'Managing transitions' is theme for Falmouth schools

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FALMOUTH — For teachers, staff, students and parents, the next few years are all about managing transitions.

“That’s our theme this year,” Superintendent Barbara Powers said.

A new elementary school is taking shape between the high school and middle school buildings, and a new student drop-off road is being constructed.

The road will allow traffic to loop around and prevent students from having to cross in front of cars to get to school. It should also help alleviate traffic jams on Woodville Road.

Powers said it looks like the drop-off will be ready for the first day of school: Sept. 1 for grades 1-9 and Sept. 2 for kindergarten and grades 10-12. Some landscaping along the road will still have to be completed.

The new elementary school will mean all Falmouth schools will be on the same campus by next fall, but it will also leave behind Plummer-Motz and Lunt schools.

Powers said there will be groups of faculty meeting throughout the year to discuss cultural changes when the two schools come together under one roof, how to manage schedules, and how to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The high school will exceed 700 students for the first time this year and, Powers said, the middle school is quickly approaching 700 students, too, until the fifth grade is transitioned to the new building next year when it is finished.

The high school will welcome a new principal, Gregg Palmer, who comes to the district from Searsport, where he was the middle and high school principal.

New teachers include Cynthia Smith, who is teaching the new therapeutic kindergarten; Brook Shubert, teaching high school English; Elizabeth Miller, who will teach high school social studies for the first semester; Alex Demers, teaching high school biology for the first semester, and Amy Farmer, who is transferring from Lunt School to a third-grade classroom at Plummer-Motz.

Kathrina Hilinski will transfer from a part-time to full-time social studies teacher at the high school.

The district is also beginning its first year of charging athletic and extra-curricular fees for participating students. Powers said high school registration numbers are very high and that some families have taken advantage of the sliding scale used by Community Services to determine how much lower-income families pay to participate.

“The middle school registrations are coming in more slowly,” Powers said.

She said registration is how the districts determine how many coaches to hire, so she would like to encourage parents to sign up as soon as possible. Sign-up can be completed online on the school website or at Community Services in the Town Hall.

The new stadium/athletic field will soon be completed, and the new practice, soccer/lacrosse, and baseball fields are ready for practice to begin.

One portable has been moved from the middle school to the high school, and will be used as the classroom for chorus.

This fall the high school will also begin using a new wood-chip boiler, which will eventually heat both the high school and elementary school.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

Construction workers install the turf on the new stadium field at Falmouth High School on Aug. 9. The field should be ready for the first games this fall.

Sidebar Elements

Kyle Lucas, left, and Jahrel Regis put together a section of wall on Saturday, Aug. 7, before raising the Falmouth High School Theater Company storage barn.

Final Act in Falmouth: Barn raising

FALMOUTH — The Theater Company at Falmouth High School will soon have its very own barn.

After four years of designing and building sets for theater productions, Kyle Lucas and Jahrel Regist spent their final summer in Falmouth before leaving for college designing and building a storage barn for the theater company.

“It’s nearly done,” Lucas Tuesday. “We came in and framed it in a day.”

The project was not without its challenges. Lucas said working with Gorrill Palmer Engineers to deal with drainage issues, getting Maine Department of Environmental Protection permits and other issues were more time consuming and expensive than he had anticipated.

“It was a real learning curve for me, which was good,” Lucas said.

The 2,000-square-foot barn will provide much-needed storage for the theater company, which had been storing its sets, furniture, equipment and clothing in any available space in the school.

“The fire marshal came in November or December and said stuff needed to be moved. It was dangerous, all that wood and clothing in piles,” Lucas said.

That was when they decided to build the barn, something they’d been talking about for years.

“The theater has kind of been a place for us to get away from sports and academics, and just build, just chill out,” Lucas said.

He said they really enjoyed their time building sets for the theater company and that they even had small parts in one of the plays.

“We really just walked around on stage in our overalls,” he said.

— Emily Parkhurst