Jean Skorapa is the superintendent of RSU 5, which includes the towns of Freeport, Durham and Pownal.

It has often been said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Although it is not entirely certain where the proverb originated, it speaks to the power of community collaboration. It was this shared effort by members of the RSU 5 staff, “the village,” that prepared our six schools to welcome over 2,100 students to a new school year Aug. 28.

Preparation for this school year began after the last bus rolled away in June, signaling the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Throughout the summer many staff members participated in professional development opportunities, completed continuing education credits or took courses toward a graduate degree, all to refine instructional practices and develop new skills to meet the needs of all learners.

Many dedicated RSU 5 staff members ensured that structures were in place for students to participate in much-needed summer school opportunities. This work encompassed planning, transportation, supervision and instruction. Over 200 students benefited from this effort and as a result are better positioned to start the school year.

Members of our custodial staff worked tirelessly to clean our facilities and make needed repairs to ensure our schools are a safe place for staff to work and students to learn, play and develop. Our grounds crew meticulously maintained our athletic fields, landscaping and playgrounds. Our technology staff repaired and prepped devices for staff and students. Members of the transportation department evaluated bus routes and made necessary changes so students could be transported safely to school, despite a continued driver shortage. School nutrition staff planned nutritious meals, prepared the kitchen facilities and secured food for opening day. In addition, office staff enrolled new students, prepared handbooks and schedules for students, and kept the offices functioning. So many hands in our school community, or village, worked together to prepare for a great start to the new year.

RSU 5’s mission is “to inspire and support every learner by challenging minds, building character, sparking creativity and nurturing passions.” To achieve our mission we must ensure we implement quality educational programs and provide services that support the needs of all children. But we can’t do it alone. We value the role of parents and members of the RSU 5 communities of Durham, Freeport and Pownal – the larger village – in the education of our students. Your support and involvement is key to the success and high achievement of all students, not only during this new school year but also in the future.

It takes a village.

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