MAMS PRINCIPAL UPDATE~OCTOBER 30, 2020

Posted on 10/30/2020
  

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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


October 30, 2020
Dear MAMS Families,


It’s hard to believe that we are already at the end of October! Fall is flying by at the middle school. The leaves have changed colors, and many have fallen to the ground. The temperatures have dropped, and it feels like winter is just around the corner. With so much going on, I have a packed newsletter for you. As always, if you ever have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Here are a few things coming up in our school:

Important Dates:

**Tuesday, November 3: Election Day/Teacher In-Service--No School
**Wednesday, November 4: Regular School Day, Cohort A
**Thursday, November 5: Parent-Principal Coffee, 5pm to 6pm
**Friday, November 6: First Quarter Ends
**Wednesday, November 11: Veteran’s Day--No School
**
Friday, November 13: Report Cards Go Home: Cohort B
**
Monday, November 16: Report Cards Go Home: Cohort A
**
Wednesday, November 18: Parent-Teacher Conferences 


Interim Assistant Principal Appointed. From Kaili Phillips: It is my honor to introduce myself to you as Mt. Ararat Middle School’s Interim Assistant Principal, following Megan Hayes Teague’s appointment to Interim Principal. 


I have proudly served our school community since 2013 as a classroom teacher, the Literacy Teacher-Leader and, most recently, the Instructional Coach. As I transition into this role, I am most excited to advocate for the students and families of this district and ensure that every student knows that they are supported, that they are cared for and that they belong as an important member of our community. 


I am looking forward to meeting you at our Parent-Principal Coffee on Thursday, November 5 at 5:00pm. In the meantime, please reach out via phone or email (phillipsk@link75.org) with any questions or concerns. 

Parent-Principal Coffee. We plan to continue to offer quarterly Parent-Principal Coffees as a way to meet with families in our MAMS community and gather feedback about what is going well and what could be going better. Some sessions may have a focus or a theme, while others will be more open to topics that attendees are interested in discussing. Our first Parent-Principal Coffee is scheduled for Thursday, November 5 at 5pm via ZOOM. Our focus will be on getting to know the new Principal and Assistant Principal. Please join us for this meet and greet opportunity!


Grading Updates. Prior to the pandemic, the M.S.A.D. No. 75 School Board approved the following changes to middle school grading and reporting:

**Use Infinite Campus as the reporting software
**Eliminate 1-4 grading scale for academics → Replace with letter grade scale (see below)
**
Create quarterly report cards organized by course with one letter grade per course **Produce a one-page report card with averaged academic grades and work habits, and culminating in a quarterly G.P.A.
**
Continue use of 1-4 grading scale for Work Habits only (see below)
**
Calculate honor roll as a combination of course work and work habits using the quarterly G.P.A.


Learning Goal Assessment Scale

NE

D   D+

C   C+

B    B+

A

Not Enough Evidence to Evaluate Performance

Demonstrates little or no evidence of ability to apply key concepts and skills.

Demonstrates partial ability to apply key concepts and skills independently.

Demonstrates ability to apply key concepts and skills. 

Demonstrates ability to apply key concepts and skills at a more complex level. 

Work Habits Scale

1

2

3

4

Rarely demonstrates focus, respect, and responsibility

Sometimes demonstrates focus, respect, and responsibility

Most of the time demonstrates focus, respect, and responsibility

Nearly always demonstrates focus, respect, and responsibility


This grading period marks the middle school’s first time using these new practices for grading and reporting. Much work has gone into inputting standards and training teachers on how to use this new software. 


Because of this, teachers will be focusing in Quarter One on entering major assignments and giving necessary feedback via the comments. In some limited instances, a course may show a blank instead of a letter grade, if there wasn’t sufficient time in that area to complete assessment. If that occurs, it will be accompanied by a detailed comment. 


As we move into the second quarter, I will be sending information in the next parent newsletter on how families can access the parent portal and track their child’s schoolwork and progress. Teachers will be regularly inputting assignments as we move forward. We greatly appreciate your patience and support as we move through this implementation, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback as we work to improve this process.  

New “Honor Roll.” We will be using a new method for calculating Honor Roll, as mentioned above. For a student to be assigned to the Honor Roll, their quarterly G.P.A. must be a 3.0 or higher, with no Work Habits score below a 2.5. For a student to receive High Honors, their quarterly G.P.A. must be a 3.5 or higher, with no Work Habits score below a 2.5. We plan to run Honor Roll before Thanksgiving Break.


Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held via ZOOM on Wednesday, November 18th. Teams will be sending out instructions on how to sign up for conferences in a stand-alone newsletter on Friday, November 6th. Conferences will be available with individual teachers in ten minute time slots. We encourage all parents to sign up for as many teachers as you wish! If you have any problems with the sign-up, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 


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!

Virtual Art Opportunity. The Maine College of Arts Master of Arts in Teaching Teacher Candidates will offer a variety of free art lessons to children grades K-12. Click here to register for this event - November 9 (fully online)! Virtual Art Fair! 


Important Yearbook News. From Yearbook Advisor, Lisa Rioux: It's not too early to purchase your MAMS yearbook to help capture the memories created in such a different year. If you order by October 31st, you will receive a 5% discount. Don't wait, √ one thing off your to-do list by ordering that yearbook now. Use this LINK & code (1014564198023651) to order yours today!

 

For any questions or help with ordering please contact yearbook advisor:

Lisa Rioux, riouxl@link75.org



Picture Retakes. From our account representative at Geskus: You may have not received your pictures yet, but we want to let you know about our retake plan. This will be a great way to allow remote learners to get pictures done! We are excited to keep the tradition of school pictures for all students, even if they are learning from home at this time.

Great News!!

 

We are excited to be able to offer the opportunity for ALL your students to have a school picture, so we have scheduled an OPEN RETAKE DAY! The date will be November 14, 2020 at several locations throughout our school communities from 9am-3pm by appointment only. Please see ATTACHMENT for details. The facilities do have strict COVID19 guidelines for safety of all; to reduce the risk of contact between individuals. If gatherings are too large, we will unfortunately be forced to end this event. Please adhere to these rules:

**Please remain in vehicle until your scheduled appointment time
**Only one person allowed in building with student
**
If you are not present at your scheduled time, we will not be able to accommodate your appointment.

Geskus is receiving a high volume of calls about picture retakes and is working to respond to families. Please be aware that it may take up to 72 hours to return your calls. Thank you for your understanding.

 

Staff Spotlight. One of the greatest resources at Mt. Ararat Middle School is our amazing staff. HERE in the Staff Spotlight, you will get to know some interesting information about a member of our faculty! Staff members are chosen at random and will be featured on our website. We hope you enjoy this extra look inside our community and that you learn something new about the people that make MAMS such a special place! This month is Anne Obery, Seventh/Eighth Grade Looping Math Teacher on Team Kennebec (above)!  


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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