Week of Sept 11


GSD LogoUpcoming Important Dates

Sep 11 – 6th Grade Technology Orientation Night 6:00 – 7:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Sep 13 – School Committee Meeting 7:00 pm Municipal Center
Sep 15 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm Gym
Sep 18 – US Constitution Day Celebrated
Sep 20 – Early Release Day, students released at 11:10 am
Sep 21 & 22 – Tooth Fairies will be at GMS
Sep 24 – 28 – Moving Naturally Week (see info below)
Sep 26 – Parent Summit on Bullying 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium

Time to Reflect

September 11! 9/11! and so many more acronyms and phrases, to steal the famous FDR line, evoke memories of a day of infamy. The images of the bright September morning are seared into the memory banks of every American who can even vaguely remember that fateful day.

This past weekend, as I was preparing to conjure up images that could be transmitted with the spoken word to our students, all of whom were not born on that day, I was stunned by the images of another catastrophe in the making, Hurricane Irma in Florida and Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

We tend to forget that September 11, 2001 was only the beginning days of the tragedy. The clean up of the sight where the buildings collapsed needed to be completed. Plans for the new building needed to designed. A memorial to all of the brave souls and those who just went to work on the morning of September 11 needed to be designed and completed. It was more than 5 years before construction of the Freedom Tower began, and more than 13 years before the Freedom Tower opened its doors for tenants. That is a lot of time from the beginning to the end!

The images of the past week in Texas and Florida are only the beginning for all of those folks.

We haven’t decided on how we should contribute to aiding our fellow countrymen, but we will be working on something to get our students involved in the healing. Please watch our announcements for information. If you have any ideas that you would like to share, please drop us a line or give us a call.

Parent Technology Night

I have some very good news to offer, especially for those parents who have had several children go through the Middle School in the age of MLTI. We are no longer required to hold the MLTI Parent Orientation Night! Imagine that, no more days of your children whining that “YOU HAFTA TO GO THE THE MLTI NIGHT!”

We will be holding an informational evening for parents of 6th graders who are interested in learning more about the new Chromebooks that their children will be issued this year. While the devices are similar in that they can process information, there are some considerable differences between the Chromebooks and the Apple MacBook Airs, which are used by the 7th and 8th graders.

Again, this night is not mandatory for 6th grade parents, but we will try to make it as informative as possible and answer as many of your questions as we can.

Tooth Fairies Coming to GMS

As we have for the past several years, we will have a dedicated group of Dental Professionals come to GMS to provide free or low cost dental examinations for our students. If you are interested in taking advantage of this great program, please call School Nurse Cathy Loiselle.

School Dance

The first school dance of the year will be this Friday night beginning at 6:00 pm and running for 2 hours, until 8:00 pm.

We are always looking for dance chaperones and would love to have a few parents (or more!) come and spend at least a part of the evening with us. There is truly nothing like a middle school dance to bring back all of those wonderful memories of sock hops and disco nights!

Admission to the dance is $5.00 and we ask that parents please pick up their children at the conclusion of the dance at 8:00 pm.

Early Release Day on Wednesday September 20

Students will be released early on Wednesday, September 20, at 11:10 am. The teachers will be working on professional development for the afternoon.

We are working with the Parks & Recreation Department to come up with some activities that would occupy the students between dismissal at 11:10 and the regular time we would dismiss at 2:15. There are a few things in the works, so I would ask that you watch our Daily Announcements on the GMS Webpage for details.

Happy Healthy Gorham

You amy have seen the article on the front page of the Gorham Times about the Happiest and Healthiest Town in Maine, don’t worry if you didn’t, here is a link to the Gorham Times story.

The Gorham School will be joining with Happy Healthy Gorham (HHG) to ensure that our students are involved in helping to make Gorham the Happiest and Healthiest town in Maine. We haven’t yet finalized our plans, but we will be including several activities throughout the of September 24 that will include our students  moving naturally.

We will include lots of pictures on our website showing off our school moving naturally.

Boys to Men and Hardy Girls, Healthy Women

We have arranged for two groups to come to GMS to help us address some of the issues were saw last year with behaviors between and among our adolescent students. Boys to Men and Hardy Girls, Healthy Women have special programs designed specifically for adolescent boys and girls. Both of these programs are highly acclaimed and are being done in several school across Cumberland County.

We are hoping, by using these programs, to reduce the number of incidents where students create an environment that is not conducive to learning. Where everyone is more concerned about what someone else thinks about them than they are with learning.

I will have more information on each of these programs that will go home with the students prior to the beginning of the sessions. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email.

First 5-Day Week Done!


Upcoming Important Dates

Friday, September 18 – MLTI Parent Orientation Meeting 6:00 pm GMS Library
Friday, September 18 – School Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm GMS Gymnasium
Monday, September 21 – NWEA Testing for 8th Graders, all week
Wednesday, September 23 – Early Release Day, students dismissed at 11:10 am
Monday, September 28 -NWEA Testing for 7th Graders, all week
Monday, October 5 – NWEA Testing for 6th Graders, all week
Thursday, October 8 – Tooth Fairies

MLTI Parent Orientation Night

I really do recognize how much of an inconvenience attending these parent nights can be. For that past 13 years, I have been preparing and delivering these messages to rooms full of parents who are only present because their child has “badgered” them to attend. (OK, that may be a bit harsh, I really do think many parents attend because they want to learn more about the world their kids will be exploring!)

First, let me begin by stating that no child MUST bring their laptop home! It is, however, a very valuable tool for all of our students as the explore their learning. We do recognize that, along with this great resource for information, comes a great responsibility to use it it wisely and productively.

It is our goal that each parent will get a better understanding of how these devices can be used productively and positively and how to recognize when students are not using them productively and positively. We will share lots of resources with parents that will help you deal with your child when you believe they are being targeted, or they targeting other with their devices and other type of technology.

We will share with parents how the laptops will be used to engage students in their learning (And, we all know they should be engaged in their future, but sometimes it is a struggle!).

Please make plans to join us either of the 3 nights we offer the presentation, Monday, Tuesday or Friday of this week (Sept 14, 15 & 18)

School Dance

Our first school dance is this Friday night in the GMS Gymnasium. The admission fee is $5.00 and we ask that parents be prepared to pick their children up by 8:00 pm, the ending time for the dance.

as we do each dance, we are asking from parents who would like to come to the dance, please feel free to do, we have plenty of “jobs” that you can around the gym and the cafeteria. I am sure your kids would Love to have you here!

As an added attraction for our students, the good people at iSpoon will be offering a post dance special to our students fromlIspoon logo GMS after the dance. If you’d like to treat your kids to a “treat” after the dance, stop down to ISpoon and take advantage of their generosity.

NWEA Testing

nwea_logo_twittersquare_biggerWe will begin our twice yearly assessment of our students through the NWEA testing. The students will be assessed on reading, language usage and math. This is a computer based test that is aligned to our standards and it will gives a great deal of information about each of our students.

We have been using the NWEA’s for several years now , and the results can be used as a check-in on how we are doing as a school, but, more importantly, the results provide us with some very important diagnostic information about strengths and weaknesses of individual students.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call.

Late Bus

We have begun running the late buses on Mondays through Thursdays. The buses pick up students at the middle school at about 4:00 pm. I say “about” because the buses do arrive somedays, a bit early, yet they do not leave the middle school until after 4:00. We also make sure that we have everyone who needs a ride on a bus.

The downside to our late bus program is that we only have 3 buses to bring students home, therefor it is almost impossible to have door-to-door service. We try very hard to get the students to within a half mile, usually we do a whole lot better, and some kids do get to be dropped off in front of their houses. We just can’t guarantee that for everyone.

If you have any questions about transporting our students, your children, please give me a call at 222-1228. I may not have the answer immediately, but I will get back to you as quickly as I can with an answer.

Early Release Day

We have our first early release day of the school year on Wednesday September 23.The students will engage in an assembly about our school Code of Conduct and how important our words are when we speak with each other.

The students will be dismissed at 11:10 am for the day.

The teachers will be engaged in content area work. The school is committed it ensuring that our students are properly prepared for the requirements of working in the “real” world of the 21st Century.

Tooth Fairies

OK, no, I have not lost my “marbles” and, yes, Tooth Fairies do exist!tooth fairy

The Tooth Fairies are a dedicated group of Dental; Professionals who make themselves available to several schools in the area to proved free, or very low cost, dental health services to families in each community. These services include cleaning and an examination of potential issues that parents can them address.

Our first Tooth Fairy visit is schedule for Thursday, October 8 during the school day.Tooth

If you would like your child to be examined by a “Tooth Fairy” please give GMS School Nurse Cathy Loiselle a call at 222-1224.

The Work of Education and Educators

I plodded through, like all dutiful Americans, the Republican Debate last Wednesday night. Some of the solutions that I heard, especially regarding education, seemed to me to be very rudimentary and lacking in a real knowledge of what challenges that educators face every day in preparing our kids for their futures.

Our “business” is truly a “people business”, one of relationships and understanding in the moment. At our level, our students are being bombarded with all sorts of messages about how their life should unfold for them, and we know that it just doesn’t happen the way it does on the Disney Channel or MTV.

I want to share a very short clip from one of my “Heroes of Education”, Sir Kenneth Robinson. For those of you who are regulars here, you will have seen his videos before an, I am sure, been impacted by his wisdom.

I hope that we can be successful everyday in keeping these words in the forefront of our work.

The Gift of Failure

In the past few posts to this spot, I have talked about Jessica Lahey’s book The Gift of Failure. As a school, we are beginning togift of failure start book groups using this as our “touchstone” to begin to see the power of “letting go” so that our kids can succeed, embracing the idea that failure is neither fatal nor final. Truthfully, this is a very difficult concept for some induction to embrace because many in education have been successful students themselves prior to becoming teachers (this writer not being one of them!).

I would love to have a book group made up of parents who would like to meet for some discussions about what lesson we could all learn from Ms. Lahey’s book.

If you are interested in starting a book group at GMS, please call me at 222-1228 or send me an email at robert.riley@gorhamschools.org. I could see meeting in the evening or the morning, over coffee and danish perhaps.

We Have Liftoff!


Upcoming Important Dates

Thursday, August 28 – 1st Day of school for grades 7 & 8
Friday, August 29 – No School
Monday, September 1 – Labor Day, No School
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, September 10,  11 & 12 – Laptops Deployed
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, September 10, 11 & 12 – Tooth Fairies
Monday, September 15 – MLTI Parent Meeting 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Tuesday, September 16 – MLTI Parent Meeting 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Tuesday, September 16 – Picture Day, Vision & Hearing Screening
Friday, September 19 – 1st School Dance of the year 6:00 – 8:00 pm GMS Gym

No School on Friday August 29 or Monday September 1

Just a reminder that we will have no school for students and teachers on Friday and Monday to allow all families to enjoy one, final long weekend. I hope that the weather holds out for all of us to be able to enjoy all of the activities and family get togethers that are planned for the Labor Day weekend.

We will get back to business on Tuesday, September 2nd for the long haul to Thanksgiving (with a few breaks in between).

MLTI Laptop Deployment

mlti-logoMike Nash and our entire Tech Department have spent the entire summer getting all of the laptops ready for the new school year. There are some new features on theses devices, as there are every year and we will go over those changes during the MLTI Parent Nights on September 15 & 16.

We will deploy the laptops to each grade level beginning on Tuesday, September 10 to the 8th graders, and then we will get the 7th grade and 6th grade on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The student will not be able to bring their devices home, if parent choose to allow that, until after the meetings and after all of the paperwork has been completed> I think we can expect to allow the devices to go home to those students whose parents chose to allow it, on Monday, September 22.

Tooth Fairies coming to GMS

tooth fairyOK, not real fairies, but real “people doing good things” for our community.

The Tooth Fairies are a group of dental hygienists who travel around to school offering free, or low cost, dental health services. It is a wonderful service that allows parents to have their child’s teeth checked and cleaned for little or no cost, usually no cost!

If you want your child to have these services here at school, please complete the form that was sent home in the summer mailing and return it to the Main Office of GMS by Friday, September 5th. Those who have the forms completed will be contacted with the date and time of their child’s appointment. The Tooth Fairies will be at GMS on Wednesday,Thursday & Friday, September 10, 11 & 12. The appointment will happen during the school day, and may mean your child will miss a portion of one of their classes.

If you have any other questions about the Tooth Fairies or other health related issues, please contact Teresa Merrill, School Nurse.

MLTI Parent Nights

putthis_on_calendar_clip_artWe are required every year to present an evening of information and digital citizenship to the parents of middle school students who will be using the MLTI issued laptops. As I mentioned above, this evening information session is required for students and families that wish to have the laptops go home.

This year, we are planning a very vigorous session on Digital Citizenship and what parents can do to help their child become positive constructive users of technology. We will be introducing all parents to the CommonSenseMedia web site and the many tips and strategies they offer to help parents who may struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing world of technology.

Please plan to attend one of these informative evenings. The night will begin at 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium.

Picture Day

The all important and much anticipated Picture Day will happen this year on Wednesday, September 16. We will have a schedule set up for the students by grade and by team. Again, our pictures will a=school pcbe done by LifeTouch Pictures.

Last year, I heard some concerns that the passages were too expensive and really didn’t offer the bare minimum. I have spoken to LifeTouch and they have assured me that they will address this issue, but I was told that if parents only want one picture, they can do that. They may need to call customer service or use the online shopping option, but any pictures that parents want of their child will be available, not just the packages.

Vision and Hearing Screening

School Nurse Teresa Merrill will also be doing vision and hearing screening for all 7th grade students, and a few selected other students,on the day of the school pictures. These screenings are required of the schools for all 7th graders, and doing them on the picture day makes for fewer interruptions in the school week.

One Last Thought on the Dress Code

First, we have NOT banned students from wearing yoga pants! We understand that yoga pants are comfortable for people wearing them and they are stylish as well. We do expect that all pants are worn at “the natural waist line”. We still are not interesting in seeing students’ undergarments, (this includes boxers, bras, including sports bras and bra straps) as well as bare bellies or the large cut T-Shirts that expose much of the side of male and female students.

We still don’t allow students to wear clothing that promote drugs, violence, sexual activity or hate speech. What we are trying to create is an environment that will allow for the larding process to maximized, free from disruptions or distractions.

The one test I use, and this may not be for everyone, but I asked my kids (when they were students), “would your grandmother approve of what you’re wearing?” Now, to be fair, their grandmother was born in 1915, so she had a very different view of how children should be dressed, but it worked for me… for a while!


Haircuts, Kindergarteners and Ken Robinson


Important Upcoming Dates

September 16 & 17 – MLTI Parent Meeting, GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 17- Team Leaders Meeting in Melanie’s room 2:30 – 4:00 pm
September 18 Faculty Meeting in GMS Library 2:30 – 4:00 pm
September 19 – PIE Meeting in the GMS Library 6:00 pm
September 20 – School Dance in GMS Gymnasium 6:00 – 8:00 pm
September 24 – 7th Grade Parent Night GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
September 24 – Fall Sports Pictures after school, before practice
September 25 – Washington D.C. Trip Informational parent meeting 6:00 pm
September 25 – Maine Harvest Lunch in our Cafeteria
September 25 – Odyssey of the Mind Informational Night GMS Library 6:00 pm
October 1 – 8th Grade Parents Night GMS Auditorium 6:00 pm
October 2 – Early Release Day
October 4 – Progress Reports (Mid quarter)

SchoolHouse Arts Center Fall Program

schoolhouse-logo3The Schoolhouse Arts Center in Standish has several great offerings this fall for students interested in the Theatre Arts and performances. The many offerings are for pre-school through adults and the variety is quite amazing. Offerings include dance, Music, Family Enrichment and, even Puppets. For more information you can go to the Schoolhousearts.org web site or you can find a link on the GMS Web page.

Fall Sports Pictures

We will be offering fall sports pictures again this year after hearing parental concerns about not having sports teams in our yearbook. The pictures will be traditional team pictures, as well as individual pictures and they will be offered for sale to those who are interested in purchasing them. There is not, however and obligation by anyone to purchases.

Thank You for Participating in our Poll

Last week I placed a poll in this space to try to calculate the percentage of our students who have access to Smart Phone technology.

Recognizing that this is a very unscientific poll, it appears that about 60% of our students have access to cell phones but only about half of them have access to smart phone technology. What was surprising was the fact that almost 40% of our students do not have access to any cell phone technology.

Washington D.C. Trip Informational Night

There will be an informational night for those parents interested in the annual trip to Washington D.C. US Capitalduring the April Vacation in 2014. Melanie Doran will be meeting with those interested in the Library on September 18th, 6:30 – 7:30. If you have any questions about the trip please contact Melanie at MelanieD@gorhamschools.org.

 MLTI Parent Information Night

mlti-logoEach year, we are required by the state, from whom we lease the devices, to hold an informational parent night to explain the program and familiarize parents to the capabilities of the machines. Many years of doing this night, and many parents who have sat through countless informational nights sometimes makes the idea of doing it one more time almost unbearable.

This year, however, is truly different (I know, you’ve heard this before!), but it really is. Unlike past years, students will have far more control over their devices. Students will be able to download apps, unlike previous years, and the devices will not shut down at a set time, as they have in the past.

The capabilities of our new Operating System (OS) are far more powerful than past years and it will allow students to perform tasks that were not available in the past. Also, we will have a pointed discussion about digital citizenship and we will be using terminology that may be new to you. This terminology will be helpful to all of us as we help our kids learn to navigate this new world.

Finally, the School District will be offering a new Laptop Protection Plan that is different from the plan offered in the past and it will really require that parents and students understand the fine points of the program.

So, even though I recognize that many of you have had the experience of the MLTI Nights in the past, there will be a lot of new information and ideas that it will be vital to parents and that is why parents need attend one of these evenings in order for students to able to take laptops home.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Progress Reports and Report Cards

report cardOver the course of one school year we consume far too many cases of white paper than I can count! Really, I mean this. Each quarter we had been producing almost 900 report cards, each one three pages in length, that’s 2700 pieces of paper, or more than 5 reams of paper each quarter. This does not take into consideration and additional sum of paper for the quarterly progress reports in each content area, ink for the printer and the time it takes for personnel to perform all of the tasks.

Why am I boring you with this information? Well, we are trying to reduce of carbon footprint and increase our efficiency as well as reduce the costs of doing business.

This year we will not be producing, or consuming, as much paper as we have by utilizing our Infinite Campus Parent Portal more. All of the information that is produced on the report card is available, on demand, through the Parent Portal. You can actually acquire updated reports, on a weekly basis is you desire.

If you already have your Infinite Campus Parent Portal Username and Password, you don;t need to do another thing except check in to you child’s reports. If you have yet to receive your username and password, or forgot either one, you can email Terry LaMontagne at terryl@gorhamschools.org, or call her at 222-1247 and she can get you set up in no time at all.

As with anything we do, if you would still like to receive a paper copy of your child’s report card, please call Terry and we will make sure that happens. If you have comments or concerns about us doing this, please give me a call or send me an email at robertr@gorhamschools.org

Odyssey Of the Mind Information Night

OM LogoDiane Knott, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, has informed me that there will be an informational evening on Wednesday, September 25 from 6:00 to 7:30 in the GMS Library. At this evening event, parents will learn how the Odyssey of the Mind Problem Solving program helps encourage students team work, risk-taking and divergent thinking skills.

Parents and students are encouraged to attend this meeting.

Tooth Fairies

In past posts, I have mentioned the services provided by the Tooth Fairies, a group of dedicated dental health professionals who will come to our school to provide preventative dental services at a greatlyTooth reduced cost, or no cost.

Many of you have returned the sign up sheets and your children will be scheduled later this month on September 16th, 20th and the 24th. We will be calling the students out of classes and they will be gone for about 30 to 40 minutes. We will not be “announcing” the reason to the class, for confidentiality purposes, but I felt it was important for you to be aware that there will be some class time missed to receive this service.

If you have any questions about the Tooth Fairies service, please call Teresa Merrill, School Nurse.

More Information from Our School Nurse

You may remember that we began the Vision and Hearing Screenings on the first day of school after Labor Day. Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the task fully on that day so we will be screening those students whom we missed on Tuesday, September 17th. This is mostly for 7th graders, but there may be a few 6th and 8th grade students who we will need to screen. If your child is one of these students, you have already been notified.

GMS Garden Harvest Update

In our past posts, I have shown pictures of our Garden with the new Deer Fence that we installed last spring, as well as some of the produce that our students worked all summer to brig to harvest. I am happy to report to you that the Garden Club has been able to bring over 700 pounds to the Ecumenical Food Pantry of Gorham.

Heather Whitaker, the Garden Club Coordinator, reports that the garden will continue to produce for a short while longer, but the amount of the harvest will continue to dwindle.

Of Haircuts, Kindergarteners and Thoughts on Sir Ken Robinson

I used to get my haircut by a barber, but now I get it “styled” by a Hair stylist and my Stylist looks nothing like my old barber. She isn’t bald on top with a wee tuft of hair traveling from temple to temple and she definitely doesn’t have a mustache, but she is my “Barber”.

On Saturday we were talking about this or that and the subject turned to her 4-year-old daughter and her first days of pre-school. My stylist is quite happy that her daughter wakes up every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, excited and happy about heading off to school. This little girl is excited about learning and wanting to do homework. She asks her mother everyday about when will it be her turn to ride the yellow bus to school.

This kind of excitement about school is what we try to create in our school. A place where everyone arrives with that excitement of the journey to the unknown or not yet experienced, but expect to be surprised.

Somewhere between the time kids start Kindergarten and they arrive at middle school, some of that wonderment and excitement has disappeared, and, unfortunately, it wanes even more as students move through high school.

In this video from Ken Robinson he asks the question, “Do Schools Kill Creativity”. The video has been around for a few years, but it is very timely even today. I hope you enjoy it.

Well, I Think That Went Very Well…


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.

This is Wordy Enough… No Cute Graphics or Funny Videos, Sorry!


Upcoming Dates

  • April 1 – Open House for Prospective Graduate Students at University of Southern Maine, Portland Campus 4:30 – 6:30 pm.
  • April 2 – Drugs 101: What Parents Need to Know presentation 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium.
  • April 3 – GHS Choral Concert at GMS 12:00 -1:00
  • April 3 – Leadership Team Meeting in Melanie’s room beginning at 2:30
  • April 4 – Social Studies and Math Curriculum Committees meet.
  • April 4 – CPR Training at GMS, please see Teresa for details.
  • April 5 – 3rd Quarter Ends
  • April 5 – School Dance sponsored by Little River and Peaks
  • April 9 – ELA Curriculum Committee meeting.
  • April 11 – Report Cards go him with students at dismissal
  • April 11 – Early Release Day for students
  • April 11 – Teacher Workshop
  • April 12 – Teacher Workshop day, no school for students.
  • April 15 – 19 – School Vacation (Maybe we’ll get in some golf!)
  • April 24 – Tooth Fairies return

Peter Panic

For those who had the opportunity to see to full production of the school musical Peter Panic were not disappointed with the second act. The student and Sra Krohn put on a splendid production that was filled with great laughs, wonderful songs and performances that would have made David Merrick proud (does anyone remember David Merrick?).

Please let your students know how much you appreciated their work, dedication and sacrifice doing this production. They have certainly earned it.

GHS Chorus Concert at GMS

As part of the Music in our Month series, the GHS Chorus, under the direction of Matt Murray will perform two concerts for GMS students on Wednesday, April 3rd.

The schedule for the concerts is as follows:
8th Grade, Eagle Team and Moosehead Team will hear the concert at 11:53 and return for period 1 class at 12:25 – 1:14 and period 2 at 1:15 – 2:04.

7th grade and Sebago schedule will be a little more disjointed in that period 1 will interrupted. Period 1 11:53 – 12:25; Concert 12:30 12:55; back to period 1 at 12:55 – 1:14; Period 2 1:14 – 2:04.

What all of this means is that we will forgo a formal Advisory period on Wednesday for the concert. I apologize for the inconvenience of this, but we feel that the arts are an important element in our overall education of our students. This also allows for our students to see, first-hand, some of the possible offerings that await them at the High School. Thank you for understanding.

3rd Quarter Ends

The 3rd Quarter ends this coming Friday, April 5th. Unlike other Quarter ends, teachers will have until the end of the day on Monday to have all grades updated on Infinite Campus. Report cards will go home with students at the end of the day on Thursday, April 11, which is an early released day for students.

Notes from Our Nurse

All students are reminded that they must have an up-to-date physical on file with the Nurse in order to participate in athletics. If you are not sure if you have an up-to-date physical on file, please check in with Mrs. Merrill.

It is also important to note that physicals expire after two years and each student is responsible for submitting your most recent physical forms to the Nurse.

Mrs. Merrill reminds us that as spring approaches, teachers often bring in food for the students to consume during Advisory celebrations. She asks us to be mindful of students who may have certain allergies and would have to be excluded from these celebrations and, perhaps made to feel left out of the class.

We have many of our students who take advantage of the services provided by the Tooth Fairies, a dedicated group of dental professionals who offer their service, free of charge, to students who’s families might not otherwise be able to afford preventative dental care. The Tooth Fairies will be coming back to GMS on April 24th. Please check wit Teresa for details.

Encourage the Young Writer Day

We continue to receive a wonderful response from the community of writers and publishers to help us celebrate Encourage the Young Writer Day on April 11th.However, we can always use additional folks to present to our kids.

The purpose of this day is to demonstrate to our students that we, all of us, write for more than just a grade from our English teacher. We have been encouraged by all of the many people who have no connection with Gorham Middle School who are willing to give up their time on April 11 to share their knowledge and passion for writing. We will have poets and authors of Young Adult novels, newspaper reporters and bloggers just to mention a few.

I am really looking forward to this day with great anticipation and more than just a little bit of trepidation that expect with any new program.

If you are a writer, of any kind, and would like to make an impression upon the future of some very wonderful young folks, please call me at my office 207-222-1228 and we can talk. Remember, you don’t actually have to be in Gorham to make a presentation to our kids, we can “Skype” you in!

Drugs 101: What Parents Need to Know

6:00-6:30    Mock bedroom preview
6:30-8:00    Presentation by Claudine Emerson, LCSW, LADC

Drugs 101: What Parents Need to Know educates parents about signs, symptoms and current trends of alcohol, tobacco, inhalants, marijuana and other drugs adolescents may use. A highlight of this program is a mock teenager’s bedroom set up for parent’s to observe and attempt to identify the obvious and not-so-obvious drug related paraphernalia. Throughout the presentation, more than 50 drug and alcohol indicators will be unveiled to show how some adolescents hide drug and alcohol use from their parents.

Join us at the Gorham Middle School Auditorium for this very informative presentation on Tuesday, April 2nd.

 For more information or questions, please contact Claudine Emerson

Yearbooks for Sale

This is the last couple of weeks for placing orders for this year’s edition of the “Official” Gorham Middle School yearbook. The cost of the yearbook remains at last year’s price of $20.00, thank you, Mr. Mitchell for working to keep this price down for us. The final date for ordering will be Friday, April 12.

You may send in your order with your child or you may order online through the ordering portal at: YBPay.lifetouch.com, the school code for ordering is: 3788213. You will need to enter this code when ordering online.

Parent Teacher Conferences

We held the spring session of teacher conferences for parents on Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29. If, for some reason, you were unable to meet with your child’s Advisor during this time, you still have the opportunity to meet by emailing or calling the Advisor and setting up the date.

If you really wanted to meet with your child’s English teacher yet felt that you could only meet with the Advisor, I want to remind you all the teachers have time set in their day to meet with students and their parents. Just email or call to set a mutually agreed upon day and time.

Student Information Forms from Parents

A few weeks ago, we sent home with students an information request for placement in next year’s teams. We ask three rather simple questions and allow you to answer the questions in “a million words or less”, giving us what you think are your child’s strengths are, what challenges your child faced this year and how do you think you child learns best.

I promise you we read all of these submissions and take into consideration all of the information that parents give us on their child. What we cannot do is take specific requests for team or for particular teachers. We examine all of the information we gather from parents and from their teachers and then try to build academic teams that closely resemble the population of the school as whole.

You, and your child, will learn of their placement for next year at our annual Step-up Day, scheduled for the last part of the school year (we’ll send out the exact date when we’re sure there are no more snowstorms!).

For some of you, your child will come home from school on that day upset and, maybe even crying. They will tell you that they have no friends on their new team, or something similar. This may be the case, but I can assure you that more than likely, there will be a few friends, just not the right ones, now.

You may want to call us on that day and request that we change your child’s placement. I would ask that you don’t call us immediately, but wait for a while (maybe a couple of weeks), to see how feelings calm down over time. But, if after a few weeks of letting the feelings calm, and you want to call to ask for a change, we have four possible factors that will let us make a change of placement;

1. Prior (first hand) negative experience with the teacher;2. Prior negative experience with a sibling;
3. Peer conflicts (e.g. Restraining Order for the court, etc.), combinations of students to avoid;
4. Some significant connection out of school that mitigates them not being together ( a teacher who is an uncle, neighbor).

We know how stressful any change is for everyone and we don’t want to increase that strain, but we also know that part of what we teach as a middle school is the ability to adapt to new situations and people in a work setting. This is a skill set that will be necessary as our students mature and face new challenges.