MAMS Update February 15, 2017

MAMS Exterior

Mt. Ararat Middle School

66 Republic Avenue, Topsham, ME 04086

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


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February 15, 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope everyone has been getting through this wild winter weather.  Our learning momentum has certainly been impacted these last couple weeks with all the cancellations and delays.  In the past two weeks, we have only had one day where school has occurred at the normal 7:40-2:20 time!  I am so amazed at how flexible our students and staff have been.  I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming school vacation.  I have a few items for you:

Honor Roll Logo

Honor Roll.  We are excited to announce our Quarter Two Honor Roll.  This list, which will be posted on our website soon, will also be published on our website and in local newspapers in the coming days.  Please let us know if there are errors or omissions.  As a reminder, to qualify for the “Honor Roll” at the end of each quarter, students must have 95% of their Work Habits scores as 3’s & 4’s, with no 1’s.  HERE is a more detailed description of our school’s student recognition protocol.  Congratulations to all students who earned this recognition!

Teaching and Learning About Civil Rights.  As I mentioned in my last update, there is much we are doing to promote kindness, respect for diversity, and compassion with our students.  More importantly, we know this is something that parents teach their children at home.  To help parents have these discussions, I encourage you to ask students about some current and upcoming programs we are doing here at school.  For example, this morning, all students engaged in this activity in Advisor Groups, designed to help students embrace cultural diversity as a vital component of our school and community.  After break, we will engage all students in an activity targeted around the immense power of words and language in creating a safe community.  Our school subscribes to the Teaching Tolerance program.  There are many resources there that parents could find useful in how to talk to their child about respecting others who may be different, including this one.  Since the Fall, we have been working on the process of converting components of existing student leadership groups into a Civil Rights Team.  Last Friday, we sent a number of our staff to a training given by the Maine Attorney General’s Office to assist us in this work.  I am excited to continue to collaborate with parents on these important teaching and learning efforts.  

8th Grade To 9th Grade Transition.  During the spring of the 8th grade year, there are several events scheduled that are designed to help students make a successful transition to the High School as they enter ninth grade.  Our counselors and 8th grade teachers will be supporting students throughout these activities by keeping everyone informed of the dates and answering questions as best we can regarding their futures at the High School.  HERE is a brief description of the transition activities to help prepare our eighth graders for ninth grade.  In upcoming updates, I will also be sharing information from High School Principal, Donna Brunette, about events that the high school has planned to support the transitions.

MTA Exterior Mock up

New High School Building Project.  The MSAD No. 75 School Board has set March 7, 2017, for a Referendum on the new Mt. Ararat High School Project.  Please come out and vote!  There is a public information hearing scheduled for tonight, February 15, at 6:00 pm in the high school commons.  The concept design for the school was approved by the State Board of Education recently, giving the approval to move forward with this Referendum.  Information regarding the project, including draft site and floor plans is available on the district website, or HERE.  We are excited about this project, what it means for our students and communities!   If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Superintendent's office at 729-9961.

Math Counts students

The MathCounts Competition Series is a national program that provides middle school students the opportunity to compete in live, in-person math contests against and alongside their peers.  Led by math teacher Ms. Roberts, three students (from left), Isadora Theberge, Zander Chown, and Alex Liva took part in the regional competition last month.  Zander took 4th place overall and both he and Alex have advanced to the state competition next month!

Enabling External Email.  This fall we enabled email capability for all students through our domain.  This program has been a success and a benefit to student learning.  At first, we restricted student email to within this link75 domain.  However, we have received many requests from students, parents, and teachers to enable our students to send and receive emails outside this domain.  The primary reason given is for parents and students to email each other during the school day. We are planning on enabling this feature with our 7th and 8th grade students in March.  We have no plans to turn this feature on for 6th graders.  If you wish for your child to not have this feature enable, please email


Science Classes Welcome Meteorologist.  Next week, we will be welcoming WGME’s Meteorologist, Adam Epstein, into 8th grade science classrooms.  Our Science Standards include several learning goals related to the understanding of weather in the real world.  Adam and his colleagues have been very busy lately, so I am sure he will have a great deal of relevant information to discuss with our students.

Community Service students

Speaking of the Weather Lately… Several of our students have been helping with school community service projects as a way to engage in more physical activity throughout the day.  For example, above are 8th graders (from left)  Gabe Couture, Evan Bursey, and Chase Munsey, helping move snow that was blocking a sign in our parking lot.

Upcoming Art Event.  Congratulation to Emelia Barker (8th Grade) and Lucia Levan-Kushnier (6th Grade) for their recent art achievement.  Both student's artwork have been accepted into The First Winter Student Art Show at Centre St Arts Gallery in Bath, Maine.  Artwork from students grades 6th through 12th will be in this exhibit from RSU 1, Brunswick, and Topsham.  On Saturday, February 18th there will be an opening reception, from 2:00-4:00.  Please join us in celebrating these two students and all students who are involved in this show.  This is a great achievement!  Visit the website of the Centre St Arts Gallery for more information.


Valentines for Vets.  Many of our students took time out of their busy schedules to participate in a national community service project called "Valentines for Veterans" by making a valentine for a veteran and including in it a personal message telling the veteran why they are important and thanking them for their service to our country. We sent along a wonderful, heartfelt package to the Maine Veteran's home in Augusta.

Blood Drive.  6th Grade Health classes will be hosting the MAMS Annual American Red Cross Blood drive on Wednesday April 12 from 2:30-7 pm in the MAMS Cafeteria.  One donation can save 3 lives.  Power Reds are accepted at this drive if you wish to enhance the positive impact. Use the link Blood Drive put in the MAMS Zip-code 04086 select the MAMS Blood drive for April 12 and schedule your donation.  Our goal is collect 100 units of blood.  Please help, share the link with family and friends.

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 Signature

Josh Ottow


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