And Down the Stretch We Come!

Happy Memorial Day

Thank you to the Norman Rockwell Museum

We could not have asked for nicer weather to celebrate this very reverent American Holiday. There were parades in several towns and lots of people taking a moment to reflect upon the sacrifices that so many men and women made for the freedom we enjoy.

I know for many this is the official start of summer, but at Gorham Middle School, we still have a lot of school and a lot of work left.

8th Grade Celebration

Plans are becoming more final as each day passes. We are now working on the details of the event. The buses have been ordered, food is ordered, the T-Shirts have been sent off to the screen printer, complete with all of the signatures of the students who are members of the Class of 2016 and the DJ is heating up his computer with all of the best tunes.

One gift the students will receive is a book, of their choice, that they will have to read for the summer and be prepared to discuss in small book groups on the first day of school next year. And, yes, those too have been ordered!

We hope that each of you has circled the date of June 12th on your calendar, 6:00 pm at the Gorham High School Gymnasium. We hope to see you all there.

A Final Plea for Our Dress Code

Spring has definitely sprung, and our students have dusted off the spring and summer clothes. It is a time that we all really look forward to, grass beneath our feet, warm breezes blowing through our hair (for those of us who may still have some!), and spaghetti straps and shorts.

We just need to remind all that we do have a dress code for all students and we will continue to enforce it for the remainder of the year. If you need a refresher ofr the dress code, it is in our Student Handbook and you can see it right here:

Dress Code:

Students are to dress in a manner that will not distract, disrupt or be hazardous to their safety and well-being.  Parents should be involved in setting standards of dress and grooming for their children.  However, if the student, by dress or grooming is interfering with the educational process or is not dressed conducive to the activity, appropriate action, involving the parents will be taken.

The following will not be permitted in school:

§     Shirts, tops, and dresses should cover the entire back and midriff and should be buttoned appropriately; students wearing spaghetti straps should have no exposed undergarments, as exposed undergarments are considered inappropriate for school. 

§    Suitable footwear should be worn at all times.  Socks, bare feet, or sippers are not considered safe or suitable footwear. 

§    If students wear shorts they should be worn at the natural waistline, be of a length no higher than mid thigh, and should not expose underwear. 

§    All pants should be worn at the natural waistline and belted if necessary to keep them at natural waistline. 

§    All skirts and dresses should be of a length no higher than mid thigh.

§    Hats, caps, chains, headbands, and bandannas cannot be worn in the building.

§    Students may not wear clothing or jewelry that depicts obscene, vulgar, or sexual, promoting illegal activity (tobacco, drugs, or alcohol), libel, fighting words or other expressions that could cause a disruption. 

Note: Administrators will make the final decision regarding clothing/accessories of a questionable nature. 

Chorus and Steel Band Concert and Cookie Bake-off

For at least the 3rd year the GMS Chorus students and members of the GMS Student Steel band Group will be holding a joint concert on the evening of June 7th in the GMS Auditorium beginning at 6:00 pm.

Students and their families are submitting their best and most favorite cookie recipe (all deliciously prepared) for judging by those in attendance. For a small fee, you too can judge these delicious delights. Hope to see you threr.

Laptop Check-ins for the End of the School Year

All students will be turning in their laptops on Friday, June 8th. At that time, students will be expected to return the laptop that has been issued to them along with the charger that had been issued. Students will also be expected to return the carrying case that has been issued.

If students do not have the laptop or the charger that was issued to them, there will be an assessment of the cost to replace sent to each family. Hopefully, when we get to finally reconciling all of the devices and the peripherals, we’ll be able to match up everything.

If you have nay questions, please feel free to call me.

GMS Salutes its Volunteers

On Tuesday morning, GMS staff and students gave a morning Tea (and Coffee, muffins and juice) to say “Thank You” to all of the folks who help make GMS so great, our parent volunteers.

To help remember the occasion, we have created a perpetual plaque to honor our Volunteer Coordinators at each grade level. The plaque will be placed in a very public location for all visitors to the school to see our dedicated volunteers. This year our honorees were Sue Bertin, Heidi Pratt and Sue Pingree-Smith. Thank you to them and to all of our great volunteers.

What is the Common Core State Standards and What Does This Mean for My Kids’ School?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) was developed as a result of the many Commissioners of Education from across the country deciding that our schools were not preparing our children well enough for success in the 21st Century. They decided that there needed to be a common set of expectations for every student to ensure that all who complete school are “College and/or Career Ready”.

In Maine, we have been fortunate that we have had a couple of frameworks to guide our work. In 1997 the Legislature adopted the Maine Learning Results (MLR), which prepared our students “with the essential skills and knowledge fro work, for higher learning, for citizenship and for personal fulfillment”. (Preface to the Maine Learning Results).

The MLR covered 8 content areas including, English Language Arts; Career Preparation; Health and Physical Education; Mathematics; Modern and Classical Language; Science and Technology; Social Studies; and Visual and Performing Arts.

In 2007, the MLR was replaced by the Parameters of Essential Instruction (PEI), which had as its goal to identical target of the MLR but was brought more in line with what could be accomplished in the given time of a student’s educational career.

It was up to each state to determine what there standards of instruction was to be and that created quite a lot of inequality within the expectations of all states. Hence the adoption of the CCSS.

Had enough of the alphabet soup yet?

The bottom line for all of us is that we now have a common set of expectation for all of our students in the content areas of math and English/language arts (ELA). And, these common set of expectations, especially in ELA, cross into the content areas of social studies, math and other technical subjects, meaning that social studies teachers will need to be able to help students with such literacy skills as reading informational text, writing research papers that are concise and convey in an intelligible way, their thoughts and ideas in relation to what they have discovered in their research.

The CCSS has definitely changed the landscape of schools and each of us will have to make some serious adjustments in our practices to comply with these expectations. I urge all parents to exam these standards and ask the questions that come to your mind.

If questions don’t readily pop into your head, then ask your child’s Principal or teachers to explain what this will mean to your child.

Until next time…

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