HALLOWELL — At Thursday night’s school board meeting for Regional School Unit 2, school officials discussed how to spend their remaining coronavirus relief funds and how they anticipate spending the next round of federal funds.

Business Manager Vicki Raymond broke down how the district spent the first two rounds of funding, explaining to the board that there is $330,641 remaining from the money that they received this past fall. The original deadline for most of the spending was Dec. 30, 2020, but it was extended one year so the remaining money can be spent.

Raymond is hoping that a large chunk of the remaining monies can go to tutoring programs to help maintain the learning progress of students throughout the district. Tutoring in RSU 2 has already been implemented, but they have seen an increase in the number of students that want to take advantage of the program.

“We had little time to get that together (before) and get the tools that we needed for kids,” Raymond said. “We have around $118,000 dedicated to tutors.”

Mary Paine, the assistant superintendent of RSU 2 talked alongside the two family education liaisons that are in the process of organizing the tutors. RSU 2 currently has six tutors throughout the district. The RSU plans to either hire more tutors or extend the hours of the current team.

School board member Leanne Burnham asked Paine if the students who are seeking help are behind in their lessons because of remote learning, or need help with current studies and homework.

“A majority of the work is current work,” Paine said. “If a student goes to school in person on Monday and Tuesday and remote on Thursday and Friday, they’ll open their SeeSaw and see that they have 22 assignments that they haven’t completed. The tutor can help to organize and set small goals.”

Tutoring takes place mostly in person, but has the ability to become virtual if needed.

“I feel like kids need more human interaction,” Paine said. “If the parents can get their kids to school, then that’s preferable.”

Monmouth Memorial School Principal Mel Barter-Burnham opened up the meeting with an update on the pre-Kindergarten to eighth-grade students at her school.

“One thing that I read, that in the spring and fall with less time in the classroom, it has caused instruction to be tailored to what they know, enabling them to move forward,” Barter-Burnham said. “We looked at the data and it was encouraging.”

Monmouth Memorial is also offering remote tutors for students that need them and is starting to offer them as an after school program on Wednesdays for students that may need guidance.

There weren’t any coronavirus updates at Thursday’s school board meeting, but on Tuesday, Superintendent Tonya Arnold told the community that a handful of staff members across the district, and some students in Monmouth had to quarantine.

She did not specify if the students were at Monmouth Memorial or Monmouth Academy. She said either way, it did not disrupt the learning schedule because none of the individuals attended school in person this week.


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