Posted in Accountability, Colchester Middle School, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Personnel

Important Message from Colchester School District

Dear Colchester parents and community members,

Because of a Colchester Middle School teacher’s recent actions resulting in alleged animal cruelty, she has been charged with a misdemeanor and issued a citation to appear in Vermont Superior Court.

We wish to express that the situation, which is currently under investigation, is deeply disappointing. Please know that the teacher has been removed from service pending further investigation and a decision regarding any additional disciplinary action.

While questions relating to the criminal charges should be directed to Colchester Police Department at (802) 264-5556, if you wish to express comments or concerns, they may be conveyed to Superintendent Larry Waters at watersl@csdvt.org. Please reach out to us at any time.

Posted in Colchester High School, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Programs

CHS Sends Twenty Delegates to Model UN Conference

Twenty Colchester High School students in Jim Price’s International Politics/UN class journeyed to the University of Southern Maine’s Gorham campus to participate in the Maine Model United Nations Conference 2013 (MeMUNC) May 14–16.

CHS delegates to the conference
CHS delegates to the Maine Model United Nations Conference 2013

The Model UN at the University of Southern Maine is the largest of its kind in New England, supporting approximately six hundred students from more than twenty-five different schools. The event is developed and organized by International Studies scholars at the University of Southern Maine as part of their final projects. This was CHS’s tenth year of participation in this MeMUNC event. CHS’s student government and the local Rotary Club provided financial support, and students raised more than $500 to facilitate their attendance at the event, as well. The students in the International Politics/UN class acquire significant knowledge about twentieth-century wars as well as the wars’ resulting complexities, which is helpful for their involvement with MeMUNC.

Preparing for all aspects of the event required a great deal of work; students researched not only the current issues of their assigned countries but also those countries’ positions on those issues. They also learned conflict resolution skills, debating rules and procedures, how to write resolutions, how to write position papers, proper parliamentary procedure, and much more. At the conference, delegates were divided up and dispersed into different committees across the campus representing their assigned countries’ interests and debating relevant issues.

In an effort to promote ecological sustainability, the University of Southern Maine powered the conference—including the electricity required for the dorms, dining facilities, and meeting spaces—with wind power generated on a Maine farm. They also purchased energy credits in order to offset the carbon used by students traveling to attend the conference.

For more information about CHS’s involvement in Model UN, please contact Jim Price at (802) 264-5700 or by e-mail at pricej@csdvt.org.

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

Honoring and Remembering

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
—Joseph Campbell

Artwork created by MBS students for Memorial Day
Artwork created by MBS students for Memorial Day

Porters Point School, Union Memorial School, and Malletts Bay School recently hosted all-school assemblies in honor of Memorial Day.

At Porters Point School, keynote speaker Vermont Air National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Palmer, a pilot who commands the 158th Operations Support Flight, addressed the students about the history of Memorial Day, what it means to him personally as a current military serviceman, and why it is important to all Americans—especially to our country’s servicemen and women. He then read the US Air Force’s Flag Folding Ceremony speech, and he and his family performed a formal unfolding of the flag, talked about what the symbols and colors signify, and formally folded the flag back up.

Colonel Palmer and his family demonstrate proper folding of the US flag
Colonel Palmer and his family demonstrate proper folding of the flag

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“It was my honor and pleasure to speak briefly with them about how lucky we all are to live in such a wonderful place, in such a great country, and for us to give thanks to the men and women who made it all possible!” Lt. Col. Palmer said.

The PPS Pandas said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Grand Old Flag,” “America the Beautiful,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” First-grade students also recited a poem called “Memorial Day.”

To a recessional of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” members of the American Legion presented each student with an American flag.

At Union Memorial School, students sang a number of songs, including UMS’s school song “Glad to be Here,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” and “This Land is Your Land.”

Darlene Mulcahy’s kindergarten class led the school in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Erin Sorenson’s first-grade class shared the meaning of the pledge with the school, and Sherry Thibault’s second-grade class shared a poem called “Memorial Day.”

First graders explain the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance
First graders explain the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance

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Second graders read a poem at the assembly
Second graders read a poem at the assembly

Guest speaker Barbara Bushaw with the American Legion Post 91 Color Guard talked with the students about Memorial Day, important symbolism, and why the holiday is meaningful.

American Legion Post 91's Barbara Bushaw addresses the students
American Legion Post 91’s Barbara Bushaw addresses the students

Marty McRae concluded the ceremony with “Taps.”

Beloved bus driver and former music teacher Marty McRae performs "Taps" at the assembly
Beloved bus driver and former music teacher Marty McRae performs “Taps” at the assembly

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At Malletts Bay School, US Army Sargeant Casto addressed the students about the purpose of Memorial Day and shared his personal reflections about some of the men with whom he has served.

Sargeant Casto addresses Malletts Bay School at the Memorial Day event
Sargeant Casto addresses Malletts Bay School at the Memorial Day event

The MBS chorus and band performed patriotic pieces for the assembly, and a number of students read their poems about peace.

Student 1
Jayme Baldwin: “Deep inside, you’ll find respect, friendliness.”
Student 2
Stephanie Trepanier: “It’s your world; treat it gently. It’s your choice; make the right one.”
Student 3
Isabella Seissen: “When I think of peace, I hear people saying, ‘Sorry.’ I hear people saying, ‘I love you.’ I hear people saying, ‘Let’s make up.'”
Student 4
Kevin Coryer: “Peace brings family. Peace brings hope. Peace brings love.”
Student 5
Bobby Genest: “Peace can warm your heart.”

Colchester Middle School seventh grader Thomas Colgrove and eighth grader Nikoli Holly played “Taps” on trumpet at the MBS Memorial Day ceremony.

CMS students playing "Taps"
CMS students playing “Taps”

These were important events as our school community honored and remembered those for whom this holiday was instituted. We deeply appreciate all of our community members who joined with us to make these events especially meaningful.

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Posted in Colchester Middle School, Employee Spotlight, General, Grants, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

NFL Alum Helps Honor CSD for Commitment to Healthy School Meals

Colchester School District’s director of nutrition and food services, Steve Davis, was honored by the New England Dairy & Food Council with Vermont’s Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisor of the Year award—and National Football League alum Lamar Mills was on hand to help celebrate and to encourage students to live healthy lifestyles.

CSD’s food service program has been steadily making impressive improvements in recent years all while battling rising global food costs. Using Fuel Up to Play 60 grant funds, Davis introduced a smoothie bar to the school lunch program as well a grab-and-go breakfast station at CMS, offering students a nutritious start to the day. “We’re excited to recognize the leadership of Steve for his innovative approach to making healthy changes that benefit the school meals program,” said New England Dairy & Food Council nutrition specialist Jill Goodroe.

(To read the formal press release from the New England Dairy & Food Council about the award, please click here.)

Lamar Mills helped to present the award to Davis and also engaged the students in discussion about the many benefits of optimal nutrition and regular exercise.

Lamar Mills, Steve Davis, and New England Dairy & Food Council's Jill Goodroe
Lamar Mills, Steve Davis, and New England Dairy & Food Council’s Jill Goodroe
Lamar Mills talks with CMS students at the assembly
Lamar Mills talks with CMS students at the assembly
CMS students at the assembly
CMS students at the assembly
Signing autographs for students
Signing autographs for students
Interview with the Cougar Chronicle staff
Interview with the Cougar Chronicle staff
CMS students pose with Lamar Mills
CMS students pose with Lamar Mills
CMS administrators with Lamar Mills
CMS administrators with Lamar Mills

“I love doing this,” Mills said of his involvement with the campaign to encourage wellness among young people. “I love to help and to give back to the community, because I was helped growing up.”

To see the WCAX coverage of the event, please click here.

Wellness is a major component of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017. Your schools are making it a high priority!

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

PPS Students Walk to Virginia!

Well, okay, not literally, but the 238 student participants in Porters Point School’s May 13–17 walkathon—97 percent of the school population!—logged an astounding 5,890 laps … 589 miles!

That is the distance from Colchester, Vermont, to Culpeper, Virginia (see the map here):

The distance between Colchester, VT, and Culpeper, VA, is 589 miles ... the same number of miles collectively walked by PPS students during their walkathon
The distance between Colchester, VT, and Culpeper, VA, is 589 miles … the same number of miles collectively walked by PPS students during their walkathon

… or the distance from Colchester, Vermont, to Parma, Ohio (see the map here)!

The 589 miles walked by the PPS Pandas is also approximately the distance between Colchester, VT, and OH
The 589 miles walked by the PPS Pandas is also approximately the distance between Colchester, VT, and Parma, OH

Staff members and parents also participated in the week-long walkathon event, which took place during students’ recesses. A 0.1-mile loop was marked off around the PPS property, and students tracked the number of laps they walked by collecting popsicle sticks as they completed each one.

PPS students participating in the walkathon
PPS students participating in the walkathon

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Students collect popsicle sticks to track the number of laps completed
Students collect popsicle sticks to track the number of laps completed

To celebrate this fantastic achievement, PPS recently hosted a beach-themed party. Staff decorated the cafeteria, and students were encouraged to dress up for the event—including leis distributed by PPS.

PPS celebrated its walkathon success with a beach-themed celebration
PPS celebrated its walkathon success with a beach-themed celebration

And for a bit of additional tropical-themed fun, the food service team offered pineapple samples to everyone.

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Wellness is a major component of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017. Your schools work hard to create engaging and meaningful opportunities for students to explore wellness in exciting ways.

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Posted in Colchester High School, General, Malletts Bay School, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Two Schools, Two Recipes … Lots of Fun

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
—Mahatma Gandhi

Students in a Colchester High School health class recently prepared fresh tomato salsa and peach-pineapple salsa and then teamed up with students at Malletts Bay School to conduct taste tests. Fun!

The results? Out of 324 MBS Ospreys surveyed, 195 of them liked the fresh tomato salsa, and 118 liked the peach-pineapple salsa.

This MBS Osprey approves of the CHS salsa
This MBS Osprey approves of this salsa sample

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(The CHS health class also recently spent time at Shelburne Farms as part of their study; if you missed that article, you can read it here. And you can find a comprehensive discussion about this health class and its objectives here.)

CHS students serving up the salsa samples with a smile
CHS students Devan Chambers and Brona Kilburn serving up the salsa samples with a smile

(To see more pictures of the students, please visit Ms. Laquerre’s “Food: From Soil to Stomach” class blog here.)

CSD’s food service team collaborated with our students, and not for the first time. Students in this class have been invited to work alongside the CHS kitchen staff in the past, and MBS students have conducted taste tests in past years, as well. All five schools work to build upon the existing positive momentum and to implement additional improvements; students’ voices are heard, and our personnel demonstrate that they respect input from people of all ages and welcome partnerships in the true spirit of progress.

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This exploration and discovery speaks directly to some of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways, including Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners; and Pathway F: Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.

For more information, please contact CHS at 264-5700 or e-mail Melanie Laquerre (laquerrem@csdvt.org).

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

What Is School Calendar 2.0?

Have you heard about School Calendar 2.0?

Under Vermont law, the Champlain Valley Superintendents—part of the Vermont Superintendents Association (VSA)—are responsible for establishing a uniform school calendar for the region. The organization wishes all community members to share their opinions about the proposed revised school calendar, School Calendar 2.0, that is intended to better support students and their learning. For a slideshow about School Calendar 2.0 and to see a .pdf of what the proposed calendar looks like, please click here.

Watch

Essentially, the revised calendar would mean that students would return to school a week earlier in August, leave a school a week later in June, and have additional vacation time—with optional remedial instruction—scheduled throughout the year. The driving idea behind the proposed calendar is to minimize learning regression over a long summer recess while also allowing for additional time throughout the year for students and teachers to rejuvenate.

At this time, Colchester School District does not have a formal position on School Calendar 2.0.

To read a Burlington Free Press article that also discusses the proposed calendar, please click here. For a brief article about it from WPTZ News Channel 5, please click here.

Opportunities to provide feedback and input about Calendar 2.0—which are expected to range from community forums to online surveys—will be available on the School Calendar 2.0 website as they become available.

For more information, or to share your thoughts about School Calendar 2.0 with our administrators, please contact our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999, or e-mail Superintendent Larry Waters at watersl@csdvt.org.

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Posted in Colchester High School, Community, Employee Spotlight, General, Personnel, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Wellness Initiatives Are Not Just for Our Students

For the eighth consecutive year, a number of Colchester High School employees recently ran in the thirtieth-annual Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race in Montpelier. The five-kilometer event benefits programs and events of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Colchester High School's faculty and staff Zach Kramer, Morgan Samler, Sean MacArdle, Steve Fiske, Beth Albright, Maureen Gillard, Chris Lang, Andrea Boehmcke, and Danielle Grise at the Vermont Corporate Cup race in Montpelier on May 16.
Colchester High School’s faculty and staff Zach Kramer, Morgan Samler, Sean MacArdle, Steve Fiske, Beth Albright, Maureen Gillard, Chris Lang, Andrea Boehmcke, and Danielle Grise at the Vermont Corporate Cup race in Montpelier on May 16.

Colchester School District takes wellness efforts seriously. Our vision and strategic plan speaks to it, and we are responding in kind both in and out of the classroom. We are committed to health and wellness for our students and community members every day. Please join us!

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

A Rail Car, A Steamship, Some Sleighs … How Experiential Learning Benefits Students

Mark Houle, Audry Houle, Molly Dickin, Jordyn Thayer, Ashley O’Kane, and Hannah Spence in front of the Ticonderoga at the Shelburne Museum
Mark Houle, Audry Houle, Molly Dickin, Jordyn Thayer, Ashley O’Kane, and Hannah Spence in front of the Ticonderoga at the Shelburne Museum

Colchester High School tenth-grade students recently made a pilgrimage to Shelburne Museum as part of their American Experience classwork.

CHS sophomores Kiera Mulcahy, Alex Richard, Mikayla Racine, Miranda Scorsome, and Annie Meadows
CHS sophomores Kiera Mulcahy, Alex Richard, Mikayla Racine, Miranda Scorsome, and Annie Meadows

Students in the CHS American Experience class—which combines the study of US history and American literature in three historical periods—participate in the annual Shelburne Museum visits as a way to gain a hands-on perspective of what they learn in the classroom.

Roz Calderon Paige Shepard, Jenn McNall, Hannah Echo, Anna Senft-Miller, and Haley Mock at Shelburne Museum
Roz Calderon
Paige Shepard, Jenn McNall, Hannah Echo, Anna Senft-Miller, and Haley Mock at Shelburne Museum

Shelburne Museum’s vast collection boasts an impressive assortment of primary-source documents and interesting artifacts that directly relate to the historical and literary topics the students study as part of the class. Making real-world connections to abstract classroom learning is important because doing so often piques student engagement and attention—thus encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and enhancing learning.

Sophomores Dakota Loring, Alex Corrigan, and Tony Spillane
Sophomores Dakota Loring, Alex Corrigan, and Tony Spillane

Field trips often serve to strengthen students’ observational skills and allow them to become more actively engaged in their learning, providing additional sensory activities and expanding their curiosity.

Cady Dubuque and Gabrielle Rancoud-Guillon
Cady Dubuque and Gabrielle Rancoud-Guillon

They also create an extension of the classroom—and that speaks directly to Pathway C of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, which states:

“We wish to ensure an academic environment in which real-world relevancy meets the classroom. This environment must:

  • be experiential;
  • provide internships and community service within the building and the community;
  • complement and enrich classroom learning; and
  • move beyond physical and structural confines.”
 Lori Brunelle and Jennifer Butler with sophomores Sam Brunelle, Mychaela White, and Brooke Walton

Lori Brunelle and Jennifer Butler with sophomores Sam Brunelle, Mychaela White, and Brooke Walton

For more information about the American Experience curriculum, please contact Colchester High School at (802) 264-5700, or e-mail CHS teacher Katie Lenox (lenoxk@csdvt.org).

Steven Sonntag, Zoe Ladensack, Morgan Bayko, and Sophie Joyce
Steven Sonntag, Zoe Ladensack, Morgan Bayko, and Sophie Joyce
Allison Davis, Tim Lewis, Maggie McNeil, Megan Severance, and Sarah Campbell
Allison Davis, Tim Lewis, Maggie McNeil, Megan Severance, and Sarah Campbell

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

“In Shape and In Season” Program Was a Great Success

The In Shape and In Season program—a proud health and wellness initiative we strategized that was generously funded through a $11,760 grant from Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Community Benefit Fund—has drawn to a close, and it was a hugely successful venture.

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In Shape and In Season was designed to make steps toward reducing childhood malnutrition and childhood obesity. It was strategically developed to serve as a collaborative, family-based, multidisciplinary approach to nutrition and wellness that incorporated:

  • 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.

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The foundation of the program was the idea that, through 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 more likely to make healthier food choices if they are already familiar with healthy food, and they are also more likely to regularly exercise if they are encouraged to do so—resulting in a lifelong impact on their health and well-being. Furthermore, nutrition has been shown to be a critical component of optimal child development and academic performance … and that education about and access to nutritious food choices is an integral part of best positioning students for healthy and successful lives.

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When designing the program, Porters Point School Principal Jim Marshall amassed a dynamic team of respected professionals to ensure its success; experts in nutrition (registered dietitian and professional chef Deana Novembrino) and childhood obesity (the University of Vermont’s Dr. Connie Tompkins) as well as Hunger Free Vermont’s “the Learning Kitchen” all contributed to the program. In addition, a team of UVM master of nutrition and food sciences students helped to educate the program’s participants about the important long-term benefits of healthy eating, and exercise and movement science students worked with participants to explore a variety of family-friendly physical activities in order to encourage regular exercise in everyday life.

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The program was comprehensive, consisting of a summer series and follow-up sessions in fall, winter, and spring. (To view a short video from the first session, which took place on July 23, click here.)

It provided nutritious ingredients for preparation at home and informational take-home recipe booklets to the participants, incorporated child-friendly recipes in order to encourage child participation, offered education about ways in which entire families can be physically active together, provided on-site child care to facilitate parent participation, hosted family-style dinners with the participants immediately following the cooking classes, provided additional professional training for CSD’s food service professionals—which in turn benefited the school district’s meal offerings for the entire school community—and more.

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The program also aligned beautifully with a number of the pathways described in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017.

As part of the grant-funded program, participants received a gift of a professional sauce pan, measuring spoons, a chef knife, measuring cups, a meat thermometer, and a knife sharpener.
As part of the grant-funded program, participants received a gift of a professional sauce pan, measuring spoons, a chef knife, measuring cups, a meat thermometer, and a knife sharpener.


We are very proud of the work that was done throughout the program and for all of its successes! Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed!

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