Posted in Community, General, Union Memorial School

Neighbors and Nourishment: UMS Spearheads Community Food Drive

The first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind. Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.
—Norman Borlaug

As we mentioned in our “Top Ten Things You Might Not Have Known About Union Memorial School” article, each class at UMS has been collecting nonperishable food items to support the Colchester Community Food Shelf at its new home at 245 Main Street in Colchester Village.

Not only are the students participating in the ongoing food drive effort by collecting and delivering the items, but they are also learning about how the food shelf helps the community. In this way, the students can connect with our greater community and learn about helping others while simultaneously supporting an important endeavor.

Throughout the entire campaign, which was coordinated by speech therapy staff member Jeannie Perkins and first grade teacher Tracey Hughes, the UMS students have been learning about other ways in which people help one another in their communities, including the donation of food, clothing, blood, books, time, energy, and other important commodities. UMS plans to run a similar food drive every year going forward, beginning in January.

As the classes have arrived with their donations, Colchester Community Food Shelf Vice President Shirley Meier has welcomed the students into the space, collecting their contributions—hundreds of pounds’ worth!—and allowing them to look around. She has answered their questions to help facilitate their understanding.

This is a shining example of connecting learning with real-life experiences and concrete, powerful understanding.

And remember that anyone, anywhere, can organize a community food drive—in neighborhoods, workplaces, classrooms … the possibilities are endless!

For more information, please contact Union Memorial School at (802) 264-5959 or the Colchester Community Food Shelf at (802) 879-2444.

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”

Posted in Budgets, Colchester High School, Community, General, Videos

Students Create Video Ahead of Budget Vote

Students at Colchester High School created this video ahead of the upcoming budget vote.

View the video here!

Please remember to vote! The polls are open on Tuesday, May 1 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

District 7-1—Colchester High School
District 7-2—Colchester Meeting House

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”

Posted in Budgets, Community, General

Friendly Reminder: The Budget Vote is May 1

The next school budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 1. Please remember to cast your ballot.

Please note that e-mails will be going out to parents during the week of vacation as a reminder about the upcoming vote, and a voicemail will also go out on May 1.

If you have questions about the budget, please call Superintendent Larry Waters at 264-5986.

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”

Posted in Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School, Programs, Union Memorial School

Announcing the 2012 CSD Art Show—May 1–May 4 at CHS!

We are pleased to announce that the 2012 Colchester School District Art Show will begin Tuesday, May 1 and run through Friday, May 4 in the Colchester High School gymnasium from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

And on the evening of Thursday, May 3, the show will remain open until 8:00 p.m. for the Artist Reception event from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The reception is for students, family members, and the community, and it provides an opportunity for the artists to discuss their work. Refreshments will be served, and there will also be some special performances. Please join us!

The CSD Art Show features works of art from every grade level in the district. Throughout the show, attendants may vote for their favorite piece of artwork from each school; winners of the People’s Choice awards receive art supplies and may showcase their work in the main display case in the CHS lobby. More than 500 works of art are expected to be showcased by Colchester High School students alone, covering Art 1 and 2-D Art, Photography (film and digital), Pottery 1 and 2, and 3-D Art. In addition, all CHS art students will write an artist statement reflecting upon their work and the creative process, which not only hones their writing skills but also helps the viewers to understand the specialized artistic techniques the students learned through the art program.

For more information about the art show, please e-mail Anne Cummings or call (802) 264-5700. Please join us for this free community event showcasing the work of our talented artists!

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”

Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Videos

Top Ten Things You Might Not Have Known About Colchester High School

Did you know these facts about Colchester High School?

  1. Math educator Janet Soltau created a video about CHS.
    Please click here to view it!
  2. CHS won high praise from the Vermont Department of Education for its impressive improvements in performance. In fact, Lawrence O. Picus and Associates conducted an extensive case study of CHS for the Vermont State Legislature in order to ascertain how such improvements were accomplished … without high spending (the district spends below the state per-pupil average) and without high teacher salaries (salaries are also below the state average). As a result of the comprehensive study, CHS is being regaled as a model for other high schools across the state.
  3. CHS’s performance in the 2011 NECAP assessments was outstanding. It produced the highest writing scores in Chittenden County, tied with Essex High School and Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU) for the highest math scores, and tied with CVU for the highest reading scores. CHS also tied for second in the state for its math and writing results and tied for fourth in the state for reading.
  4. CHS won accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The accreditation was the result of a long-term, multi-component, and comprehensive assessment.
  5. CHS has made Newsweek’s America’s Best High Schools list numerous times.
  6. CHS is dedicated to cultivating a sense of community. It has hosted a number of important community events, including a financial literacy workshop, the Jr. College Night series, the Laker Learning Connections, and many, many others.
  7. CHS has a terrific health class and community garden.
  8. CHS students are dedicated to volunteerism. The students make significant contributions in our community through their service with a variety of organizations and initiatives, including the Vermont Respite House, the Ronald McDonald House, a number of area food shelves, Women Helping Battered Women, the Lund Family Center, and the Humane Society of Chittenden County as well as many others.
  9. CHS efforts concerning sustainability are ongoing. Its Net Impact High School chapter, funded by a grant, is the first of its kind in the nation, and it seeks to link sustainability-related learning opportunities with efforts to conserve and protect our environment. And with the help of other grants, CHS also has incorporated human-powered generators to offset some of the energy requirements for staging and lighting equipment, engaging the students in tangible methods of reducing their carbon footprints.
  10. The Lakeside Voice, CHS’s student newspaper, is a frequent recipient of meritorious awards. The publication has received numerous accolades from the New England Scholastic Press Association (NESPA) at Boston University’s College of Communication.

For more information about Colchester High School, please visit their website or call (802) 264-5700.

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”

Posted in Colchester Middle School, General, Malletts Bay School, Programs

CMS Peer Mentoring Program a Success

Remember the pilot peer mentoring project we discussed in our February 7 CSD Spotlight feature?

It has been deemed hugely successful! Survey results collected from the program’s participants illustrate that it has been a significantly positive experience for them; in fact, 92 percent of the participants would recommend the program to a friend, 77 percent would like to continue as a peer mentor in the next school year, and virtually all of them would like the program to continue. They have even expressed interest in working with younger students, as well.

The peer mentors are continuing to meet twice per month to plan new mini-lesson projects in the school, and they will receive certificates for their many hours of participation in the project. This year’s program will conclude in May; the group will learn about learning styles and disability awareness activities during the month, and current sixth-grade students will be offered the opportunity to work as peer mentors for their seventh-grade school year.

A video about the peer mentoring program is available on CMS’s website, or you can view it here!

If you would like to know more about the program, please e-mail CMS Special Educator/Inclusion Coordinator Marianne Nealy.

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”

Posted in Budgets, Community, General

Please Remember to Vote on May 1

The next school budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 1. Please remember to cast your ballot.

Please note that e-mails will be going out to parents during the week of vacation as a reminder about the upcoming vote, and a voicemail will also go out on May 1.

If you have questions about the budget, please call Superintendent Larry Waters at 264-5986.

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”

Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Grants, Wellness

Six Things You Might Not Have Known About Colchester Middle School

Did you know these facts about Colchester Middle School?

CMS is dedicated to the community. In addition to the monumental effort the school put forth to support the victims of Hurricane Irene, a group of students called the Caring Cougars works tirelessly to raise money to donate to a variety of charitable causes in our greater community, including the Colchester Community Food Shelf and Toys for Kids. And CMS’s Infinity Team performs a considerable amount of community service, including raking leaves for senior citizens, assisting with the Salvation Army of Greater Burlington’s holiday toy sort effort, the Colchester Community Food Shelf, the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, the Town of Colchester’s Parks and Recreation department, and Lucy’s House, as well as others.

CMS strives to implement technology. As part of its ongoing efforts to incorporate technology into its curriculum, CMS pursued and was awarded a $3,500 education grant from Berlin City Auto Group to purchase six netbooks for use in its classrooms.

CMS students have received positive press. CMS’s student-produced video news team, Cougar Mews, has attracted quite a bit of attention in the community, including claiming a feature on WCAX. Cougar Mews airs every Friday morning in CMS’s classrooms, not only providing an interesting way to share school events with all of CMS but also providing hands-on experience with communications. And CMS student chefs were featured on WCAX’s “Across the Fence” to showcase their skills in advance of the Jr. Iron Chef Vermont competition.

CMS has implemented a number of initiatives to encourage a supportive academic climate. Such efforts include a peer mentoring program, the adoption of a cougar mascot and creation of a school rally song, participation in the national Mix It Up Day, a canine-assisted therapy pilot program, creation of a knitting club, and educators at CMS are in the process of composing an original school song that will be representative of the CMS experience. (Stay tuned for that!) In addition, the recent drama production of The Music Man Junior involved more than fifty students—and participating in group performance has been shown to enhance camaraderie and collaboration, self-confidence, speaking skills, and imagination.

CMS focuses on real-life learning. In addition to Cougar Mews, CMS students can participate in a number of opportunities designed to provide exposure to career opportunities. Community members present workshops about a wide variety of professions at a comprehensive, hands-on career fair every year (stay tuned for more information about this year’s upcoming career day), and CMS educators arrange campus visits for eighth graders to a variety of local institutions, including the Center for Technology in Essex, St. Michael’s College, and the Community College of Vermont.

Wellness is a priority. In January, the entire CMS community participated in the 30-Day Wellness Challenge, aspects of which were filmed for use in the rest of the state. Principal Dawn Gruss and Assistant Principal Peg Gillard were also interviewed as part of a public service announcement about how school administrations can can support and engage faculty, staff, and students in wellness-related endeavors. The resulting video, which was created by the Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI), was developed in order to help other schools replicate this important program.

For more information about Colchester Middle School, please visit their website or call (802) 264-5800.

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”

Posted in Budgets, Community, General

Interested in Getting the Word Out About the May 1 Budget Vote? Here’s How You Can Help!

Many community members have expressed interest in assisting with a Colchester School District voter drive effort ahead of the upcoming May 1 budget vote. If you are interested in participating, here is how you can help!

1. Visit the Colchester Neighborhood Index and identify which neighborhood zone your home is located in.

2. Spread the word. Send e-mails, make Facebook posts, tell your friends and neighbors that there is a school budget vote on May 1.

3. Vote early at the Town Office (8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.) up until April 30 or call the Town Office (802-264-5500) and ask to have an absentee ballot mailed to your home.

4. Contact three voters in your neighborhood zone that are related to a current CSD student. By e-mail, text, or phone, you will send them two messages:

– On Monday, April 30, tell them, “Tomorrow is Voting Day. Please vote.”

– On Tuesday, May 1, ask them, “Have you voted yet?” Repeat the message throughout the day until they respond, “Yes!”

If you are willing to participate in this effort, please send us an e-mail with “SOS Zone [your zone #]” in the subject line to lmlagerquist@gmail.com.

Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General

School Board Appoints Dawn Gruss As CMS Principal

After an extensive and collaborative effort, the Colchester School Board has appointed Dawn Gruss to the position of principal at Colchester Middle School.

Ms. Gruss has been CMS’s interim principal for the 2011—2012 school year.

Best wishes to Ms. Gruss and Colchester Middle School for much success, and many thanks to all of the community members who participated in the comprehensive principal search process!

Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”