Friday, November 20, 2020

November 20 Blog Update

Good afternoon and HAPPY FRIDAY to everyone!  Week #11 is "In the books"!  

Hard  to believe we are coming up on the Thanksgiving break and (knock on wood) are still rolling with our hybrid  learning model.  Of  course, that could change at any moment, but dog gone it...I think it  is worth celebrating for now!  Many of us (myself included) thought we'd only get 2-3 weeks of face to face learning in before having to close down due to COVID 19!  It just goes to show the importance of following those safety protocols!  As I said even before school began -  it is going to  be UP TO US as a GORHAM COMMUNITY to choose to follow our safety guidelines and thereby strengthen the probability that our schools could remain open - and look where we are now 11 weeks in!

Of course as I've also said before, although we can (and should) take a  moment to  pat ourselves on the back, we also can't let our  guards down now!  We need to keep:

* Staying home when sick, even when it is inconvenient (which it  always is).

*  Completing our daily symptoms checker to help our nurses monitor trends.

*  Wearing our face coverings.

*  Keep that 6 ft. of physical distance going.

*  Keep washing/sanitizing those hands frequently


A heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone for following these rules thus far...let's keep it rolling Gorham!  GO  RAMS!


 As the virus ramps up for the cold winter months, as folks are getting tested in preparation for traveling for the Holidays and as more and more people people experience symptoms that may also be cold or flu related, getting access to tests is becoming a little more difficult.  This isn't because there are a lack of testing kits across the state mind you, but its because of a lack of testing site capacity.  In order to try and help address this need, Governor Mills announced recently that Additional Wallgreens locations will be added as testing sites across the state.  The list of those sites is below:

Walgreens BinaxNOW COVID-19 Testing Locations in Maine:

Auburn: 61 Union St.
Auburn: 698 Minot Ave.
Augusta: 403 Water Street
Augusta: 2007 N. Belfast Ave.
Bangor: 566 Union St.
Bangor: 706 Broadway
Bath: 11 State Rd.
Belfast: 268 Main St.
Bethel: 28 Mayville Rd.
Biddeford: 335 Alfred St.
Blue Hill: 17 South St.
Boothbay Harbor: 223 Townsend Ave.
Brewer: 437 Wilson St.
Buxton: 226 Parker Farm Rd.
Calais: 223 North St.
Caribou: 112 Bennett Dr.
Cornish: 151 Maple St.
Damariscotta: 365 Main St.
Dover Foxcroft: 151 E. Main St.
Ellsworth: 226 High St.
Falmouth: 33 Depot Road (opens next week)
Farmington: 317 Main St.
Ft. Fairfield: 355 Main St.
Ft. Kent: 84 E. Main St.
Gardiner: 9 Spring St.
Gorham: 120 Main St.
Gray: 62 West Gray Road
Guilford: 3 Hudson Ave., #147
Hampden: 65 Western Ave.
Houlton: 137 North St.
Kennebunk: 37 Portland Rd.
Kittery: 15 Shapleigh Rd.
Lewiston: 430 Sabattus St.
Lincoln: 2 W. Broadway
Lisbon Falls: 575 Lisbon St.
Livermore Falls: 81 Main St.
Machias: 144 Dublin St.
Madawaska: 429 Main St.
Manchester: 943 Western Ave.
Milo: 35 Park St.
Naples: 665 Roosevelt Trl.
Newport: 36 Moosehead Trl.
Norway: 53 Paris St.
Oakland: 19 Main St.
Old Orchard Beach: 15 Saco Ave.
Pittsfield: 506 Somerset Ave.
Portland: 616 Forest Avenue (opens next week)
Presque Isle: 320 Main St.
Rockland: 28 Park St.
Rumford: 7 Portland St.
Saco: 461 Main St.
Sanford: 868 Main Street
Scarborough: 233 US Route 1
Scarborough: 600 U.S. Route 1
Skowhegan: 225 Madison Ave.
South Portland: 279 Main Street (opens next week)
Topsham: 77 Mallett Dr.
Waterville: 210 Main St.
Wells: 1036 Post Rd.
Westbrook: 465 Main St.
Windham: 741 Roosevelt Trl.
Winslow: 36 China Road
Winthrop: 16 Peck Farm Rd.
Yarmouth: 478 US Route 1
York: 400 U.S. Route 1

While the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test is best used for people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, other types of testing is available in Maine to people who think they need a test, regardless of symptoms and without the need for a referral from a health provider. This testing is available at more than two dozen "swab and send" testing locations that offer molecular testing at no charge under separate agreements with DHHS. Results from swab and send locations are provided by the State Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory within 48 hours of receipt at the lab (the time from the sample collection to the delivery of the result to the patient may take longer). For more information, visit the Keep Maine Healthy website.


I've recently had several folks as me to remind them about what our protocols are for cleaning of facilities after a positive case has been identified so I thought maybe more folks were wondering and it might be worth a quick refresher.

When a positive case associated with the Gorham Schools has been identified, the first thing we do is identify close contacts and work diligently to make those notifications as quickly as possible.  The second thing (which really happens simultaneously to the contact tracing work) we do is to identify all the spaces  in a building, or bus, or playground, etc. that the positive case spent time in.  This could be a classroom, or it could be multiple classrooms.  It could be the cafeteria, or the nurses clinic.  Whatever those areas are, they are identified and communicated immediately to our facilities director.  Our facilities director then works  with our contracted service provider to thoroughly sanitize those spaces before we allow students or staff back into those spaces.  In Gorham we utilize an electrostatic spray system that allows us to complete a thorough sanitizing process of an entire room in just minutes.  This, in combination with the  fact that we wipe down common touch  surfaces in our buildings at least 2 times per day and continue to sanitize the  whole building each night allows us to feel confident that students and staff can return to a safe and sanitized learning environment even after the identification of a positive case associated with our schools.

Bottom line...we make sure our building spaces are thoroughly sanitized after the identification of a positive case before allowing students or staff back into those spaces.  I hope that helps to answer questions folks may have, but if you have more, please keep asking! ☺


First of all, thank you to the 30 + parents and 20+ staff who shared their "stories" with me via my most recent  survey.  I am currently going through the results and  am compiling the themes from those stories.  Once compiled, I will share back out with families so  you can see the results.  Additionally, if you indicated that you wanted to meet with me one on one from that survey I will be reaching out after the Thanksgiving break to set  up those meetings using the email provided.  Please stay tuned.

I have also been working to meet with students across the district to hear their stories.  Just today I met with a wonderful group of students from Village Elementary School's Civil Rights Team.  They had just gotten done conducting a  survey of all Village School students asking students to share what is going well at Village and to share their experiences and the challenges they have identified in the areas of  diversity, equity and inclusion.  A clear message I heard from the students at Village Elementary School is that they feel as though these conversations are important, that they are needed and that they want teachers and other adults to help them have these kinds of conversations in meaningful and safe ways.  The students went so far as to say that one big thing that would help them would be to work with all students to help provide a language/vocabulary that kids could  use to talk to other kids on these important topics.  They expressed  that they want to have these conversations, but sometimes don't know how and need us to help them strengthen that language of respect.  

Every time I speak with our students I am so refreshed by their honesty, their compassion and their willingness to  understand.  I have meetings scheduled across all schools coming up over the next few months and will definitely work to share themes from these important conversations too.  

I also wanted to update folks who have reached out to express interest in serving on the new Gorham School Committee's Anti-Racism Subcommittee.  First, I am still accepting names for folks that may be interested in volunteering.  We need 1 parent per grade span (K-5, 6-8 and 9-12) and two community members.  It's not too late.  If you are interested, just email me at  I will be meeting with the chair  of the newly formed committee in early December.  At that time we will review the names and make selections to ensure the broadest and most diverse membership possible and will notify folks during that second week regarding  final membership.  The hope is to have the committee's first meeting before the December Holiday break.

Finally, a reminder that the Gorham School Committee is still working on its DRAFT Anti-Racism Policy.  It was approved for first reading in October and is scheduled to come back to the  School Committee on December 9 for a second and final reading.   Folks who want to  send any feedback directly to the policy committee (which is the group working on revisions at this point) should email any direct feedback to School Committee member Anne Schools ( or you can send feedback to Assistant Superintendent Chris Record who facilitates this committee.   His email address is  So far we've had lots of great feedback that the policy committee will be meeting to discuss and do its best to incorporate into this important process.  


Dear Gorham Community,

As you are well aware, the Class of 2021 seniors are not getting the year we all planned. It's likely that our entire senior year will be different, including graduation and end-of-the-year events. In order to make those events as special as they can be during these difficult times, we need to fundraise. 

Luckily, we have a very fun and easy fundraiser: a Pampered Chef online fundraiser! 

All you have to do is click on the ordering link and it will bring you straight to the Pampered Chef website where part of all the proceeds will go towards our class fundraiser. Your purchases will be shipped directly to you.


This link can be shared with ANYONE, so please spread it by email, text, or a different platform to your extended family, friends, and anyone else you can think of! 

This fundraiser will end on Wednesday, December 2nd. Thank you so much for your support.

From the Senior Class Officers, 

Emily Paruk, Alie Peterson, Sophie Kaufman, and Sierra Cummings


Looking  to get that Christmas tree up and decorated early?  Our GHS swim team students can help this year even with COVID 19!  Check out the  flyer below for details!


Looking for cross generational  conversations to engage  students at the Thanksgiving meal?  Need conversation starters for that virtual  family Thanksgiving gathering?  ASPIRE GORHAM is here to help!  Why not talk about aspirations and careers?  This conversation can be had at the dinner table with children of  all ages!  Here's a few ideas - one focused on grades K-5 and the other  for grades 6-12.

Gr. K-5:

Gr. 6-12:


Just this morning  I met with a group of elementary students who had asked  me in to share their thoughts on snow days.  Although I could share a whole story just about how articulate, thoughtful and passionate our students are  - that wasn't the point I wanted to share.  As they were talking about the fact that they feel like we should still have traditional snow days, they talked at length about how much they WANT TO BE IN SCHOOL.   They even went  so far as to say they would definitely prefer being in school later than June 10 just to have more days in school vs. at home learning.   As these 5th grade students shared with me, it just was so clear how much they truly do enjoy being in school.  They really do want to be with their friends, their teachers and to learn!   The reality is that our students really DO want to be in school right now and that is a testament to our school staff, to our parents and to our community that have all worked so hard together to create schools that students actually WANT TO BE IN.  I share this story mostly to give accolades to our students who are incredible, but also to say THANK YOU to our staff, parents  and community  for your hard  work and dedication in making our schools the incredible places of learning that they are.  Gorham is simply an incredible community.   I remain proud to serve all of you!

In closing...a  poem that I "stole" from one of my principals who used it in her recent message to staff.  It speaks to me about the strength that a community can provide - those "deep roots" that are mentioned, remind me of Gorham.  It also reminds me of another little saying I have up on my wall which says:  "The mighty oak tree was once just a little nut that stood its ground!"  Enjoy the poem, enjoy your weekends and please do whatever you can to SAFELY celebrate the Thanksgiving  holiday.  My next blog  post will be Dec. 4.  

And then just one more time before I go...remember:

1.  Wear those face coverings
2.  Keep your six
3.  Wash/Sanitize those  hands often!

BE SAFE!  I want to see YOU ALL back at school on Monday, after the Thanksgiving Break, and beyond!


Friday, November 13, 2020

November 13 Blog Upate

Happy Friday Everyone!  Before I get into the "meat" of this update, I wanted to take a minute to just share some recent and somewhat "random" images of the incredible learning that is going on in our schools.  I know that this hybrid schedule is not the optimal schedule for our students  and families...but there is some incredible learning going on and I think  it is important to remind ourselves of that every once in a while and as I've said before - pictures are worth 1,000 words!  Here you go!

OK, now  on to the updates...


First, let's address any questions families might have regarding travel considerations for the upcoming Thanksgiving Break.  It is important to understand that if your student(s) plans on traveling outside of the state of Maine for the holiday, you will need to do ONE of the following:

1.  Quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Maine, 


2.  Get tested for  COVID 19 upon returning to Maine and provide proof oof a negative result to your school nurse.  

NOTE #1:  Please remain quarantined until the test results are ready.
NOTE #2:  PLAN AHEAD!  Before leaving the  state, make your COVID-19  test appointment for when you return.  Appointments can be  made at your PCP's office or at any Maine testing site.  You can find a listing of all  testing sites in Maine by CLICKING HERE.  
NOTE #3:  Currently (and this is subject to change) - if you travel to one of the following three (3) states, you are  EXEMPT from the need to quarantine and/or test upon return to Maine.  Those three (3)states are:  Vermont,  New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

These travel restrictions follow the current state mandates which can be found by CLICKING HERE for more details.  If you have any questions, I would urge you to reach out to your school nurses' office and I am sure they will do their best to help answer any questions you may have!

As Dr. Fauci stated earlier this week, each of us is going to have to make our own choices and decisions regarding what we do to celebrate these upcoming holidays in as safe a manner as possible.  These choices and decisions should weigh several different factors, many of which are unique to each family unit.  Clearly the most safe manner to celebrate as a family would be via distance.  However, I am not going to stand here and state that families shouldn't gather for the holidays or that they should.  Each of us must make these decisions on our own weighing unique factors such as:

-  Current levels of community spread of COVID 19 in your area and the areas you may visit.
-  Health status of those who may or may not participate in such a gathering.
-  Ages of those who may or may not participate in such a gathering. 
-  What safety measures you can take for in person gatherings to mitigate risk. 
-  Can you still gather meaningfully as a family using technology as a resource?

As each of our families weigh these factors, I thought it might be helpful to share several resources I have found to help families think about these important decisions.  Here are a few that I found most helpful  (I'm sure more can be found):

Again, each family's choices will be unique.  It is not up to myself or anyone else to make these decisions other  than the families involved.   Therefore it is also not up to myself or anyone else to question the decisions made by other families.  I hope these resources assist you and your family in helping to make this Thanksgiving and upcoming holiday season the best and SAFEST it can be this year!  



Our apologies for it taking so long to compile this data from the early part of October, but  there was A LOT of awesome  information contained within these surveys that we wanted to make sure to capture accurately in order to continue to inform our processes.  As a reminder, the question we asked was:

To start,  below is an image of a word cloud created by the over 1,000 parent participants in the survey who shared and rated almost 30,000 thoughts.  Those words that are largest are  those that were most often repeated by parents in their response:

As you can see, safety was a huge piece along with the happiness of students, good communication and basically kudos  for a job well done.  Next is the word cloud from staff to that same prompt:

Great to see that "Happy" word front and center again in there right?  The other key words deal with appreciating smaller class sizes and appreciation for being able to get back to in-person learning with students.  Finally, the word cloud from students to that same prompt:

Here students appreciate their in person learning days, wish that their mask breaks were a little longer, and share how much they value their learning on Fridays as a day to "catch up" and get specific  help from teachers.

There is A LOT more information from each  of these surveys beyond these word clouds.  Below,  please find links to  a slide presentation for each survey (parent, student, and staff) that gives more  detail:

Additionally you can login to the reporting websites for each below:

This information was shared with District Leadership Team Members and members of the Gorham School Committee and is being used to continue to tighten up our practices to make our hybrid learning model as effective  as possible for our students, staff and families moving forward. 

Since schools reopened in September, the Gorham School Committee had moved its regular, workshop,  special, and subcommittee meetings back to in person meetings.  Given the increasing numbers of COVID 19 cases in our area, the School Committee decided last night that each month's regular business meeting will still be held in person at Gorham High School's MPAC, but that all other meetings (workshop, special, and committee meetings) will move back to online via zoom,  beginning next week.  Additionally, it was decided to move public comment for live meetings to an online format.  Because of this, I wanted to remind folks how to access these meetings and the materials from each meeting if you are interested.

First, it is important to note that each month's regular School Committee meeting will still be held  in person, although public comment at these meetings will now be done online  with  no  members of the public attending  in  person.  These meetings typically occur on the 2nd Wednesday of each month and begin at 7:00 p.m. These meetings are broadcast live via GOCAT and then recordings are archived on the Town's website.  You can find  agendas and minutes for all meetings by going to our website under "About Us" and then clicking  on "School Committee".  I've linked the specific page HERE for your convenience.  At the top  of that page you can click to view the actual detailed meeting packet information for each  meeting.

The best way to keep  track of these meetings is by following our district wide calendar from our website.  Go to  and then at the bottom right  of that main  page  you will  see our "Upcoming Events" calendar.  This calendar will list all meetings of the School Committee and its subcommittees.  If a meeting is being held via zoom you will also see the zoom  link for that event.  Just click on the event itself and the details will pop up.  If you don't see a zoom link that means the meeting will be held in person.  The  specific location will always be at the top of the agenda.  For specific agendas and minutes of  our subcommittee meetings, once again you can find all details on our website.  Just go to "About Us", then click on "School  Committee" and then once on that page, look to the bottom right and click on  "School Committee Subcommittees".  There you will see links to all information for our standing subcommittees and any active ad hoc committees as well.  Once again, for your  convenience I have linked the specific page HERE.  

As always,  if you ever have any questions about how to access information regarding the  Gorham  School Committee, please reach out directly.  Email is the  best:


Apologies  for once again having to make some adjustments to our school calendar, but remember  the  original calendar was created and approved before COVID (I  know, hard to believe such a time existed right) and so as we continue to move through  our calendar this pandemic year, adjustments are required.  Here is a list of the adjustments approved by the  Gorham School Committee last night and under that, a link to the updated 2020-21 School Calendar:

Change  #1:  December 23, 2020 moved from an ER day to a NO SCHOOL DAY. 
Because we will likely still be in our hybrid model of learning (we hope) by December 23, 2020 and because in our hybrid  model of learning we do not do half days, we had to address December 23 on the calendar.  Because of its proximity to the Christmas Holiday break,  we decided that rather than make it a full day of school, we would make it a NO SCHOOL DAY.   

Change #2:  Moving Jan. 8, 2021 from an "A" day to a fully remote Friday.  By moving this day back to the typical remote learning Friday schedule, we are able  to ensure an equal  number of face to face instructional days for students in both A  and B groups with 72 days each.  

Change #3:  Last Student Day for All Students Now June 10, 2020.
Because we  will no longer  have snow days this year, and because under the Governor's emergency orders  the required 175  student days is waived,  and  because we are still beholden to no more than 183 staff days, we have designated Thursday, June 10 as the  final student day of school across grades K-12.  This will end the school year  with 171 student days vs. our typical 175.

Change #4:  Last Staff Day Now June 11, 2020.
Because we are required to have no more than 183 staff days, we have designated June 11, 2020 as the last  in person staff day.  There is a "flex day" associated with Monday, June 14, 2020 but this day is a "give back" day as  provided by our negotiated contract due to the additional time we require our teachers to be "on duty" during the spring parent/teacher conference times.  All that being said, June 11 will be day 182 for staff and then  June 14th will be day 182  for staff.

CLICK HERE for the updated 2020-21 School  Calendar.  As always, if you have any questions please ask!


I am asking parents who are willing, to participate in an important 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.  Once completed, I will compile the stories and corresponding themes that are collected and share them back to parents and discuss their implications at a forum to be scheduled later this winter  - likely via zoom.

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.  


In a previous blog post I let folks know that the Gorham School Committee recently approved the creation of an Ad Hoc "Anti-Racist Advisory Sub Committee".  You can view the purpose, roles and responsibilities of this Committee by CLICKING HERE.  Membership will be as follows:

  • Chair: S.C. Member

  • Members:  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 (if possible)

  • Decision-Making: Consensus Model

  • Invite guests as needed

  • Facilitated by Maine Intercultural Communication Consultants (MICC)

At  this point, I am seeking parents and individuals from the community interested in filling the following slots.  If you are interested, please reach out via email directly to EITHER myself or Dr. Record via email: or

-  1 K-5 Parent/Guardian 
-  1 6-8 Parent/Guardian
-   1 9-12 Parent/Guardian
-  2 "at large" Community Members

I will collect names of those interested in serving on this committee between now and the end of November.  I will then bring names to the Policy Committee to review and assist in determining final membership.  I will then notify those who were selected.  This will likely be sometime in Mid December, after the anti-racist policy has been finally approved by the School Committee.  As  always, any questions, please ask.


First, you have to check out this awesome trailer: 

If you are interested in purchasing tickets, you purchase them through "Broadway  On Demand".  Click on the links below for the night you are interested in and go from there.  

Once you've purchased access to the performance you want to see, you can follow that same link at show time.  

That's enough for this week!   Enjoy your weekends!


Friday, November 6, 2020

November 6, 2020 Blog Update

Happy Friday once again everyone!  I hope your week has gone well!   Hard to believe we just closed out week #9 of face to face instruction in our schools!  I know this hasn't been easy for folks.  Parents, students and staff alike are working overtime (and then some likely) to keep our schools open and ensure that our students have access to high quality distance and face to face learning opportunities.  I know I keep saying this, but its only because I keep thinking it each day when  I see the incredible work being done across our community - SO PROUD TO BE A RAM!

This reminds me to REMIND YOU that we have an awesome team of parent volunteers who have created specific Facebook Groups for parents to join.  The purpose of these groups is to create a forum whereby parents can help parents get through these difficult times.  Share resources, ask questions, and get answers!  Not from some stuffy school person (I'm not really stuffy mind you, but wanted to drive home the point) but from other parents just like you!  If you haven't already joined, please consider doing so...its quick, its easy...and it is a great way to find support and share ideas as we continue our COVID-19 journey together!  Here are the links for those interested:

OK, now on to other important information. . . 


I'm sure those of you (like me) that follow case numbers and the data behind COVID-19 have probably already seen some of the charts and graphs below...but I thought it important to share a few just in order to provide context for the information "reminders" below.  Please know - I share these NOT to frighten anyone or to cause panic or to make people feel bad...I share this information, and the following reminders as a means of encouraging thoughtful positive action moving forward.  Actions that we can all take to help one another and to help keep our schools and businesses open as we work through what is clearly a new surge in the virus across our great state.

I grabbed this screen shot below of a CDC graph entitled:  "Maine Daily Incremental Reported COVID-19 Cases"

The gray lines are the numbers of new cases, the yellow line is the 7 day average and the blue line is the 14 day average.   Clearly, as Dr. Shah states, (he is) "out of synonyms for concerning."

This second graph, I took from Dr. Shah's twitter feed (which by the way if you don't follow him is very can find him @nirav_mainecdc).  This graph shows cases distributed by county.

The striking part of this graph is not only its "height"... in other  words - the total number of cases...but also the myriad of colors indicating the various counties that are being impacted in Maine.  As Dr. Shah points out:  "This degree of community transmission means that face coverings and physical distancing are more important than ever." This brings me to a series of healthy reminders...


It is VERY IMPORTANT, now more than follow the three basic safety precautions for COVID-19 which are:

1. Wear your face coverings
2. Maintain 6 ft. of physical distance
3. Wash/Sanitize your hands frequently


If you or your child is experiencing 1 "common symptom" or 2 of the "less common symptoms", please remain home and reach out to your school nurse and your PCP.

Students who are home due to symptoms of COVID 19 as listed above should NOT return to school until one of the following is completed:

1. Present the school with a negative COVID test AND a doctor's note (form provided by the school)
2. Present the school with a doctor's note stating an alternative diagnosis (form provided by the school)
3. Remain out of school and isolate at home for 10 days from symptom onset and symptoms have improved.


If you are a close contact to someone that has tested positive for COVID 19, stay home and quarantine for a period of no less than 14 days. Individuals in this situation are also encouraged to get tested for COVID 19 but it is recommended that that testing not occur until between 5-7 days from the exposure. If you test too early, it could come back negative even though you may actually have it because it hasn't yet built up in your system enough to demonstrate a positive result on the test.


Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! For students attending school, make sure their symptoms screener survey has been completed for that day. If your child is experiencing symptoms keep them home and reach out to your school nurse and PCP. If you think you or your child may be a close contact keep them home and reach out to your school nurse. If you have had a call from CDC and are not sure what to do, reach out to your school nurse and they can help to clarify. We are here to support you and help guide you through this foreign territory safely.


Don't believe the rumor mills! There is A LOT of misinformation out there folks - especially on social media...don't fall into the trap of allowing that stuff to unnecessarily increase your anxiety. Know that if there is a positive case in our schools - WE WILL COMMUNICATE WITH YOU DIRECTLY. Also know that CDC is conducting contact tracing as well for those cases that are not school related. One way or the other (either via the school if the positive case is related to a school student or staff member or via CDC) you will know if you or your children are direct contacts of someone that has tested positive for COVID 19 in as timely a manner as possible. You can also always check our website for the most up to date number of cases in our schools. CLICK HERE to view this information which is updated daily.

To be clear, if there is a positive case of COVID 19 in any of our schools all staff and parents will be made aware of it. If a staff member or student is deemed to be a "close contact" for the individual that tested positive, you will receive a personal call from the school letting you know this is the case and what to do. Understand, however that a contact of a close contact is NOT a close contact. In other words, if "Sally" tested positive and we determined "Johnny" to be a close contact who later hung out with "Danny"...Johnny is the close contact and should quarantine for 14 days but Danny is not. Danny would not become a close contact unless Johnny tested positive for COVID 19 and on and on it goes!☺

Overall, I think that our state's public schools have demonstrated just how SAFE they are during our fall openings in the midst of this continued pandemic. Although we can't keep COVID 19 out entirely, evidence suggests that when and if a case does come to our schools, it doesn't spread. This can only be attributed to our staff, our parents and our students following our safety protocols. As cases increase across our state, I am optimistic that as long as we continue to focus on these 5 reminders, we will be able to keep our schools open and IF we do have to go "Red" would not be for the extended period of time we experienced last spring!


Although from the past couple of days you may not have noticed, but winter in Maine is most definitely coming! Now, if you are someone like myself during a typical Maine winter, I would simply shut myself up indoors, and do my best to hibernate indoors to get through the winter. Well, this is no typical winter in Maine. This winter will be a COVID winter...and because of this, I am going to do all I can to stay active, and get out there to enjoy Maine's outdoors - even if it is COLD! I am planning ahead for this purpose! I have a nice winter jacket, snow pants, boots, hats, gloves, thermals and the like. I have also dusted off my snow shoes and am going to see if I can get myself back into snow shoeing this winter. I'm sharing all of this with you NOT because I wish to bore you (although that may be what is happening - my apologies) but to point out the importance of NOT allowing ourselves to get "locked up with COVID" this winter if we can at all prevent it!

As a whole, the schools are going to be doing their best to take this same attitude. Whenever weather permits, we will still have outdoor recesses, outdoor learning, and time for mask breaks - OUTSIDE. What this means for students - especially students in grades 6-12 who may not typically think this way - is that you are going to need to dress accordingly! Those high school students who in the past would run from their car to the school in shorts and a T-shirt in January and then back again at the end of the day - well - you may want to dress more warmly this winter! All students - not just K-5 students - should come to school prepared to get outside this winter! Just like you would put on a jacket and tie for a job interview...let's make sure we "dress for success" this coming winter and come to school prepared to spend some time outside whenever we can!


I am asking parents who are willing, to participate in an important 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.  Once completed, I will compile the stories and corresponding themes that are collected and share them back to parents and discuss their implications at a forum to be scheduled later this winter  - likely via zoom.

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.  


The  picture below is something one Gorham parent shared that she was grateful for!  

Awesome - it sure does take a whole community!  As winter draws more close, as COVID cases pick up, and as people's anxieties increase  - WE ALL need to take stock in what we are grateful for!  Please share using the link below.  You  can upload a picture, a video message, or just write a statement!  I will collect these until Nov. 20 and then  share them  out with everyone!  Click the link below to start sharing now!


Our three new School Committee members were sworn in earlier today!  Congratulations to James Brockman, Nikki Hudson and Sarah Perkins!



GHS Theater is putting together a feel good Fall show -- It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, livestreaming Nov 13-15!  
I know there might be some skepticism about the idea of spending time on Zoom for fun, but It's a Wonderful Life draws on the tradition of radio theater, which means it would be satisfying to listen to, even if there was nothing to look at...  and there is PLENTY to look at.  The cast is doing beautiful work bringing this story to life, and it's a pretty good one for the moment we find ourselves in.

We hope you can make it!  Order through Broadway on Demand:
Pricing information:
  • $5 for "Single Viewer Stream"
  • $10 for "Household Stream"
  • $20 for "Platinum Contributor Stream"
Note: Each purchase comes with a service charge of $2-3 to BOD.  

Patrons will have 24 hours to use the link from the time the livestream begins.  (If they miss the livestream what they'll see is a pre-recorded performance.)

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 wanted to share November's Aspire Gorham Newsletter with you!  CLICK HERE to view!


Have you explored the awesome trails located right here in Gorham?  If you haven't - YOU SHOULD!  Nice weekends like the one we have coming up are running short before Maine's winter takes over...CLICK HERE to see what trails you can explore along with the Cherry Hill Farms Trails without having to go far at all! 

That's it for this week folks...STAY SAFE and WEAR THOSE FACE COVERINGS!☺