Friday, October 30, 2020

October 30, 2020 Blog Update

Before I get to  the informational part of this update, I just  wanted to share how proud I am  of our schools, our school staff, students and parents.  Its been an interesting time these past several  months, but  our school community continues to be resilient, creative, and focused on  the right things  - supporting one another! An example (of many possible ones):  who says you can't do a school wide pumpkin painting event under COVID 19 physical distancing restrictions?  Narragansett students and families  certainly  don't!  CLICK HERE to view the full slide show...LOVE TO SEE THOSE SMILES!

We just finished  week #8 of face to face instruction under our hybrid model.   As we  continue to see COVID 19 cases rise all around us and across the state, let's first count our blessings and then let's continue to show our community how much we care about one another by:

*  wearing those masks, 
*  washing/sanitizing those hands frequently and 
*  keeping our 6 ft of physical distance 

I challenge all of us to do what we can to keep this positive train going!  GO  RAMS!

Now on to the  informational "stuff"...


K-5 remote learning families should have gotten information yesterday regarding a survey that we'd  like you to complete.  It is earlier than we had anticipated originally, but that's Gorham...always trying to reflect, correct and improve!  The survey asks K-5 remote learning families  if there are any families interested  in having their students return to face to face  instruction via the hybrid model beginning on Nov. 30, 2020.  I am sharing this with all of you so that you are all aware and so you all understand the reasons for asking this question of K-5 remote families earlier than anticipated.

As you may recall, as when were getting  ready to open schools back up again this fall, we asked K-12 families to choose  between  sending students to school 2 days per week under our hybrid plan or participating in our fully remote learning  program.  We made it clear that if  folks chose to participate in the  fully remote option they would have to stay in  that program option through Jan. 25, 2021. We needed this level of commitment from families to provide consistency, and we needed to make staffing and transportation decisions, etc. based on numbers of students participating in person and remotely in our  programming.  This all made perfect sense at the time, and still does - however - we neglected to really think about the differences between K-5 and 6-12  schedules.  K-5  operates its programming based upon trimesters while grades 6-12 operate their schedules based upon quarters.  Although January 25,  2021 makes perfect sense for our 6-12 learners because it falls at the beginning of the 2nd semester (end of 2nd quarter), it doesn't make as much educational sense for our K-5  learners as that date would fall smack dab in the middle of the 2nd trimester.

The District  Leadership Team identified this issue and have worked to develop a plan through which we could allow families currently in the K-5 remote  learning program to elect to come back to the  hybrid model of  learning at  the conclusion of Trimester 1 (Nov. 30, 2020).  This timing makes much more  educational sense  for our  students at these grade levels.

That  being  said, I am asking all K-5 fully remote learning families to please participate in the survey linked below.   The survey is due Nov.  2 so that we have the data needed to make the necessary adjustments that would  allow K-5 remote students to return to the hybrid model beginning on  Nov. 30. 

Here is the survey link: 
Please be sure to read the  full introductory letter for specific details!

Now, just because we have moved this timeline up  for K-5 does not mean K-5 remote families MUST choose to return to hybrid.  K-5 remote learning families may absolutely choose to remain in  this program.  If you do, we will check in again at the end  of January to honor our original timeframe  (however we'd discourage transitions for K-5 students at this time), and one more time at the  end of the 2nd trimester (March 13, 2021). As was the case from the beginning, if a  family participates in the hybrid model, that family can always choose to go to the fully remote program at any time...they just can't go from the remote program back to hybrid until these designated times.

For 6-12 fully remote  families, we will be sticking with the original date to check in with you on this important decision.   We are keeping this timeline because of how the courses are structured online  for participating students.  We'll be sending  a survey out to 6-12 families as we get to December.

For any of our remote learning families, please  reach out to your learning coordinators with any questions you  may  have!


As I foreshadowed in my last blog post...snow days will look very different this year.  Yesterday K-5 families received  a copy of this SNOW DAY PARENT LETTER in their Thursday folders. Today, I'm making sure to share with all families K-12 via  this blog post  and then Grades 6-12 families will likely also see  it again in  your school based weekly updates.   Please read this  letter  and reach out to your  building principal and/or your child's teacher with any questions you may have.

Also as was mentioned in the snow day parent letter, those families who are interested in participating in  our snow day meal program need  to sign up to participate. On snow days we can anticipate coming  (which isn't all of them, but likely most of them), families are able to sign up for an  additional  meal to be either sent home or delivered to them  on the day before the storm.  You can  learn more about this program and how  to  sign up by CLICKING  HERE (scroll to just  below home delivery message).  If you have questions,  please call Michael Sanborn at 222-1375.


After Wednesday's announcement by the MPA regarding the delay of the winter sports season from its typical starting date of Nov. 16, I am starting to get some questions regarding what our plans are for winter athletics  in Gorham.  First, I want to let folks know that this delay was not a with everything else this year...typical schedules really aren't able to be "typical" with COVID 19 around. 

The MPA  is doing exactly what it needs  to do to develop plans to safely conduct winter programming.  They are working collaboratively with the Maine Department of Education, DHHS, Maine Superintendents Association and others to look at ways in which these programs may safely occur.   Their timeline is solid and we hope to have detailed plans in place well in advance of any newly established start date.  

For those who are interested, I can share that the basis for any  planning in  this area is through the use of the State's Community Sports  Guidelines.  Feel free to click on the link to learn more.

Whatever the results of this important work - rest assured that the Gorham Schools will offer whatever programs we safely can for our students.  We strongly value the ability of our students to be active in our schools beyond academics and this won't  change because of COVID 19.  We are working on "plan A",  "plan  B" and "plan  C" to make sure of it!  I know  that  our  trusted Athletic Director Tim  Spear will work  hard at keeping students and families informed.   I encourage  patience and please stay tuned!


If you haven't already done so (and many of you have), please remember to make a plan to get out and vote on November 3rd!  Need information on polling locations for this year?  CLICK HERE.  Need information on what's on the ballot?  CLICK  HERE.  Need information on the School's bond referendum question and the need for approval of our $5,689,000.00 bond request...check  out my blog posts for:

*  October 2, 2020 and

You may need to scroll a little on each blog post linked above, but each post gives specific details on all six projects requested as part of the school bond referendum question.  If you don't want to scroll for those details, you can CLICK HERE for a one page summary of each project as well.   

Also for those of you that weren't able to watch the Candidates forum for School Committee members...the link is below if you want to watch...

There is no more important civic duty than voting and this year, more than ever, our leaders definitely need to hear our collective voices!  See you at the polls! 


Just wanted to make  you all aware that I've put a few updates onto the COVID19 Webpage...nothing too  significant,  just some updated info on what are considered common and less common symptoms and some updated flow charts from the MDOE.  I've updated  the student/family handbook  to reflect  these changes.  

As always, if you have questions, please reach  out to your school nurse!


The Gorham School Committee continues to work on  refinement of its DRAFT Anti-Racism Policy  which you can view by CLICKING HERE.  At the last meeting of the Gorham School Committee, the Committee also voted to create an  "Anti-Racism Ad Hoc Advisory Committee".  The purpose of this new committee is listed below:

"The Gorham School Committee and the Gorham School Department reject all forms of racism as (it is) destructive to the district’s mission, vision, values, and goals.  This Committee is established in an effort to eliminate all forms of racism, intolerance, inequity, and disparity in our school system. We aim to ensure that each school creates a welcoming equitable culture and inclusive environment that reflects and celebrates the diversity of the district’s student population, their families, the community, and an environment that reflects our Code of Conduct."

The Committee will be chaired by a designated member of the Gorham School Committee and will be jointly administered by the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent. Additionally the Committee will be facilitated by an outside trained consultant. Members of this Committee will include the following:

* Students (2 GHS),
* Staff (1 from each school),
* Parents/Guardians (1 each grade span),
* Community Members (2),
* 1 Administrator from each grade span, and the Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent, and
* 3 School Committee Members

Additional invited guests will be brought in as needed throughout the course of the Committee's work.

Among such other duties as the School Committee may from time to time assign, members shall collaborate with the Superintendent and/or their designee to support the achievement of the objectives specified in the Anti-Racism policy to:

  • Develop a plan to provide training to all administrators, teachers, and staff in cultural competency and anti-racist practices;

  • Review existing policies, programs, professional development and bring ideas/recommendations  in an effort to promote racial justice; 

  • In partnership with the “Teaching and Learning Committee”, examine and advise in the implementation of potential changes to curriculum and instructional materials for all grades to ensure they reflect cultural and racial diversity and include a range of perspectives and experiences, particularly those of historically underrepresented groups of color;  

  • Review discipline data based upon demographics and recommend alternative discipline processes, such as restorative practices; and

  • Examine demographic participation rates in curriculum programming and opportunities; 

  • Assist in the development of a plan to recruit a more diverse applicant pool;

  • Strengthen Civil Rights Teams at each school and support students and staff in their work.

The School Committee will be working to form this new committee through the month of November with the intent of beginning its work in earnest in December after the anti-racism policy has been voted upon. If you are a parent or community member interested in participating in this important work, please reach out directly to let me know. Again, my email is Thank you!


I don't  know about all  of  you - but I am tired!  Not the physical variety...but the mental and emotional variety.  Something tells me I am not alone!  Parents/ have been working around the clock doing their best to help make this hybrid learning model work and that is no small feat!  Administrators, teachers and school staff have been doing the same!   Students have been working hard to focus and do their best to learn  in this new environment.  All of us  have been making the best of this poor situation and have remained focused on supporting one another, building and strengthening relationships.  All of this while being bombarded by 15 political fliers  in the  mail  each day, TV and radio political ads, political signs, and whatever we call the news now-a-days!  I KNOW - IT IS EXHAUSTING!

The other day I was walking by Baxter Memorial Library and I remembered an incredible program that we did together in Gorham about three years ago now.  It was called  "Happy, Healthy Gorham" - remember that?  There were  so many great  activities that came out of that work that were so uplifting and  showed the positive power of community!  My personal favorite was when we had our students and  staff join in with area businesses,  USM and community members to create gratitude ribbons.  These cloth ribbons were everywhere - where you could write what you were grateful for.  They were then collected and strung up all along the sidewalk by Baxter Memorial Library.  It was a site to see...and wonderful to walk by and read all the things we were grateful for as a community.

Now,  I  realize my own limitations and know that I can't  possibly recreate that awesome work in just a month or so, but given the fact that the Thanksgiving break is coming up - I thought - what a great time to once again recognize what we  are all grateful for!  To step back from  the fray and daily grind and to just take a moment to breath  and see the larger picture of what is important in our community.  So instead of ribbons...I've created a digital  medium for the same purpose called a "Kudos Board".  I would  ask EACH OF  YOU (students, staff, parents, and  community members - so please share) to click on the link below and share with everyone what  YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR.  You can upload a photo or a video and a message sharing what you are grateful for.  Once folks have had a chance to post, I will share it have a little creative fun...follow our Code of Conduct and let's see what we can create together! I think we will  find that even though we are tired, and even though COVID doesn't seem  to be going anywhere anytime soon - we still all have so much to be grateful for as a community!   


Just one more quick thing to "brag about"... did you know that through our Aspire Gorham grant, we've been able to purchase THREE Virtual Reality kits for use in our schools with the focus on allowing students to experience career focused learning activities in our classrooms via distance?  These VR programs allow students to "dig  in" to hands on work experiences virtually without ever leaving the classroom - at least not physically!  Pictured below is Adam.  Adam is a GHS student who is one of the first students to utilize this exciting new program!  Adam is interested in mechanics.  Through use of this program, Adam is able to practice assembling and disassembling bikes and furniture virtually.  The program is engaging, it teaches real skills that can be used in the workplace, it is safe and best of all - it  is fun!  Thank you Aspire Gorham for making this possible for our students!


The Maine Department of Education just launched a new FREE resource for teachers and parents focused on Social Emotional Learning.  It really is an incredible resource...and did I mention it is FREE?

You can learn more by reading the News Release LINKED HERE.  Then feel free visit the home page, take a quick minute to sign up for a free account and then surf around all the great resources!

Friday, October 23, 2020

October 23 Blog Update

Before I dive into the updates for the week...I wanted to take a moment to provide a special thank you to OUR SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS!  If you weren't aware, this past week was School Bus Driver Appreciation Week across all of Maine's schools. We have incredible bus drivers here in Gorham who care passionately about the students and the community they serve...and our students and staff most certainly gave them a strong sense of appreciation  this week.   Just a few pictures  below, but please know our drivers got cards, notes of encouragement and plenty of smiles underneath those masks this past week and they deserved every piece of recognition they got!  OUR SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS IN GORHAM ROCK!


Now, on to the updates...


Our GHS students aren't going to let a little Global Pandemic get in the way of their fall play!  What a creative bunch!  Yes - they have found a  way to still have a play while following all the safety rules as a RADIO PLAY!  SO PROUD TO BE A RAM!  AWESOME WORK!

Check out the flyer for more information:

Live Streaming! 
It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Friday November 13 and Saturday November 14 at 7:30
Sunday November 15 at 2pm  
Email to reserve!


I know this is pretty short notice, but ...the Gorham Food Pantry is doing a food drive TOMORROW, October 24th from 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  You can drop  food items off anytime between that time.  They are located next to St. Anne's Church at 299-B on Main Street in Gorham.  Please see the flyer LINKED HERE for more details. This organization has helped our community so much over the years, and now more than ever they need our help to  keep doing the incredible work they do to support Gorham!

The Gorham Action Team for Youth is a coalition of people focused on promoting positive youth development and preventing at risk behavior for youth! We are looking for your input in what our Gorham community needs are, so we can continue to do this work. Please fill out this brief survey to let us know your thoughts and ideas so we can better serve our Gorham Youth. Please take just a few minutes to fill out this survey.


Baxter Memorial Library folks wanted to get in on the Halloween fun this year!  Of course this  year has created some special challenges  in what may have been traditional methods of celebrating, but that hasn't stopped them from becoming creative!  They've worked to create a fun alternative for children and families alike! 

Introducing the Harry Potter Horcrux Hunt! We will be placing flags with familiar horcrux insignias around downtown Gorham. We will have poetic clues posted on our website with a google form that participants can fill out with their answers.   Check out the flyer LINKED HERE and learn more on Baxter Memorial's website by CLICKING HERE.  Looks like loads of fun! 


I had put this out a while ago, but I've recently gotten some questions so wanted to make sure to be clear that because three of our schools will be utilized as polling locations this year, we have moved the November 3 date to  a remote only learning day for all students across grades k-12.  

This move will allow the town to utilize our schools as polling locations that are large enough to spread folks out and ensure appropriate distancing and other safety measure are in place for voting safely.  Please know that at the end of the evening, buildings will be sanitized thoroughly and will be ready for use by  students again  the next day.

Students in group B  who would have had their face to face learning day on Nov. 3 will now have their face to face learning day on Friday, November 6, 2020 so that all students still get their 2 face to face days of instruction that week. 

As a related reminder, if you want to keep track of A and B learning days scheduled throughout the school year, you can CLICK HERE to view our school district calendar.


If you haven't already done so (and many of you have), please remember to make a plan to get out and vote on November 3rd!  Need information on polling locations for this year?  CLICK HERE.  Need information on what's on the ballot?  CLICK  HERE.  Need information on the School's bond referendum question and the need for approval of our $5,689,000.00 bond request...check  out my blog posts for:

You may need to scroll a little on each blog post linked above, but each post gives specific details on all six projects requested as part of the school bond referendum question.  If you don't want to scroll for those details, you can CLICK HERE for a one page summary of each project as well.   

Also for those of you that weren't able to watch the Candidates forum for School Committee members...the link is below if you want to watch...

There is no more important civic duty than voting and this year, more than ever, our leaders definitely need to hear our collective voices!  See you at the polls! 


We are currently working on coding themes for Thought Exchange Survey Results...we had incredible  participation, which  is awesome...but that means it takes a little longer to code responses for accurate theming.  Our plan at this  point is to present the findings of all three surveys (Parents, 6-12 Students, and  Staff) at the November regular School Committee meeting.  That meeting is scheduled for THURSDAY, November 12 at 7:00 p.m.   We typically don't meet on Thursdays but due to the Holiday that week, it was moved.  The meeting will be live streamed on GOCAT for those that wish to watch.  We will then post the survey result summaries to everyone immediately after that.  I want to take a moment to THANK those that participated...the information gathered has already begun to be used to help strengthen programming for our students!  


As promised, I am moving forward with plans for a large scale "listening tour" with students,  parents and staff on the important topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in our schools.  I am currently working with Civil Rights Team leaders and others to determine the most appropriate means through which I can listen to the stories of our student experiences across grades K-12 and hope to have those plans solidified within the new few weeks.  For parents, I have developed a two step listening tour process.  The first involves voluntary participation in a google survey.  The aim of the survey is to offer up an ability for parents to share their experiences within the Gorham Schools with the issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in a safe and anonymous way.  The survey won't be your typical survey.  It won't ask your opinion.  Instead, it will ask you to share your experiences through the telling of stories.   At the end of the survey you will have the opportunity to share your name and email contact information if you'd like to set up a one on one meeting with me to more deeply share your stories and experience.  For those that wish to participate in this piece, I will then reach out to schedule a time to meet with you.  

To be clear, these surveys and potential follow up meetings will NOT be a time for me to lecture to you on this topic, and conversely, it is not intended to be a time whereby you lecture me on this topic.  Instead, the focus is on SHARING  REAL STORIES...SHARING OUR REAL EXPERIENCES...and on LISTENING to these shared experiences as they relate to our schools.  No judgement, no blame, no finger pointing.  Just respect, honesty, courage, compassion and responsibility - sound familiar? ☺

I would ask parents who are interested in participating to please complete the survey/story by November 20, 2020.  I look forward to hearing from you and as always, if you have questions, please feel free to email me at

Here is the link to the survey.  


As  was shared in my last blog post, I just wanted to remind  families that beginning on November 2, 2020 we will be closing down our two breakfast/lunch pick up sites.  Instead we are moving this program to full home delivery status.  This means that any family can get a free breakfast/lunch delivered to their home on their "at home learning days" or if you are a remote only family, on any day of the week.  Students will still be eligible for a free breakfast and lunch on the days they are present at school.  If you are interested in participating in this home delivery service, please go to the SNP website LINKED HERE and complete the survey.  Thank you!


Well if  you visited the SNP website from  the previous section, you probably saw a little something on there about snow days too.  I know, I know...most people DO NOT  want to be thinking about snow right now, myself most definitely included!  Unfortunately, it is getting close to that time of the year once again when we need to be thinking about snow days!  Along with everything else in 2020, COVID 19 is placing its "fingerprint" on snow days as well.   I wanted families to be aware that we are putting the finishing touches on plans for how we will deal with snow days this year, in a year like none other!  The good news looks like we'll  be able to continue our learning programs on snow days in a similar fashion to how  at home learning days are occurring now.  This means that we will NOT have to make these days up at the end of the year as usual which ultimately results in an earlier start to our summers.  The bad news is...well, that traditional snow days are likely not going to occur this year.  I know! I can hear the collective groans of students from here...and likely even louder screams from our GHS seniors!  My apologies!  This is why I wanted to get this news out there earlier rather than later!  A detailed parent letter will be going home on Thursday of this coming week with  more information on  exactly what to expect and  how these days will be communicated.  I will also link that detailed letter into my blog post so folks can be sure to see it.  For now, just wanted to make sure you all knew it was coming so you can look for it and be sure to read it when it is sent.  Please stay tuned.


Participation is picking up on these important sites...which is GOOD.  There is nothing like knowing there are other parents out there struggling with the same things you are, and focused on helping one another through these difficult times.  Sharing ideas, "tricks of the trade" and other resources with one another!  These pages are all about parents helping parents get through these unprecedented times!  You can join to seek support or you can join to offer it, or - more likely - BOTH...but I strongly encourage you to join!  Here are the links and numbers of members for each page...Hope to see you online!

That's plenty for this week...ENJOY YOUR WEEKENDS!

Friday, October 16, 2020

October 16 Blog Update

Good afternoon  everyone!   Happy Friday!  Hard to believe we are just finishing week 6 and are on to week 7 here soon and going strong (knock on wood)!  

Before I launch into some specific detail oriented information for families, I wanted to take a moment to DEEPLY THANK three current School Committee members who will  be ending their terms and not returning to the School Committee in November.

Pictured  above are current School Committee (SC) members (from left to right) Kate Livingston, Bill Benson and Jen Whitehead holding their ceremonial apples.  All three joined the SC three years ago and have served the community of Gorham well!  Our SC members ROCK! And these three are three of the  best who will surely be missed!  THANK YOU for your dedication to the children of Gorham!  I'm sure we'll see you in the future on the other side of the proverbial gavel!

Ok...on to the information part! 


Its' been a while since I've shared a video!  Here's a quick message from me regarding the importance of remaining vigilant as a community regarding the three key safety practices to prevent the spread of  COVID 19 - Wearing your mask,  Maintaining physical distancing,  and Washing/Sanitizing Hands frequently!

Listen to the message by CLICKING HERE!


I've recently has some questions that I have added to our online Q&A sheet, but thought might be best to be shared here too!  These questions  come from recent parent emails so I know if these folks  are thinking of these questions - other  parents are too!  Here goes:

Question:  With the Governor's new updated emergency order - what does it mean that now masks are required by everyone on school grounds (including parking lots) at all  times?  Does this  mean children attending school will no  longer be able  to  have mask breaks?  

Answer: The intent of the  Governor's most recent order is to make it crystal clear that everyone is expected to wear masks while on school grounds.  Delivery folks, contractors,  etc.  So yes,  the expectation is that if anyone is on school grounds (including  parking lots), during the school day, inside or outside, they should be wearing their masks. is also clear that supervised mask breaks by students that occur outside are still able to be conducted and in fact are encouraged insofar as required physical distancing can be maintained and so long as they are supervised.  So rest assured, our teachers are still doing what they can to offer students SAFE mask breaks during the course of the school day.

Question:  When you post a positive case on  the online summary sheet, if close contacts to that case later test positive, do you  add to  that number or are they then just included as  the "one case" listed?

Answer:  The summary sheet lists each known positive case of  COVID 19 in our schools so if individuals who  were close contacts to a case later test positive, they would be added to that number and not considered part of the original number.  Additionally, it should be known that when a  positive case has been medically cleared to return and cleared by CDC to return to school, that case will no longer be listed as an active positive case on the summary sheet.  Again,  you can view the summary sheet that is  updated DAILY by Clicking here

Question:  Are there reasons other than positive COVID 19 cases that would cause a school to move a classroom, grade level,  school or the whole district to the red model?  If so, what are they?

Answer:  There are TWO key things that might  cause us to have to move a classroom, grade level, school or district to the red model. The first is what you all would assume - that we have some sort of a breakout  of positive COVID 19  cases.  So far, we have only had to move 3 high school classrooms for one group only to the red model due to  1 positive  case at  GHS.   However, what actually may be more likely to occur that would drive a classroom, grade level or school into the red model is lack of staffing.  If staff are asked to quarantine  and/or are experiencing symptoms themselves and  are therefore staying home and we don't have the substitute manpower to cover these classrooms the only alternative we may have would  be to send the whole class, or school into the red model.  I will be honest, having to send staff members home to quarantine at the high school after the 1 positive case has tested the limits  of our substitute pool already.  If not for the awesomeness of other teachers at GHS being willing to pick up classes  during their planning time, we would likely have had to send additional classrooms and possibly even the whole school into the red model just due to a lack of staffing capacity.  Certainly something to be mindful of...oh - and if you are interested in being added to our sub list - please apply online HERE!   We require a high school diploma, MDOE fingerprinting, and completion of a training isn't bad at $95.00 per day and we could sure use the help!  We're also still looking for full time subs and duty monitors - these are full time positions through Dec.  30!  If you have questions about these employment opportunities, please email!

Question:  As the weather gets colder...will students still be able to go outside for mask breaks?

Answer:   Yes.  We will  use similar protocols to determine if it is possible to go outside for this purpose as we do with recess.  If the temperatures drop below a certain point and we can't have recess...well  we probably wouldn't be asking students to go outside for mask breaks either.  But by that same token, if we are sending students out to recess there shouldn't be a reason that they can't also go outside for mask breaks.  Clearly there will be more days this winter where outdoor mask breaks are not as available as they have been this fall...but rest assured our teachers want our students to have SAFE mask breaks as often as is possible so we will work to follow our existing protocols through the winter as long as mother nature allows!

Question:  What are the different levels of Red instruction?

Answer:   Depending upon conditions, individual classrooms can be asked to go "red" by group (A or B), by whole classroom (both A and B), by team (at GMS), by grade level, by school and by district.  This gives us lots of flexibility for how to address the safety of our students and staff while also attempting to balance the needs of  our students to be in school as much as possible.  We absolutely share this common goal!  Please know our primary goal is to ensure students are able to continue to access face to face instruction as much as possible.  We will keep this goal at the forefront of decision making, right along side of CDC rules and safety practices!  Rest assured, if your child is asked to remain home, if your child's classroom, grade or school is asked to stay home - our teachers  and staff will be prepared to help you and your children navigate our red models and we will work  to keep these red experiences as short as safely possible!

As always, if you have questions - please reach out to ask! 


Just a reminder to families out there that may have the need to ask technology related questions and to seek technology help!  Your first questions should always be to your child's classroom teachers as they are typically the ones best able to troubleshoot and answer questions in context.   However if you find yourself with a real "techie" question and you need's how to get them:

Students & Parents

High School & Middle School:

You may reach out to the technology staff assigned to your school (listed above), or email Tech Support <> or call the tech support line: 207-222-1188

Elementary School:

please email your teacher, and:

Joanne Gauley <> or

email Tech Support <>

or call the tech support line: 207-222-1188


If you are unable to resolve your issue or get an answer to your question, please contact the technology director, Dennis Crowe <>


On Tuesday of this week I was in the middle of a meeting of our Pandemic Advisory Committee via zoom when several of the Committee members from Gorham Middle School heard a fire alarm.  There was pretty thick smoke in the 2nd floor of the building and someone did the right thing and pulled the fire alarm.   This was after school, so adults evacuated the building and the Gorham Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene.  Everyone was safe.  The Fire Department then proceeded to try and determine the source of the smoke...after much investigation they discovered the culprit.  One of our Heat Pumps had broken down causing that section of the system to fill with smoke.  Now, this is not a significant fire hazard, more of a disruptive event involving smoke...and everyone was safe and the building was cleared to house students the very next day. The point of my sharing this story is to simply share that another of our heat pumps went down at GMS and without the approval  of this referendum we will have difficulty doing more than simply placing another "bandaid" on the problem.

If you want to learn more about the School Bond Question on the November 3rd referendum, please CLICK HERE for a one pager informational sheet and then go to my blog posts on Sept, 28, October 2 and October 9 for more detailed information!  Then - make sure to get  out and vote!


There is nothing more important than serving  your community in the capacity as an elected official!  There is also nothing more important than trying to inform your vote!  If you are interested in learning more about the candidates for both Town Council and School Committee - Gorham GOCAT has you covered!  Candidates for  Town Council will go on camera on Monday, Oct. 19 at 7:00p.m. while candidates for School Committee will go on camera on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7:00 p.m.  You can CLICK HERE for the link to the facebook live event.  Flyer is below!


At its regular meeting held on Oct, 14, 2020, the School Committee heard initial public comments from folks regarding a draft Anti-racist policy that is being considered for adoption.   This was a first reading  only.  The policy itself is not planned to come back to the full School Committee for a vote until its regular meeting in December (12/9/20).  In the meantime, if folks want to offer comments and feedback regarding the policy draft, I'd first urge you to review the draft policy itself by CLICKING HERE.  Then, please reach out directly to either Assistant Superintendent of Schools Chris Record  ( or to Anne Schools, Chair of the Policy Committee ( with your specific  feedback.   This feedback will  be  collected by  the Policy Committee and reviewed in  order to inform revisions  to the draft policy that will be brought back to the full  School Committee  for  final recommendations in December.


As you are likely aware, we are currently operating two pick up  locations for families to pick up meals for students on their "at home" learning days or for the case of fully remote students, every day.  Cold weather is coming and we are looking to move these services entirely to at home delivery services for those families that need school breakfast and lunches on these days.  Please CLICK HERE to read an important message regarding how to access these important services  moving forward!  Sometimes links from other linked documents  are a little funny, so just in case - here is the direct link to the survey mentioned in the letter...


Last but not least, I wanted to share an overview of how the Gorham School Department is utilizing its Cares Relief Funds (CRF).  Before I go into details, it is important to provide some background.  These funds are federal funds that were allocated to the state of Maine directly by the Federal Government back in April  when the Pandemic was in full swing.  The total allotment by the Federal Government to the State was $1.4 billion dollars and there were relatively few strings attached to these funds other than to say that they must be used to specifically address COVID19 related issues.  Governor Mills has distributed  these funds in lots  of different ways - to support early child care programming, to support businesses, and unlike a lot  of states in the country - to support public schools.  

There have been two allotments of these funds distributed to public schools across the state between August, 2020 and October 15, 2020  totaling over $300 million dollars.  These funds must be expended on  COVID 19 related needs.  They cannot be used to offset revenue shortfalls.  They cannot be used to pay for items that were already budgeted for.  And they cannot be expended beyond Dec. 30, 2020.  These rules are from the Department of Treasury at the Federal level.

Gorham's first allotment was approximately $2 million dollars and could not have come at a better time  - August, 2020 when we were just trying to  get our schools  opened up in this new COVID 19 world.  I'll be honest...if it weren't for these funds - we would have had a hard time opening our schools!  Our focus for this first round of funding was on purchasing the required PPE and other sanitizing equipment needed to open our schools and on  ensuring we had the appropriate staffing capacity to do all that we needed  to do to open  our  schools safely.  On the PPE and sanitizing side, we bought face coverings, face shields, gloves, thermometers, gowns,  disposable face masks, plexiglass for barriers, hand sanitizing gel,  sanitizing spray, sanitizing wipes, refill bottles, electrostatic sprayers, and much much more.  On the staffing side, we hired 25+ new temporary positions ranging from Nursing aids to full  time subs to what we call duty monitor positions that help us sanitize our schools thoroughly twice each day while teachers teach and in between each cafeteria seating.   Like I said, without these funds we literally would have had a very difficult time opening our doors!

Our second allotment, which was announced just two weeks ago, and whose applications  were just  due on Oct. 15 was approximately  $2.1 million dollars and once again could not have come at a better time!  Our focus  with these funds are on technological improvements both in the form of purchasing additional devices for our staff and students to use for direct instructional purposes, but also in the form of updating our wireless and network infrastructures for several sites (one of which is the Gorham Municipal Building since that building is now being used to house several GHS classrooms), upgrading our radio communications  between  buildings and across the  district and in upgrading our phone systems - all core components of our communications systems  that have been highly impacted by COVID 19.   Another focus of funds in this round was in  purchasing instructional supplies and materials that can allow for more materials to be sent home with students so that they are available for them during their "at home" learning days (if participating in the hybrid model) or on  a more regular basis for students who are  participating in our fully remote learning programs. 

I share this information with all of you for several reasons:  1) I want you to know how these federal dollars are being best utilized by our schools to offset additional costs to taxpayers, 2) I want you to know how important these funds were in allowing us to reopen and sustain the opening of our schools  in our hybrid model, and 3) I want you to know that these funds are being utilized not  only to help  the schools in the short term, but to best position and assist our entire TOWN/COMMUNITY for the longer term in these uncertain times.

I also want to be clear that even though you may see headlines in the papers about these funds flowing to schools - and even though these funds have been extremely useful for our schools to offset additional and unplanned COVID related costs, you should not expect that these funds are going to be enough to offset all costs associated with COVID 19 or the potential  future loss of revenue  that is likely going to impact us in FY 22 in the form of less state subsidy.  Building and maintaining a school budget has always been complex, requiring lots of different balancing acts.  The process for FY 22 is going to be far more complex as the implications of COVID 19 to expenditures and funding streams becomes more and more clear.  We are in good shape for FY 21 as the Maine Department of Education  has promised no subsidy curtailments this fiscal year...however, the biennial budget process is coming. Please stay tuned, and  I will do my best to keep you informed!

That's all for this week.  ENJOY YOUR WEEKENDS!