Tuesday News -

September 14, 2010


  Tis a Gift to be Simple

The school year of 2010/2011 officially began on Wednesday when students joined their teachers in their new classrooms. At 11:00, the Wildflower Assembly in the Community Hall was ready to begin. The room was prepared with flowers, and filled with excited chatter until the first notes of the Autumn Rondelay hushed the crowd. Jeff O’Brien, our new High School Faculty Chair, set a warm and welcoming tone.

     Teachers provided “snapshots” of the year ahead for their classes, new faces on the faculty, as well as new and foreign exchange students were welcomed with lively applause. However, the highlight for every parent of a first, eighth or twelfth grade student is that moment of transition as their child walks across that stage, receives a bouquet of wildflowers, shakes the hand of their new teacher and steps into a new stage of their life at Merriconeag. We honor the beginning of the 12 year school journey, whether a first step, an intermediate step, or the beginning of the final step before “stepping out” into the world.

     At the end of the ceremony, Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free is sung by the faculty as the students exit the hall. As the room empties, we are all left with the feeling that “tis a gift to be part of this wonderful journey!” Christine Sloan, Administrator

Trace Salter, Circus Coordinator Extraordinaire

Just seven years ago, Trace Salter, a parent at Merriconeag, had a dream of bringing the Big Top Circus to Merriconeag.  Thanks to Trace, and her amazing team of volunteers, Circus Smirkus has become a much-anticipated summer tradition for the greater community, and the school is so grateful for her vision and hard work.  In addition to providing delightful, family entertainment, the circus has been a fabulous way for Merriconeag to reach out to local businesses (one new major sponsor this year had no prior connection to Merriconeag), it provides free tickets to hundreds of children who could not otherwise come to the circus, it highlights and brings circus arts programming to our students throughout the year, it lets us show off our beautiful campus and Waldorf education to thousands of people, and it is a significant source of income for the school (this year’s proceeds were a record high). 

Circus Smirkus has become one of our signature programs, and we are indebted to Trace and everyone who played a role in making this year’s Circus Smirkus another huge success!

News from the Board





The Board of Directors held its first meeting of the year on August 30th both to look back at the school’s progress and to look ahead to future growth and success.  Every year our five standing board committees look closely at the school’s finances, enrollment picture, development and marketing efforts and buildings and grounds.

Additionally, key areas of focus this year include updating the school’s long-range plan, reviewing our current tuition structure, and exploring options to address our aging portable buildings and the future space needs of the high school.  Any member of the community is welcome to get involved; all meetings are open and listed on the school calendar.  One need not be a member of the board to become a member of a board committee; please feel free to call any member of the board of directors, listed on our website, for more information.  We look forward to hearing from you!


Welcome from the Development Office

As development coordinator, I am excited and honored to be a part of this incredibly gifted and generous community, working with you to help raise funds that support the school’s programs, tuition assistance, and long term growth. We have several wonderful community-building (and fundraising!) events throughout the year, and I welcome and encourage everyone to get involved in any way that suits your time, skills and interest. We are very cognizant of how precious your time is, and we are so grateful for all the ways in which our parents support the school. As a parent of three Merriconeag graduates, I made lifelong friends through my volunteer efforts at Merriconeag. I still maintain that the joy of this work is discovered in the lasting friendships and triumphant teamwork, as much as the success of fundraising.

Through the year, you will hear about many opportunities to build lasting friendships by helping with fundraising, but for now I will only mention one upcoming event, the Outerwear and Nordic Ski Sale (see below). It is very popular among our parents because it saves you money and promotes recycling within our community and everyone benefits! I hope to see you there! Lynne Espy, Development Coordinator, email or call 865-3900 Ext. 116, (Office located in the white farmhouse next to the ECC.)

   Gently Used Outerwear and Cross-Country Ski Sale (Community Recycling)

On Wednesday, October 13 and Thursday, Oct. 14, Merriconeag will hold its annual outerwear and cross-country ski sale. This is a wonderful opportunity to pick up good quality children’s rain gear, snow jackets and pants, snowsuits, boots, hats, and mittens, all for extremely reasonable prices. Cross-country skis, boots, and poles are also sold for a good price. The sale is intended to fit toddlers through young adults   (ages 2 – 18). Read more…

Merriconeag's Community Education Speaker Series

Mark your calendars and be sure to attend "The Talk: What Your Kids Need to Hear FROM YOU About Sex" by award-winninig author, Dr. Sharon Maxwell, on Friday, October 1, 7:00 PM in the Community Hall. She will be speaking about how to raise sexually healthy kids in a hyper-sexualized, online, in-your-face world.

Dr. Maxwell is an author, educator and practicing clinical psychologist. Her work has been featured in TIME Magazine, US News and Wolrd Report, Working Mother, The Boston Globe, on NPR, Oprah and Friends and Fox News. The Boston Parents Paper voted her a 2009 Family Advocate of the Year. Read more



School Community Updates

Protocol for Handling Late Student ArrivalsOur teachers wish to start their lessons with all of their students ready to begin the school day. We understand that extenuating circumstances can delay your commute to school, but in order to limit interruptions which disrupt the class, we are putting the following protocol into place beginning September 20th. We apologize for any inconvenience that was caused by some class teachers’ enthusiasm for starting this protocol on Sept. 13.
Please note that this new procedure to check into the office as a late arrival provides an accurate and up to date paper trail of who is in the classroom, thus supporting emergency response issues.

8:10 First Bell Rings
8:20 Second Bell Rings, signaling time to close doors and begin class
* Class Teacher takes attendance
* The Teacher puts attendance sheet outside the door for the office, and closes the door to the classroom.
* Students (with or without their parents) who arrive after the door to the classroom is closed, must go to Lisa’s office, check in that they are tardy, not absent, and pick up a note in order to enter the classroom.
If you have any questions about this new protocol, please speak with your class teacher.

Emergency Contact Update

Emergency contact and transportation questions have already arisen this year. Please update the student Emergency Contact and Family Directory Information on the MWS database ASAP to ensure the contact information MWS has for you is correct in the event of an emergency. If you need the directions click here. If you require further assistance, please call either Lisa, 865-3900 or Greta, 688-8989.

Common Ground Community Fair

For the third year in a row we will have a “Waldorf Education in Maine” booth at the MOFGA Common Ground Community Fair, September 24 – 26. We are working with the Ashwood Waldorf School and The Bay School to staff the booth and the shifts that still need coverage are Saturday, 11:00 - 1, 1:00 - 3:00 or 2:00 - 4:00, and Sunday, 11:00 - 1:00, 1:00 - 3:00 or 3:00 - 5:00. We will provide each volunteer with their own pass to the fair for the day they work. If you are attending the Fair and can support Merriconeag by volunteering for a 2 hour shift, please email Deeda Burgess right away. Be sure to include your name, cell phone number and the shift you can cover. Thank you for your support.

Therapeutic Eurythmy for Individual Students

Please contact your child's class teacher or Barbara Richardson, 865-6482, if you would like to have your child enrolled in a block of Therapeutic Eurythmy at school. We will be having an introductory talk about Eurythmy this fall.

Instrument Storage

Please note that overnight storage of wind and string instruments in the Community Hall will not be permitted. On the days students have ensemble, instruments are to be brought to school in the morning and taken home in the afternoon. Not only is space limited in the Community Hall, but the valuable home practice required of students cannot occur when instruments are left at school overnight or over the weekend. Thank you very much for your help with this.


First Grade Orientation Appreciation
Thank you so much for giving the 1st graders the gift of last Tuesday morning. Being able to arrive at school without the other grades was an extraordinary experience that gave the children the opportunity to begin first grade simply and quietly. The first graders were able to become accustomed to being on the grade school side of the road and greeting Mr. Pennington before they entered their classroom for the first time. As in past years, the Early Childhood teachers lined the path on the way to the lower grades building. However, this year, with only the 1st graders at school, it truly felt as if we were crossing a bridge from Early Childhood to 1st grade as we walked down the path. Nancy Goldberg, parent of Nora (1st grade) and Emma (6th grade)


Come Stitch Together Community

Anyone interested in getting together in the morning to do handwork? If so, let’s meet Monday morning, September 20 at 9:00 AM in the Farmhouse.



Foundation Studies Has Begun, But It's Not Too Late to Join

Our next meeting with be on Sunday, September 26. We want to encourage anyone who is interested to come see what it is about, and also offer a discount for Foundation Studies Alumni to come for a section of classes if interested. Many of you are curious and interested in learning more about Waldorf education and anthroposophy and how to incorporate it into your own lives. Foundation Studies students will participate in a thought provoking, spiritually awakening, and artistically developing course/study group, guided by knowledgeable, skilled, and inspiring teachers. Read more...

High School News

Welcome Svenja Dettmer, High School Math Intern

One of the new faces in the High School that was not at the assembly last week is Svenja Dettmer, our high school math intern through Amity Institute, an international student internship program here in the U.S. Svenja just completed her graduate studies in High School Education, majoring in math, at Oldenburg University, near Bremen, Germany. She is hosted by Julie and Michael Frahlich in New Gloucester and will be working in the High School with Mr. O’Brien in the  math department, helping Mr. Seavey with her rich background in music, (she plays oboe and guitar) and of course, enjoying the colleagueship with Mrs. McVicar and Mr. Kinzer in German! Svenja will also be driving one of the school vans between the two campuses each day. Welcome, Svenja, to Merriconeag and the beautiful state of Maine!

Cross Country

Merriconeag high school’s cross country team kicked off the 2010 season with strong finishes in its first meet at York High School on Friday, September 3rd. The girl’s team finished second only to York High School, well ahead of Freeport who finished third. Zoe Chace led the team, running 20:05 over the 2.9 mile course. Teagan Wu 20:38, Emelie Chase 21:47, Carlin Tindall 21:59, Haydee Jacobs 22:02, Emma Dolan 24:49, Skyler Samuelson 24:25 and Zoe Oswald 29:22 rounded out the balance of the team. Watch for the girl’s team to do great things in 2010.

The boy’s team finished 3rd, only 2 points behind Freeport. Jack Pierce won the race in a time of 15:52. Following Jack were Tyler O'Brien 17:23, Phin Samuelson 17:25, Ben Tindall 18:14, Eli McCurdy 18:35, Wyatt McCurdy 19:53, Brian Watko 19:58 and John Burgess 21:31. This year’s boy’s team is working hard to repeat its 2009 successes.

Jack Pierce was included on the Runners to Watch list in the Portland Press Herald on Friday, September 10, 2010. Go Jack!

Come to the Race Friday at Pineland!

Be sure to come out and cheer for the team this Friday at Pineland when Merriconeag hosts Waynflete and Fryeburg. The boys start at 4:30 PM and the girls at 5:00 PM.

Link for a complete race schedule.

College Night – Learn How Colleges View the Waldorf Educated Student

Maggie Jackson, Admission Counselor from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana will speak on Thursday, September 16th, 6:30 pm, in the 8th Grade classroom, Grade School Campus.

Maggie is Earlham’s admission representative to Maine high schools and she is excited to meet students from Merriconeag. Maggie and her colleagues visit Waldorf high schools around the country, so she can provide us with a helpful perspective on how colleges view applicants coming from a Waldorf background.

Maggie will take us through a mock admission review project designed for both students and parents. In her own words, “It is a fantastically useful exercise to get people thinking about how complicated the process is and how much it involves. It is not specific to Earlham so the information is relevant regardless of the student's list of schools.” Maggie will certainly provide information about Earlham at the end for anyone interested.

Who should attend?
• All seniors and senior parents.
• Juniors are also strongly encouraged to participate with your parents.
• Freshmen and sophomore families are welcome to participate, as are any and all faculty members.

Trip to Camp Kieve

On Thursday, September 9, the high school embarked on a two night excursion to begin the year. We stayed at the Audubon Camp on Hog Island. We spent Thursday hiking the island and kayaking in Muscongus Bay. Friday was fantastic day on the WAVUS ropes course in Jefferson. The evening activities included the third annual wilderlymics which for the first time in Merriconeag history ended in a tie. 9th grader Lily Tupper won the veggie-off with her dramatization of a sweet potato which sealed the victory for her team. The trip was a great way to begin the year. Jeff O’Brien, High School Faculty Chair

In the News

Professors Pull the Plug on Laptops by Daniel de Vise, The Washington Post
Portland Press Herald, September 13, 2010

One recent semester, a professor tracked the grades of 17 student laptop addicts. At the end of the term, their average grade was 71 percent, "almost the same as the average for the students who didn't come at all."

For other links to recent articles about technology and brain development click here


Greater Community Link

Community Classifieds Link