Friday, May 13, 2022

May 13 Blog Post

Friday the 13th.  YUP, sure feels like that doesn't it? 😉 Been a busy two weeks and unfortunately a time where COVID 19 has taken "center stage" once again.  It seems our new neighbor does like the spotlight every once in a while!  Even with the challenges associated with an increase in positive cases impacting our schools, it has still been a very positive two weeks for learning though.  Here's some pictures to show a snapshot of what's been going on...

We have plenty to talk let's get to it!  


As we continue to see positive cases spike here in the Gorham Schools, I just wanted to send one more STRONG REMINDER that we absolutely are STRONGLY RECOMMENDING that staff and students  wear face coverings while indoors. Due to staffing shortages caused by COVID 19 we are having to move Great Falls Elementary School to fully remote today.  I expect we will be able to reopen Great Falls to in person instruction on Monday, however, we are also struggling with staffing at both Narragansett and Village Schools due to COVID 19 impacts.  We will see what the future holds at these two schools as we move through the next week.

COVID 19 is still very much present in our schools and although I do NOT foresee a time when we will reinstitute a mask mandate in the schools (unless the Maine CDC adjusts their Standard Operating Procedures for schools again), I do know that it is important for all of us to make choices to help curb the spread of COVID 19 so that we can keep our schools safely open to in person instruction.  We each must take responsibility and make choices to help curb the spread.  There are no mandates, but the more we can do to curb the spread - the better off our entire community will be.  Here is what you can consider doing:

1.  Wear a mask while indoors (STRONGLY Recommended)

2.  Consider getting vaccinated/booster if you haven't already done so.

3.  Monitor symptoms daily.


5.  Get tested if you are having symptoms (home tests are fine).

6.  Keep your distance when possible.

7.  Open up those windows and get outdoors whenever possible.

We are coming into the home stretch of our school year with just four weeks to go.  There are lots of exciting things happening for our students...end of year celebrations, field experiences, graduations, etc.  Let's make sure we all do what we can to ensure students and families are able to fully participate in these awesome events!  We all have choices to make now... no mandates!  Yeah!  But with choices comes responsibility.  Let's all do what we can to pitch in and curb the spread!👍

Remember, you can follow the data in two key ways:

1.  Keep an eye on our daily active positive case county by school on our website LINKED HERE.

2.  Follow Maine CDC color coded guidance LINKED HERE.  Just so folks are aware - Cumberland County just turned back to orange...medium risk:

Because of the recent positive cases after a previous lull, I've had folks reach out to ask about protocols and guidance about what to do if you test positive or are a close contact.  As a reminder...our current school guidelines are outlined below.  Please reach out to your school's nurse with further questions.

COVID19 Guidance as of 5.10.22

The Gorham School Department follows CDC and MDOE guidance for COVID19 protocols.

Masking ONLY required if:

- known exposure Or day 6-10 after testing positive for COVID19 (if qualifications met).

Close Contact - exposed to COVID19 (including household positives)


- Wear mask at school and all public places for 10 days after exposure.

- If symptoms develop, isolate and test immediately.

COVID Positive past 90 days:

- Wear a mask at school and all public places for 10 days after exposure.

- If symptoms develop, isolate and call doctor for guidance immediately.

Unvaccinated or Partially Vaccinated

- Quarantine at home for days zero to 5.

- If no symptoms develop, mask at school / public places days 6-10 after exposure.

- If symptoms develop isolate and test immediately.

Positive for COVID19 - regardless of vaccination status:

- Day Zero to 5 - isolate at home.

- Day 6 to 10 - improved symptoms/no fever x 24 hrs/negative test on Day 6 (if tested).

⁎ Wear a mask when at school/all public places (including outdoor recess & bus).

⁎ Sit 6 feet from others when eating.

- Day 6 to 10 - Symptoms persist OR positive test on Day 6.

⁎ Continue at-home isolation for 10 days.

- Day 11 - Release from isolation/mandatory mask wearing/6 ft distancing when eating.

Symptoms, but Negative for COVID19 - regardless of vaccination status: Stay Home until significant improvement in symptoms:

- No fever x 24 hrs without use of fever-reducing medications.

- Nasal drainage is manageable at school.

- Cough is not disruptive to their day.

- At least 24 hours since last episode of vomiting and/or diarrhea.

COVID Symptoms - Decline test. Individuals are Presumed Positive and need to:

- Stay home 5 days from symptom onset.

- Day 6 - 10: return to school - mask at recess & bus/6 ft distance when eating.


Did you know that just under 78% of our School's Total Budget is in staffing costs.  We are a "people driven" organization!  But did you also know that 70% of our overall budget is expended DIRECTLY in our classrooms to support our students?  That is well above previous targets set by the state of Maine.  Finally, did you know that just 3.2% of our total budget is spent on system administration.  Private industry standards for businesses with budgets the size of our school's budget set standards in this area at a much higher rate, often 10% or more.  Bottom line...the funding we get from our community goes where it needs to go - to direct support for our student's learning!

Want to learn more?  Check out our Proposed budget informational website LINKED HERE and watch our recent FY 23 budget presentation to the Town Council LINKED HERE!

As a reminder, next step in the budget approval process is the Town Council vote on the School's Budget on June 7, 2022.  This meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers.  Then on June 14 there will be a budget validation referendum vote by the public.

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out (


We are asking any parent of a K-12 student in the Gorham Schools for the 2022-23 School year to please complete the transportation survey below IF YOU WILL NEED ANY TRANSPORTATION TO OR FROM SCHOOL TO A LOCATION OTHER THAN YOUR HOME.  We ask that surveys are completed by Friday, May 27 so that we may have the necessary information to begin building our bus routes this summer and in preparation for the reopening of school in August, 2022.

Please reach out to your school's office if you have questions.  Here's the Survey Link:


Such incredible work happening across our schools through the ASPIRE Gorham Program!  Check out this month's newsletter LINKED HERE for the latest and greatest going on to help make sure our students continue to craft their future stories in a meaningful way!


Although the first date was a wash because Aroma Joe's experienced an unanticipated worker shortage and had to close their lobby area down...two dates remain if folks are interested in participating.  

As the year winds down, as we work to gain approval for our FY 23 Proposed School Budget and as we reflect and think ahead to goals for the coming year, I wanted to offer up an opportunity to just simply sit down with folks who might be interested to chat!  In the past, I've held these meetings early in the morning and have had some feedback that isn't the best time, especially for parents who are working to get their children ready for school.  So for these I'm going to try an after school time.  I realize that time can also be hectic and busy for folks, but perhaps a little more available.  We'll see.  

There are NO AGENDAS for these meetings.  I simply show up.  Individuals who participate can come with specific questions you may have, or you may share ideas or information you think is important for me to be aware of and to consider in my role as Superintendent of Schools here in Gorham.  These meetings are really more of just a conversation and an opportunity for me to LISTEN and for you to get any questions you may have answered.  The only "norm" I will insist upon is that all conversations are respectful and civil.  This is not a meeting to air your political beliefs or for me to air mine.  

Dates/Time/Location for three of these meetings are listed below.  I welcome anyone who cares about the community of Gorham to attend!  

*. Monday, May 16 at 4:00 p.m. at Aroma Joe's - Gorham, ME.
*. Thursday, May 26 at 7:00 p.m. at Aroma Joe's - Gorham, ME. 

Hope to see you there!


Leave it to our creative GHS JMG students to find a way to meaningfully connect the fun of cornhole to exploration of careers and connecting with area Gorham businesses!  Our students are nothing if not creative!

Although this event is for STUDENTS ONLY (so not open to the general public), it is an event that has been entirely created and put together by students in the JMG program at GHS.  

This event is for ALL grade levels 9-12! A handful of our employers are hiring ages 14+, while others are only hiring 16+ or 18+, so we encourage everyone to attend! Even seniors doing senior internships, especially given all the great opportunities that are only available to ages 18+.

- The goal of this event is for students to make career connections, whether this is to find a part-time job, summer work, or to connect with a business that you might be considering for your future career and have a little fun while doing it!

Want to learn more or check out our student's creativity?  Check out their website link by CLICKING HERE.


Gorham Girls Basketball Camp and K-2 Co-ed basketball camp will be held at Gorham  Middle School from June 27th-June 30th. The camp is for girls entering grades 3rd-8th and boys and girls entering k-2nd.

The registration link and camp description can be found at


We had well over 400 parent/guardians participate in our teacher appreciation week survey that asked folks to describe the character traits of our incredible teachers...I shared the results with our teachers on Friday, but wanted you to see them too!  I definitely couldn't say it any better!  Check it out in wordle form below!


Did you know that the Town of Gorham and the Town of Windham are collaboratively working together to create an updated vision plan for this area on both sides of the Presumpscot River?  Interested in learning more about how to get involved?  Check out the information below from Northstar Planning!

The Towns of Windham and Gorham are working with Aceto Landscape Architects and North Star Planning to create an updated vision plan for this community on both sides of the Presumpscot River. This project started a couple of months ago, and we hope you can engage with the work over the next several weeks as we aim to ramp up public participation and outreach.

Community Survey: Please take a few minutes to respond to the survey on the project page at This survey will be open through at least the end of May, but please respond early so we can share preliminary results at the first public meeting.

Public Meeting May 25: We'll be having an in-person meeting on Wednesday, May 25, from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at the Little Falls Activity Center, located at 40 Acorn Street in Gorham. We'll be sharing some analysis, what we have heard so far, and asking for your thoughts on what we should be focusing on as we move into community design work this summer.

Please visit the project web site for more information and to take the survey. You can also register for future updates, view mapping work in progress and more.

Thanks very much, and we hope you stay engaged with this work as we move forward!

The Vision Plan Team
Ben Smith, AICP


A quick quote to share that I thought folks might appreciate!  

Please know that each teacher, secretary, bus driver teacher and other educator in our schools are doing their best for our children every day and that we all know each of you as parents/families are doing the same!  Keep up the great work...summer is just around the corner!

Well that is enough for this edition!  As a reminder...LOTS of activities going on in our schools!  Best way to follow is to go to our website ( and click on each school's website to view their calendar and announcements!  

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