Monday, May 23, 2016

End of Year ALREADY?

So I'm looking at my calendar the other day and I notice that today is May 23!  How did we get here so fast?  It seems like just yesterday I was starting my new job here in Gorham, which is now 11 months ago!  I guess the saying really is true that time sure does fly when you are having fun - and fun is what I've been having!  It has truly been a pleasure to have served this great school system and this great community for almost a year now.  Gorham is truly blessed to have such dedicated students, such incredibly talented staff, such caring parents, and such a supportive community!

Just recently, I was sent a copy of a video presentation done by a group of our Sophomores at GHS who had spent the year working with a group of Village Elementary School students on their reading skills through a program called Teen Trendsetters.  To me, watching this video exemplifies what I am talking about when I talk about our great dedicated students, staff, and community.  Check it out:

Of course, this video is just one example of MANY MANY MANY things that our students do for each other, and for our community.  Just a few weeks ago, I was walking to GHOP (Oh yes, I do LOVE GHOP) for a quick lunch and noticed groups of our high school students out and about all over the town cleaning up lawns, and doing other community service projects.  It is one of the things I truly love about this community.  You don't have to go very long to see evidence of our students in the community helping out or evidence of our community in our schools helping our children.  As just another quick example, I was at Great Falls Elementary School just a few weeks ago for their Career Day.  During this day, staff at Great Falls had worked to invite in many many local business people to set up shop in the cafeteria and the gymnasium to show off their careers and to talk to students about why they do what they do, and what they had to learn in order to be able to do it.  Students in grades K all the way up to 5 came through and were thoroughly engaged by our community members' stories!  I must have seen 100 or more newly deputized Gorham PD students walking around with their sticker badges!  It was awesome to watch and I was so thankful to have been a small part of it.

We have so many things to brag about in our schools like:

*  Gorham has been named one of the top 15 places to live in Maine with high rankings on School Excellence.
*  Our HS offers 45+ clubs and activities for students with strong performances from those who participate.  Our Girl's Gold Ball this year, and our Odyssey of the Mind champions and robotics champions are just to name a few!
*  96% of our graduating seniors went on to post secondary experiences last year - and its looking like we will match that number again this year!
*  Village Elem. School was one of just 4 schools to qualify across the state as a Blue Ribbon School this year.
*  GMS jazz band students won "gold" at their competition earlier this spring.
*  GMS students provided happy holidays to more than 20 local families.
*  Narragansett Elem. School won "gold" from Maine's 5-2-1-0 program exemplifying what it means to live a healthy lifestyle!
*  Great Falls Elem. students raised thousands of dollars for local food pantry in their "empty bowls" project work this past fall.

I could just keep going.  REALLY, I could!  In Gorham, we have what is known as the Code of Conduct that drives the culture of all 5 of our schools.  "The Code" as it is lovingly referred to by both students and staff describes the five core community values we hold that cut across all that we do here in our schools.  Those five values are:

1.  Respect
2.  Honesty
3.  Courage
4.  Compassion
5.  Responsibility
(You can read more about these by going to: )

Our students work hard to exemplify this code each and every day.  There are so many examples of this that again, I could go on for pages and pages, but I think one example comes to mind that really says it all about our Gorham students - and it's the example of one Great Falls student.  Here's a quick peek:

Doesn't that example just say it all about our students?

Over the course of the year, I have had so much fun being invited into classrooms to read, or to participate in assemblies, or to watch band concerts, or athletic events, etc.

My father always told me that if you want to get a true sense of a place, just get out there and walk around, introduce yourself, talk with people, share stories, etc.  He always gives the best advice.  I feel like I have definitely gotten a true sense of this place and it is good!  Have we had a few "bumps" in the road over the course of the year - sure, and I'm sure there will be more down the path - but overall I am proud to be a member of this community - serving its children every day!

Well enough of all that, I'm sure I'm "Preaching to the Choir" (another of my father's great sayings) and that you all already know what I'm trying to articulate here so I'll move on.

As the last school day quickly approaches, our schools are entering a "fever pitch" in trying to wrap up the year, get those last minute lessons in, and to celebrate all the great things that have happend in our schools.  Below is an overview of some of the exciting end of the year events we have planned here in the Gorham Schools.  Please know this is NOT an all-inclusive list as that would take many more pages to post!  As I said earlier, we've got some awesome students and some incredibly dedicated staff, and it seems they all like to show off their stuff at the end of the year because there are many more events happening in our schools than I can possibly list.  I would suggest strongly going to our website for each school to see a more comprehensive list of all the year events.  In the meantime, here are just a few:

*  Senior Internships - May 23 - June 3, 2016
*  5th Grade Elem. Field Day - June 3, 2016 at USM
*  K Elem. Field Day - June 6, 2016 at USM
*  Gr. 1 Elem. Field Day - June 7, 2016 at USM
*  Gr. 2 Elem. Field Day - June 8, 2016 at USM
*  Gr. 3 Elem. Field Day - June 9, 2016 at USM
*  Gr. 4 Elem. Field Day - June 10, 2016 at USM
*  Step up day for MS to HS - June 6, 2013
*  Step up day at Elem. to MS - June 13, 2016
*  8th grade Celebration - June 10, 2016
*  GHS Graduation - June 12, 2016
*  Last Day of School - June 14, 2016

Again, each school has all kinds of things happening, so please reach out to your school's office to get the most up to date information on what's happening!

Finally, before I close, I just wanted to make sure everyone was reminded to GET OUT AND VOTE on June 14, 2016.  On this day, our school's proposed FY 17 budget will need to be "validated" via public referendum.  It's important that as many people as possible get out to vote.  As we teach our students here in Gorham, our democracy is only as good as the individuals who participate in it!  So be sure to save the date on your calendar so you can be an active part of our local democracy!  I will be posting one more blog post in early June to review highlights of the budget one more time, and I will also be placing a one-page summary in the Gorham Times for the June 2nd issue so keep your eyes open for that.  Also, you can find a complete copy of our proposed FY 17 budget by clicking here:

And as always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask!