Message October 19, 2015

Message October 19, 2015

At a home football game with Leavitt High School on Oct. 11, Leavitt senior Adam Smith was injured during the game and was treated by Greely trainer Tom Spencer and Dr. Kate Quinn, who then diagnosed this player with a spleen injury, a very dangerous condition.  Adam was rushed to Maine Med by an ambulance that was already on-site as part of our protocols for sporting events.  

This protocol has been broadened recently to include all athletic home games for most programs, thanks to the Town of Cumberland and specifically Bill Shane, with district support.  The ambulance's on-site presence and the quick diagnosis by Dr. Quinn may have saved the life of this player.  Many thanks to Dr. Quinn, Tom Spencer, and Cumberland rescue personnel Craig Weeman, Stephanie Weeman, Kevin Foster, Andrew Breitbel, and Adam Cafro.  Adam Smith is doing much better and is expected to make a full recovery.

I met with Superintendents Geoff Bruno of Falmouth and Andrew Dolloff of Yarmouth a couple of weeks ago to discuss ways that we can better collaborate in an effort to share services and resources.  We identified some potential areas for further exploration and also agreed to meet regularly for the rest of the year to continue these discussions.  I am hopeful that we can find joint areas for working together and found my two colleagues to be very open to collaborating with MSAD #51.

Recently, Sally Loughlin and the Initial Stakeholder group for educator evaluation completed the bulk of their work.  This work focused on consensus-building around several topics, including the use of student data in the evaluation process, as required by law, among many other decisions.  Sally is now transitioning the initial stakeholder group to a steering committee, which will oversee teacher and principal evaluation for the foreseeable future.

I am pleased that the NHS faculty council met over the summer and has made some adjustments to the NHS criteria for admission that should help open the door for more students to be involved in this program this year.  Here are some of the changes made:
  • GPA requirement adjusted from 93 to 90
  • Communication to students around NHS and criteria for admission will be multi-faceted at Parent orientation night, step up day, freshman orientation, and class meetings
  • All potentially eligible sophomores (based on GPA of 90) will be invited to an informational meeting to discuss admission criteria and solicit interest
  • Checklist will be used to communicate why candidates were not accepted, if this occurs
  • Commitment from faculty council that "leadership" can be equally measured both in and outside of GHS
  • Athletics be viewed by the faculty council as a legitimate area of service to meet NHS criteria
  • Anchor applications will be created to help students better understand what is expected for admission.
The high school scheduling committee has been exploring the possibility of moving to a block schedule for the 2016-17 year.  This schedule would provide many benefits for our students:
  •  Longer periods of uninterrupted instructional time. 
  •  Proposed schedule has class periods 77 minutes in length. 
  •  GHS is also exploring the options of including an all school support period and  expanding support labs in multiple disciplines. 
  •  The final schedule will have fewer student and teacher transitions during the day and  provides greater opportunity for teachers to teach in depth.
  •  It provides an instructional and learning model change that more easily lends itself to  proficiency-based learning.
The final details and revisions will be worked out by the GHS scheduling committee over the next couple of months. 

Our district has been involved in a grant project, Count Me In, over the past couple of years to bring greater awareness around the impact of student absences on learning. Sporadic absences, not just consecutive days of school, matter.  These four simple things could help:

1. Set school clothes out the night before to reduce the amount of time necessary in getting ready for school and eliminating the possibility of missing the bus and arriving late to school.  
2. Pack backpacks the night before.  Before putting the kids to bed, make sure homework, shoes for PE class, library books and snacks are placed in their backpack for the next day.

3. Place coat, backpack and instruments by the front door the night before.  

4. Agree NO television or video games until the morning routine is done.  One of the most common reasons students are “a few minutes late” to school is because they would not turn off their video game or television  in the morning.  Before the television can be turned on, kids should be dressed, fed, teeth brushed and backpack loaded by the door.  Set a TIMER to make sure the television is off at least 5 minutes before you need to leave for school.

The school district recently repainted a retired small school bus and donated it to the Aging In Place group for their use.  Many thanks to Phil Blake and Larry Lare at the transportation department for their work re-purposing this bus.  

Left to right: Larry Lare, Phil Blake, Dale Denno, Paula Slipp

October 23 has been proclaimed as "Bus Driver Appreciation" Day in Maine. Please take a moment to thank your child's bus driver this week!