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Maine Regional School Unit 21
January 26th, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Expanded Collaboration between Teachers Association and RSU 21 School Board 

The RSU 21 School Board and the Kennebunk, Arundel, and Kennebunkport Educators Association (KAKEA) recently agreed to meet to negotiate extending a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and discuss a range of issues and concerns experienced by the faculty and staff while addressing COVID health and safety protections.

To address the stresses and better understand the ongoing and new challenges COVID is presenting this school year, Superintendent Dr. Terri Cooper and RSU 21 Board Chair Art Leblanc invited the entire leadership team of KAKEA to bring their respective full boards together for special negotiation team meetings on January 5th and a follow up meeting on January 19th.

KAKEA President Jenessa Cadorette agreed, “We appreciate the Superintendent and the Board creating a forum where we could be heard.”

“We wanted an opportunity to hear from teachers, nurses, instructional personnel and specialists directly about their experience and their recommendations to address ongoing and new challenges during this protracted global pandemic,” explained LeBlanc. We understood from both direct communications and from public comment and discussion that there were issues that the School Board needed to hear more about in a direct and open environment.”   

“Members of both groups met to discuss the themes of communication, decision making, and morale,” said Cadorette.

The building representatives had surveyed their fellow teachers and nurses and brought forth specific feedback from each school. 

“It was really validating,” said Emily Philips, a STEM teacher and building representative at Sea Road School.  “Thank you for your time and efforts and for making us feel heard,” Philips added.

“I am really grateful our teachers and nurses spoke so openly and candidly about the ongoing and new challenges that have emerged this school year,” said Loreta McDonnell, Vice-Chair of the RSU 21 Board.  “It’s clear how much each and every teacher and nurse cares about their students,” McDonnell added.

“Though it was an emotional conversation,” said Bethany MacLeod, a Grade 2 teacher and building representative from Kennebunk Elementary School, “it was positive, and I believe everyone felt heard.”

“This first listening session is a step in the right direction for actionable resolutions that will ultimately lead to a more positive culture and climate throughout the district,” said Cadorette.

“It felt like such an honest and real discussion”, said Ashley Baker-Koch, a kindergarten teacher at Kennebunk Elementary School.  “I hope to have many more in the future as we work together to solve the problems”, she said.

In the follow-up meeting on January 19th, the two groups continued the conversation surrounding communications, decision-making, climate, curriculum, and staff support. Cadorette states that “Many positive changes have been a result of the collaboration between both parties, and the work continues. Both groups are committed to the process and feel that the two meetings, thus far, have created an open space for transparency and understanding.”

LeBlanc and Dr. Cooper agreed that the two groups aligned are bringing actionable steps forward. “Teamwork is essential to achievement.  We are all bringing collaboration skills to these meetings to support the success of RSU 21.”, stated Cooper. A workshop meeting is being planned in March, while the “Board’s negotiation team is ready to meet on January 27th with KAKEA to create a Memorandum of Agreement to address COVID related concerns that are not covered in the current collective bargaining agreement,” said Dawn Therrien, the Board’s chief negotiator.











































 

Concept Rendering of Athletic Complex

The RSU21 Athletic Complex Campaign Committee is very pleased to announce the following matching gift opportunity:

 

"Fellow members of the Kennebunk community, we are pleased to support the fundraising efforts for the new athletic facilities at Kennebunk High School. When we learned of the opportunity to support Kennebunk Athletics in such a meaningful way we knew this was something our family could easily get behind. We are pleased to offer a $10,000 matching contribution; we will match dollar for dollar the first $10,000 in gifts received.  This is an opportunity for you to double the impact of your donation. Please join us in supporting Kennebunk Athletics.

 

Tim, Beth (Tonneson) KHS 1997, and Mary KHS 2030 Fossett

 

Please use this link (Friends of RSU 21) to make your contribution. Thank you!

 

Stadium Rendering

Memorial Field and the track surrounding it have been the site of many special moments for the student athletes, fans, and greater community. Board Chair, Art LeBlanc states, “This generous matching gift to kick start the year is appreciated by the entire community as we work toward the goal of breaking ground in June for the Athletic Complex renovation. Thank you to the Fossett family for your contribution and in welcoming the community to support this project with you!”

 

Contributions will support these Athletic Complex highlights:

 

  • Six-lane oval, eight lane sprint all-weather sandwich construction track enabling RSU 21 to host home, regional, and state championship meets.

  • New multi-purpose, artificial turf field for soccer, football, field hockey, and lacrosse allowing increased student and community use.

  • The artificial turf specified includes a thatch zone layer and 100% EPDM virgin material with no recycled content allowing our students to compete safely while reducing maintenance costs by 89% according to FieldTurf Tarkett.

  • ADA compliant fixed seating for 550 plus portable bleacher capacity for 800.

  • LED field lights reduce light spillage, cut energy costs, and provide an even illumination of the playing field with reduced maintenance. Light levels are guaranteed for 25 years.

 



The complete plans are available for viewing at www.rsu21.net. Included are an artificial turf field that can be used by all field events including field hockey, a new track with six lanes on the oval and 8 sprint lanes, home bleachers with Press Box, and portable bleacher seating for expanded home and visitor seating.

We Are RSU 21

January 10, 2022

Dear Staff, Students, and Families,

After consultation with the Dr. Don Burgess (RSU 21 Consulting Physician) and school administrators, we made the difficult determination that keeping Kennebunk High School and the Middle School of the Kennebunks open in the face of the current post-holiday community COVID-19 surge is unmanageable. Due to a number of factors, including the challenge of staffing our buildings, and a trajectory of increasing adolescent student and staff COVID-19 cases, I am declaring that Kennebunk High School and the Middle School of the Kennebunks engage in remote learning effective Tuesday, January 11 through Monday, January 17, 2022.  All PreK to Grade 5 elementary schools will remain open at this time. We have heard from our parents regarding the importance of keeping our youngest learners in school whenever it is possible. Closing KHS and MSK now, may prevent a longer period of remote instruction later in these buildings. All in-person co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are paused for the high school and middle school effective Tuesday, January 11, 2022. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 is a non-instructional day for students. This will be a preparation day for staff and an opportunity for parents to pick up materials from our schools. All IEPs will take place as scheduled on this planning day. Students will begin remote learning on the morning of Wednesday, January 12. Schools are closed for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on January 17, 2022. We anticipate in-person learning and in-person co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to resume on Tuesday, January 18. RSU 21 will continue to monitor the situation and if there are any changes, we will update you.

We know in-person instruction is best for students. However, at this time, the best way to ensure continuous learning given the increasing number of student and staff absences, is to provide remote learning opportunities for our students. Building principals will provide specific information to families regarding the schedules for remote instruction in a follow-up letter.  Below you will find links to the general building plans for remote learning and our school lunch program during this period. 

Staff who have COVID related illness during this time will post asynchronous learning activities for students.

We look forward to returning to in-person instruction and resuming co-curricular/extra-curricular activities as quickly as possible and responsible. Thank you for your understanding and support. Together our preventative steps can protect the health of our students, school personnel, and the RSU 21 community. Stay well.

 

Sincerely,

Terri I. Cooper, Ed. D.

RSU 21 Superintendent

 

For general COVID-19 questions, dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695). You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 or email info@211maine.org. Call a health care provider for questions about your symptoms. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

 

 

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