Important Upcoming Dates
September 16 & 17 – MLTI Parent Meeting, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 17- Team Leaders Meeting in Melanie’s room 2:30 – 4:00 pm
September 18 Faculty Meeting in GMS Library 2:30 – 4:00 pm
September 19 – PIE Meeting in the GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 20 – School Dance in GMS Gymnasium 6:00 – 8:00 pm
September 23 – 7th Grade Parent Night GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 25 – Washington D.C. parent meeting 6:00 pm
September 25 – Maine Harvest Lunch in our Cafeteria
October 1 – 8th Grade Parents Night GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
October 2 – Early Release Day
October 4 – Progress Reports (Mid quarter)
MLTI Parent Nights
All students of the middle school who wish to take their laptops home over night must have their parents attend one of the two meetings on Monday and Tuesday, September 16 & 17. Besides the forms that will be required of each parent, there will be an informational discussion about the new Operating System and the language we will be using in dealing with students and digital citizenship.
I think we all know that these devices are very different than our devices last year. The OS is new and far more powerful and the applications that we will be using are very different. We will also need to explain to everyone that the controls that we had the last couple of years are considerably different and will need us all, school and family, to be far more attentive to how and where our students use these devices.
I am not asking anyone to be in attendance from the staff, but if you are interested in getting more information about how these devices are different and how we plan to work with the students on digital citizenship, you may want to attend. The meeting usually lasts about and hour.
Faculty Meeting Agenda
We will be meeting as a whole group on Wednesday, September 18th in the Library beginning at 2:30. Our Agenda will be:
Celebrations and Accolades
Teacher Evaluation System
Review of School Safety Plans
Discussion of EICAL/Genius Hour
The Teacher Evaluation discussion will allow Amanda, Co-Chair of the Committee, to report on the progress of our district in meeting the requirements of the evaluation system that was passed into law during the last full legislative session.
The committee, which began work last year to comply with the new law, has been reviewing several plans adopted by other school districts as well as how we could implement our own system. This has been a grueling task by every member of the committee to wend our way through the morass of legal requirements of the law with very little direction from the Department of Education.
Amanda has done a wonderful job of keeping the group focus on developing a system that is positive, productive and fair to all.
As we will also be doing a quick review of the School Crisis Plan, please make sure that you bring your “RED” folder with you to the meeting.
Lastly, we will have a discussion about how to best use EICAL time fro the coming year. I introduced you all to the Genius Hour and the website geniushour.com as a possible alternative for our students and faculty for that time. I would like to hear from each of you about how to structure this time. (and no, more tutorial is not an option!)
September 20 School Dance
The September 20th dance is sponsored by the Principal’s Office and, yes, we are looking for chaperones to help out. The dance is in our Gym from 6:00 until 8:00 pm and I am asking that remind all students that all school rules apply.
Grade Level Parent Nights
We have introduced a new idea in trying to get our parents more involved in our school community. The Grade Level Parent Nights will be held on a quarterly basis to introduce new ideas, hear concerns from parents about how school is going for their child and to engage them in new, more efficient ways to acquire resources (fundraising) for our school.
Our first meeting on Tuesday night was a great success. We had more than 50 parents of our 6th graders attend the meeting and give us feedback on how their children felt about the first days of middle school.
(An aside here, as a whole the entire group felt the their kids opening days experience was very positive and they were very pleased with how their kids felt about school.)
We also talked about some ideas that could help us develop the sense of community we are seeking with the possibility of fundraising. The idea of not doing the traditional forms of fundraising was quite appealing to many of them and they thought we should continue to explore some of the ideas brought up.
Our next Grade Level Parent Meeting will be Tuesday, September 23rd at 6:00 pm. We will continue to hold it in the Auditorium and hope for another good turnout. As with every meeting we hold here with parents, you are all invited to attend.
NECAPS are Coming
The NECAP window for testing will begin on October 1st and we will be getting a schedule out to all of you very soon.
As we were thinking about the schedules that we have had in the past, we began to wonder about the effectiveness of the schedule and what role it plays in how our kids perform. (Notice how I talk about “we” when I think I mean “me”? That may be an indicator of some deep rooted issues!). You may remember that we would have the students complete two sections of the NECAP per day so we could get all of the make-ups and every student tested in a 5-day period. Our question was, does this impact our outcomes?
One thought “we” had was trying to test just one section per day, knowing this would lengthen the time taken up by the NECAPs, but may prove more positive results. So here are some options for us to consider:
Anyway, “we” were wondering about how you felt, so I am including this new feature.
Maine Harvest Lunch
On September 25th, GMS will celebrate Maine Harvest Week with our annual luncheon for students. As you may recall, the Maine Harvest Lunch program, started in Gorham in 2003 and has grown considerably since then to include many schools across the state.
The goals of the program are many, including
- To educate students and school-community members about the benefits of supporting a local food system
- To cultivate interest amongst youth towards agriculture and other food sources, nutrition and food preparation methods
- To establish relationships between food service directors and local farmers/food producers, serving as a starting point for sourcing and incorporating more local foods into the school nutrition program
- To engage multiple community-based organizations, community and regional leaders, students, teachers, school administrators and parents in a celebration of Maine grown foods
- To increase community support, appreciation and confidence in school nutrition programs
For more information about how you can include the Maine Harvest Lunch Program in you classroom, the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association has a great web site with lots of great resources. Check them out here: http://www.mofga.org/Portals/2/Resources/MEFdsForKids.pdf
Early Release Day
October 2nd is the first Early Release Day of the new school year (now, I know we are “back at it”!). We will run shortened classes on that day, a difference from the past few years. This does not mean we are abandoning our early release day format of having themed days for the students, we are just trying to be responsive to some feed back we received last year.
The afternoon session will focus on technology and delving deeper into our new MacBook Airs. Terri Dawson is planning another great afternoon of engaging and informative activities for us. We will get more info out later in the month, so be looking for it!
October 4 Mid Quarter Mark
As we discussed in our first meetings of the year, we will not be mass producing Progress Reports for all students. We have undertaken a huge effort at getting parents hooked into their accounts on Infinite Campus. We will, however, continue to print reports for parents who make a request.
I will make a concerted effort through my parent blog, Daily Announcements and a note home to parents in the kid’s backpacks informing parents of this. We will also continue to get parents hooked into Infinite Campus so they can follow their child’s progress anytime, anywhere.
As with any changes, we expect to hear from folks who like it and don’t like the change. Please direct their comment to me so that we can appropriately address them.