Upcoming Important Dates
Tuesday, December 9 – Chorus and Steel Band Concert GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
Wednesday, December 10 – Early Release Day Students dismissed at 11:10 am
Thursday, December 11 – Band Concert GMS Auditorium Concert 6:30
Friday, December 12 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm GMS Gym
Wednesday, December 17 – Annual Holiday Luncheon all students GMS Cafeteria
Friday, December 19 – James Madison Excellence in Writing Prize Awards GMS Gym 12:30 pm
Friday, December 19 – Student/Faculty Basketball Game 12:30 pm
James Madison Excellence in Writing Contest
Back in October, many of our students toiled over their computers to pen some excellent essays on what the phrase “with Liberty and Justice for all” means to them when they recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. This is the second year of the competition that is sponsored by the Town of Gorham Republican Committee and we had a huge increase in the number of entries.
As an aside, the winners of last year’s contest did a great job in setting the bar for the competition. The young folks who won last year’s competition wrote very moving pieces that were shared with the entire school just before the annual student/faculty basketball game.
The competition awards three cash prizes to the students, $250 for the winner and two $100 prizes to the runners-up.
Concert Season has Arrived
It is that time of year again where our students get to show off their talents and the results of all of their hard work in preparing for these shows. The Steel Band and Chorus convert will be held on Tuesday evening beginning at 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium and the various bands will perform on Thursday evening beginning at 6:30 pm. Please circle these dates for two wonderful evening of “joyful” noise from our very talented students.
We will be practicing our lockdown procedures in the event of an unwanted intruder into our building. If you are a member of our school community you will receive a letter in your child’s backpack in the next day, or so with all of the details as to date and time. We will also outline some of the other systems we will be testing during the lockdown drill and provide you with an opportunity to offer feedback to us. Please check your child’s backpack later this week for the letter.
GMS Giving Tree
OK, so it really isn’t a tree, but it is our way of getting some holiday cheer and Christmas presents to some of the families in our community who are facing the challenge of providing a joyful Christmas for their kids (our kids,too!)
This year we are hoping to provide for 24 families everything from a few simple gifts from Santa Claus as well as a holiday meal with all of the fixings. Our staff has already brought in wrapped presents for several of our families and we have been collecting food and turkeys for meals.
Truly make us all remember the Spirit of Christmas.
Celebrating the Christmas Season
We will be holding our annual Christmas dinner on Wednesday, December 17 during our regular lunches. While I do not yet know the final menu, it usually is a choice of turkey of ham, mashed potatoes, squash, beans and or peas, a dunner roll and a wonderfully tasty dessert. The students will help themselves to a buffet style serving line. We also have many of the kids teachers come down to the cafeteria and join the kids for this wonderful repast.
Please plan on this day for you kids to join in the feast. If you have any questions or concerns, please give me a call.
Learning and Teaching in the 21st Century
We have talk in this space during the past few months about such large interest items as Proficiency Based Learning and Diplomas. Common Core State Standards and large scale standardized tests that will be administered later this spring. I have written about the impact of technology on the way our kids think and learn and, the impact of this new understanding of our kids and how we need to shift what we do to meet these new challenges. Each of these elements will have a dramatic impact on how schools will prepare our kids for their future.
This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Educate Maine conference in Portland, and I came away from the day both invigorated and concerned about the future of schools in the next 10 years, and beyond.
It was very encouraging to see that about 250 people from education, public policy and business felt the need to come together and discuss the future of educating our young people. One session I attended encouraged most, and it was very gratifying to hear about how businesses were opening their doors to schools, and their students, and developing relationships that truly gave the term “real-world learning” meaning. These businesses were able to demonstrate through their actions, how to engage our kids in ways that was meaningful and beneficial to all.
What I found challenging about the meeting was the idea that while we have a dramatic shift in what is going to be expected of our kids, I didn’t see a similar shift in the lens by which we view our tasks. For some who spoke at this meeting the outcomes are expected to change, yet there was not a comparable shift in the how we are going to arrive at these different outcomes.
I am sure that these shifts will be coming, it just gets frustrating that we continue to delay the start of the actuation of these events. Parents regularly tell me that their kids are bored, not challenged and that some teachers don;t give enough homework. This shift should answer all of those concerns about engagement. When kids are able to breeze through homework and seemingly always “ace” the test, they will be moved ahead to more challenging work that will get them into that zone just a bit beyond comfort. It will also allow those students who demonstrate some challenges in certain areas of learning to take the necessary time and additional supports so that they too meet proficiency.
We have some very hard work ahead of us…