Neighborly news about our schools

U-32 English Teacher Alden Bird Awarded Rowland Fellowship

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The Rowland Foundation, based in South Londonderry, Vermont, offers grants to Vermont secondary school educators “who are visionary, willing to lead, motivated and committed to affecting change in an area of concern within their respective schools.” Currently in its tenth year, the Foundation has named educators from six Vermont high schools as Rowland Fellows.

Washington Central Supervisory Union and U-32 Middle/High School are proud to announce that U-32 English teacher Alden Bird has been awarded a 2018 Rowland Fellowship by The Rowland Foundation.

Bird’s fellowship comes with a $75,000 grant for U-32, part of which will allow him release time from daily teaching to continue implementing the U-32 English department’s one-on-one student conferencing initiative. Begun as a pilot program two years ago, English teachers at U-32 now spend part of their days conferencing individually with students.

Bird plans to spend this next year conducting research, interviewing students, teachers, and U-32 graduates, and studying high schools and colleges around the country that employ individual conferencing. He will also continue his work as English A.P. Coordinator, and will return to teach two classes during the second semester.

Calais All School Wellness Walk

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School Start Time Survey for Parents/Community

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Washington Central Supervisory Union Board has created a School Start Time committee to look at the current sleep science and understand the readiness of the schools and our communities to look at the possibility of changing our school start time. In March, the committee developed a timeline that planned to host three forums to learn about the science and develop a survey based on processes other schools have used to determine if a new start time would be best for the students. The committee held forums on March 26th, April 11th, and 23rd. From those meetings and using the work of StartSchoolLater.net, a survey (see the bottom of this message) has been developed for students, teachers, parents and community members. These polls will inform the committee of their next steps, as well as, a report to the WCSU Board on June 6th. Please fill out the survey by May 25th.

View the May 17th piece from WCAX news here.

If you would like to see information on sleep science, please visit the school start time website, or there is a short TEDtalk you can view.

Click here to take the feedback survey.

Students Plant Orchard at Berlin Elementary

in STEM/wellness by

In May 11 third and fourth graders worked with students from Central Vermont Career Center to plant 14 more trees the BES Orchard. This project was funded by Central Vermont Rotary. Many thanks to Dave Wilcox, Carol Earle and Amanda Garland for all their efforts making this such a successful learning opportunity for students our young students and the high student leaders.

World Peace Game Comes to East Montpelier

in Environmental learning by

Washington Central Supervisory Union will be hosting a World Peace Game master class this summer. The World Peace Game (WPG) is a simulation. Students work together to solve multiple crises that the world is facing. Students play the game under the facilitation of master teacher and creator, John Hunter. The game is exciting, challenging, and a ton of fun!

The World Peace Game Foundation is dedicated to teaching children the work of peace. Guided by the life work of educator John Hunter, the Foundation uses the World Peace Game to foster the concept of peace not as a utopian dream but as an attainable goal to strive for, and to stimulate the creative development of educational tools. It supports development of collaboration and communication skills for resolving and transforming conflicts, and the development of the skills of compromise, all while accommodating different perspectives and interests.

The World Peace Game master class will take place during the week of July 23—27 at East Montpelier Elementary School. During a World Peace game master class, students spend the morning playing the World Peace Game while teachers observe the students and Mr. Hunter. Then, in the afternoon, teachers learn more about how to facilitate the game itself.

WCSU needs to recruit 25—35 students to play the game. Students will have completed fifth, sixth grade or seventh grade and need to fully commit to attending the game on July 23—27 from 8:15 a.m.—12:00 p.m. Families will be responsible for transportation to and from East Montpelier Elementary School.

Now is the time to begin the registration process. To sign up, please complete this brief form as the first step. Space is limited to 35 students and slots will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

To learn more about the game, visit www.worldpeacegame.org, watch an 8-minute movie trailer about the film World Peace Game and Other Fourth Grade Achievements, or watch John Hunter’s TED Talk about the World Peace Game. Also, please feel free to contact Jen Miller-Arsenault, WCSU Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment at 229-0553 if you have any questions.

Mentor Appreciation Night

in celebrations/Mentoring by

May 9 at U-32, 5:30-7 p.m.

All are welcome to this showcase of student work by students in Community Based Learning, Branching Out, The Pilot, and Branching Out Middle School. During the night all of our community mentors who have helped our students during their flexible pathways studies will be honored. In addition, we will have great food and a few speakers!

Board Votes to Fly Black Lives Matter Flag at U-32

in Student Activism by

On April 4, exactly 50 years after Martin Luther King was assassinated, the U-32 School Board unanimously voted to fly the Black Lives Matter flag at U-32.

The Black Lives Matter movement was established four years ago to bring attention to the violence being inflicted on black communities. It has evolved into a movement that is focused on changing our world so black people can be successful economically, socially and politically.

A group of students approached the Board earlier in March with the request to fly the flag. They spoke passionately and eloquently about their experiences at U-32 and the hurtful comments they have had to face because of the color of their skin. They acknowledged that racism is not the biggest problem at U-32 but it remains a hidden problem and stems from ignorance. The Board agreed with the students that many people don’t realize the harm they are causing students.

The Board members and the students discussed the symbolism and importance of flying the flag. The hope is that for U-32, flying this flag is the catalyst for more in-depth conversations and trainings for all students and staff to increase awareness of race issues at U-32 and beyond. The administration recognizes these issues are uncomfortable to discuss but can no longer be ignored. Steps are being taken to incorporate more of this learning into the students’ and teachers’ school experience.

As Latisha Montgomery, a junior at U-32, so clearly stated to the Board, “It is not about someone’s life mattering more than anyone else’s life, it is about how my life matters the same as yours.”

The Board would like to thank Latisha and the students of BLAAMM (Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and many more) for raising this important topic. The Board hopes that the entire community will join in honoring and celebrating diversity.

U-32 Chorus Visits District Elementary Schools

in Arts in our schools by

On March 21, 2018, the middle chorus performed at Berlin Elementary School, East Montpelier and Calais. On May 14, 2018, intermediate band and middle school orchestra will be performing at Calais, Doty and Rumney.

High School Spring Concert is on May 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm.

Middle School Spring Concert is on May 23, 2018 at 7:00 pm.

Letters About Literature

in celebrations by

Congratulations to U-32’s State Winners of the Vermont Letters about Literature Competition!
Katie Phillips won first place in the state competition with her letter to Katherine Patterson.
Charlotte Bodin won second place in the state competition with her letter to George R. R. Martin.
Avery Ehret won third place in the state competition with her letter to Michael Buckley.

These excellent writers will be honored at a ceremony at the Vermont Statehouse on May 25th. Katie’s letter has been entered into the Library of Congress’ national competition. Those results will be reported in the coming months!

Two talented Berlin Elementary School students also won awards in the Vermont Letters about Literature Competition.

Isabel Moustakas’s (6th grade) letter won third place in the state competition and Tiahna Hallock’s letter won first place in the state competition! Both girls have been invited to attend a ceremony in their honor at the Statehouse. Tiahna’s letter has been entered as Vermont’s pick into the national contest. Good luck Katie and Tiahna!

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