As We Head Into The Thanksgiving Holiday


Upcoming Important Dates

Wednesday – Friday, November 26 – 29 – Thanksgiving Break
Wednesday, December 3 – Faculty Meeting 2:30, GMS Library (I don’t remember who has food!)
Tuesday, December 9 – GMS Band Concert – 6:30 pm GMS Auditorium
Wednesday, December 10 – Early Release Day, students dismissed at 11:10
Thursday, December 11 – GMS Chorus and Steel Band Concert 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Friday, December 12 – GMS School Dance sponsored by the 8th Grade 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, December 17 – Faculty meeting
Friday, December 19 – Annual Student Faculty Basketball game and Holiday Concerts

Student Laptops & Thanksgiving Break

As we do each vacation, we will be taking those few days to complete and inventory of the devices and a spot review of the conditions. Therefor, students will need to leave their devices in the appropriate charging station over the break. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Early Release Day

The student day will have a bit of a different look to it. We will be administering the Rand Survey during the morning to all grade levels. Since this will be done online, we want to stagger the grade levels. So here is the schedule we will follow:

6th grade 8-9
7th grade 9-10
8th grade 10-11
We will leave Allied Arts and EICAL in place and teams will make up the rest of the schedule for the team. Please make sure that you inform all Special Educators of your plans for the day.

Annual Student/Faculty Basketball Game

We will hold our annual Student/Faculty basketball game on Friday, December 19th. We will also have Band and Chorus concerts for the entire school on this day as well. We plan to have the concerts in the morning with half the school attending while the other half of the school will be in advisory. We will then switch to activities. Lunch will be at the usual time and rotations. We will call all students to the gym after the 6th grade lunch where will begin the afternoon festivities with the awarding of the 2nd Annual James Madison Prize for Writing Excellence, prior to the start of the basketball game. We expect to dismiss students from the gym around 1:45. Students will go back to their advisory and conduct a thorough locker clean out for the two-week long Christmas Break.

As we get more definitive with details, we will let you know.

Holiday Food Baskets

After Teresa Merrill completed her calls to families that were identified by you, our faculty, we have quite a few families we need to help. We have had some of our families come forward, who would like to help, and they will be contributing baskets for two families. Even still, we have 22 families for Thanksgiving and 24 families for Christmas needing some help to make the holidays joyful.

If you are of a mind, and you would like to help by bringing in a turkey, please get the frozen variety and we will put them in kurt freezer here at school. I know that both Hannaford and Shaw’s put limits on the number of turkeys you can buy. Thanks in advance for all your help!

A Couple of Articles from Ed Week

I know that you all know that I am regularly on Twitter. I have developed a very interesting Personal Learning Network (PLN) in this medium and they are always challenging my thinking, sharing resources and opening my eyes.

As we continue our journey toward Proficiency Based Learning, and all that it means for our practices, I know that I don’t have all the answers, and I know that together “we” are a whole lot smarter than “me”. The folks I follow on Twitter who, by the way, are struggling with all of the same challenges we are, are always offering ideas, resources and insight into our work several times a day, everyday.

Here are a couple of articles from EdWeek about grading practices and how some communities are dealing with the shift from the way we used to do communicate student progress to the way we need to communicate. I hope you enjoy them, we will be using them in our future work.

Grading Standards can Elevate Teaching

Parents React to a Classroom Without Grades


Speech and Debate

I haven’t had any takers on this yet, but I am sure that there is at least one faculty member who did this in High School and would love to have our kids have the same experience.

I have been approached by several students about the possibility of beginning a Speech and Debate Club here at GMS. From my conversations with the students, they are genuinely interested in pursuing the establishment of this activity and they understand what it is all about. If there is anyone on the faculty who would like to lead this group of young orators, please contact me ASAP. I would hate to see their enthusiasm diminish!

 Giving Thanks

It is the season of giving thanks and I must admit, each year that we do this, I am absolutely blown away by the generosity of of staff. There really are so many things that happen at our school that demonstrates the “giving spirit” of our school it is hard to enumerate each of them, but I am going to try to shed some light (without embarrassing folks, so please don’t worry about being called out!) on the acts of our staff.

You may remember when Walmart came to our faculty meeting and gave away $50 gift cards to 20 of our staff. Well, we had some very kind folks who offered to give their’s up to help someone who was not as fortunate and could use some help, maybe with the holidays. Kind of nice, huh?

All of the students and teachers, through our advisories, who collected an woful lot of canned goods and other non-perishables that will be included in the holiday dinner boxes that will be distributed  this week to more families than we can imagine to make their holiday a bit brighter.

All of the staff who have brought in Thanksgiving Turkeys to be included in the food boxes. They have all made sure that we have enough turkeys to help make sure that we have ample supply for our Christmas Dinners.

One of our families who contacted us to say that they would like to supply Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners for two of our needy families. Not only will they provide Dinners for these families, the will also make sure that Santa comes to the house as well.

And, during the course of the year all of the “little” things that our staff does for our students. I can’t count the number of jackets, shoes and other types of clothing that our staff brings in to make sure all of our kids are warm and safe.

I cannot forget the hundreds of pounds of fruit and produce that our school garden provides to the Ecumenical Food Pantry here in Gorham.

For these, and the so many more acts of kindness and generosity that you give to our community, I am so very thankful. You are all truly very special people. Enjoy the blessings of family and friends during this holiday season.



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