Welcome Back


GSD LogoUpcoming Important Dates

Aug 28 – First day of school for 6th graders
Aug 29 – First day of school 7th & 8th graders
Aug 30 – Team Leaders Meeting 2:30
Sep 1 – No School for students & teachers, Labor Day Weekend
Sep 4 – No School Labor Day Holiday
Sep 5 – GMS Open House 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Sep 6 – Faculty Meeting 2:30 pm
Sep 11 – 6th Grade Technology Orientation Night 6:00 – 7:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Sep 13 – Content Area Meetings 2:30 pm
Sep 15 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm Gym

GMS Open House

We will invite parents to our annual Open House on Tuesday, September 5 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Please have your classrooms open and be ready to answer questions like: “So, how’s my sone doing?” and, “Will she have a lot of homework this year?”

It might be helpful to some work done by students in prior years so that parents can see the type of work that will be expected.

Interesting Article

I came across an interesting article in Sunday’s Boston Globe about how some of the most elite schools in Massachusetts are re-tooling their grading practices to move the emphasis from grade acquisition to actual learning. Schools such as the Cambridge School, Milton Academy and Phillips Andover have all noticed the dramatic shift in students trying to attain the grades at the expense of learning.

The article goes on to explain the many reasons they felt it was necessary to make this shift, and what some of the results have been to date.

We have spent a great deal of time and discussion over this very topic, and how we do not want to penalize our students in the competition for the coveted spot in the college of their choice. I must say that I wonder, sometimes, how the college admissions departments determine who gets in and what is the best fit for their college.

I also have wondered why Harvard or Yale don’t just select the top students from each of the tens of thousands of applications they receive! This is also an interesting take on the same issue that the Portland Schools have been addressing. Portland Press Article Link

Anyway, here is a link to the Boston Globe article, and I would welcome your thoughts…

Team Leaders

Team Leaders will meet in Melanie’s room at 2:30 on Wednesday. I have updated our running minutes with some of the agenda items left over in the “Parking Lot” from our last meeting and I have added a few other items for brief discussion.

Please feel free to add items to the agenda that you have gleaned from you fellow teachers, either at the grade level or the content area.

MEA Results

By now, each of the content area teachers should have received a Google Sheet with the results of the Spring administration of the math and ELA assessments. In the coming weeks, I will be meeting with each team of teachers to review these results with an eye toward developing a plan that will allow us all to help our students improve during the next round of these assessments in March of 2018.

To prepare for these meetings, I would ask that you review these results and compare them with the profile of the student, as you know them now. I know you haven’t had a great deal of time yet but, by the time we meet, you will have developed to some perceptions of them as students.

Also, in the next week, or so, I will send along the results of your students from last year. These will be “blind” results as these students are no longer yours. You should be able to draw some conclusions about what was effective and areas that need to be addressed.

Response to Intervention

Mindy had published the dates for each team to meet for RtI meetings during the entire year. Please make sure that you have these dates set aside in your calendar. These meetings are designed to discuss the results of the individual interventions with students that are, or should be occurring within your classrooms.

Now that each team has the MEA results for your current students, we should be able to have a few students already identified, and some interventions already being applied that we can discuss.

Please remember, these meetings are not designed to discuss students who are already identified as a student with disabilities, in other words, already receiving series from our Special Education teachers. We are looking to identify and discuss those students who are beginning to demonstrate struggles and what sort of interventions we can use to help them toward success.

For this students which are already identified as requiring direct specialized educational services, we have IEP meetings with parents to consider what those direct specialized instructions will be.

PE/PG Planning

On the early release day, September 20, we will take some time to review the application so that you all can begin to input your new goals, or revise your existing goals for the coming year. It will be expected, and we will begin to meet with teachers to discuss goals, shortly after the 20th. We hope to begin our observations during that last week of September, so it is important that everyone complete their review of goals during late September or early October.

A reminder to everyone that we will need all teachers to provide two (2) examples of student growth during the school year. This is a change from last year when we only required one (1) example of student growth.

As we have said in the past, these learning events do not need to include your entire class. You may use a sample size that should be between 20 and 25 percent of you students and does not have to be for a specified duration. It is the goal of this provision to be able to demonstrate that, as a result of teaching, students are able to demonstrate growth during the specified period. Students do not need to demonstrate “proficiency” they need only demonstrate growth as a result of the teaching.

Laptop Deployment

We will distribute laptops over the long weekend this year, as opposed to setting up in the Gym, as we have done in the past. When we all return from the long Labor Day weekend break, there should be all of the student laptops in your classrooms.

Mike Nash has stated that there will be some set up instructions in each bin, with the laptops, that will direct teachers and students on how to start up, and simply configure the devices. Students will need to change passwords for the devices so that only they know their passwords. Please remind the students to keep their passwords private to themselves and their parents. Should they forget their passwords, Mike Nash will be able to reset the devices, so they don’t even need to tell their teacher.

Can’t Start the Year without a Little Rita

No school year beginning would be complete without the words of Rita Pierson to get us going…



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