Welcome to a Whole New Year


Upcoming Important Dates

Jan 6 – Faculty Meeting 2:30 -4:00 in the Library
Jan 7 – Geography Bee Finals 7:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Jan 11 – EICAL Rotation begins (this is an 8 day rotation)
Jan 13 – Early Release Day – Talent Show Presentation
Jan 14 – Lockdown Drill 9:00 am
Jan 15 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm sponsored by the 6th grade
Jan 16 – nErD Camp at Falmouth 8:00 am Falmouth Elementary School.

Thoughts While Watching Sunday Football Games

The NFL regular season ended yesterday, some might say “thankfully”! Now, 12 teams will play-off until only two remain to play in the Superbowl on February 7th.

Big Deal! What’s the big whoop? Well, to a lot of people, this is their “Holy Grail”, their idea of Nirvana, and a really Big Whoop! But I began to look at the season as whole and saw some striking similarities with the work we do in our classrooms.

Let’s think about this, each week, teams “practice”, trying to reach a set of “standards” that are enunciated by the coaching staff in the form of a “Game Plan”. Coaches design “lessons” for each position player to learn and execute during the game, and, on each Sunday, the teams are put to the “test”,  in the form of the game. The results of those games are then tabulated and teams are rated based on the game results.

Now, let’s take a look at the season ending results for four teams and see if we can make a determination as to how well they did:

  • Denver Broncos had 12 wins and 4 losses
  • Cincinnati Bengals had 12 wins and 4 losses
  • New England Patriots 12 wins and 4 losses
  • Kansas City Chiefs 11 wins and 5 losses

Based on these results, we would certainly place the three teams with 12-4 records above that of the 11-5 record of the Chiefs, wouldn’t we? But if we take a closer look at the results, we might actually see a very different story of how well each team did during the course of the season.

What we can’t tell from these results is how well each team “learned” their game plans for each game as the season progressed. For example, six games into the season, the Chiefs record was 1-5. That means that they are coming into the play-offs having won 10 games in a row, more importantly, it means that the chiefs players “learned” their lessons better as the year progressed. The Patriots, on the other hand, won their first ten games and lost four of their last 6 games. The Bengals won their first eight games and the went 4-4 for the second half of the season. And, finally, the Denver Broncos started the season 7-1 and finished the season 5-3.

So I guess what I am saying is the none of the teams that finished with a 12-4 record may be as good as the Chiefs of Kansas City, who finished the season with 10 straight wins.

What does this have to do with education? I think it says that the numbers may not tell the entire story, that in order to communicate to our stakeholders how well our kids are doing requires more than just a number. It also points out that averaging definitely does not tell us everything we need to know about how these teams are doing,or, more importantly, how our kids are doing.

Talent Show

During the early release day of January 13, we will make a schedule so that all of our kids and teachers will be able to see our talented kids perform. We will begin the show as close to 8:05 as we possible can. This means that, if your team is attending the first show, you will need to move your students to the auditorium immediately at the conclusion of the morning announcements.

Based upon the seating capacity in the Auditorium, we need to schedule the teams as follows:

8:00 Show – Sebago, Eagle , Moosehead and Harraseeket
9:30 Show – Boon, Mohegan, Peaks, Stroudwater and Little River

This creates a problem for Allied Arts, since there is no way to schedule the shows around classes, so there will be no Allied Arts classes on this day. It also causes a problem with EICAL,so this next rotation will be 7 sessions rather than 8. Finally, Each team will create their own schedule for the times not attending the show. Please let Special Educators know what you are doing so they may offer services for their case load.

Lockdown Drill

We will conduct a Lockdown Drill on Thursday, January 14. Please review our safety plans for the drill and review this with your students. It will be around 9:00 am, but, perhaps, not exactly at 9:00 as we will coordinate this with Gorham Police and Fire and will be subject to their availability.

Faculty Meeting Agenda

We will gather in the Library beginning at 2:30 with food provided by Special Educators.

  • Celebrations and Accolades
  • Peer Observer Presentation
  • Intro of Interns by mentoring teachers
  • End of Semester Concerns
  • other

Early Release Day Work for Teachers

The focus of they day will be on Science with Gregg, Mike McCarthy and Dave Palmer being released during the morning to work with HS Science Teachers at the Central Office beginning at 8:00 am. The afternoon will be as follows:

  • Science – Work will continue with Teachers of Science.
  • Social Studies – Kim, Patty, Mary, and Rick will complete a draft of the scoring criteria for all three grades.
  • Math – Brett and Veronica; Sherry (may be needed for JR pilot discussion); Chris and Sheila; Adam and Chids (Melanie should work with GHS Algebra I teachers)  The work will be defined in the coming days.
  • ELA – all teachers, except two-person 7th grade team; will finish scoring criteria
  • Special Education – Continue to work on the CCSS and how it impacts Special Education students.
  • Allied Arts – Will meet as a team.

Free Portland Pirates Tickets

The Portland Pirates, American Hockey League affiliate of the Florida Panthers, are pleased to announce the return of the Pirates “Student Rewards” program, They are offering to students whom you deem worthy, an opportunity to see a professional hockey game free of charge.The tickets are redeemable for tickets to games on Friday, January 22nd against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, or Friday, April1, against the Providence Bruins. You may award these vouchers to students who have shown improvement in their studies, exemplified our Code of Conduct or even for a random act of kindness.

Please see me for the vouchers.

nErDCamp Northern New England

nErDcamp is an “unconference” modeled after edcamp with a focus is on literacy. An “unconference” means that participants decide which topics will be explored. Please view this comparison between a traditional conference and an “unconference” here. This comparison was obtained from the edcamp wiki space.  If you would like more info about edcamp, please visit their wiki here.

If you are interested, please let me know. Oh, and did I mention that is was free!

EICAL Support Groups

We are looking for teachers at each grade level to recommend to us students that you believe should be included in the next round of support classes offered during the EICAL Period beginning on January 11. Remember that these students would not already be in a Learning Lab for Math or Reading and they would not be receiving special education services under an IEP. These are students who have begun demonstrate that they are having some difficulties with content concepts, these are not kids who are struggling with doing homework. So, please send your recommendations for kids, along with the areas that they are demonstrating struggles.

Please have these sent to Me, Susie and Mindy by Wednesday afternoon.

A Great Video on Mindset

This was suggested to me by Terri Dawson and I found it to be very informative and helpful in clarifying what my ideas of a growth mindset. I think you’ll also find this helpful.


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