The Miller School on Jan. 21 hosted the regular meeting of the Maine School Administrative District 40 School Board. Miller School Principal Julia Levensaler discussed the school’s focus on literacy. At the start of each day Levensaler talks about an author’s birthday or other event and links it to a book in the school library.

The literacy moment on Jan. 21, for example, was Squirrel Appreciation Day. There is a book in the library about flying squirrels, she said.

“It turned out to be a very good hook for literacy,” Levensaler said.

Levensaler discussed National Hobby Month when she made the morning announcements on the public address system on Jan. 22. The vocabulary words for the day were “philatelist,” one who collects or studies stamps, and “numismatist,” a coin collector or someone who studies currency. Levensaler said students might be interested in the book “Out and About at the United States Mint.”

Levensaler reported on the accomplishments of Jan Hall’s class. The students read 22,957 pages during the quarter, and the average book was 218 pages. Each student in the class read 1,434 pages and six to seven books, Levensaler told the school board.

Levensaler also said grants have provided tips for teachers on how to present consistent literacy programs. She said a grant from the Maine Content Literacy Project has allowed Becky Hyler to work as a literacy coach.

Miller School teacher Edith Berger attended the meeting and gave board members pencils that said “Get in the mood for a great book.”

School board member Francis Cross said teachers and administrators need to share successful strategies across all the schools. Superintendent Francis Boynton said teachers are already collaborating at curriculum committee meetings. Boynton said sharing strategies and linking skills from class to class — such as reading different books as students progress through the grades — will be part of the curriculum.

Budget process

The school board’s only vote of the night was to add a warrant article to the education ballot about the budget validation process. State law says that every three years school boards must ask voters whether to continue the process of having a town-meeting style school budget meeting to vote on the articles and then a secret ballot referendum on the total budget number that was approved at the earlier meeting. The school board could have proposed a budget validation process that only included a school budget meeting and left out the secret ballot vote at the polls on final approval of the budget. Several board members said Jan. 14 that leaving out the vote at the polls would rob many residents of a voice in the process and would be undemocratic.

Many Flags

Alan Hinsey of the Many Flags, One Campus project discussed plans for a combined high school, vocational school and higher education facility in the Midcoast. The vocational education part of the project most effects SAD 40. School board member Gail Hawes said she wants to see equity for students and equity for the districts that are paying for the Mid-Coast School of Technology. Board member Dana Dow and others said post-secondary education should be the focus of the project.

Mid-Coast School of Technology enrollment

High school Principal Harold Wilson provided details on Medomak Valley students enrolled at MCST. He said 98 Medomak Valley students go for morning or afternoon programs at MCST. The most popular programs are Applied Tech, with 17 students, Hospitality, with 16 students, Marine Tech, with 12 students, and Small Engine, with 10 students.

Open Mic Night

The Miller School will present an Open Mic Night on Friday, Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The Rusty Hinges will offer their support as students sing, dance and perform.