Update from the Superintendent - May 11, 2023

As we continue through one of the busiest periods of the school year, many of the annual staples of our schools are in full swing: spring sports, field trips, music concerts, AP and IB exams, and guest speakers. On Wednesday, 8th graders had an opportunity to ask questions of Gov. Janet Mills when she visited with students at the GCA. Being able to interact with, and pose questions to, state and local leaders is a skill that is critical to our tradition of democracy and civic engagement. 

When I was a high school student, I recall spending a weekend at the Maine State House as part of the 'Youth in Government' program, where students from across the state participated in a mock legislature using the Capitol facilities. During this memorable experience, we had the opportunity to meet then-Gov. John McKernan, then-Speaker John Martin, and other state leaders before starting our weekend as 'state legislators'. We then proceeded to navigate the process of submitting, defending, and enacting student-generated statutes, learning about the workings of legislative committees, debate protocols, and parliamentary procedures. The more we can introduce our students to civic experiences, the more we can ensure that they will carry forward the ideals of self-government.                                                                                                           

Broad Communication (i.e. Communication with the School Community at Large)
NOTE: This is Part 3 of a five-part series around MSAD #51 communication in order to be as transparent as possible about why, when, and how our district communicates (or does not) around topics of importance to students, parents, and staff. It is my hope that by the end of this series, even if you may not agree with everything I have written, at least you feel there is a measure of clarity about MSAD #51 communications.

Broad communication by schools and school districts can be complex when it involves incidents involving individual or small groups of students and staff. We need to maintain confidentiality and respect and maintain processes and procedures that keep staff and students safe. We also must develop practices that preserve trust in our community so that social media and other “rumor mill” sources do not become the primary sources to which people turn for information.  In addition, the school community must have confidence that existing safety procedures and disciplinary policies are being followed consistently, whether or not they are made public.

WHEN May Broad Communication be Necessary?

  • Generalized safety risk.

  • Any speech which threatens, or implies a threat to, the safety of any individual or specific group(s).

  • Any bigoted speech that disparages a specific group of people.

  • Events that are (or that we anticipate could become) widespread or extended on social media, via rumors, and/or continuing questions or concerns.


Part 2: Communication Spheres of Influence
Part 1:  WHY Are We Talking About Communication?

UP NEXT: Part 4 "Key Considerations for Broad Communication"

Jeff Porter