January 2022 Newsletter

From the Principal’s Desk

It’s been quite a return from winter vacation. Thank you to all who have kept their children home with symptoms related to COVID. Thank you to all the families of positive pooled testing who were able to secure and conduct home tests when school was not in session. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we navigate these unprecedented and stressful times. Thank you to our amazing staff for all they have done to continue providing a safe and quality education to our students. It’s no small task to plan and prepare for the students in front of you, as well as those at home. And most recently, to flip lessons and prepare students for remote learning on short notice. I am SO GRATEFUL for their commitment, teamwork and general CAN DO attitudes in light of the challenges they encounter each day.

i-READY TESTING: Next week students will be taking the i-Ready Diagnostic Assessment. This online adaptive test in reading and math adjusts the difficulty of questions based on your child’s previous responses. It is designed to be engaging and includes built-in brain breaks. There is no special preparation for this assessment; however, we do value the information it provides us and ask that you join us in encouraging your child to do his/her best and not rush. We will analyze student results from the assessment to celebrate growth from the fall and identify areas for additional instruction throughout the remainder of the year.

PROGRESS REPORTS: On Friday, January 31st, you will receive an email that your child’s digital progress report is available for viewing in the Parent Portal of Powerschool (K-5). Paper copies will only be sent home upon request. If you have yet to log in or need to update your contact information, follow this link for instructions on how to do so. Our teachers spend a considerable amount of time gathering and analyzing information to ensure accurate reporting about your child’s progress to date. If you have questions about your child’s progress after reviewing this report, please contact your child’s teacher directly.  In late March/early April, teachers will be offering another opportunity to formally meet about your child’s performance.

Please know that we are always open to communication that will enhance your child’s educational experience with us and welcome your questions and feedback at any time.

Sincerely, Carol MacArthur

Principal, Grades 4-5


In an effort to save on paper, newsletters are sent via email and posted on our web page.

If you would prefer a paper copy each month, please let your child’s teacher know.


Office Reminders

  • School begins at 8:45 AM.  Students arrive at 8:15 AM. 
  • Please remember to have your child complete the Daily Symptom Screener before leaving home each day.
  • If your child will be absent from school, please call the main office to notify us of that absence at 829-4815.  If we do not hear from you letting us know your child will be absent, please expect a phone call from the school to check on your child’s status.  
  • If your child arrives after 8:45AM, he/she is tardy to school and needs to check-in at the office before going to the classroom.
  • Please communicate with the office prior to 2:30pm if there is a change in your child’s afternoon schedule. Remember that buses may only transport students to & from home and/or a childcare facility.

We greatly appreciate your attention to these procedures, as they help to ensure that our routines run smoothly and efficiently.



Lost & Found: If you are missing something, encourage your child to take a look at the racks & bins just outside the cafeteria. Unclaimed items will be donated/disposed of before the next break.



Welcome to 2022 from the 4-5 Civil Rights Team 

We help schools think and talk about race and skin color, religion, disabilities, gender and gender expression, national origin and ancestry, and sexual orientation. 


This month we encourage you and your children to think about food!  Maine is home to people from all over the world and there are restaurants to represent many different cultures and cuisines.  We offer you this list of restaurants in the hopes that your family will do some research to learn about the likely origins of the restaurant owners and perhaps take some field trips to try foods from around the world, here in Maine!  


These will get you started on your adventure: Asmara, Boba, Bogusha's, Desi Kitchen, Isuken Co-Op Food Truck, Mais, Richard's, Taverna Khone, Tu Casa, Vasquez......

Have fun!!


Katie Campbell and Ali Waterhouse

Civil Rights Team Advisors



Guidance News from Mrs. Waterhouse:


In guidance classes this month, 


4th grade will be doing an activity called 5 Steps to a New Year. Students will count down by thinking of 5 words they hope will symbolize 2022 (such as community, laughter, kindness), 4 things they are grateful for, 3 coping strategies that help them when feeling overwhelmed, 2 areas they would like to grow and improve and 1 positive self-talk statement that they can say to themselves when they need a little extra support. Ask your child about their 5 steps to the New year.


5th grade will be discussing the importance of coping skills, sharing the coping strategies that work best for them and creating a coping skills fortune teller. Ask your child to share their fortune teller with you.


A Look into Literacy

Submitted by Janet Giguere, Grades 4-5 Literacy Specialist

“Why Nonfiction?”


4th and 5th grade reading classes have spent the past few months focusing on nonfiction. The Common Core State Standards expect that students are reading the same amount of fiction and nonfiction texts. Grades 4 and 5 students at GMS have alternating fiction and nonfiction units throughout the year to accommodate for this learning.  


Reading nonfiction is not the same as reading fiction, and therefore requires a different skill set. Students need to learn strategies for understanding vocabulary, finding key concepts, understanding how a text is organized, monitoring comprehension, and summarizing, just to name a few. This all looks different when you are reading nonfiction as opposed to fiction.  


Reading nonfiction helps students connect with the world around them, and is an important part of their development. Here are 5 ways that nonfiction reading can help students:

*Fosters critical thinking and information-gathering skills.

*Builds vocabulary and language skills.

*Helps students make real-world connections.

*Assists students with comprehension of increasingly complex text.

*Supports study-related investigations.


Seagraves, Erin. 5 Reasons Nonfiction Books Are Important for Young Learners, March 30, 2021.




We hope our first whole school remote learning day has gone well for our students. While we hope today is the only day this is needed, we did want to share some resources that will be helpful any time your child is learning from home. 






After a year out of the library, 5th graders are catching up on missed experiences/learning and 4th graders are getting to know their new space.


Students in 4th grade have started to read the 2021-22 Chickadee Award nominees!  They listened to the Cubs in the Tub this week and Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away last week.  We're starting to move into how the 2nd half of the library, the nonfiction section, is organized and how it compares to the fiction section.  



Last week, students pretended to be moving, like the characters in the story, and sorted items into 'moving boxes' to replicate the action of sorting books into different sections of the Dewey Decimal system.  


This week, the lesson included a search of the library catalog & looking at the different types of books on tigers to see that the different sections would have different presentations of the same topic.


For the last 2 weeks in January, we'll read Fussy Flamingo & Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots. We'll talk more about nonfiction books, searching the library catalog, and researching individual topics.



In 5th grade, students are also talking about nonfiction, the Dewey Decimal system, and how to navigate both to find items of interest or topics for school.  



We're encouraging all students to read MSBA nominees & voting will take place at the same time as 4th graders vote for Chickadees.  In order to be eligible to vote, a student needs to read at least 3 from the list (listening to a read-aloud/audio book counts, too).




The Late Bus

In addition to regular, daily dismissal, a late bus is also available on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for students who stay for co-curricular activities or after-school academic support.  Buses pick up students from GMS at 4:15pm and transport them home. Please be aware that depending on the number of students riding the late bus on a given day, your child's arrival time at home may vary.  If you have specific questions about the late bus, please feel free to call the Transportation Garage at 829-4820.



Co-Curricular Activities

Monday After School:

5th grade Band - Ms. Cummings scummings@msad51.org

Tuesday After School:

Chorus - Mrs. Perkins-Hall bperkinshall@msad51.org

Thursday After School:

5th grade Math Team - Mrs. Provencher tprovencher@msad51.org

Ukulele Club- Mr. Saunders bsaunders@msad51.org

Newspaper Club - Ms. Coughlin mcoughlin@msad51.org 

Unfortunately, at this time Newspaper Club is not accepting new members due to high numbers.


During the School Day:

Civil Rights Team - Mrs. Waterhouse awaterhouse@msad51.org & Mrs.Campbell kcampbell@msad51.org

Green Team - mmoore@msad51.org