Important Upcoming Dates
August 26 – First Teacher Day, GMS Auditorium 8:00 am
August 27 – Workshop Day, schedule will be forthcoming
August 28 – First Student Day (6th Graders only)
August 29 – All students return
August 30 – No School ( Long Labor Day Weekend)
September 2 – Labor Day (No School)
September 3 – School Pictures and Vision and Hearing Screenings (Schedule will be forth coming)
September 3 – GMS Open House 6:00 – 7:00 pm
September 4 – Faculty Meeting 2:30 in GMS Library
September 10 – 6th Grade Parent Meeting GMS Library 6:00 pm
August 26th Teacher Day
The morning will begin with a wonderful continental breakfast in the GMS Cafeteria at 7:30 until 7:55. The whole district portion of the program will begin promptly at 8:00 am in the GMS Auditorium with Ted offering opening remarks as well as introduction of new staff. At the conclusion of the whole district session we will move to the MS Library to begin our work for the day.
The morning portion of our day will cover the mandated basics, and as payment for suffering through the “mandated basics”, we will provide lunch with drinks and chips! For those of you who have been operating on a summertime schedule, which means that lunch might begin around 2:00, we will have our lunch at noontime til 1:00.
The afternoon sessions will be on building based work around Technology and Students, both mutually inclusive and exclusive (if that’s possible!). We should be done by 3:00 pm.
We will start promptly at 8:00 am in the GMS Library. Our agenda will include District Focus Points. We will make sure that all teachers have time to work in their classrooms before the end of the day.
All Special Educators will be meeting at the Central Office with Katie and Kathy to discuss issues central to Special Education. Special Education Department will provide lunch for all Special Educators.
August 28 – All 6th Graders
This is the first day for all 6th graders. They will have quite a bit of time with their advisors and teams in the morning. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria at 11:00 am, and we will extend the time for the students to make sure that there is plenty of time for the students to get the “hang” of how the Cafe works and a decent recess time.
While the 7th and 8th grade teachers will have some time in their classrooms, I would ask that you all make yourselves available to assist the 6th grade teachers where they may need it. It will also be very helpful and constructive to our new 6th graders to get a chance to meet each of the 7th and 8th grade teachers during the day, so please make time in your day for this.
Susie and I would like to hold an assembly in the Auditorium at 12:45 until 2:00 to meet the new “middle schoolers” and to talk about the Toa of GMS. At the end of the assembly, the students will return tot heir teams for dismissal.
August 29 – Everyone!
This is the first day of school for ALL GMS students. We will begin with an extended Advisory period until 9:00. At that time, we will run a schedule similar to a “1-Hour Delay” schedule. We will also run it as a Thursday schedule as well.
We will have worked with the 6th grade students to streamline lunch, but I expect that there may be some delays in the 8th grade lunch due to the 7th graders “getting back in the swing”, so 8th grade teachers, we may ask you to hold your students for a few minutes, if necessary.
August 30 – Take a Breath!
There is no school for students and teachers, so please enjoy the extended weekend knowing that when we return on Tuesday, it really does start!
You will notice several changes in access to the building over the next couple of month as we upgrade our security. As we have always done, all access doors will be locked and only accessible by use of your key fob. If, for some reason, your fob is not operable, please see Mike Hoyt.
We are addressing all interior door issues, i.e. those that do not close fully, do not lock or have some other malfunction. Unfortunately, these all take considerable time to plan and, as hard as it may be to believe, we are not the only building experiencing these types of issues. We appreciate your patience.
Our front door will be locked after the students arrive in the morning. All visitors to the building will have access to the first foyer entry way, but must be buzzed in by a secretary if they need to enter the building.
There will be other, more subtle changes in our security procedures and we will let you know of all of those as they are placed into service.
New Teacher MLTI Devices
Terri Dawson has been meeting with teachers this week to exchange old MLTI devices with the new MacBook Airs. The sooner we can accomplish this, the sooner you will all be able to access the amazing changes these devices offer.
I know that when we discussed the decision to go with the MacBooks instead of the IPads, we had in the back of our minds that our students, and us, would be more familiar with these devices and would not pose as dramatic a shift as the IPads. What we are finding is that these devices are not just another laptop. There are some very powerful features within the hardware and with the availability of Apps, there will really be a sharp learning curve for all of us.
We have planned October 2nd Early Release day to more fully explore the devices.
Student Laptop Deployment
We have developed a schedule for deploying the student laptops during the first days of school. As I mentioned above, these are not the same devices as we have had in the past and they will require a different method than we have employed in the past.
6th grade devices, the MacBooks, will be deployed by team on Wednesday, September 4. We will publish a schedule for when teams will bring their students to the Library.
7th grade deployment of the MacBook Air will happen over two days, September 5 and 6 in the Library. We will ask all Science Teachers to follow a schedule for students to receive all of the equipment and to demonstrate how to set up the machine. Each class deployment should take an entire period, so please plan accordingly.
8th grade deployment will take place on Monday and Tuesday, September 9 & 10. We will follow the same methods as the 7th grade. Exact times for both the 7th grade and 8th grade science classes will be sent out later next week.
GMS Open House – September 3rd
The annual GMS Open House will be Tuesday, September 3rd from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. This is a great opportunity for teachers and parents to “meet and greet” and show off classrooms. We will have lots of informational tables set up in the Foyer of the school to disseminate information about life at the middle school.
Food Services will be available to answer any questions parents may have about our different food plans for students, information about federal programs to assist families in making sure kids get nutritious (and tasty!) meals for lunch.
They will also provide cookies and drink for all attendees to the open house.
GMS Advisory Program
We are very proud of the work that you have all done in making our Advisory program so beneficial to our students. The beneficial results of the program are obvious to everyone who enters our building. Parents, district staff and visitors all comment about the “feel” of our building as welcoming, friendly and safe. This is all very much a result of your work with our students in the advisory.
Now is not the time, however, to be satisfied! We really need to “up our game” with this program to more completely benefit all of our kids. We will be uploading to the Advisory WIKI some new information regarding activities that we can try and we are placing a call out to all of the faculty to share any ideas that you may have tried that will improve our program.
School Picture Day and Vision and Hearing Screenings – September 3rd
Teresa Merrill will also be performing Vision and Hearing screenings for 7th grade students and selected other students during this time.
I know that this can be very disrupting to getting a routine set for our students, but this really is necessary work for our school. Thanks for your patience.
We will be getting a schedule out to all next week.
Okay, This Sort of Blew my Mind!
In an effort to expose ourselves to the limitless possibilities for learning, and, in the process, demonstrating to our students that we are all learners and are all constantly learning new things, I am offering this free, online course that bills itself as a history course, but seems to be far more than that, called Big History.
Here is a short, six-minute video offering an explanation of what Big History is. I would be interested in knowing if anyone is going to get involved.
Another Great Learning Opportunity
Ready to broaden your horizons? The University of Southern Maine is pleased to offer a new program that brings China to the classrooms of southern Maine.
The Chinese Language and Culture Program for K-12 educators, offered through the new USM Confucius Institute, provides professionals with the unique opportunity to become proficient in Mandarin Chinese, earn credits that can be applied toward K-12 World Language Teacher Certification, or even work toward a graduate degree or certificate of advanced study.
The low-residency program is designed to fit the schedules of working professionals, with courses that meet face-to-face weekly with independent study between course sessions. Students also have the exciting opportunity to become immersed in Chinese culture during a study abroad course at Dongbei University in Dalian, China.
Take the first step to professional and personal advancement! [ http://www.usm.maine.edu/node/32655 ]Register today for EPC 567 Beginning Chinese for Teachers, Part I and begin fall 2013!