The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Placement for Next Year

During these last few days of the school year, we begin our preparations for next year in earnest. Our Support Services Team has been very busy placing our students for next, assigning them to grade level teams and to advisory groups. We realize how important this is for each and every student and their families. We painstakingly gather information from many sources, current teachers, parents, and our student information system (Infinite Campus).

We are almost done!

We have a few final quality control steps that we must finish before we inform everyone where they will be next year. It is our practice that current students will discover their teams and get their schedules for next year on Step-up Day (June 12).

Truth is we need all of that time to finalize the teams and schedules!

In spite of this hard work by the Support Services Team, there will be some people who will not be happy with their placement. We do have a protocol for appealing your child’s placement, but we do not do adjusting of student placements until the second week of August.

There are four possible conditions that would allow for a change of teams, they are:

1. Prior (first hand) negative experience with the teacher.

2. Prior negative experience with a sibling.

3. Peer conflicts (i.e. restraining orders, etc…); combinations to avoid

4. Some significant connection out of school that mitigates them not being together  (he’s my uncle, he’s my neighbor)

The best way for you to activate this process is to send either an email or a letter in which you detail how these conditions apply to your situation. You can send them to both Susie Hanley and to me and we’ll consider them when we complete the review process in August.

Step-up Days

The first step-up day is this Tuesday, for our 8th graders. They will travel to the high school and meet their advisers for the next four years and they will run through their schedule, in short form. This is a great opportunity for the kids to learn where their classes will be next year. Unlike the middle school, the high school is arranged in department clusters of classrooms and students may have a class on the second floor at one end and then their next class may be on the first floor at the opposite end of the building.

The students find this day to be very valuable and they report that they are far more comfortable about what next year will be like after they spend this time there. Also, Principal Chris Record and his staff do such a great job at welcoming our students and have a very busy morning planned for them, the kids hardly have time to be anxious.

The second step-up day is planned for June 12th.All of the students, K-8, travel to meet their teachers for next year. This is the day that our students will receive their placements and their schedules for next year and we also get to welcome our newest middle schoolers. We really look forward to this day with great excitement.

8th Grade Celebration

To say that planning this year’s event has been a challenge would be quite a huge understatement!

We have had to face the fact that the middle school gym is being used for Municipal elections this year ( we needed just one more snow day!), the MPAC would not have enough capacity for all of the relatives and friends who want to come to this event and, finally, how do we get the kids back from the high school so that they can enjoy the dance that completes the night.

I can assure all, this would not have been even remotely possible without my 2 secretaries, Kristen and Laurie. Their hard work and great organizational skills have made this night possible.

Just one anecdote that should make this last statement clear. I am in charge of putting together the program of events for the night. You know, where certain speakers will be, who will sign what and when, and how the students will receive their certificates. So, I asked Kristen about the written program that is distributed on that evening, she had it formatted and ready for my input… and it had been ready for weeks. She was going to ask me for the details later that day.

So, we are all set for the evening. We will gather in the high school gym for the formal portion and then retreat back to the middle school for the less formal. All of this will begin at 6:00 pm sharp and we should be done with the formalities by 7:15 pm.

Looking forward to seeing all of you there.

The 2nd Annual GMS Film Festival

I’ll bet most of you didn’t even know that we have our very own “Tribeca” style film festival here at GMS. Well, we do! Eat your heart out Robert De Niro!

On Friday evening, June 8, Hollywood comes to Gorham, complete with red carpets and limos. The evening begins with the “stars” arriving via limos to the front door of GMS at 5:30, greeted by their adoring fans and the requisite paparazzi. The showings will begin at 6:00 pm in the luxurious GMS Auditorium.

Please join us for a great evening of creativity and excitement.

GMS Students Take 1st Place at the World Odyssey of the Mind Competition

Our team from Gorham Middle School attended the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Ames, Iowa, May 23 – May 26, 2012.  The GMS team competed against 48 teams in Division II, grades 6 through 8.  They were judged on categories including Long Term Solution, Style, and Spontaneous Problem Solving.  We are happy to report they earned 23rd place overall.

It is important to recognize the GMS team earned 1st place in this worldwide competition for their Spontaneous Problem Solving performance.  This is an amazing accomplishment.  The score measures teamwork and the instant solution to a given problem.  We are very proud of our team from Gorham, Maine.  Congratulation to Samuel Roussel, Samuel Martel, Theodore Lockman, Coleman Dowdle, Isaac Martel, and Simon Roussel.

GMS Odyssey of the Mind Team Members Celebrating their Success

National History Day Competition

Two GMS Students, Abigail vanLuiling and Avery Arena will be traveling to our Nation’s Capital (actually, Landover, Maryland) to compete in the National Finals of the National History Competition representing the state of Maine. We will keep you informed of their progress in our next installment. Good Luck to Abbie and Avery!

Baby with the Bathwater

All of the Administrators in our district are reading a book called Inevitable, a book written by a Maine educator and someone else (Bea McGarvey and Charles Schwann. Now, this book will never make on Pulitzer’s list, but I suspect that it is being read in a whole bunch of school districts across the country.

The main idea of this book is that in our current age, the age they are calling The Age of Empowerment, we should be able to customize education for all students, regardless of their needs. I do not disagree with this premise and, in fact, I believe we have always had this capability, it was just much easier to mass produce students and learners.

However, in this age of empowerment and technology, we can certainly help our students become self-directed, life-long learners much easier with the use of technology and the many places students can explore using their computers. This being said, there must be a balance between students being given free rein over their explorations and students being guided with a knowledgeable hand in their explorations.

Those who say that technology is the root cause of all problems in our children learning therefor we should eliminate the computers all together, are definitely throwing the baby our with the bathwater. As educators, we need to gain a much greater understanding of the power of technology and how it can work for us, not how it is the cause of our problems and shortcomings.

Our Superintendent uses the saying “These aren’t your father’s schools” with us many times over the course of the year trying to remind us that we must evolve with our students. The question keeps being raised by so many different people, why do or schools begin in late summer and end in late spring? Do all students need to come to school at the same time, or can we stagger when certain subjects are taught? And the granddaddy of all questions, why does school start so early for our middle and high school students, when all of the research seems to indicate that this groups of kids need more sleep and they are not fully awake until after 9:30 am?

Sort of like, why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway!

Oh well… Until next time…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s