Where Did Winter Go and Who Stole Spring!

Safety Drills at the Middle School

We have taken advantage of this incredibility wonderful weather to run a couple of safety drills at GMS. Unfortunately, this is something that we must do, but I can report that our students and teachers did a great job in evacuating the building in good time and in a very orderly fashion. We practice these drill hoping all along to never have to use them!

We have a couple of more drills planned between now and the end of the year, including a Lock Down Drill, where we have the students remain in their classrooms with their teachers until an “all clear” signal is given.

As a district, we have created our safety plans for each building and for the entire district. We practice each section of the plan, such as fire drills and lock down drills as well as other parts of the plan that do not affect the students directly, each year in our continuing efforts to keep our your children and all of our staff and visitors safe. If you have any questions about our safety plan, please do not hesitate to call a building administrator.

Scholastic Book Fair

We are again very lucky to be able have the great people from Scholastic Books bring back to the Middle School loads and loads and loads of great books for our students and their families to purchase. Scholastic Books is one of the leading publishers of books for children and young adults. They have some of the best titles and authors that write with our kids in mind. The Book Fair will begin on Monday March 26 and run right through the parent/teacher conference days. Please stop by the GMS Library and peruse through the book racks for some great reading for young and old.

We will be providing time students to visit the Book Fair during the day so they can pick out some good titles. If you would like to have your child purchase some books from the fair they can during these time.

Parent/Teacher Conferences March 29 & 30

I am sure that everyone east of the Mississippi River knows that we are holding our semi-annual Parent/Teacher Conferences next week, but, in the event we missed someone here goes! Teachers will be available on Thursday afternoon and evening from 2:00 pm until 8:00 pm and on Friday from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm to meet with you. If you haven’t heard from your child’s adviser yet, please give them a call and schedule your meeting. Always remember, however, that you can meet with your child’s teacher anytime you want, just give them a call and set up a time that works.

Next School Dance is April 6th

Our next school dance is April 6th from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm and I am asking for your help. Last month’s dance was great (as always) with the exception of the student use of cell phones during the dance. In the past, I have explained that we do not want the students using the cell phones at the dance because most, if not all, phones now have cameras and video camera capabilities. We do not want to find that student have taken videos or pictures of someone at the dance and uploaded them to their Facebook page or Youtube account. That could have devastating affects on several fronts. We provide our students with phone use in the office, we are more than happy to have the students use the office phone, we would never not allow a student the use of the phone. We also have someone in the office to answer the phone (most of the time) in case you need to get a message to your child about rides etc.

So please help us by reminding your child about our ban of cell phone use at the dance.

Report Cards Going Home April 6

Trust me, this was not planned in advance, we schedule our dances more than a year ahead, so we didn’t plan to have report cards go home on the same night as the dance. But, sometimes, these things work out!

The 3rd Quarter ends on Friday, March 30th and Report Cards will go home with the students on Friday, April 6th. Please check your child’s backpack for the Report Cards (it may impact your decision on whether, or not, your child goes to the dance!).

Hunger Games Movie Review

Once again, I call on our good friends at Common Sense Media to give us the real lowdown of the most popular movie opening of the year. Judging from the buzz at the Middle School, there will be lots of our students heading out to the theaters this weekend to see this movie. I think it would be a good idea to have a trusted source give us their take on the film. In this link you can see a trailer for the film as well as lots of information to help you decide if this film is appropriate for your child. Commonsensemedia.org

What the World Needs Now is Another Cookbook!

I have had this idea rumbling around inside my head for a couple of years now, and it is time to get it out and see what kind of response it gets, so here goes.

Over this current year, many of you have put together some incredibly delicious meals for the teachers, to show your appreciation. And believe me, the meals were greatly appreciated (and scrumptious) and wonderfully accepted by the teachers. This got me to thinking that wouldn’t it be neat if we could put together a Pot Luck Supper for the GMS Community?

I know that this takes an awful lot of planning, and it could be considered a burden, but I think it would be a great way to begin the school year, create community and share recipes.

So where does the cookbook come in? We would ask that along with a great covered dish, salad, bread, soup, desserts (or whatever), you bring in the recipe and offer it for publication in the 1st GMS Community Cookbook that we could compile and sell as a fundraiser.

What would also be great is if we could get some nice stories about how a particular recipe came down through your family, or what special holiday you prepare you dish for, or just any interesting story that accompanies your dish.

Now, the confession. I have no idea how to put something like this together! I would really need some help with this on logistics of making sure there is enough of a variety, how to decide who makes what, etc.

So, if you think this is an idea worth looking into, our next PIE Meeting is April 26th and this would be a great topic of conversation (see how I got that plug in for the PIE Meeting!)

Why Does My Teenager Act This Way?

A few years back (back when my kids were teenagers, and I wondered “what the heck” WTH), I came across this PBS Frontline presentation called Inside the Teenage Brain. It was quite enlightening and revealing as to the whys of what my kids were exhibiting. Full disclosure (and because my kids read this!), my kids were terrific teenagers and did not cause us one bit of trouble. They were involved in school and other activities and very responsible, but, they were still teenagers and there were times when we did not see eye-to-eye. I am sure that I embarrassed my son and daughter many times (probably doing that now!), but, for the life of me, I couldn’t understand how!

Anyway, this series is an excellent, far-reaching look into the brain of the teenager done by some very accomplished scientists. Over the course of the next few weeks I will put a link to the videos for your viewing. You will notice that these are Youtube videos and, if you can’t wait for the next installment, you can check out all the episodes on Youtube.

Inside the Teenage Brain

Why Do I Need to Learn This?

There was a very interesting article in the Boston Sunday Globe this past weekend that spoke to the rise in manufacturing jobs now taking place in the regional market and the need for those people who are hoping to fill those jobs to have skills beyond what was previously expected. The manufacturers need to have employees who have skills, not just in the mechanics of manufacturing, but skills in learning how to learn new skills (sounds confusing, but learning how to learn is definitely a skill we need!)

The idea that people will leave school, without the completion of requirements to receive a diploma, and being able to walk into a factory today and start on a good paying job, is nothing but a dream. The author of the article explained that the needs of the manufacturing industry requires workers who already have a requisite set of skills, before they can go on to the floor. This is far different set of expectations than during previous expansion eras in manufacturing.

I think that it has been widely publicized over the years that folks who do not graduate from High School are significantly impacted. The earning power of a dropout more than $9,000 less per year than that of someone who has received a High School Diploma (Alliance for Excellent Education, Issue Brief, Oct 2007). That is a considerable sum of money over the course of a lifetime! There are also implications for the life span of those who do not graduate form high school and of the overall health of those who do not receive a diploma.

Now it seems that even the jobs for the most entry level positions in manufacturing will require an elevated set of skills. So, when you child asks you, “why do I need to learn this?” There are a lot of responses you could come up with, such as, “because I’m counting on you to take care of me when I get old!” That’s the one I always use, to which my wonderful daughter responds “be careful, I am going to pick your nursing home!”

The real reason is that your child can enjoy the fruits of a full life, remain more healthy than those that do not complete High School and be a contributor to the overall economy, rather than a receiver from the economy.

Beyond the Textbook

The Discovery Education Network, the good folks who provide us with some great television entertainment on cable, have been holding “town meeting” of sorts during the past two days in Washington, DC on the future of textbooks in educations. They have called this meeting Beyond the Textbooks, and they have invited several notable educators from public school systems, educational bloggers, college professors and business leaders to have this discussion. They have also opened a portal via Twitter to allow us plain folks to weigh-in.

It has been very interesting to watch as each post comes across the board. One question that was brought up was “what did we do before we had textbooks?” I never really thought of that! Is it possible that the Textbook Industry has had us bamboozled all of these years?

If you’d like to read more on the subject, here is the Link.

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