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

Ready … Set … Cook!

Allez cuisine!
—Chairman Kaga, original Iron Chef host

Wellness initiatives! They’re everywhere in our district!

Again this year, Colchester Middle School will send a team of creative culinary artists to the Jr. Iron Chef Vermont event at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction to compete with other middle school teams from across the state. The sixth-annual event will take place on February 2.

Loosely based upon the original Iron Chef 料理の鉄人 Japanese television cooking show, Jr. Iron Chef Vermont teams have very specific requirements for the competition and have only ninety minutes in which to prepare their creations for the judges. Teams cannot use any electric heating tool—including toaster ovens, hot plates, Crockpots/slow cookers, electric griddles, microwaves, and the like—in the preparation of their dishes. All entries—which be made into exact serving sizes—must also include a minimum of five seasonal Vermont ingredients; cannot contain nuts, meats, poultry, or fish; cannot be a dessert; and water is not provided.

Submissions—the recipes for which must be submitted and approved in advance and cannot be modified before the competition—will be judged on taste, presentation, creativity, best use of local ingredients, and level of appropriateness for replication in school cafeterias. The CMS Cougars’ submission—Vegetable Samosas with Beet Dip—has been heralded by Chef Curtiss Hemm in his blog Pink Ribbon Cooking. Chef Hemm has adapted the Cougars’ recipe for breast cancer patients. (How’s that for an accolade!)

Jr. Iron Chef Vermont is a statewide competition for students that is designed to provide hands-on experience preparing nutritious foods, and it is hosted by the Burlington School Food Project and Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED)—itself a farm-to-school program run in partnership with Food Works at Two Rivers Center, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, and Shelburne Farms. Jr. Iron Chef Vermont serves not only as a fun-filled and educational competition but also as a fundraiser for these Vermont farm-to-school programs; all of its proceeds directly support VT FEED’s programs. It also empowers students to collaborate with teachers, food service professionals, and local farmers to address the challenges of procuring nutritious food for our schools while simultaneously promoting lifelong healthy eating habits. It is an important wellness initiative … and wellness is supported by our community in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017.

Come one, come all to the Champlain Valley Exposition to support our students! The event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is $3 per individual or $5 per family.

Good luck, CMS Cougars!

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

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

What Do You Know About Your Water?

By polluting clear water with slime, you will never find good drinking water.
—Aeschylus

Water4

Do you know where your drinking water comes from and the path it takes from its source to your home? Do you know what happens to your water when it leaves your home?

At Porters Point School, students in Ms. Terrien’s class now have a much greater understanding of these concepts—and they even engineered water filtration systems—as a result of a fabulous guest presentation about water.

Doug Kievit-Kylar discusses water with PPS students.
Doug Kievit-Kylar discusses water with PPS students.

(Click here to view Mr. Kievit-Kylar’s lesson plan for the presentation.)

Actively engaging and challenging the students with inventive hands-on activities, Doug Kievit-Kylar, a compliance analyst with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Drinking Water Groundwater Protection Division, provided students with a much greater understanding of why water is so important. Tracing the path that water takes to the school, the students learned where the water for PPS comes from and where it goes when it leaves the building.

Water2

The critical learning component of the presentation involved groups of students working collaboratively to design simple mechanisms for cleaning a significant amount of various sediment deposits from a water solution. This is particularly important because developing greater awareness about conservation efforts—and developing hands-on solutions—helps our students collaborate with their local and global communities to address our intensifying ecological situation.

Please click here to see a video of Mr. Kievit-Kylar’s presentation and of the students’ enthusiastic participation in their learning.

Mr. Kievit-Kylar’s work with our students is another spectacular example of many of the pathways established in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, including Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners and Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners.

“I was really impressed with Meg [Ms. Terrien]; she has the classroom management down really well. The students were a joy—a pleasure—to be with, and that speaks well of the students, the teacher, and of the school,” Mr. Kievit-Kylar—himself a former teacher—said.

The Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 emphasizes the importance of high standards and expanded opportunities for our students along with innovative, flexible approaches with a commitment to excellence. The study of science is far more than simply the memorization of facts; it teaches us fundamental, transferable skills in observation, critical thinking, evaluating and analyzing results, making meaningful connections, developing sound processes, and presenting ideas in a clear manner. Science teaches us how to frame and pose intriguing questions. It helps us to become engaged, conscientious citizens. Aeronautics … medicine … electronics … engineering … environmental conservation … communications … it is indisputable that science and technology have revolutionized the world in many ways, and as such, the importance of studying and applying these disciplines is clearly evident. A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas and the Vermont Science Curriculum and Standards also speak to the importance of rigorous science instruction for students of all ages.

For more information about the water presentation, please call PPS at (802) 264-5920 or e-mail Ms. Terrien at terrienm@csdvt.org.

Macro of bamboo fountain at a Japanese temple in Kamakura, Japan.

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

Posted in Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Programs, Student Spotlight

What Do Spaghetti, Silent Auctions, Auditions, Music, and Our Students Have in Common?

Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them—a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.
—President Gerald Ford

We are proud of our students’ exceptional talent and the opportunities within our music programs!

Music_s

A number of Colchester Middle School students have been selected to participate in the Vermont District III Music Festival for seventh and eighth graders.

The festival—which will feature chorus, string, and band ensembles—includes student representatives from middle school music programs across the Champlain Valley. The participating CMS students were selected following their competitive audition performances, and as a result of their inclusion in ensembles consisting of the top music students from other schools’ programs, their own musical experiences will be enhanced and enriched.

Renee Brouillette, Claire Cameron, Jimmy Collins, Natalee Garen, Meghan Harbison, Erin Horton, Abby Ladd, Jerome Trudeau, Elysia Way, and Emily White will perform in the festival’s chorus.

Avery Finelli, Brenna McMannon, and Corinna Pilcher—all on violin—will perform in the string ensemble.

Josh Kalfus (on bassoon), Haley Kieny (on clarinet), Kristian Labrie (on percussion), and Connor Zwonik (on percussion) will perform with the festival’s band ensemble.

The festival will take place at Essex Middle School on Saturday, February 2 beginning at 2:00 p.m. Ticket availability is limited; those interested in attending are encouraged to visit the Vermont District II Music Festival website to check availability and/or order online.

And Colchester High School’s annual Spaghetti Soiree—a dinner serenaded by CHS musicians—will take place on Friday, February 8 in the CHS cafeteria … and this year, there will even be a silent auction featuring dozens of items generously donated by area organizations in support of the event, including such items as three-month family membership to the Edge, a four-hour sail on a thirty-foot racing sloop, photography and entertainment services, a one-night stay at the Essex, area restaurant and food gift cards, Lake Monsters tickets, and more.

Pasta_s

The dinner seatings will be at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.—$10 each for those age 12 and up and $6 each for those under age 12—and the proceeds will benefit CHS’s music programs, including upcoming student music trips. This event is very popular; pre-ordering of tickets is encouraged!

Those interested may also bid on items in advance of the Spaghetti Soiree; to do so, please contact Angela Zwonik at chsmusicfund@comcast.net or call (802) 655-7593.

For a complete list of items for auction, to learn more about purchasing tickets, and/or for all other information, please visit the Friends of Colchester Music website).

According to a variety of studies, music education boasts significant benefits for students, including enhanced standardized testing scores across an array of subject areas; decreasing disruptive behaviors; increasing focus, abstract reasoning, and spatial-temporal skills; improving self-discipline, cognitive development, and communication skills, and enhancing students’ creativity and intellectual curiosity, and more. Music participants have also been found to receive more academic honors and awards than non-music students.

Congratulations to our student musicians on their acceptance into the upcoming music festival!

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

Posted in General, Programs, Union Memorial School

Not Your Typical Book Discussion!

Readers at Union Memorial School have a fabulous way to engage with one another and to hone their analytical skills.

UMS librarian Judy Flanagan has spearheaded a fabulous program called Junior Great Books, a program of the Great Books Foundation. Junior Great Books encourages thoughtful discussion groups among the students about their reading in a setting that is specifically designed to foster equal participation. Moreover, the program serves to enhance students’ critical thinking about their reading, which focuses upon collections of both modern and classic literature.

UMS students engage in a book discussion
UMS students engage in a book discussion

Ms. Flanagan’s Junior Great Books program is an important component of UMS’s overall literacy instruction strategy, which includes an emergent reading program, a guided reading program, annual participation in the Red Clover event the Title I program, participation in special reading competitions, and more.

(To read our five-part primer on literacy, please click here.)

For more information about Junior Great Books, please call UMS at (802) 264-5959 or e-mail Ms. Flanagan at flanaganj@csdvt.org.

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

Posted in Community, General, Primer Series, Programs, Union Memorial School, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Beyond Mr. Yuk: DARE Officer Helping to Teach CSD Students Important Strategies for Staying Safe

Last year, we offered Part I and Part II of a primer entitled “Law Enforcement Presence in Our Schools and Why It Is Important,” and in that two-part primer, we discussed aspects of the DARE curriculum that is taught in our schools by specially trained members of law enforcement. The crux of that curriculum is a variety of ways to teach students about keeping themselves safe.

Colchester Police Department’s Corporal Fontaine, Colchester School District’s DARE officer, has been explaining strategies to students for identifying whether certain household items—cleaners, medications, and the like—are safe. Part of Corporal Fontaine’s strategy involves discussing different types of storage containers, various packaging labels, and where assorted household items are often stored in order to help students understand the differences between what is safe and what is best avoided.

This goes well beyond the Mr. Yuk of old.

Mr. Yuk, courtesy of Wikipedia
Mr. Yuk, courtesy of Wikipedia

Corporal Fontaine has also recently been working with students about various other strategies for staying safe. Here is a short video clip of a recent visit to Mrs. Howard’s class at Union Memorial School wherein Corporal Fontaine explains the Know! No! Go! Tell! strategy of personal safety for dealing with pressures from peers and adults in instances where students might be asked to do something harmful or unsafe.

The DARE curriculum is very extensive, and it includes interactive and age-appropriate education about a vast array of subjects, including decision making, information about where they can go for help for a variety of issues, methods and techniques for determining a person’s credibility, risks and consequences, maintaining responsibility and accountability for one’s actions, and a great deal more.

Partnering with Colchester Police Department for the benefit of our students in this way is another fabulous example of the ways in which CSD’s efforts speak directly to the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017—specifically with regard to Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners; Pathway F: Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners; and Pathway G: Town + School = One Vision.

For more information about DARE, please call Colchester Police Department at (802) 264-5556.

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

Posted in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Porters Point School, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

A Sneak Peek at Technology Integration

We are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don’t yet exist … in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.
—Karl Fisch

Young student with technology

As we have stressed in the past, Colchester School District’s ongoing efforts to increasingly integrate technology into its curriculum and instruction is a major priority; our community members explicitly identified it as a significant need in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, which, developed collaboratively with our community, stresses the importance of high standards and expanded opportunities for our students; technology and digital literacy to educate, engage, and inform the greater Colchester community; and innovative and flexible approaches with a commitment to excellence. Furthermore, the Vermont Technology Grade Expectations outline major focus areas in education, and among them are digital citizenship and technology operations and concepts.

And the great news is that our schools are making tremendous efforts to incorporate technology into curriculum as a means of further facilitating instruction and inspiring our students to actively engage in their academic experience from a very early age.

At Porters Point School, for example, members of Mrs. Belaski’s kindergarten classroom (you can view her classroom blog here) collaboratively created a book, and then—in a great mix of literacy and technology integration—the class members created an iMovie (a video editing software application) of their book using PPS’s inventory of iPads. (Click here to view the iMovie.)

In another excellent example of technology integration into curriculum, students in Ms. LaRose’s second-grade class (you can view her website here) explored mystery Skyping, an activity that allows classrooms to interact with other classrooms somewhere in the world using Skype technology, enabling students all over the nation and the world to learn about one another in an engaging and interactive way. Students in Ms. LaRose’s class prepared for their mystery Skying by brainstorming questions for the mystery classroom in order to try to discern its location, and, after obtaining the answers to their questions, the students conducted online research to narrow down the possibilities—eventually discovering that the mystery class with which they were Skyping was in Chicago.

Please click here to view a short video discussing the importance of technology integration into our students’ curriculum, particularly as it pertains to differentiated instruction and student engagement, and some of the ways that our schools are doing it.

Concerted and creative efforts to incorporate technology in the classroom in these and other creative ways speaks directly to our schools’ preparation for the new Common Core State Standards that will be fully implemented soon.

For more information, please call PPS at (802) 264-5920!

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

Posted in Colchester High School, Community, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Programs, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

Researching the Impact of Globalization Here and Around the World

glob·al·i·za·tion
noun
1. the act of globalizing, or extending to other or all parts of the world: the globalization of manufacturing.
2. worldwide integration and development: Globalization has resulted in the loss of some individual cultural identities.

Geography 1

A group of Colchester High School students in Ms. Wood’s geography class have recently completed an extensive research project on the impact of globalization in our community and around the world.

The juniors and seniors in the elective course began studying the impact of globalization upon developing countries before Thanksgiving and more recently identified local organizations with whom they conducted interviews in order to discover globalization’s impact in our own community.

The final result was a collaboratively written book incorporating elements of photojournalism and firsthand accounts demonstrating Colchester’s important global connections and the tremendous contributions that our greater community makes here and on a global scale. The students also prepared a gallery-style presentation to discuss their findings.

Cover art from the book collaboratively authored by students in Ms. Wood's geography class
Cover art from the book collaboratively authored by students in Ms. Wood’s geography class
A student discusses her learning with Principal Amy Minor
A student discusses her learning with Principal Amy Minor
A student discusses his learning with Humanities teacher Wayland Cole
A student discusses his learning with Humanities teacher Wayland Cole

Here are some student responses to the question “What geography do we miss out on when we do traditional research on a place?”

“After being in this class, I would really love to travel the world and see for myself the different cultures. I know so much about our world now that I feel if I go to the places, I’ll be able to get a different perspective on the topics I already know about. There is always so much more that I can learn.”

“Burlington is made up of many cultures that one might not think of, and it’s vital that people understand how diverse our community is, even if it’s very small. In order to remind people and inform them of the diversity in our community, it is our duty to create this book. I hope that by making this book, we can open people’s eyes to this diversity—like mine were opened by this project.”

“I think that you miss out on the passion and love that people have for their country. In an interview, you can see the emotions in a person’s face—you can read his or her body language—and it tells a whole lot more than what reading in a book or website will do for you.”

While using many important twenty-first-century skills, the students involved with the research project gained a critical understanding of the importance of a variety of research methodologies, particularly in establishing interpersonal connections and obtaining firsthand accounts.

“My students came to that realization by getting out into the community,” Ms. Wood said. “That really is the heart of the project: students seeing our community in a different way and being excited to share their new understandings.”

In addition to their realization of how many connections Colchester has in the global arena and the number of tremendous contributions our community makes to the nation and the world, many students learned how greater understanding can be obtained by extending beyond traditional research methods and capitalizing upon interpersonal connections in the community. (It is precisely these interpersonal connections in the community to which the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 so resolutely speaks, particularly in Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls and Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners. We are listening and working toward our community’s vision for our schools.)

Ms. Wood continued, “My students now realize that there is more to geography than just data and maps; it’s about personal stories. It’s hard to learn about some of these places just by reading, looking at pictures, and using the Internet. A major takeaway was the importance of a personal connection with a place they are studying.”

Geography 3

For more information, please see this class website about the project here. Please also feel free to call CHS at (802) 264-5700 or e-mail Ms. Wood (woodr@csdvt.org).

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

Posted in Accountability, Colchester High School, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Wellness

CSD and CPD’s K-9 Team Partnership in Action

As we announced on November 15, Colchester School District is partnering with Colchester Police Department’s K-9 unit as a proactive measure against drug use and distribution in our schools.

(To read the superintendent’s November 15 letter to the community about this initiative, please click here. You may also find Colchester School District’s School Search and Seizure Policy and Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Abuse Policy on our website.)

A K-9 team conducts a training exercise at Colchester High School
A K-9 team conducts a training exercise at Colchester High School

Accordingly, K-9 units recently conducted a training exercise at Colchester High School. This exercise was part of Colchester School District’s ongoing commitment to providing security for our schools.

K-9 units in the CHS lobby
K-9 units in the CHS lobby

Please contact our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999 with any questions.

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

Posted in Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Student Spotlight

Community Outreach and Giving Back—Students Leading the Charge

A group of Malletts Bay School’s Ospreys are serving as “Change Bandits” in this year’s Big Change Roundup to benefit programs and services at Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Vermont Children’s Hospital.

The annual fundraiser is a coin-collecting initiative, and some of the Ospreys are teaming up to help the effort reach its goal of $250,000. The student team leading the charge presented a proposal for helping hospitalized children early in the year, including conducting regular announcements, a Western-themed spirit day, and proactive coin collection—along with raffling donated goods they have collected—between now and March 11.

The Osprey Change Bandits leading the effort are Isabella S., Stephanie T., Jayme B., and Ally K.
The Osprey Change Bandits leading the effort are Isabella S., Stephanie T., Jayme B., and Ally K.

It is important to note just how active our students are in their community and the outreach initiatives into which they pour so much effort. Just a few examples of what Malletts Bay School students have done for their community include:

Students in every school in our district make it a point to get involved and give back.

For more information about any of these initiatives or to learn more about what our students are doing for their community, please feel free to contact us at any time!

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!

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

Important Budget Information

At the January 8 Colchester School Board meeting, Superintendent Waters presented a recommended budget for fiscal year 2014. That recommended budget can be found here.

The following materials were also presented to the school board for consideration:

You may also access all of this information directly from Colchester School District’s website here.

If you would like additional information, please contact our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999.

Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!