Principal Updates

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Mt. Ararat Middle School

66 Republic Avenue, Topsham, ME 04086

Phone:  (207)729-2950     Fax: (207)729-2964


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December 18, 2018 Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.  I have several items for you:

Progress Reports. This afternoon your child’s Quarter Two Progress Report is live and up to date on the Empower Parent Portal.  Progress reports contain updated Work Habit scores, as well as any Learning Goal scores to date.  The quickest way to view your student's entire progress report is to click the "Print progress report" link.  We have provided DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS HERE.   If you feel like you would like to know more about how your child is doing in school beyond this, feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) directly.  All staff are happy to spend any amount of time with you to ensure that you have a clear sense of how your child’s learning is progressing.

Our Quarter 1 Honor Roll has been published on our website and in local newspapers.  Congratulations to all our recognized students!  As a reminder, here are the eligibility requirements for Honor Roll:

  • To qualify for the “Honor Roll” at the end of the quarter, students must have ALL (but one) of their Work Habits scores as 3 or higher with no 1’s.

  • To qualify for the “High Honor Roll” at the end of the quarter, students must have ALL (but one) of their Work Habits scores as 3.5’s with no 2’s and have ALL (but one) of their Learning Goal scores from that quarter as 3 or higher with no scores below 2.

Seeking Socrates.  All 6th grade classes have had the opportunity in November and December to participate in a program called The Spirit Series, inspirational one act plays where students learn about culture, values while improving their literacy and public speaking skills. Seeking Socrates presents the story of the great Greek philosopher.   Cathance and Magalloway completed the 3 week program with performances right before and after Thanksgiving. Carrabassett and Sebasticook are currently preparing to present their shows on December 13 and 14. This was a great team building experience for our 6th graders.

Updates from Exploratory Classes.  Please click HERE to learn more about what is happening in your child’s exploratory classes (Health, P.E., Art, Cultural Literacy/World Language, Learning Commons, Music, and STEM).

MAMS RESPECTful Student of the Week.  Because of the great value we place on respect in our community, we have established a new program to recognize our most respectful students. Each Friday, teams are asked to submit the name of one student whom they believe most exemplifies the team's definition of respect. Those students are called to the office, presented a certificate, and entered into a monthly drawing for a gift certificate. Additionally, Assistant Principal Ms. Hayes Teague calls the families to describe the behaviors that led teachers to their choice! Congratulations to our November RESPECTful Students of the Week!

Elisabeth Kelly (Cathance)

Mary Beal (Magalloway)

Ben Therriault (Kennebec)

Grace Burbank (Merrymeeting)

Alexis Wheeler (Casco)

Hayden Versey (Carrabassett)

McKenna Lamoreaux (Exploratory)

Mia Orsillo (Merrymeeting)

Elena Willis (Carrabassett)

Falon Coughlin-Doyle (Sebasticook)

Patience Craig (Kennebec)

Peter Dube (Cathance)

Max Smith (Casco)

Hunter Magno (Casco)

Emma Fontaine (Exploratory)

Parker Lohr (Androscoggin)

Aidan Greenleaf (Kennebec)

Ty Williams (Exploratory)

Mustaches of MAMS Calendar.  Our staff has been having a bit of fun lately.  As a fundraiser for our Student Activities Fund, our teachers created a monthly 2019 calendar featuring various members of our staff sporting mustaches!  I won’t spoil the surprise, but all the images feature a special theme (including one with Aquaman). They are on sale in the Main Office for $10.

Lost and Found Purge.  As we do every year around this time, we will be clearing out any lost and found items.  Please encourage your child to use these last few days before break to go through the bins beneath the front staircase.  We always donate our unclaimed lost and found items to local charities. We do this several times a year to keep the area clear of clutter.

MAMS Student Receives Distinguished Student Award.  Each year Maine Educators of the Gifted and Talented (MEGAT) present one deserving student with the Maine Distinguished Student Award. This award honors an exemplary school citizen who embodies the characteristics of an engaged life-long learner by demonstrating passion, motivation, and a commitment to learning. MAMS is proud to announce that William Middleton was selected from a state-wide pool of nominees to receive this award. William Middleton shared his passion for statistics with the hundreds of educators from around the state (and beyond) gathered at the MEGAT Fall Conference in Orono as he presented a video he created detailing his self-designed project.

MIYHS Survey. Every two years, all middle school students in the state participate in the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS).  The results from this anonymous survey are made available to the school and community and they guide health and wellness programming.  HERE is a detailed letter regarding this state survey.  Please contact me if you have any concerns regarding your child’s participation in this survey.

Laptops Are NOT Going Home over the December, February, and April school vacations.  We will be collecting computers on Friday, December 21st at the end of the day.  If your child is planning on not being in that day, please bring their computer to the main office before their last day.  Extended vacations are meant to be a "break" from school.  Because of this, homework is not given over breaks. We want our students to relax and refresh and come back ready to learn after vacation.  Because we provide laptops to students for an educational purpose, it makes sense to keep them at school during a long period of time when there are no educational activities required, just as we do over the summer.  Vacations are a time to be with family and friends. We encourage all our students to"unplug" and enjoy this time with loved ones, without electronic interruptions.

MSBA book clubs starting soon.  Students are encouraged to join one of the MSBA book clubs! The After-School Book Club is open to all MAMS students and will be held in the Learning Commons every other Thursday beginning December 13. The 6th grade Book Club will meet during lunch and motor break every other Monday beginning December 17. The 7th and 8th grade Book Clubs will meet during lunch and motor break every other Tuesday beginning December 18. Students will be encouraged to read books to prep for the MSBA Tournament of Books (more information will be shared soon). Sign up forms are available in the Learning Commons, the main office, and in an email message sent to all students. Please contact Ms. Silverman if you have any questions.

Drama Club.  Advisor Ms. Thomas and Mr. Blais want to thank everyone who came to auditions for Aladdin Jr! For more information about the rehearsal and performance schedule please visit HERE.

The Winter Chorus Concert for Mt. Ararat Middle School and Mt. Ararat High School will be held on Tuesday, January 16th at 7:00pm. The snow date is Thursday, January 17th. All middle school singers should arrive in their concert attire (black & white) by 6:30pm. For more information about choral events please visit

The Woodside One Wheelers recently spent 4 days in Philadelphia performing in the 1.4-mile 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country and a true Philadelphia tradition. The city streets make way for massive floats and giant balloons, plus local performers from choirs, dance groups, marching bands and more. The picture above, which shows them as they paraded down Benjamin Franklin Parkway, went out NATIONALLY from a local TV/news photographer being posted all over the Country. The following MAMS students are members of this amazing group:

Ella Bergeron

Kira Chown

Sydney Dufresne Piper Dedek

Christopher Jellison-Bozeman

Jeffrey Jellison-Bozeman

Lila Madsen

TJ (Tyler) Nowak

Libby Rhoades

Lily Stewart

Mackenzie Wilkins

Isaiah Baker

Miriam Patterson

Nick Picard

Mari Schultz

Sydney Stewart

Team Sheepscot is an alternative education program that focuses on proficiency-based learning and doing hands-on projects and activities that include an aquaponics program and building and selling self-made laptop podiums.  We follow the school’s code of cooperation by doing weekly and daily self-reflection that shows our teachers how we think we did over the course of the week/day and they correct it so the scores are correct. Then at the end of the month, we get the average score of focused, respectful, and responsible.We have gone to the Urban Garden Center in Topsham, Maine twice to help clean the gardens to prepare for winter. We have gone to the Home Depot, Petco, Petsmart, and Hannaford. We have gone out of state to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to go to a decommissioned U.S. Naval test submarine. Besides the aquaponics and the laptop podiums, we have done other projects. We watched the movie “The Hunt For Red October” which sparked a project that we did about something related to the movie or the Cold War, which the movie is about. We are currently doing a project about our future where we figure out our car, job, house, and even going to taxes and expenses of our cars and homes. We go into education like where we go to college and grad school. We did Veterans Day interviews and get involved interviews with club and sports team leaders. At the beginning of the year, we did two political projects, a Maine governor project, and a representative project. We made campaign posters in the hallway for everyone to see.  We have made our own departments that work on different jobs, one works on aquaponic. A team that works on building and repairs. We have a public relations team that is in charge of the team's public work. We have a culinary arts team that cooks breakfast and bakes cake and pies and other culinary edibles for the team to enjoy. (written by 7th grader, Tucker Wneck)

Cell Phones at School.  I wanted to remind parents of our school’s cell phone protocol for students.  All students are expected to keep their cell phone “off and away” in their locker during the school day.  If a parent needs to get a message to their child, for any reason, contact the Main Office at 729-2950 and we have an efficient and discreet way to relay that message.  We ask parents to not text or call their child during the school day.  As you know, adolescents struggle with ambiguity and this may send mixed messages to them about expectations.  

Routines Can Make This Time of Year Less Stressful.  The days before the December winter break can be a busy time of year.  It can also be a challenging time when students miss the routine of school if they are absent.  Routine bedtimes, healthy diets, regular physical activity, and good school attendance all combine to make this time of year less stressful for everyone.  Learning takes place every moment your child is in school. Our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning, right up until vacation starts and on the first day back.  This is healthy and provides students with purpose and direction. Thank you to everyone who makes it possible for our students to come to school every day, on time, and ready to learn.

If any questions, comments, or suggestions arise, please feel free to call the school at 729-2950 or send me an email at:


Josh Ottow Principal


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