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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools and School Principals

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             June 6, 2006

RE:                   A Celebration of School People – Follow-up to Informational Letter #123 and Informational Letter #132

            This letter is written to provide an update about the Celebrate School People project.  I am asking for your continued support to ensure this first of its kind, national model will be embraced by every school in Maine, affording statewide recognition and full participation. 

            On May 15, 2006, a kickoff reception was held at the Blaine House. The event was co-hosted by First Lady Karen Baldacci, i’monair co-founders and the creators of Celebrate School People Patsy Wiggins & Kathleen Alfiero, and me.  School People from every county, representing every school role were invited as guests. Each person introduced themselves by position which flavored the gathering impressively.  There was a great deal of enthusiasm and pride in the room while individuals spoke to how they support the education of our children. I was very moved, and left feeling more committed to the project than ever.

            Furthermore, the kickoff was preceded by a press conference at the State  Capitol Building that included singing by the entire Brooklin School population lead by Grammy Award winning composer Paul Sullivan; the unveiling of a water color School People portrait by artist Mary Byrom featuring the staff of the North Berwick Elementary School; the First Lady reading the “Celebrate School People Day” proclamation issued by Governor John Elias Baldacci; and thoughtful remarks by many individuals working with and devoted to children.  We were honored to hear that the Governor has officially proclaimed October 18, 2006 as Celebrate School People Day.  Therefore, we now have a collective opportunity to raise awareness and recognize the diverse talents and gifts of the School People working in service for our children in schools throughout the State of Maine.  Most exciting, this model launched in Maine will be replicated nationally!

            There will be articles describing this yearlong project in the upcoming MEA and MSMA newsletters, as well as stories in the media throughout the summer and fall. Each school principal will be contacted by Linda Hogan of Celebrate School People to confirm the final plan for the September 8, 2006, 10:00 a.m. statewide synchronized lottery drawing for names of those who will represent your school at the Augusta Civic Center. A statewide publicity campaign will include profiles of some schools; therefore, if you are interested in being interviewed please be sure to call Celebrate School People at 799-4544 to discuss your story ideas.

            At the following link, you will find a brief letter from Patsy Wiggins, Kathleen Alfiero, and Linda Hogan of Celebrate School People.  We would appreciate you sharing this letter with all of your respective staff before School People leave for summer break.  Thank you for sharing this letter with all School People, including cafeteria workers, custodians, administrative support staff, substitutes, and all other personnel who may not attend a formal end of the year meeting.