What's Old?

This is officially an archived page! We don't want to get rid of it because there are so many great memories here, but we also want to make room for new and exciting happenings!


Here's what you missed!

Awesome Guest Speakers:

    • Visit from the 3rd Maine Civil War Outreach in Mrs. Saunders’ room
    • Scott Hilton from Hilton HVAC will talk job opportunities with our Careers class
    • Guest speaker, Michelle Eusebio, from SpaTech for anyone interested in exploring careers in hair, makeup, skincare, and massage therapy.
    • Hiring Manager from Home Depot to talk about current job openings and training
    • Brittany, a job coach, is stopping by to talk about important steps to get a job
    • Guest speaker who is a House Inspector will do a presentation in Careers Class

Spirit Week!

    • MONDAY - Beach Day ---->Smoothie Bar
    • TUESDAY - Rainbow/Hippie Day ----> Rainbow Cake/cupcakes
    • WEDNESDAY - PJ Day ---->Movie
    • THURSDAY - Twin/triplet Day ---->Packs of Double Mint Gum
    • FRIDAY - Neon/Blackout Day ---->Glowsticks

Upcoming Events:

    • SAT Testing, all Juniors 04/10/18
    • SAT Science augmentation 04/11/18
    • April Vacation – 04/16 – 04/20
    • Senior Banquet – Thursday, May 17th

February (AND!) March:

Double trouble!

We have been able to put together some good, solid weeks. Now that we've got some momentum, February break is right around the corner. Hahaha. Here is a link the 2017-2018 School Calendar if you are wondering how many weeks until summer vacay.

So, hello, welcome back. We are cruisin' through February and it feels great.


Dear January,

I know you really like to dump the snow on us this month, but we are trying to teach learning targets to 80 students and every time we have a short week because of you, all they want to do is play Monopoly.

Please stop.

-Every teacher at Franklin/Merrill Hill (and probably in Maine)

Hey All,

Sorry for the late update; it has been a bit chaotic around here with the combination of weather, snow days, short weeks, finals and conferences. The end of this semester marks the official switch from our traditional grading system for 7, 8 and 9th graders to the new proficiency system. If you have questions about it, please ask! We are all going to have to make adjustments in our thinking, it’s kind of exciting! No? Okay, well, we are pretty excited. Haha.

DECEMBER. The Coolest Month.

I told you that time was flying! Hello, December!

eCASAS Update

We did it, and it wasn’t too bad, although we are glad that it’s over. Hahaha. As new students come into the building, usually one or two every couple weeks, we’ll continue to test them and use those scores as a baseline for future testing. Every student has tried their hardest on these tests and Mr. Barlow is so pleased! Plus, it’s good for students to have practice using ancient technology...like the Thinkpads that they’re testing on (just a little technology joke for you).


You all missed an awesome Thanksgiving dinner put on by our own Science of Cooking class. It was delicious and there were cupcakes as far as the eye could see! Yum Yum Yum. Not sure what we have planned for the month of December but stay tuned.

Guest Speakers

JP has invited Jessica Whittier to come here and talk to the students about everything FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is a great opportunity for our kids to ask questions about how to pay for college. Every student can afford college with some planning! Here is a chart showing the percent of students from Edward Little that enroll in college following graduation. That black horizontal line represents the state average, at 59% of high school student enrolled directly after graduation. It’s not hard to guess that one large obstacle for students who want to go to college is $$$$$. You can find these statistics and more from The Maine Department of Education website. Our guest speaker also offered to come back for an additional day to help student start/work on/complete their FAFSA applications. Thanks Jessica and thanks JP!

I know this is apples to oranges, but I’ll take any chance to brag about our school! Here is a snapshot of our graduating senior’s statistics for once then leave our school. While we might not have as many college-bound kids right out of the gate, we’re VERY proud of the percent of students who have held down jobs (and sometimes also gone to college while working!!) after leaving our program. *big grin* Also, we’re rated 5 stars on Yelp, so it’s hard to argue with those facts.


We are still chugging along with proficiency-based grading. Here is a sneak peek at what my 8th graders are doing in class and gosh are they unimpressed! Speaking & Listening Checklist #4 are three words, two symbols and one number that they never want to hear again. Probably because most students (and adults) get nervous when they have to speak to an audience or present information to others. We’re talking a lot about different professions, like being a newscaster or politician, where being able to speak well REALLY matters. We’ve tried out some silly tongue twisters. Maybe you want to give it a go? Try this guy: You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York.

Just a friendly reminder to parents/guardians/students, in January, all 7th, 8th and 9th graders will be graded daily on their Habits of Work. Instead of the usually ¼ or t/4 or ½ or a/0, students will earn a 0-4 grade. You can scroll down to our November update to see just what the students will be graded on and what behaviors we’ll be looking for. We’re hoping this will be a smooth transition but whoooooooo knows? Thanks for your understanding.

Boston Field Trip!

Hey! Thanks for buying our mittens! The money from those sales is going to help fund our Franklin trip to Boston and it looks like we’ve raised an awesome amount of money.

November, snoooooowvember?

(did you enjoy your (no power) day off?)

Holy Moly! Time seems to be flying here at Franklin and Merrill Hill and there's only 18 school days in November. I can't wait for snow!

We spent most of October settling in to new classes, new schedules and new students. So far, so good. We continue to add new students to both our Franklin and Merrill Hill programs.


Starting this year, we will administer the eCASAS test to all new students. This is a standardized test that we use here at Franklin in place of other standardized tests (such as the STAR test). We’ve had a lot of success with this test in the past and we’ve made it our goal this year to create common sense, transparent, (mostly) pain-free testing protocols for students. The teachers here at Franklin are all too aware of how test anxiety can affect student motivation, attitude and attendance! We don’t want testing to suck!


We had a little bit of fun on Halloween...maybe a little more than a little! At Merrill Hill, we had an epic Halloween Pictionary BATTLE. It was a good time. At Franklin, they did Advocacy Door Decorating! From what I hear, Mr. Wise Morris’ class was the winner. Noice! Next up is Franksgiving...I’m hoping the cooking class will be planning our meal again this year. Nom nom nom.

Guest Speakers invited by JP!

Lisa Hartnett from the Career Center was here to discuss how to set up a Job Link account.

Jessica Whittier was here to talk about FAFSA / Financial aid for college.

A sales person from Lee GMC came by to to discuss purchasing a vehicle.

Also, some students headed over to the Maine Career Center.


Our 8th and 9th grade classes continue with proficiency grading and are starting to get the hang of it. Keep an eye out for your student progress report–it should be in the mail within a couple weeks. The format of these reports will change only for 8th and 9th grade. Instead of As, Bs, Cs, Ds and Fs, you should expect to see a list of ‘targets’ (skills) that your student is proficient in. It’s probably gonna look a little weird the first time you see it. If you have any questions, definitely shoot us an email (click the Contact Franklin/Merrill Hill tab above) or give us a call at 207-782-3242.

In a nutshell, your student (only 8th and 9th grade) will now be graded in 2 ways:

  • The first way is a list of targets that they need to become proficient in in order to graduate. There are about 30-35 targets in each class that need to be checked off before graduation, or about 8 targets per school year. The teacher will teach the target, the student will have a chance to prove that they learned the target. They will receive a grade, a 1 or 2 or 3 or 4. They need to achieve a 3 to ‘pass.’ If they get less than a 3, they will need to come back to that target at another time. Students need to achieve at least a 3 in EVERY target to graduate. It sounds scary, but it’s not so bad.
  • Also, starting next semester (January-ish), the second way your student will be graded is their daily Habits of Work (HOW) grade. This grade represents how well you student behaves in class, how motivated they are to do work, how positive their attitude is and how good their attendance is. I’m attaching the Habits of Work grading chart below. This is the new grade that teachers will consider when checking to see if a student is ‘failing.’ If your student’s Habits of Work average falls below 2.0, we will consider them failing that class. While we switch over to this new daily grade, your student will still be graded daily on our traditional points system.

All other students (10th, 11th, 12th) will continue to be graded with our traditional system and will still receive letter grades for classes and on their progress/report cards.


November 19th, we will be selling mittens from 12-4pm at the November Indie Market. Come check us out!

October 2017 - Welcome Back!


Open House

Our Open House has been scheduled for October 19th from 5:30-7:30pm. This is a great time to come in and meet your student’s teacher or just to check out the school. Open House is for both Franklin and Merrill programs. Feel free to bring the whole family!


Lewiston Regional Technical Center continues to be a huge opportunity and motivation for many of our students. We had kids in the electric program, welding, cooking, childcare, IT and multimedia! We are very proud and know that these students are learning important skills that could prove useful when it comes time to start a career. Please help us by checking in with your student about class and encouraging them to maintain their perfect attendance. Since LRTC meets every other day, each class is twice as important. Haha.

Field Trips!!

Merrill Hill recently took a walk across the bridge to do some team building! We grabbed our bag lunches and hoofed it to Railroad Park to play some wiffle ball and go geocaching. (HM.01.HWTG.01.01 ”‘Together is Better!”) Although we didn’t find any buried treasure, we had a lot of fun getting catching up with everyone after the looooooong summer and it’s always good to log some hours outside before the snow falls. Hahaha.


This year marks a big change for Merrill Hill’s grading system and soon to be Franklin’s grading system; All 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th graders will graduate from (any) high school (in Maine) with a proficiency-based diploma. Auburn has done a lot to ease student, teachers, guardians and community members into this new system. Here at Franklin/Merrill, we’ve spent the last couple years discussing how this might look within our own ‘alternative’ learning environment and we are happy to say that everything is business as usual here at school; students will still be graded daily on their attendance, attitude and participation. In addition, all 9th graders will start working towards ‘proficiency’ by learning, practicing and being assessed on a list of skills in each subject area. Self motivation will be key with this new grading system! We would love for you to discuss your student’s progress with them and in the future there will be a way for you to check their progress from home. As always, if you have questions about your student's grade or how the grading at Merrill/Franklin works, please give us a call at 207-782-3242 or you can always shoot us an email by clicking the 'contact us' tab above.


It’s laptop season again. All Merrill and Franklin students are assigned a laptop at school. Because of the structure of our program, students DO NOT take laptops home. They are kept at school at all times. Only students enrolled in LRTC or ROTC are given permission to take laptops home and only after verifying that they need their laptop for projects/notetaking. If you have questions, please shoot us an email or give us a call.

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May Update

Hello, Franklin-followers! Here at Franklin/Merrill, we’re fresh out of April break and ready to go. Only 8ish weeks for all of us undergrads. Hopefully, we are done with snowdays...but, also, one more snowday might be kind of fun?

Here's some low-key investigative reporting from my Advocacy:

The following teachers have these updates to mention:

From JT’s classroom:

    • Our 8th grade class is really starting to bulk up! We’ve got a couple new students and new voices to add to the discussion.

From Ogg’s classroom:

    • Miss Ogg's English class has started their poetry unit and is studying both poems and favorite lyrics. They are looking at the writings for symbol, metaphor, allegory....etcetera, and conversing about all the many interpretations a piece of writing may generate. Miss Ogg hopes to compile a class chapbook of the students' best work for in-house publication.
    • As student teacher, Mike Rice has taken the helm of Miss Ogg's art classes (through to mid-May) they are working on a variety of individual projects in multiple mediums. It is thrilling to watch them develop their wheel throwing skills under his expert guidance. At this point nearly all the art students have earned their "artistic license" through completing the foundation units in Design, Color and Drawing and are everyone is engaged in meaningful personal work.
    • As we complete the school year we are engaged in collaborative conversations about which learning targets each student has hit and what rating we agree they have earned in each area.

Enjoy the following photos:


April Update

This website update is no joke! Hahahahaha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Funny.

Please know that MEA testing begins Monday, 3/27 and will keep going until we git ‘r’ done! If you have a 7th or 8th grader at home, please offer as much support as you can. We know that testing can be a difficult time for students and we always try to make it as painless as possible. Thanks in advance! These test results help us to teach your kids better.

SAT for Juniors is April 5th.

From JT’s classroom:

    • In Franklin English, we just finished reading Weetzie Bat, and now we are learning about poetry. What’s the big deal with poetry? Why is it only for fancy people? How can we get in on that fancy stuff?
    • In Franklin tech, we are continuing with photography and photo composition. We cut up a couple National Geographics and we’re going to attempt to ‘recreate’ them. Wish us luck!!!
    • The little 8thies are almost done reading House of Stairs!!! Woot. Also, in Unified Arts, we’re exploring different forms of art and just made some origami boats.

From JP’s classroom:

    • Field Trip to USM (in PORTLAND!) 24 March
    • Field Trip to Job Fair CMCC campus 7 April ←-----(JT’s birthday!)
    • Open House / Interview & Hiring at The Home Depot 12 April
    • Lisa Hartnet from the Career Center Lewiston is a guest speaker on Wednesday's in Mr. JP's room 6th period. She is helping students with interview skills, resume development, proper attire, and preparing students for the upcoming Career Fair at CMCC

From KS’s classroom:

    • Franklin English classes have been working on slam poetry and did an amazing job on the presentation of those poems! So proud!
    • My civics class is working on major supreme court cases and the impact they had on the future.
    • The after school sewing class has been SEW busy making quilts. Check out the photo below!

From KO’s classroom:

Mid-March Madness Post-Snow Craze...

    • Miss Ogg's art students are welcoming student teacher, Mike Rice from USM. Mike is majoring in ceramics and therefore we have pulled our pottery wheels out of storage! Each student has the choice to continue with their personal art projects or attempt some of Mike's offerings in the following five weeks.
    • Miss Ogg's English students have begun writing their own SpokenWords after watching a variety them on a diverse range of topics. They have the option of recording them in a format that is comfortable for them and several are considering performing or presenting them via video at our pre-April vacation talent show.

New Wednesday Schedule

March 22, 2017

Dear Parents and/or Guardians,

As you have likely heard, the Auburn School Department has received approval from the Education commissioner to add one hour to the school day on Wednesdays. This reason for this change is to allow students to make up school time that was missed for snow days this year without extending the school year into the fourth week of June. The extended Wednesday schedule begins on Wednesday, March 29th and will continue each week until June 7th. Students and staff will make up two snow days through this extended school day plan.

After meeting as a staff, the Franklin School has decided to adjust the regular student schedule by adding 10 minutes to each class period. Students at Franklin are required to attend school on Wednesdays from 8:00am – 2:30pm. I have attached the class schedule that Franklin will follow on extended Wednesdays.

Students who participate in the cooking class after school on Wednesdays will still report to the PAL center for class at 1:45. The class will run its normal time and students will be dismissed at 3:45pm. Students will be transported by bus from Franklin to the Pal center for class. Cooking class on Mondays and after school sewing classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays are not affected by this schedule change.

Franklin students who reside in Lewiston and need a ride home on Wednesdays will be transported home by LA Cab Company. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your student’s transportation, please call Franklin for more information. Bussing for Auburn students will continue as normal - just one hour later than a regular school day.

We appreciate your support as we work with students on our Wednesday schedule and take advantage of this opportunity to make up lost instructional time. As always, should you have any questions or concerns we invite you to call the school at (207)782-3242.


Melissa McLeod, Team Leader Franklin School

March Update!!!!

Ouch! Seven snow days. That’s okay, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the snow is done for the year.

Happy March everyone. Here at Franklin, we are trying to get back into the swing of things before our next vacation, only 7 short weeks away.

The following teachers have these updates to mention:

From JT’s classroom

    • We have been learning about photo composition in Tech class and will put that knowledge to use with our portrait studio. We’ll also be exploring the photo editor built in to our Macs and look for our editors online. TE.01.FG.01.01, TE.01.AVC.01.01, TE.02.AVP.02.01
    • In Health class, we are still trying to wrap our heads around the idea that one can of beer is generally equal to one shot of alcohol (!!!!). Also, we are learning about risk factors for alcohol addiction, effects of consumption and the warning signs for alcohol poisoning.HL.01.ALC.1.2, HL.02.ALC.1.1,HL.03.ALC.1.2

  • In advocacy, we ate some yummy crickets. Not actually yummy, though.

From JP’s classroom

    • Celebrating Women’s History Month!
      • The 2017 theme for National Women’s History Month honors women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force. Women have always worked, but often their work has been undervalued and unpaid.
      • **** Aviator Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. In 1923, Earhart, fondly known as "Lady Lindy," became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot's license. She had several notable flights, becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, as well as the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and Pacific. In 1937, she mysteriously disappeared while trying to circumnavigate the globe from the equator. Since then, several theories have formed regarding Earhart's last days, many of which have been connected to various artifacts that have been found on Pacific islands—including clothing, tools and, more recently, freckle cream. Earhart was legally declared dead in 1939.
    • Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!
      • March 17th: Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.
    • This month’s guest speakers
      • James Moreau from Maine Family Federal Credit Union will be visiting us on Wednesday 15 March 0945 hrs to present the products that a credit union has to offer and to compare and contrast Credit Union and Banks.
      • Guest speaker from Northeast Technical Institute (NTI) will be giving a presentation to students and staff Tuesday 7 March

From KO’s classroom

    • Most Ogg Art students are working at completing the semester opening assignment, 'Message of Passionate Emotion' in order to meet the making meaning learning target.
    • First semester students are earning their "artistic licence"while second semester classes are researching art styles in preparation for making a piece of their own in a favored style and third semester students are deciding on a topic-based theme to explore visually.
  • English students are completing the writing of a series of personal narratives in multiple forms (poem, paragraph, essay). The subjects of the first assignment were autobiography/biography based prompts. The expanded follow-up assignment involves generating pieces about object, time and place (emotional and geographic) as the subject of the work. Every student has chosen a book to read from our expanded library (!) and we read silently as a class on Fridays. Monday and Wednesday the class is supported by a Bates tutor who helps the students with their editing process.

See you next month!

February UPDATE!!!!!

We are gearing up for February (and February vacation!) here at Franklin/Merrill Hill.

Cooking, Sewing Welding and LRTC classes are in full swing now, and Mr. Jacobs-Pratt is lining up local guest speakers and representations to speak about other exciting opportunities available around town.

We’ve added 10 new students for Spring semester and everyone is in full “Franklin Charm” mode. We are always happy to add to our Franklin Family because we’re “Better Together!”

The Merrill Hillians are hard at work in February tracking sharks across the world, trying to find their way out of a House of Stairs, and learning how to improve their Habits of Mind–a lifelong goal!

Franklinites are relaxing into their new Spring schedules and learning how to take the perfect selfie in tech class, how to navigate the streets of LA (Los Angelos) with Weetzie, Dirk and Duck, and catching up on news around the world with great differentiated articles from Newsela.

The following teachers have these updates to mention:

From Mrs. Fox

    • In Geography we’re looking at Maps and learning a lot about different regional climates
    • We’re exploring Google Earth and tracking sharks and whales on their journey through the world’s oceans.
    • We’ve started a Slavery Unit in history and have had many honest and reflective conversations about our nation’s history
    • The 10th graders are continuing their Magical Realism Theme by watching and analyzing Pan’s Labyrinth

From Mr. JP

    • I have the LRTC student services coordinator visiting Franklin / Merrill Hill to give an presentation on the programs offered at LRTC
    • I have a representative from Bangor Savings Bank visiting Franklin / Merrill Hill to give a presentation on the many products a bank offers (ie: savings/checking/atm/ opening accounts/loans/etc ...)
    • Students interested in learning more about LRTC will have the opportunity to tour the LRTC campus

From JT

    • The 8th graders are wrapping up the Health Unit in Unified Arts and are deciding whether to move on to Music, Foreign Language or Cooking next!
    • The Franklin English class is starting Weetzie Bat from the Dangerous Angels collection. We’re reading all about Weetzie, looking for Ducks and having a cool Slinkster Dog and Grandma Fifi. The author, Francesca Lia Block, makes it easy for us to see how authors choose their words so carefully to change the tone/mood of a story! We all feel a little more hipster after reading her book.


See Mrs. Fox’s advocacy showing their love for Franklin below in the photo of Mrs. Strong's desk.

Also, Principal Barlow would like to share the "# crunch" from Fall semester. He is so impressed with how well our students did in passing their classes!