TFHS/GFMS Community Newsletter

September 25, 2019 Created by Principal Joanne Menard

Open House - High School

Hope to see you tonight!
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Open House - Middle School

Hope to see you tonight!
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Welcome to our First Community Newsletter

I am thrilled to join this wonderful community and be the principal of TFHS/GFMS! I thank for welcoming me at the many events that I have had the pleasure of seeing you at. I so look forward to partnering together to make your child(ren)'s experience be a positive one for years to come. Our administrative team and staff's focus for the year is building relationships, respect, and a positive and welcoming school climate for all.


We now have received the student picture permission forms from families, so I am able to begin my bi-monthy Community Newsletters. As you are aware, communication is vital between the school, parents, students, and the community. From this point forward, I will be creating and sharing out TFHS/GFMS Community Newsletters twice a month

Principal Chats

As Principal, I will be holding two Principal Chats a month to communicate with the community at large. When I was interviewing, it was expressed to me by multiple community members the need to have one off-site as well as having one at school each month. These Chats are to share what positive changes we are making, what events have been happening, and to share examples of student learning opportunities.


For September's off-site Principal's Chat, I have partnered with the Brick House to host us. September's Principal's Chat will be held on Friday, September 27th there from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. I thank them for their willingness to welcome us. In addition on Monday, September 30th, I will hold a Principal's Chat in the Auditorium from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. I hope to see many of you there!

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Opening Day at Turners Falls High School/Great Falls Middle School 2019

The new administration team is beginning the formation of new community traditions at TFHS/GFMS, which will be centered around students and building relationships. These traditions will enable us to enjoy many positive years together as a school family!


On the first day, students received the "Red Carpet" welcome as they are our Very Important People (TFHS/GFMS VIPs). Students, staff and administration were THRILLED to greet everyone in style! Many of our staff wore the same Thunder "Respect" (R-responsibility, E-effort, S-succeed, P-pride, E-empathy, C-courage, T-teamwork) shirts to show a unified team. Tons of laughter, music, and smiles - fantastic way to start the year!

Senior Sunrise

Over the summer, Mr. Gaffigan and myself were able to meet with various groups of students to hear their ideas regarding building our school community and culture. In the course of these conversations, the Senior Class express an interest of beginning the first day of their last year together by watching the sun rise. We thought it was a wonderful idea and joined them, as well as other staff, in the celebration! Another tradition was born.

Deans' Grade Assignments

With the new administrative team, we have redefined roles for this year.

Dean Rebel McKinley (rebel.mckinley@gmrsd.org) is working with all grade 7, 9, and 11 students and families.


Dean Mike Duprey (mike.duprey@gmrsd.org) is working with all grade 6, 8, 10, and 12 students and families.


Please reach out to them with any attendance or disciplinary concerns.

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First Day Meetings

On our first day together, the administrative team and staff held whole school meetings for the middle school and the high school. In the high school meeting, our Student Council Board members also introduced themselves and gave a presentation.


All of us welcomed students and set the positive, welcoming tone for the year.

Middle School Dinosaur Raffle

To get a raffle ticket, students need to show Ms. Martinelli their public library card. She will draw the winner October 25th during Middle School Morning Meeting.


As you can see from the pics, this is one helpful dinosaur.

High School Schedules

Our high school students received their class schedule on the first day. After they received their schedules, they were excited to discover which of their friends would be in their classes.

Summer Work

Many of our staff members were very hard at work this summer getting the school ready and the beginning of the year planned for our community. Our team is amazing!

TFHS/GFMS Sports

Please download the MIAA app to receive the most up-to-date changes in all sports schedules. Note that in the next Community Newsletter there will be pictures from some of our various fall sports.
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Landscaping Project

Here is one of the many projects that Heath Cummings had his staff complete over the summer. Thanks for making our grounds and school look fabulous!
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TFHS Advisory Student Leader Summer Meetings

In July and August, Jessica Vachula-Curtis hosted meetings/ice cream parties with our Advisory Student Leaders. At the August meeting, the new 9th grade leaders also attended. It was a really fun time for all of these leaders to get to know each other and for the older ones to share with the younger leaders about their experiences leading advisories. They ate ice cream sundaes, played games, and modeled "circle conversations" with silly and interesting questions.

TFHS Advisory Student Leaders Training

On August 20th, TFHS Advisory Student Leader Training took place in the Library Projects room. Nine new 9th grade leaders and two new 10th grade leaders were trained. Three veteran leaders in 10th and 11th grade came back to help out. All of the new 9th grade staff advisors were also trained. What a fun and inspirational day!

District Professional Development over the summer

On Thursday, July 11th, many district staff attended professional development that was held at GCC. This whole day training was provided by an organization entitled "Teaching Tolerance". This important work will continue throughout the school year at TFHS/GFMS.

Secondary School Improvement Plan (SIP)

We have been hard at work on our Secondary School Improvement Plan (SIP) at the administrative level. After it was presented, feedback was given by our Curriculum Coordinators and staff and then appropriate adjustments were made to the plan. I then presented it to the School Committee.


Here is the link to the PowerPoint presentation I made to the School Committee.

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8th grade Team Building Activity

The 8th grade team all went outside together for CPR and part of study skills to do a team building/relationship building activity called Human Bingo. The students had to find a student or teacher who fit into 30 different categories and have their paper signed. Some of the questions included things like: someone who has a sibling in college; someone who has a sibling less than a year old; someone with blue eyes; someone who can NOT roll their tongue; act out your favorite animal to Ms. Renehan; sing a song with a buddy to Mr. Tully; someone who likes anchovies on their pizza.

TFHS Bell Schedule

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TFHS Volunteers

These TFHS students volunteered at the Mobile Food Bank!
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Community Events

As the Principal of TFHS/GFMS, I have the pleasure of attending a wide variety of community events in the area.


Please stop and say "hi" if you see me at the next event!

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New Student Orientation

On Thursday, August 22nd, we held our New Student Orientation. We were pleased to welcome many new students with their families. We look forward to working together to have a successful school year!

HS Student Council Welcomes Staff Back

Our High School Student Council surprised the staff with a warm welcome back. On Monday, August 26th they came in and decorated and left incredible goodies for the staff to enjoy!! Much appreciated!!! What a wonderful way to start the year!!!

August 26th District Professional Development

On Monday, August 26th, district employees attended professional development that was provided by Social Justice and Equity Specialists from the Collaborative for Educational Services. TFHS and GFMS staff will continue working with them throughout the year on additional equity training.

Convocation 2019

On Tuesday, August 27th, Superintendent Sullivan and School Committee Chair Jane Oakes welcomed all staff back for the school year. Administrators provided mandated training to staff.

Outdoor Classroom

During the summer, our TFHS/GFMS Resilience Schools Team devised the idea to create an outdoor classroom on our campus. Thanks to Officer Dan Miner, Adam Graves, the Montague DPW, and the two students that are in the bottom two pictures this classroom was set up and available for teachers and students to use! Classroom utilize this space in creative ways.

Lunch Menu

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New Historical Fiction

There are many new books in the library. Here are two outstanding choices from our historical fiction section. The Girl in the Blue Coat is an intriguing mystery set in Amsterdam in 1943 where Hanneke begins working with the Resistance helping to smuggle people out of the country.

The Red Ribbon is also set during WWII and tells the story of seamstresses forced to create beautiful couture clothing for the wives of high-ranking Nazi officers. It's a story about how hope and beauty can bloom in the most unlikely places.

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Math Lesson - 8th grade

In 8th grade math classes, we were examining the ratio of the rise to the run and the sum of the rise and run of the stairs in one of our staircases to see if they meet the standard carpenter's specification. We were answering the question, "Is there a mathematical reason why so many people trip on our stairs?" We are then connecting this to the slope of a line our studies of linear relationships.

Student/Family Drop In

On Wednesday, August 28th, high school Student Council members greeted students and families to our school. Students received their schedules and everyone was able to tour the school.

Great Falls Challenge

The tradition continues . . .on Friday, August 30th our middle school students participated in the Great Falls Challenge. Teams of students from grades 6-8 worked collaboratively to discover various facts regarding their school. This event was held on the football field.

Team Building Activities-grades 10, 11, & 12

On Tuesday, September 10th, our 10th, 11th, and 12th graders worked collaboratively to complete challenges. These events were facilitated by student, staff, and community leaders.

Morse Hill Field Trip

Our 9th grade class took a field trip on September 10th to Morse Hill Ropes Course for their team building day.

Eagle Scout Project

One of our high school students completed his Eagle Scout leadership service project by organizing, designing, and managing the construction of a Gaga Ball Pit at Sheffield. He raised the funds, acquired the rough-cut lumber, and was using the TFHS shop and a few volunteers to surface the lumber. He oversaw the installation this summer.

We were thrilled that GMRSD had a variety of perspectives at the table at the August 22nd meeting at the Community Action Family Resource Center [FRC] (90 Federal St in Greenfield). We thank Eric Cora, the FRC manager, for hosting the meeting.

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GFMS PTO Meeting

All interested middle school parents/family members are invited to the first PTO meeting which will be held on Monday, September 30th. The meeting will be immediately after the Principal's Chat in the Auditorium beginning at 6:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

September 11th Professional Development

On September 11th, our TFHS/GFMS staff continued professional development on equity work. This will be a theme throughout this school year.

GFMS Blue & White Day

On Friday, September 27th, it will be a Great Falls Middle School Blue & White Day. We are inviting all students and staff to show their school spirit by wearing our school colors for the day!

Franklin County Fair Parade

We are excited to announce that the Skeleton Crew Theater took 2nd place for performing arts float. They had 6 TF students, 2 recent alumni, 2 teachers (Jonathan Chappell and Brian Lamore), and one parent rock the Franklin County Fair parade. The group thinks that they threw about 15 pounds of candy during the parade. Our students were dressed as pumpkin people and trolls.
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High School Booster Week 2019

Here are this year's daily themes:


Monday, September 30th: Soccer Mom & BBQ Dad Day


Tuesday, October 1st: Decades Day

-9th grade: 2000's

-10th grade: 1980's

-11th grade: 1990's

-12th grade: 1950's

-Staff: 1960's and 1970's


Wednesday, October 2nd: Crazy Hair Day


Thursday, October 3rd: Vsco girl & Eboy Day


Friday, October 4th: Class Color Day


Homecoming: October 5th, 7-10 p.m.

Upcoming Dates at TFHS/GFMS (9/25-9/30)

-Wednesday, September 25th:

5:00-6:30 p.m. - GFMS Open House

6:30-8:00 p.m. - TFHS Open House


-Thursday, September 26th:

Cultural Appreciation Field Trip


-Friday, September 27th:

GFMS Blue & White Day

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. - Principal's Chat - Brick House


-Monday, September 30th:

TFHS/GFMS Community Newsletter published

TFHS Booster Week - Soccer Mom & BBQ Dad Day

5:00 p.m. - Principal's Chat - TFHS/GFMS Auditorium

6:00 p.m. - GFMS PTO meeting - TFHS/GFMS Auditorium

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Turners Falls High School

Great Falls Middle School

222 Turnpike Road

Montague, Massachusetts 01351


413-863-7200