Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Personnel

Introducing Assistant Principal Justin Brown to the CSD Community!

We are pleased to introduce Justin Brown as the new assistant principal at Colchester High School!

Taking the reins from former assistant principal Peter Memoli, Justin has served as the principal of Winooski High School and as a licensed special educator at BFA Fairfax. He also has experience working with incarcerated youth in a wilderness therapy program as well as working with cognitively impaired individuals.

Justin and his wife have two daughters, and they are active outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy rowing, skiing, and sailing among other things. Justin also enjoys beekeeping, reading, and home renovation projects.

“I am continually impressed with the pride, dedication, and sense of community I see here and very much look forward to working with you all in the coming year,” he said.

He is currently organizing CHS’s upcoming August 28 Smart Start event.

Please join us in welcoming him, and please e-mail him (brownj@csdvt.org) at any time with any comments or questions!

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Posted in Community, General, Grants, Porters Point School, Programs, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

PPS Wins $11,760 Grant, Hosts “In Shape and In Season” Program!

As we mentioned in our April 16 CSD Spotlight feature, Porters Point School was awarded an $11,760 grant from Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Community Benefit Fund to support a program aimed at reducing childhood malnutrition and childhood obesity.

And now that program is underway! To view a short video from the first session, which took place on July 23, click here.

The program, named “In Shape and In Season,” is a collaborative, family-based, multidisciplinary approach to nutrition and wellness that includes:

  • access to nutritious foods emphasizing seasonal produce
  • hands-on, interactive education in wholesome food preparation
  • engaging education about healthy physical activity, and
  • information about a variety of services available through area organizations.

We believe that, by fostering understanding about the benefits of good nutrition and exercise, malnutrition and obesity may be reduced over time. Research has shown that young people are also more likely to make healthier food choices if they are already familiar with healthy food, and they are more likely to regularly exercise if they are encouraged to do so—resulting in a lifelong impact on their health and well-being.

Along with Colchester School District’s administration and food service personnel, we have partnered with experts in nutrition (registered dietitian and professional chef Deana Novembrino) and childhood obesity (the University of Vermont’s Dr. Connie Tompkins) as well as with Hunger Free Vermont’s “the Learning Kitchen” to create the four-season In Shape and In Season program. A team of UVM master of nutrition and food sciences students will help to educate participants about the important long-term benefits of healthy eating, and exercise and movement science students will work with participants to explore a variety of family-friendly physical activities in order to encourage regular exercise in everyday life.

The program—which consists of a summer series and follow-up sessions in fall, winter, and spring—will ultimately serve the entire school community by further enhancing the meal offerings in our cafeterias because district food service personnel are involved.

In Shape and In Season will:

  • offer community cooking classes at Porters Point School taught by RD/chef Deana Novembrino and our food service professionals;
  • incorporate child-friendly recipes in order to encourage child participation, enthusiasm, and interest;
  • host family-style dinners with the participants immediately following the cooking classes;
  • provide additional professional training for CSD’s food service professionals, which will in turn benefit the school district’s meal offerings for the entire school community (currently, nearly 2,200 students attend our schools);
  • provide nutritious ingredients for preparation at home and informational take-home recipe booklets to the participants;
  • provide education about ways in which entire families can be physically active;
  • subsidize transportation costs in order to alleviate economic hardship associated with travel; and
  • provide on-site child care to alleviate economic hardship associated with participation.
Bags of recipe ingredients to be sent home with the participants

This wonderful opportunity aligns beautifully with a number of the pathways described in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017. We are very excited about it!

PPS Principal Jim Marshall sports an example of an apron given to all participants

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Posted in Colchester Middle School, General, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

What is CloudK12 … and How Does It Help?

Colchester Middle School is piloting an innovative program designed to help streamline students’ and parents’ abilities to track projects and assignments … and not only is it working really well, it is saving money!

In an effort to address not only the issues of forgotten homework assignments but also as yet another way to integrate technology and cloud-based, twenty-first-century applications into students’ everyday academic environments, CMS began piloting CloudK12 during the last school year, and so far, it has been a smashing success.

CloudK12 is an online student to-do list pilot program that teachers manage. Not only does the program allow parents to log in to see their children’s up-to-the-minute homework assignments, it also includes reading lists and other functions that help students, parents, and teachers see exactly what the students have for projects and assignments. While students cannot edit the list, they can check off assignments as they are completed, and future versions of the program will also allow students and parents to add tasks to the list. There is even an iPhone application planned for the program!

Because CMS is piloting CloudK12, which is still in development and whose developer is soliciting feedback from CMS in order to further improve upon it, there will be no cost associated with its use for the first five years. After that, the program will cost about $1,000 per year—a significant costs savings over the $6,000–$7,000 in annual printing costs for the student handbooks and daily agendas that the school has traditionally issued. CMS will still provide paper materials for students that need them, but the resulting cost savings associated with the use of CloudK12 will support additional new technology in CMS classrooms.

To view a short video clip about CloudK12, click here.

For more information, please e-mail CMS Assistant Principal Dovid Yogoda or call (802) 264-5700.

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Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General

School Board Appoints Lincoln White As New Member

From a number of Colchester community members who interviewed for the position in an open-session format on July 17, the Colchester School Board appointed Lincoln White to fill the vacancy left by former school board clerk Steve Cormier, who announced his resignation from the board at the June 19 meeting.

Newly appointed school board member Lincoln White

Mr. White, who is Seventh Generation’s director of information technology as well as an adjunct professor of business and technology courses at Champlain College, has experience as an officer and a member of numerous other boards in and around the Colchester community. He and his wife have three children. Mr. White stated that is it an honor to “be part of the leadership team that continues to grow Colchester’s already excellent national reputation as a great place to learn.”

Mr. White’s term of service will run through Town Meeting Day on March 5, 2013, at which point the Colchester voters will appoint the person to finish the remainder of Mr. Cormier’s three-year term, which expires in March of 2014.

As a reminder, school board meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday of each month beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Colchester High School library. School board meetings air on Lake Champlain Access Television (LCATV) on Channel 16 on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. and on Sundays at 7:00 a.m. Viewers may also watch school board meetings on the LCATV website.

Please contact CSD’s District Office at (802) 264-5999 with any questions.

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Posted in General, Primer Series

Primer Series: Vermont School Choice Legislation

You may have heard that the Vermont State Legislature recently passed new legislation regarding school choice. In this primer, we offer the highlights of this new legislation and provide access to additional resources about it.

While what was dubbed as the “school choice bill” originally aimed to offer students in grades 1–12 access to any public or approved independent school when it was initially introduced, the final result was an expansion upon regional school choice, known as Act 150. Historically, approximately 300 Vermont students in grades 9–12 have participated in regional school choice on an annual basis.

In essence, the new legislation removed the former geographic boundaries associated with school choice. The legislation includes limits on transferring students and addresses the application and notification process of interested students. It also discusses reenrollment of and tuitioning for transferred students. Because high school selections through the former regional school choice have already been made for the upcoming school year, the legislation will take effect for the 2013/2014 academic year.

About ninety Vermont towns participate in tuitioning, which has been an element of Vermont’s educational reality for nearly 150 years, and it only exists in towns without schools to serve its necessary grade levels. Tuitioning towns are not required to provide transportation for their students, and the same holds true for public school choice.

Proponents of school choice herald it as an opportunity to facilitate the best educational fit for students in order to maximize academic success. Parents and students can now assess factors like extracurricular offerings, school size and culture, proximity to parents’ place of employment, and many others to determine which high school in Vermont might be the most optimal fit.

Opponents of school choice are concerned that different standards of academic achievement eventually develop as a result of inconsistent standards across institutions, and they fear that school choice will promote social stratification.

To read the language of the bill (beginning on page 1828), click here.

If you would like more information about school choice options in Vermont, please contact Peter Thoms, a policy analyst with the Vermont Department of Education, at (802) 828-5104 or peter.thoms@state.vt.us.

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Posted in Community, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

School Board and VT Dept. of Education Approve CSD’s 2012–2015 Technology Plan

At its June 19 meeting, the Colchester School Board approved the Colchester School District Technology Plan 2012–2015. Shortly thereafter, the Vermont Department of Education also approved the plan.

The plan’s focus is largely upon the integration of technology into curriculum and the use of technology as a vehicle for students to acquire and demonstrate learning. It also ties in very well with the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, in which an entire pathway is devoted to technology infrastructure and integration.

The technology plan’s four main goals include the following:

  • Student‐Centered Learning Goal—Providing students with access to necessary skills, strategies, and curriculum that support the integration of teaching twenty‐first-century learning while providing teachers with the skills necessary to integrate technology with their students
  • Leadership in a Student‐Centered Environment Goal—Coordinating the implementation and access to technology and professional development to ensure students have the necessary skills in tomorrow’s world
  • Flexible Learning Environments Goal—Expanding and extending learning opportunities and resources beyond the physical classroom; current school structure; and current school hours, days, and school year so that learning opportunities are provided 24/7 for the entire Colchester community
  • Engaged Community Partners Goal—Collaborating with the community to promote integrated learning opportunities and digital citizenship

The plan’s creation was a year-long collaborative effort among three different groups that included teachers, administration, information technology staff, and parents.

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Posted in Community, General, Other Important Information

School Board to Interview Candidates for Board Vacancy

On Tuesday, July 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Colchester High School Library/Media Center, the Colchester School Board will interview candidates to fill the vacancy left by former school board clerk Steve Cormier.

The members of the Colchester community who will interview with the school board are Denis Bertiaume, Zafir Bludevich, Jeffrey Callane, Eric LeVasseur, Mary Goodridge Miller, Christian Mock, Regina Spillane, and Lincoln White. The candidates will provide the school board with:

  • a brief overview of their background
  • a statement regarding their interest in serving the community of Colchester on the school board
  • their personal vision for the Colchester School District
  • responses to any other questions by individual school board members
  • responses to possible questions from community members

The interviews will be conducted in an open-session format with all candidates present. The school board members will discuss the candidates in executive session following the regular meeting and will make their formal appointment in regular session. The newly appointed board member must to take an oath of office at the Town Clerk’s Office prior to serving in an official capacity.

The term of service for the newly appointed member will be July 18, 2012–March 5, 2013. Colchester voters will appoint the school board member to finish the remainder of Steve Cormier’s three-year term, which expires in March of 2014, at the 2013 Town Meeting.

Please contact CSD’s District Office at (802) 264-5999 with any questions.

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Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Grants, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

CSD/CMS Wins $5,000 Farm-to-School Grant!

Raw ingredients trump recipes every time; farmers and ranchers who coax the best from the earth can make any of us appear to be a great cook.
—Judy Rodgers

We are thrilled to announce that Colchester School District has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and the Vermont Department of Health to support the planning of a farm-to-school initiative at Colchester Middle School!

Nutrition is a critical component of optimal child development and academic performance; education about and access to nutritious food choices is an integral part of best positioning young people for healthy and successful lives. The district pursued the funding opportunity through the Vermont Farm-to-School Grant Program in order to create a comprehensive, sustainable, integrated farm-to-school program focusing upon fresh and nutritious foods. The district’s objectives include integrating farm-to-school concepts into our cafeterias, incorporating more farm-fresh foods into our school community, and further integrating farm-to-school concepts into classroom content areas. The grant will support the work necessary to create the program, including supporting additional professional development opportunities for our educators, administrators, food service professionals, and involved community members. Specifically, it will help provide these key stakeholders with the time, skills, and support to write and align integrative farm-to-school curriculum with the Common Core State Standards.

The grant will also support additional resources to facilitate numerous nutrition-related community events, such as back-to-school barbecues, curriculum nights, community dinners, end-of-school celebrations, and so on. Furthermore, the grant will allow for area agronomists and other guest presenters to facilitate taste tests and learning opportunities in our schools. These taste tests and classroom presentations about the various logistics of crop production—including soil preparation, planting, nutrient and pest management, irrigation and drainage, harvest, transportation considerations, and so on—are critical components of our farm-to-school program and our goal of deepening our students’ connections with our local agronomists and their understanding of the foods they consume.

Some of our schools host gardens, the produce from which is used in our cafeterias, and we welcome and encourage community involvement in our ongoing nutrition-related efforts. As is affirmed in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, we are steadfastly committed to wellness initiatives, and, with solid support from our administration, educators, and community members—as well as a number of established farm-to-school partnerships—our multiple-award-winning wellness program is well positioned to implement a successful program of this nature.

For more information about this exciting initiative, please e-mail CSD Wellness Coordinator Connie Gavin or CSD’s Director of Nutrition & Food Services Steve Davis!

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Posted in Community, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Grants, Malletts Bay School, Programs

CSD Awarded $20,000 Grant to Support Early Education!

We are thrilled to announce a $20,000 grant award from the Vermont Department of Education (DOE) to support early education opportunities in our community!

As part of the DOE’s Early Education Initiative (EEI), the funds will support expanded learning opportunities for young children in Colchester, bolstering the creation of new Head Start classrooms at Malletts Bay School. This is a comprehensive, collaborative effort among Colchester School District, the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, the Town of Colchester Parks and Recreation Department, parents, and local childcare providers. The goal is to strengthen and expand the opportunities for Colchester’s young children.

In addition to the Head Start classrooms, the program includes the creation of additional community playgroup opportunities—in conjunction with Building Bright Futures of Colchester (BBFC)—at MBS. The participants in the Head Start classroom will receive instruction from a certified teacher and a qualified instructional assistant.

The classroom program will be licensed to serve fifteen children, ten of whom will be eligible for the program through Champlain Valley Head Start’s selection process. Another five children will be enrolled through collaboration with screening information from CSD’s Early Essential Education (EEE) program. The overarching goal is to maintain two high-quality preschool programs within the public school building, each with a balance of typically developing and at-risk learners. During the first year, it will operate three days per week for three and one-half hours per day in order to align transportation and other opportunities with those of the district’s EEE program. In addition, the Head Start teacher will make monthly visits to the homes of participants. Participants will also receive, in accordance with the National School Lunch Program and Head Start requirements, a healthy breakfast and lunch on each class day. Classroom curriculum and participant assessments will comply with Head Start regulations.

For more information about the program or about early education, please e-mail Principal Julie Benay, or call (802) 264-5900. Families who are interested in the MBS Head Start classroom can download a copy of CVOEO’s application from their website and return it, along with all other required information, to their office in any of the following ways:

By e-mail: Applications can be e-mailed to jbenoit@cvoeo.org

By fax: Applications can be faxed to (802) 658-0983

By mail: Applications can be sent to:

Champlain Valley Head Start
Attn: Enrollment
431 Pine Street
Burlington, VT 05401

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Posted in Community, General

Who Doesn’t Love a Parade?

The body is a community made up of its innumerable cells or inhabitants.
—Thomas Edison

Many thanks to everyone who joined us for the forty-third annual Colchester Independence Day parade!

Thank you for helping us celebrate our schools and our community—from the successful completion of the Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 to our award-winning artists and musicians and from earning acclaim from the Vermont Department of Education to thriving wellness efforts.

Colchester is a wonderful place to live and learn!

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