New Wiscasset Elementary School Principal Kathleen Pastore tried twice this summer to hold Popsicle with the Principal events, but due to rain both times, they attracted a trickle of families, she recalled. So besides Partners in Education’s (PIE) ice cream sundaes at an outdoor open house Thursday night, Sept. 16, attendees could have the leftover popsicles. Under the blue sky, they were going fast.
“I was beginning to wonder if I was cursed,” she said of her rainy record. “But this is a perfect evening.”
Having the two-hour event outdoors due to the pandemic and staggering families’ arrival times by grade level was working well, with a steady flow, Pastore said. She was thankful PIE and Feed Our Scholars, which gives students school supplies through its Set for Success program, joined WES staff at the open house. “What a community, that embraces the students, not just the school community, but the whole community, is looking out for our kids and pulling together,” Pastore said.
Because the open house was outdoors, teachers had emailed families photos of the classrooms they would have seen in-person had COVID-19 lifted from the region by now, she said.
Cindy Bailey would have liked to go into the first grade classroom where daughter Izzy, 6, learns. “But with everything that’s going on, I think this was exactly the smart move. And I’m really just happy they could have it at all,” Bailey said. Izzy went with hot fudge for her sundae.
Besides meeting teachers and mingling and eating near the school’s outdoor classroom, families were at the playground. Like Bailey, Brittany Jones, mother of first grader Corben, 6, and pre-kindergartener Paxton, 4, both using the slide, was glad the school did the open house. “It’s great, especially on such a good day.” The Wiscasset alumna recalled WES was the middle school when she went there. She got to see some of the teachers she had, including Trae Stover and music teacher Carole Drury.
Robert “B.J.” Blagden got to see his past teacher Donna Footer, now his nephew Tyler McLaughlin’s second grade teacher. “It was nice seeing some familiar faces,” Blagden said. He and his parents Bob and Marla Blagden accompanied Tyler, 8.
Staff member Lindsay Larrabee was showing attendees the pom poms students’ positive behavior earns toward celebrations. And art teacher Liz Proffetty had a poster of students’ artwork, including self-portraits. She said every student will do one, and each self-portrait will go up in the hallway to show the focus is on every student, every day.