Brewer school board hires new principal, discusses computers for students

Posted Aug. 06, 2012, at 11:39 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Just one month after the school board accepted with regret the resignation of high school Principal Becky Bubar, the panel hired her replacement.

David Wall, who has spent the last 13 years as assistant principal at Airport High School in West Columbus, S.C., and taught chemistry and coached both football and basketball for 12 years before that, was awarded a one-year contract at Monday’s Brewer School Committee meeting.

The school board also held the first reading of a new computer policy that will supply new netbook computers to all incoming freshman that will become the property of the students when they graduate in four years.

“We’re buying them and issuing them to every ninth-grade student,” Superintendent Daniel Lee said after the meeting. “They’re going to keep them for four years and take them off to college.”

Students will be able to take the computers home at night, if parents agree to the school department’s policy terms, and during school breaks and long weekends.

Each student will be charged a $25 nonrefundable laptop repair pool fee, with part of that money paying for annual summertime maintenance, Lee said.

“We’re going to refurbish them every year,” the superintendent said.

If students choose not to participate in the repair pool, they “will still have general access to computers at school, but may not bring laptops home,” the proposed policy reads.

Arrangements for those who cannot afford the costs will be made, the school board was assured.

The cost of purchasing the computers is covered by the school department’s technology fund, which gets designated technology funds for each student enrolled, and therefore taxpayers will not see any increase in costs associated with the proposed change, Lee said.

Seventh- and eighth-graders in Brewer, under the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, have been using laptops since 2002. Having one-to-one computing at the high school is the next natural step, Lee said.

“It’s a tool now” that all students should have access to, the superintendent said.

The school board will hold a second reading on the policy, and vote on the measure at its August meeting.

The new high school principal said he began searching for a job in Maine shortly after visiting.

“We fell in love with the climate and the area,” Wall said after the meeting ended and he finished shaking hands with several board members and school employees.

He starts on Aug. 13. Bubar, who was hired as the interim high school principal for one year in 2006 and accepted the full-time job the following year, is a longtime educator and will return to her roots as a special education teacher for the school department.

Wall said he was looking for a change but “wanted to find a school where my skills would be a good fit.”

Brewer’s new block schedule and its freshman team, designed to connect students with the school and community, are initiatives he said impressed him.

“We’ve had that for years at the school I’m coming from,” the new principal said.

Other benefits are that it’s cooler in Maine compared to South Carolina and there is quick access to the beautiful Maine coastline, Wall said.

“I am really looking forward to getting here and getting to know the staff,” he said.

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