Portland School Notebook: Aug. 9

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Maine Girls’ Academy announces head of school hired 

The Maine Girls’ Academy Board of Trustees has appointed a new head of school.

Amy L. Jolly will step into the leadership role Sept. 1. A public welcome reception will be held in the fall, when members of the surrounding communities can meet Jolly.

Jolly has 15-plus years of experience working at multiple independent schools, including the Oakcrest School in McLean, Virginia, Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and, most recently, at The Fenn School in Concord, Massachusetts. She has also been active with the National Association of Independent Schools and Association of Independent Schools in New England.

Throughout her conversations with the Search Committee, Jolly emphasized her deeply held belief that MGA is “uniquely positioned in Maine to offer young women of intellect, courage, and purpose an unparalleled educational opportunity.” She added, “It is my experience that in an all-girls environment, girls feel more supported, which allows them to achieve more and to have higher aspirations in all aspects of their lives.”

This appointment comes after a comprehensive search led by the Academy’s Search Committee and involved interviews and conversations with faculty, staff, parents, students, and members of the board. 

Summer camp teaches life skills to visually impaired

Catching the bus, personal safety instruction and meal preparation are not the typical experiences for high-schoolers attending camp, but for 10 teenagers with visual impairments from across Maine these are some of the many skills they have gained as participants in Maine’s award-winning Learning, Independence, Fun and Employment, or LIFE , 101 and 201 programs.

The multi-week program culminated in a graduation July 28 at Southern Maine Community College, where the teens lived together in dorms and stayed busy at paid internships, volunteering in the community and working on daily living tasks designed to help them gain greater independence.

LIFE 101, introduced as a two-week program in 2016, was so successful it garnered regional attention with an award from the Northeast Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. In response, this summer the three-week LIFE 201 program was launched for high school seniors.

And while many of the activities and outings are fun, they were carefully designed to cover the expanded core curriculum for students with visual impairments, including developing social, recreational and independent living skills, orientation and mobility, career education and technology.

“It’s wonderful for teens to have this opportunity to connect with others who are living with a visual impairment, especially since often times they can be the only ones in their schools who struggle with this challenge,” said Nancy Moulton, director of Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children at Catholic Charities Maine. “The shared sense of camaraderie makes it a safe environment for them to try new things and really gives a boost to their self-confidence and an enhanced sense of responsibility.”

The program is funded through Maine’s Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is a collaborative effort between Catholic Charities Maine’s Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children, the Iris Network and DBVI.

Graduate Hailey Schuyler presents a homemade pie to Samantha Fenderson, Regional Director, Region I & II, Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired following the LIFE graduation ceremony July 28.

Leeza Kopaeva of Waynflete School was the winner of the 2017 Lincoln Club scholarship. During the annual contest, a quote from President Lincoln accompanies the application and students submit a 500-word essay based on the quote. Shown with Kopaeva is club member Barbara Campbell Harve.