November 2016 Newsletter

posted Nov 4, 2016, 2:12 PM by Carol MacArthur

Greely Middle School 4-5

November 2016 Newsletter

From the Principal’s Desk

Students and staff are participating in a schoolwide effort to be “bucket fillers” based on the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? This book emphasizes that when we use kind words and actions toward others, we make them feel good. That’s being a bucket filler and it supports a positive school climate. Staff are reinforcing and recognizing students for their safe, respectful, and responsible behavior by giving them “bucket slips”. Students are working together to earn schoolwide celebrations by accumulating slips. Our first celebration was a Hat Day, and we are more than halfway to our goal of our next celebration. In addition, at each school assembly, we are recognizing individual students for their safe, respectful, and responsible behavior by randomly drawing “bucket slips” and inviting those students to pick a prize. The energy around this initiative is really positive, and we look forward to many more celebrations and recognitions throughout the remainder of the school year.

Upcoming Dates of Interest:

Tuesday, November 8 - Picture Retake Day

Wednesday,  November 9 - Garbage to Garden Launch (more information at the end of this newsletter)

Friday, November 11 - Veterans Day - No School

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for quick updates of what’s happening at GMS 4-5.

Please know that I am 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 may be dropped off at 8:15 AM, or enrolled in Early Arrival at 8:00AM.

• 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 remember to send a note in with your child if there is a change in their afternoon schedule. Without a note, we will follow the regular routine for each child. If you must call during the day to change dismissal plans, please do not leave messages on voicemail regarding those changes.  If at all possible, please, call before 2:30 with changes.

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

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.

The GMS Lost and Found is filling up!

Please take a moment during your next visit to look through our Lost and Found, located just outside the cafeteria doors.  

All items remaining at the end of the month will be donated to local charities.

Picture re-takes are on Tuesday, November 8th. Students should bring in either their original order envelope or the unwanted picture packet.

News from the library---

The students brought their chromebooks to Library class last week and learned how to access the GMS Library Catalog and how to log into their own account!  Let them show you how to view the catalog, see when their books are due - and even put one on hold (reserve)!  The catalog and their account can be accessed through any device that can connect to the internet and this gives them a chance to see if the Library has something for which they are looking even when they are not in school!

The Book Fair is here!  We began sales on Thursday morning and the fair will run all week through 6-8 student-involved conferences next Thursday, 11/10.  On most days, the fair will be open from 7:45 am until the late bus, with the exception of Family Night, the night of conferences, when we'll be open until 7:45pm.  That's a great time to bring the family to build home book collections - or come by yourself to do some shopping!!  You may also shop online at  If you'd like to purchase a title for the library, please check out our wish list.  Thanks!

News from the School Counselor, Ali Waterhouse

4th and 5th grade students will be focusing on substance abuse awareness in guidance with Mrs. Waterhouse during the month of November.  

4th grade will talk about tobacco products and 5th grade will talk about alcohol.

The lessons will focus on making healthy choices for ourselves now and in the future.

Some questions you can ask your student  about these topics:

Grade 5:

What is the legal age to consume alcohol?

What are some ways alcohol can impact your body?

How can you respond to someone who asks you if you want to drink alcohol?

Grade 4:

What is the legal age to use tobacco products?

What are some ways tobacco can impact your body?

What are some of the ingredients in cigarettes?

How can you respond to someone who asks you if you want to use tobacco products?

Talk with your student about what your family expectations are around the use of alcohol/drug and tobacco products. Help them understand that you are willing to listen when they have questions about these topics. The more accurate information they have, the more likely they will make safe and healthy choices in the future.            October Box Top Winner: Mrs. Cosquer‘s Class

Wrapping Up Greely PTO's Parent Power Annual Appeal

  • Our campaign officially wraps up TODAY! Thank you to everyone who has already contributed.

  • Every dollar makes a difference in our ability to invest in curriculum enhancing field trips and enrichment activities. Thanks for considering making a donation

  • to this appeal.

Calling All Room Parents - Sign-Up Genius Training - Tuesday, November 8

  • Are you a Room or Team Parent for your child's class? If so, are you using the program Sign-Up Genius to organize classroom parties and collection activities? If not, we'll show you just how easy and efficient this tool is to use. It really makes managing volunteer sign-up activities a snap!

  • Join us on Tuesday, November 8th from 6-6:45pm in the Greely Middle School cafeteria for an interactive introduction to Sign-Up Genius.

Parent University - Kids and Anxiety

WEDNESDAY, November 9, 2016

Greely Middle School Cafeteria

6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Gordon P. Street

  • Did you know anxiety disorders are one of the three most common childhood psychiatric disorders?

  • Are you concerned your child or teenager is struggling with anxiety issues?

  • Do you have questions about what to look for and how to manage an anxious child?

Please join Dr. Gordon P. Street from Anxiety Solutions as he discusses anxiety in today’s children and helps parents learn strategies to address it.

Click here to learn more about and sign up to attend this free session.

MSAD #51 Goes Green!

MSAD #51, in partnership with Garbage to Garden, is proud to announce our latest sustainability initiative. On Wednesday, November 9th, the District will introduce a composting and single-stream recycling program at Mabel I. Wilson School and Greely Middle School 4-8. We plan to implement the same systems at Greely High School in the winter of 2017.

Our Strategic Plan identified Environmental Stewardship as one of its objectives. A committee comprised of MSAD #51 staff, parents, teachers, administrators and school board members worked last year to identify “green” District priorities. Moving to single-stream recycling and beginning a composting program rose to the top of the committee’s list.

In May, 2016, the District partnered with Garbage to Garden to plan the implementation of these programs. Garbage to Garden was founded in 2012 by Tyler Frank, a North Yarmouth native and Greely graduate! In four short years the organization has grown to be the most subscribed to curbside composting company in the United States. Garbage to Garden currently serves over 6,000 households, schools, restaurants, and businesses in Southern Maine. This widespread popularity can be directly attributed to its dedication to community engagement and education. Frank and the rest of the staff at Garbage to Garden are excited to bring this full circle and support the sustainability initiatives of his home district. Garbage to Garden works with over 30 schools in the region and has seen first hand that sorting food scraps and other compostable items creates a catalyst that provides a clear roadmap for reducing waste of all kinds, increasing overall recycling rates, and developing sustainable habits that last a lifetime.The November launch date at our schools is the culmination of months of hard work on behalf of the Environmental Stewardship Committee, and the Food Services & Facilities departments.

How it will work

In conjunction with Garbage to Garden, MIW and GMS 4-8 will work to seamlessly incorporate composting and single-stream recycling into the cafeterias and classrooms of the schools. To do this, Don Foster, MSAD #51’s Facilities Director, has designed and built custom waste stations with clear signage for each of the school’s cafeterias.


These stations will be monitored by Garbage to Garden staff and community and parent volunteers for the first week or two of the program to ensure that students learn how to properly sort their waste.

Students and staff have been recycling paper in their classrooms for years. The addition of single-stream recycling means that other recyclable materials, such as plastics and metals, will now be captured and diverted away from the trash. The recycling bins that will be used are pictured below.

How you can help!

Garbage to Garden will provide receptacles, hands-on training, and on-site monitoring to make the transition as smooth as possible, but support from our community is necessary for the success of the program! We are currently looking for parent volunteers to help students sort waste in the cafeteria at lunch time during the second and third weeks of November. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Augusta French at

In addition to hands-on support during the first weeks of the program, MSAD #51 encourages parents to keep up the momentum and reduce waste by working towards waste-free home lunches. We have included a list of tips for you to use when packing your child’s lunch.

We are excited about these new initiatives in our schools, and look forward to both the environmental benefits and learning opportunities they will bring!


Be a hero, aim for zero!

The best way to reduce trash is not to create it! According to the EPA, the average American student creates almost 70 lbs of discarded lunch waste per year. To support your school’s zero-waste goals and help reduce this number, we highly encourage you to pack your child a waste-free lunch by relying on reusable or compostable materials and not packing more than your child will eat that day! Not only is it better for the health of people and the planet, it is good for your pocket book. You might surprise yourself with the savings you experience which could total hundreds of dollars per year.

Tips for Packing a Waste-Free Lunch


  • Pack only what you/your child will eat

  • Do not buy single serve packages - make your own with reusable containers

  • Pack like items in the same container


  • Use a durable, reusable lunch box

  • Use reusable containers and bags made of plastic, metal, glass, or cloth

  • If you use small plastic bags or foil, bring them home for reuse & think creatively about reusing “disposable” packing multiple times

  • Use reusable water bottles and thermos’ for drinks to avoid single use bottles and cans


  • We recommend aiming for no-waste, but if you can make your lunch low-waste in the process, that is a great place to start

  • If you must use disposables - think compostable like paper bags and waxed paper

  • Remind kids to use the green compost bins at school - “if it grows, it goes!”