FREEPORT – As the new school year gets under way in earnest this week, Regional School Unit 5 is welcoming 15 new faculty to the district, including three new teachers at Freeport High School who are bringing their energy and a fresh set of eyes to the school.

For 22-year-old social studies teacher Tim Grivois, his first teaching opportunity is a fulfillment of a lifelong passion for education.

“I’m super excited to be teaching at Freeport,” said Grivois, a Massachusetts native who graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in May. “Everyone here has embraced me and offered their support, right out of the gate.”

Grivois feels his philosophy on education is aligned with Freeport’s – specifically, the emphasis on civic engagement and social responsibility.

As the high school moves toward standards-based education, Grivois said, he is well positioned to help with the transition. Standards-based education is rooted in clear, measurable standards for all school students rather than normative assessment, which compares one test-taker to his or her peers.

Grivois, like all other educators at Freeport High School, will be designing his lesson plans for use on an iPad this year. Through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, all Freeport High School students will have access to the tablet, a change from laptop computers that have been used for the last few years.

“I’m comfortable with the technology, but it’s a transitional period for a lot of staff,” said Grivois. “It’s finding a balance between traditional classroom management and technology. Ultimately it’s not about the technology, but how it can be used to assist students in learning.”

Marcia Wood, who will be teaching algebra at the high school this year after six years at Scarborough High School, was drawn to Freeport because of the smaller academic environment and the opportunity to coach field hockey.

“It’s a new opportunity in a great environment,” said Wood.

Erin Taylor, a Texas native who taught the previous four years at Lawrence High School in Fairfield, will be teaching Latin, once a staple of every high school education, though it has become less prevalent over the past few decades.

“I think Latin is very structured in its rules,” said Taylor, 34. “It’s also an interesting time period that you get to delve into with the mythology, art, and history. It’s interdisciplinary by its very nature. Certain kinds of kids really dig it.”

When asked why they chose teaching as a profession, the three spoke of their decision more as a calling than a chore.

“I’ve never really thought of doing anything else,” said Wood.

For Taylor, her route to teaching was circuitous, and was aided by a serendipitous encounter while searching for an apartment in Fairfield.

“This sort of crazy old man was renting an apartment and found out I was a graduate student in classics,” said Taylor. “He said, ‘Wow, I’m the local Latin teacher and I’ve been trying to retire for years.’ I decided to give it a shot and fell in love with teaching high school students. They are still excited about learning new things and not too cool to not get excited. It’s my niche and I had no idea that it was coming.”

The three join Freeport High School at a time when RSU 5 continues an effort to expand and renovate the campus as enrollment levels increase and reach critical mass, according to school officials. A $16.9 million bond to fund the renovation was defeated in a referendum vote June 11. The district is expected to bring the issue before voters again this November, pending the results of a survey taken this summer to determine why the measure was defeated.

“Freeport is an ideal place,” said Grivois. “You can be in a nice seacoast community that embraces education.”

Freeport High School teachers, from left, Tim Grivois, Erin Taylor, and Marcia Wood, are new to the school this year. They are among 15 new faculty and staff joining Regional School Unit 5.

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