Upcoming Important Dates
Sep 6 – Laptop Orientation during Tutorials
Sep 8 – Picture Day
Sep 8 – Vision & Hearing Screening
Sep 11 – 15th Anniversary of The Attacks on 9/11
Sep 12 & 13 – MLTI Parent Orientation Night 6:00 pm
Sep 12 thru Sep 23 – Star 360 Testing Window
Sep 16 – School Dance 6:00 pm GMS Gymnasium
Sep 17 – U.S. Constitution Day
Sep 21 – Early Release Day Students dismissed at 11:10
I mentioned, at the close of last year, that GMS was going to be receiving new Apple MacBook Air laptops for all of our 7th and 8th grade students. Well, they have arrived and we gave them out to the students on Thursday. We will be working with the students to get them all configured when they return to school on Tuesday. We will do this laptop activation during the period we call Tutorial, so there will be no loss of class time.
Most of the 6th grade students received the whole MacBooks that we have used for the past 7 years. However, the students on the Moosehead Team will be participating in a Pilot program and will be using ChromeBooks. Every 6th grade students will have a device assigned to them for their use.
We will hold the annual MLTI Parent Orientation Nights on Monday and Tuesday, September 12 & 13 at 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium. Attendance at this event is required of all parents in order for their child to be able to bring their device home from school.
Please make every attempt to attend one of these evening events. I know these are a real pain, but we are required to do these and parents are required to attend annually. We will do our best to be quick and be informative.
Picture day is on Thursday, September 8 for all students. Students did receive an order form on the first day of school. Please use this form to complete your order.
If your child lost the form, please don’t worry, you can order pictures online by going to the LifeTouch web page. Just follow the directions on the page, it really is easy!
Occasionally, I get asked if I know of a tutor who can help a child through some difficulties in math. Recently, a friend of mine actually began such a service and, I am happy to pass along his information. His name is Alexander Decal, a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and an accomplished engineer. He can be reached via email at Alexander@portlandtutors.org, or via his website at portlandtutors.org.
Annual Vision and Hearing Screening
Nurse Cathy Loiselle will be conducting the annual Vision & Hearing screenings for all 7th grade students, and some selected 8th grade students. If your 8th grade child is one of the selected students, you will have been notified in advance.
These screenings are designed to uncover any issues with our students and to report anything we find to the parents. We have been conducting these screenings since I was in school, with chalkboards and paper bag book covers!
STAR 360 Assessments
For more than 10 years, we have use the NWEA Assessments in an effort to help us understand what we need to do next to help our students learn better. This should be the goal of any assessment, help us learn how we can help our students learn better.
This year, we will be making a switch to an assessment called STAR 360. This assessment is similar to the NWEA in that it will be administered via the computer and that it is also an adaptive assessment. The part I like best is that it will provide our teachers will a complete set of information on our students by class or by grade, and the information will be norm referenced, meaning a view of how our students fare against the nation as well as criterion referenced information, meaning how are our students doing toward the learning targets.
Parents will receive similar information on their child’s results and you will see a clear picture of their progress.
We plan to begin the administration of the assessments during the second week of September. When we have completed all of the administration, I will let you know overall results and when you will receive your child’s results.
Education for the Future
Over the past few years in this space, I have included articles, blog posts from others and videos that challenge our ideas about what education should be. I think I even offered the observation that if Horace Mann, who died in 1859, were to return to Earth today, the only thing he would recognize is the education system!
In Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith book Most Likely to Succeed, they speak in great detail about the shaping of the American Public School at the turn of the 19th Century. How the “movers and shakers” of the day recognized that America was moving from an agrarian society to one that required skills in manufacturing. They also realized that an educational system needed to be instituted to address this change and to train the American worker to move from the fields of the farm to the floors of the assembly lines.
In a way, these men, called the Gang of Ten (yes, they were all men!), recognized that the technology of the late 19th and early 20th Century was changing the way of life for our country, and the country needed to respond to these changes.
In a way, we are at a similar crossroads again. Technology has again changed the course of human events.
Schools need to be responsive to this shift, the shift in skills that the kids in our schools today will need for their future.
We have a lot of work to do in the coming years to re-tool what we do, and how we do it, in our schools to make sure our students are ready for the world ahead of them.
We’ll explore more in the coming weeks here. In the meantime, take a few minutes to view Ted Dintersmith giving a speech in Fargo, North Dakota on why he supported the making of the documentary Most Likely to Succeed.