MAMS UPDATE~SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

MAMS UPDATE~SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
Posted on 09/27/2021

 

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Mt. Ararat Middle School

66 Republic Avenue, Topsham, ME 04086

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

Website:  mams.link75.org

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Megan Hayes Teague, Principal

hayesteaguem@link75.org

September 24th
 

Dear MAMS Families,


I hope this letter finds you enjoying all that fall in Maine has to offer. We are well into the swing of things here at the middle school, and it’s hard to believe that we are already approaching the halfway mark of the first quarter. Unsurprisingly, I have a packed newsletter for you. As always, if you ever have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Here are a few things coming up in our school:

Important Dates:
*
Tuesday, October 5 and Thursday, October 7: Parent-Teacher Conferences
*
Friday, October 8: Professional Development: No School for Students 
*
Monday, October 11: Indigenous Peoples Day: No School
*
Tuesday, October 12 through Friday, October 15: NWEA Testing, All Students


Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 5 and Thursday, October 7, 2:30 - 7:00pm. If you haven’t already, you will be hearing from your child’s team teachers to schedule these conferences. If you also wish to conference with your child’s exploratory teachers (Health, PE, Art, Music, Culture/Languages, Learning Commons, STEM), please contact them directly to set up a conference time. You can find all staff contact information HERE.


The Maine Educational Assessment is the state’s test that measures our student’s achievement in mathematics (grades 3-8 and 11), reading and language usage (grades 3-8 and 11), and science (grades 5 through 8). Last year the state adopted the NWEA assessment as its state test for mathematics, reading, and language usage, and our district adopted this assessment as our internal screener. This partnership is good news because it will provide usable data, which will follow each student during their school career, and it will cut down significantly on the amount of time dedicated to student testing. Our goal is for every student to engage in these assessments and put forth their best effort. MAMS will hold NWEA testing for mathematics, reading, and language usage the week of October 12th. 


While it is true that State and Federal laws require that we test all middle school students, for us it means more. When all students participate, the results of these tests help us to inform our programming for students, reflect on our teaching, and they serve as one of the many ways that we are accountable to our community. Though students take the test on a computer, we will provide allowable support - in multiple formats based on our students’ needs - during testing. If you would like to learn a bit more about the test and see some practice questions, please check out the student resource page  HERE. During this time your child’s normal schedule will be modified in order to accomplish the testing. We have arranged the testing to maximize student readiness by distributing the sessions and including motor breaks. If a student is absent during testing, make-ups will be scheduled to allow for all students to complete the tests. We have posted some frequently asked questions HERE


We will make the results of your child’s testing available to you as soon as we have them. We are proud of our students for participating in this challenging assessment and we thank you for your support.  If you have other questions or concerns about your child’s testing experience, we ask that you contact me before testing.  This will help to ensure that we are all prepared to make the testing days as successful as possible for your child.




MAMS Late Bus. Transportation has just informed us that they are able to offer Late Bus service beginning Monday, September 20. The Late Bus runs Monday through Thursday, with four buses, departing from MAMS around 4:35pm. The buses DO NOT STOP AT THE REGULAR STOPS, but instead use several regional stops throughout the four towns. HERE is detailed information on these runs. For 6th graders and any new students, this may be the first time you have used a late bus from school. We encourage parents to review the procedures and stops with their child prior to taking the late bus for the first time. If you have any questions, please contact the MSAD 75 Transportation Department at 729-1608.


Clubs & Activities. We have many different clubs and activities for students to participate in at MAMS. Clubs and activities are student-interest driven and we support students’ voice and leadership by helping them to determine which clubs will be offered each year. Many of our clubs rely on parent volunteers. Please reach out to me if you are interested in helping out with a club. Information about available clubs and activities will be posted in our morning announcements, which can be found HERE on our website.


Purchasing a Yearbook? It’s never too early to purchase a yearbook for the 2021-2022 school year.  If purchased by September 30th you will receive a 10% discount.  Please see the information below about ordering online.  Reach out to Lisa Rioux @ (207)729-2950, Ext. 7402 or email riouxl@link75.org for questions or help with the ordering process.  

 

 

Also, the yearbook committee will soon be up and running.  This year we will be looking for a representative from each team to help plan and design the yearbook.  Please encourage your student to look for more information about this opportunity in the coming weeks.






School Picture Update and Retake Information. MAMS School Picture Day was Friday, September 17. We will be sending home picture proofs and order forms for all students soon. Students who ordered prints will be receiving picture packages next month. Picture retake day is Friday, November 5, 2021. You can click on the link above to contact Geskus Photography or for more information on ordering pictures.


MSAD 75 Food Pantry. In partnership with Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, we are very excited to announce the opening of W.I.N.G, The Food Pantry at Mt. Ararat Middle School on Monday, September 27. This resource is available to all families in our MSAD 75 community with children under eighteen residing in the household. Students do not have to be middle school students, or even school-aged for families to use this resource. All MSAD 75 families are welcome. W.I.N.G. has discreet drive-up service and is staffed by parent and community volunteers. 





Team Sheepscot Updates. The Sheepscot team is a project based team that applies collaborative problem solving strategies to meet our learning goals.  From the first day of school it became clear that we had a problem to solve - where to store our collection of bicycles used for exercise and transportation to off campus learning opportunities.  We will assemble sheds to house the bikes, but before the sheds could be built, we needed to construct a 10’ x 24’ platform.  We learned about angles, measuring to 1/16th of an inch, applying the 3-4-5 triangle to ensure right angle corners, measuring diagonals to determine a perfect, “square rectangle,” a shopping trip to Home Depot, and most importantly, how to work together to get the job done.   Sheepscot did a great job building this platform.  Soon, we’ll assemble the sheds and transfer the bikes from our classroom allowing us much more indoor project space as we approach the colder months.


A Lockdown Drill will be held on Thursday, October 14 at 8:45am with cooperation from local police and fire departments. Team teachers will notify and prepare our students in advance of this drill. State law requires that we hold a number of fire/evacuation/safety drills and one lockdown drill per year and we want parents to be aware and informed. Please reach out to me with any questions.



Counseling Corner. Welcome to School Year 2021-2022! We’re settling back into this new year with our students, ready to face the challenges and adventures of a new year together. It can take kids some time to settle back into the routines, expectations and structure of the school day, so please remember that to support this transition:


  • Get into a bedtime routine (at least 8-9 hours per night);

  • Be aware of nutrition - what we eat matters!

  • Check in with your child and ask how the year is going, and please contact us here at school if you have any questions.


Just a quick reminder of which counselor is assigned to your child’s team:


6 South Bay Team - Mary Ellen Lagasse

6 North Bay Team - Danielle Hiltz

7 Merrymeeting - Danielle Hiltz and Maura Bannon

7 Androscoggin - Mary Ellen Lagasse

8 Kennebec - Danielle Hiltz

8 Casco - Mary Ellen Lagasse and Maura Bannon


Contact Information:

Danielle Hiltz: hiltzd@link75.org

Mary Ellen Lagasse: lagassem@link75.org

Maura Bannon bannonm@link75.org


By phone, call the counseling office at 729.2950 press option # 3 


Infinite Campus Parent Portal. As you may be aware, MAMS changed its grading and reporting system last fall to Infinite Campus. One great feature of Infinite Campus is the Parent Portal, which allows parents to see assignments, to monitor grades, and to view attendance data. We encourage all families to check their child’s progress regularly. 


If you haven’t yet registered for the Parent Portal, please email the parent name and student name to portal@link75.org. If you have any difficulties with the registration process, please reach out to me directly (hayesteaguem@link.org) and I will connect you with whatever technical help you may need.

 


MAMS Parent App. Parents, there is now a mobile app available to you that will give you quick access to helpful school tools and sites, MAMS Daily News, a Faculty & Staff Directory, and school calendars.  Simply go to: http://mamsparentapp.glideapp.io to view the app online and add it to your device.

If you need instructions on how to add the app to your device, go to: http://bit.ly/howtoglideMAMSP



Attendance. This is just a reminder to let families know that the school must track student attendance and mark a student’s absence either excused or unexcused. 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 at 729-2950. If we do not receive a call from you, you will receive an automated call to let you know that we have marked your child absent. We do need you to call us back to inform us of the reason for your child’s absence. Without this information, we must mark your child’s absence unexcused. 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

Mt. Ararat Middle School Principal


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