Wow… October Already!

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Upcoming Important Dates

September 29 – Local & Legendary: Gorham-Windham in the Civil War  Great Falls School 1:00 pm
September 29 – Huskies Youth Hockey Tryouts USM Arena 3:00 – 4:00 pm
October 1 thru 11 – NECAP Administration
October 1 – 8th Grade Parents Night GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
October 2 – Early Release Day students dismissed at 11:10 am
October 4 – Marks the mid-point of the 1st Quarter
October 14 – Columbus Day – No School
October 18 – School Dance GMS Gym 6:00 – 8:00 pm
November 1 – 1st Quarter Ends

Annual NECAP Administration

Picture 9One of the true harbingers of Fall are the packages that we receive from a company called Measured Progress. Within these packages are the “highly” secure, 2013-14 school year version of what we affectionately call the NCLB Superbowl.

OK, we really aren’t affectionate about these packages at all, but they are the only measure that has been used by the Maine Department of Education for the past 10 years to determine whether or not schools are measuring up to the standards of the education law No Child Left Behind.

So, we ask our teachers to hold off on things like homework and tests during the days of administration and we also ask parents that they help us by making sure that kids get a goodnight of sleep and, if possible, a good, wholesome breakfast. For our part, we will provide our kids lots of support and time to perform their best. We have adjusted our schedules to accommodate the testing and provide students with ample time to do well.

Last year, because of these results, our school received a “B” on our “Report Card” from the state. We were very proud to accomplish this, and when we saw how close we were to an “A”, we determined to make that level this year… that is, as long as the state doesn’t change the way they grade!

It would also be very helpful if, as your child is leaving for school on these days, if you could have a marching band or fireworks, just to psych them up! (Only kidding… kind of!)

An Exciting Opportunity for 7th & 8th Grade Students

Over the past couple of weeks I have been speaking with people form the Confusius Institute at the University of Southern Maine about offering Chinese Language and Culture COnfusius Instcourse here at GMS. I am very happy to report that we are vert close to an agreement that will make that happen.

Our plan is to offer the opportunities to selected students, chosen based upon certain criteria of student interest, classroom success levels and recommendations from teachers and parents. The class will be offered three days-a-week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday during our EICAL Period. Students will study with experienced Chinese faculty form Dongbei University visiting the University of Southern Maine, They will learn basic grammar, pronunciation, and word order/sentence structure. They will also examine the rich history and culture of China.

We will get a more formal announcement and the procedure for student inclusion in this class in the next week, or so. As always, if you have any questions, please call me at the Main Office 222-1220.

GMS Students in the News

We have had a couple of our current GMS students make the headlines, for all the right reasons, in the past couple of weeks.

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 9.42.40 AMThe Gorham Times reports that GMS 8th grader, Megan Caruso and Gem, her ayrshire cow, were crowned as the 4H Junior Champion during the Eastern States Exposition (the Big E) in Springfield, Mass. the Big E is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the sixth largest fair in the nation. Competitors in the event come from all six New England states. Caruso and Gem also were also crowned as the Junior Champion at the Skowhegan Fair in August. She is the sixth generation from the Martin family, of Martin place Farm in Gorham, to show winning cattle at the State and New England levels.

We received word from the group Prevent Blindness in America that 7th grader, Isabelle Kolb was selected by the organization for having “The Most Beautiful Eyes in Maine”, a contest the organization runs each year.

All state winners will receive a free pair of Real Kids Shades (RKS) sunglasses and a copy of the new book, Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 9.50.18 AM“Jacob’s Eye Patch” by Beth Kobliner Shaw and Jacob Shaw. And, all state winners advance to the final round of judging for a chance to win a $10,000 educational scholarship from Marchon Eyewear. Additional contest sponsors include Eagle Eyes® Optics and Walters Golf.

The national winner will be determined by a celebrity panel of judges that includes ORA-TV’s Larry King, “Fox NFL Sunday” Host Curt Menefee, actress Barbara Eden, and author and financial journalist Beth Kobliner Shaw. The national winner and two family members will enjoy a weekend in Chicago to attend the Prevent Blindness America Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, where the scholarship will be officially awarded.

Homework Club and After School Library

In years past we have offered a couple of afternoons per week of additional help in homework and keeping our Library open for students who need a place to do extra work on research projects by using our Library. Unfortunately, we are struggling to find teachers and staff who can stay after school to do these duties.

That, and truthfully, we are not really sure how effective it is keeping students after school to continue working on homework.

We are planning to keep the Library open in the afternoon on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday until 4:00 pm so that students can use the resources there for their work. AS for a guided homework help session, we are still working on a solution for that. We will keep you informed.

8th Grade Parents Meeting

As we have with the 6th and 7th grade parents, we will be meeting with parents of 8th grade students on Tuesday, October 1 in the GMS Auditorium beginning at 6:00 pm. Our agenda will be very similar to those of the earlier meetings with parents from 6th and 7th grade parents.CLIPART_OF_15182_SM_2

Technology – Now that the students have received their laptops, I expect there could be some questions. We have also met with the students and had a great presentation from Terri Dawson, GMS Technology Integrator, about using the machines responsibly. If you have questions about technology, this would be a great forum to ask them.

Home/School Communication – We are trying to make sure that parents and guardians know what is going on here at GMS. The more we keep each other informed about what may impact the performance of our students (and your kids) the better job we can all do.

Fundraising – How do we raise the necessary funds for student activities such as field trips to museums, performances and other educationally responsible events without inundating the families at home. We would love to have a discussion about how we can do this in a more socially responsible fashion. This discussion could include the work that we normally do at the end of the year to raise funds for the 8th Grade Celebration of Middle School.

Other – Anything else you would like to take about.

Flu Shot Information

Flu shotOn Friday, students were given a packet of information regarding the district program to provide Flu shots. There is quite a bit of information and the dates and times of the actual shots. We would like you to read the packet carefully and, if you wish to participate, please return to school by October 15th.

We will have more information and reminders about the program in the coming weeks.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

If you have looked at the district schedule really closely you would have noticed that there is only one day (October 25) dedicated to time for Parent/Teacher Conferences. You meeting-451-95-115-80-cwill also notice that the Wednesday before (October 23) the conference day is an early release day, and for those of you with great memories you will remember that, historically this early release day had been Thursday.

So, have I totally confused you?

We would like to be true to our past and offer conferences on the evening of October 24th beginning at 3:00 until 8:00 pm and, then again on Friday, October 25 from 8:00 to 2:00 pm.

You will be receiving information about your child’s teachers’ schedule and how to sign up for a time to meet. This is also the place where I remind everyone that you do not need to wait until Conferences dates to meet with your child’s teachers. You can do that at anytime, all you need to do is call, email or send a note in with your child requesting a meeting and we’ll get back to you with possible times.

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