Posted in General

How a Kindergarten Class Bought a Goat (and Why!)

 

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It all started with a book.

“The thing with teaching kindergarteners is, it doesn’t often go according to plan,” explained Porters Point Teacher, David Allbee. “I’ll have planned something and I’ve planned it really well, and all of a sudden I have to adjust my plan because their interest is so great in a certain subject. So, I have to be quick on my feet. This project came about in that sort of way.”

After spending some time with these energetic and imaginative kindergarteners, it is notEsther Gray and Ava Viens Reading a Book hard to understand what he is talking about. Especially when the timing of the visit falls on St. Patrick’s Day and the class just finished making leprechaun traps. However, all you have to do is mention the names Beatrice, Katjie, or Goat Lady, and they will proudly switch gears.

“She sold her goats to the same project that Beatrice got her goat, and that’s where we’re going to get our goats!” explained kindergartner, Esther Gray.

Beatrice is the main character in a book by Page McBrier called Beatrice’s Goat. The children’s storybook is based on the true account of Beatrice Biira, an impoverished Ugandan girl whose life is transformed by the gift of a goat from the nonprofit world hunger organization Heifer International.

booksPrior to Beatrice, the class read Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming. They thoroughly enjoyed the story of two girls from separate countries who bounded over sending each other packages. The Goat Lady by Jane Bregoli came last. It tells the story of an elderly woman who sent her extra goats to the Heifer Project so they could distribute them to those in need, like Beatrice.

“I specifically chose a few books that had international themes because I have kids in my class from other countries who have moved to this country,” said Allbee. “The connection between the characters in the books were that people were helping each other across international lines. People were sending aid to different countries and friendships grew out of that.”

It wasn’t long before the students started making their own connections, both between the books and within their own lives. They began thinking about how they could help other kids like Beatrice.

Allbee Classroom 1“Beatrice had to work so hard, and then some nice people got her a goat. Then she had to take care of the goat to get money and then she went to school,” exclaimed kindergartener Praydence Handridge.

“It really exposed the kids to the idea that we’re really privileged to go to school in Colchester and that public education is funded here. It also gave them an appreciation of what they have,” said Allbee.

After some brainstorming, the students decided they would make and sell bracelets to raise money to buy a goat through the Heifer Project.

“We introduced the idea to the parents and before we knew it, kids were hawking bracelets at their family birthday parties and holding their aunts and uncles accountable,” laughed Albee. “The money started rolling in, and it was more than I expected!”Books and Bracelets

Friends Praydence Handridge and Madden McMahon were thrilled at how much money the class raised. “We raised so much money we got enough for two goats and some chicks! And people can have milk. They can sell milk for good food so they can survive and they can sell it to get money to go to school,” they said.

The idea behind the Heifer Project is that any offspring produced by a Heifer animal will be gifted to other families. “They [the Heifer Project] helped her. These people give things to other people, and we teamed up with them!” said classmate Nichael Sharma.

“I think the most impressive thing is that somebody can make a difference. One little thing that a child can do, can create an avalanche of good deeds,” said Allbee.

If you would like to find out more information on how to donate to the Heifer Project, visit their website at www.heifer.org.

To watch a video of this story, visit Colchester School District’s Facebook page or website.

Posted in General

Colchester Senior Wins Trip to DC

Ryan Arel, a senior at Colchester High School, was named the first-place winner in the Vermont Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) 2016-17 Voice of Democracy audio-essay contest. The annual event encourages high school students to write speeches and essays based on democratic and patriotic themes. Click here to read Ryan’s winning essay.

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Ryan in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships. The first-place winner from each state wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. This unique opportunity is designed to foster patriotism by allowing students the opportunity to voice their opinion.

After winning the local district with his submission titled “My Responsibility to America”, Ryan was invited to a banquet at Post 782 in Burlington recognizing the top three finalists in Vermont. He left that ceremony having received the top honor for Vermont and the opportunity to represent the state in Washington, D.C.

Ryan says writing this essay helped him to focus on his own values. “It’s important for all of us to really reflect on our true value; reflect on bigger picture ideas; reflect on what we define as right and wrong.”

As for the trip to DC? He says it went very well. “After writing this piece and spending time with people from all across the country, I can safely say that regardless of all our differences, I’ve learned how to get along with people from all different backgrounds a little better than before,” Ryan said.

Posted in General

Join the Fun at the Colchester Winter Carnival

The 34th An2017-wc-logonual Colchester Winter Carnival is coming up on February 3, 4, & 5 at the Colchester High School!  This year’s theme is “Around the World,” and will include a Passport Contest where you can pick up your passport at the entrance on Saturday and learn about the many cultures of the world as you enjoy the attractions and performances.  Collect all of the stamps and you could win a prize.  And don’t forget about the annual Colchester’s Got Talent show on Friday night!  Come out and cheer on your friends and neighbors as they perforimg_0027m their talents on stage.  Skip the lines and purchase your tickets early at the locations listed below, or get your admission bracelet at the Info Booth on the day of the event.
Admission bracelets are $7.00 each (ages two and under free) and include entry to almost every attraction and performance during the whole weekend.  See below for a complete schedule of events.  We can’t wait to see you there!

Visit http://colchestervt.gov/WinterCarnival or follow our event on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ColchesterRec for more details and updates.

34th ANNUAL COLCHESTER WINTER CARNIVAL SCHEDULE

*All events at Colchester High School, unless noted

Friday, February 3, 2017

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM                 Winter Carnival Information Booth

6:00 PM – 8:30 PM  COLCHESTER’S GOT TALENT – A COMMUNITY TALENT SHOW

Saturday, February 4, 2017

8:30 AM – 11:00 AM              Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast (additional fee)

9:30 AM – 3:15 PM                Winter Carnival Information Booth

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Passport Contest

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Laser Tag with Colchester Paintball

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Chair Massages with Krista Wilbur

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Horse Drawn Hay Rides

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Marc Hughes Caricatures

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Pirate Dan

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              The Big Blue Trunk

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Arts & Crafts Room

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Playdough Extravaganza

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Inflatable Obstacle Course

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Pony Rides

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Face Painting with Face Mania!

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Henna Tattoos

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              SNOWZILLA!!! – OUTSIDE

10:30 AM                                Chili Contest (additional fee)

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM           PERFORMANCE: Jon Gailmor

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Food Concessions (additional fee)

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Balloon Animals with the Gratto Family Stilt Walkers

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Sugar on Snow & Maple Cotton Candy

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM              Fat Bike Demos with Malletts Bay Bicycle & Ski Shop

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM               PERFORMANCE: Studio 3 Dance Company

Sunday, February 5, 2017

12:20 PM – 2:05 PM               Open Skate with CPD Officers (Leddy Park, Burlington)


Winter Carnival Bracelets: $7.00 per bracelet

Children Ages 2 & Under FREE!

Purchase Bracelets at:

* Biben’s ACE Hardware

* Burnham Memorial Library

* Colchester Parks & Recreation

* Mazza’s General Store


HIGHLIGHTS!

SNOWZILLA * THE ONLY ONE IN THE UNITED STATES OR CANADA!

This inflatable toboggan slide is made for adults and children. This is a massive attraction simulating a slide down a snow-covered hill. Riders slide down on their snow pants for a fast ride to the bottom of this 35-foot tall slide. And it’s the only one in the United States! It has tremendous WOW factor!

THESE ACTIVITIES ARE AN ADDITIONAL FEE THAT IS NOT INCLUDED WITH THE BRACELET ENTRY.

Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast                                               8:30 -11:00 AM

The Lion’s Club of Colchester will be hosting the Pancake Breakfast.  What a way to get the day off to a great start!   $3.00 under six years of age, $5.00 over 6 years of age, maximum of $15 per family of 4.  Location: CHS Cafeteria.

Chili Contest                                                                              10:30 AM

Think you have the best chili in town? Well then, test your chili against your neighbor, and most importantly help support Blue Star Mothers of Vermont (BSMVT) by signing up. BSMVT is a non-profit 501(c)3 Veterans Service Organization whose mission is to support and advocate for our Soldiers and Veterans while also being dedicated to honoring and assisting families of our Fallen. $15.00 to enter with all proceeds going to BSMVT. The top 3 will win a trophy & bragging rights. Stop by the Colchester Parks & Recreation Office to sign up or download a Chili Contest Entry Form from the Parks & Rec website (http://colchestervt.gov/WinterCarnival) or at http://www.bluestartmothersofvermont.org.  Registration Deadline 1/28. Location: CHS, Cafeteria.

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Posted in General

CHS Students Travel to DC for the Presidential Inauguration

Last night, CHS staff and families gathered in excitement for the send-off of the “Election 2016” class as they depart from Colchester, VT and travel to Washington, DC to attend the inauguration ceremony for the 45th President of the United States.

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dsc_8324This trip is the culmination of an after-school elective course called “Election 2016” which allowed students to conduct in-depth research surrounding the 2016 campaign season and the electoral process. There was significant interest in the course and the 15 students who were ultimately invited to participate were chosen through a highly competitive application process. Throughout the first semester, students were responsible for writing their own research questions and conducting ongoing research related to the election.dsc_8325

All three local news outlets were there to capture the send-off. They interviewed the students and their parents about the class, the knowledge they gained about the democratic process, and their excitement surrounding the 4 day trip to DC.

Although the Inauguration is the focal point of the trip, the group plans to see much of the city. They’ll be visiting the White House, Ford’s Theatre, Museum of African American History and Culture, Arlington National Cemetery, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian Complex, take guided tours of the National Cathedral and Capitol Hill grounds, and see many of the major monuments (Korean and Vietnam War Memorials; Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King monuments).

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For most of the class, this will be their first time visiting the nation’s capital.

Posted in General

Performing Arts Center Opens for School and Community Use

On Friday evening, the community gathered inside the newly renovated Performing Arts Center at Colchester High School to cut the ribbon, and officially open the center to both student and community performers.

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The audience heard speeches by Superintendent, Amy Minor; Principal, Heather Baron; and School Board Chair, Mike Rodgers. Throughout each speech there was an underlying theme: community pride and a deep appreciation for the tremendous support they have received for this project.

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Amy Minor, Superintendent

Up until this renovation, the theater and its technology was nearly original to the construction date of 1975. Back in March of 2016, Colchester School District asked voters for their permission to use the leftover money from the the science construction bond towards renovating the aging Performing Arts Center at Colchester High School. The voters said yes, and work began in June, just days after graduation. Six months later the work is complete and it now boasts all new flooring, seating, paint, acoustic panels, curtains, updated lighting and sound technology, and an upgrade to the ventilation system.

In addition to the vast district and school uses, the Performing Arts Center is also utilized by many organizations and community members, all of which will benefit from such substantial improvements. Immediately following the ceremony, the Colchester Community Chorus got everyone in the holiday spirit with their Annual Winter Concert.

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Colchester Community Chorus

The opening ceremony and concert turned out to be an incredible display of community pride among students, faculty, and the residents of Colchester. If you couldn’t be there to celebrate with us, head over to the district’s  website  or Facebook  page to check out the video that was aired during the ceremony. It tours the new center and focuses on the overwhelming impact this renovation has had on the students and faculty who use the space regularly.

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

Election Day Excitement Runs Through CSD

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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 General

Colchester Community Wellness Fair

Join the Colchester community for an evening of healthy family fun in a whole community wellness fair and free harvest dinner this Friday, November 4th, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the High School. The wellness fair is FREE and open to the public. Donations of non-perishable food and used eye-wear are kindly requested.

The fair will bring together local health experts and community members to provide information and answer questions in areas of nutrition, fitness, health, and personal well-being for residents of all ages.

Services will include the following:

  • Flu Shots
  • Prescription Review – Attendees are encouraged to bring their prescriptions for medication consultation with a pharmacist
  • Health Screenings and Assessments – Vision, Diabetes, Heart Health Assessment, Blood Pressure, and more!

The Harvest Dinner starts at 5:30, followed by the Kids on the Block Healthy Snack Puppet Show at 6:00 pm.

Questions? Contact Thalissa Baptiste at VTWellnessFair@acphs.edu

 

Posted in Community, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Union Memorial School

Journey to Independent Reading

If you happen to be in Union Memorial School on Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings, you’ll notice the hallways buzzing with beginner readers.blogger-image-424245806

The Emergent Reading Literacy Program got off to a great start at UMS on Monday.  The program is a unique reading program centered around the student that brings together families, volunteers and teachers. The goal of the program is to bridge the gap between being read to and independent reading.

Three times a week each student works one-on-one with a literacy volunteer. Along with practicing their letters and sight words, the student gets to choose a book from the school’s collection and participate in shared reading with the adult. The student then brings the book home to read it with their family. During the next school literacy session the student brings the book back to read to a volunteer again, and then chooses a new book to begin the process over. The program focuses on active participation in all steps of the routine which can reinforce concepts and language skills.

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Superintendent Amy Minor reads with a student as part of the Emergent Reading Program.

The Emergent Reading Program is a great experience for both the child and the adult. The kids love reading to other adults and it can be very rewarding for the volunteer to witness the growth and progress each child makes throughout the program.

Volunteers are vital to the success of the program and the school is always looking for more people to participate.  Anyone can volunteer (after a background check); grandparent, aunt or uncle, sibling, community member, or a even high school students. There’s no steadfast commitment to make either; come as often or as little your time permits.

If you are interested in volunteering for the program contact UMS at 264-5959.

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.