Looking Forward to a Great Fall Season

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Upcoming Important Dates

Friday, September 19 – 1st School Dance of the year 6:00 – 8:00 pm GMS Gym
Monday, September 22 – 26 – NWEA Testing for 7th graders
Tuesday, September 23 – Odyssey of the Mind Awareness Night, 6:00 pm GMS Library
Tuesday, September 23 – Ice Hockey sign ups in the GMS Cafeteria, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, September 24 – Early Release Day, Students will be dismissed at 11:10 am
Monday, September 29 – October 3 – NWEA Testing for 6th graders
Tuesday, September 30 – Meet the Candidates Night at GMS 6:00 pm, GMS Cafeteria

School Dance

Our first dance of the school year is this Friday night from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.ani-dance1

This is a great time for all of our kids to gather with friends and socialize and enjoy each others company. All of our school rules still apply as to behaviors and dress codes. I know this is an evening event where the opportunity for getting together and making impressions is very important to all of our students. This is where we need real help from home. Our dress code still applies to our dances, so I am asking that parents remind their children that this is a fun event and not a formal event, id students could dress accordingly, it would be appreciated.

Laptop Information

mlti-logoI really want to thank all who attended the MLTI Parent Orientation evenings we held earlier this week. We are in the process of collecting all of the information that the students have returned and we (actually, my secretaries!) are compiling the lists and making sure which parents want the devices to go home and which do not. When we get this part of the bookkeeping done, we will then allow the devices to go home, not latter than Monday, September 22nd however.

Again, thanks for your participation.

Common Sense Media and Emily Bazelon

CommonSenseMediaEach evening of the MLTI Parent Orientation Meeting, Terri Dawson and I mentioned Common Sense Media and Emily Bazelon, author of the book entitled Sticks and Stone: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. (Phew! Long Title) Well, here is a video that has both of these people in one place, sticks and stonestalking about how to stem bullying in our schools.

And, as I write this, I am wondering if anyone would like to join a book group to read and discuss this book? I really would be interested in gathering with parents who are interested in learning more about this scourge in our society and I would love to expand this conversation beyond our school and into our community.

If this is of interest to any of you, please send me an email at robert.riley@gorhamschools.org

Fall Sports Season  Schedule

I will reprise our entry form our last post to make sure that everyone has a copy of our Fall Sports Schedule. I also want to remind all that weather can be our friend… or not! Please check the daily notices for changes to the sports game schedule as well as changes to daily practices.

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How was School Today?

Screenshot 2014-09-18 09.47.54So often, when our kids come home from a long day at school, we want to know how school was for them, so, we ask the question “How was school today? And our kids respond with something like “good” or “OK”, and that ends the conversation. And you want to know more!

The Huffington Post offered a wonderful article by Liz Evans on this subject with 25 different ways to elicit more tha a one word answer from your child. Several of the suggestions are really good and can really lead to some great discussions bout school and open the lines of communication between parents and children. Here is a link and I hope you enjoy. Liz Evans, How was School Today

Odyssey of the Mind Information Night

OM LogoGorham Schools are very lucky to have an active Odyssey of the Mind (OM) organization. Our students regularly compete at national levels and are very successful. The group gets together regularly during the school year under the direction of Diane Knott. All of the participants are so engaged in their work and in solving the problems that are presented by the National Organization. This is a great opportunity for students to practice working collaboratively refining their creative problem solving skills. This is also an excellent way for our students to practice the leadership skills they will need in the future. I encourage all parents to find out more about this activity for their children.

The informational night will be Wednesday, September 23rd in the GMS Library beginning at 6:00 pm. Parents and students are encouraged to attend and if you would like more information contact Diane Knott at email: diane.knott@gorhamschools.org or by phone 222-1376.

 Proficiency Based Education

By now, many of you have at least heard about Proficiency Based Education and that the state of Maine has made the decisions to base all graduation decisions on whether of not students attain proficiency in all 8 content areas. Now comes all of the hard work, and believe me, we (our faculty) are working very hard to comply with the law, but more importantly, we are working to make the learning for our students as real and engaging for them.

For years, we have used a system of communicating to parents the progress of their children’s learning that required teachers place a number of letter that would represent the entirety of the students’ learning. All of the work over a period of 45 days, or so, boiled down to a single letter or number to represent all of the complexities of the daily learning that happens in every class, for the entire grading period.

I get that we need to keep things efficient and as simple as possible, I do get it! I wonder, however, if some of the message we are trying to communicate to parents and students gets lost in the simplicity. I think that communicating about student learning is a far greater story than a single letter or number. And that is what we are working on as we strive to meet the mandates of the state while insuring that our students are getting the best from us.

We will continue to work on this and we will work to communicate with all of you about how these changes will impact our kids and their futures. I encourage anyone who has questions about subject, or any other for matter to contact me.

We will have plenty more about this topic here in the future. Until then…

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