Important Upcoming Dates
September 16 & 17 – MLTI Parent Meeting, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 17- Team Leaders Meeting in Melanie’s room 2:30 – 4:00 pm
September 18 Faculty Meeting in GMS Library 2:30 – 4:00 pm
September 19 – PIE Meeting in the GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 20 – School Dance in GMS Gymnasium 6:00 – 8:00 pm
September 24 – 7th Grade Parent Night GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 24 – Fall Sports Pictures after school, before practice
September 25 – Washington D.C. Trip Informational parent meeting 6:00 pm
September 25 – Maine Harvest Lunch in our Cafeteria
September 25 – Odyssey of the Mind Informational Night GMS Library 6:00 pm
October 1 – 8th Grade Parents Night GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
October 2 – Early Release Day
October 4 – Progress Reports (Mid quarter)
SchoolHouse Arts Center Fall Program
The Schoolhouse Arts Center in Standish has several great offerings this fall for students interested in the Theatre Arts and performances. The many offerings are for pre-school through adults and the variety is quite amazing. Offerings include dance, Music, Family Enrichment and, even Puppets. For more information you can go to the Schoolhousearts.org web site or you can find a link on the GMS Web page.
Fall Sports Pictures
We will be offering fall sports pictures again this year after hearing parental concerns about not having sports teams in our yearbook. The pictures will be traditional team pictures, as well as individual pictures and they will be offered for sale to those who are interested in purchasing them. There is not, however and obligation by anyone to purchases.
Thank You for Participating in our Poll
Last week I placed a poll in this space to try to calculate the percentage of our students who have access to Smart Phone technology.
Recognizing that this is a very unscientific poll, it appears that about 60% of our students have access to cell phones but only about half of them have access to smart phone technology. What was surprising was the fact that almost 40% of our students do not have access to any cell phone technology.
Washington D.C. Trip Informational Night
There will be an informational night for those parents interested in the annual trip to Washington D.C. during the April Vacation in 2014. Melanie Doran will be meeting with those interested in the Library on September 18th, 6:30 – 7:30. If you have any questions about the trip please contact Melanie at MelanieD@gorhamschools.org.
MLTI Parent Information Night
Each year, we are required by the state, from whom we lease the devices, to hold an informational parent night to explain the program and familiarize parents to the capabilities of the machines. Many years of doing this night, and many parents who have sat through countless informational nights sometimes makes the idea of doing it one more time almost unbearable.
This year, however, is truly different (I know, you’ve heard this before!), but it really is. Unlike past years, students will have far more control over their devices. Students will be able to download apps, unlike previous years, and the devices will not shut down at a set time, as they have in the past.
The capabilities of our new Operating System (OS) are far more powerful than past years and it will allow students to perform tasks that were not available in the past. Also, we will have a pointed discussion about digital citizenship and we will be using terminology that may be new to you. This terminology will be helpful to all of us as we help our kids learn to navigate this new world.
Finally, the School District will be offering a new Laptop Protection Plan that is different from the plan offered in the past and it will really require that parents and students understand the fine points of the program.
So, even though I recognize that many of you have had the experience of the MLTI Nights in the past, there will be a lot of new information and ideas that it will be vital to parents and that is why parents need attend one of these evenings in order for students to able to take laptops home.
Looking forward to seeing you all there.
Progress Reports and Report Cards
Over the course of one school year we consume far too many cases of white paper than I can count! Really, I mean this. Each quarter we had been producing almost 900 report cards, each one three pages in length, that’s 2700 pieces of paper, or more than 5 reams of paper each quarter. This does not take into consideration and additional sum of paper for the quarterly progress reports in each content area, ink for the printer and the time it takes for personnel to perform all of the tasks.
Why am I boring you with this information? Well, we are trying to reduce of carbon footprint and increase our efficiency as well as reduce the costs of doing business.
This year we will not be producing, or consuming, as much paper as we have by utilizing our Infinite Campus Parent Portal more. All of the information that is produced on the report card is available, on demand, through the Parent Portal. You can actually acquire updated reports, on a weekly basis is you desire.
If you already have your Infinite Campus Parent Portal Username and Password, you don;t need to do another thing except check in to you child’s reports. If you have yet to receive your username and password, or forgot either one, you can email Terry LaMontagne at email@example.com, or call her at 222-1247 and she can get you set up in no time at all.
As with anything we do, if you would still like to receive a paper copy of your child’s report card, please call Terry and we will make sure that happens. If you have comments or concerns about us doing this, please give me a call or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Odyssey Of the Mind Information Night
Diane Knott, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, has informed me that there will be an informational evening on Wednesday, September 25 from 6:00 to 7:30 in the GMS Library. At this evening event, parents will learn how the Odyssey of the Mind Problem Solving program helps encourage students team work, risk-taking and divergent thinking skills.
Parents and students are encouraged to attend this meeting.
In past posts, I have mentioned the services provided by the Tooth Fairies, a group of dedicated dental health professionals who will come to our school to provide preventative dental services at a greatly reduced cost, or no cost.
Many of you have returned the sign up sheets and your children will be scheduled later this month on September 16th, 20th and the 24th. We will be calling the students out of classes and they will be gone for about 30 to 40 minutes. We will not be “announcing” the reason to the class, for confidentiality purposes, but I felt it was important for you to be aware that there will be some class time missed to receive this service.
If you have any questions about the Tooth Fairies service, please call Teresa Merrill, School Nurse.
More Information from Our School Nurse
You may remember that we began the Vision and Hearing Screenings on the first day of school after Labor Day. Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the task fully on that day so we will be screening those students whom we missed on Tuesday, September 17th. This is mostly for 7th graders, but there may be a few 6th and 8th grade students who we will need to screen. If your child is one of these students, you have already been notified.
GMS Garden Harvest Update
In our past posts, I have shown pictures of our Garden with the new Deer Fence that we installed last spring, as well as some of the produce that our students worked all summer to brig to harvest. I am happy to report to you that the Garden Club has been able to bring over 700 pounds to the Ecumenical Food Pantry of Gorham.
Heather Whitaker, the Garden Club Coordinator, reports that the garden will continue to produce for a short while longer, but the amount of the harvest will continue to dwindle.
Of Haircuts, Kindergarteners and Thoughts on Sir Ken Robinson
I used to get my haircut by a barber, but now I get it “styled” by a Hair stylist and my Stylist looks nothing like my old barber. She isn’t bald on top with a wee tuft of hair traveling from temple to temple and she definitely doesn’t have a mustache, but she is my “Barber”.
On Saturday we were talking about this or that and the subject turned to her 4-year-old daughter and her first days of pre-school. My stylist is quite happy that her daughter wakes up every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, excited and happy about heading off to school. This little girl is excited about learning and wanting to do homework. She asks her mother everyday about when will it be her turn to ride the yellow bus to school.
This kind of excitement about school is what we try to create in our school. A place where everyone arrives with that excitement of the journey to the unknown or not yet experienced, but expect to be surprised.
Somewhere between the time kids start Kindergarten and they arrive at middle school, some of that wonderment and excitement has disappeared, and, unfortunately, it wanes even more as students move through high school.
In this video from Ken Robinson he asks the question, “Do Schools Kill Creativity”. The video has been around for a few years, but it is very timely even today. I hope you enjoy it.