Good afternoon and Happy Friday to everyone! It's been another great week here in the Gorham Schools!
Here's just a few pictures of folks taking advantage of some of our outdoor learning spaces as a way of showing just how creative our teachers are being in making sure our learning environments are engaging and safe for all our children! THANK YOU Again to all who contributed to helping make these spaces available for our students across all five schools!
Ok, lots to share...so let's get to it!
PROCEDURES/NOTIFICATIONS FOR REPORTING CASES OF COVID19 AND/OR POSSIBLE EXPOSURES
First, I just wanted to remind folks that parents and community members can always log onto our website and click on the "COVID-19" Tab at the top of the page and then click on "Active COVID-19 Cases Summary" to see how many active cases may (or may not) be in our schools at any given time. This summary sheet is updated DAILY Monday through Friday.
Second, I wanted to be sure and let folks know that IF there is a positive case where potential exposures MAY have occurred at any of our schools or programs there is a specific protocol that we must utilize. This protocol has been created by the Maine Department of Education in conjunction with DHHS and CDC. I am sharing THIS LINK to those protocols now. Please note that there are two blank template letters at the end of the appendices. One letter would go out to the whole community while one letter would go out only to those who may have been directly exposed to a positive case. These two letters and the summary page on our website will be the way I officially communicate information to the public regarding COVID-19. If you "hear through the grapevine" other information...well please know that is likely not accurate information.
My intention is not to overwhelm you by sharing this information (because it is pretty "thick"). Instead, my intention is to make sure you know that these protocols exist and that our school nurses, nurses aids and administrative teams are well versed in following them and that if you aren't hearing this information directly from us - you should probably suspect its accuracy. We are prepared for the possibility of an outbreak in our schools and we will communicate effectively using these protocols if one occurs.
UPDATED RE-OPENING PLAN INFORMATION AND NEW Q&A DOCUMENT
I wanted you to know that we have updated the schools re-opening plans to provide a little more detail on the types of information that will be used to make decisions regarding potential decisions to move between our Red, Yellow, and Green models. You can review those changes by CLICKING HERE and going to page 55 to read more.
Also, we have added a new feature to our COVID-19 web page. Its a new "Live Q&A DOCUMENT" focused on answering some of the more "frequent flyer" questions we've been getting at our schools regarding what to do if... as it relates to COVID-19. The document is linked off the district's main page under the COVID-19 tab. I also linked it HERE for your convenience.
***NEW*** FREE MEALS NOW AVAILABLE FOR ALL GORHAM STUDENTS REGARDLESS OF INCOME THROUGH DEC. 30, 2020!
We are very excited to update everyone on our work to expand early college opportunities for GHS students. You may recall that we announced last March a brand new partnership with the University of Southern Maine where our students can earn 30+ college credits, which is just about the equivalent of their freshman year of college. This is an incredible opportunity for our students to save a lot of money on future college costs. Taking college classes in high school also builds our students’ aspirations and helps prepare our students for life after high school.
GHS students can choose from more than 15 courses at GHS and many more at USM where they have the potential to earn college credits. Please click the image below (or this link if that doesn't work) to see the news story that aired last March about our new partnership with USM:
We are excited to report that, given current enrollments in these Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes and classes at USM, GHS students are positioned to earn over 2000 college credits. Given that the current cost of a USM credit is $281, our students collectively have the opportunity to save over $550,000.
Please note, however, that these credits are not a given. To earn these credits, our students need to perform well on Advanced Placement exams, CLEP exams, or earn a particular grade in a class. The data here represents the potential of what we hope will become the norm for our students, but we are mindful, given that this is our first year implementing this new program and given we are facing many challenges due to the current pandemic, we may not reach this lofty goal this year. Based on our students’ performance in previous years, however, we are confident our students will do very well.
I will be sharing more detailed information on each of these projects over the course of the next few blog posts.
For today's blog post, I wanted to share some pictures to demonstrate the need for TWO of the projects listed above. To me, pictures usually are worth 1,000 words! Please click below to view a shared google folder of pictures for each
Project #3: Narragansett Bus Loop and Sidewalk Upgrades and Repairs. - this project will repair and replace pavement and curbing in the Narragansett Bus loop area which as you can see by viewing the pictures is in need of some TLC.
Project #4: Middle School Sidewalk Repairs. - this project will repair the sidewalks in front of Gorham Middle School. Again, pictures show it all...but bottom line, the current condition of the sidewalk is becoming a safety hazard for members of the public, students and staff as they enter the building.
I'll share more pictures and information regarding the other projects in upcoming blogs! Stay tuned!
UPDATE ON GORHAM COMMUNITY SUPPORT COORDINATION WORKThe group met again last night and we are making excellent progress! So much so that we have SOME OF OUR PAGES READY for folks to join if you are interested. I have linked those FaceBook pages below...but please know if you don't see your school/grade level listed - that just means they are working to finalize their pages and I'll get links out to folks once they are ready to begin. In the meantime, I didn't want to slow down the work by holding back on the others!
Remember, these Facebook pages are created by and coordinated by PARENT VOLUNTEERS representing each school. The purpose of these pages is to offer a platform whereby parents can help parents through these most difficult and unique times by sharing resources, posting important information, and just supporting one another. The group has worked hard to establish some common "norms" and expectations for the use of these pages. I have embedded them below so you can review before clicking on the links.
Those PARENTS/GUARDIANS who participate in this shared community will…
Treat each other KINDLY using the characteristics of our schools code of conduct: Honesty, Compassion, Courage, Respect and Responsibility,.
Understand that the resources and pages provided are done so by volunteers who are doing the best they can to provide a helpful service to our community during these difficult times.
Share helpful resources that other families may find valuable in helping them to navigate COVID-19.
Understand that it is your responsibility to vet the resources provided by other parents on these pages.
Communicate needs to the coordinator of each site who will do their best to respond and/or share with Superintendent of schools to find additional resources and supports.
Those PARENTS/GUARDIANS who participate in this shared community will NOT…
Use the page as a political forum for debate on ANY topic. Debates are not allowed.
Moderators and/or page administrators reserve the right to remove posts that don’t align
with these established norms/guidelines.
OK, with this in mind then...below are the links to the pages that are ready to start "rolling"... I will post the others in my next blog when they are ready!
- Gorham Community Support: Great Falls Elementary K-2
- Gorham Community Coordinators Village K-2
- Gorham Community Support Village 3-5
- Gorham Middle School Gr. 6
- Gorham Community Support Page - Class of 2026 - 7th Grade