Upcoming Important Dates
September 10 – 6th Grade Parent Meeting GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 16 & 17 – MLTI Parent meetings in the GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 19 – PIE Meeting, GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 20 – School Dance in the GMS Gymnasium 6:00 to 8:00 pm
September 23 – 7th Grade Parent Meeting, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
October 1 – 8th Grade Parent, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
Thank You for Coming to Our Open House
Now I have never been a great judge of crowds, you know, estimating how many people are in one place at one time, but last night I think that almost all of our parents came to visit our school. I was hearing reports about where folks had to park to get inside the building and I could see the streams of humanity walking in the halls. It truly was great to see all of you!
I hope that you feel welcome to come back often!
MLTI Device Deployment (Laptops)
We will begin deploying (that’s computer lingo for handing out!) the laptops this week beginning with the 6th graders. You may remember that the 6th graders will be getting the devices used for the past four years by the 7th and 8th graders, so they will be somewhat used. Our Tech Department, however, has been giving each device the “once over” to make sure that they are operating appropriately. I believe that each student will receive a device that has been upgraded with new memory and new RAM with an operating system (OS) that will be compatible with the new devices that the 7th and 8th graders will be using. I am told that this is a good thing!
The 7th graders will receive their new MacBook Airs on Thursday and Friday, September 5 and 6. Eighth graders will get their new devices on Monday and Tuesday, September 9 and 10. The students will be able to use the computers here at school, but they will not be allowed out of the building until we get all of the parent permissions signed and returned.
We have been experiencing some difficulty in re-imagining (more tech talk) the 6th grade devices, so we will be a bit delayed in getting the devices into the hands of the 6th graders. We expect that by next Wednesday (September 10), the students will have their computers.
As we have in past years, the district will provide a Laptop Protection Plan (LPP) that must be purchased in order for the students to be allowed to take the devices from the building. The cost of the LPP is $25.00, and this year there will be no deductible.
We will explain all of this at the MLTI parent meetings on the 16th and 17th.
GMS Garden Project
At the end of the school year, last year, we received a couple of grants from Gorham Savings Bank and the Walmart Foundation to fund the purchase and installation of a Deer Fence to protect our long standing garden from the local wildlife. At the beginning of the summer, our crack Maintenance guy, Dan Dupres, installed the fence around the garden. Well, I am pleased to report that the results are coming in and they are terrific. To date, Heather Whitaker reports that the Garden has produced over 600 pounds of produce that has been donated to the Ecumenical Food Pantry of Gorham. 600 HUNDRED POUNDS!!! That is amazing!
Congratulations to our students who tended the garden over the summer, to Mrs. Whitaker for being such a green thumb, to Dan for his amazing work installing the fence and to Gorham Savings Bank and the Walmart Foundation for being such great benefactors to our program.
Give to GMS with Target.com
I will be keeping this entry in the blog until the last possible day of the promotion because this can be some real money for our school. I will try to keep this kind of commercialism to a minimum in this blog.
This is clearly filed under the category of shameless pandering by a Principal seeking funds to do our work, but this appears to be something that can really help us fund some activities that we could not cover in our very austere budget. So here goes…
Visit http://givewith.target.com/school/5098 to vote for our school.
This year, Target will give money to schools all over the country for one simple act: a vote. Our school needs just 25 votes to earn a $25 donation from Target. But that’s only the beginning. For each additional vote, our school will get $1 more. So please remember that, although the gesture is small, the rewards are potentially huge. Go to http://givewith.target.com/school/5098 to vote for Gorham Middle School once a week through September 21 or until Target has given away all $5 million. And please forward this email to your friends. Vote and see rules at http://GiveWith.Target.com.
You can only vote once a week, but you can vote multiple time on different devices.
6th Grade Parent Meeting
As I mentioned in previous posts, we are planning to hold quarterly grade level parent nights this year in an attempt to bring our parents closer to our school. Please don’t take this as an inference that our parents are not already close to our school, but we have many challenges and opportunities ahead of us, each that if addressed, will make our school even stronger. These nights are not mandatory, by any stretch of the imagination, but we are hopeful that we can get some new ideas from these meetings.
Our first meeting is for 6th grade parents and we hope to get some feed back on how we can improve the initial experience of your children during the move from elementary to middle school. These can be very challenging times for our newest members and we are always looking to improve. Also, sometimes we can be a bit myopic in our view because we do this every year. Feedback is always good for improvement.
Our meetings will follow a fairly loose agenda. I don’t want us to be restricted in our questions and comments but we do need to be a bit organized with the evening. Our first meeting is Tuesday, September 10 at 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium. We will go until we are done, probably about an hour and folks can come and go as they please.
Our Topics for Discussion should include:
The Opening of School
Improving Home/School Communications
Opportunities for 6th graders
How do we get involved?
We are open to other topics for discussions and if you’d like it included on the agenda please send me an email or give me a call.
Common Core State Standards
In the coming months, you will hear a great deal in the press about the impending implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS is an effort by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the group that represents the Commissioners of Education in all 50 states. The effort is to bring into some kind of alignment with all of the states as to what is acceptable levels of proficiency for the students of America.
It is not without its controversy, however, but I will let other people debate that. For us, I think it is important that we all know what is expected of us and what can we do to help our kids get best prepared for their futures.
I found a short video that attempts to explain the CCSS with reasonable clarity and with pictures.
This is My First Attempt at This!
I am curious about how many of our students have Smart Phones and how many of them bring them to school. Obviously, technology changes at a very rapid pace, and, while we try to keep up with all of the changes, our students always seem to be a few paces ahead!
I have always wondered how many of our students have access to online resources that do not run through our school filter. This is not a nefarious attempt by administration to stop this, actually, it may be a way for us to do our job better and more efficiently.
The responses will be anonymous, and don’t feel compelled to respond if you are uncomfortable doing it. This really is just an experiment for me in using this new feature to the blog.
Until next week…