Posted in Colchester Middle School, General

Students Participate in Anti-Bullying Campaign

While October is National Bullying Prevention Month, Colchester School District takes issues surrounding bullying and digital responsibility very seriously all the time. Through proactive policy, programming, and ongoing efforts to foster positive school climate development, your schools put considerable effort into bullying prevention and cyber safety initiatives and work vigorously to prohibit harassment and bullying by providing a variety of supports to our students around the issue.

At Colchester High School, for example, all administrators regularly attend training around the issue of bullying and violence prevention. Aspects of CHS’s AT program, which is designed to allow all students to develop a rapport with at least one teacher beginning with their freshman year through the end of their junior year, also addresses bullying, as well.

In keeping with this theme, Colchester Middle School students recently participated in a national anti-bullying event.

A student signs an anti-bullying pact
A student signs an anti-bullying pact

Launched by the “Mean Stinks” campaign, which focuses on eliminating bullying and encouraging kindness, the “Gang Up for Good” event was a coordinated effort among schools all across the country. Students discussed various aspects of bullying, including its definition, examples of bullying behavior, what victims and bystanders and even perpetrators of bullying can do to help create and foster a positive and encouraging community environment, and more. In demonstration of solidarity, students painted their pinky fingernails blue. In advance of the event, CMS guidance counselors visited classrooms throughout the month to further discuss the issue of bullying.

Circle of pinkies_s

To view CSD’s complete bullying-prevention policy, which includes processes and procedures for addressing bullying, please click here. To view CSD’s complete prevention of harassment of students policy, please click here.

To learn more about what all of your schools are doing to address bullying, please click here. Please also feel free to contact your schools if you have any questions or concerns. You may also contact Superintendent of Schools Larry Waters 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 Colchester Middle School, Employee Spotlight, General, Personnel

School Nutrition Association of VT Honors CMS’s Ruth Quintin!

Congratulations to Colchester Middle School head cook Ruth Quintin for her recent honor!

Since 1988—way back when President Reagan was in office!—Ruth has been dedicating her energy to students and to school nutrition. As a result, the School Nutrition Association of Vermont (SNA-VT) recently presented her with its “Serving Up Excellence” award. According to SNA-VT’s website, the honor was given “to recognize the valuable contributions of school food service staff who work in daily operations preparing and serving appetizing meals to children. These employees make the difference between an outstanding program and an average one through customer service, interest in young people, creativity, participation in professional growth and training, and a willingness to ‘greet the challenge’ on a daily basis.”

Ruth received the honor at the recent 2013 SNA-VT Annual Conference and Membership Meeting at Shelburne Farms.

Award-winning school cook Ruth Quintin with XX at the ceremony at Shelburne Farms
Award-winning CMS head cook Ruth Quintin with incoming national president of SNA Leah Schmidt and outgoing president of SNA-VT Doug Davis at the ceremony at Shelburne Farms

Among other missions, the SNA-VT works to promote and support school nutrition. It put out the call for nominations, and Ruth received a wealth of support from around the district. “Ruthie is definitely an example of the fact that we can keep improving over time,” wrote Director of Nutrition and Food Services Steve Davis in his nomination letter to SNA-VT. “For the past twenty-five years, Ruthie has been a shining star at Colchester Middle School. She excels in her position in our district’s food service program, and she cares about our students’ nutritional needs.”

“There is no job that Ruthie will not do or cannot do,” wrote colleague Glyn Gelinas in her letter of support. “Ruthie loves her job, and it shows in everything that she does, no matter how big or small the task at hand.”

CMS administrators Principal Dawn Gruss, Assistant Principal Peg Gillard, and Assistant Principal Dovid Yagoda wrote in their letter of support that they “cannot imagine an individual whose career has been more exemplary in her ability, and desire, to adapt and grow with the times—all in an effort to provide a nourishing meal to our children … prepared with kindness, caring, and compassion.”

And of course the CMS Cougars love Ruth, too; last year, the Cougars surprised her with a seventy-fifth birthday celebration, complete with the “Happy Birthday” serenade, a grand cheer, and cake for everyone (please click here to read that story and to watch a video of it).

The requirements governing school nutritional programs are vastly different from those of generations past. Meals need to be planned around religious and ethical considerations as well as around allergies, and, as the result of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the new nutrition standards are written by the US Department of Agriculture, which decides what foods may be sold and what ingredients can be used on school lunch lines and in vending machines.

In addition to all of that is the required incorporation of government commodities, such as cheeses, meats, and canned fruits and vegetables into the menus—and it needs to be appealing, all within the confines of limited financial resources. Colchester School District has already conformed to the US Department of Agriculture’s requirements and is working to implement other improvements, as well. (Please feel free to visit our primers about the district’s food service program and wellness program for more information.)

“Recognition is something Ruthie has never asked for, but I feel it is well deserved,” wrote Steve Davis.

Congratulations to Ruth, and very well done!

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, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

Colchester Police Department Warns of Scam Targeting Community

Colchester Police Department is warning the community about a scam targeting local businesses.

Scam1

Called the “Colchester Award Program,” the solicitation claims that a local business’s has won an award, and it asks the business “marketing officer” to contact the award program via an e-mail link or toll-free number. The business is then asked to pay an administrative fee in order to receive its award, the fee for which depends on how “big” an award the company would like.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to exercise caution when responding to unsolicited requests, awards, or other solicitations from unknown sources.

If you or your business is contacted about something of this nature, please report it to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office Consumer Assistance Program, located on the University of Vermont campus. The office can be reached at (802) 656-3183. And to learn more about filing a complaint, please click here.

For more information about scams targeting Vermont consumers, please click here.

Scam4

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, Town of Colchester

Annual Leaf Disposal and Food Drive Information

Colchester Middle School students in the Community Service Club are partnering with Family and Consumer Science students and other volunteers to collect nonperishable food items for donation to Colchester Community Food Shelf (CCFS) from now until November 15. The goal is to collect one thousand pounds of food! In this way, the students can connect with our greater community and learn about helping others while simultaneously supporting an important endeavor.

And until November 1, CMS also seeks donations of new or gently used travel bags and/or suitcases to hold all of the collected nonperishable food items. After the food drive, the travel bags will be donated to an agency that works with foster children.

food3

For more information, please e-mail Sandra Hawkes (hawkess@csdvt.org) or call (802) 264-5802.

This year’s annual left collection weekend—when residents may drop off their leaves at no charge—is scheduled for November 2 & 3 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Airport Park, located on Airport Road approximately one-half mile from the intersection with Porters Point Road. Members of the Colchester Conservation Commission will be on hand to direct traffic and answer questions.

leaf1

While plastic bags will not be accepted, biodegradable paper bags (though not required) may be used to bag leaves. Leaves, twigs, and pumpkins may be dropped off, but please note that grass clippings and large tree branches will not be accepted. (The latter may be brought to the McNeil Wood and Yard Debris Depot in the Burlington Intervale or to one of the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) drop-off centers, including Essex, all of which accept woody materials.)

The annual drop-off event, now in its sixth year, is sponsored by the CSWD in cooperation with the Colchester Conservation Commission and the Town of Colchester. Last year, 98.88 tons of leaves—twelve truckloads—were collected and hauled by CSWD to Green Mountain Compost in Williston for conversion into compost for sale.

For more information, please contact Lisa Halvorsen by e-mail at Lisa.Halvorsen@uvm.edu.

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, Porters Point School

Announcing Two School/Community Events: Cabbage Night Movie Festival and the Annual Children’s Clothing Exchange!

As another example of increased collaboration between your schools and your town, Colchester Parks & Recreation has collaborated with a number of community organizations to offer Cabbage Night Movie Festival on Wednesday, October 30 at Colchester High School. Family-friendly movies in keeping with a Halloween theme will be shown in the community theater at CHS at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Please click here to view a flyer about the movie festival!

(Also, join the Burnham Memorial Library for the annual Kids’ Halloween Party on Wednesday, October 30. The party runs from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and is best for toddlers through ten-year-olds. Dress up in your creep-a-licious best and join us. The Young Adult Advisory Board will host all kinds of spooky activities—face painting, music, games, activities, stories, crafts, costume parade, cake and milk! Sign up using this link, or call 264-5660 for more information.)

The increasingly popular community children’s clothing exchange at Porters Point School will take place on Saturday, November 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30. Fill a grocery bag with clothing for just 25 cents—all are welcome!

Clothing2

PPS’s front office will accept clean, gently worn children’s clothing of all sizes for this annual community event on November 7 and November 8.

Clothing5

Warm winter wear is especially appreciated. Please note that the event is unable to accept used undergarments, socks, hats, or bathing suits. Any remaining clothing not sold at the event will be donated to a local charity.

Clothing3

The proceeds from the clothing exchange will benefit the Porters Point School PTO and its efforts to raise money to improve the playground equipment.

For more information, please contact PPS school nurse Mary Axworthy (check out her blog!) at (802) 264-5923 or e-mail ppspto@gmail.com. You may also contact PPS PTO Secretary Moriah McCullagh at moriahmccullagh@hotmail.com.

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, Programs, Town of Colchester

Two Great Events at Burnham Memorial Library: Upcoming Author Visit and Free Tutoring Available!

Want to meet an author? And/or interested in free tutoring?

Burnham Memorial Library will welcome Jo Knowles, author of See You at Harry’s, on Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. (To view a flyer about the event, please click here.)

Following her participation the monthly DCF discussion group (which begins at 6:30 p.m. and is taped by Vermont Public Radio), this author of one of the most talked about books on the 2013/2014 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award (DCF) list will answer questions from the audience and sign copies of her books, and copies of her latest titles will be available for sale. The books are also available at the Burlington and Essex locations of Phoenix Books.

The discussion is geared toward students in grades 4-8; to sign up, or for more information, please call Hannah at (802) 264-5668.

Interested in procuring free tutoring for your child?

H

The One-on-One Tutoring program at Burnham Memorial Library has started once again. Students from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences tutor students in reading, math, and science.

MP900390131

While the program focuses upon students in grades 1–6, tutoring is available for students in other grades for certain subjects.

There is no fee for this service!

The tutoring, which takes place at Burnham Memorial Library, runs until early December. Those interested in taking advantage of this fabulous opportunity may sign up via the website; please click here to access it.

If you would like more information, please call Burnham Memorial Library at (802) 264-5660.

BooksApple3s

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, General, Student Spotlight, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

UPDATED: How Do Academics, Wellness, and Grassroots Activism Come Together?

UPDATE!

Since the original publication date of this article, the 5K event to support the Colchester Community Food Shelf was a tremendous success.

The event, coordinated by Colchester High School senior Ethan Thibault and junior Nigel Sarrazin, raised $4,022 and received 228 pounds in food donations. A total of eighty-six community members ranging in age from 4 to 62 took part in the benefit event!

Participants in the 5K event to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf on October 27
Participants in the 5K event to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf on October 27

“We would like to thank everybody who volunteered their time to either participate or help out at our event,” the students said in a joint statement. “The generous donations are greatly appreciated and will go directly to the Colchester Community Food Shelf.”

To view more photographs from the October 27 event, please click here.

Congratulations, and well done, Ethan and Nigel and all in our community who participated!


As it turns out, academics, wellness, and grassroots activism can fuse quite naturally.

CHS students Nigel and Ethan Thibault
CHS students Nigel Sarrazin and Ethan Thibault

Colchester High School senior Ethan Thibault and junior Nigel Sarrazin have organized a 5K event to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf.

Ethan has volunteered at the Colchester Community Food Shelf for well over a year and is incorporating aspects of the program into his Senior Seminar action research project (please click here to read more about these required projects). Nigel—a member of CHS Student Government—is actively involved in community service and fundraising efforts for a variety of organizations. Both students enjoy running and have collaborated in devising the 5K as a lively way of melding an enjoyable, community-oriented activity with a great cause.

Ethan Thibault (photo contributed)
Ethan Thibault (photo contributed)
Nigel Sarrazin (photo contributed)
Nigel Sarrazin (photo contributed)

People of all ages and fitness levels are encouraged to participate in the event, which will gently weave its way through the woods behind CHS. Participants may choose to walk or run according to their preference.

Run4

“We are accepting monetary and food donations on the day of the race to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf, as well,” Ethan said.

The food shelf’s Shirley Meier said that though the organization has averaged approximately ninety-five clients per month over the past several months, there was a sharp spike in need in the month of September.

Run2

The 5K steps off at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 27; participants are asked to arrive for registration by 8:15. If you would like to register, please click here to access the event page.

You can also register using this QR code.

5KFunRunQRCode

(Those who wish to register in person on the morning of the race are asked to arrive earlier.)

Rain or shine, it will be a fun community event to benefit an organization that is of immense help to many of our friends and neighbors.

Student leadership and community outreach is widespread in your community’s schools; students all across the district routinely extend themselves for the benefit of others and work hard to make a difference for those around them. Please click here to read more about just some of these shining examples of student-led activism.

Run3

This grassroots initiative well reflects the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, which speaks to 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.

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

Have Some Cider and a Snack With Your Volunteer Opportunity!

Interested in learning about volunteer opportunities in our community?

Like cider and doughnuts?

On Thursday, October 24 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Burnham Memorial Library, the United Way Volunteer Connection will offer an informational social about volunteering for all ages. They will bring refreshments!

Cider and doughnuts

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

And the volunteer opportunities are not only for students; they are for everyone in the community!

For more information, please visit the United Way of Chittenden County’s website, or click here to download an informational flyer. You may also contact Burnham Memorial Library at (802) 264-5660.

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, Malletts Bay School, Student Spotlight

“Pop for a Cure” Initiative Heats Up

Malletts Bay School fifth grader Tyler Roberge is on a crusade to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

PopForACure_s

Using a real popcorn machine, Tyler is making and selling popcorn on Fridays during October with a goal of raising $400. (To see his flyer about his project, please click here.) He was inspired to raise funds to support cancer research by a family member who was affected by the disease.

Popcorn1

The popcorn maker was a long-awaited birthday gift. Tyler loves popcorn and was unable to eat it for quite some time because of dental complications. Now that those have been rectified, he is happily enjoying popcorn once again … and clearly others enjoy it too; Tyler is already more than halfway to his $400 fundraising goal.

The "Pop for the Cure" cash box
The “Pop for a Cure” cash box

Tyler’s friends Adem Basic and Owen Russo have stepped in to help in the fundraising effort.

MBS students Tyler Roberge, Adem Basic, and Owen Russo
MBS students Tyler Roberge, Adem Basic, and Owen Russo

“I know they’re trying really hard to find a cure,” Tyler said, “and I wanted to help.”

MBS students regularly step up to organize ways to help out with a variety of causes. Last year, three MBS Ospreys raised a considerable amount for the American Cancer Society through the Daffodil Days campaign. Earlier this year, a group of MBS Ospreys served 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.

Just a few other examples of what Malletts Bay School students have done for their community include:

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, Employee Spotlight, General, Personnel

Vermont Principal of the Year Amy Minor Honored In Washington DC

Vermont Principal of the Year Amy Minor has recently returned from Washington DC, where she joined top principals from all around the nation for an important three-day event.

InFrontOfCapitol

CHS Principal Amy Minor in Washington DC in September
CHS Principal Amy Minor in Washington DC in September

The award-winning principals from all across the country came together to discuss best practices and current education-related legislation and to meet with senators and congressmen and congresswomen on Capitol Hill.

CHS Prinicpal Minor and US Senator Leahy discuss education in Washington DC
CHS Prinicpal Minor and US Senator Leahy discuss education in Washington DC

(Senator Leahy wore a blue-and-green tie in honor of the Lakers for his meeting with Principal Minor.)

Heidi Lucas-Moccia, Principal Bellows Falls Middle School, US Senator Leahy, and Principal Minor at the Capitol in Washington DC
Bellows Falls Middle School Principal Heidi Lucas-Moccia, US Senator Leahy, and Principal Minor at the Capitol in Washington DC

While on Capitol Hill, Principal Minor advocated for funding to support electronic devices for all students in grades 6–12. She shared with legislators some of the current challenges that high school students face, and she shared some of the ways in which CHS is working to personalize learning and the high school experience for all high school students. She also discussed at length the funding challenges that all schools face and how challenging it is to offer innovative programming on a limited budget.

“It was an honor to engage leaders from around the country in such meaningful and important dialogue,” Principal Minor said. “I had the sense that our voices were truly heard; Arne Duncan, Senator Leahy and Senator Sanders, Congressman Welch … they truly listened. It was a phenomenal experience.”

Colchester High School has repeatedly ranked among the top 5 percent of high schools in the nation under Principal Minor’s leadership. Additionally, CHS won high praise from the Vermont Agency of Education for its impressive improvements in performance with Principal Minor at the reins. In fact, Lawrence O. Picus and Associates conducted an extensive case study of CHS for the Vermont State Legislature in order to ascertain how such improvements were accomplished … without high spending and without high teacher salaries. As a result of the comprehensive study, CHS is being regaled as a model for other high schools across the state.

Under Principal Minor’s tutelage, CHS won accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)—the result of a long-term, multi-component, and comprehensive assessment, and the school has been invited to present at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 conferences to present the school’s work on personalizing the academic experience for students through its AT program and to present the school’s work in developing a positive culture, climate, and beliefs for its learning community.

(Principal Minor leads the charge in cultivating a warm and comfortable learning environment, making grand efforts to create and foster school and community spirit. Please click here to watch a video of a surprise faculty flash mob at a pep rally.)

To read the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) press release about Principal Minor’s recognition, please click here.

For those of you who may not have seen WCAX’s coverage of the surprise send-off the CHS students coordinated for Principal Minor, you can watch it here.

Congratulations and very well done, Principal Minor!

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!