SCHOOLS

Welcome Back to School!

From Chittenden Central Supervisory Union and Essex Town School District

It’s back to school time!

Judith DeNova

Judith DeNova

Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews

We join our dedicated school boards, school leaders, staff and our local communities in welcoming back to school our most valued asset … our children. The 2014-2015 school year offers wonder and excitement for all of our students.  School personnel in Essex Town, Essex Junction, Westford, and the Essex Community Educational Center have been busy this summer preparing for the return of students and families.

District and school websites remain the primary information source about our schools.  New to the website this year for CCSU, is the ability for community members to subscribe to school news via email.  To do so, visit the “News and Announcements” link on the CCSU site and enter an email address. This feature provides an additional link between our schools and our communities. (www.ccsuvt.org)

Last year in ETSD, the district website was totally redesigned to provide greater access to a variety of resources meant to inform and guide multiple stakeholder groups. ETSD website users can use the suggestion box on the homepage to help us improve content and navigational features (www.etsd.org).

Both school systems, although separate in design, share one common purpose, which is putting children first.  As we ramp-up our commitment to strengthen our partnerships with parents, community groups and our many friends and neighbors, we can ensure academic and social growth for every student enrolled in preschool through 12th grade.

We look forward to a new year filled with relevant and rigorous learning opportunities that engage and motivate students. For students to be ready for active citizenship, college and a successful career after completing 12th grade, schools in Essex and Westford need to work together – toward one common vision. We have always found CCSU and ETSD parents, families, and the community at large to be very supportive of their schools. Thank you for your ongoing support in providing a truly excellent education ­– one of the best in Vermont.

Respectfully,

Judith DeNova, Superintendent, Chittenden Central Supervisory Union
Mark S. Andrews, Superintendent, Essex Town School District

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Girl Scout Gold Project benefits EHS courtyard

Keira Cameron stands under the new mural in the Essex High School courtyard. She revamped the courtyard for her Girl Scout Gold Award. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Keira Cameron stands under the new mural in the Essex High School courtyard. She revamped the courtyard for her Girl Scout Gold Award. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Students at Essex High School now have a nicer courtyard to study in, eat lunch, or just hang out this fall thanks to the efforts of Essex Junction Girl Scout Keira Cameron. Cameron is an Ambassador Girl Scout and has been active in the Scouting program since kindergarten. During the winter of her senior year at EHS, she started working towards earning her Girl Scout Gold Award, which requires planning and executing an original and sustainable 80-hour (or more) community service project. Cameron named her project “High School Courtyard Revamp” and focused on improving the Essex High School courtyard. She chose to clean up existing benches and construct several new ones as well as build and paint a large mural designed to inspire high school students to step up and take responsibility and ownership in their community. She tended to existing plants and planted a variety of new flowers and bushes. Her goal was not only to fix up the courtyard, but also to involve other EHS students in the process and ensure that it would continue to be maintained. Cameron raised funds for her project by selling Girl Scout Cookies. She also received donations from community members, as well as a generous donation of lumber and supplies from The Home Depot in Williston.

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ADL Agenda

From Laurie Singer, Principal 

ADL seventh graders Lauren Riley, Destiny Wright, Mercedes Bushey, and Gabrielle Timms display their new shirts while in Montreal recently. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

ADL seventh graders Lauren Riley, Destiny Wright, Mercedes Bushey, and Gabrielle Timms display their new shirts while in Montreal recently. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Here we are at the end of the school year with Promotion Night looming on Tuesday, June 17 and our Step Up Day for upcoming 6th, 7th and 8th graders on Wednesday, June 18 from 7:45-9:30.  Fleming 5th graders will start their day at ADL and return to Fleming until dismissal for all K-7 students at 11:30 a.m. Lunch will be available to students before dismissal.

Please be on the lookout for my August newsletter that will highlight our school wide shift to standards-based learning and reporting, our school wide focus on kindness, acceptance, and friendship stemming from a whole school reading of the book Year of Wonder by RJ Palachio, and the introduction of new staff members.

Before I wish everyone a happy summer, I also want to recognize and thank our three retiring teachers, Ed Swierk, Roger Bisson, and Wendy Doane. They are leaving very big shoes to fill, especially Mr. Swierk who has been at ADL for over 30 years and seen many families come through ADL having taught their children and parents over the course of his career.

Enjoy the coming months and have a safe and relaxing summer.  We’ll see 6th graders and 7th and 8th graders new to ADL from 1-2 p.m. on Tuesday, August 26, and the first day of school will be Wednesday, August 27. Sixth graders feeling anxious about the upcoming transition are encouraged to come to visit with a parent/guardian over the summer.

Thanks again for sharing your wonderful children with us and for the support we receive from our ADL families.

PS (If you missed School Report Night last week, check out the presentation posted on our website at www.ccsuvt.org/adl).

Hiawatha

Classroom Highlight

Last week, the children in Ms. Frankenhoff’s second-grade classroom took a walking tour of Essex Junction. Their first stop was at the oldest house in the community. Once a creamery, the Tarbox House, which is on the corner of Park Street and South Street, was where the class met the tourguide, Laurie Jordan. For the next two hours, Jordan walked the group through the village, stopping along the way to share stories about Brownell Block, the trolley that ran up and down Pearl Street, the Brickyard, W.B. Johnson and Son’s Mill, and the smell of corn wafting from Five Corners where they canned the sweet corn, once long ago. The students were fascinated to learn of the old jail at Five Corners, and the fact that the trains that run through the village once carried lumber, corn, syrup, grain, oysters and even circus animals. A special thank you to Mrs. Jordan for taking the time to share some of Essex Junction’s history.

Mrs. Frankenhoff's second-grade classroom takes a walking tour of Essex Junction with tourguide Laurie Jordan. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Mrs. Frankenhoff’s second-grade classroom takes a walking tour of Essex Junction with tourguide Laurie Jordan. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

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Special Tribute

Judy Coan, Hiawatha’s school secretary, will be retiring at the end of this school year. Coan has worked as our school secretary at Hiawatha since 1993. Over these past two decades, she has touched the lives of thousands of children and families in Essex Junction. In these 20 years, Coan has registered almost 5,000 students at Hiawatha. She has maintained student records, organized the school office, created schedules and calendars, supported the school budget practices, and kept all the financial records in good standing. Coan has probably answered over 100,000 phone calls, managed almost a million pieces of mail and ordered thousands of reams of paper.

Mostly importantly, Coan, in her own special way, has made connections with students and families that will endure long after she leaves her position. Her compassion for children is quite evident in the hundreds of items that she has sewn, embroidered or purchased. Coan showed her generosity, most often, in a manner that was quiet, private and unnoticed by others. She also worked with hundreds of children on special projects. Coan has given out thousands of stickers over these years to children leaving for the day — many times students would not leave school until they received that special attention.

Coan has an underlying feeling for children in need that always seems to come through at the right moment. Her sensitivity, empathy and understanding of those circumstances are hallmarks of her years here at Hiawatha.  Although she will surely be missed by many, we are so happy for her as she takes this step and embarks on a new chapter in her life. Thank you Mrs. Coan for all that you have done!

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PTO News

Our last PTO meeting was held June 3 and we look forward to some new, fun events and popular traditions. A huge thank you to the following parents who will be PTO officers next year: Rosalind Hutton-President, Jackie Hooker-Vice President, Liz Miller-Secretary and Kerry Goulette-Treasurer.

Reminders

Children should now meet on the playground before school until 8:05 a.m.

Field Day and Hiawatha BBQ will take place on Friday, June 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Last day of school is Wednesday, June 18. There will be an assembly from 10-10: 30 a.m. Students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m. We hope everyone has a fun and safe summer and see you next year!

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For more information on these “highlights” and other school news, visit www. ccsuvt.org/hiawatha or contact Judy Coan at 878-1384 or Tom Bochanski at tbochanski@ccsuvt.org

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Essex Elementary

Anna Baker, a kindergartener in Amanda Waldo's class, and her dad, Christopher Baker, review Anna’s classroom work over the 2013-14 school year. | PETER FARRELL

Anna Baker, a kindergartener in Amanda Waldo’s class, and her dad, Christopher Baker, review Anna’s classroom work over the 2013-14 school year. | PETER FARRELL

On May 21, Essex Elementary School hosted the second annual Celebration of Learning, an event designed to have students showcase their school work and the growth they have made over the course of the year. Held in three separate time frames during the course of a school day, the event was incredibly well attended, with most classrooms reporting nearly full parental attendance.

As principal this event is one of my personal favorites. It is sometimes difficult to see the remarkable growth our students make on a day to day basis, but during the Celebration of Learning I get to walk around and eavesdrop as children show their parent’s examples of the work they have done at various points over the year and describe, in often astonishing detail, exactly what they have learned, as well as how they have learned it. Research tells us that this metacognition and self-reflection are two incredibly powerful factors in a child’s learning, and our Celebration of Learning is a prime example of both these traits. Listening to a kindergartner describing to a parent not only that they learned to accurately identify quantities but also how they learned it is quite wonderful. Watching them then show examples of this learning as evidence is the kind of thing that brings goose bumps to a teacher.

An event like the Celebration of Learning does not happen without a good deal of planning on the part of our teachers and students, and yet the real beauty of the event is that the work is authentic, and the examples shown are the stuff of the daily life of our students here. Kudos to all our students, our teachers and our families for a year filled with learning.

— Peter Farrell, Essex Elementary School Principal

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EMS News

Summer gardens

Photo | Lauren House

Photo | Lauren House

Gardens have been around for years. Whether you are a big farmer or a city slicker, you still long for plants. Here at EMS we have put a community garden in the front of our school. We plant there year round, and it is open for community members to plant in the spring, summer and fall.

It started out as a small project, and we are now entering our third summer of planting. So far we have planted garlic and onion through the winter and kept kale and lettuce in a small greenhouse. We are hoping to have other avid gardeners come and garden their own plots.

There are 12 plots with one long plot in the back. Three of the plots belong to EMS, which are used to help freshen up our own cafeteria, and the rest of the plots are locally owned by other gardeners in the community.

Over the summer we plan to have some students from the school sign up to take care of the garden while it continues to grow. That includes weeding, watering and possibly even harvesting.

Founders Memorial

Students petition for salad bar at FMS

The Common Core Standards, (ELA-Writing), encompasses a variety of skills which enable students to communicate effectively. Students learn that a key purpose of writing is to adapt the form and content of their writing for a particular purpose which includes opinion, informative and narrative writing.   The students in Mrs. Savio’s third-grade class are in the process of learning the art of persuasive writing.   After brainstorming ideas about things that matter to them, the students determined that having a salad bar would benefit the FMS school community. Writing to persuade includes the use of valid reasoning, and relevant evidence to support claims.  In order to do this, students created knowledge about the benefits of nutritious salads by Skyping with a food service director from a neighboring town as well as research on the benefits of a well-rounded lunch program.   Finally, the students developed, presented and analyzed data from a survey of the school population to include in their persuasive letters. The letters were presented to Superintendent Mark Andrews last week.  He visited the classroom to thank the students for their hard work and encourage them to participate in the school community.

Students from Mrs. Savio’s class present Superintendent Mark Andrews with their petition letters of why FMS needs a salad bar. | JANE OLESEN

Students from Mrs. Savio’s class present Superintendent Mark Andrews with their petition letters of why FMS needs a salad bar. | JANE OLESEN

Fleming Flyer

Welcome Back To School

We are looking forward to welcoming 253 fourth- and fifth-grade students to Thomas Fleming School on Aug. 27.  This is the largest enrollment that we have had at Fleming School in more than a decade.  Fleming educators have been involved with summer professional training by taking workshops and courses and working on curriculum development to advance their learning and prepare for the new classes of students that they will have the opportunity to teach this school year.  Our current student enrollment has been assigned to eleven classrooms, with average class sizes of 23 students per class.  We have designed class schedules to allow for greater teaming and professional collaboration while also framing consistent daily learning blocks for learner responsive Common Core literacy and math instruction.  The school day begins at 8 a.m. when students are greeted, attendance is taken and every classroom community then starts their learning day with a Responsive Classroom “morning meeting.”  Student’ sense of belonging and learning focus is also further supported through daily opportunities to engage in “mindfulness” practices.

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School Improvements

We have had a wide array of school facilities and grounds improvement projects happening at Fleming School this summer. The scope of summer school building and grounds improvement work has included the installation of a new stage curtain, technology systems upgrades, roof repairs, raised bed garden containers replacement, painting, shrubbery removal, front walkway restructuring, installation of a new black iron fence, and tree trimming. Our custodians have also been working hard to clean the school and make it a bright and clean learning environment for the outstanding year of teaching and learning ahead.

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New Faculty/Staff

We welcome Erin Hopper as our new fourth-grade teacher joining the Endeavor House Team.  This new teaching position expands our classroom teacher faculty from ten to eleven classroom teachers. We also welcome a new Learning Specialist to the Synergy House Team.  Danielle Novotny is a dual endorsed elementary educator and special educator.  She replaces Adam Ruhland as the learning specialist providing support services to students in this House.  We look forward to Mrs. Hopper and Ms. Novotny joining the Fleming School professional learning community.

We welcome back Mary Lou Lord to the mainstream teaching assistant position that she had served in previously as a long term substitute staff member. We also welcome a former Fleming School student, Ali McAdoo, who will serve in the dual position of mainstream teaching assistant and after school Village Kids Program Director at Fleming School. Ms. McAdoo replaces Kae Crowley who had served in this position for the past two years.

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First Day

The first day of school for students is Wednesday, Aug. 27.  This is a regular full day of school for all students.  Parents are invited to accompany their students to school and walk them to their assembled classroom line and to take a photograph before the class heads into the school to begin their first day.  This is a great opportunity for parents and students to meet one another as everyone gathers on the playground behind the school to line up and proceed into the school at 8 a.m.  Fleming School teachers have sent home letters welcoming their new students and sharing ways that students can make a connection with their new teacher and classroom before the first day.

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New Student Orientation

This year we will again conduct an official New Student and New Family Orientation on Monday, Aug. 25 from 3:15-4 p.m.  This session will begin in the Fleming Cafeteria and is provided for parents/guardians and students who are new to the school district and who will attend Fleming School this fall. Principal Daniel Ryan will welcome new students and their families make a brief presentation and offer all attending a tour of our beautiful 100-year-old school facility.

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Open House/Curriculum Night

This annual welcome back to school Fleming Open House/Curriculum event is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. This is a combined opportunity for students to introduce parents to their school and celebrate the start of a new year of enthusiastic learning. We will also invite parents/guardians to attend the Curriculum Instructional Program presentations that will also be planned as part of this school event. Our Fleming educators will present and discuss the curriculum with parents during this special school evening event.  We hope you mark this on your September calendars and are able to attend this school community program.

The Fleming School PTO will hold the first Fleming PTO meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 8 a.m.  Consider being involved with your school as members of the Fleming PTO. The Fleming PTO President Sathya Amouretti and Executive Committee Officers are looking for volunteers to serve on PTO committees and they encourage your participation and support for your Fleming School learning community.

Fleming School Photo Day is scheduled for Sept. 11. Beltrami Photo Studio will again be our school photographers.

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Safe School Access

The voters of Essex Junction approved in April a special budget expenditure to install new safety access hardware at the front entrance of our schools. The cameras and “buzz in” access system has been installed and new school access protocols will be applied with this new system at the start of the school year. It is our intention to continue to have both a safe and a welcoming school.

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EHS News

Welcome to Essex High School

Seniors should report to the gym on Monday, Aug. 25 anytime between 8 a.m. and 9:30. Seniors will have their school photo ID taken and register for parking permits. In order to purchase a parking permit students must produce a valid driver’s license, current vehicle registration and current proof of insurance card. The cost of the permit remains at $85.

Juniors should report to the gym on Monday, Aug. 25 between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Photo IDs will be taken. Juniors in good standing will be able to register for a parking permit lottery. Students should plan on 20 minutes for this process to occur.

Sophomores should report to the gym anytime between 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 25. Students will have their school photo IDs taken.

Freshmen will have their orientation day on Tuesday, Aug. 26. This school day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 2:35 p.m. Freshmen will pick up a copy of their schedule in the main office lobby. Freshmen will attend all of their classes and attend workshops throughout orientation day. Lunch will be provided free for all freshmen on orientation day. Busing is provided for Essex Town, Grand Isle and Georgia students. Please refer to the Essex Town School newsletter for bus route specifics for Essex Town students.

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR ALL STUDENTS IS WEDNESDAY, AUG. 27. THIS WILL BE AN “A“ DAY.