Principal Updates

 

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Mt. Ararat Middle School

66 Republic Avenue, Topsham, ME 04086

Phone:  (207)729-2950     Fax: (207)729-2964

Website:  mams.link75.org

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Megan Hayes Teague, Interim Principal

hayesteaguem@link75.org

March 19, 2021

Dear MAMS Families,


As I am writing this letter, we are excitedly preparing to welcome all seventh and eighth grade hybrid students back to full-time learning at MAMS, beginning Monday, March 22. Teachers have been working all week to prepare students for room and schedule changes, and will focus much of next week on community and team-building as some students will be meeting each other for the first time! In the meantime, we are continuing to recruit for our open sixth grade teaching position, and hope to be able to confirm a start date for sixth grade’s return in our next parent newsletter, if not before then. You can expect the next newsletter to arrive on Friday, April 2--however, if any questions or concerns arise before then, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Here are a few things coming up in our school:

Important Dates:
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Monday, March 22: 7th/8th Grade Hybrid Students Return to Full Time
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Wednesday, March 24: LATE START WEDNESDAY (8:40)--ALL 7TH/8TH GRADERS, 6TH GRADE COHORT A IN PERSON
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Wednesday, March 31: LATE START WEDNESDAY (8:40)--ALL 7TH/8TH GRADERS, 6TH GRADE COHORT B IN PERSON
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Wednesday, March 31: SAVE THE DATE: Parent-Principal Coffee
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Friday, April 2: Third Quarter Ends
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Monday, April 5: Fourth Quarter Begins

 

Parent Drop Off and Pick Up. As we bring more students back into the building, we are anticipating increased traffic during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. In order to accommodate this, we are updating our arrival times:

 

Bus Arrival: 7:30am to 7:45am  

Parent Drop-Offs: 7:45am to 8:00am

South Teams: Continue to Drop Off at South Back Entrance to Building

North Teams: Drop Off at North Back Entrance to Building OR Bus Lane (after 7:45am) 

 

No students will be allowed entry into the school until 7:30am for supervision purposes. All students must wear masks and maintain social-distancing as they enter the building.  All students will start every day in their homeroom, from 7:40am to 8:00am.  We extended this time so that students do not feel pressure if they arrive after 7:40am.  

 

South Teams: South Bay (6th), Kennebec (7th), & Androscoggin (7th)  

North Teams: North Bay (6th), Merrymeeting (8th), & Casco (8th) 

 

Parent pick-ups will continue to follow bus departure, starting at 2:20pm. Parents are asked to park behind the building near the North/South back entrances to the building. Due to the limiting of visitors inside our building, we will not be able to have parents wait for students in the main lobby or front entrance this year. Students will be dismissed from their team areas by homeroom to either their parents or to walk home.  Walkers and parent pick up students will come out those back North/South exits after 2:20.

 

Bus Dismissal: 2:05pm to 2:20pm

Parent Pick-Up: 2:20pm to 2:30pm

 

 

 

Chorus and Band Return Live! As we make the transition to in-person learning for music ensembles, we recognize that some students who opted out of Zoom rehearsals may be interested in joining chorus and/or band** again. If you are interested in having your sixth, seventh, or eighth grade student participate in chorus or band for the remainder of this school year, please contact Renovia Day (marrodayr@link75.org) for Chorus or Rachel Williams (williamsra@link75.org) for Band by March 24th so we can prepare for distancing and PPE requirements. Chorus and Band will be offered during students’ exploratory period, and students participating in these electives will miss a portion of an exploratory block. If you have any questions about the classes or the schedule, please reach out to Ms. Day, Ms. Williams, or to me directly.

 

**If you currently do not have an instrument and would like to be in the band, email Ms. Williams to join and get an instrument.


8th GRADE CELEBRATION UPDATE: Planning is off to an enthusiastic start with lots of work ahead to create an amazing end of year 8th grade celebration!  Parents are encouraged to join the "MAMS 2021 8th Grade Celebration" group on Facebook to take part in the process. Many hands make light work for this creative project and there is plenty of room for everyone to help! Contact Tessa Kingsley (tessieanne@gmail.com, 607-0090) with any questions.



Spring Sports Update! Softball/Baseball sign-ups for seventh and eighth graders and Track sign-ups for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders will be held the week of March 22nd, with practices beginning mid-April and competitions set to occur in May. Interested Team Allagash students may sign up as well, and will be assigned practice days by the Team’s Coach based on numbers and availability. 

Items to Note:

*As we do not anticipate having to cut any students, there will be no tryouts this year
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In keeping with the guidelines, we cannot have parents attend practices at this time
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Students must wear masks throughout the practice session 
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Students must practice social distancing at all times
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More information to come in the next newsletter on practice schedule, game/competition schedule, and plans for spectators

All students participating in athletics must turn in a completed Parent Consent Form and Medical Questionnaire to their coach at the first practice. Both can be found on the MAMS Athletic Page. This year ALL students must sign up online via the Athletics webpage. For any questions about Athletics, please contact our Athletic Director, Rick Crawford at crawfordr@link75.org, visit our Athletics webpage, or call us at 729-2950.


BILD Celebrates Mardi Gras! Seventh grade students in the BILD program recently completed a unit on Mardi Gras. They read up on the history of this interesting holiday and its connections to both American history and world history.  They also learned about the cultural aspects of the city of New Orleans, particularly its rich musical and food traditions. In math class, they were tasked with planning Mardi Gras parties and building floats. Races were held to examine the aspects of physics that have an effect on motion, a fun way to review topics covered in science class.

 

Counseling Corner. We're very excited as we anticipate having all of our 7th and 8th grade in-person students return to school 5 days a week on Monday!  Students will be able to see more classmates and have increased access to direct teaching and learning to continue their academic growth as we look towards completing this year and building strongly towards next year.

 

However, like all transitions, this one may also have some challenges.  Getting back into a routine of coming to school five days a week is a big change from our previous hybrid schedule. We encourage everyone to look at this transition as a time to reflect on the parts of our routines that have worked well, and parts of our routines that may need to change. 

 

During the next couple of weeks parents and students may experience some bumps in the road - perhaps some stress as we adjust to the "new" school schedule, a shift in academic demands, and maybe feeling more tired.  If we anticipate some of these challenges, we can better manage them when they come up. One of the most important things students and families can do to support their success here at school will be having great attendance, and getting a good night's sleep.  We've kept our information from our previous newsletter here (below) because we can't stress enough the importance of students developing healthy sleep habits.

 

Why is it important to have healthy sleep habits?

Beyond feeling “well rested” after a good night’s sleep, the The American Academy of Pediatrics tells us that regular and adequate sleep leads to improved attention, behavior, focus for learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with a lack of physical and mental well-being. At the same time we know there are many challenges for adolescents to maintain a great sleep habits.  

 

What can help promote healthy sleep habits? 
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Turn off all screens 30 minutes before sleep time, no screens in the bedrooms. 
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Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.  If you sleep in on the weekends try to do so within two hours of your usual sleep/awake times. 
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Have a bedtime routine- find some things that help you relax and unwind before bed like taking a bath, reading a book, listening to music. 
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Try and avoid taking naps during the day- especially those mid to late afternoon naps when students get home from school!
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Avoid drinking anything with caffeine, energy drinks, coffee, and tea- especially late afternoon and evening time.
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Teach children to go to bed when they begin to feel tired and before they naturally get their “second wind”.
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Lastly, re-establishing a healthy sleep pattern or getting your child’s circadian rhythm back on track can take time- don’t get discouraged!   If your child cannot fall asleep after lying in bed for 20 mins, have them get up and do some of those pre-bedtime relaxation strategies until they start to feel sleepy again! 

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s counselor if you have any further questions or concerns!

Be safe and well,

Danielle, Maura, Mary Ellen, Colin, and Matt

REMINDER: MAMS COVID-19 Rapid Test Pilot Program. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through testing. That is why MSAD No. 75 began the new year with a Pilot Program at Mt. Ararat Middle School and Mt. Ararat High School (MAMS and MTA) to make testing of students quick and easy, should it be needed. There is no charge for testing.

NOTE: THE TEST WE ARE USING IS ONLY FOR THOSE WHO DEVELOP SYMPTOMS DURING THE SCHOOL DAY. IT IS A TOOL TO BE USED BY A SCHOOL NURSE WHEN ASSESSING FOR POTENTIAL SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19.

As part of this Pilot Program, MAMS and MTA have opted into a State of Maine program that will allow us to receive and use Abbott BinaxNOW Ag (antigen) Tests. We will only use this test for students who develop some of the signs and symptoms during the school day.

If a nurse determines testing should be done, we must have a signed consent form on file to proceed. Students will be directed to self-swab with supervision by the school nurse. If you are interested in giving permission to the school nurse to administer the rapid test, then complete the attached Consent form and return it to: Naomi Mullane, RN at MAMS, via US mail, as soon as possible.

We are very excited to be able to offer this Pilot Testing Program. If you have questions, please contact Mary Booth, at 729-9961 x 1015.

What To Expect with Covid Test

Rapid Testing Consent Form

 

Change to Inclement Weather Plan. At the February 25, 2021 meeting of the M.S.A.D. No. 75 School Board, the decision was made to discontinue the practice followed within the Inclement Weather Closure guidelines that were approved by the School Board on November 12, 2020. For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, any M.S.A.D. No. 75 emergency school closing will be aligned with Policy EBCD: Emergency Closings. Any school closing associated with a District-wide weather-related closure (i.e. snow day) will be added to the end of the school year calendar. There will no longer be remote learning days scheduled during emergency closures due to weather.

 

Snow Day decisions will be communicated via School Messenger, through the district website and Facebook page, as well as via local radio and news channels.  



Attendance. This is just a reminder to let families know that the school must track student attendance for in-person and remote days. On remote days, students are assumed present and available to complete work unless the school is notified otherwise. The process for reporting an absence is the same, regardless of whether your child is in-person or not. If your child will not be available for learning for one of the state excused reasons (personal illness, medical appointment, religious holiday, family emergency, planned absence, or educational disruption due to homelessness or hospitalization), please call the Main Office. Attendance is taken during advisor period on in-person days, as well as on Wednesdays. We thank you so much for your help in keeping our attendance records accurate!

Student At Risk of Self-Harm Outside of School Hours?  If you and/or your child become aware of a student that may be at risk of self-harm when school is not in session, please DO NOT attempt to contact school personnel during this time.  Staff are not working at their desks and may not be checking email or voicemail during these times.  Therefore, vital safety information could easily be missed and students could be placed at greater risk. Instead, please utilize THIS step-by-step guide for how a parent could respond to such a concern outside of school hours.  This guide is placed prominently on our MAMS webpage, and was created in collaboration with local police, mental health providers, and the local Crisis Response Center.


With Gratitude,

Megan Hayes Teague

Interim Principal



 

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