Is That Frost on My Pumpkin?

A Conversation about Bullying Behaviors

I hope that all of you have circled the date of October 11 to join us in the Middle School auditorium for our “Conversation on Bullying Behaviors”. The evening will begin at 6:30 and we will go until we are tired of talking.

We are still crafting what this evening will eventually look like and sound like, so if you have any ideas about what topics you would like to see discussed, please send me an email. One of our main goals for the evening is to find a common understanding about what is bullying behavior and what is just plain mean behavior done in isolation. What do the experts say about ways to combat bullying behaviors and why does there seem to be so many differences in what it is and isn’t and how do we deal with it effectively.

NECAP Testing

The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) will be administered to all of our students during the first two weeks of October. All 6th, 7th & 8th grade students will be assessed in reading and math and all 8th graders will also be assessed in writing. These assessments are given across 4 states in New England, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island. The results of these assessments are used to determine whether, or not a school is making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required under the No Child Left Behind laws.

We have asked teachers to limit homework for students as well as limit any other tests or quizzes during the regular classes that will be held during these days.

We would ask parents to work with their children to get a good night’s sleep during this time (as you do every other night of the year!) and make sure that your child has a healthy breakfast before coming to school, if at all possible.

Odyssey of the Mind

There will be an evening meeting on Thursday, October 4th for parents and students to learn more about what Odyssey of the Mind (OM) can offer for students and how it works. The meeting will take place at the Middle School in the cafeteria. It will begin at 6 and should run until 7:30 pm. Learn how the Odyssey of the Mind Creative Problem Solving program helps encourage students’ teamwork, risk-taking, and divergent thinking skills.

Sign up to be on an Odyssey of the Mind team. (Participation on teams dependent on availability of coaches)
For more information: http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/or contact Diane Knott 222-1376

Oct 5th is an Early Release Day for Students

This is just a reminder that on Friday, October 5th Middle School students will be released from school at 11:10.

The students will spend the morning hearing from almost 20 different local charities and how the work that they do in our community helps to make our community better and how they can become an active participant in that mission. We have organizations that are truly based in Gorham like the Ecumenical Food Pantry and those that are affiliates of National Organizations such as the United Way and the American Red Cross. We use this day to help students get ideas about what they can do to help their community on our Community Service Day later in the school year.

The teachers will be spending the afternoon working on Curriculum and Common Core State Standards that are being implemented in the coming years.

Progress Reports Go Home

Also on Friday October 5th the students will receive their first quarter progress reports from their teachers. This is the first “check-in” on the progress of your child in their classes so, if you have any questions about the information you get, please call you child’s teacher or adviser.

This is a good place to remind you about Parent/Teacher Conferences that will be held on Thursday and Friday, October 25 and 26. We will get a lot more information about these days out to all of you in the coming weeks. However, if you have concerns about how well your child is doing in school, you do not need to wait until Parent/Teacher Conferences to speak with your child’s teacher. You can call the school, each teacher has voice mail and we can put through your message without disrupting class or you can email the teacher with your questions. And, of course, you can stop by the school and meet with a teacher after school.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

I remember my parents telling us that if we wanted, we could become anything we wanted to become. I can’t remember how many times we had this conversation when I was a little tyke, but I do know that it was quite often.

The topic came up when we were watching TV (the black & white kind), or riding in our car, or sitting having our family dinner every night or just sitting around doing what families did back in those days, talk to each other.

OK, now that I have sufficiently dated myself and firmly placed myself in the “Old Fogie” category, I am wondering what kind of conversations happen around the dinner table these days.

When these conversations with my parents happened, time was truly measured in hours, minutes and seconds. Today, time is measured by things called microsecond and nanosecond. How quickly your computer retrieves information or answers your query is quicker than the blink of an eye, and that is how we measure our time now!

So, why would a Principal of a Middle School be wondering about what parents say to their kids about what they want to become when they grow up? Well, because in order to know what they want to become when they grow, they need to have an idea of what the jobs in the future will be, and I don’t think we know.

There is a video available that was first produced about 8 years ago, and updated most recently in 2011, that is call Shift Happens. In the video, there are some comparisons to China and India regarding their size and how they have emerged as economies. But what really struck a chord with me was the advances made in technology since this video was first made.

In 2004, Facebook was an idea that had yet to take hold, Youtube was not even around yet, (it began in 2005 as a video sharing device by three friends). Now Facebook has over 800 million users. If it were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world! Here is the most recent edition of Shift Happens:

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