Weekly Update, October 3, 2017


GSD LogoUpcoming Important Dates

You can find all important dates for GMS activities at the link below. This is updated daily, so you can check it often!

GMS Daily Announcements

Teacher In-Service Day, October 6 & Holiday on Monday October 9

There will be no school for students on Friday, October 6 as teachers will be involved with a professional development day for the entire district. This will provide all families with an extra long four-day weekend. Students and teachers return to school on Tuesday, October 10.

Movie Screening and Parent Meet-up

We will be screening the film The Mask You Live In on Thursday evening, October 19 beginning at 6:00 pm. All parents are invited to attend the screening , which is free of charge and open to the public. Following the screening, Maine Boys to Men will facilitate a short discussion about the film.

This is part of our on-going effort to address our concerns as to the negative student interactions that have seemed to increase in the past few months.

This screening is for adults only, and will help us all better understand the world our children inhabit, complete with all of the pressures of social media, media representations of how life should be and where real life actually intersects with these stereotypical models presented to our children.

I hope that you can all join us for will be a thought-provoking evening.

School Dances

We have another school dance approaching, and we are hoping to straighten out a couple of misconceptions that have arisen lately.

These dances are invitation only. This means that we invite our students to join us for the dance. The invites can be reminded at anytime by administration. Some of the ways students lose their invite to a dance is as follows:

Throughout the year, dances may be held for 6th, 7th and 8th graders. They are always chaperoned by several teachers, willing parent volunteers and the school administrators. They are held on Fridays, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the gymnasium and drinks and snacks are available for purchase. Dress is expected to be appropriate for the activity and “dating” is strongly discouraged.

Parents must pick up their son or daughter promptly after the event, usually 8:00 pm. Students may not be allowed to attend a dance because of poor school behavior. The following rules will be followed while at the dances:

  • Only students from Gorham Middle School are invited to attend the dance. Students from any other school cannot attend. This would include visiting family members, students who attend private or parochial schools or charter schools.
  • The student is absent on the day of the dance. Only students who are present at school can attend the dance.
  • Similar to our guidelines for athletics, students must arrive at school prior to 9:00 am and must stay through the remainder of the day. Students who are dismissed by a parent for a doctor appointment, or such, may come to the dance. Students who are dismissed because of illness, may not attend the dance.
  • Students who have received 3 detentions in the period between the date of the last dance and the next dance, may not attend the dance.
  • Students who have been suspended from school, either in-house or out of school, may not attend the dance.
  • We realize that cell phones are an important communication tool with parents, and we expect students to have them so students can arrange pick up after the dance. However, we do not want students to be using them at the dance. We have had too many occurrences of students testing each other, using the camera or video function on their phones to create situations of conflict. Students who use their phone during the dance, will have the phone confiscated until the end of the dance.
  • Students are expected to dress in a fashion similar to the school day. We discourage students from dressing in formal attire, and the school dress code still applies.

These dances have been wonderful experiences for many of our students, students enjoy the school in a totally different setting than our traditional school day. They also enjoy seeing teachers and other adults in very different settings that usual, and that has been positive. Most, but unfortunately not all, enjoy the dances and rate these evenings as one of the more positive experiences of middle school. It is those few who seem to need to create the “drama” of conflict, that create problems for the whole. We are trying to reduce those episodes.

I plan to hold grade level assemblies with all students to review these rules for our dance. It would be very helpful to all of us if you would take a few minutes before the dance to make sure that your child understands the rules for the dance.

I would encourage all parents to volunteer to chaperone at least one dance during your child’s middle school life. It truly is an experience and one that will allow you to better understand what makes adolescents tick!

Parent Teacher Conferences

Please circle the dates of October 27 & 27 (Thursday and Friday) to meet with your child’s advisor. As we have done in the past, parents will meet with the child’s advisor to discuss student progress. Parents may request a time to meet with particular Content Area teachers if you fell the need.

Advisors will be meeting with teachers from within the Advisory Cluster to exchange information about student progress, so all advisors will be current with student progress. Also, students will be leading these conferences, helping parents make sense of the new formats of the JumpRope and Infinite Campus Report Cards.

You should be hearing from your child’s advisor shortly about scheduling your meeting time.

District Committee Opening

We are looking for a Middle School Parent to serve on a District-Wide K-12 Grading and Reporting Committee. The purpose of this committee is to collect data to monitor the success and challenges of implementation of our new grading practices across the K-12 system.  This data can be collected through student, staff, and parent pre and post surveys as well as through monitoring of student failure rates at the 6-12 level.  Other data collection methodologies can be determined by the group.  Once data is collected, this group will then make recommendations regarding any “tweaks” to our system and or plans for moving forward that need to be made in order to meet the needs of our students.  

The time commitment for this committee is one meeting per month for ten (10) months. The meeting duration is about 90 minutes and usually begin at 4:00 pm.

If you are interested in joining this committee please send me an email or call my office at 222-1228.

A Word from a Former MS Teacher on Grading

Rick Wormeli is an author of many books on teaching and learning as well as a noted national speaker on all things education. Rick is articulate, funny and concise. He makes his point with humor, but his perspective comes straight from the classroom and his actual experiences with adolescent learners. When he speaks, he speaks from experience… and he is fun to listen to!

As the Holidays Near


Upcoming Important Dates

Monday, November 10 – No School Teacher Workshop Day
Tuesday, November 11 – Veterans Day, No School
Friday, November 14 – School Dance GMS Gym 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Teacher Workshop Day and Veterans Day Celebrations

On Monday, November 10, teachers of the Gorham School District will be engaging in professional development all day. There will be no school for students.

On November 11, in the GMS Gym beginning at 10:00 am the Gorham Veterans Committee will be holding a celebration of the many veterans who sacrificed for the liberties we enjoy each and every day. All are welcomed to attend this great American Celebration of Honor for our citizen soldiers.

The Maine Military Museum will also be displaying several uniforms and other artifacts of a military nature. The display will be set up in the GMS front foyer and in our cafeteria. Please circle your calendar for this great event.

Holiday Helpers and Helping

thanksgivingEach year, our School Nurse, Teresa Merrill, organizes a food collection and distribution to those families in our community who face financial challenges of providing a holiday meal or a few gifts from Santa to put under the tree.

As we are fast approaching the holiday season, each year the staff, and the students (Student Council) at GMS, with a donation from the Gorham Health Council, provide holiday sharing of food baskets and small gift items for students at GMS and their families in need. If you are a family interested in assistance or if you are a family who would like to help contribute to this community sharing, please contact Teresa Merrill, R. N. (222-1224) no later than November 14, 2014. All requests for assistance are confidential.

My Hat in Hand!

I am seeking some help and guidance with this dilemma and I figured I would just put it out there, in the public, to see if I am being unreasonable and over reaching.Me with hat-in-hand

Each year, one of our teachers offer our 8th graders a wonderful chance to visit our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C., during the April vacation break. The students leave early on a Monday morning and return on Saturday. There is a cost to the trip which includes transportation, accommodations, meals and admission fees to several venues. As you can imagine, it can be very pricey for some of our students. I am wondering if there is a funding vehicle, available through online sources that might help pay for some of our more needy students to avail themselves of this great opportunity? If you know of something that we can use, without having to “sell our soul”, I would appreciate learning about it. Please feel free to call me at school or send me an email at robert.riley@gorhamschools.org.

I Had to Share This!

We are always looking for ways to expose our students to great learning opportunities. We have a very gifted artist in our school, who doesn’t use traditional canvas or paint, this student uses a digital canvas and his finger to paint some amazing pictures.


This is a desert setting on IPad, created by Educreations, completed by using his index finger. Pretty Impressive, Huh?

From Digital Natives, Digital Wisdom

Mark PrenskyLast week, I wrote about a book that I have been reading by Mark Prensky. Mark is a former teacher who currently travels the world talking to and with educators, students and parents about how the world of education has changed with the digital revolution we are currently experiencing.

I really hope that I didn’t give the impression that I thought that technology is the be-all-end-all for our students. Let ,e be very clear about technology and its use in education.Technology is a tool, it is not the replacement for the teacher, or the textbook or any of the many other wonderful things that happen in classrooms everyday. Let me repeat myself, technology is a tool, like a shovel for digging a hole, or a hammer for driving a nail. It is only as good as the person who is wielding it.

But I also want to be clear about the majority of the students we deal with every day, they have great access to technology and information. Technology has become ubiquitous in our life.

Daniel Pink, in his ground breaking book (at least to me!), To Sell is Human, writes about how the advantage in most transactions completed today has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Why? Because buyers now have access to vast amounts on information about the product being sold. When buying a new or used car, the buyer can go the the Kelly Blue Book web site and get all of the information about a certain model of vehicle they are interested in purchasing. They can learn about recalls from the manufacturer, particular issues with a certain model (much like the back window motors that fail at an alarming rate on Chevrolet Impalas, I have unfortunately found out!). They can have discussions with people who have purchased the car, and discover their likes and dislikes about their use of the vehicle. Then when you decide on the exact vehicle you want and it happens to be a pre-owned, you can research all repairs done on that car, if it had any accidents, etc.

Need books? Try Amazon! Remember the Sears Catalogue? It’s online, bigger and better than ever! Need to sell that old Christmas present from Aunt Polly? Try eBay! Book a trip? File your taxes? Visit with your grandchild who lives in San Francisco and is beginning to walk and you want to see it? Skype! Feeling ill and want to know if it’s the flu? WebMD!

We all are using technology in more ways than we really know, and it has helped us. Yes, we are adults and we have fully developed frontal lobes and, usually, we can understand the consequences of our actions before we act! Sometimes.

What Prensky is saying is, that in spite of their familiarity with technology, in spite of the fact they are creating lives for themselves, in spite of the fact that they can run circles around us in the technology world, they still need our guidance in learning how to use this wonderful resource productively, appropriately and positively!

So, to demonstrate to you at least one adolescent has used her technology skills for a positive, constructive purpose, I offer the follow TEDx video from this past mont.

More on Proficiency Based Education

As many of you know, and as I have chronicled here many times, I spend a fair amount of time with my Personal Learning Network (PLN) discussing all things PBL logoeducation. My PLN is made upon educators from all across globe, literally from 6 of the 7 continents! (still not sure why Antarctica has failed to respond!).

This past week, my PLN had several discussions, in the Twitter hashtag format, regarding grading and Standards Based Learning, another name for Proficiency Based Learning. I thought I’d share some of the actual comments from folks during this chat as a way of explaining how educators (K-12, and Higher Ed), educational researchers and educational consultants saw Proficiency Based Education.

Here goes:

Q1 What is the purpose of Standards Based Grading, why make the change from “traditional”? #sblchat

A1: Important to eliminate behavioral/ compliance grading #sblchat

A1: SBG focuses learning on what you are teaching, not the “game” of school and point collecting  #sblchat  @rickwormeli2

A1 – Standards-Based Learning is based on learner outcomes rather than chapter, section, page and non-standards-based activities. #sblchat

A1 Standards Based Grading switches the focus in the classroom from grading to learning. #sblchat

A1: SBL helps prepare our Ss for the real world by holding them accountable for learning/mastery. #sblchat

A1: SBG is a measurement of learning not point accumulation for a variety of reasons. #sblchat

A1 Changes the purpose of grades from working the system to mastering the content. A grade is a reflection of learning #sblchat

I could post almost 800 of these kinds of comments about Proficiency Based Learning, but you could join in the chat by using the #sblchat on Twitter on Wednesday evenings beginning at 9:00 pm EST. Also, if you would like to see any of the full chats about #SBLchat, you can do so at Storify.com. Just do a search for #sblchat.

As you can see, there are a lot of educators involved in gaining a better understanding of how we can help our students with authentic learning and not just about acquiring enough points for a “B” or an “A”.

Until next time….

Amazing What a Little Perspective Will Do!


Upcoming Important Dates

March 28 – Teacher Workshop Day, No school for students.
March 28, 29 & 30 – GHS Production of Wizard of Oz.
April 2 – Early Release Day Students dismissed at 11:10 am
April 3 – 8th Grade Graduation Planning meeting
April 4 – 3rd Quarter Ends for students
April 4,5 & 6 – GHS Production Wizard of Oz
April 8 – Gorham Schools All Band Night, GHS 6:00 pm
April 11 – Student Grades available on Infinite Campus
April 11 – School Dance Sponsored by the 7th Grade
April 15 – Gorham School All Chorus Night, GHS 6:00 pm
April 17 – PIE Meeting, GMS Library 6:00 pm
April 18 – Spring Break begins at dismissal

Giving Thanks

Two weeks ago, in this space, I informed you all of the events that occurred here during the Friday Parent Teacher Conferences. I briefly mentioned how struck I was,BFD2 that as we were all exiting the building, the Gorham Firefighters were rising into the building and into harms ways. Unfortunately, yesterday, in the city of Boston two of their brave firefighters lost their lives so that others may live. Their sacrifice has been credited with allowing many others time to escape the fire. So, I cannot just allow the work of our Gorham Firefighters pass with only a “glib” comment about racing in to danger. I also know we all appreciate the dedication of all our first responders, and I just wanted to extend to that family, the family of firefighters, our heartfelt thanks and our prayers during this time of sorrow and loss.

Music and Art in our Culture Day

MusicWednesday, April 2, our students will be treated to a Music and art in our Culture Day activities. Tracy Williamson has put together a great line up of performers and artists for our students to enjoy. The students have signed up for many of the workshops that will happen on this day. As we try to do with all of out themed early release days, I am including a roster of the performers and artists who will be conducting workshops. This should be a fun and engaging day for our kids as they, hopefully, see art and music in a different light. Here is a list of the offerings: Following is a list of workshops and presentations being offered on our Early Release Day. Everyone will have the opportunity to see the Gorham High School Concert Band presentation in the Auditorium and then choose three more small workshops to attend. ! !

  • ART! ! ARTIST PETER RIMKUNAS! Illustrator, Video Game Designer, Animator are just some of the art forms that Peter uses. This presentation includes the artist’s background and examples of his creations.! !
  • ARTIST DARALYN MCCOLL! Learn what it takes to be a designer! You will hear a brief description of the background of an artist and see many examples of her art made with different materials. Find out how you can be paid to create art for a company or own your own design company. Daralyn uses digital programs to create a variety of work and will have you help with making your own creation!! !
  • “ANIMATION DOMINATION” – MRS. DAWSON! Bring your laptop for this fun and interactive animation session in the DEC! This workshop will focus on the art of animation and show you how to make stykz figures come alive using animation software. Class size limited to 15.! !
  • “COTTAGE INDUSTRIES” – MR. CARPENTER! Selling your arts and crafts. Mr. Carpenter will talk about and demonstrate his own Cottage Industries including jewelry making, crochet, card making and painting.! !
  • “MAKING SOMETHING FROM NOTHING” – MRS. HANLEY! For this session you will make art from little things that you might not think would make art. There will be supplies available here, but if you have any objects at home like charms, ribbons, cool kinds of paper, string, any little interesting things that you have saved but aren’t quite sure what to do with, bring them in and incorporate them into a piece of art.! !
  • SCREEN PRINTING! Screen print baby onesies with Ms. Holden to donate to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. This is a great chance to learn how the screen printing process is done. Class limited to 6 students.!
  • THEATER GAMES – GREG WATSON! In the world of theater, actors and actresses practice many different techniques to get them comfortable on the stage and able to easily play different roles. Theater games are a great way to practice that. During this session you will participate in improv, role playing games and other ice breaking activities where you can have fun and play different characters.! ! !
  • LIGHTS UP! IMPROV WORKSHOP! Maine’s David LaGraffe from Lights Up! Improv and Portland Players is coming all the way to GMS to offer us this Theater Improv Workshop! You will spend time working with partners and in groups being silly and creating fun scenes. This is a great opportunity to work with a really fun and talented actor! Definitely not to be missed!! !
  • DANCE! ! CONTRADANCE – KIM ROBERTS! Contradance is a folk dance that has become tradition in New England. Similar to square dancing, dancers are partnered up and listen to directions that are called out during the music. During the dance you have to mix up and switch partners when the caller calls it so you have to really listen and stay on your toes. Think Cha Cha Slide meets folk country. ! !
  • HIP HOP DANCE – Jasmine Quarles DANCE STUDIO OF MAINE! Join some of the fabulous instructor’s from Gorham’s own Dance Studio of Maine and learn some hip hop dance moves you can show off at the next GMS Dance!! !
  • BOKWA – Susan & Mike Sinnett STUDIO FIT! Bokwa is a new and completely different approach to movement. Bokwa participants draw letters and numbers with their feet while performing dance movements with a South African influence. Moving together to today’s most popular music, participants off all ages draw the Bokwa L, 3, J, K and dozens of other steps. Simply feel the music and freely move with the beat.! !
  • MUSIC! ! AFRICAN DRUMMING – ANNEGRET BAIER! Work with renowned drummer Annegret Baier playing various drums and rhythm instruments to learn African songs and rhythms. This session was a favorite last year! ! !
  • MARIMBA PLAYING WORKSHOP! Learn how to play marimba just like the Maine Marimba Ensemble with Matt Wasowski from the Gorham School of Music. Class size limited to 10. ! !
  • BLUES SONGWRITING WORKSHOP! Learn how to write your own Blues song with Jim Svendsen from the Gorham School of Music. Choose a topic, write the lyrics and perform your song for the class.! !
  • GORHAM HIGH SCHOOL ACOUSTIC COFFEEHOUSE & POETRY SLAM! Matt Murray is bringing Gorham High School singers, songwriters, guitarists and poets to GMS to perform their own original works. You will definitely recognize some of these artists!! !
  • POP KARAOKE! Just how it sounds! Join Mr. P. in the 8th grade wing for a karaoke singing extravaganza. Limited to 30 students.! !
  • GUITAR & SONGWRITER’S WORKSHOP! Learn and review some basic guitar chords and chord progressions and learn how to go about writing your own songs with GMS’s own singer/ songwriter, Mr. Lambert. If you have your own guitar, you can bring it in. There will be 10 guitars available to borrow.! !
  • A CAPELLA WORKSHOP! Join Señora Krohn to learn how to sing in an a capella group. Sra. Krohn has lots of experience singing in a capella groups as you all saw in the Talent Show this year. She may even break out a little beat boxing if you’re lucky!! !
  • JARA GOODRICH, HARP! Have you ever seen and heard a real harp up close? Not like a little cupid harp, but a really huge, 6-foot tall, orchestral harp with tons of strings? Professional harpist, Jara Goodrich, from the Portland Symphony, will be coming in to talk about this incredible instrument and play for you.
  • WANT TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?! So you thought you wanted to play an instrument, but never got the chance? You have been playing or singing but want to learn how to read music? Mrs. Mathieu & some of our talented GMS band students will demo all the instruments you can learn how to play right here in our school! It’s never too late to start playing an instrument!
  • NEIL BOYER, OBOE! Join the extremely talented and well known, principle oboe player of the Portland Symphony to learn about the instrument, the hand made reeds, some of the types of music the oboe plays and the importance of the oboe to the orchestra. Mr. Boyer teaches oboe at USM and Dartmouth College and has played in the Vermont Symphony and the Portland Symphony. Possible guest appearances by some of his fellow players too!

GHS Production of The Wizard of Oz

Hopefully, all have purchased your tickets for the production of The Wizard of Oz, that Gorham High School students will be presenting beginning on Friday evening,oz March 28 and Saturday evening, March 29 at 7:30 in the GMS Auditorium. The Sunday matinee will begin at 2:30pm. Now, if you were unable to get your tickets for this weekend, don’t worry, you can see the production next weekend, as well, at the same times.

End of 3rd Quarter

I know i have said this before, and I am sure I will say it next year as well, but it is really hard to believe we have completed 3 quarters of this year. It truly does feel like we just started the school year and we still have so much left to do. In any event, the 3rd quarter does really end on Friday, April 4. That leaves just one more quarter left in the school year! Student grades for the quarter will be posted on the Infinite Campus system no later than the end of the day on Friday, April 11. If you are having difficulty in seeing your child’s grades on Infinite Campus, please give Terry Lamontagne a call at 222-1220.


Twitter logoHuh?? What is that, a typo? Has Riley really lost his mind?? For those of you who have Twitter accounts and may be regular users, the idea of a hashtag (#) is not something new. However, for those that are uninitiated in the hashtag is a method that twitter users can categorize their subjects. For example, on Thursday nights at 8 pm many educators, mostly from Maine, “gather” on Twitter to discuss a topic of interest. We send out 140 character tweets, some with links to other websites, about that topic. The 140 characters means that we must try to be concise in our entry (something I have great difficulty doing, no surprise to many of you, I know!). It is usually very interesting stuff and I really do learn quite a bit from my peers. Well, #PTchat is for parents and teachers to share what needs to be shared in order to better serve the students and our community. #PTChat happens on Wednesday evenings beginning at 9:00 pm (EDT) and usually runs for about an hour, but there are always those who post items regularly during the week using the #PTchat to make sure that it is visible to all interested in what’s going on with parents and teachers. Finally, as with any # category, you can “lurk”, which I do quite often, just to see what others are saying and doing to improve the relations between home and school. You do not have to “tweet” to be a part of the chat and learn from it. You can just observe. One warning I will offer you however, is that once you start, you will find that you have much to offer the group.

 Preparing our Kids for Their Future

HarvardThere was an article in the Boston Globe this week about students who are graduating from Massachusetts High schools are not prepared for the working world upon graduation from High School. This statement and story really surprised me because Massachusetts has long been held up as an exemplar of student achievement. In fact in the most recent PISA assessments released last fall, if Massachusetts were an independent country, it would rank in the top ten for student achievement. So, how can this be? How can a state who has reached such levels of student achievement not have their students ready for the work world? For answers, I turned to the Harvard School of Graduate Education and their Change Leadership Group. Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group, wrote an interesting article entitled, Rigor Redefined, in which he talks about what the CEOs of several large, multi-national companies are looking for in their employees. This is not something that we don’t already know, in fact, back in the late 1990s educators in Maine developed a set of skills that we all belied were necessary for our students to be successful. Back then we called them The Guiding Principles. Tony Wagner describes his conversations with these people who run these businesses as surprising in what they don’t want from their prospective employees as well as what skills and character traits they do want in the prospective employees.

“First and foremost, I look for someone who asks good questions,” Parker responded. “We can teach them the technical stuff, but we can’t teach them how to ask good questions—how to think.”

“What other skills are you looking for?” I asked, expecting that he’d jump quickly to content expertise.

“I want people who can engage in good discussion—who can look me in the eye and have a give and take. All of our work is done in teams. You have to know how to work well with others. But you also have to know how to engage customers—to find out what their needs are. If you can’t engage others, then you won’t learn what you need to know.”

I am including a link to the entire article that was posted this week on his web page. It is rather lengthy, but certainly worth the time and effort. Enjoy!


Snow Days, Snow Daze!


Important Upcoming Dates

March 13 – Parent Teacher Conferences 3:00 – 8:00 pm
March 14 – Parent Teacher Conferences 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. No School for students.
March 14 & 15 – GMS School Musical presentation 7:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium.
March 18 – GHS Principal and Department Heads present to 8th Graders
March 18 – 8th Grade Parent Night for all students attending GHS next fall, 6:30 pm in the GHS Auditorium.
March 18 – Southern Maine Middle School Math Meet at GMS beginning at 3:00 pm
March 19 – Drugs 101: What Parents Need to Know, GMS Auditorium 6:00 – 8:00 pm
March 20 – PIE Meeting 6:00 pm in the GMS Library
March 28 – Teacher Workshop Day, No school for students.
April 2 – Early Release Day Students dismissed at 11:10 am

8th Grade to High School Transition

And so it begins…

GHS/GMS Transition School Counsellor Ryan Watts has been meeting with several different groups of 8th grade students over the past month to prepare them for the process of registering for classes next year. Students were given lots of information about the types of classes available to them, how important these next few months will be for their availability to join some classes.

The next step in the transition process will to have GHS Principal Chris Record, along with several members of the GHS Faculty meet with the 8th graders. This will be the first time they will have seen the 8th graders as a whole group and they usually come away very impressed. Mr. Record, and crew, will be at the Middle School on Tuesday, March 18 at 8:00 am.

Later that same evening, Mr. Record will host an evening event for the parents to explain to them the process of registration and what they can expect to receive from the High School during the registration process. He will also review what families can expect as an experience for their child during High School.

While we are still working our what this is going to look like, he will also discuss the idea of the newly legislated Proficiency Based Diploma that this class of 8th graders will be expected to meet. I suggest you arm yourself with lots of good questions for Mr. Record and his staff.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

You must plan to spend either Friday or Saturday evening in the audience at the GMS Auditorium to be entertained by the GMS students and their presentation of The Emperor’s New Clothes.  The students and Señora Krohn have created a wonderful kingdom of song, dance and laughter in our beautiful auditorium. It is a guaranteed night of fun and enjoyment of students singing, dancing and playing. Please mark the date on the calendar.

Drugs 101: What Parents Need To Know

Wednesday evening, March 19th in the GMS Auditorium, Claudine Emerson, Substance Abuse Counselor for the Gorham Schools will be presenting an evening of very valuable information that all parents need to know. In an effort to improve the awareness of parents about their children and the substances that prevalent in our community, Claudine will discuss how students are hiding their paraphernalia and their substance in plain sight in their bedroom.

Claudine will have a mock bedroom set up that parents can get up close and personal with to try to find the many possible hiding places our kids can employ. She will also inform those in attendance of the kinds of substances that seem to be popular with some of our students and how parents can detect when their child may be under the influence.

This will be a very informative evening that promises to open some eyes and some minds to help all of us protect our kids. Join us at 6:00 pm for a close look at the mock bedroom and for the 6:30 presentation.

PIE Meeting

Our next PIE meeting will be Thursday evening at 6:00 pm in the GMS Library. At this meeting we will begin the planning process for the Celebration of Middle School that is held for our 8th graders moving on the the High School.

There really is quite a bit of planning that needs to be done for this wonderful event and memorable evening for our 8th graders. So, come to the PIE meeting on Thursday evening at 6:00 complete with your great ideas and your ambitions.

Parent Survey

We have closed the link to the SurveyMonkey Parent Survey and we are very busy compiling the results (when I say “we”, I mean Dennis Crowe and our crack technology crew.) When we get the results broken down into manageable information, we will share those results. Personally, I can’t wait to see them!

Another Teacher Workshop Day

On March 28, students will not have school so that our faculty, district wide, can undertake a complete review of what the legislation about Proficiency Based Education will mean for each of our schools. We intend to complete this review as well as reconcile this with the coming of the Common Core State Standards. This really is doing to be a new way of doing business for schools across the state and it will require us to be far better in communicating your child’s progress through the grades.

In past posts to this blog, I have commented on the Common Core State Standards. I am always on the lookout for articles and other information that I can share here with our parents in the hope that we all will become more aware of how these standards will change our school. In this piece from Jessica Lahey that was published in the New York Times last month, she correctly states that the “Common Core standards are intended to raise performance expectations for our students.” She notes that the debate is heating up and that there are far more issues at stake than what appears on the surface.

I an including a link to the article for your perusal. New York Times. If you have any feed back or comments you’d like to share, please feel free to post a comment or email me directly.

April 2nd, will be an early release day for students, with our students being dismissed at 11:10am so that we can complete the work we will begin on March 28.

The students’ day will be filled with arts and music as we hold our second annual Music and Arts in our Culture Day. This is being organized by Tracy Williamson, our Steel Drum and Chorus teacher. She has lined up many great activities for our students to participate in and to observe. If this year’s day is half as good as the day we had last year, our kids are in for a real treat.