Posted in Colchester Middle School, General, Programs, Student Spotlight, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

CMS Cougars Compete in Jr. Iron Chef

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.

Picture from left to right: Tyler Roberge, Max Grenier, Colby Fane-Cushing, Carson Corrigan, Abby Blin.
From left to right: Tyler Roberge, Max Grenier, Colby Fane-Cushing, Carson Corrigan, Abby Blin.

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!

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

 

Posted in Accountability, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

Communications Update: Spotlight on Hiatus Beginning Today

While CSD’s communications program strategizes its transition to a curtailed version of itself, the Spotlight will have a summer-long hiatus effective today.


To date, the Spotlight has been read more than 100,000 times—in addition to its nearly 1,300 subscribers who automatically receive its articles—in 132 countries around the world from Australia to Zambia. Since its launch in the spring of 2011, it has published 828 articles covering a wide variety of topics (including hundreds of photographs and dozens of videos) in an effort to foster the open communication, transparency, accountability, and community spirit that are so important to students’ education. The Spotlight, to which we have repeatedly encouraged the community to subscribe, covers a wide variety of subjects in an effort to offer clear information—everything from college and career planning, the Common Core State Standards, and costs of school meals to academic performance, illness-prevention strategies, and how administrators determine whether to close school due to inclement weather—in regularly published updates. The Spotlight also shares information about important opportunities and initiatives in your schools, such as technology integration efforts and the safe use of technology, community wellness activities, student civic engagement programs, exciting grant-funded projects, partnerships with local and state officials, and much more.

While the Spotlight has been designed to serve as an important facet of CSD’s communications efforts, it is by no means our only avenue for connecting with the community with which we work. We strongly encourage the community to access information about the school district through our numerous outreach channels, which have been discussed many times in the past, including:

And did you know that many teachers and administrators also have websites, blogs, Twitter feeds, and more? Watch videos and slideshows of innovative learning in action and discover what takes place in twenty-first-century classrooms. Many students also write blogs as part of their academic experience into which they incorporate the electronic books, short films, and other work they create. Meet teachers, students, and community volunteers who offer a glimpse into life in your school community.

In addition, your schools host and encourage participation in numerous community events throughout the year, and the district also welcomes the public’s use of the facilities. All of this is in an effort to communicate with our community members and to establish lasting, meaningful partnerships.

If you have any additional ideas or suggestions for how CSD can further its communications efforts, please call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999.

Have a wonderful summer!

Posted in Community, General, Other Important Information, Programs, Town of Colchester, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

Reading Buddies!

Do you know a young person in grades 1–3 who would like some reading practice during the summer?

Or do you perhaps know a student in grade 6 or higher who has a spare half hour per week this summer to help a younger student keep his or her reading skills sharp?

The Reading Buddies program at the Burnham Memorial Library starts on June 20!

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The program is designed to provide “buddies” to young readers who have completed kindergarten through third grade and offer them the opportunity to practice their reading during the summer. Students who read over the summer months are typically better prepared for school in the fall, and reading aloud helps children improve their language skills, gain confidence, and practice good communication.

The mentoring older students who are entering grade 6 and up experience helping a younger child, hone valuable work skills, and are able to give back to the community as volunteers (a beneficial addition to future job and college prospects). Buddies and mentors get to know each other, form friendships, and have a rewarding, educational, and fun time together.

If a fourth grader or fifth grader would like to participate but would rather read with a friend his or her own age, he or she could consider being a part of a pair or trio of mid-level readers called RB Friends. They can sign up together or be matched; they meet weekly and attend the celebration just like other participants.

Participants can register at the library’s website (http://colchestervt.gov/Library/) by Tuesday, June 17. Reading buddies participants/parents contact each other and set a time and place to meet; we recommend meeting at the library. Buddies should read to mentors, but mentors can also take a turn reading to buddies.


Would you like to see a flyer about the program? Please click here!


Dates to remember:

  • Tuesday, June 17—All buddies and mentors must register at the library website (http://colchestervt.gov/Library/) by June 17.
  • Thursday, June 19—Mandatory training for all mentors at at 7:00 p.m. at Burnham Memorial Library.
  • Friday, June 20—The Reading Buddies program officially starts. Buddies and mentors can pick up their match information.
  • Thursday, August 21—End-of-program pizza party with certificates and prizes!

If you have any questions, please contact Gizelle Guyette at gguyette@colchestervt.gov, or call 264-5666.

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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, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Grants, Other Important Information, Student Spotlight, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

The Making of the Maker Club

New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) recently awarded Colchester High School with a $500 grant to support a new technology-focused club.

CHS's Bob Hall, junior Josh Wallis, and Principal Amy Minor with the $500 grant from NEFCU to support the Maker Club
CHS’s Bob Hall, junior Josh Wallis, and Principal Amy Minor with the $500 grant from NEFCU to support the Maker Club

CHS junior Josh Wallis and guidance counselor Bob Hall approached NEFCU about funding to support the launching of a Maker Club at the school in an effort to encourage students’ interest in technology.

What is the maker movement?

Those interested in the maker movement engage in such engineering-related pursuits as robotics and electronics as well as other creative pursuits in which inventing and prototyping are encouraged. At it essence, the maker movement is about learning practical skills and applying them in creative ways. It focuses upon informal, shared learning that encourages fun.

Why is this new program important?

Increasing technology in our schools is a priority affirmed by the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017. At CHS’s Hour of Code event in December (please click here to read more about it and to watch a video featuring our students), students spent one hour in math and science classes writing their own simple computer programs, the impact of which was an increased desire to learn more about coding and to have more access to computer technology. Consequently, CHS saw an immediate upsurge in student interest in taking more computer science classes. The Maker Club aims to further support student interest in technology by utilizing a variety of open-source platforms to create their own projects—from simple computers to advanced electronics projects like micro drones.

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

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

Posted in Accountability, Community, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Malletts Bay School, Programs, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

UVM Teams Up with MBS to Teach About the Outdoors In the Outdoors

Fourth graders at Malletts Bay School recently enjoyed a special presentation, “Plants Around the World,” as part of their science studies.

Fourth-grade teacher Heather Longchamp examines a pineapple plant while students Austin Manning, Bode Gendreau, Ben Knapp, and Prinsha Neupane look on
Fourth-grade teacher Heather Longchamp examines a pineapple plant while students Austin Manning, Bode Gendreau, Ben Knapp, and Prinsha Neupane look on

Fulbright Fellow Kattia Palacio-Lopez (who holds a master’s degree and is currently a PhD candidate) joined Dr. Jane Molofsky of the University of Vermont in presenting scientific information about various plants brought from UVM’s plant science laboratories.

Students closely examined a variety of plants arranged in various stations, completing a scavenger hunt and matching specific characteristics of each plant. Palacio-Lopez and Molofsky conducted three separate workshops in MBS’s new outdoor classroom, accommodating all seven fourth-grade classes.

 Ms. Palacio-Lopez explains the features of plants placed on a world map, showing fourth graders  Matthew Romeo, Hazel Nelson, Jonathan Labrie, and Braxton Marcotte the location for each kind of plant.

Kattia Palacio-Lopez explains the features of plants placed on a world map, showing fourth graders Matthew Romeo, Hazel Nelson, Jonathan Labrie, and Braxton Marcotte the location for each kind of plant

This special presentation aligned with the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, which contains a number of important pathways, including “Learning Outside Our Four Walls,” “High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners,” “Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners,” and “Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.”

If you would like more information, please contact MBS Principal Julie Benay at (802) 264-5906 or by e-mail at BenayJ@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 Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Town of Colchester, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

A Trip Back in Time and a Look at the Future

Malletts Bay School fifth graders in Stephanie Miller’s class (check out her blog here) had an interesting field trip that combined lessons about the past with a peek into what might happen in the future.

The class visited the 1815 Old Log Schoolhouse and the Colchester Bog, both at Airport Park.

The Old Log Schoolhouse
The Old Log Schoolhouse

Colchester Historical Society spearheaded an initiative to restore the old schoolhouse for use as a museum (to learn more about it, please visit their website). Colchester Selectboard member Tom Mulcahy was instrumental in coordinating the students’ visit, which allowed them the opportunity to examine the old schoolhouse and ask questions about what attending school in the historic building was like.

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MBS students at the Old Log Schoolhouse at Airport Park
MBS students at the Old Log Schoolhouse at Airport Park

Following their visit to the old schoolhouse, the students ventured into the bog to learn about its flora and fauna and to participate in an ecological scavenger hunt. The exploration of the bog was facilitated by University of Vermont master’s student Kathleen Bamford. Bamford explained about the importance of environmental conservation and about what will happen if our natural resources are unprotected.

MBS students at Colchester Bog
MBS students at Colchester Bog
Scavenger hunt list
Scavenger hunt list

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A rare Lady's Slipper, a wildflower in the orchid family, near Colchester Bog
A rare Lady’s Slipper, a wildflower in the orchid family, near Colchester Bog

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Such activities speak directly to the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, as well; read more about that here. And since the visit to the bog also encourages spending time outdoors in the fresh air, it also supports the district’s wellness vision (check out the wellness blog here).

If you would like more information about the students’ field trip, please call Malletts Bay School at (802) 264-5900.

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, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Programs, Student Spotlight, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

CHS Represented at Largest UN Model Conference in New England

Twelve Colchester High School students in Jim Price’s International Politics/UN class journeyed to the University of Southern Maine’s Gorham campus to participate in the Maine Model United Nations Conference 2014 (MeMUNC) May 13–15.

CHS's 2014 delegates to the model un event with teacher Jim Price
CHS’s 2014 delegates to the Maine Model United Nations Conference with teacher Jim Price

The following students represented CHS at the event:

Sean Chamberlain
Rachel Cleary
Summer Colley
Alison Davis
Jacob Dwinall
Teremy Garen
Lauren Hutchings
Aleksa Jenkins
Haley Mock
Alaga Saric
Cody Turner
Napasorn Wattakeekamtorn

The Model UN at the University of Southern Maine is the largest of its kind in New England, supporting approximately six hundred students from more than twenty-five different schools. The event is developed and organized by International Studies scholars at the University of Southern Maine as part of their final projects. This was CHS’s eleventh year of participation in this MeMUNC event. The students in the International Politics/UN class acquire significant knowledge about twentieth-century wars as well as the wars’ resulting complexities, which is helpful for their involvement with MeMUNC.

Preparing for all aspects of the event required a great deal of work; students researched not only the current issues of their assigned countries but also those countries’ positions on those issues. They also learned conflict resolution skills, debating rules and procedures, how to write resolutions, how to write position papers, proper parliamentary procedure, and much more. At the conference, delegates were divided up and dispersed into different committees across the campus representing their assigned countries’ interests and debating relevant issues. Lauren Hutchings, representing Turkey in the UN Special Session on Sport, earned a “Distinguished Diplomat” award at the conference.

In an effort to promote ecological sustainability, the University of Southern Maine powered the conference—including the electricity required for the dorms, dining facilities, and meeting spaces—with wind power generated on a Maine farm. They also purchased energy credits in order to offset the carbon used by students traveling to attend the conference.

“We were also honored this year with a $1,000 dollar donation from the local Rotary Club of Colchester-Milton. CHS Student Government contributed $500, and we also raised an additional $330 from our coin drop. We appreciate all the generous support from the Colchester community,” Jim Price said.

For more information about CHS’s involvement in Model UN, please contact Jim Price at (802) 264-5700 or by e-mail at pricej@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 Colchester Middle School, General, Malletts Bay School, Student Spotlight, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

MBS Osprey Flying to Texas to Represent Vermont! (Contains Video)

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!

MBS fifth-grader Shea Barber will represent Vermont at the Texas event in July
MBS fifth-grader Shea Barber will represent Vermont at the Texas event in July


Jaycie Puttlitz, CSD’s wellness coordinator,
has worked closely with a group of fifth graders at to create a Fuel Up To Play 60 team in order to engage students in augmenting our schools’ wellness-related activities.

MBS's Fuel Up to Play 60 Wellness Committee with CSD's wellness coordinator Jaycie Puttlitz on May 9
MBS’s Fuel Up to Play 60 Wellness Committee with CSD’s wellness coordinator Jaycie Puttlitz on May 9

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.

FUTP60 programming has funded a wide variety of wellness-related initiatives in your schools, including a breakfast-in-the-classroom program, a smoothie bar, an NFL alum’s visit to Colchester Middle School, and more.

On May 9, MBS hosted a field day in part to celebrate this success. Please click here for a video of a day in the life of Colchester School District, which includes footage of the field day.

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Wellness is a major component of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017. Would you like to know more about what your schools are doing to promote and facilitate wellness? To date, we have nearly ninety Spotlight articles relating to wellness in our Wellness category, and we also have our Wellness at CSD blog. Please take a moment to check them out!

For more information, please e-mail CSD’s wellness coordinator, Jaycie Puttlitz, at puttlitzj@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 Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Other Important Information, Programs, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

A Hands-On Approach to Life Beyond the Classroom (Contains Video)

As we’ve mentioned before, arguably, one of the main purposes of education is to prepare students for life beyond the classroom—the component of daily living that involves supporting one’s self by means of employment.

Colchester Middle School recently hosted its annual Career Carnival, granting students the opportunity to engage in a number of college- and career-related conversations and activities. Please click here for a video of a day in the life of Colchester School District, which includes footage from the Career Carnival.

With the goal of connecting school and skill sets to students’ lives beyond graduation, the event was designed to demonstrate the vast opportunities awaiting the students and the ways in which those various opportunities combine to make a community and an economy thrive.

A committee championed by CMS’s Kara Pawlusiak that included teachers, parents, and engaged community members organized the event (as is affirmed by the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, which specifically encourages community involvement in our schools). Community representatives from an array of industries supported the effort, providing career-oriented, hands-on activities and real-world challenges in order to demonstrate what their jobs actually entail.

The 2014 Career Carnival presenters spanned an immense variety of career fields:

Culinary
Chef Christine Frost from the Essex Cook Academy

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Communications
Keith McGilvery and Jennifer Reading with WCAX
Brent Hallenbeck with the Burlington Free Press

WCAX's Keith McGilvery and Jennifer Reading offered a presentation about communications to students
WCAX’s Keith McGilvery and Jennifer Reading offered a presentation about communications to students

The Arts
Abby Manock
Andy Duback with Duback Photography
Libby Davidson with Starflower Studio

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Fitness
Danielle Vardakas-Ducko with Honest Yoga
Jen Barden with Spotlight on Dance
Sarah DeGray with REV Cycling Studio

Animals
Wendy Sorrell with the UVM Extension’s 4-H and Youth
Dr. Nancy Frantz with Milton Veterinary Hospital
Joan Powell and Sam Bigger with the Farmhouse Center

Lola the therapy dog pitches in
Lola the therapy dog pitches in

Health and Wellness
Dan Curry with Appletree Bay Physical Therapy
Jessica Barrow with Champlain Valley Area Health Education Center
Dr. Thomas Ruescher with Timberlane Dental Group
Dr. Jessica Stadtmauer with Mountain View Natural Medicine

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
Mark Lagerquist and Bob Zwonik with IBM

Information Technology
Ed Booth

Law and Public Safety
Jeffery Fontaine with the Colchester Police Department
Michelle Bourgeois with Colchester Rescue
Attorney Matt Shagam

The US Border Patrol landed a helicopter on the CMS/MBS green, much to the delight of the amassed crowd
The US Border Patrol landed a helicopter on the CMS/MBS green, much to the delight of the amassed crowd

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Marketing and Advertising
Peter Mitchell and Jordan Carrell with Burton Snowboards
Lindsey LaCross with WPTZ

Banking and Finance
Betty Koshinsky with People’s United Bank
Trish Phelps with Vermont Federal Credit Union

Building Design and Construction
Jason Lavoie and Austin Chagnon with Lavoie Plumbing and Heating
Matt Pinard with Pinard Electric
Tricia Roy with Smith Alvarez Sienkiewycz Architects

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Tech Programs and Military
Center for Technology, Essex
Pilot Philip Small with the Army National Guard
Garrett Greer and Seth Fiore with the Department of Homeland Security

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Auto and Aviation
Keith Schnabel with MasterTech Automotive
Rick Sylvester and students with Burlington Technical Center’s Aviation program

To learn more about what Colchester School District offers to help prepare students for their careers, please click here to read our primer about it, and be sure to check out an article about it in the May 2014 issue of Currently Colchester.

Many thanks to all of the community volunteers who helped to make this event possible!

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

Posted in Community, General, Other Important Information, Programs, Town of Colchester, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

Celebrate National EMS Week!

EMS Week

May 18–24 is National EMS Week!

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National EMS Week celebrates and honors the EMS practitioners serving communities all across the country. Join us for a number of activities, including:

  • Free CPR training on Monday, May 19 at 6:00 p.m. at Colchester Rescue, located at 687 Blakely Road. Please call (802) 264-5590 to sign up.
  • Free car seat inspections on Tuesday, May 20 at Colchester Rescue, located at 687 Blakely Road, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
  • Annual Family Fun and Safety Night on Wednesday, May 21 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Enjoy demonstrations, information tables, bike safety gear, and free hot dogs and refreshments. Meet the EMTs, advanced EMTs, and paramedics who make Colchester Rescue the great organization that it is!

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For more information about Colchester Rescue, please click here, or call (802) 264-5590.

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