• Important Upcoming Dates

    • October 1 – NECAP testing will begin. All have received a schedule of the assessments.
    • October 3 – Faculty Meeting in the Library from 2:30 – 4:00. Food will be provided by Special Education
    • October 5 – Early Release Day for students, our theme will be Local Charities with many presenters form our local charity providers,
    • October 5 – Teacher Workshop activities will be Curriculum Based work. Please check with each of your Curriculum Committee Representatives for the work to be done.
    • October 8 – Columbus Day – No School for students and teachers.
    • October 9 – Progress Reports for the first quarter go home with students.
    • October 10 – Team Leaders meeting in Melanie’s room 2:30
    • October 11 – The Middle School begins a Conversation about Bullying Behaviors at 6:30 pm in the GMS Auditorium. There will be more information to come about this series of conversations.
    • October 19 – School Dance sponsored by the 6th Grade
    • October 25 – Early Release Day for students, dismissal will be 11:10 am.
    • October 25 & 26 – Parent/Teacher Conferences. More information will be forthcoming.

NECAP Testing all This Week

The New England Common Assessment Program, or as we affectionately call them the “NECAPs” (kind of sounds like something the Mafia would do!) will be administered all this week. We have asked teachers not to give homework or give tests of quizzes during this week, so students can concentrate on these assessments.

These assessments are given to all middle school students in the areas of reading and math in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island during this time. These assessments are used by school districts to measure how well the students have learned, relative to the standards, in the past 12 months. The results of these tests are also used to determine if schools are making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the provisions of the federal education law called No Child Left Behind.

The schedule has the students taking the assessments first thing in the  morning and then having a shortened schedule for the rest of the day. We know that these assessments can be a big pain in the neck, but they are required and they do give school districts some good information about how well we are doing.

We should get individual students results, which we will share with parents, about the first week in February.

The Opportunity Alliance

We have been very fortunate to have forged a wonderful relationship with the Opportunity Alliance that provide us with some great information and materials about substance abuse and prevention. I am planning to include some of their “Tips of the Month” in these posts to parents and teachers in the hope that we can help to keep the young people of our community safe.

The Opportunity Alliance works with schools, police, community members, parents, businesses and community organizations to to prevent teen tobacco, alcohol and drug use, particularly marijuana and prescription drugs.

You can get more information by checking out their web site at http://www.communitiespromotinghealth.org.

Communities Promoting Health Tip of the Month

Name That DJ Contest

After the first dance of the year, the kids were effusive in their praise of the new DJ. Statements like, “this was the best dance ever” and “that DJ has to do all of our dances!” were on the lips of many of the students as the left the gym. There certainly was a great energy with kids, lots of dancing and students singing along with the songs.

The DJ was our very own Adam Parvanta, 8th grade math and social studies teacher. He had quite the set up with lights of all kinds and fog machines and a playlist that was perfect for our dance.

So, we Would like to give our very own DJ is very own DJ type name. We are asking the students to submit a “DJ type” name that would be fitting for our (do they still spin platters, nah, probably not) music maker. Students can enter the contest by going to the GMS First Class site and looking in the “Student News” icon and open the ballot for the “Name the DJ Contest”. The winner of the contest will receive a VIP pass to all school dances for the entire year.

October 5th Early Release Day Activities for Teachers and Students

Friday, October 5th is an Early Release Day for students and they will be dismissed at 11:10.

During the student portion of the day, the students will hear from several local charities who have been kind enough to come to present to our students.

Each charity will present to a group of students about the work that they do in our community. What tasks they perform in our community and how it helps, not just those who are in need, but the entire community. It is our intent that students gain a better understanding of why these organizations need to exist and how they can participate in helping these organizations make our community better.

Teachers – I have sent out an email with the link for students to sign up for the presentations of their choice. Students need only sign up for two of the workshops and the third workshop will be a grade level presentation in the Auditorium. Please have the students complete this sign up by the end of the day on Tuesday.

Teachers will be engaged in curriculum work within each content area. All public schools in America are making a shift to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the coming years and we all need to do quite a bit of work to make sure that our students are “College and Career Ready” by the time they graduate from high school. This may sound like a relatively simple task, however the CCSS standards in both math and English/language arts (ELA) are considerably more vigorous than the standards of the previous years. These ELA standards also have ramifications for history/social studies, science and other technical subjects (translation: all teachers will be teachers of reading and writing!)

So, there is a considerable amount of work to be done at each school.

The Work We Do

We (those of us in Public Education) all made a very conscious decision to enter the field of education. At some point in our development we believed that we could make a difference, for the positive, in the lives of young people. We knew there would be trade offs in our career choice and we were still willing to go forward with our choice.

Not that we need to be reminded about how important our work is, I thought that it would nice to hear from Angela Maiers, an Educational Consultant and author who spent time as a classroom teacher. As the Tip of the Month above says “You Matter”!

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