As we reflect back on the 2017-18 school year, we must recognize two groups that won’t be returning on opening day next year. First is our retirees. The following faculty/staff members retired this year: Teresa Cupelli (clerk), Joan Blakeley-Allison (food service and cleaner), Doris Cripps (food service and substitute cleaner), Sharon Grzeskowiak (Head Custodian), MaryAnn Gulvin (reading teacher), Dan Green(elementary teacher), Melissa Green (Gorham nurse), Barb Dunham (Valley clerk) Meg Bragg (AIS Provider) and Kris Jensen (HS math teacher). We will miss each one of these former employees as they gave many years to the district and we wish them the best in retirement.
The other group who we will not see come September is the class of 2018. We congratulate you as recent graduates and wish you the best. You have made Marcus Whitman CSD proud and we know you will continue to strive for excellence in your future endeavors. No matter what your next step is, the workforce, college and/or the military, make sure to do the best you can and continue to grow as a learner, looking for those opportunities that will bring you happiness and success.
While this time of year is a time for reflecting, we must also look ahead to what will be happening this summer and the coming school year. The District target since the 2015-16 school year has been to increase student engagement. Over the past three years, we have started shifting that target to learner empowerment. This impacts all learners and creates an environment where both students and adults grow. This approach to education where learners are empowered impacts four areas: behavioral, emotional, cognitive and innovative mindset. The specific district targets are:
Increase learner engagement, empowerment and participation
Support school wide connections that foster positive relationships
Provide authentic and timely feedback, including teacher to student, student to student and colleague to colleague
Prepare students to be college, career and civics ready (ready for anything)
Fosterindependence, voice, choice, innovative mindset and to be goal oriented
It is the goal of the Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff to achieve these targets.
One way to create an environment where learners are empowered is through a blended learning model. At the end of this summer, we will have 52 teachers who will have gone through formal and informal professional development relative to the blended learning model. The five attributes that we are focusing on within the blended learning model are:
· Personal Investment
· Real World Application
· Autonomy and Agency
· Skills Based Learning
· Growth-Innovative Mindset
While blended learning incorporates the use of technology for the purpose of learning and specifically to help achieve the four C’s: Critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation, technology is not the focus. The focus is on the five attributes listed above, which are directly related to empowerment as well as the 4C’s. Many of our faculty and staff have created a blended learning environment without the use of much technology… it has been about innovation and a student-centered classroom.
In addition to the blended learning model, there has been and continues to be professional development related to trauma sensitive classrooms, mental health, special education programing, curriculum mapping, technology, Response to Intervention (RtI) and high school AP courses. There will be planning related to school safety, college and career readiness and the capital project for the spring of 2019, just to name a few topics.
Our Facilities Department will begin their annual, thorough cleaning this summer and prepping for the 2018-19 school year. The technology department will be busy doing annual upgrades, repairs, inventory, etc. Also this summer there will be limited operations of our food service and transportation departments as they support our summer programs. We continue to provide learning opportunities for some students through our extended year program and the reading program for our youngest learners.
As I have meshed together reflections and future readiness throughout my message, I conclude this thought process by highlighting, as of July 1, 2018, we marked the 50th Anniversary of the Gorham-Middlesex Central School District, now known to most as Marcus Whitman. We started this celebration at or June Board meeting and we were fortunate to have Thomas Hathorn, one of the Board members from the original Board, attend the June meeting (pictures above). We continued the recognition and celebration at our June graduation ceremony as this year’s class marked the 50th Commencement of Gorham-Middlesex CSD. There is a committee working in conjunction with the district administration, faculty, staff and students on putting together artifacts, events, creating presentations, memorabilia and apparel to celebrate these past 50 years. There is more information to come about the celebration of Marcus Whitman and its first 50 years.
I hope you all enjoy the beauty of our region during the summer months.
Superintendent MWCSD (Follow me on Twitter @educating4tmrw)
Recognizing the 50th Year of Gorham-Middlesex CSD at June 11 Board Meeting
Top Left Photo
Seated: Thomas Hathorn (VP from 1968 BOE), Standing Left to Right: Phyllis Frantel, Suzanne Craugh, Michael Bentley, Cindy Hall (VP), Keri Link, Sue Campbell, Jeramy Clingerman (Supt), Sheila Brown (Pres)
Bottom Left Photo
Thomas Hathorn (VP from 1968 BOE) and Sharene Benedict (District Clerk)
Bottom Right Photo
Photo of the first Board of Education for the Gorham-Middlesex CSD