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

As we change the calendar from December to January, we have an opportunity to reflect on the previous year. Although we have much to celebrate, during the first few months of the school year we were faced with challenges that had a profound impact on our children and families. A swastika, a symbol of hate meant to demean others, was found on a slide at a playground in September. In October, a senseless and intentional act of violence in Lewiston took the lives of 18 human beings. The year ended with a bang as unusually high winds caused power outages that left our neighbors in the dark for days and with tremendous property damage. However, through each of these adverse events, I was struck by how our community rallied to support one another and model all that is good for our children.

With the arrival of 2024, I have renewed hope and optimism as we focus our energy toward fulfillment of our district’s goals. As articulated in the board’s strategic plan, RSU 5 is committed to ensuring that all students experience a joyful learning climate that is safe, nurturing and fosters curiosity through student-centered learning. We are dedicated to developing school, parent and community partnerships that are based on strong communication and active involvement to support student success. Finally, we deeply understand the importance of ensuring that our district has a well developed and refined finance, human resources, facilities, transportation and food service systems to support the learning of all students.

However, we cannot do it alone. RSU 5 needs your participation and support in order to fulfill our district’s goals. You can support our schools in a variety of ways including volunteering in a classroom, sharing a talent with students or mentoring our youth. Finally, as the RSU 5 board begins budget deliberations this month, I encourage you to be involved in the process so you can be well informed about how the budget supports the fulfillment of our goals.

Thank you for your continuing support of the children of RSU 5. I wish you and yours a very happy and healthy New Year.

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