Kieve-Wavus Blog

Three Ways The Leadership School Staff Works for Maine – and Beyond

Can you believe that 60 amazing people now work at Kieve Wavus year-round?! And that thousands of people experience life changing moments on our campuses for over 300 days every year? Beyond the management team and the hardworking folks who grind behind the scenes to keep our campuses in top shape, to fill our bellies with delicious meals, and to keep our universe organized and informed, 31 of our staff are on the front lines as incredible teachers, mentors, and role models. What follows is a small taste about those TLS difference makers and how they are helping students – mostly from Maine – communicate more effectively, trust more willingly, and aim higher more frequently.

Casting a Wide Net: Residential and outreach programs for Northern New England
Every year over 8,000 students – mostly middle schoolers and their teachers – make their way to Damariscotta Lake for multi-day retreats. TLS Educators are also often on the road bringing programming to playgrounds, parking lots, and gymnasiums. About one-in-five of all students who graduate from Maine schools are impacted by Kieve Wavus at some point during their school years. The program started 40 years ago, and countless Mainers can now look back on their time here as a highlight of their school years. We love hearing from these alumni often!

Teaching Aspiring Teachers: TLS Educators in Residence
Since 2013, TLS has been providing an Educator in Residence to a set of schools who attend TLS residential programs. These Educators play important roles in the school, providing formal and informal mentorship, working one on one with students who need a little extra guidance, and running before and after school programs for students. Our staff also runs professional development courses for teachers on social-emotional development. As an organization, Kieve Wavus Education is committed to a teach-the-teacher method that aims to put more aspirational teachers in schools that need them most.

Diving Deeper: Committing to Local Schools
Particularly for those kids who grow up near Kieve and Wavus, TLS is working on several important partnerships and initiatives in order to spend lots more time with individual students than is typical of TLS programs. We’re blending summer camp-type adventures with TLS classes and giving our young, creative, and loving staff more flexibility to build exciting curriculum. We’re also including many community leaders, school personnel, and other non-profit organizations in this effort. The hope is that KWE’s long-term commitment to local students will help graduate even more happy, healthy, curious, confident, and resilient people who will, in turn, aim to make deep and lasting differences in this world.

Posted in: News |

Alumni Profile – Molly D. Billings

Wavus 2008-09; KW West 2011; Wavus Council 2013-17; College of Wooster; B.S. Class of 2017 Chemistry and Environmental Studies

Molly Billings, known as Mo Bills around Wavus, grew up in Bangor, Maine. Her mother met Henry Kennedy through the Leadership Maine program and the Billings family began a lifelong relationship with a place that impacted the course of Molly’s life. She attended Wavus as a camper for two years, participated in Kieve-West in 2011, and went on to spend five more years with us on staff at Wavus leading cabins from Junior Wavus to Maine Trails. What follows are Molly’s reflections on her time at Wavus and how these experiences impacted her life:

Ten years ago, I first set foot on the Appalachian Trail as a camper in the Wavus AT-Sea cabin. It rained every day for 11 days straight and I promised myself I would never do anything like that again. This past spring, before taking my first full time job as a high school chemistry teacher, I hiked the southernmost 800 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Not only did I hike in rain, I hiked in freezing rain, snow, extreme heat, and everything in between. This time, I loved every minute.
This change didn’t just happen overnight. Each of the eight summers I spent at Wavus between AT-Sea and my own AT adventure changed my perspective. Canoeing the Allagash showed me that trip could be enjoyable, and Kieve-West taught me that not only was backpacking bearable, it was actually really fun. Once I became a part of the staff and got to lead trips such as Maine Trails, I became completely hooked.

KW campers go on awesome wilderness adventures, make lifelong friends, and grow in their confidence and leadership. Counselors get to enjoy the same awesome adventures as campers, but we have more responsibility and a greater need to be self-reliant. One of my favorite things was watching campers come back year after year and, eventually, join the staff as counselors. That first year as a counselor is filled with so much growth—it certainly was for me. I had never felt as confident as I did at the end of my first summer, and it makes me proud to think that my old campers are experiencing this same growth.

My Wavus experience didn’t just change the way I think about the outdoors. Although I learned everything from how to tie knots to how to be the best leader that I can, my biggest takeaway from my time working at Wavus is that I love working with kids. In this way, Wavus completely changed the direction of my life—working at Wavus is the very reason that I went into education.

I attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, where I majored in chemistry and minored in environmental studies. After two summers working at Wavus, I started taking education classes. I wrote my senior thesis on getting high school chemistry students outside and engaged in experiential, place-based learning—an interest that I can trace back to my time at Wavus. After graduation, I spent the fall working as a teaching fellow at the Alzar School in Cascade, Idaho. There, I was lucky enough to be teaching chemistry and leading backpacking and whitewater kayaking trips in both Idaho and Chile.

I have too many fond memories to choose just one. However, they all have one thing in common: they all involve the people that I’ve met and the community we were able to build. I have met some truly incredible people at Wavus who have inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and strive to be the best possible version of myself. Going forward, I hope that I can be that person for my students.

If I had never gone to Wavus, I never would have become a teacher, nor would I have the same passion for protecting environment. I wouldn’t have the perspective to see how my actions impact the world around us, and I definitely wouldn’t be sharing that perspective with teenagers. I wouldn’t have hiked 800 miles of the AT, led a backpacking trip in Patagonia National Park, navigated a gear raft down the Rio Baker in Chile, or spent weekends exploring the Sawtooths and other parts of Idaho. I may have never even climbed Katahdin, a mountain that has been in my backyard for my entire life. It’s because of Wavus that I have the knowledge, confidence, and passion to go out and seek these kinds of adventures, and for that I am forever grateful.

Posted in: Alumni Stories & History, Wavus Camp for Girls |

Winter 2018 EIR Conclusion

It has been a great winter for our Educators in Residence, and seemed to fly by! Here are some of the highlights of the last 10 weeks:


While each day at Loranger has brought something new and exciting to the table, my highlight from this winter has been the increasing interest in our work throughout the district. I primarily work with the 5th and 6th grade, but this winter, faculty members from the high school and elementary school have noticed the impact the TLS curriculum has on students. I will be returning over the course of this spring to work with 9th grade students to develop their communication skills and success in team building challenges, which is a new challenge for the OOB EIR. This overwhelming support from the community has been invigorating and I can’t wait to see how it develops in future winters. The EIR position in Old Orchard Beach has the potential to grow in ways I never could have imagined my first winter. –Sam M., Loranger


One of my highlights from this EIR season is finally having the entire guidance class fully engaged, laughing and having fun with an activity that Chris and I ran! These guidance classes did not start out this way at all! At first we had a difficult time gaining trust and engagement. Slowly but surely our TLS curriculum started to appeal to both 6th and 7th grade guidance classes. So much so, that they started coming and eating their lunch with us in our office and wanting to hangout and listen to music. I believe this is important because a lot of these students need a positive role model to look up to that is not necessarily the age of a veteran teacher but not as young as a college student. Chris and I hadn’t heard one these students speak the entire EIR season until one day in our office when she told us to put on one of her favorite songs! We couldn’t believe it! This is what EIR is all about, not making a difference to every single student but making a huge difference for a few! –Neil, Searsport


As our second winter of EIR wraps up, we’ve had a little time to reflect on the past 10 weeks. Neil and I watched a lot of development happen in the 6th and 7th grade guidance classes and got to follow up with the 8th grade students multiple times in their advisory blocks. The moments that I appreciated the most however were the interactions we had with students outside of the classroom. Whether it was having students bring their lunch to our office space and just chat and hang out, or a quick conversation in passing in the hall, we continued to develop positive relationships with the students as well as provide a support system. I can’t mention enough how much I admire the resiliency of the students. How they continue to persevere after all the things that have been dropped on them is an example we could all learn from. –Chris, Searsport


Year 4 was another amazing winter at Memorial Middle School for me. The community that I have been able to become a part of and grow with down here is incredible. This winter was full of highlights, from field trips to the Telling Room where I was able to help ELL students write and publish stories that they have written about where they are from, to helping with a chili cook-off to raise money for the outdoor club, and everything in between. Every day at Memorial provides me with an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.  –Will, Memorial


Being a part of the King community for four winters has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my time working for KW. An overall highlight from this opportunity for me has been to watch students simultaneously fail and succeed and learn and grow. Through teaching TLS activities in the classroom, belaying in the gym, and coaching the track team, I have been able to build strong relationships with students and teachers alike. I have been able to work with every student at King, some for their entire middle school careers. –Sam C., King


One of the high points of my EIR was working with the half of the 7th grade to wrap up Kieve in a really unique way. I was able to play a giant board game in the auditorium (called The Game) to highlight how they can continue to work as a team, how to communicate effectively, how to display good sportsmanship, and remembering the lessons that The Leadership School taught them. The teachers of Wood Hill were there to help me out and it was incredible to see the students having fun with the teachers and learning in a setting separate from the classroom. –Kelci, Wood Hill


Joining the South Bristol School community this winter was an awesome experience. I loved being able to work with every kindergarten to 7th grader every day I was there, and was able to get to know students better than I could have in a traditional TLS program. One of my highlights was the second week where everyone did the ‘Community Map’ project. It was great to see them working together, and I loved how excited they were to tell me about their community! –Katrina, South Bristol


My highlight was getting to work with 9 incredibly tough boys and getting to build relationships with them for three months. While it was hard to see my impact on them in the moment, I know that my presence as a young man with goals in life was important for them to see.  In short, I was simply a role model for these boys and it was a pleasure to be a positive force in their lives. –Eli, Lincoln Academy


The highlight of my EIR experience was the relationships I was able to build with different students. It feels fantastic to walk into a classroom and have students excitedly yell and motion for me to come sit with them. –Drewsie, Medomak


The main highlights of my EIR experience was having the opportunity to go ice skating with the third grade students, bringing the seventh and eighth grade students to Kieve to climb, and really just getting to meet and befriend the students at Nobelboro Central School.  From hanging out during lunch and recess and talking to the students, to playing pickleball and gagaball in PE, the Nobelboro Central School students and faculty have made my EIR experience unforgettable. –Nelson, Nobleboro


Working at Bristol Consolidated School has been one of the most meaningful experiences I have had since starting at The Leadership School last fall. While teaching team building and social emotional skills at Kieve is impactful, there is something so empowering to do it at the schools and in the communities that these students are a part of. The opportunity to return to BCS for a second winter has allowed me to forge deeper relationships, provide mentorship and support to struggling students, and work with teachers to find creative ways to teach TLS curriculum in their classrooms even after I returned to Kieve. It was been an unforgettable experience working with this small, special school and one I won’t soon forget. –Kelsey, Bristol


This year at NCS has been incredible. In my second year here I have been able to take on a larger mentorship role with many of our students, providing a positive presence and someone they know cares about them. I have been able to go ice skating with the third graders and bring seventh and eighth grade to Kieve to climb. I have enjoyed every minute with the students and will miss our jokes high fives and special times. –Noah, Nobleboro


I have loved working with the gamut of ages at Whitefield. Immersing myself in a K-8 environment certainly helped me put the middle school experience into perspective and explore how certain childhood experiences manifest. It’s been a whirlwind to dive into the social network of this community and emerge with such a strong connection. I’m sad to depart the students and staff, but grateful to have this opportunity. –Nina, Whitefield


This Winter I was able to work with a group of 8th grade boys, who were struggling academically, behaviorally, and socially. We set goals for personal growth, worked on coping with stress in healthier ways, and tried to attack the negative behaviors at the root by practicing new positive ones. It was wonderful to see the growth of the boys who put the work in over the 10 weeks.  I also worked with the 4th grade every day for 30 min sessions. It was so challenging to change the structure of our TLS curriculum to meet this schedule. In the long run it worked so well. It allowed us to isolate the struggles that the students believe they and their classmates have and tackle them one at a time. The 4th grade is still the most challenging class at JVS but the difference from the first week to the last is indescribable. –Brian, Jefferson


I’m so glad I started an after school program for students in grades 4-6. It was a great way to get to know kids in a non-school setting. I loved helping out with outdoor education programs on Tuesday and Thursday mornings designated for grades K-4, and leading yoga classes during the 7th and 8th grade study hall sessions. Bringing the kids to Kieve is always a big hit. It’s great when they say, “You live here?!”! I loved seeing the same kids every day. It’s great to be able to make a long term connection. –Kasie, Great Salt Bay


I started playing foursquare with the 6th grade boys at recess every day. Besides my love for foursquare, I decided to join because these boys are notorious for constantly changing the rules and then arguing about them. One day, I was walking inside afterwards with two of the guys talking about it. One says to me: “Mr. Munger, I think you’re magic.” And I laughed and asked why he thought so. He responds by saying, “Because we didn’t argue at all really and no one stormed off in a fit of rage.” I asked him if he thought there were any other factors in making the game feel different. He pointed out that we only stuck to the basic rules, and said, “I think simpler is better.” I really didn’t do all much during that particular game if I’m being honest. I just nudged them towards remembering to enjoy a simple and great game, without getting caught up in the rules. –Dave, Hope


A few of the highlights from my time at Lincoln Academy are playing life sized Jenga with my First Year Advisories, cooking Japanese dumplings at Teague, and playing soccer at the Pitch with some residential students. –Matt, Lincoln Academy


Posted in: News |

Kieve-Wavus Alumni Wilderness Trip on the St. Croix

This year’s Alumni Wilderness Trip is on the sublime St. Croix River!

Sun, Aug 12, 2018, 2:00 PM – Thu, Aug 16, 2018, 4:00 PM

Arrive at Wavus Sunday, August 12 mid afternoon. Hit the gear shed, hit the Jewell for lobsters, and hit the hay for a great night of rest to pack up and out for an early departure on Monday, August 13. Paddle Monday afternoon, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning. Return to Wavus on Thursday afternoon, August 16 and spend another evening on Damariscotta Lake before hitting the road.

Registration fee covers Sunday dinner, 4 days of paddling; we’ll supply canoes, paddles, PFDs, tents, dry bags, food, etc. and Thursday dinner too.

Trip is limited so register early.


Wavus Camp for Girls
88 Wavus Point Road
Jefferson, ME 04348

Call us. 207-549-5719 or email Joy at

Posted in: News |

Loranger and King EIRs 2018

Loranger’s Educator in Residence: Sam M.

A few blocks from the Old Orchard Beach coast sits Loranger Memorial School, a home away from home for many, including myself. My name is Sam Mengual and this is my second winter working at Loranger. I have experienced a huge amount of growth between my first and second year as an EIR. While my first winter was primarily spent getting to know students and faculty and helping out as an extra set of hands around school, my second year has been improved by the incredible amount of freedom I have been given by teachers to create my own curriculum.

My schedule remains relatively the same week-to-week with my home base in the 6th grade. On Mondays I work with Ms. Gaudreau’s math classes combining The Leadership School curriculum with the math unit the students are currently in. This past week, I combined the TLS activity, “Xerox,” where one must describe how to draw something to their partner without showing them what it is, with tangram sets, which are seven geometric shapes that when combined create an image. For this class I gave one partner an image of an animal made up of tangram shapes and the other partner a tangram set. The partner with the image had to explain to the partner with the shapes how to create the animal without giving any visual ques. Students got to practice their geometry vocabulary along with their communication skills.

On Tuesdays I work with Ms. Rossignol’s English and language arts class. This winter I have found that this is the most difficult subject to combine with TLS curriculum, which is not what I expected. I’ve had success combining our activity, “Feeling’s Marketplace,” with writing fiction stories. I split the class into two groups and play a Catchphrase style game where each team tries to get the opposing team to guess the emotion words I hold up on cards behind them. After the teams are done guessing all the emotion words, I split them into small groups of four or five students and gave them seven different emotions they needed to incorporate into a fiction story they wrote together. In this activity, the students get to practice their writing skills as well as describing and talking about emotions.

Wednesdays are typically a prep day for me. I plan my lesson plans for the next week and coordinate TLS programming for the spring season. Thursday begins with me working in Mrs. Cone-Sabo’s room with the special education 6th graders. Unlike the other traditional classrooms, this class ranges from four to six students, so I have the ability to do more one-on-one work with the students. I help them with their coursework, facilitate some of my own activities, and play games with the students as a reward. Through my work in this class, I have learned many techniques to facilitate activities and teach children with different learning abilities, and I have found the value in working closely with students to help them be successful.

I work in Mrs. Seaver’s science class on Fridays. My undergraduate degree is in science, so I was most excited to work within this curriculum. This winter, the students have learned about astronomy and are now working through a weather unit. A few Fridays ago I ran an interactive activity where the students worked in small groups of three to act out different aspects of the solar system. The groups worked together to understand how different planets orbited and rotated on their axis while the rest of the class offered the actors constructive feedback. We had a discussion about the importance of feedback and what good feedback is then practiced those skills in the classroom. The students worked on communicating feedback in respectful way and understanding how the solar system works.

Along with working in the 6th grade I work with each of the three 5th grade homerooms once a week. My work with the 5th grade is different from the 6th grade because they have not been to Kieve yet. I focus primarily on running TLS activities with the students to give them a taste of what their experience at Kieve will be next fall. The work I have done with the 5th grade has proven to be beneficial because it allows the students to get comfortable with an educator and have some background in our curriculum before, which makes their transition to living and learning at Kieve much smoother.

Being the Educator in Residence at Loranger has given me the opportunity to work in a traditional school setting and be a part of a team. The incredible women on the 6th grade team, my mentor Matt Michaud, the school social worker, and Judy Milligan, the school guidance counselor, have all taken me under their wing and helped me learn more about my own career goals. I walk out of our weekly Tuesday meetings amazed by how much they do for their students on top of teaching. They are truly inspiring, but never look for praise or thanks and also have the greatest most compassionate hearts of anyone I have ever met. I genuinely don’t know how they do it all. They are more than just mentors; they are also my friends. We share laughs, movie reviews, and recipes at our daily lunches and even get together outside of school. It’s been amazing to see what the lifestyle is of a teacher and how I can see myself fitting into this role in the future.

For my last week at Loranger I will continue to follow my weekly schedule with Friday as a culminating event called STAR day. The STAR acronym stands for “safe, taking responsibility, accepting and respectful.” Four TLS educators will join me at Loranger for a day full of TLS activities and climbing with the portable wall for the 6th grade students. In April, three educators and I will meet the 5th grade students at University of New England for a ‘field day’ with climbing and more TLS programming. The 5th grade class will also come up to Kieve for a visit in May to tour the cabins, have lunch, and get a feel for what staying at Kieve will be like. These visits after the winter is over creates continuity for the 5th grade students and eases their transition Kieve as 6th graders in the October because they already know some educators, how the daily schedule works, and what the cabins and food are like.

My time as an EIR at Loranger has been the most valuable thing I have done as an educator at The Leadership School. While I love living at Kieve and working with a new group each week, spending two winters working in one community has been an invaluable experience. I have gotten to know students on a deeper level and understand their relationships with peers and what their lives are like outside of school. Having all of this background knowledge about a student helps me teach the full individual. I have loved my experience in Old Orchard Beach and I am so grateful for the faculty at Loranger who have given me the freedom to try out different activities in their classroom.


King’s Educator in Residence: Sam C.

King Middle School is nationally recognized as a successful model of Expeditionary Learning. The approximate 500 students that comprise the school’s sixth, seventh and eighth grade population contribute to King being one of the most diverse – racially, economically and ethnically. On my first day working with a classroom of sixth graders, I learned that eight different languages were spoken among the twenty students present.


Within the parameters of expeditionary learning, King students participate in eight to twelve week learning expeditions. Each one starts with a kickoff event to gain students’ interest and ends with a culminating event where the students showcase their knowledge in an interactive way. In addition to being graded academically, students receive HOWL (habits of work and learning) grades in respect, responsibility and perseverance. Each student belongs to a small community, called a crew, which meets once every six days for 45 minutes. A seventh grade teacher explained this as “an opportunity for students to develop of sense of community through participating in communication, relationship and teambuilding skills. In these small groups, every kid has a chance to be accounted for, have an informal check in with an adult, and for classmates to get to know them on a deeper level.”

I have had the incredible opportunity to be welcomed into the King community for ten weeks each winter, for the past four years. I have watched students fail and succeed and learn and grow during their middle school careers. One of my favorite moments this winter was watching a very shy and timid sixth grade student who was afraid to speak in front of her peers last year, stand up as a seventh grader and present at her culminating even in front of students, teachers and community members at the Audubon.


As the Educator in Residence program has expanded, so has my role at King. The school is made up of two houses: York and Windsor, each with a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade group. During my first winter, I facilitated TLS style activities each week with one house and supported students in other houses academically. This winter, I have had the opportunity to work directly with students in five of the six houses. The teachers at King have been very supportive of The Leadership School message as it ties directly into the crew activities they run with their students each week. They have trusted me to take over classes each week and instead run TLS initiatives. I am able to prepare 6th grade students for their trip to Kieve in October, continue the message from 7th graders experience at Kieve, and challenge the 8th graders social emotional learning even further.

When students run up to me asking, “What class are you in today? When do we have you next? And “Is today a ‘Sam’ day?” a smile immediately takes over. Being able to teach students experientially is a privilege. I start each of my classes reminding students of my two expectations. The first comes directly from TLS, “I expect you to treat each other with kindness and respect,” followed by, “I will never speak over you.” This gives students agency and the tools to be successful in a social emotional realm.

Each day looks, sounds and feels a little different. An onlooker from the outside of the classroom I am working in may see objects flying around the room, kids with cards on their forehead, or students squished together, balancing on a few polydots. As people walk past, they may hear excited yelling from being successful in a challenge, arguing over what idea to try next in a team exercise, bartering as students trade resources or cheering for a student who is facing their fear of heights. Students feel a range of emotions through each activity, ranging from frustration to excitement to happiness to a revelation from the light bulb going off as they recognize the deeper meaning of the activity they just participated in. Each challenge ends with them debriefing each part of that experience.

Teachers have been able to request bigger themes and issues that they want me to work on with their students. It has challenged me to put spins on old activities and create new ones, which is what experiential education is all about.


I have also had the opportunity to work directly with my incredible site mentor Rhonda, in the gym each week. I set the traversing wall as part of the introduction to the climbing unit. Rhonda and I run belay school for students and then they have had the opportunity to climb the wall and high elements in the gym. This is certainly a highlight for many.


Looking back and looking forward, I have experienced firsthand the value that the EIR program has, especially over multiple years. I have seen improvement in students from year to year, over the winter and from one activity to the next. In my final week, I plan on doing a fun closing activity with each house. For the eighth grade, however, the two students who participated in Leads Week will have the opportunity to facilitate and debrief an activity for their classmates. I am sad that we only have one week left but feel very fortunate to have this opportunity. I may be headed back to Kieve soon, but will remain a part of the King community.  I will continue to coach the girl’s track team and will return to perform in the faculty talent show in April (as it is King’s biggest fundraiser for the seventh grade trip to Kieve in October).

Sam C. also wrote about her time at King back in 2015. Check it out here:

Posted in: News |

The Loyalty Fund 2018 Annual Fundraiser

Friends of the Loyalty Fund,

April is right around the corner, which as well know means one thing and one thing only: it’s time for our annual Press Box Fundraiser!

For those who haven’t joined us in the past, this is our annual NYC fundraiser, bringing in people from across the country to raise awareness and help support a great cause. Started 11 years ago, the Loyalty Fund raises money to help provide the Summer Camp experience to kids who wouldn’t otherwise.

Prepare for an evening full of the kind of fun that’s only achievable with a Kieve-Wavus crowd! $50 tickets will get you an open bar, bar bites, raffle tickets, and the knowledge that you’ll be helping to send a kid to Summer camp!

Saturday, April 14, 2018
9:00 PM to 12:00 AM
The Press Box
932 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10022


We hope you plan on stopping by and, as always, feel free to bring friends and family!

Sam, Cory, Connor, Amaury, Emma and Marge

#FORTHEKIDS! #loyaltyfund

Posted in: News |

Jefferson and South Bristol EIRs and February Break 2018

Jefferson’s Educator In Residence: Brian

I am Brian Sperry. This winter I have had the opportunity to spend my time, in the Educator in Residence program, with the students and faculty of Jefferson Village School. The EIR program is brand new to JVS, so needless to say, I could hardly contain my excitement to start this journey with them and share the Kieve-Wavus message. The things I help students with at JVS are ever changing; the social emotional needs of the student body are great, and just like with most kids in 2018, social media compounds the issues that they deal with. Whether the issues stem from home or from school, the students are followed by them and are bombarded, again and again, when they choose to access one of their numerous screens.

When I began the EIR position this January, numerous teachers and administrators told me that the need for social emotional understanding was high at JVS, but that there wasn’t much room in the schedule for me to teach our TLS curriculum or mentor students outside of the lunch hour. I saw this as my first task; find the time. I started off by working with whichever teachers were interested, or would give me any time out of their classes to work with students. The times seemed sporadic and my schedule was like a jigsaw puzzle; I would break up larger lesson plans into 15-minute chunks to be taught over multiple days, it wasn’t ideal but it was working. After a few weeks, a couple of teachers approached me about the changes they had seen in their students and asked if I could work with them on a more regular basis. I was invited to work with classes I hadn’t yet, and it was decided that I could work regularly with a group of the “tougher” students in the eighth grade; they had found the time.

Now, in my eighth week of the EIR program, I have a fairly regular schedule. I say “fairly” only because there are small gaps in it that I would love to see filled. I am using our TLS curriculum to teach social-emotional learning to every grade except the first grade and kindergarten, working more regularly with the grade levels that have the most need for it, and facilitating a social skills group with a number of eighth grade boys three days a week. I am busier than ever and am really making a difference in the lives of the students and staff here.

Teaching a curriculum similar to what we do at TLS takes up a little more than half of my time at Jefferson. The teachers identified the social and emotional skills that each grade or group of students is lacking, and I have tailored the curriculum for my classes accordingly. For example, I was told that the sixth grade has trouble working with others that they see as belonging in different social groups, so I work with them twice a week on accepting each other’s differences and compromising with peers. As my time with each grade has become more regular, it has been an absolute pleasure to watch the students fail, succeed, and grow together. Conversations about real social and emotional issues, that I didn’t think were possible week one, happen regularly after most activities.

The rest of my time at JVS is split up amongst a few other things; the most notable is mentoring students in smaller “social-skills” groups. In particular, I have had much success with a group of eighth grade boys I work with three times a week. These boys have had a hard time following rules, taking directions, and keeping up on their schoolwork. The work I have been able to do with them is centered on controlling their own emotions and making healthier decisions. Using these ideas, the boys are able to set goals, create and practice coping mechanisms, are willing and able to identify unhealthy decisions, and discuss why they make them. Though it has not always been easy with them, there have been moments when they seemed uninterested or wanted to throw punches instead of talk it out, a lot of progress has been made. It is really wonderful to watch these young men workshop ideas on how to better their situations and control their emotions with each other.

My time at Jefferson Village School has been well spent. Though it started off feeling like I was scraping together moments throughout the day to work with the students, now I feel like an integral part of the community. Teachers ask my opinion on tough situations and issues, and for the most part the student body is interested in discussing and working through the social and emotional issues that follow them day-to-day.

8th Grade All-Star Week

During February Vacation, we invite four high achieving students from a group of the schools involved in our Educator In Residence program to stay at Kieve and participate in what we call Kieve All-Star Week. This week is all about students working together to improve themselves and their communities. This year, 35 students from nine EIR schools joined us for the week. These students focused on understanding empathy, causing positive change in their communities, and practicing small group facilitation.


To better understand empathy, we ask kids to discuss their communities; the things they love about them and the challenges they find in them. We ask them to think about the hardships that other community’s members face and the things they themselves would like to see changed. By brainstorming the wants and needs of each of their individual communities, our hope is that students will be able to connect in some way with the members of their communities that need help the most.

During the course of the week, students discuss the challenges and hardships that are present in their communities; ultimately, they choose one and begin the action plan process. Students work together to create “action plans,” plans to help those affected by the challenges and hardships present in their communities or ways to help better their communities in general.

Students also have a chance to learn how to facilitate activities of small groups during this week. The students learn the basics of the team process and reflection from our educators in the beginning of the week, and then design their own experiential education activities in which they practice facilitating an activity and a reflection process with a group of their peers. Our hope is that these students can take their newfound facilitation skills back to their communities and create a positive change.


Kieve All-Star Week is a wonderful opportunity for these extraordinary students to take their first steps in becoming agents of change for their communities. It’s also an opportunity for us as Leadership School educators to continue our work with our students, allowing us to create a longer lasting change in the kids of Maine and their communities.

South Bristol’s Educator in Residence: Katrina

South Bristol is the smallest school participating in our Educator in Residence program, with only five classrooms in the K-8 school. Because of that, I am only there twice a week, but I’ve still had plenty of time to get to know the school and the students!

On Wednesdays I spend most of my morning working with Mrs. Giles-Brown, who is the Physical Education teacher. We see students from kindergarten to fourth grade, and she runs a variety of games and activities. One of my favorites is the roller blading unit for the third and fourth grade class. They’ve improved so much, and I love encouraging them and hearing all of the “did you see me do that?”, and  “can you watch me practice my routine?”. After lunch I work with the kindergartners a little bit, either helping out in their classroom or running little activities to get them working together. I end my day in the fifth and sixth grade class working on their Quest project, which Mr. Bigonia describes as “poetic scavenger hunt designed to teach the quester about a particular location and to get him/her outside and active in the community”. It’s fun to learn about the history of South Bristol with the students, and I usually try to join a different small group each week to get to know the students better. (more South Bristol quest information here:

On Friday’s I primarily work with the guidance counselor, Mrs. Edgar, leading guidance classes. She has been great about letting me run some TLS curriculum, some of which we’ve been modifying due to age and some really small class sizes. We’ve been working to frame our activities to focus on South Bristol’s character traits: self-control person, self-control school work, curiosity, zest, grit, social intelligence, gratitude, and optimism. Some discussions have gone better than other, but it’s been an interesting way to run the curriculum, and I think the kids enjoyed it.

One of my favorite activities so far has been the community maps project we did my second week there, where I asked every class to draw a map of their community. It’s a very open-ended prompt, but they did well with it, and it was interesting to see what they thought was important enough to add to the map (for example, the kindergarten students LOVE kittens, and made sure to include the cat tape dispenser in theirs).

In the few remaining weeks, I’m looking forward to having the fifth, six, and seventh graders at Kieve for a day, and spending more time with all of the students at South Bristol School.

February Adventure Camp

During February vacation, Kieve hosted local students for Adventure Camp, a day camp for kids in grades pre-K to 6th. Many of the kids have joined us for the camp in previous years, so it’s always fun to see familiar faces and catch up with the kids.

One of the favorite parts of Adventure Camp for some participants is the climbing wall in Buck, where they have the opportunity to climb each day they’re with us. Typically the climbing wall is open, and then the oldest group gets to try a trickier element on Thursday, and everyone had the opportunity to try the flying squirrel on Friday.

Other highlights for the week included lots of outdoor play, slime making, melty beads, and delicious meals from the dining hall.


We’re looking forward to another great week of camp in April, for more information visit our website:

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Boothbay and Hope EIRs 2018

Boothbay’s Educator in Residence: Skyler

I have had the great opportunity to work at Boothbay Region Elementary School this winter.  From my first week of EIR I have truly felt the warmth of the strong community they have created.  At BRES I work with students from pre-K to 8th grade.  Each day my schedule is filled with P.E., library, art, music, and guidance classes.  During these “specials” I have been given many opportunities to run the classes helping the students to practice teamwork, friendly competition, patience for others, along with kindness and respect through The Leadership School curriculum.  I am also able to connect with students in a more relaxed setting during lunch groups with 4th through 7th graders and by sitting with pre-K through 3rd graders during their lunch blocks.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the excitement the students have for the lunch groups.  Many of them, especially the 4th graders, will ask me every day when their class gets to have lunch group again. I have loved getting to know students during this time.  It has become a time where they get to be the teachers.  Teaching each other new games and sharing about their lives with me and their classmates.  These face to face opportunities where students share with not only their friends but with all of their classmates is critical in creating a safe and inclusive community that we must help make for children, especially in these scary times of school shootings.

In more recent weeks I have started working with each 7th grade homeroom once a week during their study hall time.  Each homeroom teacher has given me goals to work on with their students, and I have been facilitating activities based on the skills their teachers want them to practice.  Through these classes I hope not only to practice TLS values and skills, but to also get the students excited about their week at Kieve which is coming up quickly at the end of March.  Although I will be sad when EIR ends, I look forward to seeing the 7th graders again on the Kieve campus and watching them grow during their time at The Leadership School.

Hope’s Educator in Residence: Dave

I am new in the Hope Elementary School community. Brand new actually—I started two weeks ago! Despite my newness, the school has welcomed me whole-heartedly. The teachers have been incredibly excited about brainstorming with me to find ways I can get involved, and help with the social and emotional needs of their students.

Since my first day, I have been working with every level of the elementary school and middle school. I see grades PK-4 four days a week. Most other grades I see at least once a week, usually more.

With K-4 classes, my main goals are to provide movement breaks and activities that shift the focus away from class content for a bit. Especially with those lower grades, I use activities where they have to play well with each other without focusing on competition, and that give them a chance to use their voices and share about themselves.

In the middle school, the 6th grade is setting goals for this semester so that they can make sure to be on time to class, and prepared to do good efficient work. We started by learning about SMART goals—specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Along these guidelines, the class discussed what they needed to do to be prepared and on time consistently in every class. They set up a timeline for their goal, and established checkpoints to reach along the way so that they could track their progress. The best part is that the class was motivated to change. As a result, they worked together to establish reasonable group goals, and to help keep each other accountable.

As the 8th grade preps to enter high school, we have been doing some more challenging team building activities. We are focused specifically on compartmentalizing tasks within a group while still managing all the pieces to work towards a larger picture. Hopefully, this will help the 8th graders to build their skill and confidence in advocating for themselves as individuals to work productively with other people—a skill that will be vital in high school.

On the first Friday I was there, I worked with the technology specialist Mr. Porter to set up a breakout activity for the 8th graders. The breakout activities are similar to escape rooms. They are specific scenarios that require group problem solving to find and piece together clues. Each clue works with other clues sequentially to allow students to discover the combinations to various locks on boxes. There is a time limit on this activity, which adds pressure and demands that various small groups are working on multiple tasks at once. Honestly, the activity seemed so fun that it was hard to step back and not join in in solving all the puzzles. It was a great way to lead into a weekend.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve decided my biggest challenge is getting to know the students. Best way to start? Learn their names. Even though it seems like such a simple, small thing, I think it’s the most important part of my job this winter. I want to be able to walk through the hallway and say Hi to and check in with particular kids, and show that care for them as individuals. If I can do that, then hopefully, kids will be able to see me as a regular part of their lives, and I will stand a much better chance of making a difference in the community.

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Teton Science School VP of Educator Development Opportunity


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Great Salt Bay and Wood Hill EIRs 2018

Great Salt Bay’s Educator in Residence: Kasie

This week I have helped several age groups in many different areas. I discussed decision making and time management with the 7th and 8th grade health classes, led team building activities with the 5th and 6th grade, practiced yoga with students in grades 4-8, went on a trip to the DRA, and brought the 3rd grade class to Kieve for a small team building activity and a fire at our Westcott point. On Friday I will be bringing a group of 5th graders to Kieve to both climb and teambuilding. Below, I will highlight on a few things I have done.

Health class – time management 

I have observed the 7th and 8th grade study hall sessions. Many of the students are really good at wasting their time, either trying to talk to friends (when they should be silent) or playing games on the computer rather than actually doing their homework. Why? Wouldn’t it make so much more sense to get your work done at school so that when you get home you have less to worry about?  That sounds like the smartest thing to do for an adult, but for a kid, that’s the last thing they would think to do.

During Monday’s health class, the 7th grade class worked on time management. I led an open discussion of what types of decisions we make everyday from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed. Afterwards, the students created their daily schedule (hour by hour). What do they spend their time doing? Being active with their friends and family? Watching TV? Studying? They had to account for every waking hour of their day.

Hopefully, the kids started to see what they should be doing and what they actually are doing.

TLS with Ms. Jackson and Ms. K’s class
I was able to lead a team building activity with Ms. Jackson’s class during their gym period as well as the normal time slot for Ms. K’s class.

Ms. Jackson’s class – Hula hoop Pass & Stargate
I have been able to meet with Ms. Jackson’s class more than any other class when it comes to working within the TLS cirriculum. She teaches a 5/6 grade, so there are a handful of students whom I was able to work with last year making it a bit easier for them to come together as a group. We started out with the hula hoop pass activity.  They passed with flying colors. Afterwards, we worked on stargate. One of the students had an excellent idea. They did it and again flying colors, atleast on the outside. During our debrief we had a discussion on how the activity went. Many students admitted that although it looked like it ran smoothly, many things could have gone better. We discussed how people were having their own side conversations and not participating for the entire length of the activity, and that many people did their part then did their own thing. Although it was quite and people got through, they were all jammed together and not listening to suggestions that were made. We then discussed how we could make these better in the future.

In Ms. K’s class, we went completed one round of hula hoop pass then discussed what went well and what could have gone better. As with Ms. Jackson’s class, Ms. K’s class realized that they needed to listen to each other better, to fully participate in the activity, and to be focused for the entire activity, not just their part. Next week, we will pick up with star gate.

YOGA 7th grade
This was the second session of yoga at the Y with me for the 7th and 8th grades who chose to participate during their study hall time. I had a few of the same folks from last week and a few new faces. Im glad that I am able to offer a time for the kids to relax, focus on their breathing, and to only worry about being in the moment. This will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the rest my time at EIR.

YOGA 4th-6th  (afterschool program)
This week for the afterschool program we did yoga. It was really interesting to see how different it is for the younger kids than the older ones. We really focused on our breathing, our postures, as well as some stretches. Its always nice when your kids tell you how much they enjoyed the yoga session :)
For the last 30 minutes, we played clap ball, a game that requires you to be focused the entire time! It was pretty awesome!

DRA – 2nd grade  
This week for the outdoor adventure days, we took the 2nd grade to the DRA. Here they were split into groups of 3 going to different stations that included looking for tracks, naming different trees, and sledding. A highlight of this trip was watching a fox across the water pounce into the snow trying to catch a mouse. The fox was in our sight for over 30 minutes trying to catch its prey.

Jill is Kasie’s site mentor, and a former TLS employee!

3rd grade to Kieve Thursday the 3rd grade came to Kieve, a trip that had to be rescheduled from last month due to weather. What a great day to be outside! Once the kids arrived on site, we headed to PQ for a quick break then split into 3 groups. Afterwards, we all walked down the fire pit at Wescott point. Here we stayed in our groups and inch wormed our way to a certain point testing our teamwork. My group did such a good job working with one another that we decided to do it again, the other way. The second time, it didn’t go as smoothly as the kids were very excited to start building a fire but they really enjoyed being a small group working together towards a common goal. We then had a “free period” where kids could go around and build forts and play in the snow. As I started the fire, I had a group of kids helping me making the fire grow. It was a wonderful day with a great group. We ended the day with a walk around campus and a stop in at PQ to drink some hot chocolate.


Wood Hill’s Educator in Residence: Kelci

Hi! My name is Kelci O’Neill, and this winter I have been the Educator in Residence for Wood Hill Middle School in Andover, Massachusetts! I have been working alongside our principal Patrick Bucco, and our assistant principal Linda Croteau. This is my second year as an EIR, previously I co-ran an after school program at Nobleboro Central School in Nobleboro, Maine.

Since Kieve’s EIR program began, they have been placing educators in schools throughout the state of Maine to build connections with their students and community. This is the first time that a school out of state has decided to have an EIR at their school, which is so exciting! I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity to work with the Wood Hill students and the community of Andover. Besides being downright tropical compared to Maine, Massachusetts has differences other than the temperature. The students here are a different population than the rural Maine towns I am used to working with. Because of this, I have had to adjust the connections I make with students to get an in with them. I tackled this in the first week by taking music recommendations from the students and listening to them on my commute to and from work to get immersed in the full effect of middle school angst.

I have found my home in many places all over the school. I frequent the science classes to learn about earthquakes, the music classes to learn the ukulele, and the gym classes to play basketball with the students (apparently I am a baller). Also, I have been doing TLS curriculum with each of the grades in a different capacity. I have been teaching communication, kindness and respect, and team building with the 6th graders. In 7th grade, I have been working in conjunction with the engineering teacher Mr. Tisbert to have the students build bridges in teams and then collaborate on a final product. With the 8th grade I have developed a goal setting curriculum that they will show to their high school guidance counselors. I have also been a mentor for students in informal settings during the school day. I go to every lunch period and sit with students, play cards or go outside with them during recess, and I have even started an informal Kieve lunch bunch for 6th graders who need an extra bit of leadership in their life.

Everyone at Wood Hill has been so welcoming that I almost don’t want to leave. I hope to make the best of my last few weeks here, and I hope that what I have worked to achieve at Wood Hill will prepare the 6th graders for Kieve, expand the knowledge learned by the 7th graders while at Kieve, and will prepare the 8th graders for a better high school experience.

You can follow Kelci’s EIR adventures on her blog:

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