The First Day is Fast Approaching


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
Monday, September 14 – MLTI Parent Orientation Meeting 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Tuesday, September 15 – MLTI Parent Orientation Meeting 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Friday, September 18 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm GMS Gymnasium

Getting Ready for the School Year

In mid July, we emailed out to all families the supplies list that your child’s team was requesting that the kids come to school with on the first day of school. Since that time, we have had almost 20 new students enroll in school! We ill be getting updated list back on the middle school web site on Monday, so that everyone will know what they need for the coming school year.

I am going to ask each team, however, try to pare down their lists with an eye towards lessening the burden upon families for a large cash outlay, when some of the supplies may not be needed until later in the school year. Hopefully, our new lists will reflect that reduction.

GMS Open House

We hope to see all of you at the Annual Gorham Middle School Open House on Tuesday, September 1 beginning at 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm. We will have lots of information available to parents about what will be happening during the coming school year for your children.

If you want to volunteer in the Gorham Schools, there is a process that we must follow, For example, if you’d like chaperone at one of our dances, you need to be registered as a volunteer. If you’d like to chaperone a field trip, you need to be registered. You can sign up for the orientation meetings on Tuesday night in our foyer.

Have you ever wondered why your child seems to go through the money in his/her luck account so quickly, or  how can you accommodate your child’s special dietary needs? Our Cafeteria Manager will be present to answer all of your questions.

We will have all sorts of information on the many different clubs we have at the middle school, as well as sign ups for all of the fall sports teams.

And, all of your child’s teachers will be present to meet you and show you their classrooms.

So,please, circle the date on your calendar and stop on by and see us!

School Pictures

We have schedule the folks from Lifetouch to be at GMS on Wednesday, September 2 to take individual pictures of our students. These pictures will be used in Infinite Campus, our Student Information System, our annual school yearbook and for ID cards that will be distributed to the students.

You can order picture now by going to the Lifetouch website and using our school code:  LG555444Q0 to complete your order. This will eliminate tyne need to have your child remember to bring in the order form and you can pay online, as well.

New Staff at GMS

It has been quite a summer for us at GMS. At the end of last school year, we said good-bye to some old friends, and now it is time to welcome new faces to our community.

Joining us this year are:

Sarah Collins – Sarah comes back to us from Oak Hill Middle School in Sabattus, Maine. I say “come back to us” because Sarah completed her internship with Kelly Winslow teaching French. Sarah will join the Monhegan Team as an 8th Grade Advisor and she will be returning to her first love of teaching Spanish.

Brett Brown – Brett will be joining the Sebago Lake Team in the 6th grade teaching math. Brett is another familiar face to all of us at GMS, last year, he was an intern with David Palmer in the 8th grade teaching science.

Cathy Loiselle – We are extremely excited to have Cathy join us as our new School Nurse. cathy fills the position long held by Teresa Merrill, who has moved on the be the sSchool Nurse at Great Falls School. Cathy comes to us after several years as a School Nurse at Thornton Academy in Saco.

Beth Orlando – Beth joins us after many years as the School Librarian for the Old Orchard Schools. Beth is a resident of Gorham and she is looking forward to expanding the services offered by our Library. Beth fills the position after long-time School Librarian, Kathy Marquis retired at the end of the school year.

Cynthia Grover – Cynthia will be joining the GMS Staff in a new position of Social Worker for grades 4 through 8. Cynthia has several years experience as a School Social Worker in the Bonny Eagle District and she also has experience as a Substance Abuse Counselor, which should help us and our kids during this very difficult and treacherous stage of their lives.

Mindy Rathbun – Mindy will be the Instructional Strategist for the Middle School Her role will to help our teachers identify and plan strategies for our students who are demonstrating difficulties in learning in the classroom. She will also monitor our Response to Intervention plans as well as test students as part of the IEP Process. Mindy joins us from the Scarborough School apartment and is a Gorham resident as well.

School Supply Lists

I have been promising for quite sometime now, that our individual team supply lists will be available on the Middle School Website. I really hate it when I don’t come through with what I promised, but we do have an excuse… no, reason,… yah, probably an excuse!

When you come into the Middle School this fall, I promise you, you will be amazed. Our Office has been completely re-done by our incredibly duo of Kathy Richardson, Administrative Assistant in Facilities and Dan Despres. In order to complete all of the painting and renovations, our office had to be totally dismantled. (see, I told you this was more of an excuse!) and we had to vacate the premises along with all of our “stuff”, including the lists.

But, we now have them, and I promise, the will be on the Middle School Website tomorrow! (at least, I hope@!)

School Supplies

What a Principal Does Over the Summer

I have spent the summer trying to think of ways that we can help our all of our students be successful. Each year, especially toward the close of the school year in June, we all wonder what we could have done to get “johnnie” over the “hump” and ready for the next teacher and grade.

To help me with this, I went back to my Daniel Pink books on motivation, in particular Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates us. I first read this book a couple of year ago in my feeble attempt to get a better understanding of motivation, for many reasons, to see what would motivate me, my faculty and our students.

As I read Drive, I began to hear the words of Sir Kenneth Robinson and his and his wildly popular TED Talk on Schools Killing Creativity (click the link if you’d like to see the TED video). My mind raced with questions about what we are doing and why we are doing it! Are we, inadvertently, choking the creative life out of our students? Are we seeking to make our kids a one-size-fits-all automaton that will perform the menial tasks of rote memorization and regurgitation for the sake of a good grade on the test?

I am now reading a book by Jessica Lahey, who is a middle school teacher in northern New England and a mother of 2 boys. Her book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, talks about her discoveries as a middle school teacher and a parent in allowing her kids to struggle with their decisions and the consequences that follow, while guiding and protecting from a distance.

Both of these books and the Ken Robinson video speak at great length about how curious and motivated our kids are… when they were in kindergarten! But, that over time, as they progress through their education, they become far more reluctant to take on challenges out of the fear of failure. The all seem to ask the question “are we bribing our kids into compliance instead of challenging them into engagement?”

This morning, I received a letter from Measured Progress that instructed me how to log on to our account to get the results of the MEA’s that were administered last spring, and I am reminded about the realities of American Public Schools and the mandates for accountability. I will open the files and download the information and try to make the best of the stark amount of data we receive. I will endeavor to make it all make sense for what we need to do next to help our kids be successful. However, I know in my mind and my heart that giving our kids the room for experimentation and failure, and the support to try again is far better than any information I will glean from these reports in helping our kids be successful.

I will be buying several copies of the Jessica Lahey’s book The Gift of Failure. If any of you would like to borrow a copy, or if you would like to start a book group to dissect what it say and means for us, please let me know.

Until next time…

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