Dear Baxter Families:

It is hard to believe that we have almost completed a month of school. Yeah! October brings cool weather, fall colors, and the first round of (almost) school-wide testing.

We believe in a balanced assessment system for our students and we try to ensure that students experience a wide range of assessment types, including standardized tests.  We think this approach helps us to meet the needs and interests of a broad range of students and it provides us with a set of diverse information points about student learning, which we use to personalize instruction and make improvements to our curriculum.

At the 9th grade level, we ask students to take the PSAT 8/9.  This is new this year and the test is a different PSAT than the one students take at the 10th and 11th grade levels.  The PSAT 8/9 is designed specifically for students in grades 8 or 9. The content and question types are aligned to the material on the SAT, which students take in their junior year - either because it is used for college applications or because it happens to be the Maine High School MEA.

At the 10th and 11th grade levels, as has been done in the past, we ask students to take their grade-level versions of the PSAT.  At the 11th grade, this test also serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

We understand that some families have questions about the value of standardized assessments.  We know that standardized test scores are just one way to measure student learning and we do not over-emphasize those results.  Still, the PSAT/SAT suite of assessments does allow us to see student growth over time and helps us to see how our students are doing.

When we administer the PSAT (October 10), 12th graders do not report to school on that day - though we do hope they do some self-directed learning.


Angie Taylor and Angela Atkinson Duina, Co-Principals

For Reference:  The annual collection of these Notes for the Week is available at this link.


  • October 10 - PSAT Testing:  9th, 10th, and 11th grade students will take the PSAT. 12th grade students do not report to school that day.

  • NWEA Testing:  Note that the Maine Charter Commission requires us to administer the NWEA in the fall and spring.  We will let you know when this will be administered as soon as we set those dates.

  • Flex Friday Proposals:  Due on September 28

  • Lost and Found:  Lost and found is filling fast, especially with water bottles, please have your child claim their items. We will be sending ALL items to charity on Friday, September 28.

  • JOIN THE MATH TEAM WITH PETER MOXHAY:  If your student is interested in participating on the math team, please reach out to Peter Moxhay. The team meets during lunch and from 10:00-11:20 on Fridays.  This is a great way to work on math, prepare for college entrance exams like the PSAT and SAT, and just have fun solving problems!

  • 9th Grade Neighborhood Talk:  Officer Coreena Benhke and Community Policing Coordinator Kelly Crotty will be meeting with 9th grade students on October 3 or October 9th during advisory. The focus will on staying safe when outside the building and information about out community.

  • BAXTER BOOK CLUB:  Humanities Teacher Katelyn Virmalo has launched a book club at Baxter.  Join us in reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  The movie based on this book will be released in theatres on October 5.


October 5 - Half day for student. Faculty Professional Development

October 10 -  PSATs - 9th, 10th, 11th graders

October 11 - All Grades Parent open house, 5:30-7pm

October 22 -  Anytime/Anywhere Learning


  • Each fall, many college admissions representatives come to Baxter to talk about their schools and program.  These visits are great for 11th and 12th graders, but are open to all interested students. Encourage your student to look at our college visits list for more information!

  • Another great way for students - especially 11th and 12th graders - to find out more about colleges and universities is to visit the NECACAC College Fair.  The University of Southern Maine is hosting the fair on the  Portland Campus in the Sullivan Gym on Tuesday, September 25th from 6:30-8:00 PM.   More information and a full list of colleges that will be in attendance can be found on the NEACAC website.  Parking can be found in the USM free parking garage. The GPS address for the parking garage is 88 Bedford St. Portland ME 04101.

  • 12th grade parents can continue to read about postsecondary planning in our regularly updated Senior Notes.  This week’s topics are essays and testing.

  • If students in any grade are finding courses difficult or getting behind, please encourage them to reach out to their teachers directly and to schedule an appointment in the BLC for faculty or peer support.

Casco Bay CAN

Casco Bay CAN is a non-profit organization focused on teen health serving Cumberland, Falmouth, Freeport, Gray, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and Yarmouth.  On occasion, we’ll use some of their resources and tips to help us all remember ways that we can keep teens safe.

September’s Tip of the Month:  Ease Back-to-School Stress

  • Encourage Healthy Habits

    • Create routines

    • Support new experiences to build positive coping skills

    • Promote technology-free time prior to sleep

  • Stay Connected

    • Get to know the parents of your teen’s friends

  • Keep Talking. Keep Listening.

    • Data shows ongoing conversations with youth reduces the risks of drug and alcohol use at every age.


Monday, September, September 24

Tuesday, September 25

Wednesday, September 26

Thursday, Date, September 27

Friday, Date, September 28

  • Flex Friday Proposals are due

Author Greg Katsoulis will be giving a book talk in the Great Room at 12:30pm about his new book, Access Restricted. Students can purchase a copy (to be signed by the author!) at a discount by filling out this form and submitting it with payment to Heather D’Ippolito or Katelyn Virmalo.