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

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.
—W. J. Cameron

CHS Cares
CHS Cares with the Thanksgiving food drive supplies

Colchester High School’s CHS Cares coordinated its annual effort to provide complete Thanksgiving dinners for twenty-five families in need in Colchester.

Colchester Middle School (check out their new website!) has also been coordinating a holiday food drive.

These are still more meaningful examples of ongoing student volunteerism in our community.

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Many, many thanks to everyone who generously contributed food and monetary donations to the effort, and special thanks to Price Chopper for donating sixteen turkeys to support this year’s cause!

Colchester School District wishes everyone a very safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Your schools and your town government 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 Accountability, Community, General, Town of Colchester

Update from Your Town Government For the Week Ending November 22, 2013

Would you like to know more about what has been going on within the various departments of your town government?

Please click here to view a weekly update from the Town of Colchester!

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, Town of Colchester

Hungry Minds Need Great Books!

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The Burnham Memorial Library’s Young Adult Advisory Board (YA Board) works in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Colchester-Milton on its annual holiday basket project. While Rotarians collect food and other essentials for approximately 250 local families, the YA Board collects books for the children and teens in each family. The goal is to ensure that all children and teenagers on the list can feed their minds with something good to read.

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The Burnham Memorial Library is collecting new or like-new books to support this effort until December 9; the drop box is across from the adult circulation desk in the library. Drop boxes are also available at Malletts Bay School, Colchester Middle School, and Colchester High School.

Encouraging literacy is paramount. To learn more about Colchester School District’s literacy programs, please click here for our five-part primer. And to learn more about emergent literacy, please click here.

Your schools and your town government 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, General, Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School, Student Spotlight, Union Memorial School, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

District-Wide Green Initiatives and Why They’re Important

We have a moral responsibility to protect the earth and ensure that our children and grandchildren have a healthy and sustainable environment in which to live.
—Jim Clyburn

Your school district is committed to creatively and effectively addressing the daunting environmental challenges that affect each and every one of us, empowering students and citizens to bring about positive environmental change.

CHS student leaders and MBS students team up on a recycling project
CHS student leaders and MBS students team up on a recycling project

As one recent example, Malletts Bay School fourth-grade students in Kari Carney’s class teamed up with Colchester High School students in a recycling and composting project. (Please click here to read an earlier Spotlight article about some of MBS’s other recycling efforts and environmental education.)

Fourth graders in Kari Carney's class at the CHS "Big Trash Extravaganza" event
Fourth graders in Kari Carney’s class at the CHS “Big Trash Extravaganza” event

The Ospreys pitched in to help out with “the Big Trash Extravaganza” multiyear study by sorting and separating recyclable and compostable materials that had been collected in wastebaskets around CHS to be weighed and compared to data from past events and saved for comparison with next year’s data. (They later created eBooks about the experience and blogged about it on their classroom blogs; you can access the students’ blogs from Kari Carney’s classroom blog.) One of the anticipated outcomes of this project is the increased incorporation of sustainable practices into CHS’s culture and climate—much like CHS’s innovative, grant-funded sustainability project called Net Impact High School (please click here to read about Net Impact High School and why it is important). A bag’s worth of compostable material rescued from the trash receptacles went to a local resident, and returnable bottles were donated to a fundraiser. The event was the result of widespread collaboration among members of the Food: From Soil to Stomach class, maintenance personnel, science teachers, the physical education department, the art department, the food service personnel, the administration and office staff, a former CHS graduate volunteer, an educator from Chittenden Solid Waste District, and more. (To view more photographs from the project, please click here to visit CHS teacher Melanie Laquerre’s blog.)

CHS students Allison Pilcher, Casey LaBonte, and Sophia Simkins led the charge in the project
CHS students Allison Pilcher, Casey LaBonte, and Sophia Simkis led the charge in the project

As another example, last year, Colchester Middle School’s student-led “green team” launched an extensive, multifaceted sustainability project (please click here to read more about it).

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Incorporating conservation and environmental sustainability concepts into our academic environment is a fantastic way to promote a variety of benefits to our students. Becoming actively involved in facing real-world challenges encourages our students to become connected with their community and to become real-world problem solvers. They learn to work collaboratively with their peers to make quantifiable differences through careful consideration and innovative thinking.

And as we have discussed before, the district has numerous ongoing efforts in environmental responsibility and sustainability, including but not limited to:

    • transitioning to eco-friendly cleaning products in our buildings before it was mandated by Vermont law on July 1, 2012
    • replacing the Ford Taurus driver’s education vehicle with a new Toyota Prius—a hybrid vehicle that typically exceeds fifty miles per gallon—with funds received from an ARRA grant
    • utilizing funds received through another grant to install more than eighty LED lamps throughout the parking lots at CHS, CMS, and MBS, resulting in an annual savings of fifty thousand (50,000) kilowatt hours and additional incentive dollars
    • installing upgraded lighting at both PPS and UMS (in fact, CSD worked closely with Efficiency Vermont and various vendors to replace lighting in all schools with high-efficiency lighting, and the anticipated savings to the district were such that Efficiency Vermont covered the entire cost with incentives)
    • installing three high-efficiency boilers resulting in annual cost savings replaced the aging boilers at CMS
    • working closely with Chittenden Solid Waste District in order to increase recycling efforts
    • winning a grant to support a human-powered generator capable of storing electricity to help offset some of the stage lighting, sound, and projection equipment’s power requirements
CHS staff and students and Berlin City's Dedrick Casab
CHS staff and students and Berlin City’s Dedrick Casab

We’re all in this together!

For more information about sustainability efforts in your school district, please contact any of your schools.

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 Accountability, Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Other Important Information, Porters Point School, Union Memorial School, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

Why Are Parent-Teacher Conferences Important?

Parent-teacher conferences are coming up!

Parent-teacher conferences are a really important opportunity for parents and teachers to forge partnerships in students’ education. They help to foster positive, ongoing communication with all stakeholders in our students’ academic experience, and research has repeatedly demonstrated that, when parents and community members are actively engaged with students’ education, the students reap significant benefits.

To get the most benefit from their conferences, we encourage parents to:

  • write down in advance any questions or concerns that they may have;
  • consider developing a plan with the teacher to facilitate the student’s learning; and
  • feel free to take notes.

Porters Point School will hold parent-teacher conferences from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 25 and from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 26. Parents are encouraged to call (802) 264-5920 to schedule an appointment.

Union Memorial School will hold parent-teacher conferences on Monday, November 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday, November 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Parents are encouraged to call (802) 264-5959 to schedule an appointment.

Malletts Bay School will hold parent-teacher conferences on Monday, November 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, November 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Colchester Middle School will hold parent-teacher conferences Monday, November 25 from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Tuesday, November 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

To further facilitate scheduling conferences for parents, both Colchester Middle School and Malletts Bay School are using an online scheduler called PickAtime. Step-by-step instructions for using the system provided by CMS are available here. Using this system, parents can print off their schedules and/or receive the schedules via e-mail. Parents without access to the Internet or who would otherwise prefer to schedule parent-teacher conferences with CMS and/or MBS via telephone may of course do so; please call (802) 264-5802 to reach the CMS guidance office and/or (802) 264-5900 to reach the MBS main office.

Colchester High School will hold parent-teacher conferences from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 25 using a drop-in format (please note: the second floor will break for dinner from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the first floor will break for dinner from 4:30–5:00 p.m.). For more specific information about the CHS parent-teacher conferences, please visit this issue of the Laker View.

Please note that parents are always welcome to contact their child’s school at any time to discuss any questions or concerns they may have—not just during parent-teacher conferences! We encourage, welcome, and value your partnerships at all times, as is affirmed in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017.

As a friendly reminder, parents of students in grades 6–12 can view their children’s grades online using our PowerSchool system.

Please also feel free to contact your child’s school with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for partnering with us!

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, Programs

Friendly Reminder: CHS and CPD Offer Three-Part Series to Support Colchester Adolescents

As we discussed in our November 6 Spotlight article, Colchester High School and Colchester Police Department are collaborating to offer a three-part series to help support adolescents in our community. This event is open to all Colchester community members.

Please join us on Monday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the CHS library for Part I of the series—aimed at helping parents to identify when teenagers are struggling and at risk of self-harm or suicide—entitled “Teenagers: Risk and Resilience.”

As a reminder this panel presentation of experts—including Dr. Lewis First; Dr. Eliot Nelson; Charlotte McCorkel MSW, LICSW; and Tina Bleau, MA, licensed psychologist—will share current research, best practices, and resources in our community and will provide the audience with a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.


About the panel

Dr. Lewis First of WPTZ’s First With Kids is a professor and the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the chief of pediatrics at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care, and the editor-in-chief of the American Academy of Pediatrics journal Pediatrics.

Dr. Eliot Nelson’s clinical focus is family-centered primary care, preventive pediatrics, and injury prevention. His care philosophy is to promote health, childhood development, mental well-being, and safety for all patients. He was recognized in 1990 by the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with a Philip E. Rothman Memorial Award for excellence in pediatric resident education, guidance, and inspiration. He was also recognized in 2001 by Voices for Vermont’s Children (formerly the Vermont Children’s Forum) with a David Goldberg Child and Youth Advocacy Award; in 2002 by the American Academy of Pediatrics with a Special Achievement Award for work on firearm injury prevention through legislative efforts; and in 2010 by the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter with the Green Mountain Pediatrician Award. Dr. Nelson also serves as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, currently working as the council’s membership coordinator.

Charlotte McCorkel MSW, LICSW is the director of First Call for Children and Families at HowardCenter. First Call is a hotline service available to families and students who are experiencing a crisis.

Tina Bleau, MA, licensed psychologist works at the Northeastern Family Institute (NFI) Vermont (part of the North American Family Institute (NAFI) outpatient family center, which offers an array of services, including family-based therapy, evaluation, and training.


For more information, please call CHS at (802) 264-5700.

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

Weekly Update from Your Town Government

Would you like to know more about what has been going on within the various departments of your town government?

Please click here to view a weekly update from the Town of Colchester!

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, General, Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School, Union Memorial School, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Important Wellness Work in Your Schools

The Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways include, among others, Pathway F: Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.

In accordance with this pathway, Colchester Middle School will celebrate “Fat Talk Free Week” November 18–22.

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Fat Talk Free Week is a five-day activism campaign designed to draw attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the “thin ideal” on women in society with the goals of inspiring change in the way students think and feel about their bodies; educating students about the damaging impact of pursuing the “ideal” body; and promoting a healthy lifestyle and one that urges individuals to live a balanced life in mind, body, and spirit.

A variety of activities scheduled throughout the week are tailored to address body image issues that address young women and young men alike. For more information about Fat Talk Free Week, please contact CMS at (802) 264-5800 or e-mail guidance counselor Kara Pawlusiak at pawlusiakk@csdvt.org.

A great deal of other work is ongoing in acknowledgment of the strategic plan’s wellness pathway. For example, extensive work with CSD’s school health index is well under way, and every school in the district works hard to incorporate health and wellness-related curriculum and activities into its programming.

CSD’s faculty and staff also make wellness a priority in their lives; dozens of CSD employees have participated in the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Relay, and employees regularly participate in other wellness-related activities, as well.

Team Tasty Kale
Team Tastykale finished second in the Masters Open category in the 100on100 Race in August. Pictured are CHS’s George Deane, Phil Gulizio, Morgan Samler, and Sean MacArdle, along with Danielle Grise, who ran with another team.

CSD’s wellness initiatives even extend into the greater Colchester community; CSD recently offered a successful, comprehensive wellness fair and community harvest dinner that was free and open to the public. And increasing numbers community members have participated in events like the annual Laker Cross-Country Fun Run, the Making Strides event, and the recent student-organized 5K Fun Run to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf.

For more information about CSD’s wellness initiatives, please contact Wellness Coordinator Jaycie Puttlitz at puttlitzj@csdvt.org, visit the district’s wellness blog, or contact any of your schools!

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, General, Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School, Programs, Union Memorial School, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Physical Education Makes a Splash … and Then Some (Contains Videos!)

For those of us out there who remember gym class as consisting primarily of kickball and situps, this article should be of particular interest.

How many of us can say that we could canoe or kayak for physical education (PE) credit?

Please click here to view a fun video about a Colchester High School PE unit in which students are doing just that.

In fact, all across your school district, physical education is diverse and engaging and is adaptable in order to meet individual students’ needs. In addition to its increasing academic integration, PE curriculum is steadily evolving into that which is health based and designed to instill a love for physical activity and to encourage healthy lifestyles. By incorporating such activities as cross-country skiing, tennis, and snowshoeing (among others), your schools’ PE curriculum aims to demonstrate how exercise can be a fun way to be proactive about health and wellness for an entire lifetime.

CHS PE teacher Morgan Samler has compiled a video clip offering a visual sampling of some of the high school PE curriculum; please click here to view it.

In 2012, the Vermont State Legislature passed Vermont Act 151 requiring cardiovascular care instruction in public and independent schools. Here, Morgan Samler is instructing a student in chest compressions.

CHS PE teacher Morgan Samler works with a student in CPR training
CHS PE teacher Morgan Samler works with a student in CPR training

And if you missed our Spotlight article about the CHS ropes course, you can read it here.

Malletts Bay School has a fantastic climbing wall (purchased with many years’ worth of funds raised as part of the annual Colchester Ski-Skate and Sporting Goods Sale) as part of its offerings (please click here to read an article about it).

Skills learned in physical education classes can also lead to participation in organized athletic activities and even internationally competitive events; even jump roping has becoming an internationally competitive sport. Earlier this year, a mysterious jump roping panda arrived at Porters Point School to help students with their Jump Rope for Heart initiative. (You can read that article and watch a video clip of the mystery panda here.)

Union Memorial School students helped to break a world record for jumping jacks as part of the 2011 Let’s Jump campaign, and as part of a unique UMS walking challenge program, one student walked more than fifty miles during his three years at the school!

Evidence demonstrates that learning and physical activity are complementary—that engaging other parts of the brain during learning will increase retention and enhance knowledge acquisition. And then there are the added benefits of letting students expend some of their physical energy in an interactive, productive way rather than asking them to sit still for long periods of time. (To read a Spotlight article about action-based learning, please click here.)

Physical education is also an important component of wellness, which is a pathway of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017.

To learn more about physical education programs in Colchester School District, please contact any of your schools.

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, General, Student Spotlight

Honoring 50 National Honor Society Inductees!

Fifty Colchester High School students were recently inducted into National Honor Society!

The National Honor Society (NHS)—which has chapters in all fifty states as well as in many US territories and in Canada—recognizes high school students in grades 10–12 who have exhibited outstanding accomplishments in scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

This prestigious affiliation can only be obtained after a stringent selection process. In order to be considered for induction, candidates must detail their achievements in service and leadership and must meet the cumulative grade-point average requirement. Input about the candidates from faculty members can also be submitted to the local NHS chapter’s faculty council for consideration, and in some cases, the chapter’s faculty council may even interview candidates. The local NHS chapter’s faculty council deliberates the candidates’ qualifications before voting whether to invite a candidate for formal induction.

NHS inductees assume a number of obligations as a condition of their membership; along with maintaining the standards by which they were selected (failure to do so can result in discipline and/or dismissal), membership includes such responsibilities as conducting service projects for their school or community as well as individual service projects, and members attend regular meetings with the NHS’s local chapter. Inducted members enjoy a number of benefits as a result of their affiliation with the National Honor Society—including access to a number of scholarship programs.

We are pleased to announce the 2013/2014 National Honor Society inductees!

Josephine Ames
Andre Amrain
Alexander Barrett
Connor Barton
Julia Bessy
Connor Breen
Tyler Breen
Henry Butler
Sarah Campbell
Michael Chambers
Robert Chase
Corinne Colgrove
Bryce Colvin
Thomas Condon
Elizabeth Connors
Alison Davis
Kevin Desmond
Cady Dubuque
Hannah Echo
Mark Gauthier
Dakota Gorkun
Ellis Igneri
Cassandra LaBonte
Erik Lagerquist
Timothy Lewis
Patrick McHugh
Jennifer McNall
Margaret McNeil
Chelsea Mead
Liam Mooney
Samrety Nguon
Quinn O’Reilly
Andrew Pike
Allison Pilcher
Mirela Poljak
Madeline Powell
Chris Prado
Ellen Rathe
Alexina Richard
Hannah Rogers
Nigel Sarrazin
Rachel Scibek
Benjamin Seaman
Austin Simeck
Sophia Simkins
Hannah Spence
Destyni Travers
Rexana Vachereau
Janice Wood
Kiera Zehnacker

Congratulations to all of the inductees, and best wishes!

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!