Farmington School Board Approves Mission and Vision Statements

The Regional Academic Unit 9 Board of Trustees unanimously approved the district’s new mission and vision statements at Tuesday’s meeting. The statements, illustrated, are part of the process of establishing and implementing the ten-year strategic plan of RSU 9. Screenshot

FARMINGTON — The Regional School Unit 9 Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to approve and adopt the district’s new mission and vision statements.

The statements will shape the rest of the process to create action items, plans and strategies. It will all culminate in a 10-year strategic plan for the future of RSU 9.

RSU 9 serves 10 cities in Franklin County: Starks, Weld, Wilton, Farmington, Temple, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Industry, Chesterville and Vienna.

The draft, delivered at the meeting, states RSU 9’s mission as “working together to provide high quality educational opportunities for all”.

A vision statement follows which incorporates three themes: “community”, “culture” and “curriculum”.

Each theme has subcategories that Director and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee Lisa Laflin described at the meeting as “capturing what is most important and critical to the success of our district.”

Laflin said the vision and mission statements were based on data collected from a strategic planning survey conducted at the end of 2021. This survey was offered to all community members in RSU cities. 9.

Superintendent Chris Elkington added that the statement, the data is based on conversations with approximately 7o groups in the 10 cities, including organizations, committees, city officials, students, RSU 9 staff and churches.

Under the community, the district envisions:

• “Students are confident, resilient, critical thinkers…appreciated for their differences and…supported in their academic journey.

• Students learn “life skills for success”.

• Staff are “dedicated and passionate”, “supported by the community and each other” and “highly trained and well equipped” to educate.

• RSU 9, as a district, “prioritizes communication, relationship building (and) community engagement”, encourages “learning inside and outside the the classroom” and “promotes strong partnerships with families”.

In terms of culture, the district promotes:

• A “learning environment” where “all students, staff and families feel safe, welcome and included…”

• Listening to “students, staff and families”, offering them “resources to help them grow” and supporting “multiple paths of learning”.

• “Invest in modern, comfortable and flexible facilities” that “maximize student learning (and) innovation”.

• Create schedules for staff and students that “support learning, better access to community learning spaces and equitable access to technology”.

For the school program, the district:

• Provides “instruction” that engages students “in meaningful, hands-on, and engaging learning experiences”.

• Has staff trained to “encourage each student to be actively involved in their education and…be valued members of their community”.

• Educates with “content” that “provides a varied and comprehensive curriculum…to develop skills to communicate effectively, collaborate successfully, think creatively and apply acquired knowledge to new situations”.

Laflin told the board that the committee worked to capture “the importance of life skills…hands-on learning…students being challenged…inclusiveness…and communication” with “facilities modern and state-of-the-art.

She noted that the committee felt it was very important to focus on “partnerships with families”.

“We don’t fulfill our vision and mission alone,” Laflin said.

Now that the board has approved the statements, the committee will move on to the next steps in the strategic planning process. Laflin said the committee will now focus on developing a plan, action items and strategies to foster these declarations.

Elkington said its development will require more input from the community, staff members and administrators.

In other cases, a motion was unanimously approved to send a letter requesting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education, Pender Makin to officially begin the process of redistributing the RSU 9 board.

Allocation involves allocating to each municipality in a school district a certain number of seats or votes on a board of directors to ensure a “principle one person, one voteexplained Director J. Wayne Kinney at the February 15 board meeting.

To redistribute, Makin will have to ask the district to formulate a commission consisting of a municipal official, a community member and a director of RSU 9 from each of the 10 cities.

This commission that will eventually give Makin a recommendation on how to distribute the board. Unless Makin’s decision is appealed, the redistribution process is now out of the hands of the board.

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