Cape schools welcome new staff, add support for students in need

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Superintendent of Schools Alan Hawkins said he is looking forward to welcoming new staff and implementing a new student support system when the school year begins on Sept. 1.

There are nearly 20 new teachers and staff replacing former employees this year, and a few new positions, as well, Hawkins said.

Laura Ellis has been hired as a half-time, non-special education position for executive functioning services at the Middle School, and Patricia Blankenship will be the new social worker at Pond Cove. Alina Smith-Perez and Kristen Rollins will be new district-wide school psychologists, two positions that were previously contracted services, Hawkins said.

In addition, high school principal Jeff Shedd said there will be consolidation of the intervention services offered for students in grades 9-12. Tom Kohan will be the new educational technician dedicated to help students.

Hawkins said the program is designed to help students who struggle with work completion by forming a connection between the students, their parents and what happens in the classroom.

During last year’s budget discussion, Shedd proposed the need for more student support, and told the School Board that even though the school is high-performing, small and comprehensive, there are students who struggle and need additional attention.

He said an intervention committee would consist of administrators, guidance counselors, social workers, the school nurse, a reading specialist, Achievement Center coordinator, and Instructional Support representative, and would follow a student’s progress regularly. Where students struggle because of academic, study skills, health, or emotional issues, the committee would implement additional support for the student.  

Shedd said students who choose to not do their work or fail to do it on time will benefit from the additional support, as will students who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, have poor organizational skills, or suffer from emotional problems or poor self-image.

Students will work with the new educational technician to receive more structured and specialized attention and participate in smaller student groups.

In addition to the new staff members and program, Hawkins said there is a new website for school curriculum and sports on the school district homepage.

These sites have been created for parents and community members to stay informed of curriculum changes, sports updates and milestones throughout the year.

Teachers will be back at school starting Aug. 27, and students will return on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 or