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News Around the District

Exciting items going on throughout WOCSD

There are some exciting learning opportunities going on throughout the district and this newsletter will showcase some of these events. This newsletter is an attempt to inform the district of the great things going on, celebrating student successes, highlight special events, and keep you in the loop on what makes WOCSD so special.


Superintendent's Update
Proficiency Based Learning
As we all know, our world is changing rapidly. These changes impact all of us in some way through changes in our communities,
ourwork places and our homes. It is imperative that our educational system adjust and keep up with the changes so that students leaving our high school have the skills they need for not only today’s jobs but also tomorrow’s.
In Maine and around the country, one of the ways that educational systems have been shifting to meet the new demands placed on our youth is to move
towardaproficiency based model of education. In fact, Maine has passed legislation that mandates schools to graduate students with a proficiency based diploma by 2018 (the Maine Department of Education has provided a waiver process that can be used by schools to extend the 2018 deadline to ensure that students, teachers, and parents are prepared. With the waiver that our district has received, WOCSD students will need to graduate with proficiency based diplomas by 2021). While we will probably always have a credit based system to some extent, what our new system will look like has yet to be determined.
We know that there are many ways that students can learn new information. Some learn best by seeing and reading, others learn best in a collaborative environment, others through hands-on experiences or more independent types of study. What is most important is not how a student learns, rather it is that a student

Proficiency based education has been changing the way many of our educators think about learning and teaching. Proficiency based education is all about personalization and providing a system that is flexible and varied to meet the needs and interests of our student population. As we begin our work toward this new system of education, teachers are focusing on increased collaboration, a more explicit emphasis on standards and skills, and even more increased attention to supporting individual student success and growth. At the core of this work is the goal of ensuring that students acquire the knowledge and skills that are deemed essential for success in school, higher education, careers and adult life.
Teacher and Principal Evaluation 
We are in the process of developing a new teacher and principal evaluation in response to legislation passed by the state of Maine.
Currently we have a team of teachers and administrators reviewing our existing systems and exploring other models that will provide our teachers and principals with helpful and constructive information.
Construction Update
The Wells High School building project continues to progress on time and on budget! Currently, structural steel is going up for the new academic wing, cafeteria, and learning commons. It is very exciting to see the new portion of the building taking shape.

In related news, the Wells-Ogunquit School Committee recently voted to enter into an agreement to bring natural gas on to the District campus. Work is slated to begin this spring and will bring gas to all three schools. We will also need to make changes to the existing boilers at Wells Elementary School and Wells Junior High School to enable them to accept gas. 
Follow WOCSD on Social Media

WOCSD is on social media. The district has a presence on Facebook and Instagram showcasing some of the great events going on throughout the district. You can even follow the Superintendent on Twitter. Click on the above button to follow WOCSD on Social Media and let the news and events come to you. 
Check out the latest on the high school project. You can view timelines, pictures of the progress, weekly updates, and a monthly update from the field.
Catch up on the latest news from the district from our Public Information Officer, Reg Bennett.
Curriculum Corner

Pat Hayden
Director of Instructional Improvement
The New Maine Education Assessment
            This spring, students in grades 3-8 and in their third year of high school will take the new Maine Education Assessment (MEA) in the areas 
of reading, writing and math. An alternate math and literacy assessment will be used with students with significant cognitive disabilities. It has been a year and a half since our elementary and junior high students have participated in the last state assessment, the New England Comprehensive Assessment Program (NECAP).  Our high school students had previously participated in the SAT as their state assessment. This year, our 11th graders will take the SAT on April 15 as a district-level test because it provides very useful data on student growth.
            The paper-and-pencil Science MEA will continue to be administered in May to students in grades 5, 8 and third year of high school.
            The revised MEA differs from the NECAP in several ways. The assessment is computer-based, and students will be using 
laptops or iPads.  It is also an adaptive test, meaning that the questions will be adjusted to each student’s skill range as that student progresses through the test. In these two ways, the new MEA is very similar to the NWEA and will be familiar for our students.
            Another change in this year’s test is that writing will be assessed at all the grade levels. In previous state assessments, writing was only assessed at grades 5, 8 and 11.
            In addition, the test contains performance tasks. These test items are multi-step questions that measure critical thinking by asking students to use their research and problem-solving skills.  Students will have multiple opportunities to practice these types of questions prior to taking the test. The practice questions and test will also provide students and teachers the ability to familiarize themselves with the new software and navigational tools that will be used during the MEA.
            Finally, the flexibility of the new MEA is a very welcome change. The assessments are untimed, and students may begin a test one day and finish it another, so they can do their best work.

Hour of Code
The Hour of Code is the central hub promoting Computer Science Week. Hour of Code is an opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour. They are many layers of activities to fit all learners BK-12 regardless of the type of device you use. 

The site was originally built for Computer Science 
Week but the trend has been to extend experiences beyond a week. offers a unique approach to K-5 computer science, offering 1-day workshops to prepare educators to introduce computer science basics in a format that's fun, accessible and relevant to the youngest learners. Students of all ages enjoy learning these fun and applicable skills.

At the elementary school students in Mr. Kafkas and Mrs. Cryer’s class decided to take the challenge.  Since that 
time our students have been continuing to code and are working through the 20-hour beginner course. They also have been seen coding each other down the hallways. "Walk forward 10 tiles. Turn left 90 degrees..." Mrs. Cryer is extending coding by introducing it within a novel study later in the year.

Students at the Junior High School experienced the Hour of Code as an afterschool activity. Mr. Richards and a dozen students from all grade levels looked at different ways coding could be used. Students participated in activities from but also extended their learning using Scratch.

For the 
second year WHS has sponsored a day where high school students could experience an hour of code. AP computer programming teacher and math teach and Cheryl Oakes planned the Hour of Code opportunity. Mr. Scott Finley, a parent and local computer software engineer spoke to the students and shared a bit about the career. Then the students were able to try out some coding programs online.  If you want more information check out
Students from Mr. Kafkas and Mrs. Cryer’s Classrooms Celebrating Their Hour of Code
Teen Trendsetters

Since October 2014, twenty-two participating seniors have added to their list of identities at Wells High School; they are performers, they are athletes, and they are now Teen Trendsetters.


Cooperating teachers, Bonnie Esty (Literacy Specialist at WES) and Dawn Wentland (English Teacher at WHS), have organized the time, place, and structure for the ‘Youth Leaders. Young Readers’ program granted by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and published by Scholastic, Inc. The program pairs high school students with first and second graders for one-on-one weekly mentoring sessions. The program was introduced at an initial pilot site in Maine three years ago, and is now being rolled out across the entire state, with 20 public schools launching the program this past September, at the start of the new school year. After an introduction to the program and several trainings for the mentors, the Friday reading sessions commenced at Wells Elementary School.


The morning of the first meet-and-greet, seniors were given specific animal noises to make. When the first and second graders entered the room, each with a cut-out of a farm animal, they had to find a seat with the senior that was making the matching barnyard sound; the pigs sat with the oinkers; the ducks sat with the quackers. Once everyone found their seat, seniors and elementary students filled out interest surveys in order to match up partners for the year.  


By the second session, the ‘Teen Trendsetters’ were on their own for reading and implementing lesson plans with their younger buddies. The high schoolers have Scholastic ‘mentor guides’ to use which include pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading activities while the elementary students have the non-fiction articles to follow along with, first with a focus on baby animals, and now, plant life. What may have seemed easy at first for the seniors soon became challenging when they realized their buddy struggles with reading, and therefore, may not like to read.


Throughout the year, the elementary students will work on many reading skills such as; practicing sight-words, making predictions, asking and answering questions and comparing and contrasting things they have read. Meanwhile, the high school students are practicing discipline strategies; instilling routines; encouraging the defeated; and high-fiving the accomplished.  In addition to the learning experience, the first and second graders get to bring close to 17 books home to add to their libraries and seniors will receive close to 20 hours of community service.


Mrs. Esty and Mrs. Wentland are proud of the progress so far. Wentland remarks, “The positive reading environment puts everyone in a good mood! My seniors smile the whole time they are there and during our walk back to WHS. They are learning how important it is to read to children -- something they will take away from this project and remember forever.”



Retired Teacher Has Wish Fulfilled
WELLS, Maine – On December 8th, the “Wreaths Across America” convoy paid a visit to Wells Junior High on its annual trip carrying thousands of remembrance wreaths from Harrington, Maine, where the wreaths were made at the Worcester Wreath Company, to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. 

Maintaining a strong participatory presence, year after year when the Wreaths Across America convoy visits WJHS is former WJHS teacher Rachel Kilbride and her husband James Kilbride, Adjutant of American Legion Post 143.  Commander Kilbride has also been part of an annual ceremony at Ocean View Cemetery honoring veterans on the day of the Wreaths Across America visit.

For some time, Rachel Kilbride, who retired from teaching at WJHS last June, has wished to be a part of the wreath laying at Arlington.  On December 13th, her wish came true as she and James joined Wreaths Across America and countless volunteers to participate in the enormous task of placing thousands of wreaths at the gravesites of veterans. 

Like other volunteers, the
Kilbrides were assigned a section where they placed wreaths at six graves. They also took time to visit the gravesite of Navy veteran, former Maine Governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie and his wife Jane. 

During their time in Arlington, the Kilbrides also visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the U.S.S. Maine Memorial, where Governor Paul LePage and wife Ann placed a wreath. 

 â€œIt was well orchestrated,” said Rachel Kilbride of the wreath laying.  She was amazed at the orderly nature of placing the wreaths.  â€œIt was inspiring to see so many people honoring our veterans deceased and living.” 
Caption: James Kilbride and wife Rachel, a former WJHS teacher, at the gravesite of Edmund and Jane Muskie at Arlington National Cemetery in December.
News from the Junior High School
Grade 7 Social Studies:  The European Vacation

“KLM Fight 435 now boarding at Gate 34 for 
In Grade 7 social studies classes, students planned a journey to Europe on a simulated vacation to three destinations.  Given a budget, students had to make decisions about flight bookings, accommodations, transportation, meals, currency exchange, and travel itineraries.  The mock passports added more authenticity to the experience.  Vacation highlights were shared by 
each students when they presented their Keynote photo scrapbooks about their trips.  As the students absorbed information about the foods, cultures, weather and lifestyle of their chosen countries they offered very descriptive moments.   “I ordered sweet breads, and it was really good”, one visitor to the United Kingdom described, only to retract the claim when the true nature of this “bread” was revealed.
As a 
warmup to the project, the students were visited by Kennebunk High School senior an exchange student from the Czech Republic.  It was a great opportunity for the students to hear firsthand what life was really like in another part of the world.  

Photo of students from left to right:  Hannah Bradish, Logan Bedell, Christina Moody, Kenzie Webb, Covy Dufort, Lucas Reese, Hannah Wrigley, Payton MacKay, Nathan Chandler and Andrew Wuerthner.  Jan Rutrie is in the center-back.
WJHS Green Team

WJHS Green Team has promoted “Recess Pieces” holiday ornaments, a fundraising / awareness campaign.  Broken asphalt from the 
recess space behind the junior high was decorated and displayed for sale in the cafe at lunch, in the WJHS office, and in the lobby of the superintendent’s office for $1.  This initiative is targeted at reclaiming some green space from the asphalt pavement.  Students are involved in all levels of the effort.  While the ornament sale will end before Christmas Break, the discussions and planning will hopefully continue through the district budget process into the spring.   
News From the High School
Wells High Schools New Engineer design - Hydrofoil class Named State Winner in the $2 million Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest

Wells High School's Technology and Science department will receive $20,000 in technology for their idea to build a personal powered hydrofoil boat.
Wells, Maine, December 2014 – Wells announced today that it has become the Maine state winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow
contest, a nationwide competition to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by challenging teachers and students to take topics out of traditional classroom settings and into local communities. The school has received a technology prize package of $20,000 – which includes a Samsung GALAXY Camera™ 2, Samsung ATIV Book 9 laptop and Adobe Elements software. The technology is provided to enable the school to complete the next phase of the competition for the chance to win cash prizes and access to further resources.
Wells High School has moved onto this round of the competition for a project involving the design and fabrication of a human powered hydrofoil craft for Wells Harbor.  Teachers Jason Hludik (Technology) and Chrys Demos (Physics/Chemistry) chose the project to meet the needs of the community because it could provide a convenient, low wake, no carbon-impact method of transportation across Wells Harbor to the outlying beaches.  Wells High school is the only winner from Maine in the Solve for Tomorrow contest.  Wells High School was chosen out of the five state finalists including Noble High School (North Berwick), REAL School (Falmouth), Islesboro Central School (Islesboro), Machias Memorial High School (Machias).
During the next phase of the competition, teachers and students from the newly formed Engineer Design- Hydrofoils class will work with community members to bring the idea to life and create a video about their project.  Fifteen of the 51 state winners will be named national finalists in February.

This is Wells High School’s first time as a state winner in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. To learn more about the competition or to view lesson plans from past winners, please visit
WHS March in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
WELLS, Maine  â€“ Wells High School juniors and captains on the WHS Color Guard teams Adrienne Perron and Anna Libby were selected last spring to represent Maine performing in the 2014 Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.   Following a video recorded audition and written application, Perron and Libby were picked to be a color guard and dancer respectively for the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.   

Color Guard and Winter Guard Coach Bailey Smith accompanied her team members to New York City where, a few days before the parade, Perron and Libby spent hours rehearsing with other band members from across the United States.  While in New York City, the three were able to do some sightseeing plus attend a Broadway play.  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is broadcast to a national television audience of millions.

News From the Elementary School
Holiday Fable

On December 23, Wells Elementary School gathered together for an assembly focusing on one of the school core values, “Compassion”. The assembly was presented in the form of a Winter Fable, a new December tradition at WES.  Staff members participated in presenting the theme of “Compassion” by performing a light-hearted skit.  Many people were involved, including our Superintendent, Ellen Schneider, who brought a roar of laughter and applause from the crowd, our Principal, Marianne Horne, a  former student, Alex Chadbourne, David Boyd, our head of maintenance, and of course, our Assistant Principal, Ken Spinney.  Raylene Grant came back in her pajamas to read the fable, while sitting in a rocking chair on the stage, which was beautifully decorated with birch trees, snowflakes and lights, amid all of the kindergarten students.  The student body participated in the story through song.  Everyone got involved.  It was a wonderful way to gather as a school community, before the winter break.  And, as the fable came to its close, all were reminded that “The greatest gift is giving compassion to others”.  The students ended the event by singing “This Is My Wish”, as a gift for their teachers.  The Winter Fable was organized by Karen Taylor and Kathy Calo.

Fact Fluency of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division Facts in K-4
Automaticity with basic math facts is a goal for our students, but alone it is not enough. Students must also understand the facts they are being asked to commit to memory.  Our emphasis is on strengthening students' understanding of numbers, patterns, and properties as an essential component of math fact teaching.  The goal in mathematics is to help our students truly understand computation and apply this mathematical thinking and learning to new situations.

Please enjoy the following pictures of k-4 students engaging in strategic fact practice to master those facts!

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