Another Monday Memo on a Tuesday!

topperMiddle

Upcoming Important Dates

Mar 16 – Early Release Day, Students dismissed at 11:10 am
Mar 18 – School Dance Sponsored by the 8th Grade
Mar 21 – Begin 8th Grade EMPowerME (MEA) Testing
Mar 23 – Leadership Team Meeting 2:30 Melanie’s room
Mar 24 – GHS Annual Spring Concert 12:30 pm GMS Auditorium (Schedule to follow)
March 24 & 25 – Parent Teacher Conferences
Mar 28 – 7th Grade Parent Forum about Jumprope 6:00 pm in the Library
Mar 26 – Gorham Market Place at USM
Apr 1 – 3rd Quarter Ends!

MEA Test Security Webinar & Browser check

As part of the role of Test Administrator/Proctor for the MEAs, we are all required to sit in on two webinars, one, an eleven minute webinar, and a second, a seven minute webinar offered by Measured Progress. Once we have completed the webinars, we will also need to sign a Test Security Agreement, which will be placed in you mailbox prior to the testing. All the Test Security agreement says is that you are familiar with MEA Test Manual and have participate in the Test Administration Webinar.

The link to the webinar is: MEA Webinar
Security Webinar

This is not a whole lot different with the security measures we have taken in the past. Please make sure that you have the signed documents back to the office by Friday, March 18.

On another MEA topic, on Thursday, March 17, at the beginning of SSR, we will ask all 7th and 8th grade students to open their MEA Lock Down Browser. By executing this action, we will be able to determine how many of our studnets’ computers are prepared to administer the MEA. There should only be a few students who might have a problem. For those students who cannot see, or open the lock down browser, please send them to the Library, where Mike Nash will properly install and check the browser.

Early Release Day Schedule

We will dismiss the students at about 11:10 am. Lunch will be on your own and we’ll gather back in the Library at 12:15 to prepare for the Advisory Cluster meetings. Advisory Clusters will meet until 1:30. Beginning at 1:30 the GMS Grading and Reporting Committee will meet in the Library to discus the work being done at the District level Grading and Reporting Committee. It is very important that as many teachers as possible hear about the work that is going on with this committee and the work that is happening in conjunction with the High School Grading and Reporting Committee.

Please make it a priority to attend this meeting.

GHS Chorus Concert

To celebrate Music in our Schools Month, the Matt Murray and the GHS Chorus Singers will be performing concerts at the Middle School on Thursday, March 24. There will be two concerts to accommodate the whole school and they will begin at 12:30. Since this is the testing week for the 8th grade, we will not devise any sort of special schedule, we will, instead, just have the team come to the Auditorium for the concert, and then return to their class.

We will call the teams down in this order:

First Concert – Boon, Mohegan, Peaks and Little River & Stroudwater
Second Concert – Sebago, Eagle, Moosehead & Harraseeket

Please use the seating charts below to place your studnets.

Auditorium 8Gr LittelRiver & Strdwtr

Auditorium Layout 6th Grade & Harr

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences are Thursday and Friday, March 24 & 25, please make every effort to reach out to all of your parents for these Conferences. These meetings are so important as we begin the process of planning for next year. Unfortunately, these conference days are planned on two very important days in the Christian calendar, I realize, so if some parents have objections to meeting on either of these days, please make every effort to find a day on with side of these selected days to meet. It is that important!

And, Speaking Next Year…

About five years ago, Susie and I met with each teacher to have a frank talk about personal wants, needs and wishes, for their time here at Gorham Middle School. We undertook this endeavor in response to some proposed changes that were afoot in our school. While the “changes afoot” for the next few years may not be as dramatic as they were back five years ago, there will be some changes in next, and, it is a good time to check in with folks.

We will begin to schedule time with each teacher and Ed Tech during the next few weeks. We plan to have met with everyone by the April Break. Be looking for our emails to schedule your time.

#GMSSlowchat

I have begun a “Slowchat” on Twitter using the hashtag (#) #GMSSlowchat, to help us examine practices around Formative Assessment. Using this hashtag, we can add ideas or examples of formative assessment that we use in our class that can then be shared with our colleagues. This could be a nice way to extend our professional development within our own community. It may also open world to us, as this is an open space available to all to add. You may be surprised to see who joins our chat!

7th Grade Jumprope Pilot

At our last faculty meeting, we discussed the pilot being undertaken by the 7th grade Science Teachers during the fourth quarter. We will redistribute the one page Talking Points to all 7th grade advisors, so that they may speak with reasonable assuredness with the parents of their advisees so that they will know what to expect.

We have sent a letter to parents describing our goals for this pilot. 7th Grade advisories will give students a hard copy of the letter to take home, we have sent Blackboard message to parents and we have also sent a copy to each home via snail mail. Hopefully, every parent will understand what we are trying to  accomplish with this pilot

I would also like you to remind all parents of the Open House for 7th grade parents on Monday, March 28 at 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium.

Mindsets

I had a conversation recently about the idea of where our students, and faculty, are with respect to how we view the ideas of Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset. So often, during conversations with students and their parents where hear the phrase “you are so bright!” or “you really are talented!” when we try to describe a student who struggles with getting passing grades in a class. I sometimes wonder if we aren’t doing moe harm with these utterances than we intend.

Dr. Tony Sanais is an Elementary Principal in New York who regular shares his thoughts in a blog post. Here is one that struck at the heart of the conversation I reference above: I hope you enjoy.

http://leadingmotivatedlearners.blogspot.com/2016/03/growth-mindset-grit-grrrr.html

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