Posted on 11/16/2020

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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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Megan Hayes Teague, Interim Principal

Friday, November 13, 2020
Dear MAMS Families,

Happy Friday the Thirteenth! As we quickly move into the holiday season, I want to take a moment to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. You can expect the next newsletter to arrive on Friday, December 4th--however, if any questions or concerns arise before then, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Here are a few things coming up in our school:

Important Dates:
Friday, November 13: Report Cards Go Home: Cohort B, Seventh & Eighth Grades **Monday, November 16: Report Cards Mailed Home: Sixth Grade & Allagash **Monday, November 16: Report Cards Go Home: Cohort A, Seventh & Eighth Grades **Wednesday, November 18: Parent-Teacher Conferences **Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24: Regular School Days, Cohort A  **Wednesday, November 25 through Friday, November 27: Thanksgiving Break **Wednesday, December 2: Clubs Kickoff!

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held via ZOOM on Wednesday, November 18th. Teams sent 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. 

New “Honor Roll.” We will be using a new method for calculating Honor Roll this year. 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.

Accessing Infinite Campus' Parent Portal. As you are aware, MAMS recently changed its grading and reporting system to Infinite Campus. This quarter marks our first time entering grades using this newly set up system. Families can register for the Parent Portal by emailing the parent name and student name to Once set up, families will be able view the gradebook, track attendance, and view progress reports and report cards. We do ask for your patience for the first week of requests, as we will be processing messages individually. If you have any difficulties with the registration process, please reach out to me directly ( and I will connect you with whatever technical help you may need.

What about Plan C? In the event of a short term closure at the team, grade, school, or district level, we plan to follow a modified version of our Plan B schedule. 

Key features of this plan include:
Transitions easily between Plans B and C in order to minimize confusion for students, staff, and families 
Follows a similar class schedule to in-person learning
Developmentally appropriate length of virtual classes to maximize engagement 
Consistent start times across grades for ease of family management 
Consistent student groups to support students’ social-emotional needs 
Access to teachers five days a week
If your child is currently in Cohort A, attending school Mondays and Tuesdays, your child would have synchronous ZOOM classes on Mondays and Tuesdays in the exact same order as if they were in school. Cohort A students would continue to follow their team’s weekly planner for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

If your child is in
Cohort B, attending school Thursdays and Fridays, your child would have synchronous ZOOM classes on Thursdays and Fridays in the exact same order as if they were in school. Cohort B students would continue to follow their team’s weekly planner for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. 

All students, regardless of cohort, will have daily access to their teachers during Student Support Time. Advisor Meetings and Clubs & Activities will continue to meet on Wednesday.

If/when we need to use Plan C, details specific to the schedule and the grade level will be sent out to all parents. We recognize that these changes can be difficult for many families, and we know that there may be little advance notice. Please know that we will work to make the situation as successful as we can for all families and reach out with any feedback, thoughts, questions, or concerns. 


MAMS Club Kick Off! Wednesday, December 2. On Wednesday, December 2, we will be hosting our Club Kick Off! All clubs this year will be on Wednesdays and over ZOOM. Though this is a different way of doing clubs, we know our clubs will still offer fun and meaningful connections to our school and to each other. 

Students had a chance to sign up for any and all clubs they may be interested in the week of November 9-13 and advisors will reach out to interested students before Thanksgiving. Advisors worked hard to coordinate the times of offered clubs so students can participate in as many clubs as they'd like.

Clubs offered at this time are: 

Pride Club (Mr. Knight and Danielle Hiltz: 9:30- 10:00 am

Civil Rights Team (Mr. Beede): 9:30- 10:00 am

Hamilton at Home (Mrs. Andrea Brown): 10:00- 10:30 am

Art (Mrs. McHugh): 10:30- 11:00 am

Yearbook (Mrs. Rioux): 11:00- 11:30 am

Battle of the Books (Mrs. Silverman): 11:30am - 12:00 pm

Math Team (Mr. Stevens): 2:00 - 3:00 pm

Student Council (Mrs. Karod): Mrs. Karod will reach out individually to those students nominated

MAMS Winter Sports. As of today, MAMS is in the process of initial planning for the winter sports season, given recent MPA guidance. Basketball sign-ups for seventh and eighth graders will be held the week of December 7th, with practices beginning the week of December 14th. Due to the ever-changing nature of everything this year, we will be sending out specifics about the sign-up process, the plans for practices, and the possibilities for competition in the December 4th parent newsletter. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work to give you the clearest and most up-to-date information around what we can offer safely. 
MAMS Focused--Respectful--Responsible Student of the Week.
Because of the great value we place on focused, respectful, and responsible behavior in our community, we have established a program to recognize our students. Each Friday, teams are asked to submit the name of one student whom they believe most exemplifies the team's definition of focused, respectful, and responsible behavior. Those students are called to the office, presented a certificate, and entered into a monthly drawing for a gift certificate. Additionally, Ms. Phillips calls the families to describe the behaviors that led teachers to their choice! Congratulations to the September/October Students of the Week:

Kyle Bluck

Jeremiah Marino

Mackenzie Sandlin

Joey Bernier

Carter Hitchcock

Emma Marquis

Elle Martin

Lexi Weller

Andre Laurent

Sam Perow

Elisabeth Kelly

Andre Laurent

Bryce Holden

Camden Rineer

Evan Kowalsky

Elise Nielson

Kloee Hasselbacher

Jeff Huelsbeck

Clayton Matthews

Jeff Huelsbeck

Falon Coughlin-Doyle

Liz Winter

Lola Fernald

Samantha Triffitt

Counseling Corner. As we continue through the year, we want to be sure to share some important community resources with you.  Below is some information regarding winter/holiday resources as well as a reminder about the MidCoast Hunger Prevention BackPack Program.  

Lastly, we are hearing a lot from kids about the struggle they are having with motivation.  Many are sharing that the learning taking place on the remote days is difficult and hard.  It’s a struggle for some to keep a consistent sleep pattern, figure out where to start on the weekly planner, and then manage to stay focused on school in their home environments.  

Here is the information for Winter Resources 2020 for Sagadahoc County, Brunswick, Harpswell, and Freeport.

Please note that:
A number of these organizations are already accepting applications
All of the programs that have provided sit-down meals for Thanksgiving or Christmas in the past have moved to a take-out model in order to ensure everyone’s safety.  They look forward to having everyone together next year.
For information on other resources, CALL 211. Maine’s free and confidential information and referral service.  You can also TEXT your zip code to 898-211 or go online to  A trained call specialist is there to help, available 24/7.
Holiday Resources:

THIS document is the holiday resources guide put together by the United Way each year.  

The Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program again is offering free shelf stable food items through the “BackPack Program” for families this year, in addition to the meals that are available through the schools.  If you’re interested in accessing this resource (it can be picked up with the school meals at the same time), please contact your child’s school counselor or social worker.  We welcome this opportunity to help families make the connection to this great community resource. 

Lastly, our students are working hard and doing an amazing job!  Even with students working diligently we all know there are days that are harder than others. Finding motivation can be a challenge. It can perhaps feel difficult for some to keep a consistent sleep pattern, figure out where to start on the weekly planner, and then manage to stay focused on school in their home environments! ATTACHED is a quick article about helping students find internal and external motivation to keep them moving forward. 

Be Well and Safe~ 

Danielle, Maura, Mary Ellen, Collin, and Matt

Student Support.
We want to thank you for all your flexibility and support of students during this school year.  We have been hearing how the remote learning days can be challenging.  HERE is an article that may be helpful to you. I'd also like to highlight the use of checklists on remote days.  We have seen some students go from struggling with completing assignments to greater success when tasks are broken down and organized into a checklist.  A helpful checklist breaks tasks into manageable parts, allows the student greater independence, and a sense of accomplishment when they can check off an item.  Teachers can assist with this process-please reach out if needed.

Cathy Curtis-Special Services Coordinator

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!

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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