Message January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

Be The Change

In an effort to bring more students together in positive ways, we are partnering with RSU 5 to bring the "Challenge Day" project to GHS on January 12 and 13.  This project is part of the Be The Change national movement meant to support positive change for high schoolers. This project will hopefully become an annual event for all sophomores that promotes the development of empathy and understanding between students around personal struggles.  

This nationally recognized program and professional facilitators focuses on breaking down walls between students and has been an effective tool in combatting bullying.  Many thanks school coordinator Jayme Jones for her work on organizing these days.  Also thanks to Ashley Caswell for handling all of the external logistics with the Be The Change organization.

Every Child Succeeds Act
In late December, President Obama signed into law the long-awaited replacement for the No Child Left Behind law, now called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Here are the major provisions of the new law:
  • Requiring annual statewide assessment tests for all public school students.
  • Giving states increased flexibility to design school accountability systems, school interventions, and student supports.
  • Giving states flexibility to work with local stakeholders to develop educator evaluation and support systems.
  • Increasing state and local flexibility in the use of federal funds.
Maine will continue to follow the last waiver requirements as directed by the US Dept. of Education until August 1, 2016, based on the waiver's sunset provision.  This will give the state time to analyze and begin formulating a new system for K-12 educational measurement and accountability.

Japanese Homestay
This week, we are excited to welcome a delegation of 10 students and 4 staff from Namioka, Japan as part of our long-standing annual "homestay" at GMS.  On Wednesday, a welcome ceremony will be held at GMS in honor of our guests, followed by many exciting activities planned throughout the week such as a visit to Portland's Old Port, eating a lobster dinner at the Muddy Rudder, and snow shoeing, among others.  The Japanese students will be immersed in classrooms at GMS and will have the opportunity to share their culture with our students.  Many thanks to Holly Groom, Leslie Livingston, and the Casco Bay Japanese Exchange for their continued leadership of this program.


Congratulations to girls hockey player Danita Storey for scoring her 100th career goal at the Dudley 
Cup game v. the Yachtsmen.  The girls hockey team is on a roll, ranked #1 by the Forecaster.                                                        
IB Program Review
GHS recently underwent its first five-year International Baccalaureate (IB) study since the program was implemented in 2009.  The review included commendations around student performance being well above national and international averages and our district's commitment to professional development and training for teachers who instruct IB courses.  Many thanks to IB Coordinator Vanessa Sylvester, GHS Principal Dan McKeone, and all of our faculty who teach IB courses.