News About WOCSD

For more information about News About WOCSD please contact Reg Bennett at or at 207-646-8331.

Students begin hydrofoil project with guidance from PNSY staff

posted by Fran Prentice

On September 3rd, one day after the start of the new school year, a small group of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PSNY) personnel plus a member of the U.S.S. Scranton, a Los Angeles-Class submarine currently dry docked for an engineering overhaul at PNSY, visited with students of a newly formed class at Wells High School called Hydrofoils Engineering, a year-long class co-taught by Jason Hludik and Chrys Demos.

The objective and centerpiece of this class is for students to create from scratch a functioning, human powered hydrofoil boat approximately 16 ft. long. The water craft will be capable of achieving lift over water, thereby significantly reducing drag and increasing speed. 

The advisers from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are mechanical engineer Trevor Thompson, mechanical engineer Dave Hawk, PSNY Outreach Program Manager Rick Cecchetti and MM2(SS) Steven Weston of the U.S.S Scranton.

These guests introduced themselves then spoke about their day-to-day work at the shipyard.  They also discussed how they can assist the students with their project as the design and construction moves forward.  The four plan to be available for email questions and to make weekly visits to the class.   Later this fall, these students and their teachers will be invited to tour the PNSY facility in Kittery.

The hydrofoil project will require design, creation, and integration of a hull, propulsion, stabilization and foil systems.   It is the foil system that ultimately, will allow the craft to elevate over the water’s surface.  Hludik said this class will combine math, technology, engineering and science.  The project will require students (with diverse ages and skill levels) to study chemistry, physics, Newton’s Laws, engineering design process,  3-D design and printing as those subjects pertain to the design and function of a hydrofoil.    

The hydrofoil project is expected to be completed and successfully tested in Wells Harbor in late May or early June of 2015.  Teachers Hludik and Demos also plan to have the students create a power point presentation for District students and the School Committee documenting the ‘start to finish’ of the nine month endeavor.

Caption:  Back row from left to right: Trevor Thompson, Rick Cecchetti, Dave Hawk, Steven Weston, Kyle Goodale, Ryan Marsh, Jason Hludik, Chrys Demos and Gavin Turnbull.   Front row (l to r): Zack Pierce, Nate Ouellette, Erskine Lothrop, Dan Charpentier, Jake Wilson and David Jacobs.

York County candidate forum on public education September 18

posted Sep 9, 2014, 12:46 PM by Fran Prentice

A legislative candidates’ forum focused on K-12 education is being held Thursday, September 18, in Wells, bringing together those running for the Maine House and Senate in York County and the school boards and superintendents from the districts they serve.

The forum is scheduled to run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at York County Community College. It is being co-sponsored by the Maine School Boards Association and Maine School Superintendents Association and is one of nine such forums being held across the state in September.

Maine School Management Association, the umbrella organization for MSBA and MSSA, is coordinating the forums and has prepared position papers reflecting the two organizations’ stand on key issues affecting public schools.

Candidates will be briefed on those issues and asked to give their views on public education.

The forum will cover the need for adequate school funding, including help for economically disadvantaged students; expanding pre-kindergarten programs; implementing teacher evaluations; protecting the school board’s legal right to adopt educational policy; and the future of charter schools.

Forbes Field Reopened with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

posted Sep 9, 2014, 5:09 AM by Fran Prentice   [ updated Sep 9, 2014, 5:09 AM ]

Over the past year, Forbes Field, located behind Wells Junior High School, has gone through an extensive and thorough renovation project to install new turf, an irrigation system, fencing, and an eight lane track.  Later this fall, new spectator seating will be installed.

But on the afternoon of September 3rd, there wasn’t a construction worker, earth mover or dump truck to be found near the field as a group consisting of District administrators, coaches, athletes and spectators gathered on the field’s lush green grass for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially reopen Forbes Field.  The field had been closed to students and the public for a full year in part to let the newly installed turf take root.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to the official reopening of the Forbs Field Athletic Complex,” said WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider who spoke at a microphone with School Committee members and others including grandsons (Joe and Matt Forbes) of the late Vander and Marguerite Forbes behind her.

Schneider acknowledged the past “great support” of the Forbes family.   “As we reopen the newly renovated field and track complex it is an appropriate occasion to remind folks of the generosity of the Forbes family in providing the original facility to our students at Wells-Ogunquit,” said the Superintendent.

Joe Forbes spoke briefly before he and Matt Forbes cut a ceremonial ribbon to reopen the field originally named in honor of their grandparents in 1988.

“I would like to thank the administration, staff and the students and Wells Warriors,” said Joe Forbes pointing to the girls Field Hockey Team behind him.  Forbes indicated that Forbes Field began 28 years ago with “a thought” in the minds of his father and other Wells citizens.   

During the ceremony, WHS Football Coach Tim Roche, who knew Vander Forbes for about 17 years, also spoke.  Roche indicated that Vander Forbes did not want the field named in his honor but in his parents honor.  “There is not a place you look at right now…that wasn’t touched by the Forbes family, the bleachers, the lights, the fields, the track, the fencing that was here.  Vander Forbes had everything to do with that,” said Roche.   

Prior to the ribbon cutting, Superintendent Schneider acknowledged Ron Lamarre of Lavallee Brensinger, Kylie Mason of Sebago Technics, and Andy LePage of SUR Construction.  “As they are the ones who have worked so hard to design and bring this field to fruition,” said Schneider. 

After the ribbon was cut the Superintendent concluded the ceremony.  “And with that I would say good luck to our Lady Warriors and let the game begin.”   Soon after the assembled Lady Warriors began a field hockey game with North Yarmouth Academy.                                                   

Caption:  With Superintendent Ellen Schneider looking on, Matt Forbes (left) and Joe Forbes cut a ribbon to officially reopen Forbes Field.

 Caption:   A section of the new quarter mile track on Forbes Field officially reopened on September 3, 2014.

Wells IGA Donates Supplies for Emergency Kits

posted Sep 5, 2014, 10:41 AM by Fran Prentice

Just before the start of the current school year, Wells IGA generously donated hundreds of bottles of water and an equal number of granola bars to help restock student emergency kits at Wells Elementary School, population 450 students.    

On August 29th, Nicholas and Nawarat Hunter, owners of Wells IGA, and son Tyler assisted WES Assistant Principal Ken Spinney and WOCSD Facilities Manager Dave Smith load the supplies onto a pickup for delivery to the school.   Tyler is a fourth grade student at WES.

“We appreciate the support from our community businesses such as the IGA,” said Spinney. “It is great having partners in education.”   He later expressed, “This was very generous of them.”

According to Spinney, these kits need to be replenished once per year to maintain freshness.

Caption: From left to right is Nawarat Hunter, Nicholas Hunter, and Ken Spinney.  

Schneider to Serve on Board of Directors for NESDEC

posted Aug 27, 2014, 12:27 PM by Fran Prentice

Ellen H. Schneider, Superintendent of Schools for Wells-Ogunquit Community School District, was recently appointed for a three-year term on the Board of Directors for the New England School Development Council (NESDEC)

Superintendent Schneider joins twelve other superintendents who serve as the Board of Directors. The Board consists of two appointments from each of the following states: Maine (Schneider is joined by Emmanuel Caulk, Superintendent of Schools for Portland Public Schools), New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont as well as one appointment from Rhode Island.

“I consider it an honor and a privilege to be appointed by my peers as a board member for this prestigious educational organization. I look forward to the opportunities this affiliation will provide both personally and for our school system. I always welcome the chance to bring exposure to our exceptional school system and this appointment provides for that both on regional and national scales,” stated Superintendent Schneider.

The New England School Development Council (NESDEC), a comprehensive, regional organization, had its origins at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1946. NESDEC is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to develop schools and districts as high-performance organizations and to support continuous educational improvement. NESDEC represents over 300 school districts in the New England States.

Caption: WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider

Colonel Thanks WES Students in Person for their Generosity

posted Aug 27, 2014, 12:24 PM by Fran Prentice

Shortly before summer break, Colonel Paul Dynan of the Rhode Island National Guard traveled to Wells Elementary School to visit briefly with students to thank them for all the gifts of food, letters, and other items that he and his fellow servicemen and women received while serving in Afghanistan during the holiday season of 2013.  

In the courtyard of WES, Col. Dynan presented students with a “Certificate of Appreciation” from the U.S. Armed Forces for their special generosity.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” said Col. Dynan of the greeting he received by students during the brief outdoor assembly on June 16th.  “The kids were great.  When we received everything, all the cards and letters over in Afghanistan it was awesome.  It just brought huge smiles to everyone’s faces.  And just having the opportunity to come and thank them and to see them all out here, assembled for me was very touching and greatly appreciated.”

“Perfect timing,” said Col. Dynan of three of the five packages that he received on Christmas Eve.   He indicated that he spent some time each day looking through all the cards and letters received.  “It kind of closed the miles,” he said. 

According to WES Secretary and friend of Col. Dynan, Chris Yeomelakis, Col Dynan’s tour of duty which began in June 2013 was extended.  He remained on active duty until March of 2014.

“As you all may remember, back at Christmas time, a very dear friend of mine was due to come home from Afghanistan, but couldn't because his tour was extended,” wrote Yeomelakis in a message to the WES community.  “To cheer him up, several of you helped me with ‘Project Christmas for Col. Dynan’.  Students made cards and ornaments, wrote letters, and some staff members gave me care packages of food, little Christmas trees, etc.”

After Col. Dynan returned to New England, Yeomelakis invited him to WES to meet the students and staff who worked on Project Christmas and to hear them all welcome him home.  

Col. Dynan said in an interview that local businesses and churches in the Wells-Ogunquit area also contributed to the care packages that he received from the students.


Caption: In the center from left to right is Colonel Paul Dynan, WES Principal Marianne Horne and WES Assistant Principal Ken Spinney.

Goodale Selected as ‘Clerk of the Works’ for the Renovation of Wells High School

posted Aug 18, 2014, 6:46 AM by Fran Prentice

In June, the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee approved the hiring of Brad Goodale of Cape Neddick to fill the role of Clerk of the Works, a critical and multi-faceted position that will oversee the District’s 26.85 million renovation project at Wells High School.  The project is slated to begin in August with a planned completion date of September 1, 2016.  

“Brad is perfect for this very important position,” commented WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider. “He comes to us with years of experience as a Clerk of the Works for many projects including several school facilities. Brad is a local person. He knows the community and has an exemplary reputation for being diligent, thorough and knowledgeable.”

Goodale, who has overseen various construction projects for York Hospital in the past 10 years, views his new role as one of making certain that the District and taxpayers receive the best value for the high school project.

“That means that I make sure that the general contractor and sub-contractors build this building according to plans and specs,” said Goodale in an interview.  As Clerk of the Works, Goodale will work closely with the project’s architect, Lavallee Brensinger Architects, and the District’s officials and Building Committee.

According to Goodale, there will be many types of contractors involved including electrical, mechanical and plumbing, to name a few.   He believes that as many as 20 contractors will eventually work on the project.   On August 5th, the WOCSD School Committee selected Arthur C. Dudley Contractor • Builder, Inc. of Standish to be the project’s general contractor.

Goodale not only has experience with the strict constraints (involving cleanliness and patient privacy) of hospital construction but with school construction.  Prior to working as a Construction Specialist (or Owners Representative) for York Hospital he oversaw several school construction projects in communities such as York and Yarmouth and in the Oyster River Cooperative School District in New Hampshire.

Throughout the renovation and additions to Wells High School, the school will remain open at its current location.  A formal ground breaking ceremony will be scheduled for late September or early October.

Bid Awarded to Standish Contractor to Proceed with WHS Renovation

posted Aug 11, 2014, 10:49 AM by Fran Prentice

The Wells-Ogunquit School Committee and Selection Committee met August 5th to review general contractor and subcontractor bids for the construction of Wells High School. After evaluating all bids and bid alternates, it was determined that Arthur C. Dudley Contractor · Builder, Inc. of Standish, Maine will be issued a Notice to Proceed.

The contractor will work with the design team, Lavallee Brensinger Architects of Manchester, New Hampshire, to install temporary barriers for site security before the start of school. The School Committee will finalize contract requirements with the contractor and design team, and expect to enter into contract with Arthur C. Dudley Contractor · Builder in late August.

Ellen Schneider, Superintendent of Schools, stated, “We look forward to beginning the next exciting phase of this project.   This is one more important step toward our end result - a state of the art school befitting of our students and staff."

A formal ground breaking ceremony will be scheduled for late September or early October.

World Traveler Visits with Junior High Students

posted Aug 11, 2014, 10:47 AM by Fran Prentice

Where in the World is Katie?  That was a question much on the mind of many sixth grade social studies students at Wells Junior High School months prior to the summer break.

In the fall of 2013, Katie McDonough, a 2009 graduate of Wells High School, began a journey to fulfill a dream to see the world, or as much of the planet that she could experience on a limited budget.  Setting out alone in October, McDonough first flew to Cape Town, South Africa and ended up months later in Reykjavik, Iceland before heading back to America.   From start to finish she traveled 38,000 miles in eight and a half months.

However, McDonough was not totally alone.  Documenting her trip on an enormous wall map thousands of miles away in a basement hallway of Wells Junior High School was her mother Kim McDonough, an Ed Tech III at the school, and many interested sixth grade students.   Each major stop on McDonough’s trip through ten countries and Hong Kong was flagged on the map located in the 6th grade wing.   The stops were strung together by black yarn and featured accompanying photographs and comments.  This monitoring plus classroom discussion and an accompanying geography contest was referred to as “Where in the World is Katie?”.  All of this was initiated by Kim McDonough with help and support from teachers Bonnie Dill and Marilyn Zotos.

On June 17th, the traveling McDonough, a 2013 graduate of Eckerd College with a major in Anthropology, visited WJHS to meet with 23 representatives of the 6th grade, students who had been picked for this luncheon based upon contest results.   Over a two hour period, McDonough lunched with the kids, spoke to them and responded to questions.   She also handed out ice cream and souvenirs including small American flags and coins from the various countries that she had visited. 

Kim McDonough said that her daughter saved up for the trip by working up to 80 hours a week at a summer job after college.  McDonough believes that her daughter’s desire to see the world began when Katie was a freshman spending time in Jamaica on a mission trip.   Katie continued her benevolence away from the comforts of home by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans during her high school sophomore year and later, in college, traveling on various service trips including one landing her in Peru where she helped build steps at a school in the mountains and another to Ghana where she made mud bricks for shelters.

On her world trip, McDonough experienced some lean times when money ran low.  To support an extended stay in South Africa and to continue funding the trip, McDonough worked at a surf shop in Muzienburg and later as a housekeeper and waitress at a resort in New Zealand.  Her world adventure eventually took her to Asia where she met up with a friend in Hong Kong who accompanied her to Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.            

Caption:  Sixth grade students meeting with Katie McDonough (in the last row on the right) and Katie’s mother Kim McDonough at Wells Junior High School in June.  Before them are sixth graders at WJHS who monitored McDonough’s journey.  At left is a world map showing the recent journey around the globe by Katie McDonough, a 2009 graduate of Wells High School.

WES Holds 27th Colors Day

posted Jul 8, 2014, 10:44 AM by Fran Prentice

A major event at Wells Elementary School each year is Colors Day which coincides with the last day of school and the start of the summer break.  This year Colors Day occurred on a sunny June 19th with over 450 students participating.   

Begun modestly in 1988 by Physical Education Teacher Kathy Calo, Colors Day has evolved into an event designed to bring the entire student body together for a few hours to celebrate the school’s core values of cooperation, honesty, respect, responsibility, sharing and trustworthiness.  This outdoor get-together features a parade that winds around the school, an awards ceremony, a display of art work, a song and banner contest, a slide show of the year’s school happenings and outside games such as “Tug of Color” and the “Bucket Brigade.”

The parade consists of students grouped by classroom with each unit distinguished by the color of t-shirt students wear and a unique classroom banner.  This year’s Colors Day t-shirt with an owl on the front was designed by fourth grade student Kara Borkowski.  The idea to use the ‘owl’ as the mascot for this year's Colors Day originated with third grade student T.J. Gadomski.   The hundreds of t-shirts worn were purchased by the PTSA and printed by Ocean Graphics.

The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) at Wells Elementary School sponsors and coordinates Colors Day but does so with lots of support from many others in the community.  The PTSA would like to thank the following area businesses for their contributions and support:

Alexandre's Garage, Aroma Joe's Coffee, Atlantic Oceanfront Motel, Best of Everything, Billy's Chowder House, Chase Tree Service, Cluff Excavation,

Coastline Painting & Maintenance, Cocoons Day School, Cole Harrison Agency, Cole Harrison Insurance, Cut.Rite Landscaping,  David Elwell Custom Builder, Fetch'n Fun Doggie Daycare & Boarding, Hayden Excavating, Inc, Hollywood Plumbing & Heating, Jonathan's Restaurant, Kennebunk Savings, Mariner Resort Motel, Misty Harbor Resort, Morse Hardware & Lumber, Nadeau Orthodontics, Nor-Easter Construction, Inc., Ocean Graphics, Ogunquit Lobster Pound, Pediatric Associates of York Hospital, Peoples Choice Credit Union, Peoples Insurance Agency, Perkins Cove Lobster Shack, Seacoast Pizza, Seagull Inn & Condominiums, Sea Mist Resort, Sea-Vu South Campground, Sevigney-Lyons Insurance, State Farm, The Dunes on the Waterfront, the Steakhouse, Wells-Ogunquit Little League, Wells Seacoast Cab, Wells Storage Solutions, Wild Blueberry Café, Spiller Farm, and York Hospital Family Medicine in Wells


Caption: First grade’s ‘Purple Pandas” marching in Colors Day parade on June 19th.  Waiving at the left side of the banner is teacher Michelle Langelier.


Caption: Hundreds of students sit in the courtyard of WES for an awards ceremony at Wells Elementary School on June 19th


Caption:  A kindergarten student from the Kindergarten Purple Pandas carries water held in a large sponge to a bucket in the Bucket Brigade competition among classrooms.

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