Important Upcoming Dates
February 6 – Evening Performance of Talent Show 7:00 pm
February 14 – Last Day for the Parent Survey (see below)
February 17 – 21- Mid Winter break
February 27 – PIE Meeting GMS Library 6:00 pm
February 28 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm
You should have received an email via our Blackboard mass e-mailing system with a link to a survey specifically for parents to provide feed back to us about what your beliefs, understandings and perceptions are about the Gorham Schools in general and about Gorham Middle School specifically. We ask that your your share those thoughts and perceptions with, anonymously, so that you can share honestly with us. In order for us to get better, we need to hear not just what we are doing well, if anything, but where you believe we can improve.
If, for some reason, you did not receive this email, please call us or respond by email and we’ll send you out a link to the survey.
8th Graduation Planning
I say this every year, but it really is true! It is hard to believe that it is that time of year to begin the planning for that special evening that celebrates the Middle School experience for our current 8th graders and to give them a fitting send-off to the high school.
We usually meet a couple of times in March and April to set up committees for the planning of the “parent” portion of the evening and, the more important “Kid” version of the evening. We have a PIE meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 20 at 6:00pm in the GMS Library, so we could use this evening as our first organizational meeting and then make decisions about future meetings from there.
…and Speaking of Transition to High School
It is also that time of year when we start the real planning for the 8th graders to begin to register for their classes next year at the high school. To that end, Chris Record, Principal at GHS and several of the Department Heads will come to the Middle School on March 18, to meet with all of the 8th graders and talk about what High School will look like next year and how they should begin to think about the classes they will take next year. That evening, Mr. Record will host the parents of our 8th graders for the annual 8th Grade Parent Night at GHS. This is an evening where Mr. Record will inform all parents of the registration process and what their children and they should expect over the course of their high school career. That evening event will begin at 6:30 in the GHS Auditorium.
Students will be asked to complete their registration process during the days of March 17, 18 & 19.
The Start of a New Quarter and Semester
We are now more than half way through the year, and if we continue to get snow and snow days, we will always be just about halfway through the year. So, whomever you are, and you know who you are, the person doing that snow dance, you can stop now.
But, on a more serious note, we are heading down the stretch for school work and we will be looking to start the preparations for all sorts of end of year activities and placement for next year. There are some highlights in the coming months that are waiting for our students. In may, we will be administering the NWEA assessments. These assessments help us determine growth for students over the course of the year. For our 8th graders, the results of these will help the high school administration determine which students are placed in what classes fro their freshman year. These are especially important assessments for the 8th graders!
Each grade level and team will have planned field trips for our students so that they can experience all of the wonderful adventures in learning that Southern Maine and New England have to offer. Some grades get to walk the Portland Freedom Trail, (I’ll bet some of you thought the Freedom Trail was only in Boston!), while other will be taken on nature walks in some of the great nature preserves we have.
In any event, in order for all of these trips to fully benefit our kids, we need them to assert themselves into the learning in these next couple of months to lay a good foundation for the fun excursions. We know how hard each and every one of our parents works to help get the kids involved in their education, we are asking that you all keep doing the great work you have been doing!
From the School Nurse
I don’t think any of us need to be reminded that we are deep in the midst of Flu Season. We have seen an increase in the number of students who are called in sick each day. (By the way, thank you all for doing such a great job in letting us know when your kids are going to be out!). We are also seeing an increase in the number of students who are coming down to the nurse because of some type of malady. We really do hate to have to call parents to come to school to pick up their sick child, but we know that they must go home.
Teresa Merrill, School Nurse, has asked that I remind all that if your child has had a fever or has vomited in the past 24 hrs, it is necessary that the child stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours without the aid of Tylenol or other medicine. One of the best ways to beat the flu is to isolate the students when they are in the contagious stage. By you keeping the child out of school, we reduce the chance that the germs will spread… maybe! Anyway, every little bit helps in keeping our kids healthy.
GMS Night at the Portland Sea Dogs
With all of the snow we have received in the past month, and the promise of more to come, it is hard to imagine that a couple of the most important days of the year is just around the corner, Moving Van Day and 1st Day of Pitcher and Catchers! Ah, Spring! The sound of horsehide on ash, the crack of the bat and the snap of leather! Okay, maybe I am getting ahead of myself, we have a day planned for GMS to celebrate at the Sea Dogs, we will have our Chorus sing the National Anthem before the game and we will have some lucky middle school student throw out the first pitch, plus we will get to see some of the tremendous prospects of the World Champion Boston Red Sox in action.
If you would like to purchase tickets for this game, they are $5.00 for General Admission seats. Just call Kristen Fitz at the Main Office to place your order.
Proficiency Based Learning
Over the past few months, we have been talking in the space about the shift that Maine schools will be taking, beginning with the current 8th grade class. As I have mentioned, Maine calls this a shift to a Proficiency Based System of Teaching and Learning. Some places have called it Standards Based Learning or Competency Based Teaching and Learning.
This will require our schools to look at how we measure our students and their learning, including how we report the students’ progress to parents and to the students themselves. I am going to try to find some resources that will, hopefully, help you all understand why we are undertaking this change and also, to help you know what questions to ask as we all make this shift to a different way of doing our jobs.
This video is a short explanation of what the authors call Competency Based Learning. I will say that it is rather simple, yet it seems to be filled with what I call “edubabble”, or others may call jargon. Hopefully, it will help a little bit, and I promise that I will continue to seek out other resources that will make these changes as painless as possible.
Until next week…