The Compass

Here, you can read a weekly journal written by the Head of School and other related articles. 
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The Compass, 1/18/20

posted by Charles Hamm

 

 


Despite the minus zero temperatures, school is lively and full of warm smiles. The fresh snow that prompted a snow day on Thursday made for much better sledding on the playground. Students happily braved the cold in hopes of making the perfect run with their favorite sled. Thank goodness we have hearty staff willing to spend time outdoors with them at recess. 

     The Head of School attended the 26th Annual Convocation, hosted by the Maine School Superintendents Association, this week. The Honorable John T. Broderick, former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court, spoke in collaboration with Jeff Levin, Founder of the Reconnection Project. Their message focused on the need to recognize and support mental illness and “Digititus”, a term Jeff coined regarding the cell phone epidemic. They also discussed their top concerns facing educators today: climate change, school shootings, political rancor, cell phones, and the opioid crisis. We cannot overestimate the seriousness of these topics. Commissioner Makin was in attendance. She reflected on her first year in office and spent some time answering questions. She is scheduled for a May 1st visit to ICS.

     Staff participated in some training sessions on how to better utilize Infinite Campus, our reporting platform. Basketball has kept students busy, Pathways teachers met off campus, and curriculum work continues at the elementary level. Apparently, there is never a slow week at ICS. We wouldn’t have it any other way.   

Warmly;

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School         

                                                                                                                                              01182020                                                                          


The Compass, 1/11/20

posted Jan 11, 2020, 11:36 AM by Charles Hamm

        

 

     We’ve enjoyed a great deal of initiative throughout the school this week.  Students and staff pass the weeks with an energetic pace that, at times, is dizzying. Seniors are receiving acceptance letters from colleges and mid-year exams are right around the corner. 

     Sandy and David Perloff graced ICS with a visit this week. We appreciate their continued funding and collaboration. 3-D printers, aquaponics, and aeroponics are just a few examples of their support in action and directly in the hands of students. 

        Our Pathways Team has been enjoying meeting with students and their families lately. Pathways has become the cornerstone of our middle and high school students’ experience at ICS. It is a joy to have their families on campus for their individual meetings. 

     Head of School spent time at the Mid-Coast School of Technology attending a joint meeting of leaders from the tech center and surrounding islands. The Island Institute hosted and organized the day with a focus on shared local resources and credential opportunities for our students. Simultaneously, Dean of Students was in Boston, attending a conference hosted by the Barr Foundation. She has been preparing to launch our Portrait of a Graduate initiative previously mentioned in last week’s Compass. 

     This week we take time to recognize the recipient of this month’s Fly High Award, Grace Burns. Grace embodies the values of ICS and well deserves the recognition. Congratulations!

     As always, thank you for your support and for reading our weekly Compass. 


Warmly;

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School         


The Compass, 1/4/20

posted Jan 11, 2020, 11:34 AM by Charles Hamm

     

The new year has begun and staff and students appear rested and ready for the next chapter of the school year. We typically have good news to share and this week is no exception. We have recently been awarded a “Portrait of a Graduate” grant from the Barr Foundation. The Island Institute is excited to be partnering with the nonprofit Rural Aspirations Project to bring together three small, isolated, rural Maine high schools and take an in-depth look at the unique role and purpose of rural education and its connection to rural community, vitality, and sustainability.

     The schools are: Islesboro Central School and Vinalhaven School in Penobscot Bay and East Grand School in northern Washington County, Maine, near the Aroostook County border. The University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development as well as the Maine Department of Education will also be involved in this collaboration. 

     We will look for community involvement. If you would like to included, please contact Dean of Students Meredith Diamond at mdiamond@icspathways.org.

     In other news, students Collin Peterson and Veda Lecompte are both very excited to be studying abroad this summer. They are the recipients of the Oxbridge scholarship. Thank you, Lucy Burr, for funding this incredible opportunity for ICS students. 

Warmly;

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School    


The Compass, 12/14/19

posted Jan 11, 2020, 11:32 AM by Charles Hamm


      

This week’s high point was our Winter Concert. Students performed to a full house. Standouts included grades K-3 train costumes, combined band performances, and solo vocal performances by students from several grades. When students experience the support of their families and the community, as they did at the concert, their confidence soars. It is often the synergy of the entire community working together that makes ICS such an incredible school. On behalf of our students, thank you all for joining us as we showcased an incredible array of skill and talent. 

     Staff took part in a serious training session regarding suicide awareness. It is a state-required mandate. We support training of this nature and welcome expanding our understanding of this serious topic. Our administration and counseling staff are working diligently revising our emergency response plan. Working in tandem with local officials and emergency response teams, it will better prepare ICS if tragedy strikes. 

     Basketball has kept our student athletes very busy lately. We’ve experienced both wins and losses. We cannot underestimate the benefits of student participation. Happily, our athletes are known for showing wonderful sportsmanship, regardless of outcomes.  

     As the holiday season continues, we wish all our readers contentment and happiness, as well as a healthy, and prosperous new year.


Warmly;

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                                        


The Compass, 12/7/19

posted Dec 13, 2019, 6:07 AM by Charles Hamm


 

       Staff enjoyed seeing families at our Sports Banquet and Parent/Teacher conferences recently. Thank you all for attending. It’s always nice to see your friendly faces in the building. 

       Head of School attended the Maine Principals’ Association’s Fall Conference recently. Keynote speaker Alex Kajitani, otherwise known as the Rappin’ Mathematician and founder of Multiplication Nation.com, was energetic and thought provoking. Conference sessions included Vaping, Restorative Practices, Tough Issues in Administration, and Expanding Computer Science in Schools. Time spent with other principals from around the state is worthwhile professional development and good for the overall growth of the school. Our island location is often a topic of interest amongst principals from around the state, as is our high student success rate. 

     The winter is already giving us some challenges. It seemed like the whole state of Maine was shut down with this last Nor’easter. Our students are happy with the fresh snow and the hillside sledding. 

     Thanksgiving has come and gone. We at ICS are continually thankful for the wonderful children we serve. Their smiles and eagerness to learn makes our jobs as educators, that much more rewarding. 

     Our annual Winter Concert will be on December 12. Please join us for an evening of live music and performances. 



Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                       


The Compass, 11/10/19

posted Nov 11, 2019, 6:08 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Nov 11, 2019, 6:09 AM ]





The first quarter of the school year closed this week for Middle and High School students. It shouldn’t come as a surprise given the pace at ICS. 

     Students were delighted to take part in a new tradition this week; the ICS Fly High Award. A student who exemplifies ICS is given a certificate and decides where in the school, the plush eagle replica will live until we recognize the next student. Finnigan is the first student to receive the award. He will nominate the next recipient and so on throughout the school year. The eagle will rest on Mrs. Atterbury’s couch for now.

     We completed this month’s fire drill in exactly 2 minutes flat. Students attended a financial aid presentation through FAME this week. A Marine recruiter visited and talked to several classes. The School Board held its monthly meeting Tuesday evening. Prior to that meeting, the Facilities Committee met to discuss the roof, gym floor, stage curtain, and minor leaks in the exterior walls of the school. And the Civil Rights Team renamed themselves the Social Justice Team. The new name appropriately reflects a superhero status that seems fitting. 

   Wonderful news worth sharing this week regards a successful initiative led by Ms. Betha. Betha has been the liaison between the school and an ICS supporter for the last couple of months. Through their mutual efforts, we are able to fund a sizeable expansion of our outdoor spaces. The project is a multi-faceted venture that includes new playground equipment, a living willow dome, an outdoor classroom, fitness trail, and so much more. Betha and the E-Team, with help from various other members of the staff and community, put together a well thought out plan that will revitalize our outdoor spaces. 

     Looking ahead, the school calendar includes observance of Veterans Day, a Sports Banquet, and with support from Island Readers and Writers (IRW), a visit from illustrator Ben Bishop. Ben will spend the day giving presentations and working with students. We are always happy and thankful to host authors and illustrators through IRW.

 

Warmly

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School  


The Compass, 11/2/19

posted Nov 3, 2019, 9:07 AM by Charles Hamm




  We began the week by unrolling our expanded mentoring program comprising all three levels of schools. Little, Middles, and Bigs working together as teams provided an exciting and high energy All School Meeting. 

      Later in the week, we celebrated Halloween with an hour-long assembly. Teachers Ms. Diamond and Mr. DiLalla organized many fun-filled activities that featured triads from our expanded mentoring program. 

     If you’ve been in New England for any length of time, this week was probably par for the course as far as the weather goes. Staff had to forego Thursday afternoon professional development for fear of the ferry service cancelling afternoon runs. The realities and challenges we face are numerous regarding logistics and commuting. 

     Our Friday proved to be fairly exciting. The uncertainty of ferry service compounded with power outages and downed trees across the campus driveway, made for an interesting start of the day. Special thanks to School Board member, Nakomis Nelson, for keeping his chainsaw handy when he came to school that morning. He made quick work of cutting the tree into manageable chunks. Other parents and staff cleared the debris and made it possible to continue with having a school day, despite a two-hour delay. The power was out on the entire island for much of the morning. Fortunately, the school had electricity from our generator. We were happy to see more than half our students able to continue with classes and receive a hot lunch. We excused Magnet students and staff from school because of downed power lines on the mainland. Worth noting is that all the staff showed up, anyway. We had a great day despite the storm and the break in routine. 

     While playing four square on the schoolyard, students noticed two large birds riding the wind directly above the school. Framed by a bright blue sky, two mature bald eagles were holding formation, hovering in the powerful wind. One could not ask for a better symbol of Islesboro’s resilience.  




Warmly

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                                                     


The Compass, 10/26/19

posted Oct 29, 2019, 3:05 PM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Nov 3, 2019, 9:09 AM ]




    We hosted a photographer, Amy Wilton, this week. She was back by popular demand and spent the better part of Tuesday with us. Amy will surely have loads of great photos to share. Health and Wellness coach, Barbara Crowley, gave a round of presentations on the dangers of vaping. Middle School and High School students were very receptive to learning more about this dangerous trend. 

     A significant change in this year’s routine is the expansion of our All School Meetings from once a month to once a week. Our Dean of Students, Meredith Diamond, is the architect of the change and by all accounts, the weekly meetings are having a wonderful influence on the culture of the school. At the meetings we always celebrate small and large events alike. We also have reading time, view slideshows, and enjoy presentations by students on topics ranging from the dangers of social media to civil rights initiatives within the school and beyond. During next week’s meeting we will roll out our expanded mentoring program in which we have created triads of three students, one from each of our three school levels. Jenny Roberts, our K-5 school counselor, has led this initiative in collaboration with Lindsay Dakers, our MS/HS counselor. 

     Flu shots were provided to any and all takers on Thursday. We are in the midst of flu season and encourage everyone to stay healthy and practice good hand hygiene. 

      Looking ahead to next week, students will see a Lifetouch photographer on campus Monday, following up with their annual photo shoot. Thursday is Halloween and will provide much excitement with various fun activities and costumes galore. It’s a big event in a school housing Kindergarten through grade 12. As in years past, the 31st is a half day for students. Staff will gather together in the afternoon for some important and required professional development. 

     ICS is in the thick of the school year with seven weeks behind us and lots to look forward to in the coming months. As always, thank you for your continued support.



Warmly

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School    


The Compass, 10/26/19

posted Oct 26, 2019, 10:36 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Oct 26, 2019, 10:37 AM ]

 


We hosted a photographer, Amy Wilton, this week. She was back by popular demand and spent the better part of Tuesday with us. Amy will surely have loads of great photos to share. Health and Wellness coach, Barbara Crowley, gave a round of presentations on the dangers of vaping. Middle School and High School students were very receptive to learning more about this dangerous trend. 

     A significant change in this year’s routine is the expansion of our All School Meetings from once a month to once a week. Our Dean of Students, Meredith Diamond, is the architect of the change and by all accounts, the weekly meetings are having a wonderful influence on the culture of the school. At the meetings we always celebrate small and large events alike. We also have reading time, view slideshows, and enjoy presentations by students on topics ranging from the dangers of social media to civil rights initiatives within the school and beyond. During next week’s meeting we will roll out our expanded mentoring program in which we have created triads of three students, one from each of our three school levels. Jenny Roberts, our K-5 school counselor, has led this initiative in collaboration with Lindsay Dakers, our MS/HS counselor. 

     Flu shots were provided to any and all takers on Thursday. We are in the midst of flu season and encourage everyone to stay healthy and practice good hand hygiene. 

      Looking ahead to next week, students will see a Lifetouch photographer on campus Monday, following up with their annual photo shoot. Thursday is Halloween and will provide much excitement with various fun activities and costumes galore. It’s a big event in a school housing Kindergarten through grade 12. As in years past, the 31st is a half day for students. Staff will gather together in the afternoon for some important and required professional development. 

     ICS is in the thick of the school year with seven weeks behind us and lots to look forward to in the coming months. As always, thank you for your continued support.



Warmly

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                                                                                                       


The Compass, 10/19/19

posted Oct 20, 2019, 6:45 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Oct 26, 2019, 10:33 AM ]





Monday’s recognition of Indigenous People’s Day left us with a four-day week. Add the day off because of trees down across the school’s driveway, and we ended up with a three-day week. One would imagine that there might not be much to report. We still had a full week of activities despite losing a couple of days. 

     Seniors took part in an all day College Summit at the ICC with Jessica Woods. They worked on applications, FAFSA materials, and essays. While seniors were at the ICC, other students were taking the PSAT. All the while, Mr. Cooper and Mr. Van Dis organized and led a beach cleanup with middle school students. 

     Thursday was a wildcard with the big windstorm. We began the morning with a two-hour delay. The ferry wasn’t running initially and the early morning light revealed debris strewn roads. School was officially cancelled for the day when several trees dropped across our driveway. 

      By the time Friday rolled around we were ready for our annual Open House and Harvest Festival. The dinner had to be moved inside due to left-over weather from the storm. Turns out, the Kinnicutt Center provided a warm and dry venue with live music. Breaking bread together as a community strengthens our bonds and renews the commitment to keep ICS thriving as an important facet of Islesboro. 

     Special thanks go to class advisors Meg Britton and John Van Dis. Additional gratitude goes to our band on stage; John Oldham, Natalie Oldham, Mike McFarland, and John Kerr. We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the fine work of Ms. Arla Casselman. She taught her students how to make delicious cider donuts that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Our students, parents, and a multitude of other busy hands made for a lively evening. Thank you all so much. 

     Next week our grades 6-12 will attend hour long sessions presented by a Pen Bay Medical Center representative on the dangers of vaping. We feel it’s important to stay ahead of these serious issues and exercise proactive approaches in guiding our students towards healthy lifestyles. 

     As always, thank you for supporting the Islesboro Central School families and staff.


Warmly

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School     






   

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