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Superintendent's Welcome!

November 19, 2019
Greetings from RSU #24,
I hope this email finds each of you well and gearing up for the winter season.  It is hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner and that we are already facing the cooler temperatures and snowy weather that comes with winter.
Speaking of inclement weather, the RSU #24 Board of Directors approved a modification to the 2019-2020 school calendar that allows for make up days to be implemented.  With the calendar change and since we have already had two days of school cancelled, we will have school on Saturday, February 29 and Saturday, March 14.  Each of those days will be half days, with school being dismissed at 11:30 from the high school and upon the arrival of buses at the grammar schools.  Should we have another day of school cancelled, we will add an hour to each school day during the week of March 23.  Adding an additional hour to the school day for 5 days is an acceptable method to make up school days according to the Maine Department of Education.  The changes were made in an effort to avoid our students attending school in late June.
We did have a number of celebrations throughout the school district to honor Veteran's Day.  Each school handled the recognition in different ways but in the end, our goal was and is to thank those who have served our country. 
We are still on target to break ground on our new school project in June of 2020.  The architect has met with staff members to get input into the design of various spaces to be housed in the building.  The Building Committee meets monthly to get updates and to view the new renderings for the new facility.   We also continue to meet with the Maine Department of Education School Construction Team, seeking approval of our various decisions being made regarding the building.  As always, please feel free to check the district website (rsu24.org) to get the latest information regarding the project.
As is required by Board policy, there is a Naming Committee that has been established to make a recommendation on the name or names of the new grades 6-12 facility.  It is important to note that this committee is not necessarily looking for a new name, but there does need to be a recommendation for a name or names.  The committee has representation from each of our communities and stakeholder groups (parents, students, staff, etc.) and has met twice to discuss how best to move forward with making school name recommendation(s) to the RSU Board of Directors.  To that end, we have a link on our website that allows for community input into the naming process.  This link will take you to a survey seeking input into the school name by answering a few short questions.  For those who do not have access to technology or prefer to fill out a paper survey, the survey can be found at your town office.  We will stop accepting both digital and paper surveys on December 9, 2019. 
The Friends of Sumner's Future fundraising committee has also met to discuss their upcoming work to help support the new school.  There has been much discussion about how best to move forward and the group has tentatively agreed to kick off the campaign with a business focused drive, asking the many businesses who have connections with Sumner to contribute to those costs that are not covered by the approved referendum funding.  There will be opportunities to sponsor specific areas of the building (inside and outside), whether it be the larger spaces (gym, cafeteria, etc.) or smaller spaces such as the classrooms.  Please stay tuned as we expect this drive to kick off over the next month or so.
With the Thanksgiving holiday, I can't help but reflect on how fortunate we are to have communities who care so deeply for our students and our schools.  Thank you!  If you ever have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at (207)422-2017 or meastman@rsu24.org.
Michael Eastman, Superintendent
Regional School Unit #24
2165 US Highway 1
Sullivan, Maine 04664