The Grange Readers

written by a second-grader in Miss Stephen’s class

The Grange Readers like to read books. Also they love to spend time with students and with other Grange Readers. They support students. All the Grange Readers live in different towns. The Grange Readers are nice people. There are only six of them. They only come on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Grange Readers are important to the school because they help children read. The Grange Readers are important to me because they encourage me to read words that I think are silly. The Grange Readers help children by telling the student the real word. Every year the second and third graders participate in this contest on drawing for the Valley Grange Book Worms. The people who participate in this program are Mrs. Annis, Mr. Boomsma, Mrs. Burleigh, Mrs. Marsh, Mr. Downing, and also Mrs. Goodman. Every Tuesday and Thursday the Grange Readers are in different classrooms. The Grange Readers are special to everyone.

Guilford Primary Makes Arts Alive!

"The Wiz"

On Friday June 4th nearly 100 second and third graders filed into the S.A.D. 4 Guilford Primary School Multipurpose Room to receive their instructions for what many call “the best day of the best day of the year.” As they filed in to take their seats, the room brightened both with anticipation and the bright red and blue t-shirts each wore.

Students and visitors were reminded that the Arts Alive Program is truly a community effort thanks to numerous volunteers from Hardwood Products, the “HUGS” parent group, teachers, parents and other individuals from around the area including some high school students from  Piscataquis Community High  and Middle School.

Workshop selections included Building Bat Houses, Dance Revolution, Painted Pots, Still Life Drawing, Sculpture/Beads, Tie Dye, Dizzy Dancing Discs, Charcoal Drawing, Dynamite Drumming, Slate Etching, “Movement,” and making Felt Balls. Additional treats included an extra long morning recess complete with popcorn and juice drinks and a cookout lunch served by volunteers from Hardwood Products in Guilford.

The day also included lots of laughter and creativity. Students didn’t need much reminding of the “Smile!” part of the slogan for the day. There were plenty of smiles, giggles and laughter on everyone’s part. Even the crows were happy as they cleaned up the spilled popcorn on the playground.

The day was capped off by a special presentation by Dan Grady’s Marvelous Marionette Medley.  In his lively interactive presentation Grady explained to the children how the marionettes “work” and encouraged them to have confidence in their artistic abilities.

As the students headed for home teachers and staff remained to bake the sculptures – wizards were especially popular this year – and to organize the students’ projects for them to take home on Monday.  The sculptures, bat houses, etched slates and dizzy dancing disks sat quietly waiting to become reminders of what many students consider the “best day” of the school year and that those arts are alive.

On site volunteers from Valley Grange were Nat Marsh, Jim and Mary Annis, Kevin Annis, Lois Prescott and Walter Boomsma. Thanks also go to Betty VanDyke, Janice Boomsma, Susan Burleigh, Nat, Mary and Lois for baking desserts!

June Bookworm Schedule

Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.Reading is fun!

~ James Russell Lowell  ~

Due to the many activities taking place as we approach the end of the school year, we do not create a formal Bookworm Schedule for June. Mr. Boomsma will visit the school on Tuesdays and Thursdays for “Bookworming by Demand” and maybe a recess or two!

 Friday, June 4th is Arts Alive and Valley Grange Volunteers  will be present to help out!

Students, it’s not too early to plan your summer reading program… and don’t forget to visit the library! As of this writing:

  • The Guilford Memorial Library as of this writing is open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • The Sangerville Public Library is opened Monday through Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • The Thompson Free Library in Dover Foxcroft has summer hours that include Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

And don’t forget the Smart Starts for Students Program!

Who’s Got An Eraser?

A few weeks ago I spent several hours over the course of a week or so helping with one of the Guilford Primary School second grade classes on their “inquiry projects.” It was a pretty awesome experience! Imagine second graders doing the equivalent of term papers! When we started writing the drafts I bounced from desk to desk to share ideas, do a little editing and correct spelling. “Mr. Boomsma, will you help me?” (Bookworms don’t just read, we write too!)

                I confess it took a while to stop reaching for my pen as I worked. Second Graders work in pencil for a reason. While finding a pencil wasn’t too difficult, finding one with some eraser left was! (I suspect if I’d been a little less in demand I’d have had some time to consider a story or poem about a tired pencil whose eraser was worn down from a school year of writing.) I asked no one in particular “Where do we find a pencil with an eraser?” The kids are usually great at helping a guest find his way around the room, but there was a notable lack of response to my question. Eventually one little guy dug into the back of his desk and with a secretive smile presented me with his cherished possession—a pencil with a few millimeters of eraser left on top. Of course the kids have somewhat adapted to the problem by doing “cross out” and making smudges. I suspect they’ve also figured out “he who has the eraser has the power.”

                Since a lot of my volunteer work with the school is about “empowering” kids, I found myself considering the idea that a simple pencil with some eraser left could mean a lot in a classroom where a lot of mistakes have been made in the course of learning. Kids’ needs are often simple but simple doesn’t mean unimportant. So it seemed somewhat fateful that shortly after the experience Sheree Brown from Penquis contacted me regarding their Smart Starts for Students Campaign.

                The campaign represents a school supply assistance program for the greater Piscataquis area by providing starter packs of new school supplies for families in need throughout MSAD #4, #41, #46, #68 and Union #60. (The starter packs include erasers!) Last year nearly 250 kids benefitted from the program and there’s every reason to believe the need will be even bigger this coming school year. Penquis is looking for donors to help empower our kids.

                Donations can be money or specific items. There are lots of options! You can “back to school” shop for a specific starter kit or just some items… you can pick which district your donation will go to and even decide whether you want to help at the elementary, middle or high school level. Penquis is working really hard to make it easy for us to help. Look for drop boxes around the area where you can leave items. You can find details regarding the program at the Penquis web site or call the office at 564-8196 564-7116 (see comments).  Parents may use the same resources to register their children for the program.

(Valley Grange is collecting school supplies… if you’d like to help you can contact any Granger or bring items to the Grange Hall when you come to the Wicked Huge Yard Sale on June 19th!)

Students Exceed Goal and Jump!

From a recently issued press release…

Caleb Rolfe goes airborne during Jump activities

Guilford– McKusick Elementary School and Guilford Primary School students exceeded the goal they’d set by raising nearly $2600 in their recent  “Jump Rope for Heart” Program. The program was coordinated by School Nurse Sharon Foster and Paula Bailey an Ed Tech at McKusick. The program is an outreach program developed by the American Heart Association. By participating in Jump Rope for Heart students learn how their hearts work and how to take care of them through physical activity and nutrition. They also learn about children who have been affected by cardiovascular disease and how they can help them. In short, children have fun and feel good by helping others.

Foster explained she was very pleased how the program reached into each classroom with cardiac education. “The students understand more about why we jump and it was also pretty great that the students got a little over an hour of exercise while having fun and earning money for a great cause

May Bookworm Schedule

Reading is fun!Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky.
My pile of books
Are a mile high.
How I love them!
How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard
By the time I read them.
~ Arnold Lobel ~

May 4 — Mr.  Boomsma

Don’t forget! May 4th is Teacher Appreciation Day!
“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody (a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns) bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”
Thurgood Marshall

May 6 — Mrs.  Marsh

May 11 — Mrs. Goodman

May 13  —  Mr. Boomsma

May 18  — Mr. Boomsma

May 20 — Mrs. Marsh

May 25 — Mr. Boomsma

May 27 — Mrs. Marsh

Guilford Primary School Citizens Receive Award

Guilford— Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that while usually given to an individual, it seemed especially fitting this year to make Guilford Primary School the Grange’s Community Citizen of the year. Annis read from the certificate, “…in recognition of outstanding service to this community and mankind. Your dedication and personal involvement are gratefully and sincerely acknowledged…” and placed emphasis on personal involvement and dedication on the part of students, teachers, and parents. “Our work with the school gives us many opportunities to see the good work being done.”

Teachers, staff, and "alumni" respresenting the school at Valley Grange.

The Grange’s involvement with Guilford Primary School started with the familiar “Words for Thirds Program’ which provides every third grader with their own personal dictionary. Over the years the program has expanded to include “Bookworming” with Grangers visiting the school to listen to children read and the Newspapers in Education program which involves second and third graders using their creative and artistic skills to develop advertisements for the Grange. Several ads are selected and used by the Grange throughout the year.

This year the Grange voted to present their annual Community Citizen Award to the school to recognize their contributions to the community. Festivities at the April Meeting included a potluck supper and slide presentation featuring some of the school’s activities throughout the year.

Program Director Walter Boomsma noted that he was “self-appointed liaison between the school and the Grange” and thought that gave him the right to “break the rules” and make a special presentation. “We agreed tonight was not about any one person,” he said. “But in all my years of working with various organizations, I’ve never met an administrator more dedicated, more focused, more efficient, and just plain easy to work with than Principal Julie Orton.” Boomsma presented Orton with a Grange tote bag in appreciation for her help and indicated they would “try to fill it up with awards before the evening ends.”

Nearly everyone at the meeting jumped at the opportunity to honor the school in some way with formal and informal testimonials to the school and its teachers, staff, students and parents. Abbot Selectmen Jan Ronco and Corey Hill were present to proclaim a day in the school’s honor. Nodding to his family Hill noted that he had “one child who has attended the school, another currently attending and one who will and we consider ourselves very fortunate to live here and be part of Guilford Primary School. We picked the right place.”

Guilford Selectmen had earlier proclaimed the day “Celebrate Guilford Primary School Day.” Additional congratulations were received from Governor Baldacci and Congressman Mike Michaud. State Representative Pete Johnson from Greenville was on hand to present a legislative sentiment, noting the “important role local schools play in our communities and our future.”

Teachers in attendance expressed their appreciation not only for the recognition but also for the volunteer role Valley Grange plays at the school with programs like Words for Thirds and “bookworming,” noting that the kids get excited when they see a Granger and jockey for their turn to read.

S.A.D. 4 Superintendent Paul Stearns pointed out that while the building that currently houses the school will close at the end of this school year, “schools are a lot like churches… if a church building gets destroyed the church community doesn’t miss a meeting and we can expect the same to be true of Guilford Primary School.” Principal Orton reflected those sentiments noting that while there is some natural apprehension over the move, “most things will not change, including the programs we do in general and the ones associated with the Grange.”

Boomsma quickly responded, “Well I can promise you we’ll be there.”

Celebrate Guilford Primary School!

If you hear a school bell ringing today it won’t be because recess is over… it’s ringing to remind you to Celebrate Guilford Primary School! As you know Valley Grange will be presenting GPS with our Community Citizen Award tonight. We’ve got a great meal and program planned! We’ll kick things off with a huge community potluck supper starting at 6 PM… bring a dish to share and your appetite because there will be plenty to choose from… after you’ve finished make room for others by heading upstairs to the hall and enjoy a slide presentation highlighting just some of the school’s activities.

Our short formal program will start at 7:30 PM… and includes presentation of the Valley Grange Community Citizen Award along with a number of accolades and testimonials to the excellent work being done by and at the school… all in all it should be a “Norman Rockwell Evening” with something for everyone. We guarantee you’ll leave smiling and we promise it won’t be a real late night—even though there’s no school on Saturday!

Valley Grange is located at 172 Guilford Center Road (for your GPS) or more commonly described as being “at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road… parking will probably be a challenge, so please park carefully along the road and across the street.

And don’t forget that Guilford Selectmen have officially proclaimed today “Celebrate Guilford Primary Day.” When I was at the school yesterday I spotted two teachers dancing a little jig in the hall… a day early. (I’m sure it wasn’t because vacation also starts today.) So find a way today to be happy we have this great school in our community!

Guilford Selectman Proclaim Celebrate G.P.S Day!

(From a recent press release)

Guilford—Guilford Selectmen recently issued a proclamation declaring April 16, 2010 as Celebrate Guilford Primary School Day, urging that “this day be observed by taking time to recognize and acknowledge the important role Guilford Primary School, and all our schools play in making our communities great.” Noting that “our schools contribute not only to the growth of students but also to the growth and health of our communities” selectmen also acknowledged that “our schools are the backbone of our democracy, providing young people with the tools they need to maintain our nation’s precious values of freedom, civility, and equality.”

Community leaders, teachers, students and parents will gather at the Valley Grange Hall and culminate Guilford Primary School Day with a community potluck supper at 6:00 PM. At 7:30 PM Valley Grange Leaders will present the school with their annual Community Citizen of the Year Award. The public is invited and will be given an opportunity to provide testimonials to the accomplishments and community services the school’s teachers, staff, and kids make.

Valley Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma notes that there is a special irony in that the day is also the day the school’s Jump Rope for Heart culminates. Jump Rope for Heart provides students with an opportunity to learn how their hearts work and how to take care of them through physical activity and nutrition. And they will learn about children who have been affected by cardiovascular disease and how they can help them. In short, children have fun and feel good by helping others.

“The kids have been busy collecting pledges and practicing their jump roping skills,” Boomsma noted. “But this is just one example. It seems like there is always something going on at the school that not only benefits the community but also provides real life learning opportunities for the students. That’s why we chose them to receive this award.”


Readers of the Piscataquis Observer might think we started our celebration of Guilford Primary School a little early. The “Newspapers in Education” section featured several articles and stories about some of the school’s recent activities and accomplishments. It’s probably not too late to pick up a copy! Thanks to the folks at the Observer for their community spirit and coverage of Grange and School News! If you saw the paper, you will probably begin to understand why Guilford Primary School will soon by declared Valley Grange’s Community Citizen of the year.

I was at the school today and I’m pleased (and maybe a little proud) to report that I was not the victim of any April Fool’s Day Pranks! I did end up swinging a jump rope for a few turns during recess but was able to forgo my turn to actually jump. The kids are certainly coming up with some great moves… jumping on one foot–two in a rope, doing some “criss cross” thing that they make look easy… and, I’m sure, collecting their Jump Rope for Heart donations! If you haven’t made yours, find a kid and get it taken care of soon!

We’re still looking forward to our official Celebrate Guilford Primary School event on Friday, April 16–just two weeks away! We’re looking forward to seeing lots of folks at the Grange Hall for our Community Potluck Supper at 6 PM and the meeting itself at 7:3o PM. Get this on your calendar and plan to come out to show your support and appreciation of our kids, teachers, staff, parents… There are plenty of people and things to be proud of!

This is Grange Month and it’s a busy time for us. Members will have a business meeting at the Hall Friday, April 2 at 7 PM… We’re also hoping to show our support of the Parkman Grange’s Open House on Tuesday April 13th at 7 PM. Later in the month we’ll be doing our annual Community Service Project at the Boss Cemetery in Dover Foxcroft. We can always use some extra help and support at any of these meetings and activities. We are YOUR Grange!