November 2023 Newsletter


From the Principal’s Desk

Parent-Teacher Conferences are fast approaching. You should have received communication from your child’s classroom teacher(s) to sign up for a conference. Please be reminded that Monday, November 20th and Tuesday, November 21st, students will be dismissed at 12:30pm to allow teachers additional time to meet with families. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to review your child’s progress and discuss questions and/or concerns you might have.  

We are seeing a growing number of students wearing smart watches to school AND using them to communicate during class times, most often with their parents. Below is a reminder about our school rules for technology devices, as articulated in our Parent-Student Handbook. 

TECHNOLOGY DEVICES: We recognize that many students have their own technology devices such as cell phones, smart watches, handheld games, e-readers and ipads. From arrival to dismissal, personal technology devices that are not explicitly approved by a staff member and/or being used for educational/medical purposes must remain turned off and stored in backpacks. Smart watches may be worn as long as they are not being used as communication or gaming devices. Please refrain from using personal technology devices to correspond with your child during the school day. Students have access to school phones. Parents/Guardians can get messages to students by calling the main office at 829-4815 or emailing [email protected].  

Before allowing your child to bring a personal technology device to school, be aware that the school does not assume responsibility for lost or damaged items. Students using personal technology devices should expect to be monitored by school staff, and misuse on ANY device used at school will result in loss of privileges. Students and parents/guardians are required to review and sign our Technology Usage Agreement at the beginning of the school year which clarifies expectations and procedures. For more detailed information, see Board Policy JFCK: Student Use of Cellular Telephone and Other Electronic Devices and Board Policy: IJNDB: Student Technology Devices and Internet Use.

Going forward, we will be asking students to turn off wifi or put their smart watches into “airplane mode” during the school day. We ask that you refrain from communicating with your child during school hours, both sending and responding to messages. Students will be allowed to check for messages during dismissal or other times designated by their teachers. Otherwise, please go through the main office to get messages to your child.

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.

Dates to Remember:

Wednesday 11/8 - Full School Day

Friday 11/10 - Veterans Day Observance

Tuesday, 11/14 - Rescheduled Flu Clinic

Monday 11/20 & Tuesday 11/21 - Early Release Days for Parent-Teacher Conferences

Wednesday 11/22 - Friday 11/24 - Thanksgiving Break

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

  • Student arrival begins at 8:20 AM. 
  • School begins at 8:50 AM.  If your child arrives after that time, they are tardy and need to check-in at the office before going to the classroom.
  • You can report absences, communicate transportation plans/changes or make general inquiries by calling the main office at 829-4815 or emailing [email protected].

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







Service Learning Project - Socktober Update



The Gervais and Rothbart classrooms are VERY excited to report that we have collected 1,481 pairs of socks, gloves, mittens and hats to be donated to Maine Needs!  


As you can see from our "thermometer", this represents 98.7% of our goal of 1,500 items!  We will continue to collect until Monday, November 6th for anyone who wants to send in a last minute donation.  


We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed!




From your School Counselor and School Social Workers


Managing Stress and Anxiety


Sources of stress and anxiety are everywhere.  Big Feelings are something we can expect and prepare for. Here is a short list of things you can do to help your child be ready to manage those big feelings when they arrive:


  1. Get enough sleep. 
  2. Exercise every day (play outside, walk the dog, bike to school, rake leaves)
  3. Eat healthy food with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables.
  4. Talk openly about healthy coping strategies for everyone in the family such as yoga, talking with a friend, reading, deep breathing, playing with a pet, making a gratitude list, positive self-talk ("I can do hard stuff"), etc.
  5. Limit screen time, especially social media and shooting games.  


Striving to achieve these for your family will improve your ability to manage your own stress and help your child manage theirs. 


Be well, 

Katie Campbell, School Social Worker

Ali Waterhouse, School Counselor

Amy Vincent-Cross, School Social Worker



A Look into Literacy

Wow, here we are in November already!  Students in grades 4 and 5 have been very busy in their literacy classrooms this fall.  The 4th graders will be wrapping up their unit on characters in reading, and some will be moving on to a non-fiction unit, which is always a lot of fun!  In writing, 4th graders have finished their narrative writing unit, and are now starting their persuasive unit.  There will be a focus on finding strong opinion ideas to write about, and learning about the structure of an essay.

    Our 5th grade students are wrapping up their theme unit in reading, and moving on to tackling the complexity of non-fiction.  They will focus on finding the main idea and supporting details of a text, along with summarizing. In writing, the 5th grade students have finished their persuasive essay unit, and are now working on memoirs.  This is a fun unit that really gets students thinking about how to combine a story about their life, along with a reflection of that life experience.

    Just a reminder that our literacy teachers are all doing pilot programs in the next few months. Teachers have worked hard to look at their current curriculum and how to seamlessly integrate their pilot programs. They will be doing some professional development to get them prepared for the unit they will be teaching. It is very exciting for our teachers and students!

Janet Giguere

Greely Middle School 

Literacy Specialist, Grades 4-5



Library News submitted by Dorothy Hall-Riddle, GMS 4-8 Librarian



Wednesday, November 8th, Spillway & Scotty will be stopping by to visit GMS 4/5 to share their story of inclusion.  We're connecting their visit to our recent Day of Welcome.  Here is a video of the story behind the book.  News Center Maine also ran a story about them last week.


The Scholastic Book Fair is coming in a few short weeks!  Students in 4th & 5th grades will be invited to browse & shop during their Library class time during the week of November 27- December 1.  There will be Family Events during Parent/Teacher Conferences on Monday, November 20 from 11:30-7:30 & Tuesday, November 21 from 11:30-3:30.  Here is a link to the Sign Up Genius for parents/guardians who are interested in volunteering.  *Volunteers must be approved by the district to volunteer first.  Online shopping is also an option; here is the link to the book fair website.



GMS PE News submitted by Becki Dodge, PE Teacher


The first weeks of our Physical Education curriculum has included instruction in classroom expectations (MLR 4.1, 4.2, 4.3), playground games and safety (MLR 5.3, 5.4), and flag football (MLR 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2). November and early December focuses on cooperative games. We begin our aquatics instruction the week of December 11. More information about swimming will come soon. 


Please help your student to remember appropriate footwear on their PE day. Although crocs are comfy shoes for the typical school day, they are not safe for active physical education participation. Safe footwear should meet the following requirements: cover toes and heels, have a grippy tread with flat heel, and tighten on the feet. Thank you for supporting active and productive play!

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


5th grade Band (starting in Jan) - Ms. Sarah Cummings [email protected]


5th grade Math Team - Mrs. Laurie Poissonnier [email protected]

Chorus - Mrs. Jennifer Caton [email protected]


Newspaper Club - Ms. Melissa Coughlin [email protected]

5th grade Ukulele Club - Mr. Barry Saunders [email protected] 

During the School Day: 

Green Team - Mrs. Monica Moore [email protected]

Civil Rights Team - Mrs. Katie Cassessee [email protected], Mrs. Jane Kilbride-Dupuis [email protected], Ms. Molly Russell [email protected]