by Shawna Chigro-Rogers

“When I say ‘uku’ you say ‘leles! ‘Uku!’ ‘Leles!’ ‘Uku!’ ‘Leles!’ ”

Ukuleles grant
“Ukes” in the classroom. What an incredible addition to the music curriculum. All third and fourth graders used the ukes during music class the last five weeks of school. Mrs. Wetmore’s class welcomed Jake Hoffman from 317 Main for the uke portion of their music classes. Jake has been a great resource on how to build from the most basic concepts to a place where the children are making amazing music. Some children were ready to play 3 and 4 chord songs independently by the end of the school year. Others worked in small groups to divide the chord changes among friends. Playing popular songs they know from the radio was a huge motivator to learn the “axis of awesome” chords – chords that make up most of the pop songs written in the last 60 years. Jake would like to come back in the fall when Dr. Michele Kaschub conducts her workshop with fourth graders around using the ukes as a tool for songwriting. Erica Troy looks forward to building on these basics in the fall with the incoming fourth graders, and starting the next group of third graders on their ukulele adventure.

YEF salmon hatchery grant

YES Salmon Hatchery Grant

Fourth grade students from Yarmouth Elementary School (YES) released 200 eight-week old salmon fry into the Royal River in New Gloucester, many miles upriver from their school. Students studied the endangered Atlantic salmon since their arrival as eggs in early February.

The eggs incubated for several weeks in a cold-water fish tank (4ºC or 39ºF) in the classroom before they hatched as alevin in mid-March. Students observed fish development and traits, measured their size, and recorded the water temperature and pH.

Salmon Hatchery grant at YESSalmon Hatchery grant












The salmon egg hatchery provided an ideal model for study of the life cycle, traits, behavior and adaptations of organisms, and offered a hands-on, unique, and fun experience for students.

“It’s fun to watch and take care of the eggs. And it’s so much better than looking at pictures in books or on the computer,” said Annie Hunter, a 4th grade student.

Rosie Lenehan, one of the 4th grade teachers, shared some thoughts. “The Salmon Hatchery grant provided students an opportunity to observe the stages of the life cycle in real time, and a hands-on experience with live organisms. Also, the students participated in a larger effort to revive an endangered species, which has many important ties to Maine. It was an engaging and meaningful experience.”

Dan LeBlond, from the Saco River Salmon Club, delivered the eggs and helped with the project as part of the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Fish Friends Program, which hopes to educate students about the endangered Atlantic salmon, their habitat, and restoration efforts.

Debbie Landry, STEM educator and research scientist, led the project, which was funded by a $1,000.00 grant in the fall. Approximately 120 students got to take part in this hands-on learning.

WGME covered the salmon release eventwatch it here!

Flight Club (another YEF grant!) members filmed the salmon release with the drones they learned to fly and made a short movie with Mrs. Wolinsky.

Salmon hatchery - salmon release Yarmouth student releases salmonNews coverage of Salmon Hatchery grant

by Kate Shub

I walk into Yarmouth High School and quickly realize what a big impact the Yarmouth Education Foundation is having on the students and staff here.

“You’re here to talk about the YEF?” one student asks. “The YEF is awesome!” she says.

Looking around the school brings back fond memories of my own time here as a student, way back when. I’m excited to return to learn more about a Yarmouth Education Foundation grant that recently paid for two 3D printers.


3Dprinter2 3dprinter3

Technology has changed. I remember when old computers filled the lab here; their screens were green and black, and they were attached to large printers by a bulky cord. I can still hear the sound those old printers would make. I can still feel what it was like to rip tractor feed from the edge of each sheet of paper.

Times have changed. The high school has had a major renovation since my time here, and it is a fantastic facility. I enter an area of the school known as the FABLAB, a large workshop space filled with woodworking tools, robots, computers, and more. The FABLAB is home to industrial technology classes of the 21st century.

“The FABLAB is anything you want it to be!” says Reed Oestreicher, a sophomore at Yarmouth High School.

Reed is an impressive young man. He dreams of becoming an engineer, and I can see the passion he has for designing and building products of all kinds.

Reed and his STEM instructor, Tom Pitman, can’t wait to show me the FABLAB’s new 3D printers. Mr. Pitman teaches a number of classes here, including Engineering, Product Design, and Mechanisms.

“You have no idea how these 3D printers have blown these programs wide open,” Mr. Pitman says with excitement. “Students and teachers can’t get enough of them.”

3D printers have revolutionized the way things are designed and made. Students design products on the computer and then print them in plastic, giving high school students here the opportunity to create all sorts of unique products.

Today, Mr. Pitman and his Mechanism students are creating their own wind turbine.

“Mechanisms is a course about how things work. We create gears, levers, pulleys, and more to help us understand basic mechanical principles.”

Pitman says having 3D printers is a “game changer.” Instead of spending hours of time carving parts out of wood or waiting weeks for a part they ordered to ship, students can design the part they need on a computer, send their design to a 3D printer, and they have the part within minutes.

“This is the technology students will see in the real world,” says Pitman. “If you can draw it, you can make it.”

The 3D printers are about two feet high and two feet wide, and they sit on a table in the FABLAB. The machines produce extremely thin layers of plastic that pile on top of each other to create an endless list of products.

Reed, the sophomore, proudly shares some of products he’s created with the 3D printers, including gears of all shapes and sizes for his Robotics Club, a model Lamborghini sports car as a class project, and plastic parts that helped him build an electric car for his Science Olympiad Team.

Mr. Pitman says these printers are attracting interest from students and teachers throughout the school, even students who have never shown any interest in these types of classes before.

“It turns a light on for these kids, it excites them, and it brings new students down to this part of the school every day.” The FABLAB has become a place where students spend their free time, eagerly watching for what the printers will build next.  Pitman enjoys seeing his students work together to make products using these 3D printers, but it’s not just the students who are learning something new.

“I’ve learned a lot from using these printers as well,” Pitman says.

As I leave Yarmouth High School, I realize how much the building and technology have changed since my time, but some things always remain the same here. The school is filled with an outstanding staff and impressive students, and they truly appreciate the support of the Yarmouth community.

“We are extremely fortunate to have the Yarmouth Education Foundation,” says Reed. “Having this technology inside our school sets Yarmouth students apart from others.”

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by Shawna Chigro-Rogers

Yarmouth Education Foundation, Spirit Series Freedom Train Yarmouth Education Foundation, Spirit Series Freedom Train

“Let my people go! O, let my people go!”

A young slave, Minty, pushes through the crowd. Desperate as her next of kin are auctioned off.

Everyone loves a good story and fourth graders at Yarmouth Elementary school became powerful storytellers, sharing the heroic efforts of a young teenage slave, Harriet Tubman. Through a grant by the Yarmouth Education Foundation, SPIRIT SERIES engaged students in an inspirational biography of Harriet Tubman in Freedom Train. Araminta “Minty” was born into slavery. She escaped slavery and became a conductor for the Freedom Train, risking her life with each trip to free slaves.

Betsy Lane, YES Principal, wrote, “A generous Yarmouth Education Foundation grant brought an amazing three-week learning adventure to fourth graders. For an hour each day, students immersed themselves in a world far beyond the classroom studying, co-writing, staging, and performing an inspirational one-act SPIRIT SERIES play: Freedom Train. As one student said, “It’s hard to explain how much we know now.”

SPIRIT SERIES founder, Richard Strauss, poses the question, “can the wisdom and character of great heroes from the past empower our children to meet adversity in their own lives?”

Let’s ask the children –

~”I enjoyed learning about Harriet and the Underground Railroad in a fun way and stepping into someone else’s shoes.”

~”It felt more real than it would have been just reading about it.”

From preparation to performance, SPIRIT SERIES hopes that students will “forge a positive vision for themselves, and begin to become their own heroes.”

~”I loved the feedback that Mr. K gave everyone.”

~”I enjoyed that you got to perform Freedom Train and tell the story of Harriet Tubman’s life through acting. I also liked that you didn’t have to memorize your lines by heart.”

“SPIRIT SERIES was a good experience for our students. They learned so much about our history while diving deep into these roles, while also practicing reading fluency and learning new vocabulary,” shares Cassie Fier, YES 4th grade teacher. “They recognized they learned a lot and they loved the costumes and performing in front of an audience.”

A new Moses had come on the Underground Rail. “Let my people go! O, let my people go!”
Yarmouth Education Foundation, Spirit Series Freedom TrainYarmouth Education Foundation, Spirit Series Freedom Train back dropspirit series4

A lot of kids use digital media in the classroom and at home. At Harrison Middle School, students have made it part of their extracurricular activities, too.

The goal of the Digital Media Club is to “mostly just develop some skills around video production, but also to show them it can be fun,” said Mike Arsenault, the instructional technology integrator who advises club members. According to Arsenault, more than a dozen students participate, most of them fifth- and sixth-graders.

The club, which was started last year by a student who now attends Yarmouth High School., was able to buy technology and equipment with a grant from the Yarmouth Education Foundation. Around $6,000 from YEF was used to purchase cameras, Final Cut Pro video editing software, cases, tripods, shoulder mounts, microphones and an iMac computer.

Read the complete article from The Forcaster

by Shawna Chigro-Rogers

You can enjoy a good book,  share it with a friend, and recommend it to a book club. How often can you find an opportunity to read that book with everyone in your school at the same time? Would it be possible to get the author to visit your school to talk about the book? Could that discussion be opened up to your town community? Meet that opportunity: One Book, One School.

Merry Stuhr, Harrison Middle School Librarian, submitted this grant to the YEF. What came about was a unique experience that unified the school and the community, and exceeded their expectations.

One Book. Alabama Moon by Watt Key, is a coming-of-age novel for young adults. This book was specifically selected by Stuhr because of its broad reach and varied readership.

“I really liked Alabama Moon, it kept me on the edge of my seat and I wanted to hold the book in my own hand so I could keep turning to the next page,” stated an eighth grade student. “My teacher read with a southern accent which helped to imagine the story. I would really like to be able to do this again.”

As teachers read the book to their students, other staff members were reading it as well. Discussion groups made up of mixed grades were formed. Key visited the school and intimate sessions with the author were conducted with each grade.

“The visit from Watt Key was truly amazing,” said Stephanie Robison, sixth grade teacher.

“It was interesting–he dropped by my room during class in the morning and I don’t think the kids would have been more excited if Taylor Swift had come in!” recalled Robison. “A few gasped, a few cheered, some just stared, and a few whispered ‘That’s him!’ It was super cute.”

Two sixth grade students found it interesting that Watt Key lived outside with nothing like Moon (a character from the book) did.

“He did it for a college project and we think that’s amazing and helped him to write the story,” they shared.

One School. Stuhr and Robison both believe that the unified reading of Alabama Moon gave a strong sense of community to the school.

“Students could talk about the book with anyone because EVERYONE was reading it,” Robison explained. “It was so powerful to have such a great common experience school wide.”

A sixth grade student enjoyed the discussion groups.

“I liked talking about the book with kids in other grades because you got to hear what their thoughts were about the book,” she declared.

Additionally, the HMS Digital Media Club filmed the visit, and are producing a video. Mike Arsenault, Technology Coordinator for HMS, posted a picture on Twitter.


Stuhr added, “This was an amazingly wonderful event and we can’t thank YEF enough. I’ve heard comments from staff members that they’ve never seen an event that unified our building in the way this one did.”

One Community. Yarmouth’s own Merrill Memorial Library and Royal River Books fully encompassed this endeavor. The library hosted Watt Key for an evening with the author. Royal River books offered Alabama Moon books at wholesale.

“I thought the Watt Key visit (and) program was incredible. There was so much enthusiasm and discussion around the book,” stated Amy Beard of Royal River Books. “I am grateful to have been involved. It was such a wonderful experience to see such a wide range of kids excited about the same book and about meeting the author.”

“This has been an absolutely incredible experience that has exceeded our already-high expectations,” Stuhr exclaimed. ”A HUGE thanks to YEF for making this possible!”

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – Buddha

Every Tuesday after school, the computer lab at Harrison Middle School comes to life with a dozen tech-savvy students who share a passion for video storytelling. The Yarmouth Digital Media Club, now an integral part of life at HMS, got its start thanks to 8th grader Sam Marjerison’s creative skateboard videos and the teacher who recognized their potential.

“I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could offer that opportunity to all middle schoolers?” recalled Mike Arsenault, HMS Technology Coordinator. Together, they wrote a grant to the Yarmouth Education Foundation, asking for funds to purchase high quality camcorders, wireless microphones, tripods, editing software and a new iMac.

In the spring of 2014 they received a YEF grant for $7,452. One year later, the club is thriving. The young videographers are often called on to shoot and edit videos of school functions and recently club members Nate Emory and Ethan Roth, both 7th graders, shot footage that will be used in a new “1-2-3 Let’s Move” PSA. Read More

YES gym teacher, Meg Pachuta, created this video to Thank YEF for the fall grant she received. And we would like to Thank YOU, Meg, for all you do!