAP) FA & SP for students scoring below 25th %ile on NWEA Reading
Grade 6 FA/SP Math & Reading Reading Math Sp 08 (FA 09 NECAP) FA & SP for students scoring below 25th %ile on NWEA Reading
Grade 7 FA/SP Math & Reading Reading Math Sp 08 (FA 09 NECAP) FA & SP for students scoring below 25th %ile on NWEA Reading Form 7 (Alg I 8th gr. placement)
Grade 8 FA/SP Math & Reading Read, Math, Sci -Sp 08 (FA 09 NECAP) FA & SP for students scoring below 25th %ile on NWEA Reading Form 9 (Alg. II placement)
Grades 9-12 (Title I only) FA/SP Math & Reading Grade 10/11PSAT Grade 11 SAT Portfolio Assessments

Will there be visitations between teachers and classrooms? When will visitations happen?

Yes, the first official visit will be on March 27th when Trenton teachers and support staff will visit Pemetic School for a full-day-long visit. Pemetic School will be in-session on the 27th, so Trenton teachers will have a chance to see curriculum-in-action, peruse resources, and ask questions of their job-alike colleagues. The Trenton Transition Team plans to meet again right after school that day at the Pemetic School to debrief the day and consider next steps.

Will there be combined activities between schools such as… Schoodic Education Adventure Camp Beech Cliff Island Adventure Key Pals Robotix Chess Gifted and Talented symposium Island Wide Dances Sports After school program (21st school grant) Learning Labs?

I think it is extremely likely that all of the MDIRSS schools will participate in most of these activities as we move forward together. Some of the activities in the list are unique to individual schools (not all schools participate in Robotix, chess, sports or the 21st Century afterschool program).

What are the spelling and reading programs? Can we access them?

Currently we do not have a unionwide spelling program—though we have a group that is piloting Spelling for Writers (for grades 1-6) after researching major programs last summer. Our elementary schools do not have a common reading program—in terms of a textbook series. Teachers use mentor texts and guided reading strategies to engage young readers with fiction and non-fiction books. Last year in our ELA curriculum resource purchase cycle, teachers were given a $500 budget to boost their classroom libraries. It is our collective belief that students need to have books they care about in their hands in order to continue to grow as readers. Many of the strategy supports are available for download on our ELA curriculum website. Look for these tools in the “Suggested Resources” section of the grade level ELA curriculum.

Where is U98 in curriculum cycle?

See attached Union 98 Curriculum Cycle document.

How do we deal with scheduling-Curriculum (how do we fit it all in? Are there ideas? Are there things in place to accomplish this?)

I think that this is a great question for your job-alike colleagues at Pemetic School—they will be able to answer these questions with the kind of precision that I believe you are looking for.

Health and K-2 and readiness?

I am not sure what this question is asking so will need some clarification before I answer.

Will we combine or share curriculum materials?

An important part of our curriculum revision process involves researching the materials that are best suited to teach the grade level learning goals. In fall 2009, Trenton teachers will begin using the materials that the Social Studies Curriculum Team recommended to our teachers in 2005. For Kindergarten through grade five, Everyday Math is already widely used in Union 98 schools (MDES uses Math Investigations in K-5, Islesford and Frenchboro use Saxon Math). For middle school (6-8) we primarily use Mathscapes, supplementing with other materials as needed (Pemetic School uses Connected Math.)

How will there be continuity across schools (i.e. Phys. Ed, Health, Art, Music to include strings, Smart boards)?

In Union 98 we strive to create continuity across our schools—we have common curriculum, common policies and procedures, and very similar programming. That said, our new AOS is similar to a school union in that every school has its own governing board and budget process— and decisions about programs such as PE, Health, Art and Music are ultimately made at this level.

Content/grade level meetings?

These meetings are posted on the website at:

I would recommend asking your grade level/content area colleague about these meetings prior to attending them. Sometimes the groups meet in alternate times and locations from what has been posted on the meeting calendar—so it is really important to get into the email loop of these groups!

Here is the list of team members:

K Mike Martin-Zboray
K Carol Null
K Marilyn Miller
K Roxie Brechlin
K Jane Monahan
K Ellen Robinson
K Jackie Wheaton
K Sheri Christianson
1 Scott McFarland
1 Beth Brown
1 Sue Hodgdon
1 Judy DeLong
1 Toni McKay
1 MaryAnne Young
1 Amanda Dyer
1 Judith Cullen
1 Julianna Reddish-Smith
2 Barb Neilly
2 Angela Paulsen
2 Paula Moody
2 Pat Minier
2 Karen Barter
2 Rochelle Sprague
3 Dianne Waters
3 Robin Sattler
3 Becky Heniser
3 Jandrea Warren
3 Carol Chappell
3 Patty Galeaz
3 Abbie Plaskov
4 Mike Martin-Zboray
4 Kim Schroeder
4 Anne Welles
4 Candy Herrick
4 Heather Dority
4 Missy Gaston
4 Sue Hersey
4 Sue Tripp
5 Dianne Waters
5 Crystal Nelson
5 Brian Boardman
5 David Keefe
5 Lisa Plourde
5 Kerry Taylor
MS ELA Dianne Helprin
MS ELA Jill Farley-Frels
MS ELA Jeanne Bowne
MS ELA Tammy Crossman-Turner
MS ELA Gayle Gray
MS ELA Louise Piquette
MS ELA Cathy Abraham
MS ELA Marc Chappe
MS ELA Kelli Rich
MS ELA Catherine Elk
MS ELA Linda Reynolds
MS ELA Trisha Rhodes
MS SS Barb Neilly
MS SS Brian Cote
MS SS Louise Piquette
MS SS Cathy Abraham
MS SS Cindy Brotzman
MS SS Bob Chaplin
MS SS Jeanne Bowne
MS SS Tammy Crossman-Turner
MS SS Lynn Bean-Ingram
MS MATH Dianne Helprin
MS MATH Jim Sawyer
MS MATH Andy Stephenson
MS MATH Kate St Dennis
MS MATH Karen Allen
MS MATH Marlene Hurd
MS MATH Ben Macko
MS SCI Scott McFarland
MS SCI Brian Cote
MS SCI Bonnie Burne
MS SCI Tammy Crossman-Turner
MS SCI Catherine Elk
MS SCI Bob Chaplin
MS SCI Steve Gabel-Richards
MS SCI Jim Sawyer

Professional days? Certification?

Beginning July 1, Trenton teachers will use the MDIRSS Certification process to become recertified in the State of Maine. Our recertification plan is currently being revised to meet the new requirements of Chapter 118. It is our hope that our new plan will be accepted/approved by our teachers later this spring. Come July 1, 2009 all previously approved recertification plans will be honored—that goes for Union 98 teachers and Union 92 teachers. As teachers’ recertification plans expire they will need to follow the new process in their new five year plans.

Service Learning Leadership Team?

Snow Ross has agreed to join the Service Learning Leadership Team and will be attending meetings each month this spring. Our commitment to Service Learning is articulated in our unionwide mission for students and purposefully supported by our administrative team and the SL leadership team as a teaching method that is effective in achieving intended outcomes we have designed for our students. Each of our schools has a trained building representative who works with teachers in their building as they develop SL learning experiences in their classroom.

When do teachers in both schools meet?

March 27th officially, but teachers are encouraged to establish contact with their grade level colleagues sooner if the need arises! Email is our primary tool of communication. I have attached an email list of Pemetic Elementary School teachers/support staff.

(Norm Hill Questions and Answers) Technology

Will there be time for training (PowerSchool, Special ed. paperwork)?

We will have PowerSchool Train the Trainer training.

[JH chimes in] This PowerSchool Train-the-Trainer will be designed to train key teachers at Trenton Elementary School. These teachers will then train the remaining teachers. It will probably be necessary to hold a before-school-starts training session for Trenton teachers in order

To get folks in a place where they are feeling relatively comfortable with the program. There will also be a need for providing Trenton parents with information about the program, as well.

[NH] Special Ed uses Case-e Legacy. Eliza, Kelley Sanborn’s assistant, does all the entry for that.

Will the school be using Infinite Campus?

[NH] I upload PowerSchool data twice a school year to Infinite Campus (IC). Sept and February. Changes made to student records after the data is uploaded has to be manually entered into PowerSchool and the duplicate changes have to be applied by the secretary to IC also.

[JH chimes in] We will continue to use PowerSchool as our Student Information System (SIS) and Norm will upload our data from PowerSchool to Infinite Campus, the new Maine Educational Data Management System (MEDMS) to meet state student data requirements.

Will we be on the same grading systems (PowerSchool)?

[NH] I think that all the Elementary schools should be grading using the same method.

[JH chimes in] Ideally, Norm is correct and we should all be using the same grading method. Unfortunately it is not as easy as that because it appears that we have some dramatic differences in our methods, particularly at the middle school. I think arriving at a solution will require some serious dialogue—we should get started on this challenge right away.

Kelley Questions and Answers

Are we using the same version of Case-e?

Union 98 schools have not yet converted to Case-e 2.0, but we plan to make that conversion sometime this spring.

Special education assignments ? contracted services (OT, PT, Speech Language, testing) teachers are concerned about loss of positions. What are your thoughts about this?

There will be changes in supportive services... OT, PT and evaluations have historically been provided to Trenton through the Hancock Cooperative. Since this relationship will not exist beginning July 1st... Contracts and employment will be through the new MDIRSS. This will mean our providers of these services will begin to service Trenton school. Melissa and I reviewed caseloads and needs over February break to plan for communicating service needs to our OT and PT (especially related to summer ESY and incoming Kindergarten students).

MDIRSS will be considering a move from contracted OT services to “employment” contracts during the upcoming March 17th meeting. If approved, this will mean that 2 OT positions will be posted and a full hiring process will take place this spring. We plan to continue with our current PT under a “contracted” service agreement for the coming school year.

As for Speech Language, this has historically been an employee of the Trenton school... And this will continue. I have been working with Melissa and Gary on these issues. They have assured that affected employees have been notified.

What about Margarita? What will her role be?

Margarita will be responsible for the Psychoeducational Evaluations for Trenton students K-12. Academic/Achievement evaluations will continue to be the responsibility of individual special education teachers/ case managers.

Trenton Transition Team Next Steps

  • Set up classroom and program visits
  • Share Transition Team work with faculty/staff and other stakeholders
  • Integrate Trenton faculty into Union 98 teams/committees
  • Begin dialogue about grading practices
  • Begin planning for summer work and next year’s professional days
  • The team will meet again after school at Pemetic Elementary School after the school visit on March 27th