MAMS UPDATE~AUGUST 23, 2021

MAMS UPDATE~AUGUST 23, 2021
Posted on 08/24/2021

 

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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
August, 2021

Dear MAMS Families,


I am so excited to welcome you to the 2021-2022 school year! After wrapping up the most challenging year on record, I am so happy to have all of our students in-person, full-time at the middle school this fall! You can expect the next MAMS Update to arrive in a couple of weeks with more back to school information. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. As we head into this brand new school year, we want to let you know about a few things coming up in our school:

Important Dates:
**Wednesday, August 25: Sixth Grade Ice-Cream Meet & Greet--4:30-5:30pm (Outdoors--Rain or Shine)
**
Monday, August 30: FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, ALL STUDENTS
**
Friday, September 3: No School
**
Monday, September 6: No School, Labor Day Observe
**
Wednesday, September 15: Save the Date: MAMS Open House (Format, TBD
**Friday, September 17: Fall Picture Day


The First Day of School is Monday, August 30. Students may arrive between 7:30 and 7:50am, pick up breakfast in the cafeteria, and head off to their team areas. There will be many staff on hand in the lobby to direct incoming sixth graders, students returning from remote instruction, and new students in finding their proper place.  If you have any questions about school bus drop off/pick up, please contact MSAD 75 Transportation Dept at 729-1608.



Supply List. Each team has created a supply list, which includes course specific items, as well as optional donations. You can find your child’s team list HERE. That said, we recognize that in this time of uncertainty, not every family is able to make this happen.  If a family is able, it would be helpful to our staff for students to arrive with these supplies by the second week of school.  MAMS will provide school supplies to any student who needs them. Please reach out to your child’s counselor, homeroom teacher, or to me directly if you have questions or concerns, or need assistance.


Update on Masking. The M.S.A.D. No. 75 Board of Directors approved a universal masking requirement, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor settings within M.S.A.D. No. 75. While many of our students will be familiar with masking and our procedures at the middle school, please know that our teachers will provide mask-break opportunities throughout the day and gentle support around this requirement. Please send your child to school with two clean masks each day in the event that one becomes dirty or wet. I appreciate your help and support during this challenging situation. The School Board will revisit the universal mask requirement at the School Board Meeting on October 21, 2021.


Incoming Sixth Grade Team Placement.  Letters to each parent with their child’s sixth grade team placement information were sent early last week.  Our counselors and teachers, in collaboration with fifth grade teachers and parent feedback, placed our sixth graders on one of our two sixth grade teams: South Bay and North Bay.  As a reminder, all of our teams are named after bodies of water for a reason.  The team they are placed on in sixth grade determines the team they will “flow” into for their seventh and eighth grade years (see “Teamography Map” above).

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Sixth Grade Ice Cream Social.  We will be hosting an outdoor Sixth Grade Meet-and-Greet for incoming sixth graders on Wednesday, August 25, 4:30-5:30pm. All incoming sixth graders (and their parents) are invited to attend this fun event.  There will be a teacher-family meet and greet, building tours, and *of course* ice cream! We look forward to helping our newest students settle into the middle school community! 


Parent Drop-Off and Pick-Up. As we are continuing to anticipate higher than average numbers of parents transporting their students to and from school, we will continue with the arrival and dismissal procedures that we implemented last year. Staff will be outside daily helping to direct traffic. 

 

We ask that all parents park in authorized spaces and follow all traffic rules. Please note that the front parking lot is one-way. The other lots have two-way traffic. Please be cautious when driving through parking lots and when backing up as students may be crossing to get to or from the building. 

 

ARRIVAL

Parents will continue to drop their children off around the front of the building by turning right into the front staff parking lot, pulling up to the second crosswalk and looping into the drop off lane (see diagram below). 


While parents may drop off at 7:30am (or 8:30am on late-start Wednesdays), please consider dropping off between 7:40am and 7:50am (or 8:40am to 8:50am on Wednesdays), the time we have set aside for parent drop off, in order to avoid traffic congestion and to stagger arrival. Students will not be marked tardy unless they arrive after 8:00am.

 

No students will be allowed entry into the school until 7:30am for supervision purposes. All students must wear masks as they enter the building.  All students will start every day in their advisory, from 7:40am to 7:50am.  We extended this time so that students do not feel pressure if they arrive after 7:40am.  

 

DISMISSAL 

Students may exit from one of three North exit, South exit, or Front exit. Parents are asked to park in one of three lots: the North parking lot (by the rotary), the South parking lot (near Central Office), or the Front parking lot/Drop-Off Lane. Please coordinate with your child ahead of time so that they know which exit to use.

 

Parent pick-ups will continue to follow bus departure, starting at 2:20pm.


Sports and Clubs. We are very excited to be offering our full array of fall sports! Signs-ups for fall sports will be held the first week of school, August 30 through September 2, and practices start soon after.  In the fall, the school sponsors 7th & 8th Grade Girls Soccer, 7th & 8th Grade Boys Soccer, 6th, 7th & 8th Grade Girls Field Hockey, and 6th, 7th & 8th Grade Boys & Girls Cross Country.  There is also a Tennis Club, run by a parent volunteer, a community-based Football Team, and many local rec options. For more information about athletics, please contact our part-time Athletic Director, Rick Crawford at crawford@link75.org or visit our Athletics page.  For parents interested in the other student clubs and activities that happen in our school, I will provide more information in my next update, as they typically do not get rolling until a few weeks into the year.


Staffing Updates. Mt. Ararat Middle School is very excited to welcome the following new staff members:


Shannon Swanson, 6th Grade ELA--Team North Bay

Stefanie Thompson, 7th Grade Math--Team Merrymeeting

Gretchen Ward, 8th Grade Math--Team Casco

Amy White, 8th Grade Social Studies--Team Kennebec

Bethany St. John, Health Teacher


Allie Higgins, Paraprofessional, ESP Program

Kristen Lolatte, Paraprofessional, 6th Grade Special Education

Michelle Phinney, Paraprofessional, FLS Program

Huey Sheffler, Paraprofessional, Alternative Education Program


We would like to extend our best wishes to Andy Morris (8th Grade Social Studies), Doreen Swanholm (Health Teacher), Martha Simpson (Paraprofessional, Alt. Ed.), Wendy Krause-Kazanovicz (Paraprofessional, FLS), and Jean Mauck (Paraprofessional, 6th Grade Special Ed.) as they begin their retirements, to Elizabeth Michel (Art/Stem) as she moves over to Woodside Elementary School, and to Holly Blanc (8th Grade Math), Rayleen Berry (6th Grade ELA), Jennifer Bonnet (7th Grade BILD), and Dawn Stevens (Paraprofessional, ESP) as they pursue opportunities outside of MSAD 75.


We would also like to welcome our teachers returning to us from our remote program Team Allagash:


Michele Aronson, 7th Grade ELA--Team Androscoggin

Tricia Cherry, 8th Grade ELA--Team Kennebec

Peter Colesworthy, 7th Grade Math/Science

Nicole Karod, 7th Grade Science--Team Androscoggin

Sandra White, 8th Grade Special Education--Team Casco

Elaine Buck, Paraprofessional, 7th Grade Special Education


Additionally, we have a few staffing changes to report:


Meg Marks has moved from Team Merrymeeting to MAMS Instructional Coach

Jeff Burns has moved from Team Kennebec to Team Casco

Mark Dugal has moved from Team Kennebec to Team Merrymeeting

Sam Bernier has moved from The Center to Team Androscoggin--7th Grade BILD


We are so thankful to our teachers, paraprofessionals, and facilities staff for all the work they have done to get ready for the new school year!

 


Want to Join Chorus and Band? It’s not too late! Any interested middle school student may opt to participate in band, chorus, or both. Rehearsals are scheduled during the school day. If you are interested in having your child participate in band or chorus, please use this FORM. If you have any questions about these programs, please contact Renovia Day, MAMS Chorus Teacher (marrodayr@link75.org) or Rachel Williams, MAMS Band Teacher (williamsra@link75.org).  

 

 

Cell Phones in School.  At Mt. Ararat Middle School, our Cell Phone Protocol (based on school board policy) is:

“OFF AND AWAY”

This means that students are expected to stow their cell phones in their lockers from first bell to last bell. If a parent needs to get a message to their child, for any reason, contact the Main Office at 729-2950 and we have an efficient and discreet way to relay that message.  We ask parents to not text or call their child during the school day.  As you know, adolescents struggle with ambiguity and this may send mixed messages to them about expectations.  We are also asking for your support in reinforcing this expectation with your child at home before the start of school.



Important Food Service Announcement. This year we will be serving lunch in two locations, the MAMS Cafeteria and the Orion Lobby. Each team will be assigned to a dining location, serving hot lunch and ala carte items. Hot lunch will be free for all students, however students will need to have money in hand or on their account to purchase ala carte items (chips, drinks, etc.). For more information on Food Services including menus and the free-reduced lunch form, please check out THIS website or contact our Food Services Director, Katy DiCara at dicarak@link75.org.

As school food service programs are making preparations to return to normal service and menus, we are facing unprecedented issues with the supply chain that will cause us to alter our posted menus with little to no notice. We are working closely with our distributors and manufacturers to secure both the food and supply items needed to support our program. While it is our intention to serve the posted menu each day at every school, supply issues will not make this possible throughout the school year until supply chain issues are rectified. We will always attempt to substitute the scheduled menu item with another that is as similar as possible to the extent we are able to do so. Please know that we will always provide wholesome meals each and every day. Our Menus are posted under the Foodservice tab at Link75.org. Each month’s menu is posted up top, and the upcoming menus are posted at the bottom of the page. We do our best to have those available 2 weeks before the end of each month.

Please also see the link to our new online Free and Reduced Meal applications. Although meals are free for all enrolled students this year, we still need applications from households. These forms help the District to maintain funding sources for Title 1, Technology and others.



Student Accident Insurance Available. Parents can purchase voluntary student accident medical insurance protection through Liberty Mutual Insurance. Coverage options include full time (24 hours), school time, football (grades 9 – 12), and dental. You can view more details about the plan or enroll on-line by going to the MSAD No. 75 website (www.link75.org) and clicking on the “District” tab, then “Departments”, then “Business Services”, and scrolling down the Business Services page to the Student Accident Insurance documents.


MSAD No. 75 is not endorsing this plan. Other insurance companies provide similar coverage options for students.



Notification of Policies and Student Handbook.  Every year, we are required to direct parents towards all our district policies, linked HERE in their entirety. The policies, created and approved by the publicly elected M.S.A.D. No. 75 Board of Directors, govern the general operation of the school system.  You are welcome to review any of these policies.  In addition, we have a published Student Handbook that we review with students during the first weeks of school and we encourage parents to review it as well.  



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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