Our Thoughts and Prayers Go Out to All…

topperMiddle

Important Upcoming Dates

  • December 18 – Faculty are invited to join our students in the cafeteria for a holiday feast.
  • December 19 – Faculty will gather off-campus to celebrate the season
  • December 19 – Holiday Band Concert 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium
  • December 21 – Band and Chorus concert in the morning; Student/Faculty basketball game in the afternoon.
  • December 24 – January 1 – Christmas Break
  • January 2 – Leadership Team meeting in Melanie’s room beginning at 2:30.

Helping Our Kids Deal with Tragedy

This weekend was a very difficult one for all of us. The needless, senseless and incomprehensible events of Friday in Newtown, Connecticut have truly taxed our abilities to rationally and reasonably discuss why such events happen to our kids. There are lots of resources available on the web, being offered on television and in the newspapers.

Here is a collection of resources that have come to me through my Twitter feed:

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/resources-coping-with-newtown-school-tragedy.shtml


http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/news/release/2012/parent-tips-for-connecticut-school-shooting-12-14-2012/

http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPS-SafeSchools/CBON/1251621089752

Should you have questions or concerns about your child or how we are dealing with these events, please do not hesitate to call with suggestions or ideas.

Lots of Excitement at the Dance

On Friday night, we held our regular monthly dance. Not really big news…usually!

This picture was taken moments before the fog set off the Fire Alarms!

This picture was taken moments before the fog set off the Fire Alarms!

What made this dance different from all of the dances we have held in the past 6 years was that our new fog machine activated the smoke detector in the Gym. We had taken great pains to make sure that the fogger wasn’t strong enough activate the device, and for the first fours dances it didn’t. This month, it did.

I want to commend the teachers and chaperones present and our students for the orderly way the evacuated the building. We had to have the Fire Department respond to check the building and to reset the alarm. That took about 15 minutes, or so and we were cleared to go back into the building and resume our dance. Very Interesting!

Holiday Feast

Tuesday, during grade level lunches, were are inviting all staff to join your students for a special buffet lunch. We will serve a traditional holiday dinner of turkey and all of the “fixin’s”. You are invited to join you advisees, or any other students you choose to have lunch with. We hope this will be the beginning of a new tradition at GMS.

More on Our Community Service Day

catsathartLast week I told you all about our Community Service Day, and even had some pictures. Thanks to Mrs. Littlefield, we have some great pictures of the cats using the toys our students made for the HART for Cats Foundation. As you can see by the pictures, the cats were quite enamored with their new toys.

Iboat

Did you know that Gorham Middle School has a “yacht” sailing around the Atlantic Ocean? Well, it’s not really a yacht, but it is a boat about four feet Iboatlong that has a small sail on that can catch the wind and power the boat. It also is equipped with a GPS (Global Positioning System) that transmits its exact location back to our Sebago Alliance Wiki. If you would like to follow the progress (meanderings may be more appropriate!) check out the wiki here: http: IBoat Meanderings.

If you would like more information of the IBoat program program, you can check out the Sebago Alliance web site here: SEA iBoats

Berlin City Drive for Education

BerlinCityWe are very proud to announce and very grateful to Berlin City Auto, that three GMS teachers and two students received grants from the Berlin City Drive for Education Foundation. Kim Fotter wrote her grant requesting the purchase of 5 Apple iPads for her classroom to help her students be able to engage in a more meaningful way primary sources of research for her Social Studies Class.

Heather Whitaker, Alternative Education Teacher, requested the funds to help purchase outdoor wear to help her students when they take their hikes and other outdoor adventures that are part of her curriculum.

Tracy Wheeler, Chorus Director and Music Teacher, purchase iPads for her classrooms to allow her students easier access to music composing applications as well as a vehicle for her Steel Band students to hear and see the Steel Drums being played by professionals.

Finally, two of our Band Students, Evelyn Turnbaugh and Lizzie Lemieux, under the direction of Kim Mathieu, requested funds to help defer some of the costs as our Band is raising funds to pay to travel on a concert tour through Europe next summer.

Congratulations to all of our grant winners.

The Concert Season

gmschorus

GMS Chorus under the direction of Tracy Wheeler-Williamson.

chambersingers

The First Chamber Singers of GMS

steelband

GMS Steel Band

‘Tis the season for our concerts of Band and Chorus. Last week we held our Steel Band and Chorus Concert under the direction of Tracy Wheeler-Williamson. I am always amazed at how talented our student are, and how courageous they all are. The concert was very well attended by parents and relatives and they were treated to a beautiful concert of Steel Drums and young children’s voices. Above are some pictures of the concert.

The Power of Rumor and Misinformation

Over the past couple of months I have seen first hand what kind of power rumor and misinformation has, and how it can change  the way we perceive events and individuals. We all want to be “in the know”, not feel left out. I am sure there is some psychological name for this condition.

I have heard this statement many times and I am not sure to whom it is attributed, “A little information can be a dangerous thing”, and I think that over the past few days this had born out as very true. The headlines have been full of people’s observations, opinions, thoughts, perceptions and misconceptions about the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut. My example of the power of rumor and innuendo is closer to home, but, never the less a good example.

On Friday evening at GMS, we held our monthly dance for our students as scheduled. We have a great DJ, who also is a teacher in our school. He uses lots of special effects during the dance to give our kids a great time. On this Friday night we had a bit of a problem with the fog machine and it activated our school’s fire alarm.

I was very impressed in how quickly and orderly our students left the building and assembled outside, away from the building and off the main access allowing the fire apparatus to approach the building very safely. After about 15 to 20 minutes the building was cleared by the Fire Department and we were able to resume our dance.

Now, here is where the rumor and innuendo comes in.

I told several students and faculty members that the alarm was activated by the fog machine and that we did not have a fire and no one pulled the the alarm in the building. Yet, throughout the evening and all through the weekend, I received “information” about who had pulled the alarm and why they had pulled it! I was given the names of a few students. A couple of students were mentioned multiple times. Each time, I reminded the students and others that the alarm was the result of the fog machine and that no student had done anything nefarious.

I understand that this does not come close to the tragic events of Friday, but it does remind us to be mindful about what we pass on as truth without the full knowledge of the facts.

In the coming days and weeks, we will learn more about what happened in Connecticut, this is what time does, it uncovers the truth. We will learn from these tragic events and we will become better at our jobs of teaching and protecting your children, our students. We will take these difficult, heart-wrenching lessons and improve because that is the monument we can build to those innocent children and heroic teachers.

We can also strive to “be kinder than necessary” to all that we meet, to do our part in creating the world we want for our children.

2 thoughts on “Our Thoughts and Prayers Go Out to All…

  1. there is a great line from a movie about what time does to truth…..i will research that and I know you would appreciate it Mr. Biley!!!!

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