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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June 17, 2020


Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

We have wrapped up for the year with students, but our staff are hard at work this week debriefing the school closure period, and planning for next Fall.  The time has been productive and we appreciate the support we have received from our community.  As you know, when the closure started in March, we had little warning and time to plan.  Now, we have more time to plan for the Fall, and we feel ready to accept your child next year, no matter where they are, and get them back on track.  Our teachers are highly-trained experts in this and I have full faith in each of their skills and abilities.  This will be my last “MAMS Update” for the school year.  We hope all our families have a wonderful and restful summer vacation.  I have a few brief items for you:


Semester Two Report Cards.  To clarify expectations and communication during this time, we simplified our reporting system.  We eliminated “Quarter 3 and Quarter 4” and collapsed them into one “Semester Two” marking period:

  • These Semester Two Report Cards are available for students/parents to view online via the Empower Parent Portal.  Special instructions for how to view and print these report cards are HERE.  Parents can access these report cards at any time, but there may still be some grades being updated until this Friday.  Please contact your child’s teacher(s) with any questions about grades.  We are here all week to help with any questions you have.
  • This report card will contain all graded learning goals from before the closure, as well as a record of all the learning goals a student may have met during the closure period.
  • During this closure period, we will only report on the learning of these core essential learning goals.  We will not report on work habits, or calculate the honor rolls.
  • Because we have identified the core, essential learning goals that we will focus on with students, we will also be keeping track of the extent to which students are meeting those goals.  When a student has produced sufficient work to meet a given learning goal, the teacher will denote in the Empower Grading Program that they have met that goal. 
  • We will not be scoring work using grades (1, 2, 3, 4), but rather noting the status of “COMPLETE = ‘CP’” or “NOT YET = ‘NY’” for each of these core goals. If you would instead prefer the report card be mailed to your home, please email our school secretary Sharon Blackman at blackmans@link75.org or call 729-2950 by Friday.
  • If you have any problems accessing  Empower Parent Portal (ie. can’t remember your password), you could start by asking your child, as the report could also be accessed through their login.  If you are still having trouble, please email helpdesk@link75.org.

8th Grade Celebration Parade!  This Thursday, June 18th at 4:30pm our teachers/staff will be lining the sidewalk in front of the school to say a farewell to the 8th graders.  We hope your 8th grader and family will join us to celebrate - 8th graders and families will stay in cars and drive around the drop off loop.  Shannon Callahan Fitzpatrick is organizing poster decorating and has posted more information on the Class of 2024 Facebook page.  


MSAD 75’s Reopening Working Groups are meeting and I will present a draft plan at the July 23, 2020, School Board meeting.  However, this plan will be revised as the planning groups respond to the on-the-ground situation with the virus in our communities, as well as additional directives from the Governor and/or Commissioner of Education, feedback from stakeholders and the Board of Directors.  We are hoping all our parents would be willing to take a few minutes to complete THIS BRIEF SURVEY to help the School District’s Reopening Groups understand parents’ and guardians’ points of view.  The questions are designed to get a sense of what parents/guardians see as the primary factors they are considering as they approach the start of the school year and all the uncertainty of it. This is our first parent survey, but we anticipate at least one other survey this summer as the plans become more finalized.  We have also created a website that will be maintained throughout this process to keep the community informed HEREThe membership of each work group, minutes of the meetings, FAQ’s and other information concerning the reopening work can be found on this website.  There is also a running form for ongoing feedback that anyone can provide input at any time.


Laptop Drop Off and Locker Belongings.  Thanks to all the students and parents who came to the school during our designated dropoff/pick up times.  It was so great to see everyone!  On Friday, June 26, the school will empty all student lockers as a part of the summer cleaning process. If you haven't picked up your belongings yet, and would like to do so, please contact Megan Hayes Teague, Assistant Principal (hayesteaguem@link75.org) to schedule a time to come get your stuff or drop off the laptop! Any unclaimed belongings will be recycled or donated.


Yearbooks.  Nearly all of the yearbooks have been delivered directly to homes.  If you ordered a yearbook and it has not arrived, please contact our Yearbook Staff Advisor, Lisa Rioux at riouxl@link75.org.


Our Annual “Safety Video”!  Our annual last-day-of school tradition is to hold a celebration assembly.  A big part of that assembly is the “Summer Safety” speech, given by our famous 8th grade math teacher, Holly Blanc and rotating cast of characters (or victims).  Because we can’t hold this assembly this year, we sent this video to our students via email, but also wanted to include it here.  As I have shared many times, our staff never passes up an opportunity to be as goofy as our students.  


MSAD 75 Budget Process.  Every year, the MSAD 75 Board of Directors and Superintendent develop a school budget for the following year.  We welcome all parents and community members to view THIS PAGE, which contains a complete description of the budget process, as well as ways that community members can have input and vote on the budget, even during the time of closure.


I want to end with a special thank you to all the parents/guardians of MAMS students.  We know none of this was easy.  We know you are not trained educators.  We know that our systems of schooling were completely upended and we had to regroup on the fly.  We know all the sacrifices parents made to juggle home, work, and school demands.  We know that adolescence is a dynamic time of life and can be challenging at times.  For all this and more, we sincerely thank you for all you have done to partner with us in keeping your child’s education going.


Feel free to reach out with any questions.  

Sincerely,

Josh Ottow

Principal


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