Message September 19, 2016

Upcoming informational sessions that are open to the public to learn more about the Performing Arts Center project are as follows:

Monday, September 26 @ 6:30 pm: Public Presentation (NYMS gymnasium)
Thursday, October 6 @ 6:30 pm: Public Presentation (Cumberland Town Office)
Monday, October 17 @ 7pm; Public Hearing, Board meeting (GHS library)

Below is an architectural rendering of the proposed Performing Arts Center addition at GHS.  For more information on the PAC, please click here.

Greely Girls Volleyball team won the Bruce Churchill Classic for ALS tournament, congrats girls & Coach Don Legere.

The district office received a first draft and presentation of the long-term enrollment projections report that we commissioned through Planning Decisions.  We had additional questions and areas for further study that we have asked Planning Decisions to continue researching.  After we receive more information, a representative from Planning Decisions will present the enrollment study to the Board in a workshop later this fall.

Congrats 2017 GHS National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists: Samuel Bonnevie, Sarah Johnson, Patrick Lyden, Maggie Nolan & John Saffian.

66% of our juniors and seniors are currently taking at least one IB or AP course this year. About one-third of our juniors and seniors are taking 3 or more IB or AP courses.

This Friday, we are holding a K-12 campus-wide event where everyone will "Drop Everything and Read".  All students and staff will stop what they are doing at the same time for 30 minutes and read to themselves, to a buddy, with their class, with other classes, etc.  The district is trying to promote more campus-wide connections now that everyone is on the same parcel of land.

The new Bring Your Own Learning Device is moving along.  Our technology dept. is working to solidify plans for the 70 or so GHS students who are using school-issued laptops.  These plans will include a permanent sign out to these students for the year.

We have two full-time students involved in our regional STRIVE program.  This program is shared by 6 districts as part of our Instructional Support offerings.  Students may attend STRIVE post-graduate until age 20.  Last year, the first year, we had a student attend half-time.  The goal is to grow this program for students who qualify and could benefit.

Passed in 2012, Maine law now requires school districts to adjust systems of instruction, assessment, and reporting to reflect the knowledge and skills that students have learned, learning standards. Our plan to transition to a proficiency based system (learning standards) was approved by the state; our first class to graduate with a proficiency based diploma is in 2021 (current 8th grade class). We have been working on this transition for the past two years and this year we will be piloting proficiency based grading practices (in addition to our traditional grades).

Starting this fall, teachers in grades 6-12 will be assessing student progress by assessing the learning standards in each course. Teachers will share feedback on the learning standards and habits of work directly with students through conferencing. Parents and students will have continued access to the traditional grade reporting through the Powerschool portal.

The proficiency-based approach is relatively new to all Maine schools and districts. MSAD #51 will continue to maintain our current systems as we study and refine practices to align with a proficiency-based system.

Click here for more information about our district's move towards proficiency.

Message September 8, 2016

Welcome Back!

The first two weeks of school have been smooth.  Students and staff are adjusting well to the new K-12 schedule that provides a later start time for the school day in order to help students be more rested and ready to learn.  We are also hopeful that the later times reduce student tardiness.

On September 8, the MSAD #51 Board of Directors approved the wording to be placed on the ballot for a Performing Arts Center (PAC) for the November 2016 election.  The Board must still vote later to call the referendum for this project, but this was an important step.

The PAC project is tied to the district's Strategic Plan and 10-Year Facilities Plan. Please visit the PAC Info page that is linked to our district's home page.  Here you will find site plans, an architectural rendering of the proposed facility, PAC building committee minutes and agendas, and other information regarding this project.

Click this link for more information:  PAC Info Page

Beginning of year student enrollment is as follows:

Actual 2015-16
Projected 2016-17
Actual 9/8/16
GMS 4-5
GMS 6-8

As a side note regarding our enrollment, Planning Decisions has completed the long-range enrollment report that we requested.  This report will be shared with the Board and public after we have received all of the data.  This report will be used to help determine future space and facility needs and would replace the last long-term studies done in 2009.

The annual 7th grade overnight experience on Cow Island as part of the Rippleffect program began last week.  This popular trip provides bonding and teamwork activities along with adventure-based programming such as zip-lining, wall climbing, and kayaking.

Technology Update:
With the policy change made by the Board in July for Policy JFCK (Student Use of Cellular Telephones and Other Electronic Devices), the high school was able to move ahead with BYOD (Bring Your Own Learning Device). Approx. 50 students currently are checking out chromebooks from the GHS library daily. This is half of the number of students we anticipated needing a school-issued laptop. Nearing 80% of the devices coming from home are Apple laptops and fit our suggested specs.  Grades 6-8 is 100% deployment.  We are currently setting up purchased devices for 1:1 in grades 2-5.  Kindergarten and grade 1 students will be mostly 1:1 with a mixture of iPads and chromebooks.

GHS Weighted Grades Update:
Effective this fall, all GHS student Grade Point Average (GPA) will be weighted based on the following criteria: Each Honors level class final grade will receive an additional 2 points when calculating the GPA. Each International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) class final grade will receive an additional 3 points when calculating the GPA. The GPA will be calculated at the end of the freshmen year, and each subsequent semester. For sophomores, juniors and seniors, this weighting will be retroactive through their freshman year. This weighted GPA will appear on the student transcript. Many thanks to data manager Joe Bickard and the GHS student government for their work on creating a weighted grades system for the high school.

Our fall athletic programs have opened with several wins to date.  Congrats to the golf, field hockey,  boys & girls soccer, boys and girls x-country, and girls volleyball teams for their early season victories.

We are continuing to expand our Restorative Practices approach to student discipline at our schools. All Greely Middle School 4-5 staff were trained by a facilitator from Restorative Practices Collaborative of Maine.  The central premise behind successful resolution of conflict at school are the relationships formed that foster learning, growth, and a healthy climate.  Circles are the primary tool for resolving conflict through shared understanding and empathy. Many thanks to GMS 6-8 asst. principal Ken Marks, who has been a leader in the district on this topic.

Mark Your Calendars!  The district's 50th Anniversary celebration will be held the weekend of October 14-15.  Start off with a Rangers alumni football game on the 14th, followed by food, games, music, and events on Saturday morning. Here's to another 50!