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September 20, 2013 Letter to Parents/Guardians

posted Sep 20, 2013, 10:18 AM by Massabesic highschool   [ updated Sep 20, 2013, 10:19 AM ]

September 19, 2013

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students,


Our year has started off in a very busy manner, with students and staff immediately getting focused on the 2013-2014 School Year. As we enter a very busy Homecoming Week, I need to share the following with you:


Important Dates:

-        9-21 – 9-28-13                Homecoming Week (activities listed below)

-        10-1-13                          Progress Reports Handed out in Advisory

-        10-3-13                          MHS Open House 6:00 – 7:45 PM

-        10-4-13                          Staff In-service Day (no school)

-        10-7-13                          Parent/Guardian iPad Support Night 6:30 – 7:30 PM

-        10-11-13                        Senior Class Dues need to be paid

-        10-14-13                        Columbus Day (no school)

-        10-16-13                        PSAT Testing for sophomores & juniors

-        10-24-13                        Parent/Guardian Teacher Conf. 2:15 – 6:00 PM


MHS Work Habits – Will have an increased instructional focus during the 2013-2014 school year. Last year was the first year we implemented the assessment of student work habits in each class. In our opinion and now practice, work habits, as defined by the MHS Work Habits Rubric, are a core piece of assessing the efforts that our students are making at being Respectful, Responsible and Creative. These important skills will determine student success in the 21st Century. Through these three areas our students demonstrate “how” they use the content they learn. Content and skills are only beneficial when you use them in positive ways.


Over the last three decades leaders from business, non-profits along with the educational world have shared multiple concerns that a number of skills are not being focused on. This lack of focus and understanding is putting our nation at a competitive disadvantage within the world as students are not as ready as they need to be when they graduate from high school. MHS has recognized the need to break down these areas and assess them, just as other high schools have done. The first progress report of each trimester will be a critical place where we will be focusing on each students work habits as they begin their studies in classes.


Are colleges supporting Proficiency – Based Education and Graduation? This question comes up frequently when I talk with parents & guardians. The following endorsement, has been signed on to by the following colleges and universities, with more to come:


“This endorsement recognizes that strong educational preparation benefits our students, our faculty, and our institution, and toward these ends we strongly support proficiency-based teaching practices, assessments, report cards, graduation decisions, and other strategies that can increase student preparation for higher education, modern careers, and lives of active, informed citizenship”


Maine – Husson University, Thomas College, University of Maine, University of Maine at Augusta, University of Maine at Farmington, University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Maine at Machias, University of Maine at Presque Isle, University of Southern Maine.


New Hampshire - University of New Hampshire, Granite State College, Great Bay Community College, Keene State College, Lakes Region Community College, Manchester Community College, Nashua Community College, NHTI-Concord’s Community College, Plymouth State University, River Valley Community College, White Mountains Community College.






Connecticut – Southern Connecticut State University, Western Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Central Connecticut State University, Northwestern Connecticut State University, Asnuntuck Community College, Capital Community College, Charter Oak State College, Gateway Community College, Housatonic Community College, Manchester Community College, Middlesex Community College, Naugatuck Community College, Norwalk Community College, Quinebag Valley Community College, Three Rivers Community College, Tunxis Community College.


Vermont – Castleton State College, Community College of Vermont, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, Vermont Technical College.


Rhode Island – University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, Community College of Rhode Island.


It is my pleasure to welcome – The following Fifteen new staff members to “Mustang Nation”:

-        Kerra Gearinger (Science Chem/Physics)

-        Jamie Karrafa (Social Studies/US History)

-        Heather Koelker (English)

-        Angelique Lavallee (Science Biology)

-        Hillary Leeman (Freshman Science Cadillac)

-        Morgan Roberts (Freshman Science Katahdin)

-        Ian Ryan (Freshman Social Studies Cadillac)

-        Mandy Spear (Autism Program)

-        Meghan Ward (Sophomore Dean)

-        Nicole Williard (Freshman Social Studies Katahdin)

-        Chris Ellis (ISAS)

-        Sarah Castle (Student Accountability Support)

-        Nancy Sobanik (Nurse)

-        Sarah Glatz (Technology Integrator Grades 6-12)

-        James Castle (Trainer)


A big WELL-DONE – Goes to Alison McDonald and Michael Roux Jr. for earning acceptance into the National Technical Honors Society at Sanford-Regional Technical Center. Michael also qualified for 2nd in the entire State of Maine and will represent Maine in the New England 4H Competitions. Super job to you both!


Bandwidth & Connectivity – With the addition of 1100 iPads we knew and had planned for our network to be stretched. During the transition we are having growing pains, which is making it difficult for staff to get onto both email and Infinite Campus, which may cause some delays with getting back to parents & guardians. Yesterday, we found out that there was a mistake at the state level and so we hope this is being taken care of. This transition will take some time.


Infinite Campus Grading – Has changed at MHS this year. As our staff becomes better trained and supported with Performance-Based Instruction we are increasing the amount of information we share with our students and parents & guardians in regards to the grades they are earning. Those of you who have seen Educate being used in grades K-8 will see something similar in our use of Infinite Campus. Most subjects will be assessing each standard, now referred to as Learning Targets, individually, so that you see exactly what your son or daughter knows and is able to do. One of the most important reasons why we are assessing this way is to improve the clarity of information that you and your son or daughter receive on their success and/or where they need to improve. Even though this has increased the assessment work for our teaching staff, we feel strongly that by supplying you with this information student success will increase. Looking forward to our continued efforts at working together to make this our reality!


Updating of grades – Will continue to occur each Tuesday. Our expectation has been that any assignment, project and/or practice passed in during a week will be assessed and put into IC by the following Tuesday, in most circumstances. If you do not see an assignment/project/practice that your son or daughter finished the week before following this expectation please contact your son or daughter’s teacher. Thanks!


Communication between home and school – Is as an area of great importance and a priority for the staff at MHS. Our expectation is that each and every email and/or phone call will be returned within one school day, if not sooner. Our staff does an excellent job with this expectation and so rarely do we hear that this is not the case. If you are finding there is a problem it might be with the email address you are using. If there is a problem please let us know immediately. Thanks!


Please bring a calculator to math class! – In order to better support problem solving and meet the needs of the many formulas being learned, MHS Juniors and Seniors need to supply their own calculator for math class. Freshman and Sophomores will be able to use a feature on their iPad for this. If you are not sure what to purchase, teachers will supply suggestions. Thanks!


Late or dismissed students – Must bring in a note for being late or documentation for dismissal. If they are coming in late because of a visit to the doctor, we need something official from the office. We don’t need to know why the visit took place, but that it took place. Thanks!


Homecoming Schedule:

-        Saturday September 21 Mustang 5k Road Race at 10am

-        Wednesday September 25

o   MHS Unplugged 3pm – 6pm at MHS Auditorium

o   Powder Puff Football Game 7pm – 8:30pm at MHS Football Field

-        Thursday September 26

o   Chalk the Walk and Pride Your Ride Student Events 2pm-4pm

o   Boys Soccer vs. Biddeford  JV 4pm / Varsity 6pm at MHS

o   Field Hockey vs. Cheverus   Varsity 4pm / JV 5:30pm at MHS

o   Cross Country 4pm

-        Friday September 27

o   WGME Channel 13 School Spirit Challenge Community Pep Rally & Breakfast 5am at MHS Gym

o   Homecoming Parade 5pm on West Road (Rain Date 9/28 at 9am)

o   Football Game vs. Deering 7pm at MHS Football Field

-        Saturday September 28 Girls Soccer vs. Biddeford JV 10am/Varsity 12pm


Bullying and Youth Suicide – Continue to be a concern at all high schools in Maine, one that we take very seriously at MHS. Last year we reviewed our expectations and expertise and looked for resources to support our students, staff and school. Our staff was Gatekeeper trained last May and we are now working with two outside groups to continue to increase our knowledge and expertise in these areas. This year our efforts will include advisory work, assemblies and grade level focused learning. Communication is the biggest key in stopping and/or getting on these concerns early and so I ask that we again work together in support of our students and school! Thanks!


Accreditation rumor – Is NOT correct! I recently was told that there is a rumor going around that Massabesic High School has lost its accreditation. This is false, as we are in very good standing with the New England Association of Schools & Colleges.


Increased expectations in ALL Honors Classes – Is NOT a rumor, but our new reality. With our focus on Performance-Based Education and instruction, along with multiple opportunities to show proficiency it is our strong belief and now our expectation that each student in an honors class will earn at least a three on each of their Learning Targets. Each honors student is now expected to put a strong emphasis on the MHS Work Habits in order to stay in the class. With focused effort on their work habits each honors student will, with time and effort, earn threes. Starting this year, all honors class students are expected to earn at least a three on each one of their Learning Targets in order to earn Honors Weight.


“The Dress and Appearance of Students Police” – Are out in force to begin our school year! As it says in the student handbook: “Student dress and appearance should not detract from each student’s educational focus and should not be a safety hazard.  Students dressed inappropriately will be required to cover up or change their clothing.  THE ADMINISTRATION WILL BE THE FINAL JUDGE WHETHER DRESS IS APPROPRIATE. Please review the student handbook on our school’s web site for specific info. Thanks!


May’s MHS Honored Students: Melissa Alves, David Alexander, Matthew Babb, Joe Bell, Jordan Blaisdell, Janelle Bosivert, Brandon Bowles, Shawn Braley, Caitlin Burke, Paige Caballero, Maegan Cabana, Brianna Chamberlain, Elizabeth Clock, Kyle Coburn-Grono, Sarah Cost, MacKenzie Croteau, Ashley Cryer, Maquila Dimastrantonio, Brandon Dyer, Danielle Egan, Deanna Faunce, Christopher Flynn, Emily Foglio, Elizabeth Garrett, Luke Gilman, Shaunee Glancy, Samantha Gonneville, Alyssa Goodwin, Jesse Hall, Noah Harfoush, Melyssa Haskell, Tyler Hunter, Zachary Ivancic, Kylie Johnson, Sara Kelley, Dylan Kennedy, Ali Lamb, Jolena Lampron, Erin Leach, Ashley Leclerc, Calvin Lehman, Kristina Lenchuk, Nicole LoConte, Michelle Mailhot, Adam Marcotte, Dylan Martin, Kaylond Mauzerolle, Roshelle Morrison, Jacob Orcutt-Kinney, Sam Pawlowski, Amanda Perham, Alyssa Perreault, Carlos Philpotts, Karlie Pike, Brittany Plante, Alexis Prescott, Cameron Raymond, Karina Raymond, Ashley Rondeau, Madi Sanborn, John Secunde, Joe Semo, Devin Starbird, Robin Towle, Joshua Wakefield, Shelby Walker, Krista Walton, Rayne Whitten, Shalleigh Williams, Robert Wilson, Collin Winkel and Surafel Zunser! Great job!


The students of “Mustang Nation” are great to work with because of the overall respect and dignity they show on a day-to-day basis. I have been quite impressed with the respect shown by our student body in multiple encounters and observations of them through our first three weeks of school. Respectful words and eye contact are being shared with staff, each other and with visitors! I have seen the respect that all of us want from our own children!


Thanks for reading this letter!


Very truly yours,



Christian M. Elkington