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!

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Posted in Colchester Middle School, General, Programs, Wellness

Run, Cougars, Run!

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.

Members of the CMS track and field team at the 2014 championship event on June 9
Members of the CMS track and field team at the 2014 championship event on June 9

“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.”

To view the full results of the event, please click here.

Congratulations, athletes!


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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.

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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 High School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Other Important Information, Programs, Town of Colchester, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Making Important Choices (Contains WCAX Footage)

Colchester High School hosted a series of events on May 9 to encourage students to make safe and healthy choices.


PLEASE NOTE: THE BELOW PHOTOGRAPH WAS A STAGED EVENT INVOLVING MULTIPLE EMERGENCY SERVICES AGENCIES. NO STUDENTS WERE INJURED.


“Throughout all of our work with CHS students, our goal is to ensure that students are well informed and make safe and healthy choices,” said CHS Assistant Principal Justin Brown.

Ninth-grade students participated in a series of healthy-choice-related activities during their AT program. (Formerly the TA program, AT—renamed to emphasize academics, assistance and advising time—is the result of a collaborative, comprehensive analysis of the long-running teacher advisory (TA) program. It offers a more consistent schedule and focuses more intently upon advancement of learning, assistance with skills, meaningful engagement in advising and a clear emphasis on academics and connection with students’ regular class day.) The activities—designed to build resilience and to inform and engage students in making healthy choices—were developed in collaboration with Centerpoint Adolescent Treatment Center.

At the same time, tenth-graders met as a class for a presentation—developed in collaboration with traffic safety professionals, physicians, and behavioral scientists—on distracted driving. Joel Feldman, a trial lawyer from Philadelphia whose daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver in 2009, spearheaded and championed the program. (To view WCAX’s coverage of the May 9 presentation at CHS, please click here.)

Finally, eleventh- and twelfth-grade students witnessed a mock crash event developed in partnership with CHS’s Student Government, Colchester Police Department, Malletts Bay Fire and Rescue, Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Department, Colchester Rescue, the Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department, and St. Michael’s Fire and Rescue.

Multiple emergency services agencies stages an educational mock crash events for CHS juniors and seniors on May 9.
Multiple emergency services agencies staged an educational mock crash event for CHS juniors and seniors on May 9.

Please click here for a video of a day in the life of Colchester School District, which offers coverage of this event.


Meanwhile, students in Ashley Laurent’s third-grade class at Malletts Bay School weighed in on the issue of distracted driving. Please click here to read their opinion essay on the subject.


These types of programming speak directly to the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, which includes pathways dedicated to learning outside our four walls; parent, community, and school partnerships among lifelong learners; wellness-oriented, balanced, and healthy learners; and town + school = one vision.

For more information about any of these events, please contact CHS at 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, Colchester High School, Community, General, Other Important Information, Programs, Town of Colchester, Wellness

CHS and CPD to Show Important Documentary on May 13—Please Join Us

Sobering statistic: One in three families are impacted by addiction.

What should parents know and do in order to support and raise healthy and productive teenagers?

You are invited to join Colchester High School and Colchester Police Department for their final installment in a three-part series to help support adolescents in our community, which aims to help parents identify and understand the struggles surrounding substance abuse.

Please join us on Tuesday, May 13 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the community theater at Colchester High School for the showing of the documentary The Hungry Heart. The film offers an inside view of prescription drug addiction, particularly in Vermont.

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Following the film, a panel presentation of experts will share current research, best practices, and resources in our community to help address addiction. The panel will also offer a question-and-answer session.

This event is free and open to all Colchester community members.

To learn more about the film and to watch its trailer, please click here.

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 Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Groundbreaking Outdoor Classroom Now Open for Instruction!

Malletts Bay School fourth-grade teacher Kate Ellingson instructs her students in the school's new outdoor classroom.
Malletts Bay School fourth-grade teacher Kate Ellingson instructs her students in the school’s new outdoor classroom.

In our April 3 Spotlight article, we announced the construction of an outdoor classroom at Malletts Bay School in collaboration with community volunteers and students from the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont.

And now that outdoor classroom is ready and open for use!


Watch the outdoor classroom’s construction in action in this Fox 44 news story. And please click here to view this WCAX news story, which offers not only a peek at the classroom’s construction but also its use by fourth-grade teacher Kate Ellingson’s class (check out her classroom blog here).


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The outdoor classroom boasts bird feeders, a footbridge, picnic tables, benches, a chalkboard, and more.
The outdoor classroom boasts bird feeders, a footbridge, picnic tables, benches, a chalkboard, and more.

“Studies show that schools that used outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education saw significant gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math,” said UVM student and project consultant Jason Marchand. “We believe that experiential learning in an outdoor classroom can only complement the curriculum-based teaching that occurs within the confines of a traditional classroom. We hope to provide these students with the necessary space to reap the benefits of learning in an outdoor setting, as well as to provide them with the opportunity to change the way they look at education.”

This project speaks directly to the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s emphasis on High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Learning Outside Our Four Walls; Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners; and Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.

For more information, please call MBS 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 Community, General, Other Important Information, Personnel, Porters Point School, Programs, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Ready, Set, Run!

Porters Point School teachers kicked off an after-school RunVermont youth running program called Ready, Set, Run for students on April 2.

Ready, Set, Run activities will take place at PPS on Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for the remainder of the school year. While registration for the program has closed because of the overwhelming response, organizers are thrilled with the student interest. “Over sixty-five students have signed up, which far exceeds our original expectations,” PPS second-grade teacher Natalie LaRose said. “Since the number of participants is so high, many adults have stepped up and said they would help out with the program … which speaks volumes about the wonderful community we have at PPS.”

PPS’s Kerry Connor and Tessa Warren initiated the launch of the program, and PPS’s Greg Kriger, Allison Donnelly, Meg Terrien, Jennifer Randall, and Natalie LaRose have teamed up with them to volunteer with helping to ensure its success.

The Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways include, among others, Pathway F: Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners, and wellness is an integral part of the day at Porters Point School. Along with its extensive student walking program and other such activities as walk-to-school events, the students participate in the Five-a-Day Healthy Snack Month; offer input into meal choices; and enthusiastically participate in the breakfast program, Jump Rope for Heart, and more. PPS has also hosted the Harlem Globetrotter’s CHEER for Character program. Additionally, PPS hosted a grant-funded, collaborative, family-based, multidisciplinary approach to nutrition and wellness aimed at addressing childhood obesity and childhood malnutrition called “In Shape and In Season” that was highly successful.

For more information, please contact PPS at (802) 264-5920.

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, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

MBS Is Building an Outdoor Classroom! Want to Help?

In collaboration with community volunteers and students from the University of Vermont, Malletts Bay School will construct an outdoor classroom on April 21.

Nature deficit disorder, a hypothesis developed by journalist Richard Louv, ascribes a host of childhood physical and emotional maladies to chronic disconnection from nature, including attention disorders, rising obesity, depression and others. By providing an outdoor space in which students can learn, organizers hope to create a healthier community for Colchester’s current and future children.

“Outdoor classrooms address these issues through establishing a holistic connection to nature, providing young students with a healthy, natural environment in which they can learn and grow much more effectively,” said Jason Marchand, a senior in the UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and a project consultant on the outdoor classroom project. “Studies show that schools that used outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education saw significant gains in social studies, science, language arts and math.”

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MBS students have been actively involved in the project’s ongoing planning and design, providing input and submitting proposals for the outdoor classroom’s architecture.


Project organizers seek volunteers to help build the classroom from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on April 21, and they also welcome donations of building materials and equipment. Those interested in volunteering may visit http://tinyurl.com/MBSOutdoorClassroom or contact Colleen Whitcomb at cwhitcom@uvm.edu with any questions.


“We believe that experiential learning in an outdoor classroom can only complement the curriculum-based teaching that occurs within the confines of a traditional classroom,” said Marchand. “We hope to provide these students with the necessary space to reap the benefits of learning in an outdoor setting, as well as to provide them with the opportunity to change the way they look at education.”

This project speaks directly to the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s emphasis on High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Learning Outside Our Four Walls; Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners; and Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.

For more information, please call MBS 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 Middle School, General, Programs, Student Spotlight, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

Team TRRFCC to Compete in Statewide Cooking Competition

Again this year, Colchester Middle School will send a team of creative culinary artists to the Jr. Iron Chef Vermont event at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction to compete with other middle school teams from across the state. The seventh-annual event will take place on March 22.

CMS's Team TRRFCC—Makayla Benoit, Mikayla Groseclose, Adam William Henri Haglund, and Josh Porter—will compete in the March 22 Jr. Iron Chef Vermont competition. (For those unfamiliar with "Iron Chef," the students are imitating the poses of the chefs in the internationally known program)
CMS’s Team TRRFCC—Makayla Benoit, Mikayla Groseclose, Adam William Henri Haglund, and Josh Porter—will compete in the March 22 Jr. Iron Chef Vermont competition. (For those unfamiliar with “Iron Chef,” the students are imitating the poses of the chefs in the internationally known program.)

Jr. Iron Chef Vermont, a statewide competition for students that is designed to provide hands-on experience preparing nutritious foods, is inspired by the original Iron Chef 料理の鉄人 Japanese television cooking show. It serves not only as a fun-filled and educational competition but also as a fundraiser for Vermont farm-to-school programs; all of its proceeds directly support VT FEED. It also empowers students to collaborate with teachers, food service professionals, and local farmers to address the challenges of procuring nutritious food for our schools while simultaneously promoting lifelong healthy eating habits.

Teams have only ninety minutes in which to prepare their creations and must comply with a very strict set of requirements and restrictions. The recipes, which must be submitted and approved in advance and cannot be modified before the competition, are judged on taste, presentation, creativity, best use of local ingredients, and level of appropriateness for replication in school cafeterias.

CMS’s Team TRRFCC (short for CMS’s character traits Trustworthy, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship—pronounced “terrific”) will compete in the first heat of the day, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and the awards ceremony for winning teams will take place at 12:00 p.m.

CMS has participated in Jr. Iron Chef Vermont for a number of years. Last year, the Cougars’ submission—Vegetable Samosas with Beet Dip—was heralded by Chef Curtiss Hemm in his blog Pink Ribbon Cooking. Chef Hemm adapted the Cougars’ recipe for breast cancer patients. (How’s that for an accolade!) And in 2012, the CMS team appeared on WCAX’s “Across the Fence” program (click here to watch the program).

CMS’s involvement with Jr. Iron Chef Vermont is an important wellness initiative … and wellness is supported by our community in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017.

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, Team TRRFCC!

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