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

CHS Awarded 5K Grant To Administer PSATs

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CHS students work on an assignment in class prior to the exam.

This morning, Colchester High School administered a total of 309 Practice SATs to students in grades 10 and 11 thanks to the VSAC Gear Up Grant. The Practice SAT or PSAT is designed to measure readiness for college, access scholarships, and practice for the SAT. The test is composed of four sections: critical reading, writing skills, and two math sections. It takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

Approximately 3.5 million students across the nation take the PSATs to get a feel for the exam and to use their scores to discover what areas they should focus on in advance of taking the SAT.

vsac-logoTypically, families have to cover the exam cost and provide transportation to and from a testing facility on a Saturday. Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, CHS was able to cover the cost for all students and administer the exam right at CHS during the school day. This gave all students, regardless of their ability to pay, the opportunity to prepare for the SAT.

PSAT scores are also used as the qualifying test for entry into the National Merit Scholarships Program. In September, the 16,000 students who scored in the top one percent of the nation were notified that they had qualified as a semifinalist in their state. This year, CHS is proud to have three students among those with the highest scores in Vermont; Charlie Davidson, Megan Lagerquist, and Jacob Dell.

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Nation Merit Scholarship Semifinalists: Charlie, Megan, and Jacob.

The three CHS semifinalists will be notified in February if they have advanced to the finalist round with a chance to win a National Merit Scholarship worth $2,500.

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

Artists at CHS Compare Observation and Imagination in Still Life Project

A stimulating set-up in the CHS art room is inspiring students to tap into their creativity. Art 1 students have been applying concepts and techniques they’ve learned through a series of still life drawings.

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In the several weeks since the installation was set up, they’ve had the chance to practice their skills and recently started on their final drawings last week.

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Using every bit of space surrounding the 360º set-up, students chose their favorite composition (making sure to include at least 5 objects), and got to work.

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With the goal to fill the entire sheet of paper they used viewfinders to help sight and measure the proportions of objects.

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Prior to starting the project students learned the basic concepts and vocabulary of still life to include things like: construction, contour, and gesture lines; highlights, grounding an object, and cast shadows. They worked to utilize these techniques throughout their individual compositions.

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One of the final requirements of the project asked them to create a fantasy creature or monster who would “live” in their still life drawing.  They then drew their monsters in 3D form and added any other features that related to their creature’s environment.

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The addition of the creatures promoted the project’s overall objective of reality and observation vs fantasy and imagination. The students should be finishing their drawings within the next week.
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Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Music, Student Spotlight

Members of CHS Jazz Band to Perform at Flynn with Acclaimed US Army Band

On Sunday, October 30, three Colchester High School (CHS) jazz band members will perform with the U.S. Jazz Ambassadors at the Flynn Theater in Burlington. The nationally recognized Jazz Ambassadors, a 19-member ensemble formed in 1969, is the official touring big band of the U.S. Army. chs-jazz-band_2016

CHS Band Director Evan Peltier contacted the group and learned that they were seeking a trumpet player, trombone player and saxophone player to join them on stage to perform a piece during the concert. The following CHS jazz band students are participating: Nikoli Holly (trumpet); Nathan Colgrove (trombone); and, Jacob Dell (tenor sax).

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students,” said Peltier. “They won’t have the opportunity to rehearse with the group in the days leading up to the concert…They’ll be asked to join the group briefly backstage and then it’s show time!”

The Jazz Ambassadors band has played in every state and abroad; their Flynn performance will feature swing, bebop, contemporary jazz, popular tunes, Dixieland compositions, patriotic pieces and more.

The October 30 concert begins at 3 pm and is free and open to the public. For ticket information, visit: http://www.flynntix.org.

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

SBAC Results to be Sent Home with Report Cards

This spring students in grades 3-8 and 11 took a statewide assessment called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).  This assessment shows a student’s proficiency level of our state standards in English Language Arts and Math.  It also shows a student’s growth toward college and career readiness.

Student results have just been made available, months earlier than previous years. These results will be sent home this week with your child’s report card.  For information about how to read and interpret the SBAC report look for the Individual Student Report Guide that will be included in the report card.

District and state results will be released later this summer.  Shortly after this release the district will share results with the community on our website and in your school reports.

Posted in Colchester High School, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Malletts Bay School, Programs, Student Spotlight, Videos

Calculus in the Classroom at Malletts Bay School (Contains Video!)

Over the last two weeks, several MBS classrooms had special guest teachers during their math class!  Ten CHS calculus students paired up to teach standards-based math lessons related to calculus to five MBS classes for their final projects.  Their lessons ranged from teaching about speed & measurement conversions to area of a curved shape and volume.

The CHS students were well prepared for their first teaching experience!  They began by observing their MBS class and interacting with the students they would be teaching.  Each pair of students consulted with the classroom teacher and their calculus teacher to design one hour lessons. Lauren Bergen, Katelyn Hass, Cassie Mallabar, Andrew Lynch, Kristen Schick, Danielle Whitham, Connor Zwonik, Jordan DeMattis, Victoria Mier, and Abby Harrington taught amazing lessons in Mrs. Marlow, Mrs. Ellingson, Mrs. Carney, Mrs. Boucher, and Mrs. Buswell’s classes.

MBS students were impressed that the math they were doing was related to calculus.  Many young mathematicians were inspired by these talented calculus students.  While the lessons were challenging, the MBS students were engaged and excited to solve problems related to their future study of Calculus, and the CHS students had an authentic opportunity to find relationships between the elementary school math standards and the Calculus they learned throughout the year. It was an excellent collaboration between CHS and MBS!

Click here to see a video clip of the students in action.

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

Bus Dismissal Schedule for Last Day of School, June 9

Colchester School District announces the bus dismissal schedule for last day of school, which will be Thursday,  June 9, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Colchester High School—There will be no bus departing from CHS on June 9. Students requiring a bus may walk to Colchester Middle School for 12:00 p.m. to access them.
Colchester Middle School—buses will depart at 12:00 p.m.
Porters Point School—buses will depart at 12:45 p.m.
Union Memorial School—buses will depart at 12:45 p.m.
Malletts Bay School—buses will depart at 12:45 p.m.

Please call your child’s school with any questions.

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

District Art Show at CHS – May 3-6, 2016

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The annual Colchester School District Art Show will be held in the gym at Colchester High School on May 3-6, 2016.  The show will be open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Artwork from each school in the district will be on exhibit.  A reception for artists, families, and the Colchester community will be held on Thursday night, May 5 from 6:00-8:00 p.m., granting the artists the opportunity to discuss their work.  We hope that you will join us in celebrating the creativity and talent of our students!

Posted in Accountability, Colchester High School, Community, Currently Colchester, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, District Office, Employee Spotlight, General, Other Important Information, Personnel

Announcing the New CHS Principal

Dear Colchester Community,

On behalf of the Colchester School District we would like to thank the members of our community who participated in the collaborative process to find the next principal of Colchester High School. A selection committee consisting of students, parents, support staff, teachers, administrators, a school board member and other community members screened and interviewed candidates before recommending a finalist to the school board. I would like to extend special thanks to the selection committee, school board, and all individuals who attended the employee and community forums last evening.

CHS is a high-functioning school that requires a candidate who will continue the trajectory of the school.  We believe that an effective administrator pushes professional practice and promotes effective classroom and system-wide practices, while always doing what is best for students.

I am extremely pleased to announce that Heather Baron has been selected as the next Colchester High School Principal!  Heather was selected as a result of her ability to:

  • Understand what all learners need in order to be successful
  • Foster our culture of collaboration and curiosity
  • Develop and implement a vision for teaching and learning
  • Build strong relationships with students, staff, families and the community
  • Build capacity for teacher leadership
  • Seek out and listen to multiple perspectives
  • Make informed decisions confidently

Heather currently serves CHS as a science teacher, professional development coordinator and instructional coach.  During her 17 years in education she has demonstrated excellence both inside and outside of the classroom.  We are certain that she possesses the qualities and the capacity to lead Colchester High School to even greater heights.

Best wishes to Heather and Colchester High School for continued success!  Many thanks to all of the community members who participated in the comprehensive principal search process.

Sincerely,

Amy Minor

Posted in Colchester High School, Community, Music

A Gift That Will Keep On Giving

Colchester-Milton Rotary, Friends of Colchester Music purchase piano for CHS music program

It was a festive night at Colchester High School on December 17 for the band and choral program’s annual winter jubilee concert, but the mood became even brighter when members of the Colchester-Milton Rotary and Friends of Colchester Music (FCM) came to the stage to make a special announcement.

FCM, a volunteer booster group that supports music programs in the Colchester School District, joined forces with the Colchester-Milton Rotary to fulfill a donation request from CHS Choral Director Melissa Towle for a Yamaha Clavinova piano for the school’s music room. At the December concert, FCM President Marie Bouffard, Rotary’s Past President Leora Black, and Rotary’s Chair of Allocations Kent Booraem, presented Melissa Towle two checks for $2,000 each to allow her to purchase the piano.

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Some of the CHS choral students and Choral Director Melissa Towle (sitting) stand around the school’s new Yamaha Clavinova Piano purchased from Contois School of Music through donations from Friends of Colchester Music and the Colchester-Milton Rotary.

 

“The Colchester-Milton Rotary Club has a history of supporting music in the community. In 2011, the Rotary donated $1,000 to the Friends of Colchester Music to support a program at Malletts Bay School. In the past year, the organization has also made donations to the Colchester Community Chorus and Band,” said Leora Black, past president of the Colchester-Milton Rotary. “We believe music makes a difference in the lives of students and community members.”

According to Mrs. Towle, the 20-plus year old piano is the “workhorse of the CHS music department.” It gets daily use by the school’s 110 choral students (CHS has the largest high school choral program in Chittenden County); and, it’s used by the band and drama programs. The piano has been rebuilt once and was in need of major repairs.

The $4,000 price tag for the new piano put a replacement instrument out of reach for Towle’s already stretched music budget, much of which goes toward the purchase of sheet music for the school’s annual choral performances.

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From left: Friends of Colchester Music President Marie Bouffard, Rotary Past President Leora Black, and Rotary Chair of Allocations Kent Booraem present checks to CHS Choral Director Melissa Towle for the purchase of a new Yamaha Clavinova piano for the CHS music program.

“We were thrilled that the Colchester-Milton Rotary was able to provide $2,000 to help purchase the piano,” said FCM President Marie Bouffard. “FCM is a small booster group, but we are fortunate to have great support from CSD families as well as the Colchester community…their support helped make our matching donation possible.”

“What a wonderful gift,” said Towle. “This piano means so much to the students and to our entire music program…We feel so very lucky to have such a supportive community.”

A brand new Yamaha Clavinova piano sells for nearly $6,000, but Towle received a quote on a floor model for $4,000 from Contois School of Music in Essex Junction.

Posted in Colchester High School, General, Grants, Other Important Information

Great News! CHS Awarded Public Outreach Grant!

The Vermont Agency of Education has just announced that four Vermont high schools have been awarded a public outreach grant, and Colchester High School is among them!

The grants were awarded to “help build public understanding and support for the Act 77 Legislation of 2013 designed to provide students with multiple pathways to graduation.”

Along with CHS, Otter Valley Union High School (in Brandon), Twinfield Union School (in Plainfield), and Champlain Valley Union High School (in Hinesburg) were awarded the grants. According to the VT-AOE, “Teams will work together to build understanding of education redesign.”

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with these schools to ensure that communities across Vermont fully understand the implications of the legislation. In an era of unprecedented societal change, our best shot at creating a prosperous future for Vermont and our students is to remodel our educational delivery system to meet their needs,” said Deputy Secretary John Fischer. “We need to spread that message far and wide.”


Here is more from the VT-AOE’s press release:

Act 77 encourages all schools in Vermont to offer flexible pathways to high school graduation, which includes both traditional and non-traditional learning. For example, students are able to get credit for internships and other workplace-based experiences. Act 77 also supports dual enrollment in high school and college courses, as well as virtual (online and video) and blended learning experiences.

The Personalized Learning Plan requirements of Act 77 will help students achieve academic success, be prepared for post-secondary opportunities, and engage actively in civic life. Schools must ensure that they have designed a PLP process for implementation beginning in the fall of 2015. Schools will be expected to work with students to identify their goals, learning styles, and abilities and align this with the school’s academic expectations and student’s pathway toward graduation.

As part of the grant, the four schools will gather several times over the next academic year to learn a host of skills related to building public understanding of educational redesign and deep engagement. These include: strategic framing, an approach to communications that draws on how people make sense of public issues; dialogue for change strategies to help educators lead conversations in their communities about school redesign; and strategies for building youth-adult partnerships for engaging their peers in the change process.

Participants will also engage in a robust online platform and in authentic school-based projects that will advance the public conversation about student-centered learning in their communities. The experience will culminate in a statewide exhibition of learning.


For more information about the project, please contact the VT-AOE’s Debi Price at debora.price@state.vt.us or by phone at (802) 479-1172.

Congratulations, Colchester High School!