Posted in Community, General, Town of Colchester

31st Annual Colchester Winter Carnival and Town’s Weekly Update!

  • Need tax forms or documents?
  • Want to find out where to vote or how to vote by absentee ballot?
  • Want to learn more about the Assessor’s Department’s upcoming field inspections of Colchester properties?
  • Want to know the some of the financial impacts of energy-saving streetlights around town?

Please click here to find out more—access the Town of Colchester’s update for the week ending January 31, 2014.


Join us for one of Colchester’s most beloved community traditions!

This year’s Winter Carnival will kick off with the ever-popular Colchester’s Got Talent community talent show on Friday, January 31 in the community theater Colchester High School beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The events on Saturday, February 1 begin with the annual Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. in the CHS cafeteria. At 10:00 a.m., families can enjoy a variety of activities both inside and outside of the high school, including performances, arts and crafts, pony rides, and much more. This year’s newest attraction is SNOWZILLA! Snowzilla is a massive outdoor slide suitable for adults and children alike. It’s the only one in all of North America, so be sure to come and check out the fun.

The weekend’s activities round out with an open swim at the St. Michael’s College pool in the Ross Center on the evening of Saturday, February 1 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There will also be an open skate period at Leddy Park Arena in Burlington on Sunday, February 2 from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Admission bracelets are $6.00 per person and include admission to nearly all of the weekend’s activities, including Friday night’s talent show. Bracelets can be purchased at the following locations: Town of Colchester’s Parks & Recreation Department, Burnham Memorial Library, Bibens ACE Hardware, Mazza’s General Store, Sunny Hollow Quick Stop, Bayside Bakery and Restaurant, Bayside Quick Stop, and Finelli’s.

For more information and a complete itinerary of the festivities, please click here.

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Programs, Union Memorial School

Upcoming Musical Events in Your Schools

CHS music logo

On Friday, February 7, the Colchester High School music program is holding its annual Spaghetti Soiree—a night of dinner and music provided by CHS choral and instrumental groups—in the CHS cafeteria. Online bidding is also now open in a silent auction featuring dozens of items donated by area merchants to help raise money for the group’s upcoming trip to New York City (please click here to read more about the trip). (For a complete listing of items to bid on, please visit the Friends of Colchester Music website.)

There will be seatings for the spaghetti dinner at 5:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for either seating are available for $12 each (for those 13 and over) and $8 each for children age 3 to 12. To pre-order tickets for the soiree, please call Evan Peltier or Melissa Towle at (802) 264-5742, or contact them via e-mail at peltiere@csdvt.org or towlem@csdvt.org. Please specify which seating time you prefer. Because of the popularity of this event, pre-ordering of tickets is encouraged. However, tickets can also be purchased at the door if there are remaining seats.

Close up on Retro - Old Music Notes

Union Memorial School will perform the musical Too Much Noise! An Eastern European Folktale, retold with original music by Brian Hiller and Don Dupont, on February 12 and 13 in the community theater at Colchester High School. The performance is a culmination of several weeks of learning for the students that includes reading the script as well as learning songs, speaking parts, and dances.

Half of the students will perform on Wednesday, February 12, and the other half will perform on Thursday, February 13. Both performances start at 6:30 p.m. and will last approximately thirty minutes.

“Musicals provide a great opportunity for the children to learn and explore on so many levels,” said Martie Mutz, CSD music teacher at Union Memorial School and Porters Point School. “There will be speaking and dancing parts, and every child will be a part of the chorus … for many of our children, this is their first time on a real stage.” For more information about the UMS production of Too Much Noise!, please click here.

On Tuesday, February 18, Malletts Bay School will host its third and fourth grade winter concert in the MBS gymnasium. The third grade concert will begin at 6:00 p.m., and the fourth grade concert will begin at 7:00 p.m.

On Wednesday, February 19, Malletts Bay School will host its fifth grade band and chorus concert in the MBS gym from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

All performances are open to the public. Please join us!

Music_s

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Personnel, Porters Point School

CSD to Begin PPS Principal Search

Colchester School District will soon begin its pursuit of a principal for Porters Point School.

As is described in the position’s posting, the district seeks an individual to assume full responsibility for the daily operation and supervision of assigned school staff, programs, and facilities. In this role, he/she will involve parents, students, staff members, central office, and the community at large, as appropriate.

A selection committee consisting of teachers, administrators, parents, and other community members will screen and interview candidates, recommend final candidates to the Colchester School Board, and more; some members of the committee will also visit the candidates’ current schools as part of the search process.

PPS Principal Jim Marshall will retire at the close of this school year after an illustrious three-decades-long career. Identifying an educator qualified to assume his role is important, and the district is already mobilizing to ensure a comprehensive search and a smooth transition. Our plan is to recommend candidates to the school board during the week of March 31, 2014.

If you would like more information, please contact our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999, or stop in to see us at 125 Laker Lane.

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, Colchester High School, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Personnel

Teacher Contract Negotiations in Open Session on January 28

The Colchester School Board and the Colchester Education Association will meet on Tuesday, January 28, in the library at Colchester High School for contract negotiations. This meeting, which begins at 5:00 p.m., is open to the public. To view the meeting agenda and other information related to contact negotiations, please click here.

As a friendly reminder, the district and the school board are working to further encourage community involvement and engagement. Click here to submit a question (or e-mail SchoolBoardQuestions@csdvt.org) and enter your contact information and question.

If you are unable to attend the school board meetings but would like to stay informed and/or to hear the response to your question, you can read the meeting minutes on www.csdvt.org, or watch the meetings on Lake Champlain Access Television (LCATV) on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 a.m. The school board meetings also stream at www.lcatv.org.

If you would like more information, please call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999, or stop in to see us at 125 Laker Lane.

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Community, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

New State Law Regarding Use of Portable E-Devices, Film Screening, and Town Government Update

  1. Interested in learning more about polio? On Wednesday, January 29 beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Burnham Memorial Library will host a showing of the HBO documentary The Final Inch, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Colchester-Milton; the film is about the efforts to eliminate polio worldwide. After the film, Dr. Alicia Jacobs, MD, will speak about polio and the importance of vaccines. Refreshments will be served.
  2. Did you know that a new law restricting the use of portable electronic devices in a work zone took effect in Vermont on January 1, 2014?The new law makes it illegal for a driver of any vehicle to use any handheld electronic device—like a cell phone, portable music player, GPS, tablet, and the like—unless the driver is utilizing a hands-free feature. (There is an exception to the use of a cell phone when it is necessary to communicate with the police or emergency services personnel under emergency circumstances.)The penalty for the first offense is 2 points and a waiver fine of $230. Second and subsequent offenses are 5 points and a fine of $479. (To access the Waiver Penalty Schedule outlining the penalties, please click here.)
    As noted on https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/eforms/Waiver_Penalty_Schedule.pdf
    Waiver penalties as noted on https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/eforms/Waiver_Penalty_Schedule.pdf

    To read the law, please click here.

    For more information, please call Colchester Police Department at (802) 264-5556.

  3. Finally, if you would like to know more about what has been going on within the various departments of your town government, please click here to view the Town of Colchester’s update for the week ending January 24, 2014.

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, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Personnel

Colchester School District Holds Open Negotiations Between Teachers and the School Board

Superintendent Larry Waters offers the following letter to the community regarding a groundbreaking approach to negotiations.

“Once again, the Colchester Education Association (CEA)—which represents teachers—and the Colchester School Board (CSB) have entered another round of contract talks. Historically, such negotiations have occurred behind closed doors (i.e., in executive session) with little or no information released to the community, and only when the final language was agreed upon were the terms and conditions provided to the public. This approach—akin to sharing the ending of a book or movie with someone but leaving out the story—left many community members skeptical about the negotiations’ process and outcome.

“For the first time, and in a monumental and progressive transformation, the CEA and CSB have agreed to hold as many negotiation sessions in open meetings as possible. This simply means that the board will call its meetings to order, allow for public comments, and then conduct contract negotiations that are open to viewing by the community.

“This concept sounds relatively simple but is in fact challenging for both parties. How were the CEA and the CSB able to arrive at this point?

“The prevailing notion about negotiations is generally that the parties begin at diametrically opposed positions with the hope of eventually arriving at a mutually acceptable compromise. Though this frequently holds at least some truth, there may be a more effective and increasingly beneficial strategy to employ. Suppose we begin by discussing the goals we desire to achieve in the negotiations process … and perhaps we discover that we share the same goals?

“One would think that, if we have similar goals, achieving agreement might be easier. The following list of goals was established during the first round of discussion:

  1. Recognize the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 and its pathways as a guide to decision making
  2. Provide students with rigorous educational programs and teachers who have highly proficient instructional skills that address our current and future learning needs
  3. Provide professional development programs for teachers so that they may implement strategies that address the needs of all students
  4. Recognize highly skilled teachers with competitive salaries and benefits that reflect the community’s ability to fund them
  5. Conduct the negotiations process in a professional and respectful manner
  6. Build trust and transparency with the Colchester community, and
  7. Achieve a multi-year agreement that makes Colchester School District an even better school district than it already is for students, teachers, support staff, administrators, and the community as a whole.

“The next task was to firmly establish ground rules that would align with the goals, and this is where it gets a bit sticky. Ground rules are essential to negotiations, creating a set of terms to which each party must conform in order to best facilitate the process. With little doubt, the most challenging ground rule was how to allow public viewing of a board meeting regarding a very sensitive and often emotionally charged topic. In such a scenario, one’s expressed position on an issue is apparent to all in attendance and is therefore subject to varying opinions—both positive and negative.

“So far, both parties have met twice, and most of the meeting time was conducted in open session. This is unprecedented in Colchester, Vermont, and in most districts across the country. What is even more interesting is that both parties are committed to the practice; both parties want to share their story with you, their community.

“The meetings will undoubtedly move to executive session for some items, such as compensation. To keep the Colchester community informed, I will provide prior notice of the meeting agendas and whether we can expect the parties to move to executive session. Parenthetically, one of the established ground rules is that each party must provide a majority of agreement in order to motion for an executive session.

“I encourage our community members to engage in this historic and transformative process; meeting agendas are always available on www.csdvt.org.”

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Colchester High School, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information

Upcoming School Board Meeting Information

The Colchester School Board will meet on Tuesday, January 21, at 7:00 p.m. in the library at Colchester High School, and the meeting is open to the public. To view the meeting information packet and agenda—which includes discussion about the FY 2015 budget—please click here.

As a friendly reminder, the district and the school board are working to further encourage community involvement and engagement. Click here to submit a question (or e-mail SchoolBoardQuestions@csdvt.org) and enter your contact information and question.

If you are unable to attend the school board meetings but would like to stay informed and/or to hear the response to your question, you can read the meeting minutes on www.csdvt.org, or watch the meetings on Lake Champlain Access Television (LCATV) on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 a.m. The school board meetings also stream at www.lcatv.org.

If you would like more information, please call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999, or stop in to see us at 125 Laker Lane.

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in Accountability, Budgets, Colchester High School, Community, General, Other Important Information, Personnel, Town of Colchester

Updates! Get Your School Budget Information and Town Government Weekly Update Here!

Remember … you do not need to wait until Town Meeting Day to learn more about the budgets! Please click here to access a wide array of school-budget-related information. We are working hard to make the budget information as widely available and accessible as possible; we encourage everyone to review the budget materials and ask any questions you may have.

If you would like to know more about what has been going on within the various departments of your town government, please click here to view the Town of Colchester’s update for the week ending January 17, 2014.

When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community! Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Spotlight.

Posted in General, Malletts Bay School

Promoting Literacy $10 at a Time

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
—Maya Angelou

The Colchester Education Association (CEA) recently donated another round of $10 Barnes and Noble gift cards to students in Colchester School District to help promote the district’s literacy efforts. The CEA’s gift card giveaway—twenty-four of them all across the district!—also provides the winning students with additional opportunities to add to their personal libraries.

Here are the lucky recipients from Malletts Bay School!

MBS Ospreys display their Barnes & Noble gift cards
MBS Ospreys display their Barnes & Noble gift cards

If you would like to read some or all of our five-part primer on literacy, please click here.

Happy reading!

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!