Week of May 1st


GSD LogoMay 1 – Teacher Appreciation Week
May 1 Star 360 testing window opens (Schedule to be published)
May 3 – Content Area Meetings 2:30 pm
May 3 – School Day Committee 6:00 pm
May 3 & 4 – USM/SMP Conference Assessment FOR Learning (See Below)
May 5 – School Dance sponsored by the 8th grade
May 7 – New England Pan Festival, Thompson’s Point, Portland
May 8 – Budget Presentation by Heather Perry GMS Auditorium 3:30 pm
May 8 – Monthly RtI Meetings commence
May 9 – 6-12 Grading and Reporting Meeting 2:30 CO
May 12 – MEA Essay Assessment (Schedule to follow)
May 17 – Early Release Day ( information on the day will be forthcoming)

Content Area Meetings

I would like to start the Content Area Meetings in the Library for about 10 to 15 minutes. The folks at USM Internship Program has asked for a couple of minutes to explain some of the changes that will occur at the beginning of the new year.

For the balance of the meetings, I would like each Content Area to examine the proposed Blended Grading Scale with an eye toward how, at grades 7 & 8, we will make this work as a communication tool for our students and parents. Some questions I believe we should ponder are:

  • How much different is this, if at all, with what we currently do for our students?
  • Using our current scoring criteria, what must be addressed before we become proficient with this system ourselves?
  • Whether we use Jumprope or some other reporting system, what is the important information that we need to communicate to our learners and their families?
  • What sort of professional development do you think we need to make sure we are all prepared for this beginning in September.

I would ask that each group choose a scribe to take notes and upload those notes into the google classroom at the conclusion of your meetings.

STAR 360 Testing

The window is now open for the STAR 360 testing to begin. These assessments will be conducted in ELA and Math classes, so we do not need any sort of “special” schedule. Please make sure that the Melanie knows the dates you will be testing.

Also, make sure the office knows your testing days so as to not be disruptive during you testing.

More on MyLearningPlan.com

Last week, I reminded all about making sure that you were working on your student growth measures. (please check last week’s memo for direction.. or see me).

This week, I am reminding all about uploading evidence into you learning plans for Domain one and Domain four. There is no set way to upload your evidence for the Domains, but we have offered some suggestions as to using your Google Drive and getting shareable links that you can upload.

I am including a link to a “cheat sheet” that Becky Fortier has shared with her staff. I found this to very helpful.


Also, do not forget the Peer Observation/Collaboration form with your uploads.

If you have any questions, please stop down to see Susie or myself for assistance.

School Dance

We have the next to the last school dance of the school year on Friday night. This is a dance to benefit the 8th grade.

It has come to my attention that there seems to be some question about who is responsible for the selling of snacks during the dances. It has been the major fund raiser for the Student Council over the years, and I am not sure how that idea has been changed in recent years.

I would ask each grade level to check in with Donna Pastore, prior to the dance, before planning to take over the snack bar. I think she is usually willing to be helpful for special occasions, but I do not want this to be given, going forward.

New England Pan Festival

If you are looking for something really great to do this weekend, can I suggest that you head on over to Thompson’s Point in Portland for the New England Pan Festival. The GMS Steel Band will be playing as well as steel bands from around the country.

Thompson’s Point also happens to be the home of Bissell Bros Brewery and the Cellar Door Wine Tasting Room. Check with Tracy Williamson for more information.

Early Release Day

We are getting the plans finalized for our Early Release Day on Wednesday, May 17. The student day will be a normal student day with shortened classes, no special presentations or guests.

The Day will be a math themed day for professional development with math teachers meeting with Kate Gardoqui. We’ll get more info about this out in a day or two.

6th grade teachers will receive about 2 hours of Jumprope Training, in advance of our move to full implementation of Jumprope in September. 7th & 8th grade teachers who are not involved in the Jumprope Pilot this year, will receive training in Infinite Campus and the Blended Grading use and entry.

We will find additional training time for those math teachers who will be working with Kate.

A Couple of Interesting Items

I came across the following article from Dr. Thomas Armstrong from the Institute4Learning.com. The article is a great look at the adolescent brain and does a great job of explaining why our adolescents do what they do:


And, for the Science and Math Teachers who never feel I get stuff out for them…


Last Weeks Video

Last week, I included what I thought was a very interesting video of a teacher who spent about 10 minutes talking about how he made teaching science fun. I asked for some feedback from anyone about what you thought, and if you thought, “hmmm, that’s what I do”

I hate to say it, but I am still waiting for someone to provide me some feedback… I’m beginning to think that some folks don’t read this… hmmmm……


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