Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tuesday June 9 Update

Good afternoon/evening everyone!  What a weekend full of community-wide celebration and congratulations for the GHS class of 2020!  It was incredible to be a part of and to witness our community come together in this socially distant world to provide a graduation ceremony for our seniors that they will remember for a lifetime!  Here's a few pictures in case you missed it...




What a great celebration of a great group of students!  What I found most impressive about our students is that they really care tremendously about each other and the world around them.  These students had THEIR graduation taken from them, and yet rather than sit back and wallow in their misfortunes, they worked hard with our staff to make this celebration uniquely theirs and something they will remember for the rest of their lives!  Many of these students also participated in the recent "Black Lives Matter" rally in Gorham to show their willingness to create a more anti-racist culture in our schools and in our community.  They also listened to Mr. Jandreau when he encouraged them to take some time to thank those who helped get them  to where they are, including their parents.  And we all know how "easy" it is for teenagers to say "thank you" to their parents right!  These students took it upon themselves to do that very thing and shared it on social media.  If you get a chance...check it out!  Its a little over 10 minutes long...bring tissues! 

As with any good "business" we are often judged by the "quality" of our "product".  I couldn't be more proud of our students and how well they represent our community and what we stand for.  It is a testament to our K-12 school system and to the entire community of Gorham that our students graduate not only with the academic skills they need to be successful, but with the kind and true hearts they need to be caring human beings!  Man do we need more of that in this world!  Great job seniors  - Great job staff - Great job parents/guardians - Great job  Gorham!

More End of the Year Celebrations - Spotlight Narragansett

The Gorham Schools staff know it is so important to work with our students to celebrate the end of another school year and to provide closure to one year as we look forward to another year.  Our teachers and school communities have been working hard to do this very thing for our students and their families.  We know we can't do these things as we would normally want to - but that doesn't mean they aren't being done and done well  for those who deserve it most!   Our Children!  Below are just a few pictures of some of the incredible end of year activities that are going on at Narragansett Elem. School .  These activities are going on across all of our schools - but I didn't want to make the post too long by sharing them all!  


Black Lives Matter & More Resources

Since last week, I can’t stop thinking about the Black Lives Matter movement we see playing out across our community and our country. I want our community to know, especially our students and families who are black, that black lives matter to me. As a school district, we will be reviewing practices, policies, and procedures to this effect.  This work, when done well, takes time and significant effort but there is no question it is an effort well worth undertaking!  In the meantime, let's keep the important conversation going!  Below are some great resources that may help.
Maine Department of Education Resource List

Updated Padlet from K-5 Support Services

Common Sense Media Resources

Edutopia article on building understanding across racial differences

Re-Opening Plan & Reminder About Thought Exchange Surveys

Just a reminder that we have TWO active Thought Exchange Surveys going on right now aimed at helping parents and students to provide feedback to the district leadership team in our continued work on developing a comprehensive Re-Opening plan for the Gorham Schools.  The links for the two surveys are below...If you haven't already participated, please do...if you have, please log back in and rate the comments of others!  THANK YOU!

I will be presenting our Re-Opening Plan framework to the Gorham School Committee TOMORROW NIGHT at their regular meeting scheduled to begin via zoom at 7:00 p.m. You can find the agenda and packet materials by CLICKING HERE.  You can get the zoom link information at the top of the agenda or by going to our district website and clicking on the calendar link.  I am also specifically linking in the slide presentation on the re-opening plan framework HERE for you to review.  

After the School Committee has had a chance to provide feedback on the re-opening plan framework, I will be getting an initial survey out to families asking if you are considering sending students to school this fall based upon your knowledge of what we are currently thinking school may look like.  This survey will also ask if you would be able to provide personal transportation to students or if you would need students to ride the bus.  Both of these questions will have important implications for our continued planning this summer - so when you see those surveys...please participate.  I promise to make them short! 

Summer Backpack Program Information and SURVEY LINK

From Heather Whitaker...

BackPack Program Update:
This Friday we will disperse our BackPack Program Summer Box, which will contain enough weekend food to last through July. 

Given the incredible generosity of the Gorham community, we have raised sufficient funds to supply participants with a midsummer box, which can be picked up at Gorham Middle School on Thursday, July 23rd. GMS. 5-7 PM.

I have included a link to a survey which allows Gorham families with school-aged children to sign-up for the midsummer box (one box per student). We need to collect this information in order to purchase the appropriate amount of food items. We are asking for both NEW and EXISTING participants to sign-up for this additional service. 

Here's the survey link:

"Operation Feed Gorham" CLOSING FOR SUMMER, but Resources Still Available For Gorham Families...

A Message from Michael Sanborn, our School Nutrition Director...

With the upcoming dismissal of school for summer vacation, Operation Feed Gorham will soon be ending.  The last date for feeding families through this program will be Monday, June 15th.  However, we understand that many families could benefit from continued meals throughout the summer months.  Gorham Schools has partnered with the Westbrook School District to provide ongoing breakfast and lunches to our students and families. 

The Westbrook program will run June 22nd through August 21st. Westbrook will be serving meals Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of each week.  On Thursday they will provide bulk groceries for 4 days.

This program is free to all children under the age of 19.

Distribution locations are as follows:

Distribution Times**
Westbrook Regional Vocational Center
125 Stroudwater St.
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Westbrook Middle School
471 Stroudwater St.
10:15 am - 10:25 am
St. Anthony's Church parking lot
268 Brown St.
10:00 am - 10:30 am
Saccarappa Elementary School
125 Stroudwater St.
10:40 am - 11:00 am
Westbrook Pointe
26 Prospect St.
11:00 am - 11:15 am
Congin Elementary School
410 Bridge St.
10:25 am - 10:35 am
Westbrook Community Center
426 Bridge St.
10:36 am - 10:45 am
        ** Distribution times may be adjusted as program needs change.

Meals are served ‘to go’ and must be picked up by a parent or guardian. Breakfast is available with lunches in all locations. 

To participate in the program or for more information, please call Mary Emerson, Westbrook School Nutrition Director, at 591-6054 or email emersonm@westbrookschools.org.

Additional information regarding summer feeding programs may be found at https://www.summerfoodrocks.org/.

Thank you and have a safe and healthy summer! - Michael

Additionally, the Gorham Food Pantry is also open and available.  You can find out details about how to access the Gorham Food Pantry's services by CLICKING HERE.  

Before closing on this topic I did want to take just a moment to recognize and THANK all the "Superheroes" who contributed to making "Operation Feed Gorham" a success these past few months!  Thank you to SNP Director Michael Sanborn, Aspire Gorham Coordinator Maureen O'Brien, and Hollis Cobb, Business Manager.  Thank you to all the SNP staff who worked tirelessly to make this program happen for our families, and thank you to all our bus drivers for help making sure the food got to where it needed to go each distribution day and thank you to our volunteers who helped provide the additional manpower to make it all work!  Thank you to Heather Whitaker and her team from the backpack program for helping to get the word out about the program and thank you to the Gorham Food Pantry for their assistance as well.  Thank you to the Gorham Recreation Department for their work in collaborating to provide meals to Avesta Housing residents here in Gorham.  Finally, thank you to the businesses and others who donated time and resources to make it all come together!  It was a true community wide collaboration!  THANK YOU!

Interested in High Quality Summer Academic Work For Students K-12?

ExactPath Summer Option For All Student K-12
Recognizing that some of you may want your child to continue with their learning this summer, we are providing an online learning program from Edmentum called Exact Path for all students K-12. This exciting digital tool personalizes learning across grades K–12 in reading, language arts, and math. It starts by targeting each student’s academic strengths and weaknesses with a computer-adaptive assessment, and then it prescribes a tailored playlist of lessons, practice, and short quizzes at their learning level. Students can earn rewards and monitor their own progress each step of the way. 
Please join us for ExactPath introduction Zoom meeting on 6/23 to learn more about it and how to register your child for it:

These sessions will be recorded and links shared in case you can't make these meeting dates/times - but as you all know...its always better to hear it "live"! 

Additionally, you can check out the following information to help you to learn how to utilize this incredible tool over the summer!
Exact Path K-2 Student Welcome Video (for students to view)
Exact Path 3-5 Student Welcome Video (for students to view)
Kudos Board Reminder - Please Help our Staff Celebrate the End of the Year Too!

We welcomes all families to contribute to a “Kudos Board.” We are hoping you will use this public space to show your gratitude to the teachers, ed techs, special educators, learning lab staff, food service staff, bus drivers, office staff, school nurses, social workers and school counselors who have had a positive impact on your child this year.  Please go to the "Kudos Board" and upload your picture or video and then send along a thank you! 

Here's the link to the board. I will share results with staff on June 16th so please participate today!

In closing, I wanted to share a quote that I came across in my online "wanderings" the other day...definitely timely and something I thought might add a little "chuckle" to your day!

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