The Compass

Here, you can read a weekly journal written by the Head of School and other related articles. 
You can also see daily postings on Instagram!

The Compass, 12/7/19

posted 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     






   

The Compass, 10/12/19

posted Oct 13, 2019, 12:50 PM by Charles Hamm






     Peak foliage is particularly beautiful this year. It’s summer’s last gift before our world transitions and we turn our clocks back. In the meantime, Islesboro Central School continues to reflect on present practices and future initiatives. Our work as educators blends from one week to the next, not unlike the seasons. This past week was right on par with previous weeks.

     We began with our High School students spending two days and nights at Bowdoin College. It’s a beautiful campus and the perfect time of the year to visit. Mid-week gave us a gorgeous, sunny day, to celebrate the completion of our solar array. The entire school community and local well-wishers, joined us as we flipped the switch to our ground installed solar array. Clean, renewable, solar energy will provide us with 40% of our electrical needs. We are proud to complete this project. Solar energy supports our efforts to shrink our carbon footprint and lesson our dependence on fossil fuels. Special thanks to TL Tutor, Ryan Martin, Sally McDonough, Dick Cilley, Supt. Bob England, the ICS School Board, Hans Albee, Jennifer Albee, Scott Sienkiewicz, Paul Grindle, Gabe Pendleton, our neighbors Corky and Sharon, and the entire Islesboro community, for making our transition to solar, possible. 

     Students did not have school Friday. Staff attended an all day conference, hosted by the Island Institute, at Region 8 Tech Center. The new Region 8 facility is remarkable, the food they prepared was delicious, and the Island Institute did a great job putting together a full day. Networking with other coastal and island school staff is always a treat. Maine’s Commissioner of Education, Pendor Makin, was the keynote speaker. She spoke sincerely of the valuable work we do in schools and gave a heartfelt and uplifting message in her opening remarks. 

     Enjoy the long weekend, everybody. We’ll pick up where we left off, on Tuesday. 

Warmly

Chuck Hamm                                                                                                                

Head of School


The Compass, 10/05/2019

posted Oct 5, 2019, 9:16 AM by Charles Hamm

 




Every year, we try to focus on a central theme. This school year, we are reminding students, staff, and readers, to be kind. It’s a small word with a simple message. Be kind in all that we do. We can often see kindness in the quickest of glances. A student getting out of lunch line to grab a napkin and pick up some food spilled from another’s tray is a great example of kindness. Taking a knee when a fellow soccer player gets hit hard and falls, is another. Seeing “good morning” on the sidewalk, written in chalk, always brightens the start of the day. We witness kindness all day long at ICS and can easily take it for granted. Let’s be intentional with kindness. Let’s practice it, recognize it, call it out and name it when we experience it. Our school is a better place for it. Please join me in celebrating kindness on the daily.

     We’ve been prepping for the paper airplane contest and had an all school meeting, where we tested designs, cheered each other on, and flew lots of paper! It was heartwarming to watch Littles and Bigs supporting each other in spirited competition. One of the most magical aspects of ICS is that we have grades K - 12 under the same roof. Collaboration across curricula and grade span is easily scheduled. 

     Congratulations are in order for Middle School teacher Peter DiLalla’s students. Last spring, our current seventh graders took part in a writing contest through Young Writers. The theme was Survival Sagas: Mission Catastrophe, and students were only allowed 100 words to tell their story.

     Five students had their stories selected to be published in a collection entitled Mission Catastrophe- Stories From Maine. These students are Finnegan Calderwood, Hailey Leach, Ayla Fuller, Rosalind Brimley and Marley Kormann. Congratulations!

They are allowing the other students to get their stories published too if they send in a revised version of the story. Young Writers will send the school a copy of the book too.

Lastly, we are pleased and proud to announce student bathrooms will be gender neutral soon. The School Board voted unanimously, in agreement to the Civil Rights Team request. 



Warmly

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School       

The Compass, 9/27/2019

posted Sep 28, 2019, 10:15 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Sep 28, 2019, 3:58 PM ]


      


One of the greatest luxuries of being a small school is the fact that we can be flexible and take advantage of an opportunity in real time. Instead of having our weekly all school meeting in the gym, we jumped at the chance to take the whole school to Maddie Dodge Field to cheer on the Eagles in a soccer match against Vinalhaven. The game ended after the first half because of thunder and impending storm clouds. We were losing 4-0 and missed the opportunity to even the score. The team traveled to Vinalhaven later in the week and won 3-0. Our students played honorably and represented ICS with good sportsmanship and fair play. Well done, Eagles!

     If you are a parent, you may receive a call from the Head of School. It’s a check in of sorts. Being a small school, we can afford to touch base with each family, seeking feedback and assurance that we are continuing to provide the excellent education you have all come to expect. We do not ride on our laurels. Staff continually strive for excellence by setting high expectations and putting in place the supports every student deserves. 

     An exciting event being planned for next week’s all school meeting is a paper airplane contest. Hosted by our Bio-Inspired Design class, we team High School students with Elementary students, in pursuit of the perfect airplane. It’s a collaboration of mentoring, science, and craft, culminating in a school-wide learning experience that will surely be fun.

     The student-led Civil Rights Club has been busy and will present a proposal to the School Board next week. They have been researching the need to create gender neutral bathrooms throughout the school. Their advocacy will help create learning environments that are safe and affirming for all students. It’s as simple as changing the signage and educating students. ICS has single occupant bathrooms and expects to make this change soon after Board approval. 

     As always, we hope you follow us on Instagram at icspathways. For those who do not have an Instagram account, there is a direct link on our school’s website homepage.       


Chuck Hamm                                                                                                                      09272019


The Compass, 9/21/2019

posted Sep 22, 2019, 7:11 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Sep 22, 2019, 7:12 AM ]

    


Teachers have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather and students have been outside as much as possible this past week. The garden is being prepped for our annual Harvest Festival. This year we will hold it on October 18th with Open House. The Junior class will provide a delicious meal as part of their ongoing fundraising efforts. The public is invited to attend both events. Students have also been out and about performing community service in the form of yard work and fall chores for local residents. If you are on-island and would like a hand, please call us. 

     Students from Unity College visited Islesboro Central School (ICS) Tuesday. They enjoyed a tour by the Head of School and spent some time in classes. We enjoy hosting and sharing our wonderful school with future educators. Unity students could see the growing pile of supplies we’ve been collecting to send to hurricane victims in the Bahamas. We have worked closely with our solar installers, ReVision Energy, in gathering enough food, tarps, and hygiene necessities to fill a pickup truck. Those supplies will be driven to South Portland and loaded into the solar voltaic trailer they built and are sending to the Bahamas. As part of an island community ourselves, ICS is proud to partner with ReVision in lending a hand to the victims of Hurricane Dorian. 

     ICS students enjoyed a day at the Common Ground Fair, Friday. An annual field trip, students were able to explore and meet new people during the “student day”. This particular fair fits in nicely with our sustainability theme and we are happy to see their enthusiasm when they return. 

     Head of School, Chuck Hamm, attended another conference. Hosted by Maine School Management Association (MSMA) at the Island Institute, school board members and administration from North haven, Vinalhaven, and Islesboro, spent time learning about the roles of school boards and the parameters of their authority. Meeting leadership teams from other islands is vital in keeping abreast of best practices. We share many of the same challenges and have all experienced a large turnover in staff this year. 

          Looking ahead, we’ll see a new fence going up near the playground, October 9th we’ll flip the switches to our solar panels in a school-wide, community event, and the Anne Dillon House will be breaking ground. Stay tuned and thanks for reading. 


Chuck Hamm


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