Tick, Tick, Tick… The Sounds of Summer Slipping Away!



Upcoming Important Dates

August 12 – MooseCamp PBE
August 24 – New Staff Orientation
August 27 – Teacher Workshop Day
August 28 – Teacher Workshop Day
August 31 – 1st Day of School (6th Grade only)
September 1 – GMS Parent Open House 6:00 – 7:00 pm
September 1 – All Students come to school
September 2 – School Pictures
September 4 – No School
September 7 – No School – Labor Day
September 8 – And the long Stretch Begins!

Student Supply Lists

We have had several request from parents about the lists that you distributed during our step-up day last June. I know it’s hard to imagine, but the kids just didn’t seem to be able to find the lists when they got home! Kristen has sent to the families of each team, via BlackBoard, the lists of supplies. I think we are missing two teams lists and I believe she sent out an email to that effect.

I haven’t done the exercise this year, but in the past, when I priced out the supply list being asked of each kid by the teams, using the Staples online catalog, we were expecting families to spend between $66 and $144 for supplies. That is quite a lot for some of our families!

I am asking that we be very mindful about what we ask of our kids’ families, for some families, with multiple kids in our schools, this can be a great burden.

New Teacher Orientation

There will be an orientation for those teachers and staff who are new to the district. It will be held at the Central Office in the Municipal Center (where you met with the Superintendent!) beginning at 8:00 am. I am sure there will be coffee and juice available to start your day. After the orientation session is completed, around 11:00, I would like to meet with our new staff at GMS. A short meet, I promise! I am sure that many of you will want to get into your classrooms.

Teacher Workshop Days

Plans are becoming more clear as to what we will be doing on these first days of school (for teachers). As we have in the past, we will gather at the Middle School beginning at 7:00 with a light breakfast of pastries and muffins and the required morning beverages of coffee and tea, as well as juice and water for those folks who have escaped the addiction of caffeine.

We will then move to the Auditorium at 7:55 to be welcomed by Superintendent Heather Perry and School Committee Chair Dennis Libby. Heather has “promised” to keep her remarks brief, or at least as brief as possible (there is a rumor she has been working on a comedy routine…). At the completion of Heather’s and Dennis’ remarks, we will then begin our mandated training in Suicide Prevention. This is training that is required of all educators  and staff throughout the state of Maine. This training will last about 90 minutes and it will be presented by several Gorham Schools staff members who have been trained as trainers.

The High School staff were all trained last year and they have reported that it is an excellent training and well worth the time to help us better understand the challenges that some of our kids face.

Upon completion of the Suicide Training, which will be attended by all staff, except the High School, we will remain in the Auditorium and complete our annual Blood-borne Pathogen training, which should take up to lunch time.

We will provide lunch beginning at 11:30, until 12:30 in the cafeteria. The afternoon will be reserved for teacher time in the classroom.

I am still working on what we will be doing for part of Friday’s work. We do have to complete the mandated annual training in Harassment, FERPA and Bullying, so those trainings will happen here. After that, we have lots of initiatives that are in process, and we’ll need to take some time to review each of these. Special Educators will be leaving at noontime for a meeting with the entire Special Education Department.

As plans become more concrete, we’ll get more out to you.

GMS Open House

We will hold our annual Open House for Parents on Tuesday, September 1 beginning at 6:00 until 7:00 pm. This is a time for your students’ parents to meet many of you for the first time and for the students to show their parents around and introduce them to Advisors and others who will be interacting with their kids all year.

We will have several pieces of information set up in the main foyer, outside the Library, about clubs, sports, cafeteria and food service and anything else we can think would be helpful. This is also a great time for teachers to gather email addresses, cell phone numbers and any other devices parents have to help increase communication with home and school.

Things That Keep Me Up at Night!

Summertime is a wonderful season of relaxation, gathering with families enjoying a well cooked hot dog on the grill or a well constructed s’more, perfectly gooey and crunchy. It is also a time to reflect on the work that we do and how our world has changed in dramatic fashion and how we are going to respond to these changes in our classrooms and our school.

You are all painfully aware of my fascination with Twitter and how I use the platform to keep up with changes in our profession. In fact, I believe I have developed an amazing collection of professionals who make up my Personal Learning Network, who continually offer challenges to my thinking and my beliefs. You are all also painfully aware of my penchant for offering videos to for your viewing pleasure that seek to challenge our collective idea of what school should be for our students.

This is not your typical TED video in that this is not some person on stage bloating over what great things they do in the school or classroom. This one reminds me more of something that I would have watched when I was in school (think film strip… and, yes, I am that old!). The information is historically significant, as the narrator brings us bak and forth, between the past and the present, and what is happening today that will affect the future of the kid in our classrooms. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

OK,Now go bak to those s’mores



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