The executive director of the Maine School Management Association discussed many issues facing Maine schoolchildren, including bullying and suicide, during the annual meeting of the United Way of Mid Coast Maine on Tuesday.
Steve Bailey, of West Bath, said school report cards are based on academic results and standardized test scores, but Bailey asked if there was other things schools should look at to gauge a student’s performance.
The former superintendent said a Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey showed that 4 out of 10 students feel like they don’t matter to their community, and he said half of the middle school students in Sagadahoc County reported being bullied on school property.
“Bullying is defined differently by different people,” Bailey said. “But what we do know is that the feeling of being bullied really affects young people’s ability to engage in activities and school.”
The survey also showed that 30 percent of high school students in Sagadahoc County reported feeling so sad or hopeless for two weeks or more than it altered their activities. And about one in five middle and high school students said they’ve seriously considered suicide.
During his keynote address, Bailey talked about the efforts schools are making to address these socio-emotional factors, including maintaining small class sizes to get to know students well, increasing intervention against bullying, training all staff in suicide prevention and increasing the number or guidance counselors and social workers.
In other business at the meeting, outgoing United Way board chairwoman Nancy Jennings said over 23,000 midcoast residents were helped to better lives through United Way donations and its 37 local partner agencies.
“We’re honored to play the role of helping people transform their caring into real results and real change,” Jennings said.
Joel Wegner, of Five County Credit Union, was elected as the new chairman of the Board of Directors; Bill Brillant, of Downeast Energy, was elected as first vice chairman; and Mary Ellen Barnes, of the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, was elected as second vice chairwoman. Sean Martin, the vice president of Bath Savings Trust Company, was voted to be the next treasurer.
The Bath Housing Authority, Merrymeeting Gleaners, Lincoln County Gleaners and Peter and Teresa Fogg, of Fogg Art Restoration, received Community Builder awards for making “an outstanding contribution to the Mid Coast Maine community.
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