School Committee Approves School Name Change

By Kaileigh Deacon


The Calais School Committee met on Wednesday, September 6th at the Calais Middle/High School library. Among the topics discussed was a new name for the former Day Treatment School and the hiring of new staff.

The committee heard a presentation by administrator Sue Carter about the Calais Day Treatment school. Earlier this year, the school moved from the portable classrooms outside the AMHC building on Palmer Street to the former DHHS building on South Street. This  change gives the school a more permanent place to call home and a building to give the students everything they need in a school. With the change in location to the more official building, Carter and the school wanted to have a more official name to go with it. The recommendation was to change it from Calais Day Treatment School to the Calais Alternative School. 

“It is not a place where we dump kids… it is a school,” said Superintendent Ron Jenkins. “The kids are actively involved in learning, and most of them eventually integrate into regular programs. They don’t all, but most of them do.” 

With a unanimous vote, the committee approved the name change and Superintendent Jenkins encouraged all members to visit the school and take a walk through. 

The school committee also rounded out some last-minute hiring needs for the new school year at Wednesday’s meeting. They hired four Ed Techs: Susanne Morrison, Kristi Marchese, Lori Carr, and Stephen Betts and a Food Service Worker Jean Lee. One of the Ed Tech hirings was in response to the resignation of Virginia Sterner as an Ed Tech at the Calais Elementary School. 

The Committee also held the second reading of the cell phone policy for the Middle-High School. The new policy would restrict students cell phone to before the first bell rings, during their lunch period and then after last bell of the day. The prior policy left cell phone use to the discretion of the teachers in the classroom as some teachers would allow their use for various technological applications. 

After some discussion the cell phone policy was adopted by the school committee with a vote of three to one with James MacDonald opposed to the policy. 

The new Policy Committee will meet on September 19 at 2:30 at the Superintendent’s Office. The committee will review current school policies and after review, will bring them back before the committee with a recommendation on any changes. The Policy Committee will meet roughly once a month and will consist of school staff, school administration, community members, and hopefully one school member will join as well. 

Superintendent Ron Jenkins also talked to the committee about an avenue he is pursing with Mr. Jon Bragdon of the St. Croix Regional Technical Center. Superintendent Jenkins and Mr. Bragdon are looking into interest in a website design class and the possibility of adding it as an extracurricular club and maybe partnering with the Desktop Publishing Class. 

The next school committee meeting is scheduled for September 19 at 6 p.m. in the Calais Middle/High School Library.