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.

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 : http://news.mpbn.net/pos...

District Calendar

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

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.

Fantastic Results by Several GAHS Students in this Year's Scholastic Writing Contest!!

Receiving Honorable Mention at the state level are:
• Samantha Beneski, for her poetry
• Autumn Fitzmaurice, for her Science Fiction/fantasy story
• Amber Perry, for her flash fiction piece
• Meaghan Williams, for her flash fiction piece

Receiving TWO awards is:
• Isaac Boissenneau, a Gold Key winner for his short story "We Walk" and a Silver Key for his poetry "The Four Sonnets"

These distinguished writers will have their work published in an anthology and will be recognized at an award ceremony at the University of Southern Maine on Friday, February 27. Good luck Isaac as “We Walk” continues on in the national competition.

Special thanks to Curriculum Director, Ms. Joseph, for paying all of our entry fees, to Mrs. DeSoto for mentoring Isaac, and to Ms. Butterfield for shepherding Mrs. Benedict’s Creative Writing Class (and Mrs. B!) through this process.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Title I Family Night!

All MSAD 11 families who are part of our Title I program are invited to join us for a fun event on March 3rd at 6pm at Pittston School. Come play games, write stories, and do other exciting activities related to reading and math with your family. Snack will be provided. We hope to see you then!

GAHS only: No School on Feb. 4, 2015

Good evening, this is Pat Hopkins, Superintendent of Schools for MSAD 11. Due to an unanticipated, significant waterline break requiring immediate repair at the high school, there will be no school Wednesday, February 4 at Gardiner Area High School ONLY.

Again, ONLY the high school will not have school tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4 due to a significant waterline break.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

McGee Construction & Cote Crane & Rigging working at GAHS today. Great job!!!

I Read a Latte Book Display!

The GAHS Library Commons book display "I Read a Latte" Coffee is brimming with new books to warm your mind on those long, cold days of winter! GAHS students, please don't forget to put your name in our drawing for Dunkin Donut gift cards! A special thank you goes out to the Gardiner Dunkin Dounts for their generous donation.

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