Education Commissioner Visits Carmel School As Part Of Cross State Tour 

Caitlin Burchill

Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen is visiting schools around Maine to observe innovative school programs in person.On Friday, he was at Caravel Middle School in Carmel.”Our goal really is to get a sense of what’s working, where schools feel they are really making progress, new initiatives they’ve launched that they think are doing good things for kids,” said Bowen. Students at the Caravel Middle School happily welcomed him.”I thought it was nice so he could see like how our school is. Every school’s different and he should have an idea of how the different schools from the different districts,” said Hannah Lynch, an eighth grader at the school. “He got a chance to really see what goes on. We have education and technology in the classroom that is really helping a lot of the students here,” said her classmate, Jackson Peterson. A middle school designated by the No Child Left Behind Program as a school that needed improvement in 2008, things are looking brighter.”In this particular instance, this is a school we’ve been working with for a number of years. Our school improvement folks who have been working with them said you’ve got to get up there and see what they’re doing, they’re doing all types of great stuff,” said Bowen. Caravel received a C in the state’s new grading system. “One of the things I said to the commissioner is, you’re either an improving school or you’re a declining school. There’s really no place in between so we’ve commuted here to be one of those improving schools,” said Caravel Middle School Principal Rhonda Sperrey. “There’s really some promising things going on, its great, so our job really is to again take those things that are working and share those with other districts,” said Bowen. The school was happy to show off their journey to excellence.”People know what’s going on in Bangor and Brewer and places like that. For him to come and see the smaller schools and to see the special needs that are involved in a rural setting I think was really good for him and for us,” said Kim Wood, a 6th and 7th grade science and math lab teacher at the middle school. “I think it was a great experience. The kids had a great time having him here and hosting him as did the teachers. I’m very excited to see what’s going to happen in the future of education in Maine,” said Sperrey. Upcoming visits will take Education Commissioner Bowen to Skowhegan, Biddeford, and Belfast in the next two weeks.