Happy New Year

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GSD LogoUpcoming Important Dates

Jan 10 – School Committee Meeting 7:00 pm Municipal Center
Jan 11 – Fund raiser for the Gorham Backpack Program UNO’s Pizzeria
Jan 12 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm GMS Gymnasium
Jan 12 – Grade Level Assemblies during WIN Time
Jan 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday – No School
Jan 17 – PIE Meeting with Gorham School Committee 6:00 pm GMS Library
Jan 23 – GMS Talent Show – GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
Jan 24 – Early Release Day – Students dismissed at 11:10 am
Jan 24 – School Committee Workshop 7:00 pm Municipal Center

School Dance Sponsored by the GMS Student Council

Our next dance is this Friday, January 12 beginning at 6:00 pm and runs until 8:00 pm. This dance is for the benefit of the GMS Student Council who do so many  wonderful things for our school and our community.

Over the past year, the Student Council has raised funds for the Animal Welfare League of Greater Portland, as well as collected food and toys for the shelter to use with their “guests”. The students have lead a school-wide collection of food and holiday presents for more than 20 families so as to provide some holiday cheer for some of our families who have struggled during the school year.

For our school community, the students of the Student Council have organized Spirit Week Activities to increase the spirit of our school, Teacher Appreciation activities as well as placed notes of encouragement in lockers for their fellow students.

The funds from this dance will help the Student Council continue to be able to provide our school and community with all sorts of resources and fun for the balance of the school year.

As with all dances, we could always use chaperones. Now, I know that many of your children say that you cannot chaperone the dance! Remember, the kids are using reverse psychology on you, what they are really saying is that they want you to chaperone the dance. I hope to see you there!

PIE Meeting with the School Committee

Our annual PIE Meeting with select School Committee members will be Wednesday, January 17 at 6:00 pm in the GMS Library. Please come and meet the members of our School Committee and ask some questions as to the direction of the schools in Gorham.

Fundraiser for the Gorham Backpack Program

There will be a fundraiser for the Gorham Backpack Program at UNO’s in South Portland on Thursday, January 11. UNO will donate up to 20% of your check to the Backpack Program, whether you eat in our takeout.

The Backpack Program was started this year by Gorham Middle School Teacher Heather Whitaker, GMS Social Worker Thom Courtney and Village School Social Worker Jen Baker. The program provides students in need with healthy food choices to tide them over the weekends and school vacations.

The program received initial funding from the Gorham Educational Foundation. It is estimated that it costs about $225 per year to provide food for each student. These fundraisers are integral in helping to keep the program viable and working for our students. Please consider going out for dinner on Thursday, January 11 at UNO’s in South Portland.

Early Release Day 

Students will be dismissed at 11:10 am on Wednesday, January 24.

At this time, we are working to organize some sort of after school activity, although, as of now, we have nothing planned. It is always our hope that we can reduce the number of students who go “downtown” to roam the streets and do what adolescent do when they get a free afternoon.

Please stay tuned and as soon as we know what we may be doing, we will get the information out to you.

The Gift of Failure

Over the past few years I have mentioned a book written by Jessica Lahey, a teacher of adolescents and a mom of adolescents called the Gift of Failure. I would again recommend this book to parents and teachers who deal with adolescent students.

Jessica is now bringing her book to Youtube, and to date she has 4 episodes up. Each episode covers a different topic and is about 15 minutes in length. These short videos are filled with some great insights and ideas on how to deal with kids of all stripes!

You can subscribe to Jessica’s Youtube stream yourself, but I thought I’d include her first video as a teaser. I hope you enjoy!

Week of September 8th

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Upcoming Important Dates

Tuesday, September 8 – Late Buses start after school.
Tuesday, September 8 – Sign-ups for Chorus and Steel Band
Wednesday, September 9 – School Committee Meeting, Municipal Center 7:00 pm
Friday, September 11 – National Day of Service in remembrance of September 11th
Monday, September 14 – Laptop Devices deployed to students
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
Wednesday, September 23 – Early Release Day, students dismissed at 11:10 am

After School Activities

The Gorham Middle School has loads and loads of after school activities during the course of the school year to keep our kids engaged in school and activities. We also provide a late bus on Monday through Thursday that pick students up at the middle school at 4:00 pm and brings the students to areas close to their home.

Please check our daily announcements that Laurie DeLuca publishes each day and posts to the GMS Web Page. The “Daily Notices” is on the left side of the page.

 

 

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MLTI Parent Orientation Nights

These evening meetings are still a requirement for our students’ parents to attend, if they want their mlti-logochild to be able to bring the laptops home for school use. I recognize that this is a nuisance for many parents, and, especially those parents who have had several children come through the middle school during the MLTI Era. This is a requirement of the lease agreement that all school districts have with the state of Maine, and it is required by School Board Policy.

We will hold three meetings this year. Our first two will be on Monday and Tuesday evening at 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium. Recognizing that Monday and Tuesday are the days in which members of our school community may be celebrating the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah, we will hold a meeting will on Friday evening at 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium. This evening event coincides with our first dance of the year, so, if you’d like to bring your child to the dance and stop by the Auditorium for some new information, that would be great. Hopefully, we can get all of the parents to attend these meetings, as required.

We do have some new “wrinkles” this year to the laptop program, as well as bringing back some of the old “wrinkles” that we were unable to use last year. We will also address how parents can help their child become better digital citizens and how to productively and positively use technology.

Laptop Deployment

And, Speaking of laptop technology, we plan to get the devices into the hands of our students beginning on Monday, September 14th. We are developing a schedule, beginning with the 8th grade.

We have been delayed in deploying the devices this year because of an accident that occurred while we were getting the devices imaged over the summer. Unfortunately, the shelf un which we were storing the devices collapsed and caused quite a bit of damage to many of the laptops. We have been able to work with the good folks at MLTI and our intrepid Technology Crew have been working diligently to get the device repaired and ready. Thus our delay in getting the devices out to the students.

An Amazing Resource

BullyingLast year, I spoke about a book that I was reading by two dedicated researchers on the very timely topic of bullying called Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard:Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying by Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja. These two have dedicated much of their adult life to the study of bullying behaviors and how we can help young people deal with the bullying behaviors of others.

This last week, Sameer Hinduja used his Twitter account to share one incredible resource for families when they are faced with behaviors that can be considered harassing or threatening. This resource has the email address, web site URL or phone number of many of the social media outlets (some that I have never heard of!) when you or child becomes a victim of bullying of harassing behaviors online.

So, if you have ever wondered “who can I call to report that I am being harassed on (you pick the social media platform), check out this great resource, bookmark it to your computer and use any one of the available outlets if you feel you need to report appropriate behaviors on line.

Cyberbullying Resource

 

Day of Remembrance and Service

31965September 11, 2001 is seared into the memories of most of the parents and guardians of our kids, yet, as hard as this is to believe, the events of that day as but a passage on Wikipedia or a nuclei on Youtube for all of our kids. In our effort to continue to recognize the sacrifices made on that day, and the bravery demonstrated by Americans across the country, we will remember the events of that day with a short moment of remembrance at 8:46am, Friday morning.

Across the state and the country, there are opportunities for students and others to engage in service to others from donating blood to cleaning up a neighbor’s yard, or even, perhaps, bringing a plate of cookies to the fire station as a way of “Thanks for all you do”!

First School Dance of the Year

It is that time of year again when Mr. Parvanta breaks out the “old platters” and his trusty turntable and

Mr. P at the controls of happiness for GMS!

Mr. P at the controls of happiness for GMS!

“spins” some great tunes for the kids to dance to! And, if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d love to sell you.

Mr. P, as he is know here, might not even know what a turntable looks like, but he does have his trusty computer that has a complete playlist of the most recent artists 9you know, the ones we don’t know and the kids do!). He has his light show ready and his confetti cannons (not really cannons, just tubes of confetti), now all we need are the kids

The dance begins at 6:00 pm and runs until 8:00, don’t listen to your kids when they tell you it’s later! We do ask that parents be here to pick the kids up at 8:00, and plan on a traffic jam both coming and going. The cost of the dance is $5.00 and the Student Council will be selling treats and refreshments during the dance.

Our dress code is the same as it is for school and, we frown on students thinking that they “have to have a date”, they don’t!

We are also looking for parents who would like to chaperone the dance. We promise that you only need to be in the Gym for a short period of time (not sure if the music and lights constitute cruel and unusual punishment!) and your kids don’t ever have to see you! If you are interested in chaperoning the dance (a once in a lifetime opportunity), please call 222-01220 and let Kristen or Laurie know you’ll be here.

Lost and Found

Less than one week in and we have all of this in the Lost & Found!

Less than one week in and we have all of this in the Lost & Found!

I am always amazed at the amount of “stuff” that gets left lying around the building with no one making a claim of ownership. Everyday, after lunch, there has to be 3 or 4 lunch bags left outside the building by kids who forget about them when they return from recess.

Mrs. Hanley dutifully picks them up and brings them to the Lost and Found located just outside the cafeteria, thinking that kids will see them when the return to lunch the next day. It’s amazing that these lunch bags, some that are LL Bean quality, just continue to sit in the Lost & Found day-after-day.

If you some one that belongs to you, please give us a call, or better yet, let your child know that you expect them to bring it home the next day.

And, Speaking of Lunch…

I have mentioned here for the past couple of weeks the book I am reading from Jessica Lahey called The Gift of Failure. This is a book for parents and for educators. Ms. Lahey, a mother of 2 children (actually

Just a small sample of "stuff" brought for students who forgot it at home!

Just a small sample of “stuff” brought for students who forgot it at home!

one is a Middle Schooler!) and a teacher at the middle level, so she is twice blessed!

One particular passage in her book, Ms. Lahey talks about the day she sent her son off to school and then noticed that he had left his homework on the kitchen table. Ms.Lahey agonized, as only a mother can, about should she bring his homework to school and leave it at the office so he wouldn’t have to suffer the consequences with his teacher, of let nature take its course.

I think we are all faced with this dilemma from time-to-time during the upbringing of our children. I know I was when my kids were in school and I always thought what was the big deal, I could just drop it off at the office on my way to wherever. However, I did resist most of the time, and, my kids had to either learn how to remember their stuff or face the consequences.

gift of failureSo, each day, we have some of the greatest parents in the world who look after their kids with incredible kindness and love, and work to make sure that soccer shoes are at school when they have been left behind at home. Lunch boxes, some of which end up in the aforementioned Lost & Found, being brought to school after the student “forgot” them at home. If we apply Ms. Lahey’s reasoning, and I think we should, what are we teaching our kids if they never get to feel the consequences of their inattentiveness!

I will make a promise to you all, any child who forget his lunch, will be fed! I will make sure of that. As for forgotten homework or sports equipment, we will support the child as they work through the consequences and hopefully, help them to devise some strategies to be less forgetful.

Ms. Lahey’s book is filled with some great ideas and techniques and support for parents who think that if they don’t come to their child’s rescue in these situations, they are lousy parents. I think we will all feel fortified as parents by what she writes.

Again, I am willing to coordinate a book group, here at GMS fro any parent that would like to participate in a discussion. Please just let me know.

Off to a Great Start

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Upcoming Important Dates

Thursday, September 3 – Sign-ups for Cross Country 7:45 am in the Ping Pong Room
Friday, September 4 – No School
Monday, September 7 – Labor Day Holiday, No School
Tuesday, September 8 – Late Buses start after school.
Tuesday, September 8 – Sign-ups for Chorus and Steel Band
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

A Huge “Thank You” to all Coming to Our Open House

In speaking with the staff this morning, the overwhelming adjective they used to describe last night’s Open House was, well, “overwhelmed”! Each and every faculty member commented on the amazing turnout of so many of our parents coming by to have the children introduce their advisors and the new teachers. Thank you to every one who came out!

Sports Sign-ups

Boy’s and Girl’s Soccer for both 7th and 8th Grade are currently signing up players for the coming season. If a student is interested in trying out for any of these teams, they should sign up. The sign up sheets are posted on the glass windows just outside the cafeteria.

7th & 8th Grade Field Hockey are singing up as well and those sign up sheets are outside the cafeteria as well.

6th, 7th 7 8th grade coed Tennis will be starting next week as well.

Any student in grade 6, 7 or 8, interested in running Cross Country this season, should attend an organizational meeting Thursday Morning (tomorrow) in the Ping Pong Room in the corridor behind the Gym. The meeting begins at 7:45 am and will last only 10 minutes or so. If a student forgets, or misses the meeting, they should meet with Mr. McCarthy sometime during the day or early next week to sign up.

Late Bus Begins

We will begin the Late Bus Runs on Tuesday, September 8. The buses pick up students at GMS at 4:00 pm. This is perfect because it coincides with the end of practice and all activities at GMS. Students will get on one of three possible buses that head out in different directions across Gorham. We have a map available in the foyer of the Middle School so that students can find where the live and decide which bus will take them to their home.

The Late Buses run Mondays through Thursdays, with the exception of the early release days.

Band, Chorus and Steel Band

Any student interested in joining Chorus, band or the Steel Band are invited to sign up. There is no experience necessary for any of these activities and there is plenty of fun and enjoyment in each one. Please encourage your child to try something new this year that might extend them “just beyond their comfort zone”!

MLTI Parent Orientation Nights

As we have since the beginning of the MLTI program, we will be holding our mandatory parent orientation night on Monday and Tuesday evening, September 14 and 15. The evening will begin at 6:00 pm and we will try to keep the night’s work to an hour!

We do have a lot to offer all parents in assisting you in managing your kids and their use of technology at home. We are still working on a couple of items that will help us control how much the kids “abuse” the devices over the weekends and in the evenings.

We also need to have a conversation about the “gorhamschools.org Apple ID” accounts for our students who have not yet reached the age of 13, which is more than half of our student body!

For some of you, this might be the 8th or 9th time you have “had” to attend one of these events, so I promise you, we will make valuable to you and , perhaps, even surprise some of you with new information!

Please circle one of these two dates to join us in the Auditorium.

Let’s Start a Book Group

OK, I know that I am no Oprah! But, I have been reading a wonderful book about parenting and teaching adolescents in the modern era. I have written about this book in this space a couple of times, but I would really like to get a group of folks together so that we could explore all that Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure, offers to us as a way to help guide us toward making our kids more autonomous in their decision making and in their contributions to your family and to the education.

If you could email me indicating your interest in joining other parents and teachers in reading and discussing this great book, that would be great. I have heard from a couple of parents who are interested in starting a group and it would be great to get it going in October.

Sleep Deprivation and School Kids

It is that time again, when all of the demands of school, you know, homework, reading, socializing over social media, in no particular order of importance, start to compete with our kids sleep time. Not because the kids are going to sleep any earlier, but because the alarm clock goes off and that big yellow bus or the school bell ringing intrudes upon the morning of all of our kids.

The above mentioned Jessica Lahey offers some really good information from the American Academy of Pediatrics and how sleep deprivation impacts the lives of our kids and their families.

The article is from The Altantic and I hope you enjoy it!

Finally, An Interesting Video

John Green is an American author of a series of books written mostly for young adults, but I think that he appeals to many more than just the young adults. In this TEDx Indianapolis video he uses his skills as a writer to expose some very interesting and enlightening insights into his own learning and how he views learning could be.

The video is about 19 minutes long, but he is very engaging, entertaining and, at times, rather funny. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Until next time…