Presidential elections are exciting for students and provide a great opportunity to discuss and debate a range of issues in the classroom. On this historic election day, teachers and staff throughout the district have been working to educate and enthuse students on citizenship and civic responsibilities.
To promote community citizenship, the middle school held a mock vote for the entire school (teachers too!). Students had registered ahead of time and checked in with high school students who were running the CMS polling station.
During the election students voted down the ballot from president to local Vermont officials. There was a lot of excitement and questions over what the different elected positions do and who to vote for. After casting their ballots they cheerfully donned the iconic, “I Voted” sticker.
CMS students also spent the day reflecting on what it means to be a responsible citizen, both online and offline, in preparation of bringing their school chrome-books home. They started the day off evaluating balance between interacting with a screen and their individual lifestyle. They then studied some tips and tricks on troubleshooting potential issues and learned how to use new apps and programs through a series of workshops.
At Malletts Bay School and Porters Point School the elementary students learned about ballots, voting, and how the overall election process works. MBS students cast ballots for their favorite yearbook cover, and students in both schools voted for what the next school-wide celebration should be.
At PPS, the voters-in-training had to choose between a dance party or frozen treats. Principal Millham took the opportunity to speak with students about being respectful towards the opinions of others, even in the event their celebration choice was not the winner. In an election year when tensions are incredibly high, we can certainly count on our student community to bring us back to our core democratic values.
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.
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!
Colchester Middle School has five young 6th grade chefs competing in the upcoming Jr. Iron Chef Competition at the Expo in Essex on Saturday, March 21. They have been practicing different dishes like sandwiches, salads, and breakfast each week and have adapted a recipe for Colchester Cougar Corn Chowder served with Parmesan Crisps and Garlic Herb Crostini. The group has sourced local products whenever possible. The team has learned basic food safety, preparation, and teamwork over the course of the year. They are excited about the upcoming competition. Their chowder will also be served at the upcoming CMS family/community night on March 27, 2015.
Join us at the Champlain Valley Exposition to support our students! The day-long event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is $3 per individual or $5 per family.
Good luck Cougars!
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The Colchester Middle School (CMS) PTO is sponsoring a Family Social for CMS Students and their families on Friday,March 27, from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The evening will include a complimentary dinner (graciously provided by Colchester Nutritional Services), activities, and fun!
Each year, Lions clubs around the world sponsor the Lions International Peace Poster Contest in local schools and youth groups. This art contest for kids encourages young people worldwide to express their visions of peace. For more than 25 years, millions of children from nearly 100 countries have participated in the contest.
The theme of the 2014-15 Peace Poster Contest is “Peace, Love and Understanding.” Students, ages 11, 12 or 13 on November 15, are eligible to participate.
Each poster is judged on originality, artistic merit and expression of the theme.
This year a Colchester Middle School student, Fariha Nawar shown with Colchester Lions President Scott Hinman, submitted an entry that has been selected and forwarded to the statewide competition. When asked about what her poster means to her she responded “We accept each other for who we are, even if we don’t always agree we accept one another regardless of our race, color, or religion.” Fariha is a 6th Grader in the Champlain House and her poster goes to statewide judging.
Posters will advance through several judging levels: local, district, multiple district and international. At the international level, judges from the art, peace, youth, education and media communities select one grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners.
Colchester Middle School athletes made a really impressive showing at the Chittenden County Middle School Track & Field Championship on June 9 at Essex High School.
“Both the boys and girls won the Chittenden County Middle School Track & Field Championship 2014!” said Jude Olson, a CMS track coach. “This is the first time for CMS! The team showed a lot of depth, talent, and beautiful sportsmanship.”
In March 2013, I was elected to the Colchester School Board. My reason for seeking election was that I was as frustrated as everyone else with increases in property taxes, and I decided the best way to do anything about it was to run for election.
One of my main goals was to make sure the school district minimized its costs by operating efficiently. That will be one of my goals for as long as I am on the board.
To monitor the efficiency of the schools, I look at data provided by the Vermont Agency of Education regarding per-pupil spending, student/teacher ratios, New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) scores, and others metrics. Here are highlights of what the most recent available data shows:
Of the 11 school districts that offer K-12 programs, 3 districts (27.2%) have lower per-pupil spending, when Special Education expenses are excluded.
The student/administrator (principal, assistant principals) ratio for CHS and PPS are average for their respective school type and size.
The student/administrator ratios for CMS, MBS, and UMS are in the lower half for their respective school type and size. In the case of MBS and UMS, this is due to the size of the schools. For CMS, this is due to the need to address specific issues.
NECAP scores for eleventh graders are among the highest in the state for all subjects.
I don’t like paying a penny more than I have to for anything than I have to, and I bring this mentality to my work on the board. The above data suggest that the schools are operating relatively efficiently.
The data also suggest that it is expensive to operate schools in Vermont. After we have an approved budget, I hope to ensure the district continues to look for ways to operate efficiently and address statewide issues to further improve the cost efficiency of Colchester schools.
Malletts Bay School fifth-grader Shea Barber has been selected as the Fuel Up To Play 60 (FUTP60) 2014/15 Vermont State Ambassador and will represent Vermont at the Student Ambassador Summit in Arlington, Texas, in July!
Shea, who was selected to represent Vermont in Texas based largely on his diligent work in these efforts, will receive leadership training with other FUTP60 ambassadors at the Texas event. The district’s program adviser will also learn more about what we can do to support student wellness in the schools.