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YES January 2018 Newsletter
Ryan Gleason
Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!  

I hope that you have had a wonderful holiday break! We missed the students and look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. 

Back in December, I drove to New Hampshire on a Friday afternoon to help my daughter move out of her college dormitory. She needed to move out early this year as she will spend her second semester studying abroad in France. Wish me luck as in three weeks we will put her on a plane in to spend five months in another country!

After loading up our two vehicles we stopped to gas up and grab a coffee for the journey home. While waiting for our coffee we struck up a conversation with a woman who was also waiting for her order. We began chatting about my daughter's college and I proudly shared her plans for the next semester. We began to talk about different places in the world and how cultures and traditions vary. 

This conversation led to us reflecting on how different people and places celebrate the holidays. This woman shared with us that a few years ago, her family decided to celebrate the holiday season by not giving traditional gifts. Instead, they now give each other one "memory".

When I asked her what that looked like she excitedly shared many different examples. For her grandson, she got tickets for the two of them to attend a professional hockey game together. For her sister, she arranged for them to spend a day at a knitting workshop together. For her son, she scheduled a day in February to bring him to his favorite ice fishing spot complete with a huge cookout of his favorite food.

This struck me as such a special way to think about how we give to others. Our time is such a valuable gift. The time we invest in others through shared experiences adds value to their lives and our own. I hope that you were able to create a few special shared memories with your family and friends over this holiday break. We look forward to creating more special memories with your children in the coming months. Thank you for continuing to add value to our lives as we work together in supporting empowered, fulfilled and successful learners at YES! 
As usual, we have a very busy month ahead of us at YES and a few reminders to share.

We are well into winter weather at this time of the school year. Please make sure that your students are coming to school with the proper winter gear. At a minimum, winter jackets, hats, gloves and boots are necessary each day this time of year. Here are some reminders of our playground winter procedures:

  • We will NOT go outside if the temperature on our website is 10 degrees or below. There are any number of sites to check for temperature, for consistency we will use the one on our YES website. Wind chill plays into this, but fluctuates within seconds. The effect of a consistent wind chill combined with a temperature of 10 or below, may cause us to stay inside.
  • Students who want to play on the snowbank at the end of the playground, must wear boots and snow pants.
  • Students who want to play on the wood chip area when it is covered with snow, must wear boots. 
  • Students who want to roll, crawl around, etc. on the wood chip area, must wear boots and snow pants. Put a simpler way, if students are going to get wet in the snow, they need boots and snow pants! 
Beginning in January you will notice two orange cones that are located in the drop off/pick up circle by the handicapped ramp. We have students that need to access this ramp during these times of day and I respectfully ask that when dropping off or picking up your child that you do not park in this space. Additionally, just a reminder that there is a handicapped parking space on the far right side of the parking lot closest to the building. It can get covered with snow at times so please remember that space is for handicapped parking only no matter what time of day. Thanks for your help with this- it is greatly appreciated. 

In late January and February classroom teachers will be setting up winter parent teacher conferences. At this time, teachers will also be sharing copies of student report cards. Yarmouth Elementary School reports out on learning standards twice a year, once at mid-year and again at the end of the school year.  Report cards are an "invitation to a conversation" and this will be a nice opportunity to celebrate your child's growth while also hearing about their next steps to keep growing as a learner. You can find a list of the YES Learning Standards for each grade level under the "Curriculum" link on our website:

The week of January 14, 2019 all third and fourth grade students will be taking the winter MAP/NWEA reading and math assessments. The week of January 21, 2019 all second grade students will be completing these same assessments. Please remember that our second grade students take the K-2 NWEA assessment, which is a different instrument than the assessment our third and fourth graders take. This assessment helps to inform our instructional practices in supporting learning growth for our students. 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is an assessment that measures what U.S. students know and can do in various subjects across the nation, states, and in some urban districts. Also known as The Nation’s Report Card, NAEP has provided important information about how students are performing academically since 1969.

NAEP is a congressionally mandated project administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).
Each year NAEP is given to a representative sample of students across the country. This year all of our fourth grade students at YES have been selected to participate in NAEP testing. NAEP representatives will be administering this assessment to our students on the morning of Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

We do not receive individual student results of the assessment from NAEP. Results are reported for groups of students with similar characteristics (e.g., gender, race and ethnicity, school location), but not for individual students. National results are available for all subjects assessed by NAEP. State and selected urban district results are available for mathematics, reading, and (in some assessment years) science and writing. For more information on NAEP you can see their website:

The next monthly meeting of the PTO is January 17, 7:00 p.m in the YES library. Other upcoming important news from PTO includes:

  • Hannaford Gift Cards - Next load date is Wed, Jan 9 at noon.
  • Teacher Appreciation Luncheon - A new year and another chance to celebrate our YES staff on Jan 9 with an appreciation luncheon! Please click the link if you’d like to sign up.
  • YES Movie Matinee - All new and existing families are welcome to join us to see A Dog’s Way Home (PG) on Sunday, Jan 13, 9:30 am. We will have the entire theater to ourselves at Flagship Cinemas in Falmouth. Cost is $7.75 per person. Please arrive by 9:15 am. (Not a drop-off event.) You’re welcome to join us after the movie at Starbucks for hot cocoa and lattes. Please RSVP to Melissa at, as there is limited space.   
  • “Maine Girls” - Join us Jan 15 at 6 pm in the Yarmouth public library for a free screening of “Maine Girls.” This 30-min documentary follows a group of immigrant and US-born teenage girls as they face the unfamiliar and try to bridge divides. A Q&A session follows with leaders from related fields. This film is recommended for middle school age and up; all community members are welcome.
  • Kindness & Community - We are introducing an exciting project to promote kindness, service, and community with Raise Craze to support our schools. If you’d like to be part of this team, let us know!
  • Thank you for supporting an amazing list of events and enrichments! Please contact Heather Meier or Christy Hayashida for any reason at
On the third Monday of every January, we observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This is a day for the nation to reflect upon the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a minister, civil rights activist and nonviolent leader. Dr. King was considered the most influential leader in the Civil Rights movement, which aimed to end the systematic racial segregation and discrimination. 

Dr. King (often referred to as MLK) played a key role in creating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He received many awards and honors – most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Despite his early passing, Dr. King had enormous, lasting influence on the Civil Rights movement and continues to be remembered as one of the most influential nonviolent leaders in world history. We will have no school on Monday, January 21 to honor the work of Dr. King.  

As always, we appreciate all that you do as our partners to support the success of your children.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you or your child in any way. Have a wonderful start to 2019!

Ryan Gleason, YES Principal