Wye River Upper School Announces New Director of Development

Lauren Kay Weber

Wye River Upper School is delighted to announce that Lauren Kay Weber has accepted the position of WRUS Director of Development.

Lauren brings over a decade of leadership experience as a major fundraiser for a range of organizations.  She most recently served as the volunteer President of her children’s school where she raised over $200,000 in cash and goods in just eight months. In her role as Communications and Development Manager for Leadership Arlington, Lauren communicated their mission to great success and launched an impactful marketing and grant-writing campaign. As a Project Manager for an Educational Software Implementation, Lauren was named Employee of the year by the Brigham Young University Center for Teaching and Learning.

Lauren’s expertise in developing community relationships and involvement through authentic, mission-aligned storytelling, is a tremendous asset to the School. Wye River is thrilled that she has dedicated her talents to their mission and will enable a greater impact on the students and families they serve.

WRUS Mission: Students who learn differently discover with innovation, develop with rigor, and celebrate their strengths at Wye River Upper School while preparing for success in college, career and life.

Wye River accepts students on a rolling admissions basis. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline and Kent. For more info about the school, visit www.wyeriverupperschool.org or contact Kimberleigh Garcia at 410-758-2922.

Wye River Upper School Announces Two Key Positions

Wye River Upper School (WRUS) is pleased to announce two key positions have recently been filled.  Matthew Cowan will serve as the WRUS Director of Education and Kimberleigh (Nichols) Garcia will be the WRUS Director of Enrollment Management and Communications.

WRUS is an independent, coed high school offering an engaging and supportive curriculum for bright students with learning differences.  The school is located in the former Maryland National Guard Armory in Centreville, MD.

Matthew Cowan

Mr. Cowan is returning to WRUS, having served as a social studies teacher for four years before leaving in 2017 to accept a position with Chesapeake Science Point Charter School in Hanover MD.  In addition to his advisory and teaching responsibilities at CSP, Matt designed and executed professional development for his peers and strengthened delivery of innovative, data-driven classroom instruction.

As the WRUS Director of Education, Matt will oversee most aspects of curricular design and instruction, teacher professional growth and development, and partnerships with parents when creating programming for individual students.  Chrissy Aull, Founding Head of School notes “The faculty, staff and students who know Mr. Cowan are simply thrilled to have him back and in a leadership role. He was an outstanding teacher and I have all confidence he will prove to be an excellent administrative leader.”

Kimberleigh Garcia

Another veteran Wye River teacher has accepted the position of WRUS Director of Enrollment Management and Communications.  Mrs. Kimberleigh (Nichols) Garcia recently accepted the position and is phasing in to her duties effective immediately. Employed with WRUS since 2010, Garcia brings years of experience in both public and independent school settings.  Aull advises, “Kim has a deep and sensitive understanding of the population of students we serve – she appreciates their numerous strengths and abilities and is constantly respectful of their needs. Kim will serve as an excellent ambassador for the school.”

WRUS accepts students on a rolling admissions basis. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline and Kent. For more info about the school, visit www.wyeriverupperschool.org or contact Kimberleigh Garcia at 410-758-2922.

Wye River Upper School Open House on January 27

Wye River Upper School is hosting an Admissions Open House on Sunday, January 27, 2019 from 1 pm – 3 pm on the School’s campus located at 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD. The evening will include the opportunity to speak to students and staff about the unique Wye River experience, along with the chance to tour the building. Wye River Upper School is a college prep high school offering an engaging, supportive and challenging curriculum for students with a variety of learning challenges including, but not limited to ADHD, dyslexia and anxiety. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Kent. Transportation for students is available to and from Stevensville, Easton, and Chestertown.

For more information, please contact Katie Theeke, Director of Admissions and Communications at 410-758-2922 or email katietheeke@wyeriverupperschool.org
www.wyeriverupperschool.org

Free Presentation by Carolyn Jeppsen at WRUS December 13

Wye River Upper School is hosting an informative presentation by Carolyn Jeppsen, The Road Less Traveled: The Case for Internships and Work-based Learning After High School on Thursday, December 13 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public and will be held on the School’s campus at 316 S. Commerce St., Centreville, MD. Jeppsen will present the landscape for employment and post-secondary outcomes for young people with learning and attention issues and the importance of work-based learning or internships as a valuable path for young people transitioning from high school to career and/or to college. Carolyn is a mother of children learning disabilities and a passionate advocate for the need for ongoing discourse on new approaches to transition that are holistic, positive, and most importantly – effective. Jeppsen is the Co-Founder and CEO/President of BroadFutures, a DC-based nonprofit serving young people ages 18-26 with learning and related disabilities through an innovative training, mentoring and paid internship program.

Please register through the school’s website and take note of directions to get past the construction on Commerce Street. https://www.wyeriverupperschool.org/about/speakerseries/

Wye River Upper School is a coed, independent high school for bright students with learning differences such as ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. Students who learn differently discover through innovation, develop with rigor, and celebrate their strengths at Wye River while preparing for success in college, career, and life. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact Katie Theeke at katietheeke@wyeriverupperschool.org, 410-758-2922.

Wye River Upper School Hosts Admissions Open House

Wye River Upper School is hosting an Admissions Open House on Thursday, October 25 from 6 pm – 8 pm on the School’s campus located at 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD. The evening will include the opportunity to speak to students and staff about the unique Wye River experience, along with the chance to tour the building. Wye River Upper School is a college preparatory high school offering an engaging, supportive and challenging curriculum for students with a variety of learning challenges including ADHD, dyslexia and anxiety. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Kent. Transportation for students is available to and from Stevensville, Easton, and Chestertown. Register at wyeriverupperschool.org.

For more information, please contact Katie Theeke, Director of Admissions and Communications at 410-758-2922 or email katietheeke@wyeriverupperschool.org

www.wyeriverupperschool.org

Wye River Upper School Graduates Offer Strong Testimonies

“Embrace Discomfort. When I find myself in a challenging situation I often remind myself that nothing ever gets accomplished when I am comfortable with where I am.  If you want to succeed at something you must be willing to fail at it too.”  Nevin Hamami, WRUS Class of 2018

This was the advice that Wye River Upper School (WRUS) senior Nevin Hamami shared with his eleven classmates, family and friends during an evening Commencement on May 22, 2018.  Hamami and two classmates, Olivia Bailey of Dorchester County and Alex Kliever of Kent County chose to speak during the Commencement, a tradition begun by the school in 2004.

Another tradition of the school is for graduates to leave their seats and move into the audience to present individual white roses to their immediate family, as a gesture of appreciation for their years of support. It is an exchange marked by hugs and tears of joy.

But this year, it was the senior speakers who stole the show. Boxes of tissue were being passed around and each of the three received a standing ovation.

Hamami resides in Arnold, Md.  He plans to return to the Eastern Shore in the fall to attend Chesapeake College.  An accomplished soccer athlete, Hamami will join his good friend and WRUS Alumnus Matt Donohue ‘17 to play for the Chesapeake soccer team.

Olivia Bailey moved her audience to tears with a heartfelt look back as a WRUS student.  Bailey pointed to her opportunity to be cast in several theatre productions and learn to play the violin.  “Wye River gave me a place where I could be myself. This school helped me find who I am, and gave me hope for my future.” Bailey will attend St. Mary’s College in the fall, where she will pursue her love of theatre.

Alex Kliever reflected upon his experience earning his Eagle Scout status with the Boy Scouts of America and advised his classmates “…not to give up and to see your commitments through to the very end. I understand now that it takes integrity… to follow through on what you set out to accomplish.” Kliever has a detailed plan to attend Chesapeake College for two years and transfer to a four – year degree program in pursuit of engineering coursework.

WRUS Chair of the Board, Alexa Seip joined the twelve graduates, Head of School Chrissy Aull and Commencement Speaker, Parker Seip on the school’s small stage. “I speak for the Board of Trustees that to hear heartfelt speeches such as I heard this evening captures the reason why we as volunteers work diligently to make WRUS an option for the community.  All kids should learn and grow the way these twelve have.”

Parker Seip of Charlotte, NC, addressed the Class of 2018 with an emphasis that their Commencement marked the beginning of their adult lives as “smart people in pursuit of their passions”.  His advice to follow their passion was highlighted through his own experience as a learning-differenced high school student at the Winston School in California, where he successfully combined academics with his love of aviation.  As a teenager, Seip earned a pilot’s license and was soon instructing others to fly.  Seip is employed as a First Officer on a commercial AirBus with a major airline.

Seniors earned most of the school’s major awards, all of which are presented at Commencement.  The Thomas West Digital Arts and Technology Award, named after Centreville native and author Thomas West, was presented by West to senior Will Hazzard.  Hazzard will attend Salisbury University in the spring of 2019.  The Stuart M. Bounds Dual Enrollment Award recipient is Grasonville resident Sarah Franklin, who will attend Chesapeake College in the fall. The WRUS Portfolio Award was presented to Hamami for his outstanding work in digitally capturing his best academic work through four years and presenting same.  Bailey and Franklin shared the Conner E. Bell Perseverance Award.  Named after WRUS Alumni Conner Bell, this award is a college scholarship, funded by his family, to recognize Conner’s perseverance and success despite diagnosed neurological conditions.

The 2018 graduates will pursue a wide range of interests and studies following high school.  One hundred percent of the class was accepted to college, ten will attend, one has begun a small business, and another is arranging an internship and course of study in equine science and care. “This class exemplifies the mission and philosophy of Wye River Upper School,” says Head of School Aull. “We work to ready each student for college and career, give them guidance and support in their post high school choices and are proud of each graduate as they follow their interests and passions.”

Wye River Upper School is an independent, college and career preparatory high school located in Centreville, MD.  The school’s mission is to educate bright high school students with learning differences, bound for college and career. For more information regarding the school, please contact Katie Theeke at 410-758-2922.

The Wizard of Oz Comes to Wye River Upper School

Wye River Upper School presents the Wizard of Oz on March 15 and 16 in Centreville, MD. The students have been working throughout the winter months on all elements of the production from acting, to set design and painting, costuming, program design, lighting, sound, and choreography. WRUS Music Instructor and Theater Director, Marissa Muro, has been leading the students through the process along with the support of Kimberleigh Nichols, WRUS Spanish Instructor, and Assistant Theater Director. Visiting Artist, Will Hemsley has been guiding the set design crew along with the support of WRUS Art Instructor, James Martinez. Ms. Muro shares, “What a wonderful coordinated effort so far. We are all very excited to see the outcome in a couple weeks. This is a talented group of students and their hard work is paying off.”

The Wicked Witch of the West (sophomore, Rylan Cole) confronts Glinda the Good Witch (freshman Laura Wright).

The performances will be held Thursday, March 15 and Friday, March 16 at 7 pm at the Wye River Upper School campus, 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD 21617. Tickets can be purchased online at www.wyeriverupperschool.org or at the door. Ticket prices are $6 for children, $7 for seniors and $10 for adults. Parking is available both nights at the St. Paul’s Church (adjacent to the school), and Edward’s Pharmacy (102 Commerce St.). Overflow parking will also be available at the QAC Library (121 Commerce St.) for the March 16 performance.

Wye River Upper School is an independent high school for bright students with learning differences like ADHD or dyslexia. For more information, please contact 410.758.2922, www.wyeriverupperschool.org.

Wye River Upper School Admissions Open House January 28

Wye River Upper School is hosting an Admissions Open House on Sunday, January 28 from 2 pm- 4 pm. The event is being held on the School’s campus at 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD. Students and staff will be presenting and sharing information on the Wye River Experience. Wye River serves students from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline and Kent. Bus service is available to and from Stevensville, Easton and Cambridge.

Wye River Upper School is an independent high school offering an engaging, supportive and challenging curriculum for students with learning challenges like ADHD or dyslexia. For more information, please contact: Katie Theeke, Director of Admissions and Communications, at 410-758-2922 or email katietheeke@wyeriverupperschool.org. www.wyeriverupperschool.org

WRUS Masquerade Gala Honors its First “Great Blue Heron” Award Recipients

Wye River Upper School (WRUS) presented its newly minted Great Blue Heron Award and WRUS Alumni Achievement Award to two individuals at the School’s “Masquerade Gala: Unmasking Achievers with Learning Differences,” hosted at its Centreville location and attended by 150 guests.

The School, which is celebrating its 15th year of educating bright high school students with learning differences, hosted the gala to highlight the accomplishments of Alumna Chloe Tong, of Easton, Maryland and Parker Seip, of Raleigh, North Carolina. The Great Blue Heron Award is designed to honor individuals who have used their strengths and passions to achieve personal and professional goals, and provide leadership and service to their communities.

Students at Wye River present the Great Blue Heron awards to Chloe Tong and Parker Seip.

The School’s Great Hall was festively decorated in a black and gold masquerade theme with an impressive art-installation of a mask (created by WRUS students) suspended from the ceiling. The Gala brought together parents, WRUS alumni, Board members, Town Council, donors, and faculty and staff. Guests enjoyed live music, a silent auction and other fundraisers, cocktails and heavy hors-d’oeuvres donated and served by local restaurants and caterers, including Magnolia Caterers, The Narrows Restaurant, Smokehouse Grill, Doc’s Riverside Grille, Fisherman’s Inn & Crab Deck, Krave Courtyard, Austin and Guy Spurry, and the Chesapeake Culinary Center.

“Almost as soon as we had established the award concept and criteria we knew we had two very strong candidates, Chloe Tong and Parker Seip,” says Chrissy Aull, Executive Director of WRUS, who conducted the award presentations. “With support and opportunities to pursue their goals, both Chloe and Parker learned to use tools and strategies to get around their learning differences. They are both shining examples that students facing challenges do not need to miss out on pursuing their passions.”

Chloe graduated from WRUS in 2010 and went on to attend Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she graduated in 2014 with a degree in dance. After a few months of traveling in Europe, she moved to Australia to work as a nanny while pursuing her love of dance and rowing. Now employed by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Chloe is an integral member of the CBMM staff. She has worked in a variety of roles and more recently has become certified as a backhoe operator, training others in this operation. Chloe has also worked to found the Eastern Shore Community Rowers, a nonprofit organization. She continues to dance and choreograph productions for area dance companies. Together with fellow dancers Tong has created another 501c3, Continuum, a dance company for which she serves as artistic director, choreographer, and dancer

Chloe has one more major undertaking in progress: She is taking lessons to become a licensed as a helicopter pilot. A love of flying is something Chloe shares with fellow Great Blue Heron Award recipient, Parker Seip.

Guests enjoy the Masquerade Gala in the School’s School Great Hall.

Parker, the son of Easton residents and longtime friends of WRUS – Tom and Alexa Seip, attended the Winston School in Del Mar, California, a school like WRUS which is designed to support the strengths and needs of students with learning differences. As his parents are quick to note, “All Parker ever wanted to do was fly airplanes.” Upon graduation from Winston, Parker earned a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Flight Operations from Daniel Webster College. He later became an instructor for the college, and he earned his Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) status from the Federal Aviation Administration. Now with years of commercial flight experience, Parker is employed by a major commercial airline as First Officer on the Airbus 320 and 321, a craft which accommodates 220 passengers. He and his wife Amy and their two young children reside in North Carolina.

The School’s financial aid program will benefit from the Gala proceeds which include generous sponsorships by Alan and Penny Griffith, CS/2 LLC, Don and Debbie Pusey, Miles & Stockbridge, Richard K. White, Jr., 1880 Bank, Harry and Virginia Duffey, Tom and Alexa Seip, Town of Centreville, and Shore United/Wye Financial & Trust.

Wye River Upper School enrolls bright high school students with learning challenges including ADHD, dyslexia, and anxiety. For more information, contact Katie Theeke at 410-758-2922, katietheeke@wyeriverupperschool.org.

Wye River Upper School Explores the Benefits of Mindfulness in Education

The work and mission of Wye River Upper School will be strengthened as the school partners with the WRUS Parent’s Association to provide training for faculty and staff in the Neurobiology of Stress Management, Mindfulness and Meditation Tools for Resilience.

Monica Jordan of Annapolis, is leading the on-site training.  Jordan holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.), and a Master’s Certificate in Mind, Brain and Teaching (MCMBT) from Johns Hopkins University.  Jordan’s research focuses on the consequences of stress overload on the nervous system, mood, learning, behavior, executive function, and overall wellbeing. Her research also encompasses the effectiveness of Mindfulness as an intervention to ameliorate, and as a way to transform our reaction to stressors.

Jordan is providing every member of the staff and faculty with fifteen hours of intensive training as well as guidance and instruction for independent work to be done between training sessions.  After the course is complete, teachers and staff will share what they have learned with the Wye River students.

The WRUS faculty and staff gather in front of the school before one of their Mindfulness Trainings.

“Like most teenagers, our students must manage much more than we of the Baby Boomer or Millennial generation,” notes WRUS Head of School Chrissy Aull.  “Social media being the biggest add-on to an existing list of stressors that include academics, friends, college, and job readiness.  Often students and adults simply miss the joy of the moment or, worse, their stress can be an obstacle to learning.  We think Monica’s research-based approach is an ideal fit for our students and the adults who guide them. The entire staff will better support our students, athletes, and artists by showing them how mindfulness techniques and strategies can be used in their daily lives.”

Research supports the positive impact that Mindfulness has on academics and happiness.  In 2015, researchers at the University of British Columbia found that fourth and fifth grade students that participated in a 12-week mindfulness program had higher levels of attention, better retention, and 15 percent higher math grades than their peers. This was on top of psychological benefits such as lower levels of depression and increased feelings of optimism. (Terada, Y. 2017, Feb. Edutopia.org).

The WRUS faculty expresses enthusiasm at this opportunity.  Veteran teacher Kimberleigh Nichols adds, “Teaching is inherently a demanding job, and when you add stressors from home, it can feel overwhelming sometimes.  This training will give me the tools to manage stress more effectively and allow us to model those strategies for our students and families, paving the way for more creativity and learning.”

Rounding out the partnership amongst WRUS stakeholders, Parent’s Association Kathy Stisted offers, “The WRUS Parents Association is pleased to provide support for the Mindfulness program.  The generous donations of the WRUS parent community during the 2016-17 school year, allowed this seminar to be brought in-house.  We look forward to seeing the results of the training as the lessons learned are put into practice at our school.”

A free Mindfulness Workshop will be offered to the public on December 13, from 7:00pm-8:15 pm at the WRUS campus: 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD. Visit www.wyeriverupperschool.org for more details. WRUS enrolls bright high school students with learning differences, including ADHD, dyslexia, and anxiety.  For more information, contact Katie Theeke at 410-758-2922.

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