Farm to school initiative takes root in Essex Town
School Board policy in Essex Town School District articulates a vision of excellence that requires professional staff to develop core academic lessons that integrate big ideas such as health, business, and entrepreneurial literacy and environmental sustainability. This policy document places the student at the center of their learning in a real-world context. Moreover, it serves as an excellent curriculum framework for establishing goals for nutrition education with an end goal of promoting student health.
Over 40,000 schools in the U.S. and nearly 24 million students are engaged in a comprehensive farm to school initiative.
Farm to School programs bring healthy food from local farms to school children nationwide. These programs connect schools with local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime.
Farm to School is a comprehensive program that extends beyond fresh salad bars and local foods in the cafeteria to include waste management programs like composting, and experiential education opportunities such as planting school gardens, cooking demonstrations and farm tours.
The Farm to School approach helps children understand where their food comes from and how their food choices impact their bodies, the environment and their communities at large. More than 30 million children nationwide eat a school lunch five days a week, 180 days a year. If school lunch can be produced and consumed sustainably, taste great, and support the local community, it is a win-win for everyone.
In Essex Town School District we believe:
- All children should have access to safe, affordable, healthy and nutritious foods.
- Healthy diets positively and directly impact students’ academic and social performance.
- Local agriculture is important historically and for the future.
- The Essex community should be invested in their school district’s food system – from the farms, to the cafeterias, to the classrooms.
- Through growing, harvesting and preparing foods, children gain confidence, develop critical thinking skills, and feel a sense of power and control over their own health and food choices.
The ETSD Farm to School Team comprised of teachers, parents, students and school leaders has been hard at work this year bringing awareness to this vision while planning opportunities for students and adults to become involved. Thanks to the Heart and Soul mini-grant the district received this year, an evening event has been planned for March 5 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Founders Memorial School Cafeteria.
Parents, children and community members can drop in to sample delicious student and adult prepared farm fresh foods and fruit smoothies while at the same time visiting with many local growers and businesses who share a common mission regarding locally sourced food.
From Principal Laurie Singer
Many congratulations go to ADL eighth grader Isabelle Petrucci for being a three-peat champion of the ADL annual spelling bee. She will go on to represent ADL at St. Michael’s College on March 19 at 3:30 p.m. in the McCarthy Arts Center against the winners of middle school spelling bees from around Vermont. Last year, Isabelle came in third place after competing in many rounds and spelling words most adults in the audience didn’t know existed. The state spelling bee is open to the public so please consider coming to cheer for Isabelle.
Also taking place in March will be an informational meeting for parents/guardians who would like to know more about ADL’s move this year to Standards Based learning, assessment and reporting on March 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the ADL Library/Media Center. This informational meeting takes place just prior to our student-led conferences that will be held on March 19 from 12-8 p.m. (There is no school for students in PreK-8 on the 19). Online scheduling for a conference window for students and families will be available by visiting the ADL website at www.ccsuvt.org/adl beginning March 2.
Essex Community Arts Celebration
The Essex Community Arts Celebration will take place on March 12 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Mark your calendars for this exciting evening of music, dance, drama, film and visual arts. Students from Essex, Essex Junction and Westford will participate.
The second graders at Essex Elementary School have had the wonderful opportunity of working with Nancy Benerofe, an Essex parent and math genius, and Linda McKenna, a former teacher at EES and volunteer / teacher extraordinaire. The teachers meet with each of the eight second-grade classes once a week for math lessons that integrate the arts. Most recently they have been working on building a number line from 0-200. The number line was decorated by the students to highlight even and odd numbers, as well as multiples of 5 and 10. The number line was then used as a game board.
Pairs of students have small paper runners, which move a certain amount of numbers on the number line once a correct answer is given to a mathematical question. The questions come from eight different groups and vary in complexity. The eight categories are: place value, word problems, odd / even, go to the number line, geometry and fractions, time and go back. Students rolled an octahedron dice to see which category they would answer a question from.
Recently the second grade calculated how many moves up the number line the entire grade level had made and it was 6,349. Students have thoroughly enjoyed this game and have shown a breath of knowledge in regards to mathematical standards.
— Submitted by Virginia Yandell, EES teacher
K-12 Arts Celebration – March 12
Every teacher has their favorite time of the year whether it’s their favorite unit, field trip, season, or even vacation. My favorite time of the year is concert season, and in particular, the K-12 Arts Celebration at Essex High School. Each year students from Summit Street School, Hiawatha, Thomas Fleming, Essex Elementary, Founders Memorial, Albert D. Lawton, Westford, Essex Middle School and Essex High School all get together to showcase their creative talents. On display will be a collection of visual art as well as musical, theatrical and dance performances scattered throughout the high school.
In the library and the main hallways by the auditorium, there will be an exhibition of 2-D and 3-D art and film. In the Gym, there will be an elementary through high school combined choir performance as well as selections by each grade level. The EHS Orchestra will be joined by the string players from the elementary and the middle schools. There will also be a combined fourth- through 12th-grade band performance. In the auditorium, there are performances by the high school dance, drama and improvised comedy.
Our community has so much creativity to share with you. It’s wonderful that we can get out for an “evening on the town” and have a gallery of creative minds on display; it’s no wonder that it’s my favorite time of the year. I hope to see a lot of new and familiar faces out celebrating with me on Thursday, March 12 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the high school.
— Tyson Valyou, music teacher at FMS
Does the thought of spending time in a shelter made of snow give you the chills? It shouldn’t. Sixth grade students on the Journey Team at Essex Middle School headed out Feb. 11 to investigate just how warm snow can keep you.
Seven groups of students worked to build a snow shelter that would fit all 5-6 members inside. The shelters, also known as quinzees, were made by gathering snow into a pile and then hollowing it out. Aside from having tons of fun the lab itself explored the insulating properties of snow. It also examined radiation properties and whether adding more people into the structure increased temperature.
When construction was completed, students measured the outdoor and indoor temperatures. They added one student at a time into the shelter and recorded the data after each one. Students found temperatures to be up to ten degrees warmer inside compared to outside. In conclusion, snow is an insulator and humans do radiate heat.
— Submitted by Danna Cummings, Journey Team, EMS
Stories under the big top
Bravo to the talented theater arts residency students for their incredible total team effort and the shining shows performed this week. A big thank you to: Director Susan Palmer, Ralph Costanza, Kelly McClintock and Lisa Foley. Adam Sawyer and Ralph Costanza, were the best Pit Band Fleming has have ever had. More thanks go to: the wonderfully supportive faculty and staff, our PTO and parent leaders, and the EHS students who helped with the technical production of the show. Fleming students were given rich opportunities to display their hidden talents that for many will live forever in their memories of Fleming School. The Fleming School Community is very proud.
I Love to Read and Write Week
Congratulations to the Literary Doors of Fleming award winners of Erin Hopper’s and Amy Downing’s classroom doors. They now have gnomes as door greeters. The Fleming Progressive Write has been posted for all to read on the school web page. They are very creative and entertaining (especially the part where the principal danced the tango with a lion). Three Circus Theme Writing awards were announced on Friday’s Favorite Book Character Day. The writing award recipients were Emily Hebert from Ms. Hopper’s classroom and Seif Fandy and Calvin Ku from Jennifer Songer’s classroom.
Chess club will start on March 9 and be held on Mondays from 3-3:45 p.m. Brian McClintock will be the chess club coach. He is looking for a few additional chess club volunteers to help on Mondays. Contact Principal Ryan at 878-1316 if interesting in volunteering.
Essex High School excels at 6th Annual Vermont Brain Bee
The 6th Annual Vermont Brain Bee, a neuroscience competition and day of exploration for Vermont high school students, was held on Feb. 7 at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Thirty-five students from seven high schools (Mount Abraham High School, Middlebury Union High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, Essex High School, Burlington Tech Center, Otter Valley Union High School, and Stowe High School) participated in the event.
In addition to completing written and practical tests, students demonstrated their knowledge in two oral rounds. In between and following these sessions, students listened to case presentations presented by a neuropsychologist and a psychiatrist, a keynote lecture on “Stress and the Emotional Brain,” and a panel discussion including UVM undergraduate and graduate neuroscience students.
Lyn Ackert-Smith, a junior from Mount Abraham High School, took first place and Cullen Jemison, a senior, also from Mount Abraham, came in second place. Lauren Whitehouse, a sophomore and Charlotte Evans, a junior and both from Essex High School, tied for third place.
This year’s Bee included a team category, in which the overall scores were tallied for four pre-selected members from a school. The Essex High School team of Jullian Frenette, Amarah Emerson, Charlotte Evans and Lauren Whitehouse came in second.
As winner of the Vermont Brain Bee, Lyn Ackert-Smith will represent Vermont at the National Brain Bee, which will be held at the University of Maryland in Baltimore on March 20 and 21. He will be competing against approximately 50 other high school participants from around the country.
For more information, visit www.vermontbrainbee.com.