Great Salt Bay Community School Choir Honors Fellow Student with Album, “Sail On Silver Girl”

Submitted by Anne-Marie D’Amico, choir teacher at Great Salt Bay (GSB) Community School in AOS 93. The article was written as part of the Lincoln County Artsbeat of the Lincoln County News. Photo credit: Lincoln County News.

Great Salt Bay (GSB) Community School choir recently completed a project directed by teacher Anne-Marie D’Amico titled “Sail On Silver Girl,” and consists of a choral album and a documentary film about the project.

The project was named “Sail On Silver Girl” to honor the late Isabelle Manahan, D’Amico said. Manahan, who had been a member of GSB’s advanced chorus before going on to Lincoln Academy, passed away in June of last year at age 15.

“We named it after her passing to keep her memory alive,” said D’Amico. “It was another extension of our community reflection, especially because Izzy was so active in all the programs at GSB.”

The “Sail On Silver Girl” project, begun in September 2017, features “last year’s eighth graders and seventh graders and this year’s eighth graders” in the GSB advanced chorus, D’Amico said. Some of those involved are now freshmen at Lincoln Academy.

“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said D’Amico of the ambitious project that also features local musicians Sean Fleming on piano/keyboard, Dave Martin on guitar, John Cannon on bass, Michael Sevon on drums, and Curt Boot on trumpet. Cannon and Sevon both work at GSB.

John Morrison, of Auburn, was the project’s sound engineer and Jared Morneau, of Brunswick, was the video engineer.

Members of local community chorus Common Threads also took part in the project, D’Amico said.

GSB’s advanced chorus “got to do something professional,” D’Amico observed.

It was the first time that GSB choral students had been involved in a musical project of such magnitude and seriousness, from the very beginning of learning all the songs through to listening to raw recorded tracks and later to mixed tracks, which “made their faces light up,” D’Amico said.

For more information and to watch the video visit their website at sailonproject.wordpress.com.

 

Classroom Highlight: Comprehensive Computer Science at Lyman Moore Middle School

Submitted by AJ Rog and Sean Wasson, Computer Science Educators at Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland, Maine.

Lyman Moore Middle School is in the Portland Public School District. It is home to 480 students in grades 6 through 8. Over the last 20+ years Portland has become a very diverse city with an influx of refugees and asylum seekers from around the world. Thanks to this welcome change to our city, our school is currently home to students from 28 different countries with at least 15 different home languages being spoken.

Sean Wasson and I (AJ Rog) feel privileged to be the two computer science teachers at Lyman Moore. We are able to reach approximately 85% of our students. Our classes run on an alternating day schedule, allowing their semester of content to stretch across the entire year. This schedule engages our students in two semesters of computer science content throughout their 6th and 7th grade experiences. During their time in the CS program they are given access to coding, problem solving skills and design thinking. Our students leave middle school with a high level of understanding of JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and circuit boards.

When our students enter 8th grade they are given some choice in the elective classes  hey take. Sean and I offer multiple choices over the 3 trimesters ranging from movie making,  TEAM Windmill Challenge, Web Design, Puzzles and Cyber Security, Video Game Design,  nd Circuit Boards. These classes have allowed our students who want to go further in the STEAM fields an opportunity to do so.

Our ultimate goal is to have 100% of our middle school students take CS and to collaborate closely with the three city high schools in order to recommend high school CS placement and encourage students to continue their CS journey. We also see CS curriculum as a path toward equity and engagement. Because of the demographics of our school we are positioned to encourage those students who have historically been  underrepresented in Computer Science (e.g. girls and students of color) to focus on, build skills in and find inspiration in CS. In addition we provide opportunities for students to  engage in skills and knowledge that will serve them beyond the classroom. In our ever digitizing world, our students will leave middle school equipped to creatively tackle problems using the CS lens.

Washington County Educator Profile: Mathy Terril

Submitted by Sarah Woog from the The Washington County Consortium. 

Meet Mathy Terrill, Social Studies Teacher, A.P History Teacher, History Department Head, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teaching Fellow, National Honor Society Advisor, Gay Straight Transgendered Alliance Advisor, Student Assistant Team Co-Advisor, Homecoming Coordinator, Varsity Cross Country Coach, Varsity Track and Field Assistant Coach, and Overall Ridiculously Busy and Dedicated Educator at Washington Academy.

Mathy and I met at her home in Machias over the weekend so I could interview her for this profile. I usually come to such interviews with questions prepared, but this time I was stumped. Mathy does EVERYTHING. How could I structure the interview to highlight her deep commitment to education in Washington County without leaving anything out? Truth is, I couldn’t. So I asked her what she is most proud of. She told me two things: her work as a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teaching Fellow, and the Prom Dress Boutique she puts on as advisor for the National Honor Society at Washington Academy.

Mathy has been a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teaching Fellow for three years. She goes to Washington, D.C. every summer for a week to connect with other Fellows and gain resources and study practices for teaching the Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Washington Academy and to support other teachers in bringing Genocide Studies lessons to their classrooms. Mathy has shared her work at Harvest of Ideas for the past three years and continues to work with teachers throughout the school year to develop age-appropriate curriculum in an effort to bring these important lessons to students beyond Washington Academy.

The Prom Dress Boutique is an annual event held on a Saturday morning in April each year at Washington Academy and has been covered by many news outlets including the Bangor Daily News, Machias Valley News Observer, and WABI News Channel 5 (here is a story from this years event). Hundreds of dresses have been collected by donation throughout the years and are made available to students to pick from, as are shoes and accessories. Mathy and the National Honor Society set up the cafeteria at Washington Academy as a boutique, complete with dressing rooms, and organize the fantastic inventory on racks by size so area students may come and experience prom shopping without the prohibitive price tag typically associated with such fun.

One of the best things about Mathy is her eagerness to share. Part of her enthusiasm for her work comes from her belief that all our kids deserve the opportunities she brings to Washington Academy. you can reach out to Mathy (m.terrill@raider4life.org) if you’d like to incorporate Genocide Studies into your classroom. Somehow she’ll find the time to help you. She always does.

Rural Schools Tackle Attendance Issues at Spring Summit in Bangor

District and school administrators and educators from thirty-six districts and education entities in rural Maine convened at Jeff’s Catering in Bangor recently for the first ever Rural Maine Attendance Summit organized by RSU 74 Superintendent Mike Tracy. After looking at his own data submitted to the Maine Department of Education last spring, he found that some of the students in his district were out of school enough to be defined as chronically absent. In his efforts to be proactive about the issue, Tracy looked to available resources only to find that they were mostly geared towards urban school districts. That’s when he began working on plans for the rural attendance summit.

With the collective understanding that small rural school districts must approach things differently than bigger urban school districts, the summit aimed to help generate more tools, and allow for the exchanging of ideas regarding the growing issues that are keeping kids from accessing school in rural Maine.

The day long summit provided participants with the opportunity to hear from key note speakers, Emanuel Pariser from the MeANS school, and Britney Ray from Washington County’s TREE program – Transforming Rural Experiences in Education. Each speaker provided information and expertise about working with students and parents who may be experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and/or childhood trauma. In addition, district officials could share specific issues in their own communities, collaborate on solutions that were working, and pose specific questions to a panel of experts.

Rural Maine School Districts with less than 1,000 students and other stakeholders were invited to attend. In addition to host district RSU 74, others in attendance were Goodwill Hinckley, MSAD 54, RSU 68, Otis School Department, RSU 93, RSU 89, AOS 94, RSU 73, MSAD 41, Snow Pond, RSU 84/MSAD 14, MSAD 37, Union 69, RSU 26, RSU 19, Medway, MSAD 20, RSU 25, Cornville, RSU 10, MSSA, Sunrise Country School, RSU 67, AOS 91, MSAD 59, MSAD 46, CSD 13, Athens, MSAD 70, ME Charter School, UMF, AOS 96, MSAD 30, AOS 90, and Calais.

Panelists included Martha Kempe, Head of Schools at Wayfinder Schools; Sue Reed, Maine DOE Early Childhood Specialist; Ashley Cirone and Laura Thomas, TREE Program Coaches; Catharine Biddle, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at UMaine and researcher for the TREE Program; and Susan Lieberman with Count ME. They fielded audience questions about strategies that involve parent and student voice, treatment options that may not typically be found schools, and ways to make school a priority for students and their families. Members of Maine DOE’s Data team were also on hand to answer questions about reporting requirements and to learn more about the needs of rural schools when reporting attendance data to the state.

The day included workshop time for attendees to meet with other districts and share ideas that were working in their schools, and closed with an opportunity for attendees to work with the people from their own district to work on a plan moving forward.

School officials left with various action plans that included strategies involving better outreach and partnerships with parents, home visits, team approaches and/or committee groups to research and take action, attendance awards and incentives, hiring on social workers and school resource officers, early-day or before school programing that kids won’t want to miss, and working more closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

For more information and resources visit https://www.ruralmaineattendance.com/.

Maine School of Science and Mathematics’ Earns First Place at Maine State Math Meet

Submitted by Ryan McDonald, Summer Programs Director and Public Relations Coordinator at Maine School of Science and Mathematics

Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM) once again earned first place in the 43rd Annual Maine State Math Meet for Maine Association of Math Leagues (MAML) held on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019. MSSM scored 846 points out of a possible 920 and had nine students earning medals. MSSM junior James Hawkes was recognized as top scorer in the state during the regular season. Hawkes said this year was, “filled with difficult questions. I appreciate the time and effort put in by the math teachers, who provided us with practice and taught us what we needed to know for each meet.”

In Part One, Individual Round, all students do the same six sets of math problems and scores are tallied individually and summed for the team. Ten students compete for up to 72 points each for a maximum score of 720 with MSSM scoring 667 points. In Part Two, Relay Round, each school is split into two teams and complete problems dependent on the other half of the team to provide a partial answer. MSSM earned an 87 out of 100 possible points in the Relay Round. In Part Three, Team Round, there are two rounds with 8 questions and a possible score of 50 points per round. MSSM scored a 92 out of possible 100 points.

Ethan Winters (Gardiner) and James Hawkes (Portland) earned all possible 72 points resulting in gold medals for grades 12 and 11, respectively. Other Seniors to medal were Sandy Kweon (Republic of South Korea) in 5th place and George Johnson (Kennebunk) in 11th. Minjin Lee (Republic of South Korea), earned a Silver; Jordan Theriault (Caribou), a Bronze; Christian Chagnon (Eliot), 4th; and Oleksii Nikanov (Ukraine), tied for 5th. Madison Albert (North Yarmouth), the only sophomore on the team, earned a Silver in her grade category.

The next step for the MSSM Math Team will be by invitation to compete in the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML). ARML is a mathematics competition simultaneously held at four locations around the United States. MSSM will join students who excel in mathematics from high schools in the State of Maine from May 30th to June 2nd at Penn State while other teams compete at the University of Las Vegas, University of Iowa, and University of Georgia. ARML has been called the “World Series of Mathematics Competitions” with 15-member teams representing large geographic regions; roughly 2,000 students compete at this event nationwide.