School year begins with high hopes

BAR HARBOR — Children, parents and teachers aren’t the only ones looking forward to the new school year, which starts Tuesday, Sept. 2, for all students in the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS).

“I have high hopes for this year; I’m quite optimistic about it,” MDIRSS superintendent Howard Colter said Tuesday.

“We have many strong teachers returning. In addition, we have hired a number of new people over the summer who seem very promising and excited about their work here.”

Colter said teachers have been doing a lot of work over the summer, and much of it has focused on “coming into compliance with standards-based instruction, their own professional growth and aligning our curriculum with Common Core.”

The MDIRSS board and administration will be dealing with a number of important issues this year. One is negotiation of a new contract with teachers.

“We actually started this process in the spring, and we will be back at the table in September,” Colter said. “I have very high hopes for those negotiations.”

He plans to form a committee this fall to look at options for creating a separate school for all of the middle school grades.

“It won’t be done overnight,” he said of the study. “But it shouldn’t take a whole school year, either. I think that sometime this winter I’ll be able to present a recommendation to the board about consolidation of the middle schools.”

Another issue the MDIRSS board will be dealing with is the structure of the school system itself. A committee of board members has held several meetings on that over the summer.

“They’ve done great work looking at what is working well and where there might be some room for improvement,” Colter said. “I think they will be giving an update on their work to the full board perhaps as early as September. That’s quite exciting.”

The schools in the MDI Regional School System are MDI High School and eight elementary/middle schools: Conners Emerson in Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, Pemetic in Southwest Harbor, Tremont, Trenton, Swans Island, Frenchboro and Ashley Bryan School on Islesford.

The 2014-2015 school year calendar for all nine schools includes 175 student days and 184 teacher days. Winter break is set for Dec. 22-Jan. 5., February vacation is Feb. 16-20, and spring break will be April 20-24.

Depending on the weather, school is scheduled to be finished by the middle of next June.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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