March 26th

Last week I tried to instruct you on how to follow this blog by receiving an email each, and every, time I made a post. Well, I gave you wrong information. So, I will try to correct this this week, here goes:

In the lower right hand corner, beneath the section called “META”, there is a box inviting you to “join 16 other people in following this blog”, it looks like this :

Now all you need to do is input your email address where indicate and click on the follow button. That should do it. (God, I hope so!)

Important Dates

  • Mar 26 – High School Principal, Chris Record, and a selected few of his teachers and counselors will met with the 8th grade students at 8:05 in the Auditorium. We will not adjust the schedule for this one period, so MDI students will miss their Allied Arts period on this day. Sorry to the AA teachers for this inconvenience.
  • Mar 26 -The District-wide Team Leaders meeting originally scheduled for this date has been postponed. It has been rescheduled for Monday, May 7th and it will be held here at the Middle School beginning at 3:15. We will receive an agenda and materials soon.
  • Mar 28 – Guidance Counselors from GHS will be here all day helping our 8th graders register for classes at the High School. The Counselors will be in Kelly Littlefield, Aaron Ouellet and Adam Parvanta’s class for registering students.
  • Mar 28 – Faculty meeting from 2:30 until 4:00. We will begin in the Library at 2:30 for our usual celebrations, a few “odd and ends” and directions, then breakout into Advisory Clusters to prepare for Conferences.
  • Mar 29 – Originally, this day was going to be our Public Safety Day for the students, but Tracy Wheeler and Terri Dawson are working on an alternative activity. The first part of the morning, we will be creating a Lipdub. All advisories should have their assignments, but if you don’t check with either Terri Dawson or Angela Gospodarek. I comment on this Lipdub later in the memo, please read.
  • Mar 29 & 30 – Early release day and teacher workshop day, respectively. These days are Parent/Teacher Conference Days for the entire district. Conferences will be from 2:00pm to 8:00 on Thursday evening and on Friday from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm. We have confirmed this information with all schools in the district!
  • Mar 30 – 3rd Quarter ends, please have your grades into your grade book by Tuesday so that we can have report cards ready to go home on Friday April 6.
  • Apr 5 – There will be meetings for the Social Studies Curriculum Committee members at 8:00 am in the Superintendent’s Conference Room beginning at 8:00 am. We will arrange to have half-day subs for you on this day. Also, The Math Curriculum Committee will meet at the Middle School, in Diane Knott’s room, beginning at 12:30. again, we will have arranged the subs for you.
  • Apr 6 – School Dance in the Gym from 6:00 pm until 8:00. Since I am writing this from home, I am not sure who is sponsoring the dance this month. Hopefully, if it is your dance you have begun preparations for chaperones, etc.
  • Apr 10 – ELA Curriculum Committee will meet at 8:00 am in the GMS Library. We will arrange for your subs. In the afternoon, the VPA Curriculum Committee is scheduled to meet at the Central Office. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 12:30 pm.

Other Stuff

Odyssey of the Mind

Congratulations to Diane Knott and her students pf Odyssey of the Mind on the success this past weekend in the annual competition. If the Maine Sunday Telegram is to be believed, Team Balsa collected a 1st Place in their Division. Team members are: The Classic Team is Abbie VanLuling, Hayley Bickford, Grant Hawkes, Nathan Bachner, Bridget Daigle & Max Harvey; The Balsa Team includes Teddy Lockman, Sam Martel, Sam Roussel and Coleman Dowdle; The Technical Team is Lizzie Lemieux, Molly VanLuling, Avery Arena, Maddie Joyal-Meyers, Claire Valentine and Em NejezcHeba

Thanks for representing GMS so well!

National History Day

Wishing “Good Luck” (not that they’ll need it!) to Jeff Carpenter and his National History Day Team as the go to Augusta on Wednesday for the state competition. I am sure they will bring home some “hardware” and, hopefully, we can send another team to the National Competition later this Spring.

Why a Lipdub?

The support for this project has been tremendous, and I appreciate it and I believe that the students of the I-Team appreciate it as well. But I can’t help but ask the question that I think is on several folks mind, why?

So, let me try to explain why I think this is absolutely the right thing at absolutely the right time.

We (our entire community, faculty, staff, students and parents) have done a tremendous amount of work trying to develop a greater sense of community within our school. Our Advisory program, the early release day activities sponsored and coordinated by our Civil Rights Team, the Annual GMS Talent Show, with its many student and faculty participants, even the EICAL Period with teachers and students working on activities together that are of high interest contributed to creating community.

The whole premise of the Lipdub is to gather community for a singular purpose, using technology and contemporary music to create something unique to our school. For our students this will create an heirloom, if you will, for our students to forever have and be able to say, “they were a part of something bigger than themselves”. It will also create for them memories that can be recounted for many years, something they can tell their grandchildren ( I can only imagine what their grandchildren will think!!??!!).

I am sure many of us feel we could be “doing something more productive” in the sense of academics. I think, however, building a better sense of community and giving our students, and our teachers and staff, an event that will create lasting memories and a few laughs is important as well. In the time I have been here, I have heard many stories about events at the old Shaw Junior High School that have become the stuff of legend. Hopefully, regardless of how well this comes out, there will be some very lasting memories from this day.

Safety Drills

We took advantage of the early, and unexpected though very welcomed, great weather to get in a couple of fire drills. I am happy to report that we were very successful in meeting expectations for evacuating the building in good time and we were able to account for all of kids very quickly, as well. I would like you all to remind our students that these drills need to be done quietly. The students should not be talking to each other and they need to be paying attention in the event that we need to change directions and head out in a different way.

I would like to commend the 8th graders and their teachers for the way they reacted when the encountered a blocked exit. They were able to get the students turned around and still get them outside within the 2 minutes and 20 second time frame.

We will have a couple more drills between now and the end of the school year and we will most certainly be blocking exits or even multiple exits.

Learning Teams at GMS

The Titan Pad for teacher comments and ideas is still open for anyone who wished to add their “two cents” to the conversation. We are planning to visit these topics one more time before we decide upon the few topics to be explored. All teachers will have an opportunity to join the group that most interests you. We recognize that there will be some people who wish to explore several topics, but we are going to ask folks to focus on one topic group and wait for the whole group reports to make their contributions.

The Adolescent Brain

You mean they have one???

I know that sometimes it may seem as though they don’t, but, rest assured, scientists have definitely found one inside the cranium of all adolescents. And, they have found some very interesting facts about how they mature and why they do some of the things they do. I have been reporting about this to parents in my Parent Blog over the past couple of weeks and I have been including clips from the PBS Frontline series done a couple of years ago.

The science continues to grow, almost daily, in this area. I am including a Time article that appeared in their online edition here for your reading.

GMS Night at the Sea Dogs

Remember to circle the date of Friday, April 27th for the 2nd Annual GMS Night at the Sea Dogs. Our Chorus will begin the festivities by singing the National Anthem, one lucky teacher will throw out the first pitch and the Portland Sea Dogs will honor several of our teachers for their contributions to our school and community over the year. It should be a fun night (isn’t any night at the ball park a fun night?) for all, come join us!

We are taking ticket orders now in the Office. Tickets are General Admission and cost $5.00 ($1.00 off regular price). Let Kristen know how many you would like.

Sea Dog Player to Visit GMS

In conjunction with our GMS Night at the Portland Sea Dogs, we will have a Sea Dog’s player visit our school on Monday April 30th. He will be here for about an hour. If you would like your team, or class to meet this future Boston Red Sox player, send me an email and we’ll arrange the meetings.

Curriculum Committee Meetings

There are a couple of Curriculum Committee meeting coming up during the first week of April. We kick of the “season” with Social Studies Curriculum Committee meeting at 8:00 am in the Central Office. That meeting should run until 10:30, or so. We have secured subs for those folks on the committee for that half day you’re gone. In the afternoon, beginning at 12:30, the Math folks will gather in Diane Knott’s room. ELA will meet on April 10th. The 6-12 people will meet at GMS in the Library beginning at 8:00. We have lots to do in the 2 and one half hours we have. I will send out a final agenda next week.

Spring Student Pictures

We are planning on doing the Spring version of the student pictures on Monday April 23rd (yep, the Monday we get back!). It is expected that all student, staff and faculty will have their pictures taken at this time. We will get the schedule out before vacation so you can plan your day.

Homework Club and After School Library

There will be some changes in the way we offer Homework Club and After School Library after the Spring Vacation. As the weather warms and more students are involved in after school athletics and other activities, the attendance seems to dwindle. This is a fairly expensive activity (worth every penny!), but we need to be more thoughtful about how we employ our people and our dollars. When we finalize the plan, hopefully in the next two weeks, we will get the details out to you all. If any of you have any ideas, we would love to hear them.


One thought on “March 26th

  1. The April dance is sponsored by FLS, Special Olympics and Athletics. Sherry Coyne, Lisa Shiers and I have been working together in planning a fun time. We are having a Hawaiian Theme and will make posters to encourage kids (and staff attending!!!) to wear Hawaiian shirts. We will be selling leis and glow bracelets as a FLS/Special Olympics fundraiser.

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