Week of Feb 13


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Upcoming Important Dates

Feb 12 – Winter Fever Reliever, GMS Auditorium 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Feb 15 – Early Release Day, Students dismissed at 11:10
Feb 16 – PIE Metting GMS Library 6:00 pm
Feb 17 – Mid-Winter School Vacation begins at dismissal
Feb 27 – Students and Teacher return from Break
Mar 1 – Leadership Team meeting Melanie’s Room 2:30
Mar 2 – GHS Chorus Concert in the Gym 12:30 (we will 2 concerts)
Mar 4 – EdCamp Maine 8:30 – 3:30 Waynflete School
Mar 8 – Faculty meeting at GHS, Special Education Agenda 2:30 pm

Winter Fever Reliever

This has been re-scheduled to Sunday, March 19 at 6:00 pm

This information is from Tracy Williamson and has been sent to all of you in an email. This sounds like a really fun evening of music!

Next Sunday, the 12th, the Gorham Middle School and High School Steel Bands will be performing a benefit concert with the Portland based steel band, Sister Steel.  The benefit is to raise money for our registration fee for the New England Steel Pan Festival that is to be held at Thompson’s Point on May 7th.
The event is from 6-8:30pm in the GMS cafeteria with a suggested donation at the door.
We are also looking for people to donate food items to a bake sale / snack concessions table for the event.  If anyone would like to contribute something, please let me know!  The steel band parents and Sister Steel are making crockpot meals and traditional foods from Trinidad for the event too.
Come enjoy some steel pan music, food and dancing on the 12th!  Hope to see you there!

Early Release Day – Feb 15

For the student portion of the day, we will have a series of small workshop type session for students to attend. We are getting a little more sure of who will be coming and what they will be bringing. One caveat to all of this is that these folks, for the most part, are First Responders, and they may be called out on a moments notice. If there are crimes, accidents or fires, some of these people may not be available and we will have to go to plan B.

Our plan calls for a whole grade assembly in the Auditorium and two workshop sessions for each student. Again, we will be getting out schedules for these in the coming days. These snow days are killing me!

Let me give you an example of who will be here:

  • Maine State Police (possibly with their mobile crime lab)
  • Maine State Fire Marshal
  • Gorham Police Department
    • Accident Reconstruction
    • Crime Scene Processing
    • K-9 Handling
  • Gorham Fire Department
  • Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department
  • Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • U.S.Marshal’s Service
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Some of you thought you might have a friend or neighbor who would be a good fit for this day, if you haven’t contacted them yet, please give them a call, we have plenty of room for lots more.

The afternoon session will focus our work within content areas and examining our first draft of the 6-12 Grading & Reporting Committee’s work. We will also look at the Student Growth Provision of our Professional Educator/Professional Growth (PE/PG) System.

Update: Since school is closed on Monday, we will work to get  a schedule out to you all before the end of the day on Tuesday! Enjoy your snow day and stay safe!

PIE Meeting

We will be holding another of our monthly PIE meetings on Thursday, Feb 16 at 6:00 pm in the G<S Library. At our last meeting, parents who present expressed several questions about the work we are doing with our transition towards a Proficiency Based Learning system. They all had some great questions about what does it look like in a classroom. While we were certainly able to answer their questions, there appeared to be some reluctance in taking our answers, I think they would love to hear from some classroom teachers.

So, if you are looking for something to do on a Thursday night, join us for a fun night!

Great PD Opportunity

You all have heard me extol the virtues of attending EdCamps, and these events , in my opinion, are truly the best professional development activities I have ever had the chance to attend. The day is designed to make sure that I can get what I need and not what others seem to think we all need. EdCamps are very organic. Educators are able to construct the day the makes the most sense for them, and you get to meet some really great and dedicated educators, just like you, who are so willing to share their success and failure.

I believe that if you attend one of these events, just once, you will be seeking out similar events that you can attend.

EdCamp Maine is on Saturday, March 4 at Waynflete School in Portland. The event begins at 8:30, but get there early because they have great coffee and some of the best donuts and pastries you’ll ever get. Oh, and did I mention that lunch is really good too! …And it’s FREE!

To register for the event, or to learn more about EdCamps and how they work, check out this link.

Music in Our Schools Month

Matt Murray and the Gorham High School Chorus will perform for the students of the middle school in celebration of Music in Our Schools Month. Unlike years past, we will hold the concerts in the Gymnasium as the Auditorium is all set up for the GMS presentation of the Little Mermaid the following week.

We wil set the gym using one side only. We will get a schedule out to all as to when your students will see the presentation. I know this is another disruption in our days, but it is always great to see our former students come back to GMS and show off how well they have done!

GMS Students Present the Little Mermaid

GMS students, under the direction of Tana Krohn,  will present the Little Mermaid on Friday, Saturday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm, March 10, 11 & 12.

The cast will present two show to the students on Thursday, March 9. We will get a schedule out to all when we get back from vacation. You can plan on the presentations being done in the morning.

You should all also be aware of the students who will not be in your classes that day for the performances.


Remember that we have changed the March Faculty meeting from March 1 to March 8 to join with the GHS Faculty in a joint faculty meeting at GHS. We will here from the attorneys  at Drummond Woodsum talk about the changes in Special Education law and providing our Special Education students with appropriate accommodations.

Team Leaders will meet on March 1.

A Flashback

A few years ago, I told you about a book I had read called The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, by Amanda Ripley. Amanda Ripley is a writer for the Atlantic and Time Magazine, many of her articles dealt with matters of education. The more she asked questions about public school education in America, the more questions she had about why other country’s students scored so much better on internationally bench-marked assessments. The result of all of her questions turned into her book.

This is a video of Amanda giving an interesting synopsis of all of her findings. Since I found the book enlightening, I wanted to share this video (it is a bit long, but what else are you going to do during a snow day!) with all of you. There are some interesting findings about how and why some countries’ students succeeded.


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