February 3, 2012

A very interesting phenomenon has occurred this week, one that we haven’t seen since before the Christmas Holiday Break, a full 5-day week of school. No half days, no snow days and no teacher workshop days. Let me tell you, I think that we have all felt tired this week. Barring any snow days in the next two weeks, we should have full 5-day weeks until February 16th and the mid-winter break.

We do have a dance tonight beginning at 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. We do ask that parents be prepared to pick their children at 8:00, or there about. Mrs. Hanley and I kid the students who are the last to be picked up that the very last one has to fill our gas tanks. Usually the kids chuckle, but some think we’re serious… we’re not!

Last week I told you about the presentation being offered by Claudine Emerson, GHS Substance Abuse Counselor on Monday evening, February 13th. It promises to be a very informative and enlightening evening for Parents Only beginning at 6:00 pm. Ms. Emerson will be educating us on some of the early signs of substance abuse and what we, as parents, should be looking for. She will also have a mock bedroom set up with actual, real examples of the substances some students use. Please mark your claendar for Monday, February 13th at 6:00 pm for this very beneficial evening.

Over the past couple of weeks, our students have watched a series of videos of a Dateline NBC show done on the effects of bullying. This show set up a series of situations, using actors as the victim and bully, but having typical students be bystanders. There were hidden cameras set up to film the situation and the reactions of the bystanders. I an including a link to a clip of the show here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDa9jTgRa0k

This clip set the scene for several episodes that are also available through Youtube, so you can easily access additional segments from the show. If, after seeing these clips, some of you would like to have a chance to meet and further discuss what we try to do to prevent bullying at GMS, please give me a call or send me an email.

Last fall, all of our students were administered the NECAP assessments for reading and math in grade 6, 7, & 8, and writing in grade 8. Last week we got the results and I ma very happy to report that our scores improved over last year by a considerable amount. We must fully review all of the score and make sure that there are no mistakes in coding and that all of our students were included, which is very rare that the state makes a mistake (at least on this report!). Our cursory examination tells us that 82% of our students meet or exceed the standards in reading and 72% of our students meet or exceed the standards in math. Both of those scores are improvements over last year. In writing, our 8th graders improved the number of students meeting or exceeding to 64%, up from 50% last year. We are very pleased with these results and in the coming weeks you will be receiving a letter with the details of your child’s performance on these assessments.

Our late winter season begins on Monday, February 6 at 2:30 with Indoor Track Practice. The Indoor Track team is open to all 6, 7, & 8 grade students, male and female. All of the competitions are held at the Portland Exposition Building in Portland and they are all on Saturdays during the month of March. If you have never taken in a middle school track meet, it is a must! The energy and excitement and good sportsmanship exhibited by all of the student-athletes is really a joy. Encourage your child to participate in this activity.

On Thursday evening, January 27th, The GMS Faculty Steel Band performed before a packed house as part of the Annual GMS Talent Show sponsored by the GMS Student Council. I am including a link to the youtube video of their performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13xPpTLGBgo&feature=youtu.be

Hopefully, when we return to school on Monday we will be celebrating the great victory of the New England Patriots over the dreaded New York Giants. Go Pats!

 

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