Important Upcoming Dates
- October 16 – Annual Magazine Drive Grade Level assemblies during EICAL Periods.
- October 17 – Faculty Meeting in the Library beginning at 2:30. Food will be provided by the 6th grade. The agenda has been emailed to all.
- October 19 – School Dance sponsored by the 6th grade
- October 24 – Leadership Team Meeting in Melanie’s room beginning at 2:30.
- October 25 – Early Release Day for students, dismissal will be 11:10 am.
- October 25 & 26 – Parent/Teacher Conferences. You will be receiving notices from your child’s adviser about scheduling times and dates for your conference.
- October 25 & 26 – Gorham School Department will sponsor a Flu shot Clinic at both the High School and the Middle School. For more information click here.
- October 30 – Picture retakes will be done.
- October 31 – Faculty Meeting in the Library beginning at 2:30. Food will be provided by the 7th grade.
- November 1 – The second meeting for a Conversation about Bullying Behaviors, 6:30 in the GMS Library.
- November 2 – 1st Quarter grades close.
- November 6 – Members of the ELA Curriculum and Assessment Committee (CAC) will meet at the Central Office from 8:00 am until 10:30. We will arrange for half day subs for you.
- November 7 – Leadership Team meeting in Melanie’s room at 2:30 pm.
- November 8 – PIE Meeting at 6:30 in the Library. We will be joined by our newly elected School Committee for questions and answers. Refreshments will be provided.
- November 9 – Report Cards will go home with students.
- November 12 – No School in celebration of Veterans Day.
A Conversation on Bullying Behaviors
I really want to thank the great folks who were able to come out to the Middle School to begin our conversation about bullying behaviors. We were really pleased at those who came and made some really great contributions to the conversation. I always worry about these “conversations” and how they can be one-sided (usually by me, because I talk way too much!), but that was not the case. Everyone appeared to be engaged in the topic and I really think we have the beginnings of something great here.
We did decide that we would like to meet again. I think that Thursdays are a good night, so I would propose a meeting on Thursday, Nov 1 at 6:30. I will let you know of the location when I secure it.
If you have any burning topics you wish to include in this conversation, please send me an email.
One Great Idea that Came from Our Conversation
Recently, there has been a Public Service Announcement (PSA) running on local radio stations that is a teenage drinking. In the ad, the voice speaks about the impact that parents can have by having conversations with their children. The final “tag” line is the parent asking the child “are you listening?” and the child responds “I’m listening to you, are you listening to me?”
The thought that came up during our evening conversation is, wouldn’t it be great if we could have a similar type of PSA for Bullying Behaviors. A simple conversation, between parent and child, on treating each other with respect and dignity.
I welcome any ideas.
Annual Magazine Drive
It is that time of year again when Middle School students will be seeking to get members of our community to purchase new subscriptions and renew existing subscriptions to a wide array of popular magazines.
I know this can be quite a bit of work for our students and and can also be quite a burden upon many families during these very tight economic times for families, but this is also a chance to purchase some great periodicals at an incredibly reduced rate from the cover price AND it benefits our middle school. Unlike many fundraisers that sell gift wrapping or candy (I’m not knocking either of these!), this fundraiser is one that continues to give month after month as each new issue of your periodical is delivered to you mailbox. This fundraiser also promotes reading for information and for enjoyment as well as learning about interesting, new places.
We will have Kick-off assemblies on Tuesday, October 16th during EICAL period and we really hope to make the experience fun for the students and give our community a chance to receive a monthly reminder of their good work for our school.
You will be receiving your child’s school pictures soon and I would expect that some of you may not be satisfied with the end results, and that’s OK. We always plan to do re-takes and this year they will be done on October 30th. This will cover those folks who were not satisfied with their results and those students who may have been absent on the day of the original picture taking.
Gorham School District Flu Clinics
As we have done for the past three years, we will offer a Flu shot clinic on Thursday and Friday, October 25 & 26 at both the High School and the Middle School. These days coincide with the fall Parent/Teacher Conferences and, hopefully, make it easier for all to receive the inoculations.
We have quite a bit of information available on the Middle School Web Site in the navigation bar on the left. Click on Important Documents.
We will be hosting a few members of our newly elected School Committee on Thursday, November 8 at the Middle School beginning at 6:30 pm. The agenda for this meeting is open to all of your questions and concerns you may have about education of your children at the Middle School, or any other school committee related item. We will have some refreshments available, so come on by and sit and chat!
2012 Maine Council for the Social Studies Conference
On Friday, November 9th The Maine Council for Social Studies will hold their annual conference at the Augusta Civic Center. The highlight of the day will be a videotaped address by retired Supreme Court Justice of the United States Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor. She will be responding to questions submitted by Maine teachers.
James Melcher, political science professor at the University of Maine, Farmington will deliver the keynote address on principled partisanship. Kristie Littlefield, Social Studies Specialist for the Maine Department of Education will explain LD 1211: An Act to include Civics in the Social Studies and History Courses require for a High School Diploma. She will also share information on the public release and review of College, Career and Civic Life: The State Standards for Social Studies.
There will also be several breakout sessions and an address by Education Commissioner Steve Bowen on the state of education in Maine.
If you are interested in attending please see me.
An Invitation to Teachers
We have been invited to send a couple of interested teachers to Greely Middle School to attend a presentation about a writing initiative aimed at helping schools design and implement a comprehensive system for administering, scoring and analyzing classroom based writing assessments across the curriculum. This system will help track student progress over time while also informing targeted professional development.
The meeting in October 24th at Greely Middle School from 7:30 to 9:00 am. If you are interested, please let me know.
For Augusta, It Wasn’t So Bad
This past Thursday and Friday, I attended a workshop at the Augusta Civic Center (you know, that place where Elvis Presley made his last Maine appearance) that was all about technology. Well, that’s not really true, it was definitely about technology, but it was also about learning and teaching.
As one would expect, there were plenty of people offering workshops about how to employ the latest technology in classrooms to help kids learn better, and there were lots of vendors who had some really neat gadgets on display that could turn classrooms upside down in teacher kids to great levels. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a district in Maine that could afford most of what was being displayed. But, it was great to take a glimpse into the future, because we do know that in a few years those neat gadgets will be less expensive.
This conference made me really think about our profession, however, in ways that I think I had thought about before, but not with as much clarity. As I said, technology was everywhere during these two days and I began to think about the first days of the MLTI program and all of the trepidation and anxiety that came along with those old G3s from Apple that arrived in late August of 2002.
Those early days were filled with lots of “events” regarding “The Laptops”. I can remember the school being wired with these little bulbous devices in varying spots around the building that were supposed to provide wireless connections for each classroom. I also remember that almost every other wireless receiver didn’t work properly or could only handle 25 laptops at a time. As additional laptops tried to access the wireless would kick some of the other, connected laptops off the network. These were days that, as Thomas Paine wrote many years ago, “Try men’s souls”.
We did improve, over the years, into a very “well-oiled machine” of exploratory learning and information beyond all comprehension. Which brings me to the last couple of days in Augusta, at a conference filled with technology.
This past summer I needed to replace the lining for my pool. I was faced with a choice of paying my Pool Guys $6500 to do it or get the lining for $1900 and putting it in myself. Being a very cheap person (just ask my wife what I got her for our anniversary…, no, don’t!), I chose to find a couple of friends and family members and do it myself. Where did I go for information and “How to” tips? You guessed it, YouTube. You wouldn’t believe the stuff that is available there.
We have entered an age when information transmission is instantaneous. The answers to all of the question my pea brain can conceive are available at the push of a button. This really makes me think about what the future of our profession will be in the next few years.
I came across this short presentation by Professor Eddie Obeng. Professor Obeng runs Pentacle, and virtual business school where he teaches “New World Management”. His view is quite unique and his delivery style of this talk is also unique. According to the people at TED, Eddie may hold the record for the most words spoken in a minute! Sharpen up the hearing and settle in for a very energetic talk by Professor Eddie!
Finally, An Invitation to 7th Grade Writers
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Rachel Carson’s revolutionary work, Silent Spring. In celebration of this momentous occasion the the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (Wells Reserve at Laudholm) and Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) are collaborating to offer a statewide environmental essay contest for seventh grade students in Maine. There are a few requirements for students who enter this contest and there are prizes for those selected. However, more than the competition, this is an excellent opportunity for our students to demonstrate their writing abilities and have it connected to our science curriculum.
Please see me for the details of this competition.