Important Upcoming Dates
- November 27 – Those members who have volunteered to be members of the Code Blue Team for GMS will meet in the conference room next to the Nurse’s office at 2:30.
- November 28 – Team Leaders will meet in Melanie’s Room at 2:30
- November 29 – Family Math Night in the GMS Library beginning at 6:30 pm, all are invited to attend.
- December 5 – Faculty meeting in the Library at 2:30.
- December 12 – GMS Community Service Day during our Early Release Day
- December 12 – The Teacher Workshop portion of the Early Release Day will focus on technology.
Family Math Night
Chris LeSiege and some of his students will lead parents and anyone else who is interested through a journey of our new Glencoe Math Series textbooks. I know our math teachers are aware of the many excellent new features that are included with this series, Chris and his students felt that we should share with parents and guardians all of these very neat features.
We will gather in the GMS Library at 6:30 and everyone is welcome to view the inner workings of our new series of math resources.
GMS Does Community Service
On December 12th all of our Advisory Groups will be engaging in lots of activities that are intended to make our community a better place to live. I know that all of our groups have been working hard to find some activities to perform on this day and I really look forward observing all of the students working toward a better world.
Learning Team Work
We continue to move ahead with the work of our Learning Teams, and I do know that it seems as if we are proceeding at a snail’s pace. I also think we don’t fully understand how the topics we are exploring are all going to tie together. Schools all across the country are wrestling with these same issues as they work to prepare students for college and careers in the 21st Century.
Sitting in the Principal’s chair, as I do, I talk with all of you about the challenges you face as you work diligently with our kids. I hear about how hard you have to work to get kids motivated to write an essay or lab report that is fitting of a middle school student and demonstrates academic growth. The skills that are often mentioned as 21st Century skills are really the skills that have been necessary for student success for years. Being able to communicate orally, or through the written word effectively, being a creative and critical thinker, working as a part of a team and also being able to show leadership when necessary have all been requirements for success for our ancestors.
What is different today are the tools and resources that we have. The ability to have the wealth of human knowledge at one’s fingertips in a matter of seconds is very different than that of any of our preceding generations. And, make no mistake about this, time management will be a critical 21st Century skill that our students will need to master.
When I say time management, I do not mean making time for homework and outside of school activities, I mean understanding how to breakdown a problem with skill and understanding, how to recognize where the solution is and how to get there and how to work with others in the pursuit of that solution. This all requires skills that, in my opinion, do not reside between the covers of our textbooks, but in the application process of the work.
Clearly, our kids have evolved into consumers of information, whether we want to believe it or not. They just aren’t consuming the information we think is necessary! Our students learn very well. They have learned to navigate the world of technology, perhaps more quickly than any generation has learned to utilize the important tools of their time, yet we feel they are losing ground. I am not convinced that is true.
There has been much written about how the American schools are failing. If that is the case, why are hundreds of thousands of Chinese families moving heaven and earth to send their kids here? I believe it is because we provide our students with a balanced approach to their learning.
When you consider all of the topics we are exploring, Assessment Literacy, Adolescent Brain Research, Motivation, Culture and Climate and Home/School Communication, each of these asks questions that explore our general theme of the learner in the 21st Century.
I look forward, as I am sure you do, to the results of this work as we approach the end of the school year.
Each year, at this time, I am struck by some of the behaviors of our students that appear to be way out of character. I think many students anticipate the holidays in many different ways.
This year, we delivered more than 10 holiday dinners to families in our community who may not have celebrated Thanksgiving without our reaching out. Already, we have 14 families who are seeking assistance for Christmas. Our GMS Community really pulls together in these times and provides for some of the “Light” of the holiday season.
This got me to thinking about this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the anticipation of all of our students for the impending extended vacation. Some of our kids will go off to the mountains, some may head south to warmer weather, while others will head off to loving family celebrations. Also, some will anticipate, with great concern, the days away from school and friends and warmth, for a time of unknowns.
As we approach this holiday season, I hope we keep all of our kids in the forefront of our thinking when we are planning our team or class celebrations.