Friday, October 22, 2021

October 22 Blog Post

Its been another incredible two weeks of school here in Gorham since my last blog post!  We are enjoying the beautiful fall weather that Maine has offered us these past weeks, but there is no question there is a little "chill" in the air and we know that after Maine's fall come Maine's winter - brrr!  We are definitely enjoying getting outside while we can!

As usual, I wanted to start my blog post by sharing some pictures of our incredible students doing what they do best - having fun while learning!  Although to be clear, that center picture of two individuals dressed up as traffic cones - those are staff members, not students! Silly staff members!☺

As a reminder, and for those of you who may not already know, our schools are pretty regular "posters" on the Twitter and Facebook scene.  So if you want to follow along more frequently, below are some links to help you navigate the various pages:

District FB page:

District Twitter page:

Village Twitter page:

Narragansett Twitter page:

Great Falls Twitter page:

GMS Facebook page

GHS Twitter page:

And of course you can always find ALL KINDS OF INFORMATION on our district website

And now on to the informational stuff...



There will be a school related bond question on the November 2nd ballot. The question will read roughly as follows:

“Shall the Town of Gorham be authorized to expend not more than $575,000 from the school capital reserve fund and not more than $244,900 from undesignated fund balance in addition to the $2,265,000 in funding from bonds approved by referendum in 2020 for the Gorham Middle School HVAC Heat Pump Upgrade and Repair Project?”

As I stated in my Sept. 24 blog post on this item...this is a unique bond question BECAUSE WE ARE NOT ACTUALLY ASKING FOR ANY ADDITIONAL MONIES TO BE BORROWED.

What we are asking for is permission to expend out of already identified and existing funds a total project amount that is above the original amount already approved by voters in the Nov. 2020 bond for the GMS HVAC project.  I know, that's a little confusing...let's see if I can clarify:

1.  The voters of Gorham have already approved (in November of 2020) expending up to $2,265,000.00 via bonds for the GMS HVAC project.

2.  When we put the project out to bid, we discovered that the actual project cost would exceed this authorization, so we have not proceeded with the project.

3.  We have determined that we need an additional $819,900.00 in funds in order to be able to move forward with the project.

4.  WE HAVE IDENTIFIED THESE FUNDS THROUGH ALREADY EXISTING ACCOUNTS.  WE WILL NOT HAVE TO BORROW THE ADDITIONAL FUNDS REQUESTED.   $575,000.00 will come from our newly created capital reserve account that was "seeded" from additional state subsidy provided to Gorham in FY 22.  An additional $244,900.00 will come from undesignated budgetary fund balance.  THEREFORE NO ADDITIONAL DOLLARS WILL BE BORROWED.

5.  What this question merely does is ask voters to approve our expending of funds in the new total amount for the project which will be $3,084,900.00.  Since voters already approved the original $2,265,000.00 in November, 2020 we now just need your approval to expend the additional $819,900.00 ($575,000 from capital reserve and $244,900 from undesignated budgetary fund balance).

Bottom line, please know...

 If you vote YES you are simply allowing us to move forward with the already approved project without borrowing additional funds.  

If you vote NO we will not be able to move forward with the project - period - as we would not have voter authorization to spend the additional funds needed to do so.  

As we continue to operate our schools in the midst of a Pandemic, we hope it is abundantly clear the importance of moving forward with the GMS HVAC project in order to ensure our HVAC systems are operating to their standards for the overall safety of our children and staff at GMS.

Once approved, we will put the project out to bid this winter, and be prepared to move forward with Phase I this spring and summer (2022) and then to finish the project in the spring & summer of 2023.

As always, if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask by emailing  



The Gorham Schools will be working in partnership with our friends at Maine Health to provide school based COVID 19 vaccination clinics for all students ages 5-11 whose families are interested in participating.  These clinics will be held at GMS, Great Falls Elementary School, Narragansett Elementary School, and Village Elementary School.  Only those students whose parents provide consent will be vaccinated.

Before I share our rough plans for these clinics, I wanted to be clear that as of today, the FDA and National CDC have not yet approved these vaccines for 5-11 year olds.  The plans I outline below then are based upon approvals occurring.  If these approvals do not occur in the timelines given, we may need to adjust accordingly.  

The FDA is scheduled to meet on Oct. 26 to make a final decision regarding approval for Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds.  IF the FDA approves, then the national CDC is scheduled to meet on Nov. 4, 2021 to discuss their approval.  Then and only then (after both the FDA and CDC have approved the vaccines) would we move forward with plans to host school based vaccination clinics.  We are preparing our timelines and schedules assuming that these approvals will occur, but please know that if these approvals do not occur on the schedules outlined above, we will likely need to adjust our timelines accordingly.

So with this in mind, here's what we have planned:

-  First, we will host an online parent informational meeting on November 8 at 6:00 p.m. via zoom.  The link for this meeting is below.  We would encourage any parent who has questions about the safety of the vaccine or about how the vaccine works in children to please attend.  We will have special guests at this meeting to assist in answering questions similar to how we did the informational session last spring for GMS and GHS students.  These knowledgeable guests will be able to answer questions that parents/families may have to help inform your choice as to whether or not you would like your child(ren) to participate in the school based COVID 19 vaccination clinics for children ages 5-11.

Here is the zoom link information - please mark your calendars!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 4712 7805
Passcode: 529879

-  After the informational meeting, we will then send out consent forms on or about Nov. 10th, 2021.  These will be sent from each participating school (GMS, Great Falls, Narragansett and Village). Families that are interested in participating will indicate so via these consent forms.  Children who do not have specific consent forms completed will not be vaccinated.

-    At this time, we anticipate that we would be able to host the clinics themselves on or about Thursday, November 18 and Friday, November 19 for the first shot of the two shot series.  These are our preferred dates, but we are still working with our Maine Health partners on finalizing them as they are working with other schools as well.  If not, the dates we select will be sometime during the week of Nov. 15, 2021.

-  We would then target a date for the 2nd shot of the two shot series to occur again, on site at the schools, sometime during the week of Dec. 6, preferably on the 9th and 10th.

We are still working on the logistics of how the clinics themselves will operate.  We envision that these clinics would operate very similarly to our flu vaccine clinics and/or to previous H1N1 vaccine clinics provided by our schools in the past.  We have a scheduled site visit with our Maine Health partners on Friday, Oct. 29.  After that meeting we should know much more about the specific logistics of how we will call classrooms down, how the shots will be administered, and how monitoring will occur, etc.  I will be able to send more detailed information out by the time my next blog rolls around on Nov. 5 so please stay tuned and mark your calendars for the informational meeting on Nov. 8 at 6:00 p.m. via zoom!


As you can tell with the recent flurry of COVID community letters that have gone out, COVID 19 is still very much present in our community.  Thus far, the schools have had 36 positive cases of COVID 19 associated with our schools and thus far all 36 positive cases have originated from outside of our schools.

While in school, our students are doing an excellent job of keeping their face coverings on and trying to remember to maintain physical distancing of three feet whenever possible.  As a result of this, and other safety precautions taken by the schools, we have not seen any evidence thus far of school based transmissions having occurred (knock on wood).  Clearly, however, community based transmissions are occurring.  

As we ramp up to prepare ourselves for participation in COVID 19 vaccine clinics for our 5-11 year olds I'd like to encourage families to please do what you can to "double down" on these safety protocols so that we can be sure all students that would like to participate in these vaccine clinics can participate.  

So what can you do to help prevent the spread of COVID 19?  Well, the same things we have been doing to prevent the spread of COVID 19 in our schools and in our community for the past two years that we know are effective:

1.  Wear face coverings whenever you are in an indoor setting that is not your home, unless eating.

2.  Wash/Sanitize those hands frequently.

3.  Try to maintain 3 ft of physical distancing whenever practicable.

4.  Get vaccinated if you are eligible and choose to do so.

5.  Stay home if you are sick.

If we all work together to follow these safety protocols, we can ensure (A) that our schools remain open to 5 day per week instruction for all students and (B) that we are doing our part to minimize the impacts of positive cases and the need to quarantine for all of our students across grades K-12.

Thank you.


I know, its hard to think about right now, but since it has been over a year since we've had a traditional snow day, I thought it might be good to remind everyone a little early about what to expect in the event we need to call a snow day.

First, please know that the overall plan is that we have five snow days built into our calendar.  WE WILL UTILIZE THESE SNOW DAYS as we have traditionally utilized snow days.  If, and only if, we go above the 5 snow days built into the calendar will we then consider fully remote learning days instead.  So for at least the first five snow days this year, we will follow our "normal" snow day protocols.  Here's a reminder about what those are!

Cancellations and delays are generally based on overall road conditions in Gorham and our ability to safely run buses. Additionally, due to the fact that so many of our students walk to school, we also base decisions on our public works crew’s ability to plow and clean sidewalks. In some circumstances, cancellations and delays may also be based on forecasted conditions.


The Gorham Schools utilize full day cancellations, 1-hour delays, and 2-hour delays as well as early dismissals depending upon the forecasted conditions and timing of storms. If school is delayed for 1 hour, all bus pick-up times and school start times will be delayed by exactly 1 hour. For example, if your student would normally have been picked up by 7:15 and the school day began at 7:45 the new pick-up time would be 8:15 and the new school start time would be 8:45. Similarly, for a 2-hour delay, all bus pick-up times and school start times will be delayed by exactly 2 hours.  Early release dismissal times will generally be as follows: 


School Hours for Early Release Due to Storms:
11:00 am
11:10 am
12:00 am
12:00 pm
Great Falls
12:00 pm



IF school is canceled or delayed, communication regarding these decisions will be relayed to you via:School Messenger (our automated phone, text, and email system). This notification would typically occur at approximately 5:30 a.m. if a decision is made to cancel in the morning, or by 10:00 a.m. if a decision is made to cancel at the half day.

Postings and notifications regarding school cancellations, delays, and/or early release decisions can also be located via the following:

-  District web site:

-  Twitter:

-  TV Stations: Channel 6, Channel 8 and Channel 13

-  Radio Stations: WGAN 560 AM, WMGX 93.1 FM, WPOR 101.0 FM, WYNZ 100.0 FM, WTHT 99.9 FM, WLAM 1470 AM, and KISS 97.9 FM


It is important to note that If school is canceled for the day, all after-school programs, activities, and athletic events are automatically canceled unless the district specifically communicates otherwise.


There may be times when school is in session, but the weather is expected to worsen throughout the day and into the evening, causing the district to cancel all after-school programs, activities, and athletic events. Communication on these occasions will be via announcements in schools, our automated messaging system, and our website.


Please understand that attempting to forecast the weather conditions here in Maine is difficult even for our professional meteorologists. The Gorham Schools will always attempt to make the best decisions possible with the safety of our students at the forefront of each decision. On a day that is forecasted to have poor weather conditions, I typically will start my morning at 4:30 a.m. getting up to watch the weather, calling our public works crew who are on the road, and other area Superintendents to see what conditions are likely to be in their area. I will then log onto several weather sites, check radar and satellite images and timing of the storm, all before making my final decision. Then once the decision is made, all I can do is sit back and hope that all of that data is correct and that mother nature cooperates!  None of this, as you might imagine is an exact science. The Gorham Schools will always do its best to make the right call, however, please know we understand that it is always the parent/guardian who makes the final decisions regarding the safety of your student(s). If there is ever a circumstance where school has not been canceled or delayed, yet you feel as though it is best to keep your child home because of road conditions please do not hesitate to do so.


To be honest, I'm kinda looking forward to calling snow days that we've experienced a pandemic...these decisions somehow seem "easier" even though I know they are not! ☺


The Gorham School Committee currently has several different special committees and/or ad hoc committees doing some pretty important work so I thought it might be important to just make sure folks know what these committees are and how to follow their work if you are interested in doing so.

The first is the Gorham Schools Anti-Racism and Equity Committee.  This committee is a formal ad. hoc subcommittee of the Gorham School Committee.  Membership includes approximately 24 members representing various stakeholder groups ranging from teachers, administrators and students to parents and community members.  The group is facilitated by professional consultants working with the Maine Intercultural Communications Consultants.  This Committee was 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. 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. You can follow the work of the committee by clicking on the running agendas and notes document LINKED HERE.

The second committee I'd like to highlight is the Gorham Strategic Re-Visioning Committee. In December 2017, the Gorham School Committee approved a strategic plan intended to serve as a map outlining how the school district would move forward to “Prepare and Inspire” ALL students in Gorham so that they leave our schools college, career, and life ready!

The Strategic plan outlined specific goals, action steps, proposed timelines, and evidence for completion of each goal over the next five years.  Annually, the District Leadership team reviewed implementation of the plan and shared progress towards the goals with the School Committee.

As the District nears the end of the current five-year plan, the Strategic Re-Visioning Committee will commence a year-long redesign of the strategic plan to determine:

  1. Where we are in the work. 

  2. How we continue moving forward.

  3. How we continue to engage our community in the work.

You can follow the work of this committee by clicking on the running agendas and notes document LINKED HERE.

The third committee I'd like to highlight is the Little Rams Early Childhood Project. The Little Rams Early Childhood Project is a powerful partnership of schools, child care programs, educators, parents, businesses, and local organizations and leaders. We engage the community in prioritizing our youngest Gorham children with a focus on early learning, nurturing care, and healthy development ages birth - age 5. The overall vision of this committee is that All children and families have access to quality early learning experiences that promote healthy development and school/community readiness. The specific task of this group is to Develop a written early childhood vision report for the community of Gorham.  Report will include:

  • Vision for early childhood learning (birth - 5) for Gorham

  • Assessment of current community assets to build towards actualizing this vision.

  • Assessment of current community gaps in actualizing this vision.

  • Creation of draft priority action steps and approximate timelines for work needed to make the early childhood learning vision a reality in Gorham.

This report will be delivered to the Gorham School Committee and Gorham Town Council upon its completion. You can follow the work of this committee by clicking on the running agendas and notes document LINKED HERE.

As always, if anyone has any questions about the work of these committees or anything else related to the schools for that matter - feel free to send me an email at

The Gorham Schools is currently working in partnership with Southern Maine Community College to start up a new Learning Facilitator certification program. This program is in development right now, so I don't yet have details, but I wanted to make folks aware that this is coming so if you are interested in participating, you can let me know. We will be particularly targeting trying to hire parents of students in our schools as we believe these positions would be excellent for parents who are trying to earn a little money while still having a school based schedule.

As you may or may not know, we have been having difficulty hiring Educational Technicians in our schools. We currently have three open Ed. Tech. III positions now. Part of the problem has been that in order to qualify as an Ed. Tech. III via the state certification rules, individuals must have the equivalent of 90 college credits. Some very good, qualified folks may not have that level of college coursework behind them. This is where our new partnership will come in (we hope).

We are working with SMCC to develop a Learning Facilitator certification program. This program, the length of which is still being determined, will allow individuals to take classes through SMCC on site in the Gorham Schools while simultaneously working and earning an hourly rate as an Ed. Tech. The program is akin to a paid internship program with the big difference being that once the program is successfully completed participants will be fully certified by the MDOE as meeting the Ed. tech. III designation.

Then, as an Ed. Tech. III working in the Gorham Schools, individuals can work to continue their education, to perhaps over time, earn enough credits to become a certified teacher and carry on in strengthening their education pathway from there.

As I stated above, we are particularly targeting parents of students in our schools who may like to work in our schools and on a schedule that would parallel their children's school schedule. At this point, individuals would only need a high school diploma to enroll in this new program. Again, we are still looking at putting together all the details for this program, but at this point, I would love to hear form folks who might be interested in applying once this program is up and operational. Our plans are to invite a cohort of between 6-8 individuals to he first program. If you are interested, or know of someone who is, please let me know by emailing me at Once we have the program finalized, I will then know who to reach out to asap to get started! An exciting opportunity for anyone who has wanted to get into the field of education, but wasn't sure how to start! So please reach out if interested!

Just sharing information to help our incredible partners at Gorham House. They are in need of hiring some additional dietary aid positions. These are evening positions and are great for adults and/or students who are looking to earn a little extra cash while also contributing to our community in a positive way! If you are interested, or know someone that might be, please share the information on the two flyers below!


Well that was A LOT of information! Certainly there is much to do and think about and stress levels remain high as we continue to navigate the Pandemic TOGETHER here in Gorham. I wanted to end this blog post by sharing a favorite poem of mine that I think helps us all to gain perspective on where we are, what we have been through TOGETHER, perhaps where we are going, and ultimately how all of this will shape us moving forward.

The poem is called: I Want To Age Like Sea Glass by Bernadette Noll


I want to age like sea glass. Smoothed by tides, not broken. I want the currents of life to toss me around, shake me up and leave me feeling washed clean. I want my hard edges to soften as the years pass—made not weak but supple. I want to ride the waves, go with the flow, feel the impact of the surging tides rolling in and out.

When I am thrown against the shore and caught between the rocks and a hard place, I want to rest there until I can find the strength to do what is next. Not stuck—just waiting, pondering, feeling what it feels like to pause. And when I am ready, I will catch a wave and let it carry me along to the next place that I am supposed to be.

I want to be picked up on occasion by an unsuspected soul and carried along—just for the connection, just for the sake of appreciation and wonder. And with each encounter, new possibilities of collaboration are presented, and new ideas are born.

I want to age like sea glass so that when people see the old woman I’ll become, they’ll embrace all that I am. They’ll marvel at my exquisite nature, hold me gently in their hands and be awed by my well-earned patina. Neither flashy nor dull, just a perfect luster. And they’ll wonder, if just for a second, what it is exactly I am made of and how I got to this very here and now. And we’ll both feel lucky to be in that perfectly right place at that profoundly right time.

I want to age like sea glass. I want to enjoy the journey and let my preciousness be, not in spite of the impacts of life, but because of them.

Friday, October 8, 2021

October 8 Blog Post

Hard to believe it has been two whole weeks since my last blog post!  I usually start each blog post off with a series of pictures taken from various schools.  Although I certainly could share many pictures once again, I would like to instead share a quick video clip from a recent channel 6 news expo involving the GHS Bee Club.  

This club's story is a symbolic of what is so incredible about our community here in Gorham.  I won't tell the whole story because the video clip linked below does a better job at that...but I will skip to the "moral of the story" at least as far as I am concerned.  

When we provide caring and supportive learning environments for our students, when we listen to their questions and respond to their curiosity, when we empower students to start something that allows them to take their ideas and make them into reality, when we support students with caring teachers, when we connect with our community resources, and when we make connections for students between their learning and their real lives - well - when we do that, anything is possible and the results are just amazing to watch!  

Check out the video below and tell me you don't agree that this represents some of the best of what our incredible community has to offer!  GO RAMS!

CLICK HERE to watch the news clip!

Lots to share...let's get down to it!...


Just a quick reminder that there is NO SCHOOL on Monday, Oct. 11 to celebrate Indigenous People's Day.  Students will return to school on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.  Additionally, I wanted to make sure parents knew that we have an early release day on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.  Students will be dismissed for a half day on this day using our usual Early Release Day dismissal schedule.  Additionally, there will be NO SCHOOL on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 due to Fall Parent/Teacher conferences.

You should have heard from your schools regarding how to sign up for Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Last year we heard a lot of positive feedback about holding these conferences via zoom and since COVID 19 is still hanging around we will hold P/T conferences primarily via zoom again this year.  If you might have difficulty participating via zoom, please reach out to your child's teacher to discuss options.  We want to make sure that all parents have an opportunity to participate in their child's fall conference!

On Oct. 25, 26 and 27 our schools will be hosting Flu Clinics in partnership with Northern Light Health Care.  If you are interested in your child participating in the flu clinic but have not yet seen an announcement on how to complete the online registration from your school, please reach out to your school's office and they can direct you on how to sign up.  Once again this year, we highly recommend staff and students get their flu shots...there are just so many other things out there to worry about right now, and if you can take one off your plate - like the flu - well its certainly recommended.

Another calendar related reminder for families at Great Falls Elementary School only.  Due to the need for the Town of Gorham to use Great Falls Elementary Schools as a primary polling location, we will be moving instruction for all students at Great Falls to fully remote instruction on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.  This will impact Great Falls Elementary School ONLY.  

Finally, for those families that may be looking just a little further ahead on the school calendar, Veterans Day falls on Thursday, Nov. 11 this year so there will be NO SCHOOL to honor those who have served our nation in the armed forces.


As I walk around the schools and talk with support staff, teachers, administrators and students there is a definite theme that emerges in regards to the challenges we continue to face as a direct result of the COVID 19 Pandemic.  Our teachers are tough.  They are passionate.  They care tremendously about our students and they are willing to do whatever it takes to support our students in their learning to ensure they are well prepared for "the world" they graduate into.  

That being said, I also want you to know that our teachers are worried about our students.  Students who are experiencing gaps in their learning through no fault of their own, and are therefore feeling a little insecure about themselves.  Students who are stressed trying to meet the expectations of their families.  Students who are having to learn how to navigate groups of social structures again after having been isolated for 18 months.  Students who are stressed trying to juggle 5 day per week instruction with homework, work work, extra and co-curricular involvement and meeting their own high expectations, let alone the high expectations of others.  

Before I go any further, I want you to know that we got this.  Our schools are doing great and our students and staff are all very happy to be back to 5 day per week instruction.  Yes, we've all been dealt a "bad hand" with COVID 19, and yes, our students may not have all the academic skills they would have otherwise had by now due to the events of the past 18+ months, but we will make that academic learning up.  That is the relatively "easy" part.  It won't happen in a month or two, but over the course of time - our teachers will absolutely get our students to where they need to be in order to position them to make whatever choice they want to about their next steps in the post secondary world.  We will prepare our students to achieve their version of greatness, whatever that may be.

When I listen to teachers right now, they are much more concerned about the SEL needs of our students than the academic needs (although please know we are not ignoring those).  We are responding to this as a school system.  We are talking about these issues and problem solving them together as professionals.  We are working to beef up advisory conversations, to offer more real world connections to our students, to embed movement breaks and mindfulness practices into our classrooms, we are strengthening our restorative practices approaches, and we are supporting students using our strong student support services models as just a few examples.   But we could use your help at home on the SEL front as well. 

Of course, as a parent you are probably wondering how you can help?  Well, one great place to start is a resource created by the Maine Department of Education called SEL4ME.  This incredible resource bank is geared towards providing resources to students, staff and parents.  All you need to do is click on the link below, register on the site and then a whole world of mini-lessons that can be conducted at home come alive at your fingertips for children across grades K-12.    It's a great tool for parents to work with children on their SEL skills, especially for those of you who may not know where to start.  I'd encourage you to watch the video linked below and sign up today to learn more about how you can support the SEL needs of your child(ren).  

TOGETHER we can provide the needed supports to let our children know that THEY are ok...that WE are ok...and that we are all here to support and care for each of them, all of them.  With this strong SEL focus as a foundation, the sky is the limit on academic learning.  But just like any building without a strong foundation - well let's just say it is worth the time to focus on that foundation now rather than try to fix it later.  Check out those resources below to learn more and feel free to reach out to your child's teacher to ask them about what they are doing in the classroom to support SEL practices...

SEL4ME Website Link

* SEL4ME Video Tutorial Link


In my recent traveling and continued learning on the topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I ran across this incredible resource put out to the greater Portland community through GPCOG (Greater Portland Council of Governments).  As we all continue to learn and grow in this area, I thought this might be a valuable resource for those of you as parents who may want to talk to your children about these important topics, but may not know where to start.  The title of this video created and shared by GPCOG is:  "Having Uncomfortable conversations with your kids:  Talking about Race and Racism".  

For those of you who might be looking for resources in this area, I thought I'd share.  Check out the link below if you are interested!



The Gorham Schools "Little Rams Early Childhood Project" is conducting a survey of parents of children ages birth to 6 to try and better understand the need for child care and early learning in the community of Gorham.  

The Little Rams Early Childhood Project is a powerful partnership of schools, child care programs, educators, parents, businesses, and local organizations and leaders from the community of Gorham. We engage the community in prioritizing our youngest children with a focus on early learning, nurturing care, and healthy development ages birth - age 5.

Our vision is that ALL children and families in Gorham have access to quality early learning experiences that promote healthy development and school/community readiness.

Data collected from this survey, and others will assist us in creating a vision for early childhood learning ages birth - 5 within the community of Gorham.



DEADLINE FOR COMPLETION - Friday, Oct. 15, 2021.

Survey Link:


As we complete our sixth week of school this year, I thought it would be important to just take a moment and reflect on where we are with our COVID 19 safety protocols and to remind families of the absolute importance of remaining vigilant as we inch ever so closer to having access to vaccines for our 11 and under populations.

Throughout the opening of school we have talked at length around the importance of wearing masks, sanitizing and washing hands frequently, and of trying to maintain physical distance whenever possible as our three core safety protocols.  I must admit right now that I have been remiss in talking more specifically about another key protocol and that is what I'd like to focus on here.  That additional key safety protocol is  - STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK.

Before COVID (boy, that sounds like such a long time ago doesn't it) wasn't unusual to see teachers come to school fighting that cough, eating cough drops like candy and pushing through the pain to make sure they were here for our kids.  Similarly, it was a pretty common occurrence that families whose children may have been a little under the weather with a bad cough, running nose, sore throat, etc. were sent to school with a pep talk about making it through the day and if they were still sick tomorrow, maybe they could stay home then.  Students often weren't sent home unless they spiked a fever, or unless they were physically ill.  Often times each fall, there would be schools that reported 1/3 or more of their populations out sick for several days.

I can remember talking to my administrative assistant on more than one occasion saying, you know, I love that you are tough enough to work even while sick, but I do not want what you have and I encouraged her to either head home (which she rarely did cause she is tougher than nails) or stay a good distance away from me during the day so I wouldn't catch whatever she had and spread it to my family.  She really is tougher than nails by the way!  Of course, that was then, and this is now.

We can look back at those times with some nostalgia I suppose, but in reality we probably should have always been following this rule of STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK.  Certainly in our new pandemic world, this little phrase has even more importance in our daily decision making.  There is no one that is going to say this is convenient or easy, but the reality is that this little phrase is one of the most effective public health strategies known to mankind.  It always has been, it is now, and it will remain so in the future post pandemic world.  It really is important to follow that one simple, yet oh so complex rule.

This of course, gives me an opening to remind parents about what the protocols are if your child does feel sick.  First it is important to realize that just because they feel sick does not mean they have COVID 19.  However, in today's world that also can't be ruled out.  So what should you do if your child comes down with symptoms that you are unsure of?  Well, here's the general rule of thumb:

-  First, follow the golden rule...if they are sick, keep them home.

-  Then I'd suggest you reach out to your child's school nurse and/or your child's PCP for guidance, but generally speaking should follow the flow chart (far right section) that is in the Gorham COVID 19 Family Handbook:

The Symptoms List for the flow chart can be SEEN BY CLICKING HERE.

-  If you have questions, we encourage you to reach out to our school nurses and they can assist you in navigating the flow chart above.

-  If you decide to get your child tested, please know that your child must remain home while awaiting any testing results.  

-  If the test comes back positive, you should contact the school nurse and begin isolation immediately.

-  If the test comes back negative, AND symptoms have improved, then your child may return to school.  Please notice that very important conjunction above:"AND".  Even if your child doesn't have COVID, that doesn't mean that you should still send them back to school with a fever or with aches and chills or with a severe sore throat or vomiting.  The same reasons to keep students home before COVID still exist and there are other things we don't want to pass along to our friends by sending sick children to school that may not be COVID.

Please know that as a school system we understand the strain that being extra vigilant in these areas causes you as parents.  We understand that sometimes when you go to get a COVID 19 test that the PCR test takes 3 days to get back, or that it is sometimes hard to even get a test in the first place.  We understand that children never seem to get sick when you are at a "lull" at work, but instead often somehow choose the most stressful times to get sick.  We get it.  We are often working parents too.  But please know that one thing we absolutely want to avoid at all costs is going back to where we were in March of 2020.  We never want to go back there.  We can't go back there.  We need to keep our schools open to 5 day per week programming for our children and, frankly, for our working families.  The safety protocols we have put in place are there to ensure that this goal is achieved.

Our guidelines and expectations can be found in our Family Handbook LINKED HERE.  This document was shared before the opening of school and outlines all of our safety protocols and expectations.  

I ask for your continued vigilance and patience with these protocols.  I think we all share the common goal of keeping our schools open and that is the primary function of these safety protocols.  I think we are all exhausted and ready for this pandemic to be over already, but we must be vigilant a little longer! 

I have recently become aware of angry phone calls and/or emails to nurses or to teachers.  Communications that raise voices, that sometimes swear, and that are not communications that would be reflective of our Code of Conduct.  I get it.  I can get angry, tired and frustrated too.  We all can, especially when we perceive the potential for negative impacts to our children or to our jobs.  I would ask that you keep in mind that these folks are doing the best they can following the rules we have to follow to keep our schools open.  

If you are upset about these protocols and wish to share your frustration or if you have questions about why these protocols exist, please send that information to me in an email.  I will listen and I will respond.  I get paid the "big bucks" to do this kind of work. ☺ But I would ask you to please, please, try to BE KIND TO OUR SCHOOL STAFF who are implementing these safety protocols.  Our school nurses, our teachers, our support staff...they are doing their jobs and doing their best to ensure folks follow the rules so our common goal can be attained and our schools can remain open.  THANK YOU.


This months Aspire Gorham newsletter spotlights senior Colby Tucker and his aspirations for the future, plus a lot more!  Check it out via the link below!


Just a few events I thought might be of interest to folks coming right up:

* Moody's 44th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 16th.  Check out the flyer LINKED HERE for details!

* Upcoming Zombie Run!  Yes - I said Zombie!  Check out the message below from Jason Tanguay, GHS Cross Country Coach (who is assisting with the event) to learn more:

Our high school cross country team and the Gorham Outdoors club is helping the USM Women’s Cross Country team put on a Zombie Run next Friday, October 15th at the Shaw Farm Cherry Hill trails.

You can find more info and how to sign up on this Eventbrite link:

You should also check out the promotional video:

Hope you can get outside and enjoy the many trails in our great community!


Just wanted to share what I think is a pretty funny meme reflecting workplace stress right now...for those of you who grew up with Sesame Street as I did, I think you can appreciate where cookie monster is on this one! If it gets one chuckle, it is worth it!  See you next time (Oct. 22)!