Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Look Back at the First Half of The Year

It is hard to believe that we are already half-way through our school year here in Gorham!  It has been a great year so far and we have already accomplished so much.  Granted, we've also had our challenges as well (which I'll outline below a little later) but on the whole - we couldn't have asked for more!

We started off the school year having completed a huge amount of facilities upgrades as part of the approved referendum from Fall of 2015 for just over $1 million dollars.  With those funds, plus funds from our local Capital Improvement Plan (CIPS) funds we were able to accomplish the following:

-  Roof replacements and Restorations at GHS and Village Elem.
-  Roof replacement for part of Narragansett Elem. Roof.
-  Boiler replacement at Village Elem.
-  HVAC control & air handler renovations at Village Elem.
-  Lock & Hardware replacement for doors at GMS and GHS
-  Completion of District-wide security camera upgrades
-  Electrical System upgrades for GMS Security and Fire Systems
-  Upgrades to GHS Library
-  Upgrades to Village Elem. Library
-  Upgrades to GHS Cafeteria
-  Upgrades to Village Staff Room
-  Improvements to Adult Ed. Entrance at GMS
-  Upgrades to some brickwork at Village Elem.
-  Replacement of various exterior doors at GHS
-  Maintenance on outdoor bleachers at GHS
-  Upgrades to intercom system at GHS
-  Replacement of flooring at Narragansett Elem.

WOW!  That was a lot of work!  Now, not all this work is highly visible - but please know it is all so important to making sure our schools are safe, secure, and properly equipped for learning!

Once the first day of school hit, the whole fall was a blur!  In addition to our usual educational excellence, our schools also had a banner fall for showing off our athletic prowess!  All of our fall teams (except one) made their respective post seasons with THREE earning Regional and/or State Championships.  Our GHS Golf team, girls soccer, and boys soccer teams won respectively!

I so enjoyed being able to attend two state championship soccer games back to back in Portland, and although it was disappointing not to walk away with at least one gold ball. .. it was still an awesome season showcasing the many athletic talents of our Gorham students!

Also, during the fall, I was able to take some time to visit the Portland Arts and Technology High School to spend a morning with one of our very own GHS students.  Felix was gracious enough to guide my tour by first keeping me company riding the bus into PATHS, then by showing me around his masonry class, and then by actually teaching me how to build a brick wall.  And no - I'd NEVER done that before. .. so you can see what a great teacher Felix was!


It was a great day and a great program!  Next time, I'll need to be sure to visit a WRVC program!

Of course, our business is in "teaching" and "learning" and in making sure our students are "prepared and inspired" to succeed in their postsecondary futures - and teach and learn we do - A LOT!  Here's just a few clips of that in action from each of our Schools:

Village Elem. School

Great Falls Elem. School

Narragansett Elem. School

Gorham Middle School 

Gorham High School

What great students we have and what great learning environments we have created with the incredible support of our community, our parents, and with our incredibly talented staff!

Yes, we have our challenges.  There's the constant challenge of funding, there's the challenge of addressing our increasing enrollments, and there's the challenge of just simply balancing all the things that we are tasked to do so that we are able to do the essential things with excellence.  Many of those same challenges are faced by other schools across the region and the state as a whole, but what often separates Gorham from others is our ability to come together as an entire community to support one another and to work together to creatively problem solve and move forward with a focus on achieving our ultimate goal of "Preparing and Inspiring" our youth for their successful futures!

As I look back and reflect upon the work accomplished so far this year, it has been incredible.  We still have much to do - especially in the area of moving towards full implementation of our Proficiency Based Learning System - but the good news is, we have all the "right stuff" to accomplish any goal we set for ourselves because we have an incredibly talented staff, a supportive community, and some of the best darn students in the state!  GO RAMS!

P.S. - My next blog will be the fourth in a series on Proficiency Based Learning where I outline what our system looks like at the classroom level, what our plans are for grading and reporting, and just what it means to be "proficient" and to graduate from GHS with a Proficiency Based Diploma.  Please stay tuned!