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9-26-14 Message to Parent and Guardians

posted Sep 27, 2014, 4:41 AM by Massabesic highschool   [ updated Sep 27, 2014, 4:42 AM ]
Message from Mr. Elkington 9-26-14

                                                                                                September 26, 2014

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students:

With school in session today we have now completed one month of our school year, nineteen of the sixty days in the Fall Trimester at Massabesic High School. I am very happy to report that our year has gotten off to an excellent start! When I met with students the second day of school I welcomed them back, asked them to think about taking advantage of every opportunity that we offer, explained to them that our expectations for honors classes and redo’s and retakes had been increased, and that the staff of MHS is here to support them. I am glad to say that many of our students are taking advantage of the opportunities that we offer.


One of our most important missions in the coming year will be in helping more and more of our students find the success they will need, and must have, to both compete in the 21st Century and to help the United States continue to be an example for the rest of the world. Every student at MHS has motivation within themselves. Our teachers and staff’s toughest work in the coming year will be in finding those instructional strategies, projects and ideas that will help individual students engage in the learning they need.


Some people are saying that Performance-Based Education (PBE), was supposed to be this magic bullet that was going to help all of our students find their inner motivation. That learning, improved success, and increased motivation would suddenly occur under PBE and every student would be transformed. In starting year four of our move towards PBE I want to make clear that PBE is a mindset, philosophy and ultimately an instructional plan that:

-       Believes that every student can be successful when you find the right strategies

-       Individualized student learning should be used whenever needed and possible

-       All students have motivation and that sometimes more individual attention is needed to engage it successfully

-       PBE opens more instructional avenues through pursuing individual student likes and dislikes in an effort to engage more of our students in finding their inner motivation!

PBE is not a magic bullet, but instead places very high expectations on each staff member at MHS to individualize, reteach and not accept or give into failure, even when a student decides that he/she would rather, for whatever the reason, take the easy way (failure), out. During 2014-2015 we will be doing our best as a staff and school to not let students take the easy way out! Our students are not numbers on a page, but are young people who have much to offer, even though they may not feel that way at times as they grow into adulthood!


On the November ballot – There will be a budget article for revamping our school’s track and playing fields. Please take a moment to review information about this program, also supplied as an attachment in this email.


Some important dates to share:


10/2 & 10/3/14            ASVAB Testing

10/3 & 10/4/14            Yom Kippur

10/6/14                        NWEA Testing for Freshmen begins

10/8/14                        Progress Reports handed out in Advisory

10/9/14                        Early Release Day

10/10/14                      Staff In-service Day ~ No School

10/23/14                      Parent-Teacher Conferences


Attention Parents/Guardians – Do you want to stay informed about what social media tools your children or students are using? Are you looking for ways to encourage them to be respectful and responsible digital citizens? If so, join us for an important evening with representatives from SARSSM (Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine) as they help us navigate through these important topics, this coming Tuesday, September 30th, from 6:30-8pm in the MHS Auditorium. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Jackie Chaplin (jaclynchaplin@rsu57.org or 324-3831) or Steve Urbach (stevenurbach@rsu57.org or 247-3141). Thanks!

Our District’s Eligibility Policy – Has had some changes to the abuse and/or use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. The first important change is that the substance abuse policy includes all students at MHS and not just student-athletes. Any student found to be in violation of the Substance Abuse Policy would be ineligible from attending or participating in any after school activities for the term of their suspension. The next significant change is the addition of "In the Presence of" language into the policy. Any student found to be present in an unsupervised situation in the presence of drugs; tobacco or alcohol will be in violation of our district’s policy. Students who find themselves in this situation are expected to do everything possible to remove them from the situation. The final major change to the policy is for the second offense violation. Any student who has violated the policy for a second time will now be suspended for the remainder of the current season and all of the next full season. Formerly students would be suspended for a calendar year on a second offense. This change reduces the length of suspension for a second offense. If you have any questions on these changes please contact Mr. Brendan Scully, our Director of Activities. Thanks!


Honors Class expectations for – The 2014-2015 school year have been increased. A student must be proficient on all of their Learning Target’s and earn a three or higher on all of their Work Habits (respect, responsibility & creative thinking), in order to move to the next honors course. If a student doesn’t meet these new expectations they will still keep the honors weighting and designation.


Do we dismiss students – During an assembly? The answer is no. When we have an assembly in progress we do not interrupt the assembly to collect a student for a dismissal. Please make sure that if you are planning on dismissing your son or daughter during an assembly that you let us know in advance, because if someone comes to collect a student they will need to wait until the assembly is over. Thank you!


Congratulations to our National Honor Society – Officers for the year 2014-2015:

-       President - Shayna Davis

-       Vice President - Jack Melanson

-       Secretary - Deidra Lantagne

-       Treasurer - Ashley Cryer​

Over this past summer – MHS has added many new faces and/or had staff switch positions on our school’s staff. Please join me in welcoming in the following new staff: David Hall and Cat Rolfe (Art), Marianne Tozier (Guidance), Jayme Schreinemachers (Secretary), Beth Walters (now teaching Science), Christina Hoar (now teaching English), Vicki Decker (Technology Integrationist), Erin Hoy (World Language), Maryanne Dunfee (Special Ed.), Hillary Cusak & Chris Perks (SUCCESS TEAM), Marisa Penney & James Hand (Assistant Principals), Allison Hunter & Victoria Smalley (Social Studies), Tom Wilson, Amanda Buckley & Christopher O’Brien (English), Robert Lansing (Math), Heather Sawyer & Jennifer Walker (Science), Heather Guilfoyle (Choral Music), Lorna Stiefvater (Librarian) and Ashley Baker & Dan Stefanillo (Support Staff). Welcome aboard!


Census Verification Form – Went home in August. If you have not returned this form please have your son/daughter return it to their advisor with any changes ASAP! Thanks!


Our SUCCESS Team – Has been hard at work this trimester with good reason. They think they have a paving stone originally from the World Trade Center. Our SUCCESS students have been studying the rock and documenting its history in order to donate it to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan. As they conclude this project, they hope the museum will accept this rock so they can share its history with the whole country.


NJROTC Cadets volunteer – At the Shaker Hill Apple Fest. Each cadet provided immense help throughout Saturday and/or Sunday. From the organizers: “ALL acted in a mature manner, interacted with adults appropriately, and willingly went above and beyond expectations. Of particular note was the stellar leadership exhibited by the unit’s Executive Officer, Allison Dunlap. Allison demonstrated a level of maturity and insight well beyond her years.” “Way to go NJROTC and “Way to go” Allison! 


As mentioned above – Homecoming went very well! For their respectful efforts and hard work we consider each class winners! The overall points did finish-up (out of a thousand points), as follows:


4th place: 831 points – Freshmen

3rd place: 900 points – Juniors

2nd place: 915 points – Sophomores

1st place: 985 points - Seniors


Thanks for listening!



Christian M. Elkington, Principal