News About WOCSD

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

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.

Wells High School Graduation Ceremony to be Cablecast on Time Warner Cable

posted Jul 2, 2014, 11:01 AM by Fran Prentice   [ updated Jul 2, 2014, 11:02 AM ]

Wells High Graduation took place this year on June 15th with 107 seniors receiving diplomas.  Commencement exercises were video recorded and will be shown on Time Warner Cable Channel 3 in Wells and Ogunquit at the following times:  Thursdays through Sundays at 9:00 am and 8:00 pm for two weeks ending July 13th.  The program runs for 58 minutes.

Colin Sevigney sang the The Star-Spangled Banner, Nicole Moody provided the Salutatorian address and Cassidy Healey made the Valedictory address.  This year’s commencement speaker was U.S. Olympian Julia Clukey who spoke about her career and believing in one’s self to achieve personal dreams and goals.   In the Principal’s address, Jim Daly focused on the topic of courage by reflecting on one particular soldier's courage on D-Day. 

At the beginning of the ceremony Mr. Daly was awarded a plaque by Wells Police Chief Jo-Ann Putnam on behalf of the Wells Board of Selectman in recognition of Wells High School’s recent achievements including receiving an “A” with the Maine Department of Education’s Maine School Performance Grading System.


Caption:  Left to right: Class Vice President and Salutatorian Nicole Moody, Class President Clayton Martin, Principal Jim Daly and WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider.  Speaking at the podium is U.S. Olympian Julia Clukey.


Caption:  WHS graduating senior Grace Wright shakes hands with School Committee Chair Marc Saulnier.   To the right and above Wright is WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider and Class Advisor Lee McGlashan.   At the podium is WHS Assistant Principal Eileen Sheehy.

WES Student Places First in Local, State and Regional Poster Contest

posted Jul 2, 2014, 10:59 AM by Fran Prentice

In March, Wells Elementary School student Logan Blanchard received first place in the second grade category at the local level of the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest for 2014.   Since that time her poster has moved on to even greater heights by receiving first place in State and New England regional competition.

“I was amazed,” said Blanchard’s Art Teacher Sandy Brennan. “She is a great little artist and she works hard.”   Brennan said that Blanchard’s poster is currently being judged at the national level.

Began in 1961, the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest is open to all first through fifth grade students.  This annual contest is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Forest Service and National Garden Clubs, Inc.  Locally it is sponsored by the Seacoast Garden Club.

The contest seeks to encourage children to be involved with natural resource conservation and wildfire prevention.  According to the USDA, this contest gives “students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of wildfire prevention and basic environmental conservation principles through original drawings of Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl.”

First place winners in national level competition will receive an all-expenses paid trip for four to Washington, D.C. where they will attend a Recognition Ceremony and each receive $50 from National Garden Clubs.

This year the contest stipulated that students incorporate an image of the iconic 70 year-old bear park ranger with his familiar fire prevention slogan, “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”.   Smokey the Bear first appeared in 1944 to reinforce the notion that individuals can help prevent forest fires.  Woodsy Owl appeared in 1971 with the conservation message of “Lend a Hand, Care for the Land”.

This year, 86 WES second grade students along with elementary students from Kennebunk entered the contest.


Caption:  Logan Blanchard and WES Art teacher Sandy Brennan

Maine’s First Lady Receives Quilts Made by WJHS Students

posted Jul 2, 2014, 10:57 AM by Fran Prentice

Maine’s First Lady Ann Le Page visited Wells Junior High School on May 20th to receive 11 student-made lap quilts on behalf of the Veterans Strong Program and quadruple amputee Staff Sargent Travis Mills.  The quilts are bound for Mills’ new National Veterans Family Center in Belgrade. 

Mrs. Le Page was invited to WJHS by fifth grade teacher Rachel Kilbride who, along with other fifth grade staff, guided the 87 fifth graders who worked on the five month service learning project.  Accompanying the Governor’s wife to WJHS was Lynn Harvey, Director of the Blaine House and Executive Assistant to Maine’s First Lady and Christina Toriello Project Manager for the National Veterans Family Center.

State lawmakers who attended included Representative Kathleen Chase and Senator Ron Collins.

In the school’s multipurpose room, Mrs. Le Page, WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider and other attendees including school staff and fifth grade students watched a slide show featuring students at work on the quilts, each with a distinctive “lone-star” design.   During the event, Mrs. Le Page, Principal Chessie and Superintendent Schneider made brief comments about the fifth grade project.

After the slide show, groups of students lined up to pose with quilts that they had worked on with the First Lady.  The idea for the quilt project formed in Kilbride’s mind after she attended a presentation by Carole Carroll, a creator of ‘Miracle Quilts’,  an effort to provide quilts for those (especially those wounded) who served in the armed forces; all in honor of Pfc. Joseph Miracle who was killed in Afghanistan in 2007.    

“This fall I asked the other fifth grade teachers on my team if we could do something like this as part of our Geometry Unit,” commented Kilbride.  “They thought it was a good way to help students understand the geometry skills and give back.”

In December of 2013 the quilt project began.   The squares for the quilts were designed with triangles.   Each fifth grader created a star quilt square from nine squares creating a distinct look.

Kilbride wishes to thank teachers Cindy Roche, Alice Meader, Cheryl Turner, Donny Abbott, Beth Goodwin, Linda Gaidimas and school volunteer Carol Dalton who assisted with the project.  She also wishes to thank the WJHS Parent Teachers Organization (PTO) for providing snacks for the First Lady’s visit and funding for batting and fabric and parent volunteers who donated fabric and time helping students on days there was in-class sewing.       

Caption: From left to right are State Senator Ron Collins, Rachel Kilbride, Ann Le Page, and State Representative Kathleen Chase with quilts made for the National Veterans Family Center in Belgrade.

Champs Recognized at Breakfast Featuring Special Guests

posted Jul 2, 2014, 10:55 AM by Fran Prentice

It takes many to help a school run smoothly.  Three times each school year Wells High School holds a ‘Breakfast of Champions’ to  recognize those students and staff who contributed in productive and positive ways to the learning and social environments of WHS.

On May 23rd, nineteen students, and five staff members were invited to the third Breakfast of Champions to be recognized for their work with a certificate and a t-shirt.    

Students honored were (in alphabetical order) Talia Auen, Tyler Bartlett, Michael Curtis, Sierra Daney, Caleb Heyland, Angela Leone, Anna Libby, Hannah Moody, Natasha Nugent, Allyson O’Brien, David Osterday, Adrienne Perron, Ivy Pevear, Al Ramsdell, Matthew Rogers, Colin Sevigney, Harold Weaver, Harrison Woodman, and Emilee Wooldridge.

WHS staff honored included Jay Audet, Elisa Beriau, Becca Follansbee, Emily Neville, and Karen Quint.

Special guests State Senator Ron Collins and State Representative Kathleen Chase attended the award breakfast to recognize State wrestling champions (and school champs) Michael Curtis and Colin Sevigney. 

Senator Collins, who received an honorary Breakfast of Champions Award, read the following “Expressions of Legislative Sentiment” from the legislature’s Advance Journal and Calendar of the 34th Legislative Day:

“(4-1) Michael Curtis, of Wells, a member of the Wells High School Wrestling Team, who won the State Class B Wrestling Championship in the 195-pound weight class.  Michael was also named the State Champion in the first ever All-State wrestling competition.  We send Michael our congratulations and best wishes on these achievements."  Sponsored by Senator Collins of York.  Co-sponsored by Representatives: Chase of Wells and McGowan of York.

“(4-2) Colin Sevigney, of Wells, a member of the Wells High School Wrestling Team, who won the State Class B Wrestling  Championship in the 138-pound weight class.  Colin also placed 3rd in the first ever All-State wrestling competition.  We send Colin our congratulations and best wishes in these achievements."  Sponsored by Senator Collins of York, co-sponsored by Representatives: Chase of Wells and McGowan of York.

Breakfast of Champions was instituted at WHS in 2007 by Principal Daly to recognize student and staff contributions to WHS.   Each of these events is organized by Daly and school secretary Lil Lagasse.      

Photo caption:  Students and staff recognized at a ‘Breakfast of Champions’ on May 23rd at Wells High School.   Student wrestlers Michael Curtis and Colin Sevigney are in the back rows just to the right of the American flag.  Sevigney is below Curtis. 

1-10 of 125