Posted in Accountability, Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, District Office, General, Malletts Bay School, Other Important Information

Important Information about AYP

Federal regulations under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (you can read our two-part primer about NCLB here) require school districts and supervisory unions to notify parents when any of their schools have been identified for not meeting the requirements for student performance. Accordingly, we inform you that Malletts Bay School, Colchester Middle School, and Colchester High School have been identified in one or more subgroups for not making the necessary progress, or Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), in reading and/or math.

Accordingly, a plan for improvement in each school that is unique, represents fundamental reform, and raises student achievement is being developed.

It is important to note that 73 percent of schools in Vermont did not make AYP this year. In fact, based upon NECAP results and local data, many of our schools exceed the state average in reading, math, writing, and science as well as those of other schools in Chittenden County.

Please click here to read a letter from Superintendent Waters concerning our schools and AYP.

If you have any questions regarding the status of our schools or the process for improvement, please contact Superintendent Waters at (802) 264-5999, or contact the building principals.

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

Meeting of the Minds: School Board and Selectboard Team Up

Recently, the Colchester School Board and the Town of Colchester Selectboard sat down together to talk about a number of ideas that could benefit all of Colchester.

Teamwork

From the meeting about a wide variety of topics, two primary discussions emerged, both of which would involve a high level of amicable, mutually beneficial collaboration between the school district and the town government.

The first point was the possibility of a new community center for all Colchester citizens—specifically, possible locations for it and whether a school district–owned parcel of land adjacent to Bayside Park might be an optimal choice. Would there be interest in engaging in a discussion about such an arrangement? Indeed, there would be; the school board would be pleased to entertain that discussion and what it could mean for the two organizations and for Colchester citizens.

construction - roofing chaos.

The second major theme was the possibility of shared information technology resources and personnel between Colchester School District and the Town of Colchester. Would there be interest in engaging in a discussion about such an arrangement? Again, the answer on both sides was a resounding yes.

IT Partnership_sS

Both of these ideas—as well as others, including that of potentially relocating the school district’s administrative offices to the town office building to conserve costs—were discussed at the recent meeting in very general, preliminary terms; with regard to a community center on school district property, both the Colchester voters and the State of Vermont would need to approve such an arrangement after a myriad of logistics and finer points were carefully worked out. Similarly, regarding the sharing of information technology personnel and resources, a number of elements would first need to be determined and orchestrated. What is clear, however, is that the organizations are making considerable progress in opening the dialogue and in collaborating much more closely—goals that are clearly affirmed in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, the Town of Colchester’s Heritage Project, and the Town of Colchester’s Economic Development Action Plan. Specifically, one strategy in Heritage Plan is to “combine resources wherever legally possible” and to “maximize the impact of the town/school resources.” Similarly, language in the aforementioned documents refers to the need for implementing a sustainable direction forward for the community and to “integrate community services and education at all levels for the purpose of educating all citizens.”

The July 1 announcement of the communications collaboration between the two organizations is another example of these efforts, as are a number of other examples of district-town collaboration that have provided mutual benefit to the community, including:

  • sharing space and equipment in the Public Works Department garage
  • sharing phone system, fiber-optic, and voice mail installations and services
  • the construction of the Colchester Rescue building on school district property
  • the sharing of buildings, fields, and facilities for recreation programs

While these conversations are just beginning, they are indicative of the positive and collaborative spirit embraced by both organizations for the benefit of Colchester, and we celebrate them. Please stay tuned as we grow and expand upon these and future themes and initiatives. Your schools, your town, your news!

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Community, General, Town of Colchester

UPDATE: 2013 Muck It Up Race Has Been Cancelled

The 2013 Muck It Up Sprint Adventure Race announced in our August 9 article that was scheduled for September 14 has been cancelled.

While there was some interest in the event, insufficient numbers registered before the deadline. “We only had seven teams registered, and we needed a minimum of fifteen to logistically and financially administer an enjoyable, challenging race,” said Assistant Director Derek Mitchell.

All teams/individuals who have already registered will be issued a full refund.

The Colchester Parks and Recreation Department sincerely thanks everyone who expressed interest in Muck It Up this year, and as the staff are committed to evaluating how to engineer a more attractive event next year, they encourage and welcome any feedback our community members would like to offer; please contact them at (802) 264-5640, or e-mail Derek Mitchell at dmitchell@colchestervt.gov.

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Videos

Rain Doesn’t Soak the Fun at the MBS & CMS Back-to-School BBQ

About two hundred community members cheerfully splashed their way through liquid sunshine to gather for a celebratory joint Malletts Bay School and Colchester Middle School back-to-school barbecue on August 22.

Not to be deterred by a bit (well, okay, a lot) of rain, the revelers flocked to CMS’s cafeteria, where CSD’s food service team had prepared a spread that included contributions from school gardens.

Longtime residents as well as some families who are brand new to Colchester came out for the event. To watch a video and photograph compilation of the barbecue, please click here!

Many, many thanks to everyone who attended! We’re looking forward to a fantastic school year.

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in General, Other Important Information

Introducing Power Announcement!

We are pleased to introduce the district’s new notification system—Power Announcement!

Power Announcement, which replaces the AlertNow notification system, comes at a significant cost savings to the district while more fully integrating with the district’s PowerSchool data management system (to read our two-part primer about PowerSchool, please click here).

Throughout the year, the district will use Power Announcement to notify parents about emergency situations, school delays or cancellations due to inclement weather, and other school news. Utilizing voice, SMS text, and e-mail, we can send thousands of messages instantly and reliably using this notification system.

Please note: It is very important that we have current contact information—particularly telephone numbers and e-mail addresses—for all of our students’ parents at all times. Please partner with us to ensure that we always have the most up-to-date contact information for your family! We ask that all parents and guardians contact their child’s or children’s school(s) to update e-mail addresses and phone numbers whenever there is a change; it is through these channels that we are able to most expediently contact all parents and guardians in the event of important updates.

If you would like more information, we are happy to help you; please contact our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999.

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Community, Employee Spotlight, General, Malletts Bay School, Other Important Information, Personnel

MBS Welcomes New Teachers for the 2013/2014 School Year!

Please join us in welcoming two teachers to Malletts Bay School!

Trudy Cioffi, who will teach third grade in MBS’s Harmony House, comes to us from Swanton School, where she taught for twenty years and where she was also a member of the school’s wellness team, a member of the literacy task force, and a mentor to new teachers.

She served as a model classroom teacher and consultant for writing expert Leah Mermelstein and has published an article in the Vermont Council on Reading Journal. A native of Fairfield, Vermont, she graduated from the University of Vermont with degrees in regular and Special Education. She has demonstrated abilities in the areas of differentiation and inclusion and has in-depth knowledge of strong classroom management skills. She was also recently recognized as an innovator in the use of technology through Project IGNITE (for more information about that, please click here).

“I loved teaching in Swanton, and I am so excited to begin a new chapter in my teaching career in Colchester,” she said. “I have heard wonderful things about the community and the schools!”

Dual certified as a special educator and currently working on a master’s degree in education, she lives in St. Albans with her husband and three sons. She enjoys watching her sons play football, hockey, and lacrosse; teaching a group fitness class at a local gym; and spending time with family and friends.

Trudy Cioffi will teach third grade at Malletts Bay School
Trudy Cioffi will teach at Malletts Bay School

Ashley DiMercurio, a Colchester resident, will teach fifth grade in Lighthouse. She joins MBS from St. Albans City School, where she taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. She holds an undergraduate degree from Champlain College and is pursuing professional development in the area of technology integration. She has experience with collaborative teaching and a strong background in Language Arts. When she isn’t at school, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her family.

If you would like more information about Malletts Bay School’s incoming teachers, please contact Principal Julie Benay at (802) 264-5900 or by e-mail (benayj@csdvt.org).

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

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

What Time Does School Start? And What About Bus Schedules?

If you would like to know what time school starts in each of your schools and/or about this year’s bus schedules, this article is for you!

Watch1_s

At Porters Point School, the school day will start at 8:10 a.m., and dismissal will be at 2:45 p.m.

Porters Point School
Porters Point School

At Union Memorial School, the school day will start at 8:30 a.m., and dismissal will be at 3:00 p.m.

Union Memorial School
Union Memorial School

At Malletts Bay School, the school day will start at 8:30 a.m., and dismissal will be at 3:00 p.m.

Malletts Bay School
Malletts Bay School

At Colchester Middle School, the school day will start at 7:25 a.m., and dismissal will be at 2:10 p.m.

Colchester Middle School
Colchester Middle School

At Colchester High School, the school day will start at 7:45 a.m., and dismissal will be at 2:20 p.m.

Colchester High School
Colchester High School

For the bus schedules for Colchester, please click here.

For the bus schedules for the Champlain Islands (for islands students attending Colchester Middle School and Colchester High School), please click here.

Other Important Dates:

On Monday, August 26 at 9:30 a.m., Union Memorial School will host its annual kindergarten orientation event to introduce new kindergarteners to school. Incoming students and their parents will attend a meeting in the classrooms, and then students will enjoy an introductory bus ride to familiarize them with the process. (Please note: the introductory bus ride is part of the orientation; students will not be bussed to and from the orientation; parents are responsible for transporting their children.) The orientation lasts approximately one hour.

Tuesday, August 27 is a big day; the following events will take place:

      • Colchester High School will host its Smart Start orientation program for incoming ninth graders. Members of the freshman class should arrive at CHS between 7:00 a.m. and 7:45 a.m., and dismissal will be at 2:20 p.m. There will also be a free barbecue lunch. CHS students participating in Smart Start will be bused (this is the same bus schedule as a regular school day; please see the bus schedule below).
      • Colchester High School will also host its mandatory Senior Privilege Night beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the community theater at CHS. This meeting, at which senior privilege contracts will be distributed and may be signed and returned, is for students and their parents.
      • Colchester Middle School will also host its Smart Start orientation. This is the first day of school for sixth graders as well as new seventh and eighth graders. The sixth-grade Smart Start day begins at 7:25 a.m. and ends at 2:10 p.m., and buses will run for these students. For new seventh and eighth graders attending the day, the Smart Start orientation begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 12:00 p.m. Please arrange for transportation accordingly. School lunch will be available for all students.
      • Porters Point School will also host its annual kindergarten Smart Start event to introduce new kindergarteners to school from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This is a three-hour mini-school day and lunch to help transition incoming students to the daily routine at school, to include an introductory bus ride to familiarize them with the process. (Please note: the introductory bus ride is part of the orientation; students will not be bussed to and from the orientation; parents are responsible for transporting their children.)
      • Union Memorial School will host an open house from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. for first- and second-grade students and their parents.

Remember, the first day of school is Wednesday, August 28, 2013.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of your schools, or call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999. We are here to help!

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, Employee Spotlight, General, Other Important Information, Personnel

CMS Welcomes New Faculty for the 2013/2014 School Year!

Please join us in welcoming four faculty members to Colchester Middle School!

Scott McLoughlin will teach seventh- and eighth-grade science in CMS’s Infinity program. In addition to his teaching duties, he will also serve as a part-time behavior interventionist. He comes to Colchester after completing his student teaching at Williston Central School as part of the master of arts in teaching program at the University of Vermont (UVM). Before attending UVM, Scott graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in history and social studies education. A passion of Scott’s is integrating technology into the classroom to enhance learning and using data analytics to quickly and efficiently identify areas of improvement for both students and teachers. As a native Vermonter, he stays active by playing/coaching soccer in the summer and snowboarding in the winter.

Meredith O’Neil, who holds a degree from the University of Vermont, will teach eighth-grade French at CMS. She joins us from Vermont Academy where she was teaching all levels of high school French. She is looking forward to working with a younger group of students and teaching them about the unique dialects of French from around the world.

Robert See will teach Special Education in CMS’s Champlain House. He joins us from Missisquoi Valley Union High School (MVU), where he taught as a middle school Special Education teacher for the past six years. He earned his degree in Special Education and developmental psychology from Castleton State College. He received the 2012 Vermont Outstanding Teacher Award as well as Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union (FNWSU) Special Educator of the Year Award. He promotes a positive, growth-oriented environment that encourages students to take risks, make mistakes, and be respectful and accepting of others. Outside of school, he enjoys maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle with his wife and daughter.

Lisa Buckton, previously serving as a school library media specialist to youth in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at Williamstown Elementary School and Orange Center School, joins us as the interim library media specialist at CMS. She relocated to Vermont after earning her MLS (master of library science) from the University at Buffalo. Teaching in rural and urban settings across Vermont and New York has given Ms. Buckton the unique opportunity to learn from and engage with a diverse spectrum of young adults. She believes it is the role of the library media specialist to not only encourage and increase literacy and access to information, but also to help students develop into knowledgeable, dedicated, and innovative digital citizens, lifelong readers, researchers, and empowered library users and individuals. When not buried in a book or trumpeting her latest literary recommendations to students in the CMS hallways, she can be found roller skating, avidly knitting, farming with friends, or romping about with her two pups, Cannoli and Jolie.

Lisa Buckton (photo courtesy of Melissa Nyman Photography)
Lisa Buckton will be CMS’s interim library media specialist (photo courtesy of Melissa Nyman Photography)

If you would like more information about Colchester Middle School’s incoming faculty, please contact Principal Dawn Gruss at (802) 264-5800 or by e-mail (grussd@csdvt.org).

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Colchester High School, Community, Employee Spotlight, General, Other Important Information, Personnel

CHS Welcomes New Faculty for the 2013/2014 School Year!

(Newsflash! This is our 600th article!)

Please join us in welcoming four faculty members to Colchester High School!

Lawrence (“Joe”) Romano, having recently relocated to Burlington from Washington, DC, is joining CHS as a Special Educator. He worked in situational awareness and business continuity before recognizing his true passion for education through his experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters. After completing the DC Teaching Fellows, an alternative pathway to education, he served as a Special Education and social studies teacher within DC public high schools. He is very excited to be in Vermont and to be working with such an experienced and welcoming group of educators. Joe graduated from Virginia Tech where he studied political science and sociology.

Joe Romano will teach Special Education at CHS
Joe Romano will teach Special Education at CHS

Andrew Judge will teach Spanish I & II. Raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, where he attended grammar school in Spanish and spoke English at home, he later earned a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California while living in Los Angeles. He also received a certificate from the Spanish Interpreter Program at the Southern California School of Interpretation. He worked as a professional Spanish interpreter and translator for Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and helped launch a successful federal pilot program, translating over three hundred specialized medical documents in Spanish.

Andrew also spent time teaching Spanish in Prague and has experience teaching several different grade levels in the Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union as an after-school teacher. His philosophy is that a foreign language classroom should never be quiet and that the joy of learning a new language is being able to speak it.

Andrew Judge will teach Spanish I & II at CHS
Andrew Judge will teach Spanish I & II at CHS

Courtney Goetz, who lives in Waterbury Center, will teach physical education at CHS. She taught physical education at Essex High School last year—as well as coaching girls’ soccer, basketball, and lacrosse—and for six years prior to that, she taught and coached in New Jersey. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College and a master’s degree from Emporia State University. This year, she will coach girls’ JV soccer coach and hopes to get involved with winter and spring coaching, as well. In her free time, she enjoys running, having completed a number of marathons and half marathons.

Phil Gulizio will be joining the team at the Colchester Alternative Program (CAP) this year. He has been in alternative education for the past sixteen years. Coming to us from Georgia Elementary & Middle School, he has a master’s degree as a consulting teacher and a master’s degree in educational leadership. Currently residing in Jericho with his wife and two children, he attributes his success in education to developing mutually respectful relationships with his students and his coworkers. He is an avid outdoorsman and all-around adventure enthusiast. He enjoys live music, good friends, and any local art he can find.

Phil Gulizio will teach at CAP
Phil Gulizio will teach at CAP

If you would like more information about Colchester High School’s incoming faculty, please contact Principal Amy Minor at (802) 264-5700 or by e-mail (minora@csdvt.org).

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Other Important Information, Porters Point School, Town of Colchester, Union Memorial School, Videos

Schools Equipped with Enhanced Safety and Security Features—Part I

In a concerted and ongoing effort to bolster the safety of students and staff, included in the FY 2014 school budget were funds to support improved building security and monitoring, including:

  • main and secondary entry systems;
  • replacement of unsecured doors;
  • upgraded door locking systems; and
  • improved monitoring systems.

Since the passing of the budget (many, many thanks again to the voters), these enhanced safety and security features have gotten well under way in every school in the district.

What does this mean for you?

In addition to added cameras and keyless entry systems in our schools, school doors will be locked during the day. During school hours, keyless swipe identification cards will be used by district employees, and guests to the building will be asked to identify themselves before receiving access.

Camera and speaker system at the main entrances of the buildings
Camera and speaker system at the main entrances of the buildings
Monitoring screen inside the building interacts with camera and intercom outside the building
Monitoring screens inside the buildings interact with the cameras and intercoms outside the buildings

The purpose of these enhancements and additional procedures is to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of our school community.

Please note: As training, testing, and final preparations for the new system to go live are scheduled, we will inform the community when the keyless entry process is operational.

The improved building security features bolster your district’s long-standing and ongoing efforts to provide safe instructional environments for our students and staff members. Our two-part primer “Law Enforcement Presence in Our Schools and Why It Is Important” explains Colchester Police Department’s regular involvement with your school district since 1989, which includes comprehensive Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) training (please click here to see an article and a video of DARE training in action at Union Memorial School) as well as officers’ participation in a vast array of ongoing in-school and community outreach efforts, including but not limited to:

CPD officers also collaborate closely with teachers and administration, actively participating in the schools’ crisis management teams and working closely with administration to develop and expand crime-prevention efforts. They assist with the evacuation and lock-down drills, help to develop and coordinate incident response plans, and provide feedback and strategize methods for improved school safety. CPD officers also work closely with the district around other difficult issues like child safety protocols and restraining orders, and they partner with the state attorney’s office to ensure our schools’ compliance with state regulations.

School safety is a top priority. Please partner with us in making our schools even safer; become part of the conversation and share your thoughts and ideas. We are listening!

Please stay tuned for Part II of this article, which will announce when the new features are fully operational.

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!