Repairs, new staff highlight Wisdom year

ST. AGATHA, Maine — Wisdom Middle/High School in St. Agatha will see a number of changes in the new school year, both inside and outside.

Phase II of a renovation project continues, focusing on back sections near the gymnasium. In the main office, the secretary has moved closer to the main entrance and the principal’s office is now on the ground floor level. The nurse’s office is also closer to the main office area.

Three new high school teachers have been hired. Aimee Holabird will teach math. A native of Madawaska, she graduated from the University of Maine at Fort Kent with a bachelor of science in mathematics. She also has an associate degree in animal science from Dalhousie Agricultural College of Truro, Nova Scotia. She will teach freshman juniors, and seniors, in addition to some elective offerings. She resides in Fort Kent with her husband and two children.

Henry Dilts, new high school social studies teacher, will cover global studies, U.S. History I and II, a civics/student law course and electives. Originally from Florida, he grew up in Massachusetts. He has a bachelor’s degree in media from Worcester State College, a BS in social studies and secondary education from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Maine at Orono. He taught social studies for nine years in Massachusetts, before working at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro. He comes to the area from Augusta with his wife and four dogs.

Amy Schmitt is the new high school English teacher, and will teach freshman, junior, and senior English classes along with drama and other elective offerings. She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono with degrees in English and secondary education and a minor in psychology. She is a graduate of the UMaine Honors College and has a deep background in the arts. She will offer electives in creative writing and Greek mythology. She recently moved from Concord, N.H., to Caribou.

Wisdom’s new Grade 8 teacher is Sonya Michaud, a Wisdom Class of 2003 alum. She has studied art and elementary education at the University of Maine branches in Orono, Augusta, Presque Isle and Fort Kent. She has worked as an educational technician at Dr. Levesque Elementary, the St. John Valley Technology Center, and Wisdom.

Melanie Lagasse is the district’s new food service manager and nutritionist. She served in a similar position at the New Sweden School and Union 122. She is one of three food service directors in the nation to be named to the Rural School Nutrition Convening Council, and has spoken on Capitol Hill about school lunch programs. In New Sweden, she implemented Summer Meal and Take Home programs, along with a school food pantry, and plans to bring those programs to SAD 33.

In other changes, Wisdom is debuting a new grade-reporting software program, PowerSchool. Students and parents are being provided with their new login information to allow them to view grades online. The school will use a standards-based program, Empower, to begin reporting on student proficiency in meeting content standards. The incoming freshman class, the Class of 2021, will be the first class to graduate from Wisdom with a standards-based diploma.

Finally, Wisdom high school students are adopting a new schedule. They will now have six periods a day, with classes running for 57 minutes. The last period will be an academic support lab, where, with few exceptions, all students and teachers will be free. This will allow students common time to make up work for their teachers, re-do assignments or exams, and seek tutoring help.

Additionally, each teacher will offer weekly elective “seminar” offerings. These are standards-based classes on specific areas, such as greenhouse, intro to engineering, CDL prep, current events, Greek mythology, conversational French and personal finances. Juniors and seniors will also be able to take early college offerings through the Rural U program.

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