DISTRICT UPDATE

April 8, 2022

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Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff,

With only a few days remaining before April vacation, which is scheduled for April 14-24, staff and students are busy finishing academic projects and assignments, performing in school plays, and competing in marching band showcases. I hope parents can take a little time off during the school vacation to enjoy some family time with their children, and I wish our staff a restful and regenerating week. I encourage everyone to participate in outside activities and enjoy the improving weather.


As you know, our three districts are collaborating on multiple fronts, including improving services to students. I’m excited to share one “shining star” example; our partnership with Youth Full Maine continues to grow and now encompasses all three districts. Youth Full Maine manages school food pantries and distributes fresh produce for students to bring home for themselves and family members. Studies show that one (1) in five (5) children in Maine suffer from food insecurity. Direct correlations between food insecurity and a students’ ability to succeed academically have been documented. Youth Full Maine recognizes these insecurities, and we are fortunate to have such a strong partner to assist us in ensuring students' nutritional needs are being met.


Youth Full Maine has been critical in helping us fill our school food pantries, supporting our Backpack program in Biddeford and Dayton, and Break Bag program in Saco, which provide meals to students on evenings and weekends and provide healthy snacks for them throughout the day. Because of their support, all three districts are able to maximize the use of available grant funds and provide these supplemental resources to our students and their families. In addition to assisting our schools, Youth Full Maine offers regularly scheduled food distribution days for families on the third Wednesday of the month in Biddeford and weekly on Thursdays in Dayton. Please see the Youth Full Maine website for more details.


The spring athletic season is off to a great start. High school practices began the week of March 28, middle school on April 4. Matches and games are set to begin next week . Full details about game schedules can be found on our BHS and BMS Athletics webpages.


Following vacation, we will enter our final weeks of the school year. This year we are looking forward to the many traditional end-of-year activities. Educational field trips are being planned, not to mention graduations, proms, promotions, and step-up days. Exciting things are happening within our buildings. Students have begun to transition back to eating in the cafeteria, participating in school-wide assemblies, and performances. Our bands and chorus will all have spring concerts this year, and we invite you to attend. Please read through the newsletter for more information.


I wish you all a safe and happy vacation week and look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming events.


Sincerely,

Jeremy Ray

Superintendent of School

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Pre-K and Kindergarten - Register Early for Fall Screening!

If you have a child turning the age of four (4) for Pre-K or five (5) for Kindergarten before October 15, 2022, please pre-register them as soon as possible via the below link. A projection of our enrollment for next year will allow us to plan more effectively and be better prepared for your children when they come to school in September. Tours will be made available in the coming months and additional paperwork may be required. Please note returning student registration will be open in early August.


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BLAST - Helping Students After School

The BLAST Program through LearningWorks has partnered with the Biddeford School Department for the past 10 years to serve as a safety net to help PreK and Elementary students who may be just below grade level in math or reading. BLAST, which stands for Biddeford Learns After School Together, is an extended day learning program that provides hands-on learning opportunities based on the Boston Museum of Science STEM curriculum. This free program focuses on the whole child with an emphasis on Academic Improvement, Health and Wellness, Parental Engagement, and Multicultural Education.


LearningWorks Afterschool By the Numbers

  • Number of Students Served Annually: 115 students

  • Number of Program Hours Provided Each Year: 434


This program is 100% free for all participating students and their families. 75% of the funding for this program is provided by the Maine Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. LearningWorks fundraises an additional 14% of the funding for this program from private foundations and local businesses. The Biddeford Public Schools contributes 11% of the program revenue to make this resource possible for local children.

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Open to All Families

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Best of Broadway Musical

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First Place Win at Odyssey of the Mind

Students from Biddeford Intermediate School (BIS) and Biddeford High School (BHS) won first place at the Odyssey of the Mind State Finals held at Noble High School on March 26. The win qualified both teams to go to the World Finals from May 25-28 at the University of Iowa. Odyssey of the is Mind is a creative problem-solving competition in which teams of students select a problem and work to come up with a solution. The teams from BIS and BHS both focused on “Odyssey ReOMvention” - thinking of a threat to the environment and coming up with a plan to remove it.


Also competing were a team from Biddeford Middle School and a second team from Biddeford Intermediate School with both teams securing third place in their respective divisions. We wish our BHS team the best of luck as they prepare to head to the World Finals. For more information about the program, check out their Facebook page at Biddeford Odyssey of the Mind.

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BIS Student Places in Red Ribbon T-Shirt Contest

Congratulations to Biddeford Intermediate School third-grader Kalleigh Jones on winning second place in the K-5 division of the T-Shirt Design Contest held by the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club’s Red Ribbon Committee. As the second-place winner, she won a cash prize of $100. In 2016, Biddeford Saco Rotary Club’s Red Ribbon Committee was formed to focus efforts on preventing young people from slipping into the devastating grip of substance misuse and addiction.


Their goal is to mobilize communities, educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities as every $1 spent on effective, school-based prevention programs can save $18 in costs related to problems later in life. During the week of April 25th, school-based, age-appropriate education surrounding substance misuse and the importance of healthy habits will take place coinciding with thousands of t-shirts given to every K-12 student in Biddeford, Dayton, Old Orchard Beach, and Saco.

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Free at Home COVID-19 Test Kits

Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has provided the school department with a limited supply of at-home COVID-19 test kits. Test kits will be available to families upon request while supplies last. If you are interested in receiving a kit, please contact your school nurse directly.