GAHS Student Wins Award for Her Video!

The Holocaust & Human Rights Center of Maine has chosen Emma Hickey, a GAHS student, as their 2015 Schlossberger Outstanding Student of the Year for her video "Drop the Gender Mask." Emma will be honored at a banquet in South Portland at the end of May. Thank you to teacher Rob Munzing for his efforts to support her work. Congratulations to Emma on such an outstanding achievement!

From the Desk of Pat Hopkins: 2015-16 Budget Letter to MSAD 11 Staff

April 27, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

The MSAD 11 School Board recently approved the 2015-2016 Proposed Budget. The continued reduction of state subsidy and the shift of MePERS from the state to local school districts made this year’s budget especially challenging.

Thanks to the hard work of Andrea Disch, Business Manager, Jon Stonier, Director of Operations and Maintenance, and the entire administrative team, the Board approved a proposed budget that equates to a $94,723 or .42% increase.

The 2015-2016 proposed budget of $22,771,000 represents a 1.55% or $348,000 increase over the current budget. It is important to note, however, that the budget includes incentive rebates from Efficiency Maine in the amount of $253,000 that is budget neutral; the amount is budgeted as both revenue and expense. Excluding both the Efficiency Maine Rebate revenue and expense, the actual increase to the budget is .42%.

The 2015-2016 Proposed Budget reflects an overall increase to the District’s municipalities of $480,870.26 or 5.5%. A major reason for the increase to taxpayers is the raising of the Mill Rate by the State from 8.10 to 8.48, as proposed in the Governor’s Budget. This shift requires local taxpayers to raise an additional $335,438 in order to receive State Subsidy. Included also, is the shift requiring local districts to pay an additional 0.71%, or $81,105, to MePERS for teacher retirements, monies that had previously been paid by the State. Had our state subsidy remained the same as last year, we would be looking at only a $64,327.26 increase to taxpayers.

Below are many of the changes made in the budget to reach just a 0.42% increase:

• Salary, as contracted
• 3 District Elementary Educational Technicians

• -1.8% health insurance reduction
• 1 Elementary Teacher Position
• 1 Middle School Special Education Teacher Position
• Additional Laptops for Educational Technicians and/or students

You Can't Take It With You

The cast & crew of the GAHS Drama Club's spring production You Can't Take It With You played to enthusiastic audiences April 8th through the 11th. Honored for their service to the group on closing night were Seniors Aimee Tarrio, Isaac Boissonneau, Kelsey Holwerda, Robert Blier, Samantha Beneski, Matt Weed, Olivia Merrill, Amy Fortier-Brown, Adam Fortier-Brown, Tori Butler, Mariah Lang, Andrew Moran, and Kylie Peacock. Congratulations to the cast on an excellent performance!

GAHS Drama Club Proudly Presents: "You Can't Take It With You"

The GAHS Drama Club proudly presents:
a classic comedy in Three Acts
by Moss Hart & George S. Kaufman

* April 8 @ 3pm
* April 9, 10, & 11 @ 7pm
* Little Theater
* Students & Seniors $5; Adults $7

To reserve tickets, please email Christina Benedict @

A Letter from the Central Office on Smarter Balanced/MEA Testing

March 24, 2015

Dear MSAD 11 Families,

As many of you know, students in grades 3-8 and 11 are tested each year in math, English language arts (ELA), and science. For the past five years, these state mandated assessments were the SAT, NECAP, and the Science Maine Educational Assessment (MEA). Beginning this year, however, Maine chose to give the MEA in ELA and math developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. This new ELA and math MEA exam will be administered in grades 3-8 and 11. The Science MEA will continue and will assess grades 5, 8, and 11. While the SAT is no longer a requirement for juniors, it will still be offered for those who choose to take it. These assessment changes came about to ensure that the new Common Core standards being taught in Maine classrooms were directly linked to the exams students were given. Both the standards and the assessments are changes that intend to help students become more college and career ready.

District Calendar

The MSAD11 District Calendar for the year 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school year is attached below.

GAHS Senior One of Five State Finalists in the Poetry Out Loud Competition!

Thursday, 3/12/15, at the Waterville Opera House, GAHS student Mariah Lang took control of the mic once again for the Poetry Out Loud Competition! Out of ten Regional Champions at the state level, she moved on to round 3, and was one of the top Five State Finalists. She was phenomenal! We are so proud of her.

Over 10,000 students throughout Maine competed at classroom and school-wide levels this year. Maine is one of the few states with such high numbers of student participation.

If you'd like to listen to the competitors, use this link :

From the Desk of the MSAD 11 Superintendent of Schools

Snow Days – School Calendar

I assume many of you are getting tired of hearing my voice at 5:15 am informing you of a change in the school day due to inclement weather. As spring nears, I am as hopeful as most of you that the snowy mornings/days will soon be behind us.

It has been brought to my attention that some parents are wondering what impact snow days will have on the remainder of the school calendar. As of today, March 3, we need to make up 4 snow days. The current plan is for those snow days to be added to the end of the school year, making the last day of school Wednesday, June 17. If we have any additional snow days this year, the last day of school will be extended. Graduation is firmly set for Saturday, June 13.

There is no discussion about eliminating April vacation. Moving the two workshop days on March 19 and March 20 to the end of the school year were discussed by administrators. However, the need for staff to prepare for the new state assessment, Smarter Balanced, in addition to other curricular tasks, prevents us from being able to make that change.

I hope this is helpful and clears up any uncertainty.

Budget Season

The development of the 2015-2016 budget is underway. Limited resources, declining enrollment, and increasing student needs continue to be our underlying challenges. The Finance Committee meetings are open to the public and we encourage parents and community members to attend. The following meetings have been scheduled to review the proposed budget: Monday, March 9 @ 6 pm, Tuesday, March 17 @ 7 pm, and Tuesday, March 24 @ 6 pm. All the meetings will be held at the Superintendent’s Office.

Best regards,

Pat Hopkins
Superintendent of Schools

Partnership to Preserve our History

“I am delighted to have filled gaps in our collection,” Dawn Thistle, Gardiner Public Library archivist, expressed while visiting the GAHS Library Commons and the GRMS Arthur R. Warren Library. Debra Butterfield, Kristina Wheelock and Vicki Kelley collaborated with Dawn to review the middle and high school local history collection. We have many books that are out of print and have historic significance. Thanks to Dawn we now have a better understanding of the archival process and a greater appreciation of our Maine collection. Duplicate copies have been donated to the Community Archives Room at the Gardiner Public Library for the benefit of the community. Working together was an educational experience for all of us.

Titan Challenge!

Tristan Richmond, Sam Dolley, and Adam Fortier-Brown came in 1st in our region and 8th out of 110 teams across the state in the Titan Challenge. These students served as the "CEO" of a virtual company and made five key decisions including setting the product's price, production levels, marketing expenses, research & development expenses, and capital improvement expenses. This was an optional opportunity that the boys took advantage of for Ms. McNaughton's entrepreneurship class.

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