Summertime, and the Livin’ is Easy!

topperMiddle

Upcoming Important Dates

Aug 29 – First day of school for 6th Graders
Aug 30 – First Day of school for 7th & 8th Graders
Sep 2 – No School Labor – Long Labor Day Weekend
Sep 5 – Labor Day No School
Sep 8 – School Picture Day
Sep 8 – Vision & Hearing Screening day
Sep 12 & 13 -MLTI Parent Information Evening
Sep 16 – School Dance

Student Placement

We have completed the placement process for all of our students for the next school year. The process is exhausting and extensive and it is one that we take very seriously. We take information from parents and the students’ teachers to make sure we put together combinations that make sense for the entire school. We also work hard to make sure that students have at least one friend on their team (usually, they have many friends with them!).  In any event, since the 8th grade is housed in one wing of the school, it is very likely that they will still have plenty of time for socializing with friends.

Our goal is to have teams that resemble the grade as a whole, in other words, a heterogeneous group of students with similar strengths and similar challenges. We endeavor to make sure that no one team can be perceived as the team that has far more of one type of student over another.

(Side note: In some of the emails and telephone calls we have received, parents have objected to their child being placed on the team with all of the Special Education students, or the behavior students, or, that another team has all of the “college-bound” students. This is why we do this exhausting process, to keep this from happening)

We also understand that sometimes we don’t get it right. We have set out a protocol for parents top voice their concern and request a change of team. To do so, parents must demonstrate one of the following four possibilities in making the request:

  1. Prior negative experience with the student and a teacher on the team;
  2. Prior negative experience with a sibling or family member and a teacher on the team;
  3. An issue between another student on the team that rises to the level of civil or legal involvement, and;
  4. A teacher on the team who is a relative and placement could cause a problem.

Short of meeting any of these conditions, we are restricted from moving students off a team.

There is a bit of hope, however, we know that over the course of the summer students move in and students move away. We are committed to making our teams representative of the grade as a whole. In late August, when we begin to receive the transfer requests, we re-examine the make up of each team and make adjustments at that time. In the past, we have had to move students to different teams.

What we cannot allow is the idea of “team or teacher shopping”. Making requests for a particular team or teacher would complicate the process to the extent that it would be impossible to keep the mix of students representative of the whole grade.

If I could pass on a little bit of wisdom that I have gained over the years, first as a parent, and then as a middle school administrator, kids are incredibly resilient. What appears to be the crisis to end all crises, can be mollified with time.

Finally, I am happy to meet with any parent to talk about each of the teams at our grade levels. We are incredibly blessed at Gorham Middl School because we have some very talented, dedicated teachers who go more than above and beyond to provide our students with great learning experiences.

 Supply Lists for 2016-2017 School Year

I figured that I would try to beat Staples, Wa;smart and Office Max to the punch and get our supply lists out to all well before the “Back-to-School Sale Season” starts. I want to temper these lists a little bit by reminding you that your child does not need  to have all of these supplies for the first day of school, these are meant to last for the entire year, so you might be able to ease into the purchasing a bit.

I have updated our GMS Webpage with the complete lists for each team. Follow this link to the GMS page and scroll down to “Supplies List” section. Please be very mindful of the amount of supplies your child will need. Also, if you are experiencing financial difficulties, please don’t hesitate to call me. We do have some supplies available for students, if necessary. I will keep any information in complete confidence.

Summer Reading for a Principal

Summer is the time that I can settle in for an afternoon of enjoyable reading. Maybe some history about General George Washington and the American Revolution, or John Sanford novel with Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, those are always interesting, if not a bit gruesome.

But for now, I am elbow deep into Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith’s Most Likely to Succeed (MLS). Tony Wagner has been featured in this blog on a couple of occasions, both in video and in print. I appreciate his take on the challenges we are facing in preparing pour kids for their future. Ted Dintersmith is new to me. The book jacket says he is a venture capitalist who has turned his attention to improving our educational system in a manner that is quite different than other wealthy people are suggesting.

As I said, I am only elbow deep into this book with lots more reading and understanding to do.

About a year ago, Ted Dintersmith was in Fargo, North Dakota, attending a TEDx conference. He delivered this address about his ideas and talked about the documentary he financed about education across the country. So far, I have been completely enthralled with everything Wagner and Dintersmith have said about how our education system needs to be more responsive to the needs of our future. I think we’ll be talking about this more in the coming months. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy his speech from Fargo.

Off to a Great Start

topperMiddle

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…

Well, I Think That Went Very Well…

topperMiddle

Happy Labor Day!

September 2 – Labor Day (No School)
September 3 – School Pictures and Vision and Hearing Screenings
September 3 – GMS Open House 6:00 – 7:00 pm
September 4 – Faculty Meeting 2:30 in GMS Library
September 10 – 6th Grade Parent Meeting GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 16 & 17 – MLTI Parent meetings in the GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 19 – PIE Meeting, GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 20 – School Dance in the GMS Gymnasium 6:00 to 8:00 pm
September 23 – 7th Grade Parent Meeting, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
October 1 – 8th Grade Parent, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm

Great Opening of School

On the last day of school, each June (and I’m speaking only for me), I personify our wonderful school building and begin to hear it say, in a whisper, “what am I going to do for the next two and a half months without my kids?”

OK, please don’t think I’ve gone mad, I really haven’t! The school definitely takes on a totally different feel when the kids aren’t present. The doors seem to open with the echo of emptiness, and each footfall walking in the halls resonates that emptiness. But when the kids come back, the life of the building returns, and the hum of life takes over the entire building the way a Big Papi homerun envelopes Fenway (had to get the Red Sox in here somehow!).

Usually, the first day of school is quite traumatic several of our 6th graders (and some 7th and 8th graders as well!), some tears and some children even refusing to leave their cars or get on buses. This year, while we had a few tears, the actual number of students outwardly demonstrating their anxiety was considerably less. So, can I extend a huge thank you to all of you parents and guardians for getting these kids ready for school?

I also want to thank all of our 7th and 8th grade teachers for being “so present” during the 6th grade only day. I really think that their presence in helping the new members of our community with tasks like successfully working the combinations on the new locks and guiding tours around the building, as well as helping out in the cafeteria really made the 6th graders feel very comfortable in their large, strange new surroundings.

Here’s hoping that we can go forward in this positive direction for the whole year!

Thank You for Following

I am hoping that we can use this blog as a vehicle to convey information and other resources that will be helpful during the course of the year. Knowing what we know about adolescents, some of the information (OK, maybe more than “some”) that we send home in backpacks never quite make it into your hands, this should be a resource to answer any questions.

I plan to update this at least weekly, more if there is information I think you may need, so please check back regularly. If you are already following, great. If not, it is very each to do and, when you do, you will receive an email letting you know about a new post.

GMS Open House

Tuesday evening, 6:00 to 7:00 pm, all GMS teachers and many of the staff will be available for a “Meet and Greet”. Teachers will be in their classrooms and we have asked each of our students to introduce you to their teachers and then conduct a tour of their new “digs”, classrooms and other places of interest that will e their world for the next 10 months.

We will have two banks of computers set up in the main foyer of the school. One bank will be dedicated to help parents complete the volunteer verification process so that we can have plenty of volunteers ready for things like working in the classroom, going on field trips and chaperoning dances. The second bank of computers will be to help parents sign in to the Infinite Campus System with their user name and password. The Infinite Campus system allows parents and guardians to remain current with your child’s progress in grades and homework during the school year.

I promise that we will have people at each bank of computers to help you with the process!

We look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday night.

Give to GMS with Target.com

I will be keeping this entry in the blog until the last possible day of the promotion because this can be some real money for our school. I will try to keep this kind of commercialism to a minimum in this blog.

This is clearly filed under the category of shameless pandering by a Principal seeking funds to do our work, but this appears to be something that can really help us fund some activities that we could not cover in our very austere budget. So here goes…Target

Visit http://givewith.target.com/school/5098 GiveWith.Target.com to vote for our school.
This year, Target will give money to schools all over the country for one simple act: a vote. Our school needs just 25 votes to earn a $25 donation from Target. But that’s only the beginning. For each additional vote, our school will get $1 more. So please remember that, although the gesture is small, the rewards are potentially huge. Go to http://givewith.target.com/school/5098 to vote for Gorham Middle School once a week through September 21 or until Target has given away all $5 million. And please forward this email to your friends. Vote and see rules at  http://GiveWith.Target.com.

You can only vote once a week, but you can vote multiple time on different devices.

Tuesday, September 3rd is Picture Day

On Thursday, your child should have in his/her backpack an order form from Lifetouch Pictures. All students will be having photograph taken.framepic_home It is important for you to know that you have no obligation to purchase any of these packages. We have devised a schedule for these pictures to be taken with a minimum amount of disruption to classes.

We chose to have the good folks at Lifetouch do our pictures this year based upon some photograps they took a couple of springs ago that were well received by those who chose to buy the packages offered. Lifetouch also offered several other features which enhance our safety plans for the school and provide us instant assistance in case of an emergency.

As always, I would welcome your comments about their service and product.

Tooth Fairies

ToothIn the packets that your child brought home on Thursday was an informational sheet about dental care that we can provide through a non profit organization called “The Tooth Fairies”. The Tooth Fairies offer preventative dental care through cleaning to students whose families may not be able to afford such care. The Tooth Fairies are all volunteer Dental Hygienists who volunteer their services to our community.

In order to take advantage of this service, you must return the sheet to our school nurse by the end of this coming week. Teresa Merrill, School Nurse, will be scheduling students for visits by the end of the month.

If you have any questions, please contact Teresa Merrill at school.

Coming Attractions in Next Post

What is the Common Core State Standards. We will try to explain what all of this will meant to our students and our teachers.

Great Opening of School!

GMS Open House Tonight

I hope that all of you are planning to attend tonight’s Open House at GMS from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. We are all looking forward to seeing lots of Parents and Guardians, and, if you couldn’t find a babysitter, bring the little ones too!

All of the teams have been preparing for this open house, trying to put names to the new faces in the classrooms. I think that may be the most difficult part of the new school year, getting to know that names with the faces.

Both Mrs. Hanley and I will be available throughout the building, but mostly in the Foyer of the school with all of the handouts and information about clubs and activities and sports teams offered during the year.

We hope to see you all here.

MLTI Parent Night

Each year we are required by the MLTI agreement to hold parent information nights for those students who will be taking the Laptop home with them during the school year. For some of you this will be the 3rd, 4th or even 5th time that you have had to attend this evening. Unfortunately, we havent come up with a viable alternative for attending this night.

This is only required for 7th and 8th grade parents and if you wish to have your child bring the laptop home.

This is our promise however, we will keep the evening short and to the point and it will be informative.

This year we are doing the presentation on Monday and Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium. At that time we will distribute information about the Laptop Protection Plan and our ongoing efforts to curb cyber abuse and cyber bullying by and towards our students.

Looking forward to seeing all 7th and 8th grade parents of students who plan to bring their laptop home,.

The Gorham School Committee Invites Your Input

This is straight from the Web Page of the Gorham School District:

The Gorham School Committee respectfully invites the citizens of the Town of Gorham to attend a public forum on the question of whether or not the Gorham School Department should consider expanding the present Half-Day Kindergarten Program to an All Day Kindergarten Program, at some time subsequent to the 2012-2013 school year.
This forum will be held on Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 7:00pm in the Burleigh Loveitt Council Chambers at the Gorham Municipal Center.

School Pictures Day

On Thursday, September 13th, the good folks from Hockmeyer Studios will be in school to take pictures of all of the students and staff. Your child will be bringing home an order form for you to look at and select any package that you choose. There is no obligation to purchase a package, however.

I am also very interested in getting feedback from all of you on your satisfaction with the entire process, from scheduling to ordering to timing of delivery and for satisfaction with the final product. You can email your comments directly to me at robertr@gorhamschools.org or call me at 222-1228.

Early Release Day October 5th

Our first Early Release Day of the school year is October 5 and we have designated that to be our Local Charities Day. As we have done for the past several years, we designate the days to a different focus of topic. On this day we have people come in to give presentations to our students about their charity, how they work, who do they serve and how the acquire the resources to help out those in need in our community.

In the past we have had charities like the American Red Cross, Operation Tribute and Goodwill of Northern New England and many, many more. The students look forward to these people coming in to tell them about how they can help and this feeds very nicely into our Advisory Program community service component.

I am also interested in adding more charities to our roster of presenters, so if you know of a charity that would like to reach out to school aged kids, please forward their name and contact information to me.

First School Dance of the Year

Our first school dance of the year will be Friday, September 13th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the GMS Gymnasium. We want to remind all parents that school rules still apply, such as our dress code (no hats, shoes on feet, dress code, cellphone use etc.). We also ask that parents be prepared to pick up your children by 8:00 pm. It get very congested at the end of the dance, so we ask all to be very vigilant and, probably arrive early to pick up students.

Also, this dance is sponsored by the Student Council and they could always use chaperones, if you are interested, contact Donna Pastore at 222-1220.

US Constitution Day

September 17th is US Constitution day in America. It is a day that we all should celebrate the framing and ratification of the United States Constitution. At school each class will be conducting some kind of activity that celebrates this great document. If you are looking for how you could celebrate this day at home, check out the US Constitution day web site. http://constitutioncenter.org/constitution-day/

Middle School Athletic Schedules

We have received our schedules for the fall season. Please know that these schedules are subject to change at anytime due to weather, buses or, for that matter, anything. Also, Boys and Girls Soccer and Field Hockey are reserved for 7th and & 8th Graders and Cross Country and Tennis are for 6th, 7th & 8th grade.

Please check the Daily Notices for practice times and for any changes in the schedule.

Boys Soccer

Day Date Opponent Location 7th Grade 8th Grade Depart Return
Thurs. Sept. 20 Scarborough Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Mon. Sept. 24 Mahoney Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:00 PM
Thurs. Sept. 27 Bonny Eagle Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Mon. Oct. 1 Lincoln Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Wed. Oct. 3 Memorial Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Wed. Oct.10 Moore Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Fri. Oct. 12 Windham Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Tues. Oct. 16 King Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Thrus. Oc.t 18 Scarborough Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Mon. Oct. 22 Westrbrook Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Wed. Oct. 24 Southern Maine Catholic Home 4:45 PM No Bus

Girls Soccer

Day Date Opponent Location 7th Grade 8th Grade Depart Return
Thurs Sept. 20 Scarborough Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Mon. Sept. 24 Mahoney Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Thurs. Sept. 27 Bonny Eagle Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30PM
Mon. Oct. 1 Lincoln Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Oct. 3 Memorial Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Oct. 10 Moore Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Fri. Oct. 12 Windham Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Tues. Oct. 16 King Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Thurs. Oct. 18 Scarborough Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus
Mon. Oct. 22 Westbrook Away 3:30 PM 4:45 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Oct. 24 Southern Maine Catholic Home 3:30 PM 4:45 PM No Bus

Field Hockey

Day Date Opponent Location 8th Grade 7th Grade Depart Return
Fri. Sept. 21 Scarborough Home 4:30 PM 3:30 PM No Bus
Tues. Sept. 25 Memorial Away 4:30 PM 3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:00 PM
Tues. Oct. 2 Windham Home 4:30 PM 3:30 PM No Bus
Thurs. Oct. 4 Lincoln Away 4:30 PM 3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:00 PM
Tues. Oct. 9 Moore Home 4:30 PM 3:30 PM No Bus
Thurs. Oc.t 11 King Away 3:30 PM NO GAME 2:20 PM 6:00 PM
Mon. Oct. 15 Bonny Eagle Home 4:30 PM 3:30 PM No Bus
Wed. Oct. 17 Westrbook Away 4:30 PM 5:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:00 PM
Fri. Oct. 19 Scarborough Away 4:30 PM 3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:00 PM
Tues. Oct. 23 Memorial Home 4:30 PM 3:30 PM No Bus

Cross Country

Day Date Opponent Location Time Depart Return
Wed. Sept.12 Relay Meet Bonny Eagle 3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Sept. 19 Lincoln, Moore, Scarborough Lincoln/Baxter Woods 3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Sept. 26 King, Mahoney, Memorial Gorham 3:30 PM No Bus
Wed. Oct. 3 Bonny Eagle, Windham Windham 3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Oct. 10 Southern ME Cath., Westbrook S.P. Golf Course 3:00 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Oct. 17 Festival S.P. Golf Course 3:00 PM – Jr. Girls 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
3:30 PM – Jr. Boys
4:00 PM – Sr. Girls
4:30 PM – Sr. Boys

Tennis

Day Date Opponent Location Time Depart Return
Tues. Sept. 18 Kennebunk Away 3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Oct. 3 Yarmouth Home 3:30 PM No Bus
Tues. Oct. 16 Yarmouth Away 3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
Wed. Oct. 18 Kennebunk Home 3:30 PM No Bus
3:30 PM 2:20 PM 6:30 PM
2:20 PM 6:30 PM