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January is Mentoring Month!

in Mentoring by

In honor of Mentoring Month, I am happy to share my experience as a mentor with Girls/Boyz First mentoring program. I am not currently a mentor, as the young girl I was matched with at age 10 is now 20 years old. I count the years we spent together, week after week and year after year, as some of the best use of volunteer time that I have ever spent.

I volunteered to be a mentor when I retired from public school teaching. It so happened that this young girl’s mother had recently abandoned the family and left the state. She was referred by the school’s guidance counselor as someone who could benefit from having a mentor. It was perfect timing for both of us.

I found our match to be easy right from the start, as my mentee was enthusiastic about everything. Her favorite way to spend time was simply to come to our house, help make a meal and share it with my husband and me, and then play a board game. We did many other activities that program director planned for all the partners, such as ice skating, hikes, apple picking, game nights and holiday parties. My mentee loved horses and I knew nothing about them. We found another mentor who owned several and that led to a summer full of riding and an eventual weekend job at a stable. My mentee often called me in those early years, asking, “What are we going to do this week?” We both had fun.

Things weren’t always rosy. My mentee turned the teenage corner and had many conflicts with her father. She had trouble in school and often feigned sickness or injury to be able to stay home. She did not have much support at home in the way of encouragement, or role models from anyone who had enjoyed or had success in school. Her home life in general was challenging. During those years I think the most important role I played was that of consistency. I also had to try to impart some habits that I felt my mentee needed to cultivate. One was simply to learn to say “thank you,” and that took a long time.

When my mentee graduated from high school we stopped officially being a mentor/mentee pair. But, we have remained good friends and I am thrilled that she still counts on me to help her out and wants me to be involved in her adult life. She recently asked me to help her with a sewing project, saying, “ It’ll be like when you taught me how to sew!” Her life is not an easy one, as her family dynamics have not changed. However, I’m very impressed that she has earned an LNA (licensed nurse assistant) certificate, is employed, and lives on her own. She has many talents and an amazing amount of confidence for someone from her background. My role now is to continue to encourage her, help her out when I can, and still be that consistent, trusting adult who truly cares about her and her welfare.

Common sense tells us, and research has proven, that children have a better chance of success and future happiness when they have at least one caring adult with whom they can spend quality time and depend on to be there for them. There are so many stresses in today’s society and the reasons to look for mentor relationships outside of one’s own family are numerous and varied. I am so happy that Girls/Boyz First exists to try to fill that crucial role for children and families who reach out and request that support. Personally, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have a relationship with one child I would have never known and the satisfaction of knowing that we both benefited greatly from our friendship.

Wendy Dale

School House Rock

in Arts in our schools by

Stage 16 Middle School students performed “School House Rock,” January 26 & 27, a rockin’ fun musical good for the whole family! The Emmy Award-winning 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series that taught history, grammar, math and more through clever, tuneful songs, performed by Stage 16, the Middle School Theater Group at U-32.

New Report Cards

in Uncategorized by

The elementary report card has been revised in order to better align it to Student Learning Outcomes. This video provides a 10-minute overview of the changes you can expect to see on the new report card.

Click HERE to view the video.

in celebrations by

U-32 has a new newsletter. Read about current and former students doing great things here.

Trash Audit

in STEM by

The U-32 Green Team held a trash audit in the atrium on Wednesday, January 24th. Green team members worked with CVSWMD folks to sort and weigh the trash, recycling and compost from Tuesday, January 23rd. This took place in the atrium where members of the Green Team worked during their free bands and lunch to sort through the waste. The event was set up in hopes of learning how well the U-32 school community does with composting and recycling and what might be done as a school to increase recycling and composting and reduce waste.

Berlin Elementary Ribbon Cutting

in Educational Funding by

The Berlin community gathered October 12th to celebrate the successful completion of a $3 million project at the town’s elementary school. The project began last spring and wrapped up on time and on budget. Renovations and updates include asbestos removal, accessibility upgrades, new plumbing, heating and flooring, and the installation of energy efficient lighting and heating.

Berlin students enjoyed the festivities.
School Director Chris Winters said, “This is something we can all be proud of. There are a whole lot of caring, kind and generous people who contributed to the effort. They helped make this happen on time and under budget a mere 18 months from when we got started. The Berlin community really rose to this challenge. Thank you all.”

Parent Up for Prom and Springtime

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Parents can share health, safety, & legal info with kids about alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and prescription drugs

By Central Vermont New Directions Coalition

As kids grow up from elementary, middle, high school and on through college, parents continue to play a vital role when it comes to the decisions their children make. Parents can let them know they are worried about alcohol and drug use and do not approve of underage drinking, vaping, or smoking. Even when you think they aren’t listening, your words and actions have a big impact on choices kids make. Are you wondering what to say? Here are some tips from Parent Up Vermont and more information is available online.

Be a positive role model

If you drink, be aware of why and how often you drink in front of your child. Show positive ways to handle stress. Don’t make casual comments about “needing a drink to relax” after a difficult day. Don’t drink and drive.

Provide nonalcoholic drinks at your adult parties. Don’t pressure others to use alcohol if they don’t drink.

Don’t have your children serve drinks in your home, and don’t ask them to get you a beer from the fridge.

If you don’t use alcohol, explain to your children why you have made that choice.

If you have a family history of drug or alcohol problems, or mental illness, talk about it with your child in the same way you would any other chronic disease, like heart disease or cancer. The key is to match the amount of information with the context of your child’s questions and your child’s maturity level. It’s best to avoid recounting your own youthful experimentation because your child may get the wrong idea that it’s harmless. Keep Reading

Jr. Iron Chef

in Student Activism by

 Berlin Elementary sent two teams to the recent Jr. Iron Chef competition. They worked very hard to learn complicated recipes and represented Berlin with confidence. Congratulations “Can’t Beet the Bobcats” and Berlin Bakers!

A Tribute to Laure Angel

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The U-32 community has been deeply saddened by the loss of beloved teacher and colleague, Laure Angel.  Laure passed away following a snowmobile accident on February 5th.  Laure was a native of France, due to be sworn in as a US citizen on March 20th.  She came to the US as a teenager, and graduated from the University of New Hampshire.  This was her sixth year at U-32.  Laure’s dedication to teaching, unstoppable curiosity and energy, insight, and love made her an incredible teacher, TA (teacher advisor), teaching partner, department head and union official.

Laure was engaged to be married to Kevin Wood, of Williston, with a mountaintop wedding planned for August.  Her faith and trust in her students extended to her wedding planning–she was delighted to be planning a wedding that was “student-run.”  She asked U-32 students to build centerpieces, take photos, play music, and design and make her wedding dress.

The tributes to Laure have been pouring in from all parts of the community.  In the words of those who knew her in each of her roles, we can sense her legacy to this community. Keep Reading

Stage 32 goes to New York City

in Arts in our schools by

Stage 32 took a 4 day and 3 night trip to NYC to do workshops with the Broadway Teaching Group. The crew learned from Broadway actors and creative directors, saw Hamilton (!!) and also met members of the original cast and crew. It was an awesome trip.

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