Dirigo Elementary School is a Pre-K to 5 school attended by 350 children from the towns of Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, and Peru. These towns formerly comprised MSAD 21, which was itself the product of the merger between the old, three-town MSAD 21 and the independent Peru School District.

Prior to the 2006 merger, MSAD 21 had two elementary schools, Canton Elementary and Dixfield Elementary, feeding the Dirigo Middle School and Dirigo High School, while the Peru Elementary School was K-8, with its graduates able to choose between Mountain Valley and Dirigo High Schools. The Peru/MSAD 21 merger came about because Peru had risen a second time to the top of the state’s building renovation list, but the state deemed the building and site unsuitable for renovation and urged a merger. After lengthy negotiations between state, town, and district officials an agreement was reached that Peru would merge with MSAD 21 on the condition that the new elementary school serving the children of all four towns be built in Peru. Voters in the four communities passed the merger referendum by a large margin, and ground was broken on the Dirigo Elementary school in January of 2007. At the same time, the Peru students in grades 5 through 8 began attending the Dirigo Middle School, while Canton Elementary was closed and its K-4 students began attending Peru Elementary School.

Dirigo Elementary School opened its doors to approximately 380 K-5 students on August 27, 2008, and is now part of RSU 56.

Nick Waugh