Winter 2020 EIR Conclusion

Our Educator in Residence (EIR) program has blossomed since the first seven educators were planted in six schools for eight weeks in 2013. Almost all of our seasonal Leadership School educators embedded themselves in partner schools and community organizations for 10 or more weeks this winter. Four will be continuing on for an additional time this Spring.

While the EIR experiences contributing time and positive energy to their school communities were unique to each partnership, every community experienced positive growth as a result of the program. Educators also experienced personal and professional growth through their opportunities. Here’s just a small taste of their take-aways:

St. George’s Educator in Residence: Nell

It’s a little mind boggling to think about how time can move at such different speeds even within a singular experience. Looking back on my EIR experience, it feels like these 10 weeks have flown by in a whirlwind of hectic whole group activities, laughter-filled lunch bunches, and after school romps through the woods (and on the frozen marsh). But within this fast-moving 10 week period, I’ve definitely had some hours that felt like they were made up of four different hour long chunks, especially when it was just me and the 7th grade boys during the last period of the day on a Tuesday afternoon. Right now, though, as I wrap up my EIR, I am wishing that every single one of my hours at this school was actually four times longer. I have loved everything about my experience at St. George. I am grateful for the amount of time I was able to spend with the middle schoolers, as it helped me foster positive relationships that extended beyond surface-level interactions. I am also grateful for all the opportunities I had to work will the younger students at the school. Their creativity and silliness fills my cup! Finally, I am thankful for the teachers, administrators, and educators at St. George for integrating me so effortlessly into the fabric of the school. I am a proud dragon!

Damariscotta Montessori School’s Educator in Residence: Ross

My time at Damariscotta Montessori School has been some of the most education and joyful experiences I’ve had in my life so far. Simply being able to have had ten weeks last year to establish a schedule for this current year has been extraordinarily helpful. I started out the ten weeks this year at a sprint and have continued to only pick up the pace as the EIR season continued on. My weekly schedule consisted of spending my mornings in the middle school, helping out with schoolwork and simply being a positive presence Monday through Thursday, and then on Friday conducting a game that corresponds with TLS curriculum. I would attend recess every day, and then on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons I would be in Upper Elementary (conducting a reflective writing activity on Friday that also involved TLS curriculum), Tuesdays I would help middle school with farming, and Thursdays I would help out in Lower Elementary for art. I think the best thing that I bought to DMS was my positivity. However, DMS gave me much more. I think the highlight of my time here has been getting invited to attend a positive discipline workshop in Boston, from which I learned a great deal and forged strong bonds with the other teachers that work at DMS. Overall, I am extremely sad to be leaving for the spring but am thankful for everything I have learned this winter and am excited to see everyone at DMS soon!

Boothbay’s Educator in Residence: Garrett

One of my highlights from my first winter at BRES was bringing the 6th grade to Kieve for a visit day full of climbing and talks of next fall. To see all the students outside of the classroom using skills that we have talked about over the course of these ten weeks make me so excited for both the fall and next winter!

Friendship, Prescott, and Union’s Educator in Residence: Julia

“You seem like a kid–but bigger.”

-Friendship Student

Although I encountered many theories from students about what my job in the school was (my favorite, “Is Mrs. Mac your mom?”), I took comfort in students placing me somewhere in between the status of a teacher and a student. As someone in between, I was the perfect play buddy at recess and always willing to join kids for lunch. Students were beyond excited to have someone new come into their classrooms and add movement while providing an opportunity to work with their classmates. More than anything, my EIR experience at these three schools has made me realize the huge need for instruction and practice around handling and resolving conflict between friends and classmates. Not only does the ability to navigate conflict help during times spent on the bus, in the cafeteria, and out at recess, but it also represents a major life skill that requires communication, resiliency, and the ability to advocate for oneself. In my role as EIR, I felt lucky to have the chance to build up students’ sense of resilience and strengthen the tools they need to navigate the social and emotional aspects of their daily lives.

Richmond’s Educator in Residence: Sam P.

As EIR comes to a close, it is so great to look back at all of the things that have made it an educational and enjoyable experience. Through shadowing and helping out in classes, I learned so much from the teachers at Richmond. From class management, to motivating their students to the amount of compassion that they have for this community, the teachers here have given me so much. I think one of the things that I will miss the most is the advisory that became mine when I arrived here. This advisory has made me a more confident facilitator and we have had a lot of fun mixed in with the learning this winter!

Wood Hill’s Educator in Residence: Hartel

Spending the winter at Wood Hill was such a great experience for me to develop my teaching and facilitating skills. I spent almost all of my time in PE classes which was a great way to meet and see all of the students especially those that were at TLS in the fall and those that will be coming up next year. It’s hard for me to try and pick one moment that was a highlight for me because everything was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed being able to work the 8th grade not only at Wood Hill, but also at West Middle and Doherty Middle School. Being in different schools gave a great view of how different schools function day to day and what kind of support the students at those schools need the most. Being in Andover was awesome and hopefully I’ll be back next year to continue everything I’ve been doing.

Nobleboro’s Educator in Residence: Kalina

I am so thankful for past 10 weeks at Nobleboro Central. It was such a joy to get to work with such fun loving and energetic kids. The staff was warm and welcoming and I can’t extend my gratitude enough them welcoming a home to a Nelson and myself. I will miss so many great big smiles and will take so many lessons from the school as a whole, students and staff alike with me wherever life takes me. Go lions!

OUT Maine’s Educator in Residence: Claire

As the EIR season winds down, I’m feeling appreciative for the opportunity to work with OUT Maine this winter. The past few months have been a learning experience for sure! Having no prior experience with offices or non-profits, I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in. During my first week in December, I was promptly introduced to a community of people who care deeply about the work they do and are passionate about making things better for rural Maine’s LGBTQ youth. Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to collaborate on a number of OUT Maine’s groups and projects, including the weekly youth group, the up-coming Rainbow Ball Weekend, and several visits to local GSTAs. I feel grateful to have been able to establish relationships with a number of smart, self-assured, and empowered middle and high school students. The current relationship between OUT Maine and Kieve Wavus Education is encouraging, and I’m hoping that this partnership can be continued through many upcoming years.

Jefferson’s Educator in Residence: Lexi

Jefferson Village School has been nothing but welcoming to me this winter season. Teachers and students alike have been extremely open to our team/empathy building curriculum and have been excited to see what else I would bring to class each week. It is tough to pinpoint a singular highlight that really epitomizes the season, that being said, the progression of trust that has been forming between myself from students visibly grew each week. By my final weeks students were excited for even the quickest hallway conversation, and were always asking when I would be showing up to their classroom next. I am proud of the work the students here at JVS have done to enrich their relationships with one another. This has also been a tremendous opportunity for my own self growth: students, teachers and administrators here at Jefferson were all happy to patiently help me become a better educator. Its been an honor to further extend the bridge between Jefferson’s small community and Kieve Wavus Education.

Bristol’s Educator in Residence: Rachel Z.

They say Winters in Maine are pretty rough but thanks to the incredible community at Bristol Consolidated School (and the mild weather), I’ve had an absolute blast!! From my very first day Bristol students and teachers went out of their way to introduce themselves to me and make sure I felt comfortable. As I spent time in 6th grade Social Studies, 8th grade Guidance, 2nd grade P.E, and at 4th grade motor breaks, I built relationships with each grade and each student. I loved helping out with nature walks, fat tire bikes, fort building, and snowshoeing during our run in Winter Kids Winter Games, a competition between more than 30 Maine schools to get students active and outside during the Winter months. Although we did not win, many of the students have continued these outdoor activities after the competition ended which, if you ask me, is an even bigger win! The season truly flew by and I find myself at the end of this 10 week program feeling eager for more. There are so many more games to be played, so many more skills to be learned! I cannot wait to have the 4th and 5th graders at Kieve for climbing and team building in early April, the 7th graders on campus for Local Schools the following week, and the 8th graders at Wavus in June. I know that these kiddos still have so much to teach me and so much room to grow.

Wavus’s Educator in Residence: Lindy

I have loved having the opportunity to spend the winter at my favorite place in the world: Wavus! The campus is simply beautiful when covered in snow and surrounded by ice. One of my highlights from this season was getting to see so many staff members this winter. We had a few counselors visit Wavus over their breaks from college so that they could walk around in the snow and catch up with us in the office. Kirstie and I were able to travel to universities to visit staff and work to recruit more counselors for this upcoming summer. One of my favorite experiences was attending an outdoors career fair in North Carolina. There were over a hundred camps and organizations passionate about the outdoors serving students who were just as excited about the wilderness as we are. Looking ahead to the summer I am thrilled about the committed staff for Wavus 2020. I have loved recruiting counselors and preparing for the summer months ahead. Counting down the days until camp!

Appleton’s Educator in Residence: Sarah

At the beginning of EIR, 10 weeks seemed intimidating as it was daunting to be Appleton’s first EIR. I felt like the bar was high even though they had no previous EIR to compare me to. But here we are, at the end of 10 weeks; looking back it feels silly that I was so nervous to be Appleton’s first EIR. My time at AVS has been a wonderful experience and I’m happy to have been a member of the AVS community, I think Appleton was the perfect fit for me, as it’s a small school with a big heart. While here I’ve gotten to do a variety of things such as go on several field trips, lead TLS activities every Friday with some middle schoolers, bring 8th graders to climb at Kieve with students from Hope, and cover for teachers whenever they needed an extra moment to prepare. I love that kids get excited when I go to their classrooms because I’m the “cool new teacher” who does fun activities with them. I’ve seen kids grow and learn and it’s been great to have so much time to get to know the kids because when students come to Kieve we only have them for a week which isn’t enough time to truly bond with them. I hope that next year, provided AVS continues having an EIR, we can do more TLS activities and with more grades, as I think it’d make their great school even better. Though I know it is time to leave, I’ll miss walking the halls of AVS and being with the students and staff every day. Thank you AVS for hosting me, I hope to see you all soon!

Loranger’s Educator in Residence: Austin

My first winter at Loranger zooomed by. No, it was not everything I imagined but so much more. It really is the best feeling to enter a classroom and hear the students ask, “Austin! Are you in this class today??” I mean, when first dreaming up how this winter would go, I never could have imagined that. Then, even if I have to tell them, “No, I’m going to science today” I am still treated so very courteously, greeted up and down the hallway with a kind hello, goofy faces, fist bumps, and high fives. These are the things I’ll miss the most. Walking the halls, not knowing who I’ll see, but knowing I’d be met with great generosity and joy from these students. 

South Bristol’s Educator in Residence: Cam

Being invited back to South Bristol for the 2020 EIR was wonderful. I worked with all students on an almost daily basis. From morning wake up activities, to adapting classic Kieve Wavus Education activities for a more challenging experience. I was able to assist the 5th grade class on their quest project to discover more about South Bristol’s history. I received many pictures to hang up on my refrigerator. I always give the highest high 5’s on the out of gym class. Another great EIR season has flown by.

Whitefield’s Educator in Residence: Isaac

Wow, what a wild, wonderful winter at Whitefield. As my last week draws to a close, I feel immensely grateful to have been welcomed into the school, to have been given the opportunity to really get to know so many introspective and fun students, to walk into a room and be greeted by cries of “Hi Mr. Fluffyhead!” I will miss Whitefield students remarkable capacity for reflection and introspection, as well as their goofiness and silly spirits. This winter has gone by too fast, and I’m already looking forward to visiting the school for a few days this spring.

Sweetser’s Educator in Residence: Harry

Sweetser is a residential special-purpose private school in Saco, ME that supports students ages 6-18 who are struggling with emotional, behavioral, or social challenges. Social workers and educators work together to prepare students to return to public school and/or their families. I have had the pleasure of running experiential programming for nine different weekly groups at the school, four classroom groups, three residential groups, and two staff groups. The staff have welcomed me with open arms and have inspired me with their dedication, humor, and compassion. The students have never ceased to make me laugh, challenge me, and inspire me. My time at Sweetser has been eye-opening for me and fills me with gratitude for the EIR program and what it can give to Maine’s young people.

Nobleboro’s Educator in Residence: Nelson

This has been hands down the best year at Nobleboro Central School so far. I’ve been helping out in math classes in the morning, alternating between 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with the 3rd graders with a robot/app pairing called Dash/Blockly, designed to teach them rudimentary coding and computer science skills. I’ve had another touchpoint with the 3rd graders in the form of skating at the Midcoast Recreation Center, and that has been incredibly fun! One of the cooler things that Kalina and I have been able to do this winter was organizing a couple of visits to Kieve with the 6th and 7th graders to get them thinking about how they will be spending most of their time together next year in split classes. We did a couple team challenges and were able to climb on the newly furnished wall (they were the first students to climb on its, let’s go!). All in all, I would say this has been hands down the most rewarding year of EIR so far for me, and I really feel like I belong in the school and am a part of the community. 

Vassalboro’s Educator in Residence: Jack

I am so thankful for all the members of the VCS community. They graciously hosted me for ten weeks this winter. I learned so much about myself and others and cannot wait to take what I’ve learned with me where ever I go. I truly cherish the time that I got to spend at VCS and am looking forward to stopping by the building a few times this spring to hear all about the wonderful things students, faculty, and staff will be up to then!

Lincoln Academy’s Educator in Residence: Sam

The transition to working at Lincoln Academy after having spent three winters at Loranger Memorial School was a challenge. High school students have different needs and behaviors than middle school students and the academic expectations of the community are more rigorous. While I don’t do as much TLS programming in school, I serve my new community in other ways. This winter I tutored students in Biology, helped out with Ceramics, and coached Indoor Track. I found fulfillment in collaborating with educators and watching students’ grades improve with my help. While I’m not playing games in classes, it is nice to be reminded that I am valued here. Students are excited to see me in the hallway and ask if they can join me in the library during their study hall. It’s been amazing to serve the diverse population at LA and be mentored by the incredible faculty. I can’t wait to see how my relationship with the community blossoms!

Woodland’s Educator in Residence: Neil

My second year at Woodland has come to an end. Last year on my last day it was way easier to walk out of the doors. This year I have made so many connections with students that didn’t say a word to me last year. I have been able to accompany students on local field trips as well as accompany my site mentor on a trip to the crisis center for a student.

I feel that I have made a positive difference at this school, particularly in the area of saying hurtful words to one another. Communication activities were probably second in importance due to the older grades not being able to have large group discussions during their classes. Next year I would love to come back and see the large changes from some of the students that I had my eyes on this year!

Thanks Woodland Junior Senior Highschool for a great EIR!

Woodland’s Educator in Residence and SEL Book Illustrator: Phyllis

Being at Woodland high school, a school that was a couple towns away from my alma mater, was an interesting experience. Knowing the area and the people in it was a nice refresher on what’s going on now, what has changed, and what hasn’t. Even though I could only be there a couple times a week, I liked having the opportunity to pop in and make connections and have fun. As for illustrating the SEL book, I am so grateful for the opportunity to do something I thought was so far from my reach. This winter has been a gratifying experience and one I’ll never forget.