Malletts Bay Fifth Graders Sponsor Big Change Roundup

Student leaders from MBS have formed a “posse” to roundup some change to support the Vermont Children’s Hospital.  Fifth graders Isabella Bledsoe, Erin Yarnell, Addie Trahan, Mackenna Wirtz, and Emma Alter are responsible for promoting the roundup and collecting the change jars at the end of each day.  The students made posters and use the school intercom to make announcements.  The “roundup” at MBS will continue through February 18th.

On February 5th, the entire school participated in “Hat Day” in honor of preschool student Sawyer Josey.  Sawyer has had his own personal experiences with the Vermont Children’s Hospital.  Students at MBS donated change in order to wear a hat in school.  In addition, the principals have donated two $25 gift cards for Skida hats that will be raffled off on Friday, February 12th.

The MBS “posse” will visit the Vermont Children’s Hospital in March to deliver the MBS donation.  The students set a goal of $400.00, but early results indicate they may exceed this goal!

BigChange Posse

School Budget Info & the Impact of Act 46

School Budget Info & the Impact of Act 46

by Lindsey Cox

There has been a lot in the news about Act 46 as it relates to education spending,

funding, and governance. The spending caps have created challenges for most districts

in our state. Even with the recently passed amendment that increases the cap by .9%,

many districts are struggling to meet contractual obligations and stay within the caps

without having to cut personnel or programs. That is not the case in Colchester due to

our diligent cost containment, consistent “rightsizing”

strategies, efforts in taking

advantage of cost efficiencies, and last year’s adoption of a universal preK

system.

The legislated Allowable Growth Percentage (AGP) in Act 46 limits school district

spending for the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Budget. Basically, school districts were given

an AGP for FY17 in the range of 05.5%

based on the previous year’s equalized per

pupil spending. According to the Agency of Education, one of the highest spending

districts in the state, Weybridge, had an AGP of 0% but already spends $19,189 per

equalized pupil, while Colchester has a 2.35% AGP and spent $13,535 per equalized

pupil in 201516.

So, Weybridge spends over $5000 more per pupil than we spend here

in Colchester. This demonstrates the exceptional job we have done of keeping our

costs low while providing a high quality education for our students. This year’s

proposed budget, which includes an equalized per pupil spending rate of $13,297.47,

will result in a decrease of about .04 cents to our homestead/residential tax this year.

Controlling school district spending is just one of the motivations for the legislation.

Another foundational tenet of Act 46 is that the cost of schools has gone up while the

student population has gone down. According to Act 46: Vermont’s kindergarten

through grade 12 student population has declined from 103,000 in fiscal year 1997 to

78,300 in fiscal year 2015 while the number of school related personnel has not

decreased in proportionally. But this has not been the case in Colchester. Our

enrollment has stayed relatively consistent.

School funding is an important issue for Colchester residents, but equally as important

is the quality and type of education we provide our students. Research and best

practice also tells us that the education we give Colchester students needs to be

personalized to fit each learner, learnerdriven

to let kids own their learning,

techenabled

to leverage technologies that work, and applied to let kids learn by doing.

We are educating the whole child and that is why you will see another bond item on

your ballot in March. After completing the new high school science center under

budget, we are asking for the remaining $730,000 to be reallocated to update the CHS

Theatre. This is a much needed renovation that will increase our ability to provide a

robust arts program to our students. It will also allow us to engage with and host our

community.

We have a lot to be proud of here in Colchester: a high quality education delivered in a

cost effective manner, low per pupil spending, care for the whole child as evidenced

through our emphasis on academic and extracurricular aspects of students’ education,

and a proven, strong leader in our new superintendent, Amy Minor, to name a few.

Please come out to show your support for our schools on town meeting day. A yes vote

for the school budget and theatre renovations will help ensure a prosperous future for

our entire community.

Absentee Voting procedure

Remember to vote before going on vacation! Absentee Voting is taking place now until February 29th.

 

  • Request a ballot in person at the Town Offices, by e-mail to TownClerk@colchestervt.gov or by phone at 264-5520. Please be sure to state whether you want a Democrat or Republican Presidential Primary Ballot.
  • Mail completed ballots to Town Clerk, P.O. Box 55, Colchester, VT 05446
  • Vote early in person at the Town Clerk’s Office, 781 Blakely Rd., M-F 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM until February 29th
  • “My Voter Page” is a new online resource that lets registered voters request an absentee ballot, update voter registration information, find their polling places, and much more. Check out http://mvp.sec.state.vt.us.
  • The Community Dinner and Town Meeting is on February 29th at CSD beginning at 5:00 p.m.
  • On Election Day, March 1st, Colchester Districts 9-1 and 9-2, will vote at the High School, 131 Laker Lane, off Blakely Road. Polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
  • For more information, including sample ballots, the Town Annual Report which includes the school district’s annual report, budget proposals and voting articles, check out colchestervt.gov and www.csdvt.org. You may also find information at the Burnham Library; in a special insert in the February 4th edition of the Colchester Sun (available at businesses throughout Colchester); or as a mailing to be delivered the week of February 8th.

Voting information from the Town of Colchester

Absentee Voting is taking place now until February 29th.

Request a ballot in person at the Town Offices, by e-mail to TownClerk@colchestervt.gov, or by phone at 264-5520. Be sure to state whether you want a Democrat or Republican Presidential Primary Ballot.

Mail completed ballots to Town Clerk, P.O. Box 55, Colchester, VT 05446. Vote early in person at the Town Clerks Office, 781 Blakely Rd., M-F 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM until February 29th.

My Voter Page is a new online resource that lets registered voters request an absentee ballot, update voter registration information, find their polling places, and much more. Check out http://mvp.sec.state.vt.us.

The Community Dinner and Town Meeting is on February 29th at CHS beginning at 5:00 p.m.

On Election Day, March 1st, Colchester Districts 9-1 and 9-2, will vote at the High School, 131 Laker Lane, off Blakely Road. Polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

For more information, including sample ballots, the Town Annual Report which includes the school district’s annual report, budget proposals and voting articles, check out http://www.colchestervt.gov and http://www.csdvt.org. You may also find information at the Burnham Library; in a special insert in the February 4th edition of the Colchester Sun (available at businesses throughout Colchester); or as a mailing to be delivered the week of February 8th.

CSD Ballot Question to Support Theater renovations at Colchester High School

In 2013 the Colchester community approved a $5 million bond issue to support a significant upgrade of the science labs at Colchester High School. That work has now been completed and as importantly, was $730,000 under budget.

Under Title 24 V.S.A. § 1753(a), when such a balance exists, it states:

 “if a balance remains after the completion of the project” for which the bond was authorized, the school district “by a majority of the voters present and voting on the question at a meeting . . . held for that purpose, may authorize the expenditure of the proceeds or portion thereof for any purpose or purposes for which bonds may be issued.”  The statute dictates that if unused proceeds are not re-purposed with the authorization of a majority of the voters, then the proceeds shall be used to pay the principal of the loan as it matures.

 In the district’s long term planning for needed capital projects, the next priority would have been the renovation of the theater in the high school. With this balance the district has the opportunity to complete this next project without requesting additional funds from the community.

On January 19, 2016, the Colchester School Board approved a motion to include with the budget vote on March 1, 2016 the following item:

“I move that the remaining balance of the bonds authorized for the completed science project in an amount not to exceed $730,000 be allocated for the purpose of renovating the school theater.”

The Colchester School District works hard to ensure the tax dollars they receive from all sources are used effectively and efficiently. This is one more example of those efforts. The Board of Education now hopes it can address another need without requesting added revenue to complete it.

Colchester High School Music Program Hosts Evening of Dining and Music on Feb. 6:

Colchester High School Music Program Hosts Evening of Dining and Music on Feb. 6:
Soiree and Silent Auction to help raise funds for NYC trip
The Colchester High School Music Program is holding its annual “Music and Meal Soiree”—a spaghetti dinner and musical performances by small groups of CHS band and choral students—on Saturday, February 6 in the CHS cafeteria.  Proceeds from the Soiree and silent auction will help raise money for the CHS group’s upcoming trip to New York City.
There will be seatings for the spaghetti dinner at 5 pm and at 7 pm. Tickets for either seating are $12 each ($8 for children 12 and under). Tickets can be reserved ahead of time by emailing peltiere@csdvt.org<mailto:peltiere@csdvt.org> (please let them know which seating time you prefer) or they can be purchased at the door on February 6. No money will be collected ahead of time for tickets. Seating is limited so advance ticket reservations are encouraged.

CHS chorale members perform during the 2015 Music and Meal Soiree.

2015 soiree movin out pic

February CSD Music Events: Porters Point K-2 Musical and Malletts Bay School Winter Concert

 It’s a busy month for the Colchester School District  music programs, starting with the District’s youngest performers from Porters Point School.

All Kindergarten through second grade students at Porters Point School will perform the musical “Squirm,” by John Jacobson and John Higgins. This performance will run over two nights, giving students more opportunities to take on leading roles. These performances will be on February 10 and 11 in the CHS Theater. The performance is a culmination of several weeks of learning for the students that include reading the script and learning songs, speaking parts and dances. The students will be split into two performing groups – half of the students perform on Feb. 10 and the other half performs on Feb. 11. Both performances start at 6:30 pm and last 30 minutes.

Malletts Bay School will hold its first concerts of the school year in February. MBS third and fourth graders will perform on Wednesday, February 17 in the MBS Gym at 6 pm and 7 pm, respectively. The MBS fifth grade band and chorus will perform on Thursday, February 18 at 6:30 pm in the Colchester High School Theatre. The MBS band is under the direction of music teacher Tyler Mast. (CHS Choral Director Melissa Towle directs the MBS chorus.)

About Friends of Colchester Music

Friends of Colchester Music was formed in 2005 by a CSD music teacher and parent volunteer who recognized the need for a music booster organization in the school district. Their objective was to support the student musicians of Colchester and bring together those who felt that supporting strong music education programs was as critical to the schools as supporting academic and sports curriculums. For more information, visit http://www.friendsofcolchestermusic.com/.

Colchester School District- Board of Education Special Meeting Agenda February 6, 2016

Colchester School District- Board of Education Meeting Agenda

Colchester Community Center- Special Meeting

February 6, 2016- 8:00-12:00

 

School Board Winter Retreat

(General Session)

Agenda

  1. Call to Order
  2. Citizen Participation
  3. Board of Education Retreat (work session)                                     Information

Possible Agenda Items:

Transition plan for new superintendent

Update on Early Education Center Proposal

FY’17 Budget Communication Plan

Planning for School Report on Feb. 29th

CHS Principal Search – Board Representative

4.Hear Presentation on FY’17 Budget                                     Information

(10:00 AM-Community members encouraged to attend)

5. Possible Future Agenda Items          Information

6.Adjournment

Word Study- a critical skill for K-5 students a focus for the Colchester School District

The Colchester School District has had a consistent history of strong student achievement, even when compared to other districts in Vermont. This can be seen using common measures like the old NECAP and now the new SBAC assessment that is given in the spring. These results have not been an accident and could only happen through the intentional and coordinated work of administrators and teachers that took years to develop. It is part of the work done in good educational systems that the public rarely sees or recognizes.

One good example was the work within K-5 for the past 3 years to fully implement a curriculum that supports the Common Core State Standards.   When the new standards were published and approved by the Vermont Board of Education, every district in Vermont had the same objective, to prepare their schools and their students for a new set of standards that would be more rigorous than previous years. Starting with the Director of Curriculum’s office, a plan was devised to move this process throughout the system that was clear, focused, progressive, and accountable. Using knowledge and research that defines best practice, this included aligning all common assessments to the standards and using those results to monitor the progress of students learning. It included developing, with the teachers, grade level curriculum maps that would be used to guide instructional expectations throughout the year in all schools and the grade level conversations around instruction.

The current step now involves looking more closely at instruction. One area in particular the district has focused on is word study; a critical skill needed by students to be successful. The district has developed a strong and sequential process with the curriculum maps to ensure all students have the specific skills in this area. Word study provides students with opportunities to investigate and understand the patterns in words. Knowledge of these patterns means that students needn’t learn to spell one word at a time. This skill has many benefits for meeting both reading and writing expectations by grade but also will be critical throughout their lifetimes.

Teaching is a complex process that requires a strong knowledge base in both content and pedagogy. For systems like Colchester to support this work successfully also requires strong leadership, clear vision, focused goals, and the needed resources in people, time, professional learning, and materials. All of them singularly are important but it is only when they are combined are processes liked this successful and sustained.

Amy Minor Named New Superintendent

At the Board of Education meeting on January 19th, Amy Minor was named as the new Superintendent of Schools for the Colchester School District starting July 1, 2016. Mrs. Minor has worked in the district for 17 years, where she was the high school principal for 10 of those years. Starting immediately, a transition process will begin to make this change as seamless as possible for both the high school and the district. The community is very fortunate to have Mrs. Minor in this role to continue the reputation of Colchester for educational excellence.

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