February 18, 2022
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff,
Today marks the last day of school as we head off to February vacation! I hope parents can take some time off to enjoy some fun activities with their children and staff are able to recharge their batteries. I’d encourage students to discover their creative side over vacation and design some artwork for the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club’s T-shirt Design Contest and Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition’s Art of Resilience Contest (see exact details below).
Upon our return, we enter the jam-packed month of March as students focus on academic projects, preparing for upcoming musicals, potential art shows, and the start of spring sports. Historically, March is a solid month of cornerstone learning, academic showcases, and preparing the educational foundation for an upcoming spring field trip. We are hopeful as positive cases continue to decline that our students will now move toward having the opportunities to share their learning beyond the walls of their classroom.
Several parents have asked about the mask mandate in schools, and at this time, we continue to adhere to the Maine DOE’s Standard Operating Procedure which follows the guidelines set forth by the CDC. We will await further guidance from the Maine CDC and continue to share any changes they may implement with parents and staff; at this time, the indoor universal masking remains in place. However, we are anticipating a change in the upcoming weeks.
Families in eligible locations within the state now have access to COVID-19 tests through the Project ACT Website, families can also access free test kits through COVIDtests.gov. We encourage all families to take advantage of this program and test students prior to returning from February break. This measure will serve to decrease the impact of additional cases on our students and staff as well as hopefully continue the downward trend in the total number of positive cases in Southern Maine.
In closing, I wanted to let our school community know about Maine DOE and Educate Maine’s Guest School Staff Member Campaign launched this past week. The campaign challenges businesses, leaders, and citizens to become guest staff members in Maine schools to help fill various roles such as filling in for or supporting bus drivers, playground monitors, food service workers, teachers, and support staff. They have established a website to streamline the application process, and the DOE will automatically reimburse applicants for the $15 application and $55 fingerprinting fees. Many employers grant volunteer days to their employees, which could make a real difference to help keep our students in school and engaged in learning. Please consider participating and sharing the information linked here with someone you know who would like to help.
During school vacation, please continue to report any positive results via the Nursing News link below. May you all enjoy a restful break with your child(ren).
Superintendent of Schools
Remembering Former Superintendent Sarah Jane Poli ‘59
We were saddened to learn of the passing of Former Superintendent Sarah Jane Poli ‘59. An alumna of Biddeford High School, she was well known and respected by many in our community. Her commitment to the city and its schools is second-to-none; she spent a whopping 61 years in Biddeford Schools, with 13 as a student and 48 as an educator. Sarah Jane served in many roles with dedication, care, and compassion: she was a beloved teacher, curriculum director, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. She left a significant impact on this community and was well respected for her many contributions to teaching and learning.
During her teaching years, she was an advisor and coach for Junior High Math Club and Cheering. She was extremely proud of the maintenance and improvements made to the schools under her tenure as Superintendent, including the construction of a new middle school and the renovation of the high school.
Sarah Jane was also an active member of several professional organizations including the Maine Teachers’ Association, Biddeford Federation of Teachers, Maine Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development where she served as Treasurer, Maine Superintendents’ Association, and the Maine School Management Agency. Outside of academia, she served as a former Corporator of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution and Board Member of Southern Maine Medical Center (now SMHC), and most recently she was an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Iota Chapter, and Altrusa Club International of Greater Biddeford-Saco.
In 2018, the Biddeford Education Foundation recognized Sarah Jane as a Pillar of Pride award recipient honoring her incredible service to our community. This plaque proudly hangs outside the library at Biddeford Middle School.
“If you ask anyone around the district about Sarah Jane, they will tell you she was fair, equitable and you always knew where you stood with her,” said Superintendent Jeremy Ray. “I was fortunate to know her and work from the strong policy and budget foundation she built.”
Masked Reader Contest at JFK
John F. Kennedy School (JFK) teachers participated in the #ReadtoME Challenge with a Masked Reader Contest in which teachers dress up and students try to guess the identity of the reader. After students watch and listen to the story read by the secret Masked Reader, they get a square of pictures and have to choose which teacher they think was behind the mask. At the end of each week, a winner is selected at random to receive a special prize.
“The Masked Reader Contest has been a lot of fun for both staff and students,” said Principal Rico Mariello. “The students look forward to the story and guessing who is behind the mask while the teachers have fun creating their costume to ignite that excitement of reading.”
Presidents' Day - February 17
After the death of George Washington in 1799, his birthday was unofficially celebrated as a day of remembrance called Washington Day. Throughout the 1800s, people used this day to honor the man that shaped America and the legacy he left. In 1832, a resolution permitted the removal and internment of George Washington's body in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
Healthy Updates from "LET'S GO 5210"
Become A Guest School Staff Member
The Journey to Becoming A Guest School Staff Member
Setup a Fingerprinting Appointment with IdentoGO IdentoGO has locations throughout the state that provide fingerprinting services for the Maine Department of Education. They offer flexible times and days, with many locations even open on Saturdays. NOTE: There is a $55 Charge that will be reimbursed within 4-6 weeks from completion of fingerprinting process.