Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General

Heritage Celebration

As a follow-up to our March 20 article about the CHS Heritage Gallery, here are some fun photographs of our students sharing the results of their research with the community.

Many thanks to the more than one hundred people who attended!

Sophia Simkins
Sophia Simkins
Allison Pilcher and Hytham Mohamed
Allison Pilcher and Hytham Mohamed
Miranda Scoresome and Mikayla Racine
Miranda Scoresome and Mikayla Racine
Maggie McNeil and Pat McNeil
Maggie McNeil and Pat McNeil
CHS student Jake Dwinell
CHS student Jake Dwinell
Kendra, Cydney,  and Cierra Viens and Lindsay Lacross
Kendra, Cydney, and Cierra Viens and Lindsay Lacross
Example of projects
Example of projects
CHS student Libby Connors and community members view projects
CHS student Libby Connors and community members view projects
Ms. Gillard, Lindsay Henry, Hannah Rogers, and community members view projects
Ms. Gillard, Lindsay Henry, Hannah Rogers, and community members view projects

For more information, please call CHS at (802) 264-5700 or e-mail educators Katie Lenox (lenoxk@csdvt.org) and/or Sean MacArdle (macardles@csdvt.org).

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

Salsa!

Question: What roles do dance and music play in culture?

About eighty-five eighth-grade students in Meghan Tiernan Fisher’s Spanish classes at Colchester Middle School recently incorporated dancing lessons and Latin music into their study in order to help answer that question.

As a physically active way to learn more about the roles that dance and music play in culture, the students participated in a Latin dance and music unit. The CMS students are researching and teaching one another basic dance steps to a number of Latin dances, including the merengue, the tango, the cumbia, and the bachata. A highlight of this unit featured Salsa dancing with the help of instructor E. Victoria Moore of SalsaLina Dance Studio. Ms. Moore’s instruction was funded by a grant from CMS’s Partners in Education (PIE) group.

CMS students receive Salsa instruction as part of their study of Spanish culture
CMS students receive Salsa instruction as part of their study of Spanish culture

In addition to the dance lessons, the classes have been listening to music from around the Spanish-speaking world.

Your schools aspire to provide rich, meaningful, engaging learning opportunities for students, and they strive to provide continuity between them. In February, for instance, Colchester High School students in Spanish and ELL classes attended a production of ¡Flamenco Vivo! at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. And the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 has pathways that include Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; and Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners—all of which speak directly to this opportunity to learn about cultures.

For more information, please call CMS at (802) 264-5800, or e-mail Meghan Tiernan Fisher (tiernanfisherm@csdvt.org). You may also view her classroom blog.

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Posted in Colchester High School, General, Student Spotlight, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

You’ll Have to Get Up Early to Win a Debate with These Young Ladies

I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me; that’s not their job.
—Margaret Thatcher

Please join us in celebrating these talented students!

As we’ve discussed in previous CSD Spotlight articles (including this one published on January 9 of this year), Colchester High School’s participation in the Vermont Debate and Forensics League is winning our students considerable acclaim. Most recently, CHS students Lauren Hutchings and Summer Colley placed third in the Vermont 2013 Public Forum Debate State Tournament, going on to place second at the March 15 & 16 National Forensic League’s district tournament in Oneonta, New York, and qualifying for the national event in Birmingham, Alabama, later this year!

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CHS’s Summer Colley, Bob Hall, and Lauren Hutchings with their trophy from the Vermont 2013 Public Forum Debate State Tournament

“Nationals is going to be unlike anything we’ve done so far. We’re really going to have to spend a lot of time getting ready for that level of competition,” Lauren said.

“Being good isn’t going to be enough. We’re going to have to be perfect in everything—research, presentation, cross-fire …” Summer added.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, cultivating excellent debating skills is excellent preparation for life beyond high school. “For my money, debate is one of the best activities for college and life preparation,” said CHS’s Guidance department chair Bob Hall, who was recently named the Vermont Debate Coach of the Year. “Students develop many valuable twenty-first-century skills in debate, including research, collaboration, communication, public speaking, critical thinking, and problem-solving, rigorously tested by their peers in authentic settings.”

At the March 15 & 16 National Forensic League’s district tournament in Oneonta, New York, Lauren and Summer qualified for the June 16–21 NFL National Speech & Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, having secured one of two spots available with a 6–1 record. “This is the first time a CHS debate team has gone to nationals,” said Bob Hall.

“We’re going to just prepare as much as we can, do our best, and keep our fingers crossed for nationals,” Summer said.

“We’re lucky to have teachers willing to help us. Some have even volunteered to debate us to help us get ready,” said Lauren.

Summer Colley, Bob Hall, and Lauren Hutchins following the Iroquois District Tournament in Oeneata, New York
Summer Colley, Bob Hall, and Lauren Hutchings following the 2013 Iroquois National Forensics League District Tournament in Oneonta, New York

Why is debate important? As an example, it is fundamental in leadership and in policy making. (CHS senior Hanna Orselet participated in Girls State and Girls Nation last summer—a leadership program in which representatives engage in model state legislatures to debate issues and pass bills—and she met President Obama in the process.)

How does this relate to your school district’s mission? The Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways include Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; and Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners. We are working hard to provide powerful learning and growing opportunities for each and every student.

Fundraising efforts are under way to send the students to the national competition. If you are interested in helping these students to meet their fundraising goal of $5,000, checks can be made payable to CHS Debate c/o Colchester High School and sent to:

Colchester High School
131 Laker Lane
Colchester, VT 05446

Many, many thanks to the following organizations for their funding assistance in sending the students to the regional competition:

If you would like more information, please contact Bob Hall at (802) 264-5710, or e-mail him at hallb@csdvt.org.

Congratulations and good luck in Birmingham, Lauren and Summer!

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

From the Greek

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.
—Aristotle

At Malletts Bay School, students in Dawn Buswell’s fifth-grade class have recently wrapped up an extensive study of Greek mythology.

Part of the unit involved creating scrolls—written in Greek—and sharing and translating them with their peers.

An example of a scroll
An example of a scroll

The students did a great deal of reading and comparisons of versions of the same myth and also discussed how Greek mythology has been incorporated into many current books, including works by Rick Riordan and JK Rowling. Students also had a Greek spelling and vocabulary lesson, incorporating mythology into their own writing and creating writing pieces upon which handmade puppets were based.

Ms. Buswell wrapped up the mythology unit with a bit of Greek theater. The students offered performances on Midas, the story of Hermes, and the kidnapping of Persephone—dressed in togas and laurels.

As part of the technology integration of their work, students used iPads to conduct a short, focused research project on the Greek city-states and ancient Greek life. As part of this research, they argued and defended why they wished to live in a particular city-state.

Ms. Buswell feels strongly that the study of mythology is a particularly important component in the study of classic and modern literature. It is also helpful in the study of ancient culture as well as the study of the beginnings of Western civilization. “Besides exposing children to classic literature, I use the unit to reinforce the concepts of theme, conflict and resolution, and inferencing,” Buswell said. “We have three differentiated guided reading groups, but all students learn the major Olympians and their identifying myths, as well as the stories of Perseus, Theseus, Odysseus, Persephone, and Orpheus. Of course, no study of Greek mythology would be complete without Midas, Narcissus and Echo, Prometheus, or Pandora, just to name a few!”

For more information, please visit Ms. Buswell’s blog here! You may also call MBS at (802) 264-5900, or e-mail Dawn Buswell at buswelld@csdvt.org.

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

Celebrating Heritage

My heritage has been my grounding, and it has brought me peace.
—Maureen O’Hara

Colchester High School invites the community to the American Experience Heritage Gallery on Monday, March 25 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Colchester High School cafeteria and rooms 101–107.

The Heritage Gallery is the culminating event of an extensive project in which all tenth-grade students take part. Beginning with creating personal and historical timelines of events during their lives and conducting intergenerational interviews, the students write three vignettes after reading examples from Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street. In addition, the students most choose from other possible project components, including family recipes, town histories, heritage maps, and more. A scrapbook compilation of their work designed to be handed down in the future rounds out the students’ experience.

Among the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways are Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway B: Technology Infrastructure and Integration; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners; and Pathway G: Town + School = One Vision. We invite the community to share in student work that encompasses all of these pathways.

Sharing the results of their exploration with the community is an important aspect of the project. Please join us. Snacks, juice, and coffee will be served.

For more information, please call CHS at (802) 264-5700 or e-mail educators Katie Lenox (lenoxk@csdvt.org) and/or Sean MacArdle (macardles@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 Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, Community, General

Calling All Community Artists!

CHS student artwork
CHS student artwork

As part of the celebration of the Town of Colchester’s 250th Anniversary (1763–2013), Colchester School District’s art teachers invite one and all to enter the Lighthouse Project art contest. (Please click here to view a flier about the contest.)

Art 2 013_1

Community members are invited to create a work of art in any media depicting the Colchester Reef Lighthouse—or any lighthouse—and deliver it to Anne Cummings at Colchester High School by April 17, 2013. (To view a photograph of the lighthouse and to learn more about its history, click here.)

CMS students with their artwork "Four-Season Tree." The pair worked on the piece nearly every day for four months.
CMS students with their artwork “Four-Season Tree.” The pair worked on the piece nearly every day for four months.

And are you cleaning out your attics and garages to get ready for spring? Maybe you can help Colchester Middle School’s art department give new life to old wooden chairs that you no longer want!

How?

Students are studying the works of Monet, Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Grant Wood, René Magritte, Picasso, Kandinsky, and many others, and art educator William Albright is seeking folding wooden chairs that will be repaired and painted using techniques mimicking the styles of many of these famous artists. The chairs will be auctioned off at the Colchester School District Art Show later this year, and all proceeds will benefit CMS arts opportunities. Anyone wishing to donate chairs may drop them off at CMS during school hours, and Mr. Albright can be reached at (802) 264-5800 or by e-mail at albrightw@csdvt.org for any questions. (To view some examples of ideal wooden chair donations, please click here.)

Colchester Middle School students display their award-winning interpretations of peace
Colchester Middle School students display their award-winning interpretations of peace

CSD students’ artwork was recently on display as part of the Champlain Valley Regional Art Show, and some of our artists have won significant acclaim for their work in recent years.

CHS student artwork
CHS student artwork

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Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Programs, Union Memorial School, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

A Spectacular Artist-In-Residence Program Offers a Trip to Japan Without Leaving CSD!

What a fabulous opportunity!

Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways include Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners and Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners. This year, the Union Memorial School PTO has sponsored the school’s triennial artist-in-residence program—Taiko drumming with Stuart Paton, founder of Burlington Taiko!

This incredible artist-in-residence program opportunity—culminating with a school-wide performance on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the community theater at Colchester High School—offers students an introduction to a creative outlet, is designed to further their understanding and appreciation of other cultures, and has been a long-anticipated and proud school-wide interdisciplinary effort. In addition to the weeklong work with Stuart Paton:

If you would like to view a short video about the artist-in-residence program at Union Memorial School, please click here!

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Sensei Paton demonstrates for a student
Sensei Paton demonstrates for a student
A student peeks into a drum
A student peeks into a drum

Looking through_s

Hands out_s

Sensei Paton works with a group of students
Sensei Paton works with a group of students

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Remember, the culminating school-wide performance will take place on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the community theater at Colchester High School!

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Posted in Community, General, Other Important Information, Porters Point School, Union Memorial School

It’s Time to Register for Kindergarten!

Kindergarten_s

It is that time of year again—time to register for kindergarten! This registration is for children who will attend public kindergarten in Colchester during the 2013/2014 school year. Children must be five years old before September 1, 2013.

Kindergarten Registration
May 2013

The Colchester School District will be registering new kindergarten students on the following days:

Porters Point School

May 7—9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

               12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

                3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

May 8—9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

              12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

May 9—9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Union Memorial School

May 13—9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

                 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

May 14—9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

                12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

                  3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Kindergarten Parent Information Night

Porters Point School: May 2 at 6:30 p.m.
Union Memorial School: May 9 at 6:30 p.m.

At the time of registration, you must bring the following items:

  • Immunization Records – Please get a copy now from your child’s doctor and bring it with you at the time of registration. This information is required by the Vermont Department of Health.
  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of Residency
One of the following documents is required to verify residency in Colchester, Vermont.

OR

Two of the following documents are required to verify residency in Colchester, Vermont.
  • A current property tax bill
  • Current mortgage papers/closing statement showing a Colchester address and the name of the legal parent/guardian, or custodian
  • Formal lease showing the name, address, and telephone number of the landlord; Colchester address and name of lessee
  • A notarized letter from the landlord stating the address of the residence being leased and the name(s) of the lessee(s) with the landlord’s address and telephone number
  • Valid Vermont driver’s license with Colchester address
  • Valid Vermont non-driver ID with Colchester address
  • Current utility bill in your name, with Colchester address
  • Valid public aid card
  • Bank statement for last or current month (financial information omitted) with Colchester address

Your child will accompany you on the date and time of the appointment, as they will take part in a two-hour screening.

For your convenience, this information is also available on CSD’s website.

Appointments are required.

Please call Porters Point School now at (802) 264-5920 to schedule an appointment.

Please call Union Memorial School in April at (802) 264-5959 to schedule an appointment.

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, General, Malletts Bay School, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

It Was a Lucky Day

Clover_s

A recent event in one of our schools speaks to a number of the points in the Positive Core of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, including:

• Our community cares for its young people;
• The parents are involved in the schools;
• We have responsible and respectful students; and
• We have invested and talented employees.

Malletts Bay School—in collaboration with the National Honor Society, the MBS PTO, and the MBS Unified Arts team—recently hosted a Lucky Day Carnival and dance party for more than two hundred students.

Nearly a month of planning went into the carnival extravaganza. Principal Julie Benay and the MBS physical education teachers organized carnival-style games, including Ramp-O-Rama, Pin the Hat on the Leprechaun, bowling for leprechauns, a bean bag toss, a leprechaun costume contest, and more. Eleven members of Colchester High School’s National Honor Society students ran the games for the MBS Ospreys, while Sheila Clark’s fifth graders demonstrated Irish dancing that they learned in music class, and Jenny Bittner organized face painting and crafts. The MBS PTO provided decorations, music, prizes, and a snack bar.

It was an evening of physically active, tech-free fun for the students, which also speaks to the district’s wellness initiatives (you can read the district’s wellness blog here).

Fifth graders demonstrating Irish dance
Fifth graders demonstrating Irish dance
Face painting
Face painting
Games galore
Games galore
Principal Benay and the MBS Osprey
Principal Benay and Oscar the MBS Osprey

The event also raised three boxes of food for the Colchester Community Food Shelf.

Why is this important?

We talk a great deal about the many ways in which our school communities and our greater community support one another, and it is really important because community spirit has a snowballing effect; when our community members see our students making substantial efforts, they are more likely to support our students … and when our students feel supported, they are more likely to give back. The entire community benefits when everyone commits to making ongoing positive contributions. For many people, the term community simply boils down to a feeling—a feeling of camaraderie, of shared vision, of similar desires for the present and hopes for the future.

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, Porters Point School, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Mystery Panda Makes Surprise Appearance

When Porters Point School’s physical educator, Paul Pecor, learned that there was a mysterious jump-roping panda in our community—just in time to coincide with his school-wide Jump Rope for Heart initiative, he devised a clever way to coax the panda into the school.

Mr. Pecor lures the panda to PPS with a tasty snack of bamboo
Mr. Pecor lures the panda (yes, it’s really a panda—work with us here) to PPS with a tasty snack of bamboo

(Pandas love bamboo!)

Since the PPS Pandas have been participating in the national Jump Rope for Heart annual event, which not only promotes physical activity and heart-healthy living but also raises money for the American Heart Association—supporting research and public education about heart-related health—Mr. Pecor thought that the mystery panda might be able to help inspire the students. After all, the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 includes Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners and Pathway F: Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.

The mystery panda—having not jumped any rope to speak of in nearly twenty-five years—was a bit rusty. Here is a brief video of the sighting.

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Kiddos2_s

Kiddo3_s

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It may come as a surprise to some, but jump roping is a competitive international sport, and there are demonstration teams all across the country and around the world. Just a few examples include the Ohio-based Comet Skippers, the Colorado-based JumpNRope, Ltd., the Washington-based Ropeworks, the Texas-based USA Jump Rope, the West Virginia–based Jump Company USA, World Jump Rope, FISAC–IRSF, and many more. There is even a jump rope demonstration team right here in Vermont … called the Vernon Tornadoes at Vernon Elementary School. In addition to all of that, jump roping—especially synchronized jump roping or collaborative jumping with multiple ropes and props—teaches clear communication, sportsmanship, excellent cooperation, trust building, and how to function as a collective unit in which every participant is vitally important. (There are some great videos on these websites if you would like to see some truly fancy footwork—footwork performed by those who do not need to be coaxed with the promise of tasty bamboo and by those who actually still actively jump on a regular basis.)

For more information, please call PPS at (802) 264-5920, or e-mail Paul Pecor at pecorp@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!