2015-05-01 / Community

News Briefs

Student artwork to be showcased

Four local students are among 21 statewide chosen to have their artwork displayed as screensavers on computers provided to students and teachers by the Maine Department of Education (DOE) during the 2015-16 school year.

Through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, the state gives an Apple iPad, MacBook Air, or an HP ProBook laptop to all seventh- and eighth-graders in the state, as well as to teachers in grades seven through12.

Most high schools also participate in the program by leasing devices. According to DOE spokesman Samantha Warren, more than 70,000 devices are distributed across the state.

Since the program began seven years ago, DOE has sponsored a program each year to showcase student artwork as screensavers. An independent three-member panel selected this year’s winners from among more than 100 entries, Warren said.

Among this year’s winners are Carlyn Davis and Will Blastos, both freshman at Kennebunk High School, as well as Jamie Bayha and Elona Bodwell, both seventh grade students at the Middle School of the Kennebunks.

In addition to appearing on screensavers, the students’ winning artwork also will be displayed at the DOE office in Augusta and on the department’s website.

Each student also will get a certificate and letter of congratulations from acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin.

Kennebunkport website gets overhaul

The town of Kennebunkport has a new website scheduled to go “live” in a beta version May 1.

According to Town Manager Laurie Smith the $4,500 overhaul was bought and paid for from the town’s current website provider, Massachusetts-based Virtual Town Hall, before she arrived on the job one year ago.

However, it was not until last fall when work began on the site in earnest, with a website committee comprised of department heads working on what the new site should include.

“One issue we had is that when we looked at how people were using the site to decide what types of information and services we should focus on providing, we found we had very little data to go on,” Smith said.

The new site will be a “big difference” in terms of both its design and functionality, Smith said, noting that, with so few users, the decision was made to focus on making the new site as user-friendly as possible. Meeting minutes and agendas, links to meeting videos and payment options will all be accessible from the front page of the new site, Smith said.

However, the primary benefit of the overhaul is backdoor administration. Currently, only two people in the town office are able to update the website, and the town must pay a license for each.

“Administration of the new site is much more decentralized,” Smith said, noting that each department head will be able to make changes to his or her respective page, going forward.

— Duke Harrington

Return to top