Rhonda Fortin, the Principal of Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor sent out a back to school newsletter to parents on Saturday, August 29th. Key points are below, including the schedule of learning bag and device pick up on Thursday, September 3rd in preparation of remote learning beginning on September 8th.

This summer our custodial staff has worked incredibly hard to prepare our school for our return. It is looking great! This summer the teachers and staff attended, and continue to attend, many hours of professional development to prepare for remote and in-person teaching and learning. School will officially begin on Monday, September 8th remotely. Teachers will send you the remote learning schedule for your child(ren) early next week.

Our Goals For A Successful School Year

Goal #1: The physical safety and health of the students and staff at Pemetic is paramount. The partnership between families and our school has never been more important. We are working to create a safe learning environment that includes minimizing exposure by teaching and learning in small groups and creating purposeful and mindful schedules. Additionally, frequent hand washing and sanitizing, appropriate physical distancing and wearing protective face coverings will be expected of staff and students. We have protocols developed, have staff training planned, and will be practicing and introducing these precautions to students in developmentally appropriate ways.

We are relying on our students’ families to follow similar precautions in order to keep our school community safe. We will be providing more guidance regarding our protocols, and how you can support and prepare your children for school in the coming weeks. Nurse Emily will share what types of symptom checks you should be conducting with your child before sending them to school.

Goal #2: Pemetic continues to be dedicated to providing excellent academic programming for all of our students. We will continue to provide challenge and enrichment for our students as well as special education services. Pemetic embraces and celebrates the whole child, and we will continue to do so as we work to meet them where they are, providing social and emotional support for our younger students through morning meetings and the Mind Up curriculum, and for our Middle School students through the continued implementation of advisory.

Working within the guidelines of the CDC and the framework from the Department of Education and based on recommendations from the safe return to school advisory group, along with the AOS 91 administrators, our goal is to prepare our physical building for the return of all students in person. Please be looking for the in-person schedule. We are using our space creatively, our teachers are flexible, knowledgeable and ready to provide programming that engages, supports and challenges all of our learners.

What We Know

We know that information changes, and we will be flexible. Pemetic is working diligently with the current CDC guidelines and following the Maine Department of Education. Information and best practices shift during this pandemic; it is important to note that we are working with the most accurate, timely and relevant data and recommendations- sometimes these change.

We know our physical space will look different. We have been cleaning our school. Teachers are removing extra furniture to ensure that we are using the maximum space available to accommodate all of our learners. Some teachers and ed techs are working in new areas and spaces in the school. Our physical space, the number of students enrolled as well as guidelines from professional organizations will impact how we offer programming this year. Our school will look different, but we are committed to finding creative ways to provide educational programming for our students. Our Back to School Team has been working on Outdoor Classroom ideas and have submitted a Friends of Acadia Grant to help with the cost of those wonderful spaces.

We know that remote learning is a challenge for some families, and for others it is preferred. We are proud to offer a separate Virtual-Only program, staffed by teachers from our district. If your child is enrolled in the Virtual-Only program, they will still remain registered at Pemetic, but will be a part of an island-wide learning community with other students in their grade spans. For those of you who have enrolled your child in the school-based option, we also know that at any time, depending on CDC data, and a decision made by Superintendent Gousse, we may need to transition back to remote learning at some point or multiple points during the school year. We are committed to providing remote programming that is developmentally appropriate for students. Many teachers have been participating in professional development throughout the summer focused on technology to support remote learning, as well as to meet the varying social emotional needs of our students. A remote learning schedule is being developed, and will be shared with you upon completion.

We know that each school in the MDIRSS is different. Each school has different facilities, number and size of rooms. Each school has a different number of students enrolled as well as teachers and support staff. We know that each of these differences may impact the number of days we are able to be in school. Administrators of each of these schools are working tirelessly with their building based teams to prepare programming that complies with the safety guidelines as well as provides students with the opportunity to be in school as much as possible.

We know that along with the environmental changes within our buildings to allow for physical distancing, we also need to modify and create clear cleaning protocols. We are collaborating with the MDI Hospital and The Jackson Lab in the development of safe cleaning practices. All of the cleaning products and methods are safe to be used in our schools.

We know that clarity regarding our safety protocols is important for staff, students and parents. A staff handbook has been shared outlining protocols for safety and health, and we have begun training with the staff. A student and family version will be shared soon.

If you have any questions, please email me or call the school (207-244-5502). We are back and ready to help!

Learning Bag and Device Pick-Up

This is for all families at Pemetic, as everyone will be involved with remote only/virtual learning beginning on September 8th. Tables will be set up in front of the school. Please arrive in your designated time slot according to the first initial in your last name

  • 9 a.m.- 9:40 a.m. - Last Names Beginning with A to D
  • 9:40 a.m. - 10:25 a.m. - Last Names Beginning with E to K
  • 10:30 a.m - 11:10 a.m. - Last Names Beginning with L to P
  • 11:15 a.m. - 11:55 a.m. - Last Names Beginning with R to Z