MAMS Update-May 16th, 2018

MAMS Update-May 16th, 2018
Posted on 05/17/2018

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Mt. Ararat Middle School

66 Republic Avenue, Topsham, ME 04086

Phone:  (207)729-2950     Fax: (207)729-2964


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May 16, 2018


Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we approach these final weeks of the school year,  I have a few items for you:

Last Day of School. Our scheduled last day of school is officially Friday, June 22.  School will let out at 11:00 am that day.  We will serve breakfast and provide bag lunches to any student that needs one.  

Progress Reports. Today your child’s Quarter Four Progress Report will be live and up-to-date on the Empower Parent Portal.  The most efficient way to view their student's entire progress report is to click the "Print progress report" link.  By doing so, you can view the entire report at once and you can print out copies if you wish. We have also added a “Year-to-Date” Progress Report under this menu.  In addition, by clicking on the “Goal Browser” in the upper right hand corner, you can see a more longitudinal view of the important knowledge and skills that your child is and will be learning.  We have provided DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS HERE.  Even as we finish our second year of using this new grading program, we are still learning about how to best use the program to its full potential and this has been a dynamic, exciting, and sometimes challenging work-in-progress.  If you feel like you would like to know more about how your child is doing in school as we go through this transition process, feel free to reach out to child’s teacher(s) directly. All staff are happy to spend any amount of time with you to ensure that you have a clear sense of how your child’s learning is progressing.  


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 7th Grade Merrymeeting ELA Teacher Megan Bosarge (above)!


MAMS to Host Citizenship Ceremony!   The United State Department of State has selected Mt. Ararat Middle School to an official United States Citizenship naturalization ceremony on Friday, June 8th at 10 a.m.  The entire student body will be able to witness 55-65 individuals earning the right of citizenship in the U.S. The MAMS band and chorus will be performing, and many other students will be involved with ushering, welcoming, decorating, making signs and helping with parking.  This is an amazing opportunity for our students and staff to experience. We look forward to welcoming local and State of Maine dignitaries to this event. It is a wonderful event that brings a positive, non-political sense of patriotism and belonging. The event will be widely covered by regional news outlets.  A special shout-out to Merrymeeting Social Studies Teacher Mark Dugal for organizing this remarkable event!

DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!  We have two upcoming school dances, and we need you!   

Mt. Ararat Middle School relies on parent volunteers to chaperone our dances and we need at least 10 parent volunteers to run a dance.  For this Friday’s 6th/7th Grade Dance, we would love to have any parents (whether you are chaperoning or not) to bring in individually wrapped baked goods or snacks for a snack sale at each dance.  Please contact the main office at 729-2950 if you are able to help out with this fun event.

6th/7th Grade Dance:  THIS FRIDAY, May 18 , 6:00-8:00 pm

8th Grade Semi Formal Dance: Friday, June 22, 7:00-10:00 pm (see below)

Tickets are $5 at the door for the 6th/7th Grade Dance and students may use Eagle Bucks to pay for tickets.  Snacks and pizza are also available to purchase with cash. All proceeds benefit our student activities fund, which is used to support field trips and student recognition activities.  

8th Grade Semi-Formal. The farewell tradition for the graduating 8th graders is the Semi-Formal. This year's dance will occur on the last day of school from 7:00-10:00 pm. Students recently voted on the theme for the dance, Enchanted Forest. Semi-Formal attire is requested for this dance. If any students need help covering the costs for this dance, please contact your child's school counselor. For volunteer opportunities or more information, please contact Jen Swanson at

Dress Closet.  Speaking of semi-formal attire… Our health teacher, Ms. Doreen Swanholm started a dress closet years ago and it lives upstairs in the Orion. She has 50+ semi dresses, short and long that have been donated. Some still have the original tags on them.  They are free to any student who needs or wants to use a dress. Most have been donated by staff members. If any of you know of a student who needs/wants a dress for the end of year 8th Grade Semi-Formal dance, please reach out to Ms. Swanholm at and she will work on a time that they can shop and look.  Ms. Swanholm will even do some basic alterations for them if needed.  All free of charge, they can keep the dress or she will clean it and recycle if for someone else.  Thanks to Ms. Swanholm for organizing this!

Peter Pan Jr.  We are so proud of all our amazing students for their participation in the performances of Peter Pan Jr. on April 27-28.  The musical production was a huge success and hundreds of community members filled Orion Performing Arts Center for the performances.  The Mt. Ararat Stage Company is excited to announce that next year’s Spring Musical will be Aladin!


Science Club.  We had a successful Science Club year with almost 24 students coming each session!  We went from dissecting owl pellets, to making batteries, to bridge building and then blasting off rockets for our grand finale. Advisor Ms. Mollie Vandenberg wants to thank all the parents and teachers that helped to support this program.   We also couldn't have done it without the volunteers from Maine School Science Volunteers. The Science Club students are an amazing bunch of scientists that devote their time to students in our area and inspire so many.


English Language Arts Showcase!  Seventh grade students on Team Androscoggin have begun a month long working relationship with The Telling Room in Portland, ME. This interdisciplinary project offers authentic social destinations for student writing and includes a multimedia approach through technology, journaling, and live performances. Their first experience with the Telling Room occured last week during a day long workshop held in Portland. Students were given the opportunity to immerse themselves in reading and writing, working to identify a sense of story, while also developing ideas for how to make their writing live and breathe.

They learned how to observe their surroundings the way narrative writers do, and to think analytically as they worked to research back stories. They roamed the streets of Portland, interviewing people as a way to “tell a story”. Using a variety of writing genres, including narrative, persuasive, and informational students then worked to create pieces of writing that told the story of the characters they met.

Over the coming weeks, and as a way to show their understanding of the learning goal, “Create opportunities to enhance communication and personal relationships between school personnel, students and families, and community members”, students will continue to “live like writers” as they begin to research the Brunswick Topsham communities. They will have the opportunity to develop lifelong connections, build relationships, and strengthen their appreciation of place. Their work will eventually become documentaries, which will be presented at the Orion Center on Thursday, June 7th from 6:00p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Homework Club.  Ms. Carole Wise would like to give a Shout Out for the 20 + students on team Kennebec, including their younger sibs, who have been routinely choosing to attend HomeWork Club (HWC) in order to:  get back on track; get a little extra help; assist a team member catch-up; complete Incomplete work; and or contribute via Mentoring on an "as-needs" basis. When looking for Positive Influences and Significant Wows...look to these individuals who are learning and recognizing their strengths and developing a commitment to a "whatever it takes" attitude!


The MAMS Mural Group worked throughout this past winter after school with art teacher, Maura McHugh to create a beautiful mural for our Eagle Cafe. Pictured above left is the group celebrating its installation.(L to R,, Lars Borchers, Lucy Nelson, Alex Liva, Tanner Robleto, Angel Ortiz, Alyssa Moody, Lilly Hanna, Willa Killion, Tori Karcz and Meara Stockford (not pictured Olivia Cox, Gracia LeClerc, Shelby Myrick, Ana Coombs).  Pictured above right, Synthia Ladner stands in front of her newly installed Eagle Cafe sign. Synthia's design won a school wide contest and she painted the actual sign after school alongside the mural group this past winter.

Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.  Every two years, Mt. Ararat Middle School students, along with every student in the State of Maine, take the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.  This survey measures student response data on key health and safety issues. We took this survey last Winter.HERE is summary of the results from our current 6th and 7th graders and HERE is a summary from our current 8th graders (the results also include this year’s 9th graders).  The highlight for us is that we saw a significant drop in the number of students reporting they have been bullied at school.  We are proud of this since this has been a focus of our efforts that past three years.


From the Learning Commons.  It is time to start thinking about the end of the year.  Please remind your student to make sure they backup all school materials to their school google drive and backup any personal files to a flash drive before the end of the school year.  All Learning Commons books will be due no later than June 8. It's time for students to track down overdue books and get them back to us!

Budget Process.  Our school district encourages all parents to participate in the School Budget approval process.  On May 24, there is a District Budget Meeting in the Orion at 6:30. On June 12, it is the District Budget Validation public vote.

Orion Performing Arts Center events:

Create-A-Play  Theater/Art Summer Camp  July 16-20, 2018

Our unique camp is planned again this year, for the week of July 16, 9 am to 4 pm.  Middle-school-aged campers create the characters, plot, sets, and costumes for their own play, and present it on Friday, July 20 at 3 pm.  Half the day is theater, the other half art. Limited number of campers. Find out more from our brochure, at

Coming up at the Orion:

Mt. Ararat High School Band Concert

Wed, May 16, 7 pm

Final concert of the year, and farewell to the seniors.  Conducted by Al Graffam. Public welcome.

"All in a Day"  -- Ampersand Academy of Dance

Sat, May 19, 4 pm and Sun, May 20, 3 pm

Many dance styles in this year-end-performance by Rachel Waterbury-Parkinson's dancers.  More info at  (Not affiliated with or endorsed by school or district.)

MSAD No.75 Budget Hearing

Thurs., May 24, 6:30 pm

Annual vote on school budget for residents of MSAD No. 75.

MAHS/MAMS Chorus Concert  

Thurs, May 31, 7 pm

Enjoy lovely songs from Kristen Thomas's young students in high school and middle school.  Public is welcome, free of charge.

Moving Company Dance Studio Concert

Sat, June 2, 2 pm

A dance performance by Joanna Patterson’s young dancers.  (Not affiliated with or endorsed by school or district.)

Mt. Ararat Middle School Band Concert    

Mon, June 4, 7 pm

6th-grade, 7th & 8th-grade, and jazz bands, w/ Ms. Williams and Mr. Graffam.   Public is welcome, free of charge.

If any questions, comments, or suggestions arise, please feel free to call the school at 729-2950 or send me an email at:




Josh Ottow






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