Submitted by Marie Robinson, PK-12 Principal of Katahdin Schools
I am excited to share the positive initiatives that are a part of Katahdin Schools and making a positive difference for students and their learning. This is my third year as a principal in Maine. Prior to moving to Maine I was a classroom teacher, instructional coach and principal in Philadelphia and its suburbs.
The accomplishments that we have achieved at Katahdin Schools come directly from the hard working, dedicated staff and amazing students that attend our schools. Never before have I had the opportunity to work with such caring individuals who always do what it takes to support one another.
We have been recipients of the 21st Century Grant, which now includes grades 2-12. Coordinators, Eryn Schmidt and Gail Pocock and their staff have worked tirelessly to build the program and offer a variety of experiences to students from photography to outdoor activities as well as academic support to many students.
Our elementary program has a strong commitment to supporting the whole child. Just this year we have made changes to the schedule to incorporate an increase in recess. Students start the day with twenty minutes of recess in addition to the thirty minutes of recess they enjoy at lunchtime. This has proven to be an effective intervention to decrease the number of students who are tardy. This increase of recess time has also provided opportunities for students to apply problem-solving skills and has led to a decrease in discipline referrals.
Our pre-k and kindergarten programs have begun exploring the powerful impact of outdoor learning. Our youngest learners are spending meaningful time learning their standards outside of the classroom with extremely positive results. In addition to our youngest learners getting outside, other grade levels are incorporating the outdoors into their learning, which is enhancing their learning.
Katahdin Schools partners with the Good Shepherd and hosts a food pantry for the community once a month. We have been fortunate to be able to support close to 200 community members through this program.
Our middle and high school also enjoy time outside with our newly developed outdoor education programs. Students learn lifetime fitness, as well as, Leave No Trace Ethics and survival skills.
Teachers at all levels have begun to implement place-based learning opportunities with students. These opportunities have allowed students to master the standards while experiencing authentic problem solving and interaction with the community.