Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Swedish Visitors

As an Apple Distinguished School we get visitors that come to HMS to observe what has been successful in our laptop program. These visitors come from throughout the United States as well as the world. On December 7, Wednesday morning we hosted a group of Swedish educators.

While the visitors were at HMS they visited with the 7th Grade Team for a question and answer period about teaching and learning in a one to one environment. After meeting with the 7th Grade Team the visitors met with a group of 7th and 8th grade students in a "speed geeking" session. We borrowed this idea from the speed dating concept. Each student sits around the room and discusses their project with a visitor for a few minutes and then the visitors rotate around the room to get a good sampling of the type of work being completed at HMS. The students were selected by their teachers for the quality work they had done on specific projects this school year utilizing their laptop.

The vistors were tremendously impressed at how well each of the students were able to articulate how the laptop enhances their learning. They were particularly impressed at how all the students spoke clearly and looked them directly in the eye as they spoke to them. We had to convince the visitors that we did not spend days coaching these children for the visit.

We are thankful that our students have these types of opportunities. It provides them with skills that will be particularly useful in their future. The students did a great job and represented HMS exceptionally well. We're very proud of them.

If you'd like to see some pictures of the visit click on the link below.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Newsletter

As we approach the giving season it’s important to note the generosity of the HMS student body and staff. During National Geography Awareness Week with The Adventure in Your Community as this year’s theme the students collected pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in the amount of $730 in support of the Yarmouth Community Food Pantry. The Student Leadership is in the middle of holding a collection drive for the Coastal Humane Society which began Monday, November16 and ends Friday,  Decemeber 16.  The students continue to make us proud!

And, speaking of generosity - the HMS Staff sends a heartfelt thank you to the PTO and the parents who donated a pie to each staff member for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was difficult being in the office that day with all those pies and no knife and fork!

During Geography Awareness Week Julia Brady, HMS parent, presented to our HMS community on Monday, November 14th in the gym.  She is a former Olympian (Barcelona '92) and has traveled extensively throughout several continents.  She focused on these experiences as she made geography and community come alive for our student body. In addition Melissa Innes, Yarmouth State Representative, also presented a proclamation from the members of the Senate and House of Representatives to HMS for honoring and celebrating National Geography Awareness Week. The school recognizes the efforts of Mrs. Newick, 7th grade social studies teacher, for organizing this week.

Highlights of the Week:
  • State Proclamation (Rep. Melissa Innes)
  • Keynote speaker: Julia Brady (Olympian ΚΌ92)
  • Poster Contest Winners
  • HMS Community- Where do we live?
  • GIS Day- Judy Colby-George
  • Guest speakers: Biz Houghton-Rwanda, Jane Wellehan-New Guinea, Juani Morcillo- Madrid
  • Yarmouth T-Shirt Day
  • Geography Game Day
  •  HMS Donation ($730) for Local Food Pantry

Instructional Rounds As administrators we visit all the Yarmouth schools You improve schools by using information about student learning, from multiple sources, to find the most promising instructional problems to work on, and then systematically developing with teachers and administrators the knowledge and skill necessary to solve those problems. The administrators improve their skills as instructional observers. We are going into classrooms to learn about the instructional core (interaction of teachers and students and content) rather than to check up on teachers.
Rounds are about developing clarity about good instructional practice and about the leadership and organizational practices needed to support instruction.

The HMS Civil Rights Team will be hosting one Mix-It-Up Lunch a month. The first one was Friday, 11/18.  Other dates will be: 12/16, 1/20, 2/17, 3/9, 4/12 and 5/18. Each lunch will have a different theme.  The theme for Friday is Maine animals.  Advisory groups are welcome to send their suggestions for other themes to Mr. Brann or Ms. Mike (i.e. college mascots, Sugarloaf trails, mountains in Maine, board games, farm animals, careers, etc). This is how it will work:  Students will be handed a ticket with a Maine animal on it. Once they have their lunch, they are to find that table and sit there.  This is an opportunity for students to get to know classmates outside of their peer group.

HMS continues to upgrade its’ e-portfolio sites, where teachers provide evidence of professional growth. Staff archive specific, professional learning community projects, such as Student Work Forms. The work form process gives staff the opportunity to analyze the data from common assessments, adjust instruction based on this data, and then analyze the results of the changes made. Teachers meet in content area teams and grade level teams to complete this work. 

Teacher e-portfolios include a section for staff members to reflect monthly on the following: instructional strategies, conferences, books or articles, courses, the use of technology, and colleague and/or administrative feedback. Learning from monthly faculty meetings/readings can also be used in these reflections. The frame for this part of the portfolio is based on the questions, “What did you learn?” and “How did you apply it in your classroom?”


This fall we completed another round of MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing - one way we ensure students are making progress.  If a student isn't making the progress we expect, we do want to know that so that we can make changes to target the students needs.

All students who scored below the 50% nationally on the mathematics and reading test will retake the MAP in January and then again with all students in the spring. We may not have any specific concerns regarding a student's score below the 50%; however, we monitor students very closely.  That way, if they are not making progress, we can intervene while the needs are still minor. Interventions might include: new classroom strategies, small group support, having the student set personal goals, increased parent-teacher collaboration, celebrating student success, to simply monitoring student progress.

The MAP window this fall was September 12 through September 30. It took about two weeks for the data to be processed and added to PowerSchool and availabe to parents via the portal.