The mission of Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta is to provide a nurturing, safe, and enjoyable environment in which all children are challenged and inspired to pursue excellence in all aspects.
Striving to be better than our best!
Note from the principal, Kim Schaff
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see the acronym CDC, which stands for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? I imagine that for many of you your first thought was “the flu,” especially since the CDC has been frequently mentioned in recent news reports. Did you know that the CDC has a wealth of information for parents beyond the scope of disease and prevention? In this newsletter, I want to share with you some of the CDC information on child development and positive parenting tips.
It is my hope that you will find some of this information helpful in gaining a better understanding your child’s growth as well as ways to support them in their ongoing journey from preschoolers to young teens.
Learn more at cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/index.html.
Monday-Friday, Feb. 19-23: February break
Each month I plan on highlighting a section of the school’s athletic code to for parents as a communication tool. I hope to increase knowledge of the GSB athletic policies.
January athletic code highlight:
Parental support for athletes, coaches, and athletic programs is a crucial piece in the development of our athletes and programs. Parents are expected to support their child in their athletic pursuits. Support for an athlete includes observing sportsmanship at contests and practices. Allow the coaches to coach our athletes. Strategies, instruction, praise, and constructive feedback are all reserved for our coaching staff during practices and contests. Parents should be a cheerleader for their child and our sports teams.
The winter sports season is coming to a close. For the first time since joining the large school basketball division seven years ago, GSB’s four basketball teams each hosted a play-off game. Our eighth-grade girls team won its quarter-final game and advanced to the semifinals. The addition of a fifth basketball team with the boys sixth-grade team worked well this year. We had to juggle gym times and utilize other spaces, but overall, hosting five basketball teams this year worked well.
By Karen Hight
All sorts of fun and exciting things have been happening on Art Island! The stretch between Christmas break and February vacation is always busy, even with the snow days.
The seventh- and eighth-graders are making costumes! I’ve been stockpiling recycled supplies and fine-tuning the assignment for almost a year, before introducing it to students. We are approaching the assignment as if it is a game. The students picked three papers out of boxes: animal, medium, and body part. For example: deer, plaster, foot. This provides them with their challenging assignment.
Students earn points by utilizing the “Habits of Mind,” such as envisioning, collaborating, problem-solving, etc. It is the perfect time of year for a fun and engaging project. We’ve looked at some interesting examples of costume art, such as that by Asya Kosina and Alexis Noriega. One can look up their amazing work on YouTube if interested. The costumes will be displayed during the Young Artists Showcase in March.
Another opportunity for eighth-graders is that Pemaquid Watershed Association has invited eighth-graders from schools in our area to display their work at the PWA building, which happens to be three doors down from GSB. The pieces need to be finished and turned in by the end of February so that they can be framed and prepared for display. The PWA show will be up from March 23 through the month of April.
The next exciting event for the seventh- and eighth-graders will be learning about a popular art trend called acrylic pouring. Interested students will be learning the technique and then helping their classmates learn the process as well.
Also, the local garden club will be bringing fresh floral arrangements to Art Island starting after February vacation. Students from various grade levels will be creating art, using varied age appropriate media and techniques, from these floral arrangements. Members of the garden club plan to come in to talk with students about gardening and art. These pieces will also be utilized in the Young Artists Showcase.
Furthermore, a woman from hospice contacted me, asking if some students would be able to make valentines for hospice patients. These will be mailed to Augusta and then sent out to patients all around the country. Hopefully, this act of kindness will brighten someone’s day!
These are just a few of the fun and exciting things that have been happening in the art room lately.
Please do not hesitate to send me an email, to khight2aos93.org, if you have questions, comments, or might be interested in helping to hang up art for the Young Artists Showcase coming up in March. Thank you!
By Alison Macmillan, enrichment specialist
Here are some Phoenix Program highlights this past month:
Our grade three through five coding club is up and running.
Our Girls Who Code club for grades six through eight is up and running as well.
Atlantic salmon Adopt-a-Salmon program
This year’s salmon stewards is a group of grade two scientists. Students will be responsible for taking care of the tank housed in the library. Here are a few things they will be learning:
• life cycle of the Atlantic salmon
• migration routes from the Sheepscot River to the North Atlantic
• interpreting topographic maps
• cartography (making a map of the Sheepscot)
GSB’s Mathcounts team competed at the Mathcounts chapter meet held in Fairfax on Jan. 27.
We are proud of our “mathletes.” Mica Houghton placed seventh, Kayla Cruz was 10th, and Kaylin Lizotte came in 18th. All qualify for the state meet on March 3! Quoting coach Glueck, “It was great to see both Mica and Kayla compete in the countdown round when, two at a time, the students tackle questions flashed on a screen. A great time was had by all.”
National Geography Bee
GSB held its school-level bee on Jan. 3. GSB is proud of its school champion, Cole Griffith, in grade six.
The next level of competition is the state level bee to be held on April 6. Cole took a qualifying test for the state-level competition. GSB will be notified by March 2 as to whether Cole qualifies for the state level of the bee. The winner of the state bee will go on to compete at the national level. The National Geography Bee is to be held May 20-23 at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.! We wish Cole the best. Whether he goes on to the state level or not, he is GSB’s National Geography Bee champion!
The Telling Room
Two grade eight students attended a day-long field trip to The Telling Room in Portland. Referencing the organization’s website, “The Telling Room is a nonprofit writing center in Portland, Maine, dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers. Focused on young writers ages 6 to 18, we seek to build confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and provide real audiences for our students. We believe that the power of creative expression can change our communities and prepare our youth for future success.” Learn more at tellingroom.org.
Note: The Telling Room is holding a writing workshop for teens ages 13-18 at Skidompha Library in Damariscotta during February vacation.
Grade seven hosts visiting author James Nelson
Kelly Wass’s students have been crafting their own piece of historical fiction as part of their grade seven writing curriculum. The students’ learning was enriched by a series of classroom presentations by local historical fiction author James Nelson, jameslnelson.com:
• The genre of historical fiction
• Description, detail, character development, setting
• Authentic dialogue
• Editing, revising, receiving feedback
The fifth-grade beginner band performed its first concert on Jan. 31. The concert featured an array of full band selections, solos, small group performances, and sectional performances by most of the sections in the band. One of the highlights of the performance was the full band song “Aunt Rhodie’s Appetite.” The piece involved a play acted out with musical interludes fitting themes of the different sections of the play. Guest actors were Brendan Stone, Zoe Nolan, Heidi Kopishke, and Ben Brown. The concert was preceded by a potluck dinner organized in large part by Mindy Wells. Overall, a good night was had by all and a new musical careers have been launched!
Through an invitation by House Rep. Mick Devin, the GSB advanced band and advanced chorus will be performing at the Maine State House on Thursday, March 15. Each group will perform a brief concert in the third-floor rotunda, then will be escorted to the House Gallery, where they will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the opening of the legislative session that morning.
Other upcoming music events:
Barn dance: Saturday, March 17, 6:30-8 p.m. — GSB gymnasium
Young Artists Showcase: Wednesday, March 21, 6:30 p.m. — GSB cafetorium
Spring band concert: Friday, May 4, 6:30 p.m. — GSB gymnasium
Spring choral concert: Friday, May 18, 6:30 p.m. — GSB gymnasium
Spring strings concert: Friday, June 8, 6:30 p.m. — GSB gymnasium
Registration is now open for the Southern Maine Junior Music Academy at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. The camp is open to all band students entering grades seven, eight, and nine. The camp runs from Sunday, July 22 until Saturday, July 28. To register, either go to usm.maine.edu/music/summercamps or contact Lori Arsenault, email@example.com, 780-5142. Several of our students are already signed up, but it would be fantastic to have a large showing from GSB. Three summers ago we had nine students attend!
This summer is the 25th anniversary of the camp and among its many highlights will be the world premiere of a new composition by acclaimed American composer Andrew Boysen Jr. Scholarship help is available through FoME (Friends of Music Education — GSB). For additional information about this camp or other music camps, contact John Morneau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We kicked off this month with our new parent volunteer, Jesse Butler, going into the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms to talk about technology and how computers work. The kids and teachers loved it! Butler will continue on into second and third grade in February.
We have also started two new after-school programs: Girls Who Code and Kids & Code. Girls Who Code is led by two volunteers from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in West Boothbay Harbor — Cath Mitchell and Julia Brown. They are helped by a volunteer student from Lincoln Academy. The group is for girls in grades six through eight who want to learn computer programming and work on fun projects together.
Kids & Code is for boys and girls in grades three through five to gain programming skills and work collaboratively on solving issues and building projects. Both groups will run until June on Wednesdays from 2:45-4:30 p.m.
There is still room in the Girls Who Code group for more girls to join, but the Kids & Code group for grades 3-5 is now full, with 23 students participating!
I would like to conclude by giving you an update on the current snow day situation. If you have been keeping track, we have already had seven snow days. Knowing that Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter, there is a strong possibility that we may have even more snow days. Given this situation, Superintendent of Schools Jim Hodgkin has decided to drop two student days from the school calendar. This decision is possible since the AOS 93 calendar has 177 student days and the law only requires 175 days. So at this point, the last day of school is June 19.