Thursday, May 7, 2020

Thursday May 7 Blog Update

Good afternoon/evening everyone!  Thanks for "tuning in" for another special edition of my EXCITING blog updates...yeah right!  Just kidding...let's just get to the "good stuff" shall we?  Here we go!

A Reminder About My 360 Leadership Survey

So far I've had some parents participate...but I'd love to see MORE!  I realize I said the deadline wasn't until May 22 (which is accurate)...but want to make sure folks here is my weekly reminder.  I'll send another one out next week and one the following and try not to be too "pushy"! ☺

Again, for those who may be hesitant...the survey is a leadership survey on my performance as your Superintendent of Schools.  I welcome and encourage your feedback on this survey.  The results are completely anonymous and will be shared with the School Committee as part of my formal evaluation process.  I will also use the results to help inform goal setting processes for 2020-21.  I would truly and sincerely appreciate your participation.  Just click on the link below...should take no more than 10-15 minutes.  THANK YOU!


Questions Regarding 8th Grade Recognition

My blog post the other day highlighting our plans for GHS graduation ceremonies for seniors spurred some questions from folks regarding what our plans are for 8th grade recognition.  I wanted folks to know that those plans are being worked on at this very time.  Mr. Donahue and Mr. Smith are both working diligently with students, staff, and parents to figure out how best to celebrate our 8th graders in this new "virtual" and "distance" world.  I've heard some really great ideas already, and they are narrowing in on the final one - but not there yet.  The plan will be presented to the Gorham School Committee (as well as all other transition plans) at the May 13 meeting so by then we'll definitely have more details.  Please stay tuned, but know and trust we will absolutely find a way to cheer on our GMS 8th graders who are getting ready to become GHS Rams!

End of Year Calendar - Last Day of School Clarifications

Since I have had a few questions - just wanted to try and clarify for folks. The "last day of school" for students in grades K-11 is officially June 16, 2020.  So students should be prepared to work with teachers up until that very last day.  As is typical even during our "regular school experience" the last few weeks of school can be more focused on interventions, enrichment, and transition experiences.  Because of this schedules may look very different for students (I know, hard to compare to the different they are already experiencing) but students are expected to participate in planned activities up through that last day (June 16).

These "transition" activities will begin in a staggered manner across grade levels.  For our GHS seniors, their last day of "new learning" will be May 15 and they will then spend the next few weeks on enrichment and intervention activities and then some considerable time planning for their graduation ceremony(s), all culminating with their "final day" on June 7 as they graduate from GHS.

For students in grades 9-12 this "pivot" to focus on enrichment, interventions, and transition activities will begin on June 1, 2020 but students will be expected to still participate in all planned activities through June 16.  For students in grades K-8 the "pivot" to enrichment, interventions and transition activities will begin on June 8 (although some transition activities will begin earlier than that) and students will be expected to participate in all planned activities through June 16.

Because of our distance learning specific student schedules will vary but generally speaking - we will begin the annual process of transitioning students to the next school year in early June and then everything will be wrapped up by June 16.  I hope this helps to provide clarity...if not - please reach out with specific questions as I am more than happy to answer them!

Transportation Information Will be Needed Again this Summer

Just a heads up that we will be collecting whole-sale information from parents on transportation pick up and drop off locations for the fall of 2020 once again this summer.  Soon you will be getting specific details on where to go to complete a survey to provide this information to us.

As you know, this coming year will be the first year we implement the 2nd phase of changes for our transportation policy.  Generally speaking, most  things will be the same with one significant change.  With the EXCEPTION of Certified Day Care Providers, we will now only be picking students  up and dropping them off at locations within each of the three NEW attendance zones.  You can check out the updated listing of streets by CLICKING HERE and the new map by  CLICKING HERE.  If you are unsure where your home falls, please feel free to call 222-1012 to speak with Rhonda Warren and she can direct you from there to answer that question.

Again, more information will be coming about how we can collect this needed information from parents - I just wanted everyone to have a reminder this change is still "on" for the coming school year so you can be thinking of it and have  plenty of time to plan for it if it involves changes for your family.

Once again, if you have any questions, please reach out to me directly at

Upcoming Meetings...

 I listed these on the last blog, but didn't include here goes:

May 12 @ 6:30 p.m. Joint Budget Meeting with Gorham Town Council to present FY 21 proposed budget.  CLICK HERE for agenda and zoom link information.
May 13 @ 7:00 p.m. Regular Gorham School Committee meetingCLICK HERE for agenda and zoom link information.
May 14 @  6:30 p.m. Dunk and Discuss Event with Superintendent Perry.  CLICK HERE for link.  (password:  138161)

For the Dunk and Discuss event, there is no formal agenda...just come on...ask questions, share comments and discuss.  Coffee is optional! ☺

One More Thing for Teacher Appreciation Week

Similarly to what I did for principals last week, I wanted to give folks a chance to share their appreciation of our teachers in a quick and easy - yet meaningful way!  If you could take JUST ONE MINUTE to click on the link below and use one word to describe our awesome teachers in the google form provided, I will take the results and create a wordle to share with all of our teachers.  This is for ANY PARENT OR STUDENT to participate in...but just one word please!  Thanks!  Here's the link:


I will share the wordle on Friday for our teachers as a way to cap off a great week of celebration!  THANK YOU!

On this same note...I also wanted to just take a minute to THANK YOU as parents who were newly thrust into the role of Teacher this this SHORT video clip for a Thank You.

Village Elementary Rock Artists!

Just sharing some of the awesome rock art going on over at Village Elementary School courtesy of some of our very talented VES students!  Awesome!  Keep sending those positive vibes!


Some Good Resources for Parents

Wanted to share this article for parents about how to take time for YOU during this pandemic!  A great article...and definitely worth the read!  Check it out!

Maine Public Broadcasting Network is quickly becoming one of my favorite resources for FREE educational materials for all ages...they are really doing a great job.  If you haven't already looked, check it out using the link below and click on "education" to find a wonderful resource for all ages!

K-3 Chromebooks Coming Soon

As I mentioned in my last blog...we have already begun sending home chromebooks to families in grades K-3.  I want all families to know that at this time, we are telling teachers to KISS.  You heard me..."KISS" other words - to "Keep Things Simple..." you can fill in the other "S" as you'd like☺
The point of me sharing this is so that parents know what our expectations are for these devices.  We are sending them home TO HELP...not to add additional pressure on staff or parents or students for that matter!  Each chromebook will come with a folder piece of paper that will help parents to turn the machine on and get students logged in.  If you have ANY difficulty, please DO NOT PANIC!  Instead, reach out to your classroom teacher and they can help - either themselves, or by directing you to tech support to assist.  Classroom teachers will continue to treat their instruction similarly to what they have been and now just hope that rather than 3 siblings fighting over one family computer, or having "dad" delay his work meeting so that "Johnny" can use the computer for a school based zoom meeting will help to reduce anxiety in the household.  What we do NOT want is for folks to think that now that these machines are out there - we expect them to be used for everything and that teachers will be using them for everything, suddenly moving all instruction to the chromebooks.  Please know that isn't the case.

Overall, our teachers in grades K-3 will be as "new" in using these machines as students and as you will we are asking everyone to take it slow, take it easy and to be sure to KISS frequently! 👌

Some More GMS Poetry from Mr. Lambert's class

Just had to share!  We have such awesome budding authors!

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