MAMS Update September 11, 2017

MAMS exterior

Mt. Ararat Middle School

66 Republic Avenue, Topsham, ME 04086

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


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September 11, 2017


Dear Parents and Guardians,


We are hoping all our parents can come to our annual Open House Curriculum Night this Wednesday, September 13, 6:30-7:30 pm.



  • All 6th Grade Teams = First Floor

  • 7th Grade Androscoggin Team = Third Floor

  • 7th Grade Merrymeeting Team = Second Floor

  • 8th Grade Casco Team = Third Floor

  • 8th Grade Kennebec Team = Second Floor


If your child is in a specialized program, such as gifted/talented, special education, alternative ed, etc., you are welcome to arrive at 6:00pm to meet with those programs’ teachers.  


When you are with your child’s team, a member of our EXPLORATORY Team will also be present to talk about the exploratory classes your child will take this year.


Also this evening, we will be providing Drop-In Support in the Learning Commons for parents to learn more about how to access our school’s grading program, Empower, including login information, accessing the learning goal spreadsheet, progress reports, etc.


We hope to see all our parents at our Open House Wednesday evening!

MAMS Update.  We hope that you and your son/daughter are having a successful return to the school routine.  We have had a great start to the year -- it is so wonderful to have our building filled with students again!  Every three or four weeks, I will send you a “MAMS Update” via email and also posted on the webpage under “From the Principal.”  Today I have a few items for you:


Cathance Poster

Community Building.  We do so much in our first few days of school to create a strong sense of community on each of our teams.  Much of that work happens in Advisor Groups.  The Advisor Group program is a flagship of Mt. Ararat Middle School.  Every student participates in the Advisor Group program, where they are matched up with one adult and a small number of peers that they start every day with and with whom they engage in positive team building and character development activities.  Above is an example from a community building activity completed recently by 6th Grade Team Cathance (Ms. Andrea Brown and Ms. Mollie Vandenberg)


Q97.9 Visits MAMS!  The radio station Q97.9 and their morning DJ, Lori Voornas have a fun segment they do called, “Have Lori Bring You to School.”  Last Thursday, 6th grader Logan Edgecomb won the sweepstakes and was surprised to find the Q97.9 Van at his front steps to bring him school.  The whole ride was narrated live on the air until he arrived at school.  



Drop Off Area.  Speaking of dropping off at school… We ask any parents who are dropping their child off at school in the morning to use the designated drop-off off area (see diagram).  Please do not stop your car to drop off your child in the crosswalk, the area before this spot, or in the staff parking lot.  By stopping in any of these non-designated places, it creates a highly unsafe situation for student pedestrians.  Thank you for your cooperation in this matter, as it ensures the safety of our students.  


Fall Sports Season Has Begun.  This week, we started our tryouts and practices for 7th & 8th grade girls soccer; 7th & 8th grade boys soccer; 6th, 7th & 8th grade girls field hockey; 6th, 7th & 8th grade boys/girls cross country; a “Girls on the Run” club, and possibly a parent-run 6th, 7th & 8th grade boys/girls Tennis Club.  For any information about athletics, please contact our Athletic Director, Rick Crawford at, visit our Athletics webpage, or call 729-2950.


Our New School Nurse!  We are excited to welcome our new School Nurse, Naomi Mullane.  Nurse Naomi comes to MAMS after spending the last 14 years at Woodside Elementary School in Topsham.  HERE is an update from her office, including details about our school medication policy, allergy information, dental/flu/vision clinics, etc.  Please feel free to contact her with any health concerns at 729-2950 Ext 1202 or via email :


Spotlight on Health and Wellness.   Throughout the country, school systems are embracing new requirements from the United States Department of Agriculture that impact all foods and beverages offered or sold to students throughout the school day.  More information will be coming but it is important to think in terms of “healthy snacks” whenever you send any food item into school.  And as always, make sure you always check with the classroom teacher or the school nurse to see if any students have food allergies or intolerances before sending in any food or beverage item to share.


Math update.  The math teachers at MAMS are excited to be piloting Open Up Resources, a 6th, 7th and 8th grade program produced by the highly regarded team at Illustrative Mathematics. This program is aligned to our standards and designed to foster the development of mathematical thinking and problem solving.  We'd love for you to take a look at the scope and sequence for your child and also get a good idea of the kind of mathematics they will be learning in 6th grade,  7th grade, and 8th grade.  We'd love your feedback as you see your child progressing through the units.  Keep in touch with your child’s math teacher or our Math Teacher Leader, Peggy Brown at


Attendance – It is Being Present and So Much More!  As a new school year begins, so do the routines across the country, such as taking daily attendance.  Taking attendance is a way of checking to make sure every student has arrived, and is present for the day.  Records are kept for each student and patterns of absences are tracked.  Most people know that the more days a student misses, the greater the risk for the student falling behind academically.  In fact, students who miss 2 or more days a month throughout the year are likely to end up testing a full grade level below their peers who attend school regularly. What people fail to recognize about school attendance, is the impact it has on a student’s emotional level.  Students want to be part of their school community: to feel they are part of the whole group.  Staying at home isolates students from that sense of belonging.  There are definitely days when students run fevers, are contagious and need to stay home until they are well.  But, there are other days when going to school may provoke feelings of anxiousness.  This is normal and there are school staff trained to help.  But we cannot help if you keep your child at home.   This year, encourage your child to attend school every day.



WELCOME BACK TO MAMS CAFETERIA. Our cafeteria has a whole new look! We had several kitchen staff volunteer their time this summer to paint and update our signs in the cafeteria. A big thank you to Marie Brillant, Tammy D'addario and Donna Grim. The place looks fantastic! Currently we are holding a “Name the Cafeteria” contest with students to make our space complete. Keep an eye out for some art projects soon.  We are also excited to announce that students will have the choice to have some ice cream options from the a la carte menu.

Please remember that you may go to MySchoolBucks to deposit money or use the drop-off box in the Main Office. Please be sure to put the student’s name or number on the check. The cost of a meal is $2.85 and reduced is .40.  A full meal consists of salad bar, entree or deli bar, side, a piece of fruit and a milk. Students may choose 3 items for the value meal but one must be a fruit or vegetable. Breakfast is $2.00 and reduced students can get their breakfast for free. Have them stop by and save you some time in the morning. We also carry many a la carte items in the cafeteria as well. Your child must have money on their account or cash to purchase. They cannot be charged. If you have lunch questions please call Katy DiCara at 729-9961 ext 238 or email at  Parents are always welcome to stop by for lunch, so please come and see the new cafeteria space!


Magazine Fundraiser.  The sixth grade magazine fundraiser kicks off Wednesday, September 20th our fundraising money also goes toward end of the year field trips, playground equipment like balls, jump ropes, and other items, a visit from the Northern Stars inflatable planetarium, and to be able to take of advantage of opportunities that arise during the year.  One reason we choose this particular fundraiser is because it promotes reading to our students and our community.

If you would like to order online, here’s a link to the eTools

Our school code is 3926094.  We will send out more information to sixth grade parents on September 20. Thanks in advance for your support!



Going on a Trip?  While we ask parents to not remove their children from school for extended periods of time for non-educational reasons, we know that family events may come up. Time away from school constitutes disruption in a student's learning process and it becomes difficult for some to meet the learning goals. Requests for extended leaves-of-absence from school need to be submitted to the Assistant Principal, Megan Hayes Teague, at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the leave using the Mt. Ararat Middle School Planned Absence Form. When you make a choice to remove your child from the school setting, please do not expect teachers to provide alternatives to classroom learning. Additionally, teachers are not required to prepare work in advance for your child's absence. Students may work with teachers to make up missed work upon their return.

backpack program

Backpack Program.  Good Shepherd Food Bank and Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program are excited to bring the BackPack Program to your child’s school during the 2017 – 2018 school year! We hope, if you participate in this program,  that you will find this BackPack of healthy snacks and staple meal items helpful to your family.  The mission of the BackPack Program is to provide children with nutritious, easy to prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. We aim to provide backpacks filled with food that is child-friendly, non-perishable, and easily consumed; and to distribute them discreetly with the help our counselors.  HERE is a flyer describing the program or you can see one of our counselors for more information.

Student Accident Insurance Available.  A note from our District Office:  Parents can purchase up to $25,000 in voluntary student accident medical insurance protection through Maine School Management Association.  Coverage options include full time (24 hours), school time, football (grades 9 – 12), and dental.  A brochures/registration form can be found HERE.  MSAD No. 75 is not endorsing this plan.  Other insurance companies provide similar coverage options for students.


Region Ten Technical High School Board Opening.  MSAD No. 75 is seeking a community member to serve on the Region 10 Cooperative Board.  Region 10 Technical High School is a regional career and technical education (CTE) school serving students from Brunswick, RSU 5 and MSAD No. 75.  You can learn about Region 10 by visiting their website at If you are interested in serving on the Region 10 Cooperative Board, or would like more information about it, please contact the Superintendent's office at 729-9961 or by email Letters from interested parties should include a statement about the candidate's interest in career and technical education and ability to commit to the position.  Deadline for submission is Monday, Sept. 25th.


If any questions, comments, or suggestions arise, please feel free to call the school at 729-2950 or send me an email at:


Josh Ottow




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