Middle School Students & Presidential Candidates

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Upcoming Important Dates

Monday, August 31 – 6th Graders’ first day of school
Tuesday, September 1 – First day for 7th & 8th Graders
Tuesday, September 1 – GMS Open House 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Wednesday, September 2 – School Pictures
Friday, September 4 – No School
Monday, September 7 – Labor Day Holiday, No School

A Reminder on Student Placement

We have taken quite a few phone calls and emails regarding the placement of your kids on teams for the coming year, although not more than in the years past. It is always good to review the process we use in assigning students to their new teams and our reasons why we do it.

We have three academies teams at each grade level, each grade has a 4-person team and a 2-person team. The 7th and 8th grade have a 3-person team and the 6th grade, for the first time in several years have two 4-person teams, the result of a dramatic increase in the number of 5th graders coming from the elementary schools.

Our goal is to create teams at each grade level that are very similar in make up as the entire grade. We consider things like the proportion of males to females, the number of students receiving Special Education services, the number of students who receive services through our Gifted and Talented Program and students who have demonstrated behavioral issues in the past few years. We examine the results of the students NWEA assessments given during the current school year and the results of NECAP scores in previous years. This information helps us to make sure that we distribute all sorts of learners to each team.

We also ask parents fro  information on their children. You may remember that many of you completed a form (online this year for the first time!) answering, in a “million words or less”, questions about what your child found challenging in the current year, what your concerns are for your child in the coming year and anything that you wanted to tell us about your child as a learner.

We finally asked the current year teachers about the make-up of the teams. We asked if they noticed any combinations that may create a problem, should we pair students with another students, because they work well together. We also asked if their was anything that they saw in the teams that should be addressed.

Then we assigned the students to teams.

As you can imagine, this is a very tedious, human-intensive process, and we are bound to make mistakes or miss something. However, once the teams are created, it becomes very difficult to make changes, not impossible, but very difficult. The district has devised a protocol for making changes that all schools must follow. In order to make changes, one of these conditions must exist:

    1. Prior negative experience with a particular teacher and your child
    2. Prior negative experience with a teacher and a sibling,
    3. Significant conflict with a particular student (“significant meaning restraining order, protection for abuse, etc.)
    4. Relative or close friend or neighbor which could cause discomfort in the relationship.

As a final caveat to this protocol, we always have several students move out of the district and several students move into the district. Remembering that we want all of the teams to be a microcosm of the entire grade level, we will re-examine the team make-up in late August to see if adjustments need to be made. We will then call folks who have expressed interest in changing their child’s team, but do not meet any of the above conditions to see if they still want a change. Then we try our best to accommodate s many requests as we can.

Thoughts While Watching a Political Debate

First, let me promise you that this will not be about politics, or trying to convince you for whom you should, or should not vote.

This meandering is more about how grown men, and very powerful grown men, react when one of these grown, powerful men, decides to make a comment about someone who was not even present or able to defend themselves. I am also not talking about his comments about Megyn Kelly from Fox News after the debate. I am talking about the comment Donald Trump made while Megyn Kelly was asking a question about his purported treatment of women.

The moment Donald Trump tried to get a laugh from the audience, at the expense of someone not even present, and not one of those grown, powerful men stood forward to call Mr. Trump on his comment, not one came forward, regardless of what they think of Rosie O’Donnell, to say that Mr. Trumps’ comments were not appropriate for the forum in which they all struggled to participate.

Being the Principal of a Middle School in Maine, we have our challenges with the way in which our kids treat each other. We beat the drum of our Code of Conduct (Respect, Responsibility, Courage, Compassion and Honesty) daily. We use it to remind our kids about how they are to treat each other, everyday!

Each of these men on stage that evening say they want to be the next leader of the free world, our Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States of America! Becoming President of the United States has always been something that was and answer young kids gave when asked what they wanted to be when they grow up, right after Fireman! You would have hoped that one of these grown and very powerful men would have had the courage to stand up and call Mr. Trump out on his comment.

This behavior is something that occurs in middle schools across this country almost every day. Would it have been too much to ask for one of these men to set an example for all of the middle school kids across this country that they want to lead?/

Humans Need Not Apply

As I was looking for something that I could use to bring the Middle SchoolFaculty back to the realization that the start of school was coming, I came across this video that certainly makes one think about education in the future. I hope it brings some questions forward that we struggle to find good answers for!

Enjoy!

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