Future of schools workshop

BAR HARBOR — A public workshop on the future of education in the Mount Desert Island Regional School System will be held next Wednesday, June 15, from 4-8 p.m. in the library at MDI High School.

Topics to be discussed include the pros and cons of school consolidation, including the possible creation of a district-wide middle school, and whether the school system’s administrative and governance structure should be changed to improve effectiveness and eliminate redundancy.

Outgoing Superintendent Howard Colter has said that before any decisions are made on those or other important issues, the school system should develop a long-range strategic plan to guide it into the future.

“Then you could think about what could be done over a period of years to move the district toward that vision and mission,” he said. “That would include thinking about staffing, budget planning, facilities … .”

He said such a deliberation and planning process must involve community members and municipal officials, not just school personnel and board members.

Among the issues that some school board members have suggested should be on the table for discussion is whether the school system’s mission should include pre-kindergarten education and vocational training. Charlie Wray, chairman of the MDIRSS board, observed that many public school systems now include “pre-K through a technical center.”

Colter said that a strategic plan for the school system should include ways to attract and keep “really super strong, talented teachers who are creative and comfortable with rethinking assumptions and being involved in decision making.”

He said the school board’s June 15 workshop should be seen as the start of a community-wide conversation about the future shape, focus and direction of education.

The workshop will be moderated by Bill Ferm, who, for a number of years has moderated the Mount Desert annual town meeting, as well as the annual MDIRSS and MDI High School budget-approval meetings.

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]

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