Week of October 11


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Upcoming Important Dates

Oct 12 – Team Leaders Meeting 2:30, Melanie’s Room
Oct 17, 18 & 19 – RtI Meetings with all teams
Oct 18 – School Lockdown Drill
Oct 19 – Faculty Meeting 2:30 GMS Library
Oct 21 – School Dance Sponsored by the 8th Grade
Oct 25 – Early Release Day, students dismissed at 11:10 am
Oct 26 & 27 – Parent Teacher Conferences
Nov 1 – Most Likely to Succeed showing, GMS Auditorium 7:00 pm

James Madison Writing Excellence Competition

Last month, I announced the 4th annual James Madison Prize for Written Excellence competition for students at Gorham Middle School. Each year the number of entries has grown to a point last year where almost 80 entries were received. I would love to see that number grow to over 100 this year!

There are 3 great prizes possible, two runners-up prizes of $100 and one grand prize award of $250.

The Madison Prize for Written Excellence celebrates our nation’s history by encouraging thought and reflection on the topics presented and offering students the opportunity to express themselves through the submission of original essays. All submissions will be reviewed, with exemplary submissions competing for one of three cash prizes. We invite you to become part of this tradition.

How does the contest work?
Contestants must complete and submit the entry form along with an original work of authorship responsive to the competition’s question. Essays must be between 300 and 400 words in length.

What is this year’s question?
Is There a Conflict Between Liberty and the Common Good?

When is the deadline?
All entries must be received by November 4th, 2016.

Could you please let me know if, and how many, entries your class may be entering into he contest. The Committee needs to know how many readers they will need to complete the judging.

While We’re on the Subject

Of writing contests, I mean, The Korean Spirit & Cultural Promotion Project, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit is holding its tenth annual national essay contest. The subject of the essay this year is King Sejong the Great. An accomplished musician, scientist and linguist, he was devoted to the well being of his citizens and with their lagging literacy skills. The United Nations, in their campaign to end illiteracy world-wide, has created an award in his name, the “King Sejong Literacy Prize”.

I know this may seem a bit obscure, but any opportunity to get our kids writing for a different audience, is good. If you’d like more information about this writing contest, please email me.

School Lock Down Drill

another reminder that we will be conducting a controlled lockdown on Tuesday, October 18 at 9:15 am. I believe you will notice a difference immediately upon the activation of the alarm. The voice will be a female voice and it will begin immediately at the first flash of the strobe light. The female voice will announce, very emphatically, “LOCKDOWN, LOCKDOWN, LOCKDOWN…” and will then give the instructions of what to do.

We will be sending out Blackboard messages to parents and guardians informing them of the drill.

Later in the school year, we will perform another Lockdown drill unannounced.

Early Release Day Activities

The October 25th early release day for the students will be shortened classes with no lunch. Students will be dismissed at 11:10. After lunch, all Advisory Clusters will meet to discuss students in preparation for the Parent/Teacher Conferences that will be held on Thursday night and Friday day.

Most Likely to Succeed

There will be several more notices of the showing of this ground breaking edu-documentary that we have been privileged to show to our community in the next few weeks. As mentioned in past posts, this film was debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last year, and it takes a very different look at America’s education system.

You have heard me spout on more occasions than either of us wants to count that “our kids are vastly different than ever before”! What this edu-documentary exposes is how, and in what ways our kids are different. We can only show this once, so I cannot have a separate viewing for the faculty and then one for the public. I hope that this trailer for the film will whet your appetite for joining the rest of our community in viewing and discussing the possibilities for our kids.

Election Activities Resources

For an old Social Studies Teacher, this is the best time of year! An election cycle with so many different ways to help our students understand Civics and their civic responsibility.

A hotly contested Presidential contest, unlike that of any since maybe 1824 (look it up!), where the candidates for the highest office in the land are taking a “Katie-bar-the-door” approach (google that!) to each other and the American voters, to a 2nd Congressional District contest that seems to mirror that of the national campaign.

There are several crucial referenda that will have an impact on the lives of many people, and one that could mean extra resources for Maine’s public schools if approved.

Here are a couple of links to pages that are just chock full of resources that could be used in your classes. This first link is from the American Association of School Librarians and it has links to many different resources that could be used in any content area, http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/civics-election-library-perfect-match/

The next resource is from PBS and it includes videos and very usable lesson plans for all content areas and grade levels. http://www.pbseduelectioncentral.com/we-the-voters?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=paid-social&utm_content=Master-Debate-WTV-C2IM1&utm_campaign=Paid-Social-PBS-Election-2016

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Parent/Teacher Conferences are less than two weeks away. We will be using the time on Wednesday afternoon (Oct 25) for all advisory clusters to prepare for these conferences. While we try to make the time available to all teachers, for some teams it may take more time than just that Wednesday afternoon. Please make sure that you have all had the chance to sit down with your colleagues to discuss any issues of concerns that you may have with any student.

Teacher Self Evaluation and Goal Setting Meetings

Most of the staff has been contacted by Susie or me about meeting to review your self evaluation and your goals. If you haven’e bee contacted by me or Susie, please let us know. Shortly after these meetings, we will be scheduling the formal observations by first having our pre-observation meeting. You should be thinking about when you’d like us to schedule the formal observation and reach out to us to let us know.

You should also begin saving your evidence fro Domains 1 & 4 to your Google Drive and created your “live” link to your MyLearningPlan.com account. If there are some who are still unsure of the process, I would suggest you contact one of your peers who has successfully completed the process and collaborate with them. And, this could be used for your Peer Observation evidence.


I wanted to share with all of you what my goals are for this coming year, and beyond. As i usually do, I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I am committed to achieving these during this year. Some of these will require me to reach out to staff and to my peers for assistance and guidance as I work toward attainment. I hope that we can all be successful in our endeavors.

Here is a link to my goals: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10fx8JtfBVfnG9MrThxsL8LIvK6uBCF3P1VsrCNM5LFw/edit



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