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At the board meeting, I will be introducing to you our new PSO coordinator, Kevin Bohlin, from Concord, New Hampshire. We are thrilled to have his expertise and energy. Liz Seal, Teacher of Deaf for Public School Outreach has recently resigned her position with December 17th as her last day. We wish her well.

Executive Director’s Report
December 6, 2018

At the board meeting, I will be introducing to you our new PSO coordinator, Kevin Bohlin, from Concord, New Hampshire. We are thrilled to have his expertise and energy. Liz Seal, Teacher of Deaf for Public School Outreach has recently resigned her position with December 17th as her last day. We wish her well.

A strategic plan was presented to all staff during our November 28th meeting. We are seeking input from various constituents before presenting a draft to the board by no later than the March, 2019 board meeting. This is proving to be an engaging and valuable exercise for MECDHH to chart its own future over the next three years.

I am continuing meaningful conversation with DAFS at the state level to explore the possibility of taking on renovation projects on campus for future leasing opportunity.

On November 28th, I took four dorm students and a staff member from the Morrison Center to see their first hockey game featuring Portland’s new semi-pro team, the Mariners. We enjoyed a pre-game meal at Falmouth House of Pizza.

In the packet you will find four (4) policies for a first reading. Please take the time to review and edit each ahead of the upcoming meeting. In addition, you will approve ten (10) policies for a second and final reading. You received these in the November packet and those policies are included in this packet as well.

Recently, I convened a meeting with various stakeholders to discuss the creation of a Museum Advisory Board to the Executive Director. We are close to creating actual membership comprised of seven (7) individuals with the following officers: chair, secretary and treasurer. Bill Nye has declined joining the committee but will continue in the capacity of museum curator. Next meeting is scheduled for December 3rd. The goal is to begin moving artifacts after the new year with an official opening in mid-February.

I will be soon exploring with the State how new committee members will be nominated under Governor Mill’s administration. It is possible to have virtual membership as long as a quorum is present on Mackworth Island. This is an exciting development as it would allow us to recruit some vacancies that in the past have not been possible to fill such as a parent of a dorm student. It also would allow us to recruit more broadly all over the State.

I look forward to seeing everyone soon. Safe travels.

Statewide Education and Family Services

The Early Childhood and Family Services team and Public School Outreach team had a full day retreat in Augusta and learned about educational services for Deaf and hard of hearing children ages 3-21. We shared information on the IEP process, supporting families, and report formats.  It was a day of learning, sharing, and team building.

The Early Childhood and Family Services team has been working on a new Communication Plan for children ages 3-5 that can be used in the IEP process with families. Karen met with the Part B director from CDS to gather feedback from the Department of Education and revisions are in process.

Karen and PSO consultants from various regions have been meeting with Special Education Directors in regional groups around the state. These meetings are going very well and we have gathered helpful information about our services and have been able to share our new initiatives. Feedback has been extremely positive. Meetings have occurred in Aroostook County, Dexter Region, Augusta, Millinocket area, and Brewer.  Future meetings are being scheduled in Hancock County and Southern Maine.

The Hands & Voices conference was a success. Even though it was a snowy day we continued with the conference as we were unable to cancel and had a nice representation from families and professionals. The theme of the conference was "Strategies". We had wonderful presentations from MECDHH staff, including OJ Logue, who offered to present at the last minute when our keynote presenter was unavailable due to weather.

The HRSA Grant team has been doing a lot of nice work with the medical community to increase their awareness of newborn hearing screening and the follow up steps after screening takes place. We have been meeting with professionals to gather input and look at areas of improvement in our system. A new website for Hands & Voices will be going live soon – it’s really looking great! We are also creating a new app for physicians to know the next steps to follow after they meet a new deaf or hard of hearing child as a patient. It’s exciting to see the changes happening!

The Preschool children are enjoying the new fallen snow! We all enjoy seeing them out on the island running in the snow, making snow people and sledding down the hill! They truly enjoy each season on the island!

Mainstream and Deaf Education

The K-12 program continues to grow. We recently welcomed a new first grader from Angola. The family is delighted to be here and is very happy with our program at East End Community School. We are working diligently to provide the appropriate supports for each of our students, whether in our own classes or in mainstream classes.

Our kindergarten students got to participate in a fun pumpkin carving activity with one of our speech language pathologists during the week of Halloween. The activity was focused on providing a hands-on experience that was used to expand the students’ expressive language. Students were able to describe the steps that needed to be completed and also described the textures of the inside and outside of the pumpkin as they worked. Following the activity some of the students worked on sequencing by retelling the process that was used to carve the pumpkin. Social skills and team work were also targeted as the students worked cooperatively in a group taking turns to carve one pumpkin.

We are very proud to announce that one of our high school students received the Student of the Quarter award from PATHS. The following blurb is from the PATHS newsletter.

Another of our high school students is learning to cook in his life skills program. He graciously made goodies for our recent All Staff Meeting.

Fall semester is flying by. All students are busy learning and applying what they have learned. Our teachers and Educational Technicians are very busy creating programs that meet student needs.

When you see her, please congratulate Peggy Levy on earning her Special Education endorsement. Peggy is an Ed Tech at East End Community School. She is already a wonderful teacher and support for our students! It’s wonderful to have staff who want to further their education and become the best that they can be.