Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General

Friendly Reminder: CHS Will Host VSAC Financial Aid Night on November 1

Arguably, one of the main purposes of education is to prepare students for life beyond the classroom—the component of daily living that involves supporting one’s self by means of employment.

As a friendly reminder, Colchester High School will host a Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) Paying for College Night on November 1, 2012, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, please call CHS’s guidance office at (802) 264-5713.

Remember that Colchester High School’s calendar of events can be found on the school’s website, and Colchester School District posts a district-wide calendar of events, as well!

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Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General

Giving Thanks and Giving Back to Our Community

Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.
—Author Unknown

CHS Cares, a student volunteer organization that works within the school and community to create a caring environment, is kicking off its annual Thanksgiving basket endeavor.

The student group is once again championing this annual effort benefiting families in our own community, and the entire school is getting involved. There will be a celebration for the TA group that collects the greatest amount of food, and Principal Amy Minor will also make a donation into the bank account of the class collecting the most food. Members of CHS Cares will shop for any remaining items necessary to create twenty-five complete Thanksgiving dinners—using funds donated by CHS faculty and staff members, students, and community members—and then they will work together to assemble and deliver the dinners, along with centerpieces created by the CHS Art Club, to members of our community.

If you would like to contribute to the effort, CHS gladly welcomes Thanksgiving dinner items as well as monetary contributions at the main office. Please e-mail CSD Nursing Supervisor Deborah Deschamps R.N. or call (802) 264-5700 for more information.

As we’ve discussed before, encouraging students to see that they can make a difference in their community and in the lives of others is important. Volunteerism allows students to gain valuable work experience that enhances resumes and college applications while allowing them to explore their interests and discover new passions. It also helps to develop leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills, all of which are highly relevant in the job market. Real-life applications learned from volunteerism can include—among many others—social work, counseling, government and policy making, fundraising and corporate giving, public relations, and community organizing and activism. This is yet another meaningful example of ongoing student volunteerism in our community.

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Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Videos

(Rescheduled!) Mix It Up Day and Why It Is Important

Students at Colchester Middle School will participate in “National Mix It Up at Lunch Day” on Wednesday, October 31 (rescheduled to accommodate Hurricane Sandy)—a movement encouraging students across the country to dissolve social boundaries by stepping outside their comfort zones and mingling with others they might not know very well during lunchtime. This is an important event because it is a simple act with profound implications; interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudices and bullying behaviors, and biases and misconceptions can fall away. The annual event increases students’ awareness of the various social divisions that exist among them and increases understanding among the students about one another, well complementing ongoing initiatives around bullying and discrimination prevention and increasing respect and tolerance across the school community. It is also designed to be a lot of fun; at CMS, students and staff are encouraged to wear mixed-up outfits and to complete a human scavenger hunt in order to celebrate the day and to facilitate the experience.

The concept was developed by Teaching Tolerance, an organization committed to improving students’ school experiences by reducing prejudice and improving relationships among students of all backgrounds. Because Teaching Tolerance’s surveys have identified school cafeterias as a place where social divisions are particularly prominent, cafeterias are ideal locations to encourage the experience of enhanced intergroup mingling.

National Mix It Up Day takes place all over the country! Click here for a map indicating other participating schools all across the nation.

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, a canine-assisted therapy pilot program, creation of a knitting club, efforts to encourage school pride, and a new school song (to view the lyrics, click here, and to view a short video of a recent pep rally and a sample of the song, click here).

For more information, please visit the CMS guidance website, or call (802) 264-5800.

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Posted in Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, District Office, General, Malletts Bay School, Other Important Information, Porters Point School, Union Memorial School

CSD Schools Will Be Closed Tomorrow—Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All schools in Colchester will be closed tomorrow—Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

This includes:

    • Colchester High School
    • Colchester Middle School
    • Malletts Bay School
    • Union Memorial School
    • Porters Point School
    • The Early Essential Education program

and

  • the Head Start program

Again, all schools in Colchester will be closed tomorrow—Tuesday, October 30—due to the dangerous weather conditions.

Thank you.

Posted in Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information

Severe Weather Announcement—Update

We are continuing to monitor the weather forecast for later today and tomorrow. With expected wind speeds ranging from 30 to 60 mph later today and tomorrow morning combined with the sandy soil conditions and the number of trees—many of which are pines—in Colchester, it is important for everyone to prepare for dangerous conditions, such as falling trees, windblown objects, downed power lines, and power outages.

As with a snow day, we will contact parents before 6:00 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, October 30) using our AlertNow system in the event that we decide to close the district schools. We strongly recommend that parents have a plan for childcare tomorrow.

In addition, all school-sponsored activities are canceled for today.

If you have any general questions, please contact central office administration at 264-5999, or, for school-specific questions, please contact your child’s school.

Thank you.

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Posted in District Office, General, Other Important Information

Severe Weather Announcement

With the impending storm approaching Vermont and Colchester within the next twenty-four hours, school officials are working to implement severe weather emergency procedures. Should administration need to respond to the changing weather conditions with school closure, delay, or early dismissal, we will send a voice message by AlertNow to all parents/guardians. At this time, we expect that students will remain at school for the entire day today. We will be monitoring the high winds and rain overnight and early tomorrow to determine whether it’s safe to travel to and attend school. Since Colchester weather can vary greatly from the bay area to the hills around the village, you should determine whether your area is safe for travel. In the event of a power outage during the day, we plan to keep students at school for the remainder the school day; however, you may pick your child up at any time. If you have any questions, please contact central office administration at 264-5999. Thank you.

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Posted in Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, General, Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School, Programs, Union Memorial School, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Some Students Have a Ball in the Classroom!

Through a generous donation from Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust (VSBIT) and Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI), Colchester School District has received 165 yoga/stability balls to further facilitate some of its health and wellness initiatives in our schools!

The stability balls will be put to a variety of excellent uses, including as student and staff chairs as well as for physical education and for use in physical and occupational therapy.

“Being still takes a lot of energy for some kids,” Colchester Middle School educator Stephanie Miller said. “I offer them the opportunity to sit on something that is soft and that allows them to move at the same time. It gives them the ability to fidget physically while allowing them to concentrate on their work.”

CMS students in Ms. Garrison’s class using stability balls as classroom chairs

In physical education, the stability balls offer a myriad of uses. “We will use them for physical fitness in developing flexibility and muscle strength,” MBS physical educator Brian Hunt said. “I hope to use them in conjunction with Dyna-Bands for fitness routines. We can use them in gymnastics as one of our stations for strength, flexibility, and so on, and they help students with balance. We can also use them in team-building activities. Another use is to develop skills like throwing; the balls can be used as targets—both stationary and moving.” Used in a physical education setting, the stability balls are also excellent for developing skills in problem solving, cooperation, and communication.

MBS students engage in a PE problem-solving activity called “Keep It Moving” using the stability balls
MBS students use the stability balls in an activity called “The Caterpillar.”

Significant research compiled across an array of sources demonstrates a number of positive outcomes when students use stability balls rather than chairs. For example, research has shown that the use of stability balls engages both hemispheres in the brain, which in turn better engages students’ memory and focus.

The stability balls also have the added benefits of reducing or even eliminating noisy fidgeting and other restless behaviors that are often distracting in the classroom. And because the stability balls require an upright posture in order to maintain balance, core muscle strength also increases. Other benefits include improved circulation and concentration.

In addition to all of their other classroom uses, the stability balls have a number of wonderful uses with occupational therapy, especially to improve upper extremity strength, core strength, coordination, and balance.

Wellness is one of the pathways of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, and CSD is taking it very seriously.

Many, many thanks to VSBIT and VEHI for these generous donations!

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Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Programs

CMS Launches Athletics Website and Twitter Feed

Calling all CMS sports fans! As part of ongoing efforts to augment communication with our community, Colchester Middle School’s athletics director, Jim Olson, has launched a new website.

Visit the CMS Athletics webpage here, which offers the CMS Athletics Handbook, fall schedules, assorted forms and fact sheets, and more.

Mr. Olson now also has a twitter feed offering information about games, practices, and athletics-related updates. The Twitter feed is @cmssports05446.

In addition to serving as CMS’s athletics director and coaching girls’ basketball and baseball, this is Mr. Olson’s third year as a behavior interventionist.

For questions or for more information, please call CMS at (802) 264-5800 or e-mail Mr. Olson (olsonj@csdvt.org).

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Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General

Community Spirit Making a Splash

Here’s a quick and fun little follow-up … following Colchester High School’s spirit week (including the surprise faculty flash mob—click here if you haven’t seen that video yet!), the school held its first-ever community tailgate celebration, complete with a car-decorating contest and a faculty dunk tank.

Here is the winning school-spirit-themed car:

And here is dunk tank evidence, before …

… and after.

Thanks so much to everyone who braved the weather to help make the event a lot of fun!

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Posted in Accountability, General

Updated Report Cards and PowerSchool Functionality Will Better Serve Parents

In the interest of creating greater consistency in academic reporting across all of the district’s schools, Colchester School District has rolled out an improved process for users of PowerSchool for the elementary grades (see our two-part primer about PowerSchool here).

The project, the result of an extensive district-wide collaboration, aims to provide a more streamlined process for both parents and teachers. The assessment criteria for grades K–5 have been modified—and those modifications are reflected in the report cards—in order to create a more consistent format for reporting on student success. The improved system, which also facilitates teachers’ input of data, will be fully accessible online in early March, making the information about students’ unit scores and other information about their progress more readily available to parents. Meanwhile, the newly formatted report cards in the elementary grades will be sent home on Friday, November 16, just ahead of the parent/teacher conferences beginning November 19.

Special recognition for this enormous programmatic and logistical undertaking goes to CSD’s Michelle Devino for all of her efforts and expertise!

For questions or comments, please contact CSD’s administrative offices at (802) 264-5999.

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