Kieve-Wavus Blog

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: https://southbristolmathandscience.weebly.com/quests.html)

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: https://kievewavus.org/kw/educational-programs/the-leadership-school/adventure-camp/263

Posted in: News |

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.

Posted in: Leadership School |

Teton Science School VP of Educator Development Opportunity

DO YOU KNOW OF ANYONE THAT WOULD BE A GREAT CANDIDATE? PASS IT ALONG!

VP of Educator Development Job Description Posted in: News |

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: https://kelcioneill.wixsite.com/website

Posted in: News |

Lincoln Academy EIR 2018

Matt:

While the played-out high school stereotypes – the anxiety producing cacophony of the dining hall, death defying conversations in the hallways between classes, and pretending to understand words like “past participle” – are all part of the package as KW’s only high school EIRs, my first moments at Lincoln Academy have turned out to more aptly define how special this experience has been thus far. As I arrived on my first day, parking (unbeknownst to me) in the student lot, I closed my door and turned around to be greeted by the three smiling faces of students exiting the beater next to me. “Hi!” they said, “Are you new here? Welcome!” Slightly overwhelmed and caught off guard thinking about the unintended consequences of shaving I laughed and responded “Well you’re not entirely wrong – can you show me where the office is?” To be honest, I wasn’t expecting such an overwhelming display of warmth, but that’s what I’ve become accustom to here at LA. I’ve been welcomed and helped along my way by the supportive staff and students that make this place so special.

My days since then have been primarily filled by working down the hill at the alternative education program Teague Street. It has been an eye-opening and powerful experience broadening my horizons as an educator and mentor. The small class size has allowed me to develop good relationships with the students and the open self-guided class structure makes it easy for me to get involved. Some highlights from Teague include cooking Gyoza and Korean Rice Bowls as a part of an Asian cuisine week, weekly trips to the DRA, and weekly trips to Kieve to do some TLS curriculum. We also work with First-Year Advisory groups going through leadership curriculum with them on a weekly basis, facilitate open gym during lunch, and we work doing after school programming for the boarding students twice a week. Some greatest hits from the residential programming include ice skating at the DRA, playing soccer at the Pitch, and Big Prize Bingo! These experiences have aided us to get valuable name recognition and face time up on campus to develop more relationships with students. All in all, my time at Lincoln Academy so far has been a blast and I am grateful for all the support I have gotten from LA staff and KW staff alike!

Eli:

Howdy! My name is Eli Campbell and this is my first EIR experience. I’m working with First Year Advisory groups, alternative Ed program called IDEAL, and with the afterschool residential program alongside Matt Moss-Hawkins. At the IDEAL house, our mornings include activities like shoveling snow, watching documentaries, working at the DRA, and working on personal student projects. In the afternoon, I help students work on their academics in 1-on-1 or 2-on-1 settings. My role in this program is to primarily be a positive role model in the eyes of these nine young men, and to help them with academics when I can. In this sense, I’ve really taken the literal Celtic meaning of the word Kieve “to strive in emulation of” to heart, because I know I can make a large difference in a short amount of time to these boys. It’s been a crazy, emotional, yet important experience in my development as an educator and young adult, especially because I’ve never been exposed to the problems the majority of these boys face on a daily basis.

Our time up at the main school building has been great, albeit short. I think that we are finally starting to see our work in first year advisor programs pay off, and our time working with the residential programs has been fun and rewarding for both Matt and myself, as well as the students.

Overall, Lincoln Academy has treated me well so far! It’s been an awesome experience working with a particular group of students for an extended period of time, as opposed to the short, week-long period at TLS. As a result, I really get to spread the Kieve message of kindness and respect on a consistent basis. Moreover, I am currently applying to several school counseling graduate programs, and my experience (especially in the IDEAL program) at Lincoln Academy has provided me with a tremendous and invaluable experience and glimpse into what my future may hold.

Posted in: News |

Alumni Feature: Andrew P. Davis

Andrew “Woody” P. Davis
Kieve 1986-90, 1992-94; Kieve Council 1996-01; KW West Co-Leader 2002-04
Stanford University; B.A. Class of 2001; School of Education M.Ed. and M.B.A. Class of 2008

Woody grew up in Alexandria, VA and discovered Kieve one summer while accompanying his parents on their way to pick up his older sister Brooke, who attended Camp on Sebago Lake. Woody fondly recalls meeting Dick Kennedy and standing on the deck of Pasquaney looking out over Damariscotta Lake and imagining the greatness of Island Swim. The very next summer, newly 8 years old and his first time at camp, Woody was grateful to the presence of the Kieve men and women and their ability to be of a comfort to him while he was away from his home for the first time. It was a new family.

Reminiscing about camp:
• Favorite Meal at Pasquaney—Les the Chef’s American Chop Suey
• Least favorite meal on the trail: Tuna. And, Mayonnaise. Mrs. Davis filled out Woody’s Health Form as “Allergic to Tuna” so he would not have to consume either on a hot summer day.
• Woodys’ two favorite trips as camper were Maine Trails because he loves to hike AND the Allagash because; it rained 13 of the 14 days on the Allagash.
• Woody’s favorite trip as counselor is a three-way tie between Allagash, Maine Trails and North Glenayr. (There is some magic in the first overnight experience!)
• Most of all, Woody‘s fondest memory is walking to Kistler Point by candlelight for closing ceremony. Though it was always bittersweet, he has deep love for the ritual and ceremony.

Once a Foodie, Always a Foodie:
Woody took a gap year between high school and college and did a semester at NOLS where he mastered “backpacker baking.” At Kieve the next summer, while camped by Allagash Falls with his cabin, he baked a chocolate cake from scratch and covered it with the wild raspberries he picked. You can’t beat chocolate cake!
Words of Wisdom on why being a Camp Counselor matters:
Being a counselor will set you apart. “There is no greater responsibility than being responsible for other peoples’ lives, and out on the trail you have to learn how to deal. It doesn’t get any more real. You become a valuable asset to future employers when you know how to deal in the real world. You have an experience no one else has.”
Also, your connections at Kieve-Wavus provide you with lifelong networking opportunities. Due to his Kieve Counselor connection with The Abbey Family, Woody was able to network and start a teaching position. Why? “Doug trusted me with his son in the Maine Wilderness. That carried over into later years when looking for a teaching position. He could speak to my ability and character through our shared experience at Kieve.”

Life Lessons:
The biggest lesson Woody learned at Kieve was resiliency. He reflected in his college application essay describing , his first time on the Mud Pond Portage when he put his canoe down and sat on the side of the trail and cried. No one stopped. They all kept portaging gear; they all kept going. Woody realized that he too had to do it; he had to finish the portage because no one was going to finish it for him. So he picked up his canoe and he pushed through the discomfort and accomplished something truly amazing. To this day, Woody shares this story with parents of his students. He advises them that, “Kids need struggle. They need to know that they have it within themselves to accomplish great things; they will find themselves in the struggle.”

Inspiration for His Professional Life:
Becoming a teacher was a “no brainer.” Woody’s greatest mentors at Kieve were teachers. “All the guys who I so admired became teachers. I assumed I should do the same,” so that is what he did. Woody then set his sights on becoming a Head of School.

Woody is the Head of School at Mt. Tamalpais (Mt. Tam) and resides in Mill Valley, CA with his wife Robin and their two children, Harrison (5) and Hauck (3).

Posted in: Alumni Stories & History, News |

Medomak and Memorial EIRs 2018

Medomak’s Educator in Residence: Drewsie

My name is Alex Drew, but everyone knows me as Drewsie. I have the privilege of spending this winter in Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro. My main focus is on mentorship; becoming a trusted ally and friend for all students. During classes and study halls, I sit and chat with students. Sometimes about schoolwork, but also about themselves. I ask about what they are interested in and what their families are like. I am intentional in letting the students direct conversations- they are usually more than happy to share information with me. I weave TLS values like kindness and respect into our conversations, and help guide students as they set goals and envision their future selves. Middle schoolers are always changing, so no day for me is the same. Some days, I sit with the student who is alone at a table in class and read while they do their reading so they have a buddy. I help students understand science concepts by holding a plastic pipe while they send water and ball bearings down it. I find students taking a break in the hallway and ask them what’s going on. I walk outside on the track with students who need to vent. I spend 50 minutes each day on the 4-Square court, goofing off and having fun, but also reminding students what good sportsmanship looks like and pulling them aside if they need a gentle reminder.

EIR gives me a fantastic opportunity to build long-lasting relationships and make the values we talk about at TLS more applicable to real life. It is one thing to talk about kindness and respect at TLS, but another thing to apply in to present school situations, such as texting drama or using foul language. I have truly enjoyed this opportunity so far, and hope TLS continues to send EIRs to Medomak for years to come!

Memorial’s Educator in Residence: Will

When Kieve-Wavus first started the Educator in Residence program, we wanted to find a way to continue to get involved in schools which we thought were bought in to The Leadership School’s values and teachings. Memorial Middle School is a place that does just that!

My name is Will Hackett and I have been the Educator in Residence at Memorial for the past four winters. Over the past four years my role at Memorial has grown and evolved into a position which I spend a lot of the year looking forward to. When I first started at Memorial I was placed in the English Language Learners room to be an extra set of hands.  So, I would spend my days in ELL classes and wandering the hallways saying hi to familiar faces and giving out lots of high fives to students as they walked from class to class. Often hearing “You’re the Kieve guy, right? Why are you here?” I also would spend time checking in on sixth grade classrooms and saying hi to both teachers and students who had attended TLS in the fall. As time went on I found myself dealing with lots of different student conflicts in the ELL room and in the halls. The more conflict I dealt with, the more I realized how much I enjoyed enabling students to resolve their conflicts peacefully with each other and helping them develop strategies to prevent conflicts from arising in the future. It was at about this point that I started learning about Restorative Practices. An alternative to detentions, the restorative process is a way to get students and teachers in conflict to empathize with each other. The idea being that if you can empathize with someone whom you have a problem with, and if you can see and feel the affect you have on not only the other person but the community, then you can want to create a positive change.

Fast forward to today, now here I am in my fourth year as the Memorial Middle School Educator in Residence. I still get to work with the ELL students every day and help out in the office doing restorative work with Principal Megan Welter and Assistant Principal Rebecca Stern, but I also have been working with the Guidance office running mindfulness activities with every student each week to help teach them coping strategies for stress and frustration.

Working with the ELL students at Memorial has and continues to be one of the best experiences of my life. Every day I am greeted with huge smiles and endless amounts of energy by students from all around the world, each one with their own unique story and perspective to share. I get to learn alongside them in science class, help them with math and writing, and help them see the positives when all they want to see is negatives. Each day is filled with challenges and excitement. In fact, on Thursday of this week I was able to go on a field trip with some of the ELL students to the Telling Room, an organization that for many years has worked alongside Memorial teachers to publish a book of short stories written by students. The purpose of the field trip this week was to have the kids see not only how the books are created, but also to edit the stories they have been working on over the past few weeks. Another thing that I have been able to do with the Memorial ELL students is to bring them to Nobleboro for a few days to experience the magic our campus holds.  I have never seen kids so excited to get off a bus on top of the hill. The planning for this year’s trip is underway and we are hoping to make it another memorable experience.

I also continue to grow and push myself in the office with Restorative Practices. It has really given me some insight into where I see my passions taking me. I recently have just been signed up to take a class on the Restorative Mindset. I have been able to sign up for this class through the South Portland school district. I am excited for this opportunity to learn more and take my game to the next level. I am also very grateful to Memorial and Kieve for allowing me this opportunity along with many others to always be learning and growing as not only an educator but a person.

One of the advantages to being at a school for so long is that you are able to form really meaningful connections with students. I have even been able to continue these connections with students who have graduated from Memorial and now attend South Portland High School. Last week I was able to go to the High School during their lunch period to meet with kids, check in, and catch up. It was so great to see so many kids who I have really been able to get to know over the years.

Now in the hall, instead of hearing “why are you here?” I get to hear, “Will! You’re back! Can you stay forever?”  I feel so fortunate to have become a member of this amazing community of learners down here in South Portland, and I continue to look forward to what each day brings.

[You can read about Will’s experiences at Memorial in 2015 here: https://kievewavus.org/blog/news/memorial-eir/ ]

Posted in: News |

Searsport EIR 2018

Chris:

I was very excited to be returning to the Searsport School district for another winter of EIR. Already knowing most of the staff and students made it very easy to jump right back into the flow of things. We received many heartwarming welcome backs from lots of the students, which was a great way to set the tone for the season. Every week Neil and I have the opportunity to work with the 6th and 7th grade classes during their guidance blocks where we do many different kinds of activities, including reflection and team building. Thursdays after school we help lead a restorative circle as an alternative to detentions, followed by running an hour of after school activities. We also attend GSTA meetings when we have the time. These are the routine things, but they are by no means boring. Each week the students get to learn or experience something new, and we are lucky enough to share these experiences with them.

In addition to the routine schedule, we have set up a system so the teachers can request us to come in and do special activities. Some of these include:

  • Being a Judge for the 8th grade “Design for Good, Shark Tank” project.
  • Planning and running “Winter Games” activities for the middle school, such as how to build a shelter and snow person building.
  • Accompanying the 8th grade to the Waldo County Tech Center for an “Amazing Race” event.

With still plenty of time left in the EIR season, I’m hoping to give the students an opportunity to experience our portable climbing wall, and help the students wherever and whenever I can.

Neil:

This is my second year as an educator in residence in the Searsport school district. The EIR experience has been one of the highlights of my two and a half years at The Leadership School. Chris and I were very busy from the start this season facilitating guidance classes, running activities during advisories, and just reconnecting with students in the hallways and at lunch that we met last year. Some of the first things we heard some of the younger students say to Chris and I was, “when can we come to Kieve!?” That was awesome to hear and very surprising compared to last year. Seeing the teachers that we had worked alongside was great as well! I feel as though we have 100 percent of their trust and support this year after doing a workshop with them prior to this EIR season.

Some highlights from the past month have been our help with the implementation of a restorative circle after school as an alternative to detention. Also, Chris and I run an hour of the after school program following the restorative circle every Thursday.

Over at the elementary school Chris and I have been facilitating activities during their “Winter Games” where we get every grade outside during separate blocks of the day. Some of the lessons we taught during those blocks included shelter building, wilderness survival and snowman making.

Chris and I have also accompanied the 8th graders on their field trip to the Waldo County Tech Center for their “Amazing Race.” This is where the students found out what great options there are at this alternative school!

The upcoming 4 weeks are going be both hectic and fun as we gear up to lead more of the middle school guidance classes and restorative detention circles. The faculty are putting their full trust into us and this makes Chris and I work that much harder!

Posted in: Leadership School |

Bristol and Whitefield EIRs 2018

Bristol Central School’s Educator in Residence: Kelsey

Returning to Bristol Consolidated School (BCS) after serving as their Educator in Residence last winter has been one of the opportunities I have been most looking forward to in my second year working at The Leadership School. On my first day back to school this winter I played a competitive game of Bingo with the seventh graders during indoor recess, reconnected with the students I worked with last winter, enjoyed the warm greetings of teachers whose mentorship and support made me so keen to return to this school community, and ended the day with an ice cream party with the team of students who had recently won the school’s latest charity drive.  Needless to say, its been a pretty awesome beginning.

Some highlights of the past two and half weeks include…

  • Playing is this Seat Taken with Mrs. Cooper’s competitive seventh grade homeroom.
  • Teaching the fourth grade class the Lumberjack, Happy Salmon and Top Gun handshakes
  • Making paper lanterns, folding origami cranes and writing Haikus during a unit on Japan
  • Being asked by teachers to give them new activities about team building for their classroom

In the upcoming weeks, I’m looking forward to bringing new games and activities to the BCS community, as well as getting our seventh and eighth grades excited about their upcoming time at The Leadership School this spring!

 

Whitefield Elementary School’s Educator in Residence: Nina

So far, my experience at Whitefield School has been warm and welcoming. The school is K-8 and I’ve gotten the privilege to meet most every student at the school, be it at lunch, on the playground, or in the classroom. While at Whitefield, my priority is to work with the 6th grade to prepare them for their trip to The Leadership School in March. I’m grateful to get to work with my particular site mentor, Karen McCormick, who is a pillar at Whitefield. Not only does she teach the 6-8th grade Science and Social Studies curriculum, Karen runs the National Junior Honor Society and helps students and teachers, alike, to work through complex social challenges they may be facing at the school or at home. Working by her side has given me invaluable insight to the gamut of individuals at Whitefield, which has only better equipped me to lend a hand where needed and adjust my TLS curriculum accordingly.

So far, I’ve gotten hands on experience instructing Science, Social Studies, English, and PE lessons and have gotten plenty of time to run my own lessons on leadership development. Next week, I even get to accompany the 6th graders on their field trip to Damariscotta, where they will learn basic cooking skills and healthy food choices. While I may only be the second EIR to serve Whitefield Elementary, I feel a strong connection and commitment to this community and I’m very excited to see how far we can take this EIR position!

Posted in: Leadership School |

Nobleboro Central School EIR 2018

The 2018 Educator in Residence (EIR) program started last Tuesday, and it is our biggest year yet with 15 schools participating!

18 of our Leadership School Educators will be in schools this winter, working on spreading our message of kindness and respect to students until mid-March.  While there is some overlap, every educator and school participates in the program a little differently. For example, Kelci will be working at Wood Hill school in Andover, Massachusetts (our first out of state school!), where one of her tasks will be working with 8th grade students on goal settings and skills to prepare for high school.  Kelsey will be at Bristol Consolidated School, with one of her tasks being leading exercise breaks every morning for classes participating in a Dashing to Denmark program.

Each week during the program, we will be featuring a different set of EIRs on the blog talking about their experiences. Noah and Nelson are both EIRs at Nobleboro Central School, and will be sharing their experiences this week.

EIRs Nelson (left) and Noah (right) with Nobleboro Principal Ann Hassett

Nelson:

Nobleboro Central School is just over five miles from our Kieve campus and is home to about 150 students in grades K-8. This wonderful little school does an outstanding job of teaching and demonstrating the community values that define a small town community.  The school works under the philosophy of “warm demanders.”

“Warm demanders first establish a caring relationship that convinces students that the teacher believes in them and has their best interests at heart… on the basis of this relationship warm demanders relentlessly insist that all students perform the required academic work and treat the teachers and their peers with respect”
The Teacher as Warm Demanders
Abstract of Bondy, E and D. D. Ross  

In practice this builds kind and caring relations between adults and students while still demanding the personal best out of each and every student. The students are challenged and cared for, disciplined and supported, all in a fair and encouraging manner.  NCS Principal Ann Hassett said, “We believe that the Kieve Educators in Residence are a perfect compliment to our philosophy of ‘warm demanding’ and we are so happy to see them arrive in January to help further our efforts.”  

The EIR position at Nobleboro Central School is in essence a mentorship program.  As EIRs, we are able to act as both friend and mentor to the students in a more relaxed and non-formal fashion.  That being said, the environment that the staff of Nobleboro Central School has worked so hard to create has been helpful in acclimating the students to interacting with adults in this way.  The students already see the members of the NCS community as more than just a teacher or staff member, which has made it very easy for us to step in as mentors and confidantes.  

A typical day at Nobleboro Central School as an EIR starts when we check in at the office and get filled in on anything that has happened in the day so far by Nancy Courville.  Occasionally we are asked to fill in and sub for Michelle York’s PE class, although most of the time we can be found there anyway.  In the morning we can be found in our office in the library, planning activities for the day’s after school program.  Beyond the mentorship aspect of working at Nobleboro Central School, the after school program is the meat of this EIR position.  It is held Monday through Thursday from 2:30-3:30 PM and is a great platform to meet informally with kids from all different grades, provide a healthy snack, and give them time and space to be active.  

 

Noah:

My name is Noah and this is my second year as an EIR at Nobleboro Central School. I had such a fantastic and positive experience last year both in terms of my contributions to the school and my personal growth that I knew a second year would provide more of the same, perhaps even exponentially more. I love being back because the relationships I developed over the ten weeks last winter have continued to grow allowing the students to trust me and allowing me to demand more out of the students we work with. Whether we are hanging out during lunch or during the after school program students often come to me for advice or for a listening ear. I am able to interact with them without the burden of classes or grades but as a role model who is always willing to listen and advocate for and help the students become their best selves. Much of my day is spent in informal settings as a mentor. Often I walk the halls checking in on kids and getting updates about their days or weeks. I love spending time at lunch and recess joking around with the older kids and giving the younger kids a buddy to sit with or just helping them learn how to eat lunch appropriately.  

On Tuesday Nelson and I went ice skating with the entire third grade class as part of a program with the Midcoast Recreation Center. It was an incredible experience to see the third graders having a blast on the ice. Many lessons were learned especially the courage to step out onto the ice and the perseverance necessary to keep getting up no matter how many times you fall.  The kids were incredibly supportive of each other and we all had a blast!

I am looking forward to continuing my work in the school and becoming even more ingrained in this wonderful community. Nelson and are just finding our rhythm and are looking forward to making such a positive difference at Nobleboro Central School.

Posted in: Leadership School |