Message March 24, 2016

1.  The sophomore class experienced Challenge Day last week, a national program that is created to build connection and empathy, and to fulfill a vision that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved, and celebrated. Challenge Day is more than a one-day program. Our programs go beyond traditional anti-bullying efforts, building empathy and igniting a movement of compassion and positive change, known as the Be the Change movement.   

Many thanks to Challenge Day facilitators Katie and Sea Lloyd for offering such a worthwhile experience for our students.  Thanks also to our 25 adult participants, all staff members, parents, and community members connected to GHS.  And final thanks goes to GHS Asst. Principal Jayme Jones, who worked many hours to develop a schedule and recruit volunteers to assist; and Director of Development & Community Resources Ashley Caswell, who worked behind the scenes with the Challenge Day organization to share costs with another area district.  The plan is to offer Challenge Day annually to the sophomore class.  Natural Helpers also will be taking some of the positive energy from this day and helping to spread it throughout the high school through awareness and special events.  This event helps to fulfill Objective 2.1, student and staff wellness, in the district's Strategic Plan.

Sophomore class @ Challenge Day March 17

2.  I am pleased to report that the state Legislature ran another $15 million through the EPS formula, netting an additional $152,000 in state subsidy, with the district picking up a total of $308,000 in state aid for FY 17. 

3.  The process for hiring a new principal for Mabel I. Wilson School is underway.  This week, the interview committee will be screening the 16 applications received.  Initial interviews will take place the week of April 4, with the target date of early May for appointment of a new principal.

4.  Congrats to these students who won awards at the Maine State Science Fair:

  • Behavioral and Social Sciences - Third Place Brooke Asherman
  • Biomedical and Health Sciences:  Third Place Evan Wyman
  • Chemistry and Materials:  Third Place Ibrahim Saleh
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences:  Second Place Maggie Nolan
  • Energy and Transportation: Nicolas Giandrea Third Place
  • Mechanical and Environmental: Sam Bonnevie Third Place
  • Microbiology: Corrigan Franham First Place; Madeline Panici Second Place; Annabelle Williams Third Place
  • Jordan Bryant was recognized for her research into Visual Memory
Many thanks to teachers Bob O'Neil and Julie Opperman for their work with the students at the science fair.

Maine State Science Fair winners

5.  The GHS jazz ensemble, directed by Kevin Rollins, won 1st place in Division I at the state level, among the 4 best jazz combos in the state.  Several members of the jazz band were also recognized for individual accomplishments.  

6.  What a terrific production of the Learned Ladies this past weekend by the GHS theater students, directed by Audrey Northway.  From the actors and actresses to the backstage crew to the booster support, it was 2 hours of true talent and a lot of fun to watch.

7.  This week marked the beginning of the new state assessment testing at GMS 4-5, the first school in the district to test our students on the new Maine Educational Assessment (MEA).  The MEA replaced the Smarter Balanced assessment after the state discontinued SBAC after only one year of the testing cycle.  Our district has been preparing for this new assessment for several months and I am confident this will be a productive experience for our students.  Special thanks to Principal Carol MacArthur and staff for pioneering the test in our district; Sally Loughlin for the district-level planning; and the technology department, including director Dirk Van Curan, Dawna Green, Pete Rhode, and Joe Bickard.

8.  On a survey to 8th grade families asking if their child would be attending Greely High School in the fall, 105/109 responses (or 96%) indicated their child would be attending our high school.  70% of the 8th grade families responded.