Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oct 30

Halloween- Mr. B's Haunted House and Randall Street homes will be open for business on Monday evening...come on down!

School Photos are coming home on Monday via the Backpack Express.  Picture re-takes are Friday, November 4th.  If you want picture retakes, please return the package that is coming home on Monday by the end of the day on Thursday. 

Volunteers needed to help build lanterns with students for the River of Light Lantern Parade. Lantern Building will take place at CBMS with artists Gowri Savoor and Angelo Arnold the week of November 7th, as follows:
  • Monday/Wednesday, Nov 7th and 9th (9:00-11:00)- Dream 6th graders
  • Monday/Wednesday, Nov 7th and 9th (12:20-2:20)- Titan 7th graders 
  • Tuesday/Thursday, Nov 8th and 10th (9:00-11:00)- Wizards 6th graders 
  • Tuesday/Thursday, Nov 8th and 10th  (12:20-2:20)- Prodigy 7th graders
If you are able to help, please email MK Monley at by November 1st with the following information:  Your name, your child’s name, and which session(s) you can attend.  Thanks for your help- It should be a lot of fun!  For more information visit our blog which is linked to the CBMS home page.

November Menu- the new menu for the Cougar Cafe can be found on the Food Service Webpage. Thanks once again for keeping lunch balances above $0- balances can be checked on PowerSchool.

PTO Fundraiser- Thank you for your efforts on the Joe Corbi Pizza sales.  Some reminders:
• Pizza sale starts officially Oct. 21, 2011.
• Students have been asked to turn orders and money in every Friday.  This helps us mark a “thermometer” to record progress towards the school goal, and hopefully helps prevent misplaced orders and money that often happens during fundraisers. New envelopes and order forms will be given to the students at that time for future orders.

• Final Orders and money due Tuesday, Nov. 22 
• Pizza Delivery will be on Thursday, Dec. 8, 4-6 PM at CBMS.

CRISIS COUNSELING AVAILABLE- The Vermont Department of Mental Health is offering crisis counseling and emotional support to Vermonters affected by recent flooding, thanks to a grant from FEMA. Call toll-free 855-767-8800 to access ‘Starting Over Strong’ (SOS) services. SOS can help communities, families and individuals of any age recover from the emotional stress after the flood. SOS aims to help people cope with their current situation and experiences from the flood, review disaster recovery options, and find healthy ways to deal with loss and stress. The department hopes to run the program through July 2012.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oct 25

Monster Hip Hop Halloween Dance this Friday at CBMS. One Studio Fundraiser.  Open to grades 5-8, $10 at the door. 7-9PM.  Click here for more details.

NECAP testing continues this week, as follows:
  • Tues, Oct 25- Math part 2 (grades 5-8)
  • Wed, Oct 26- Math part 3 (grades 5-8) and Writing part 1 (grades 5 and 8)
  •  Thurs, Oct 27- Writing part 2 (grades 5 and 8)
We have started a Ferry Beach Blog- check it out at

FEAT Meetings this week- Challenge Initiative on Wed at 6:30 at CBMS, Full-day Kindergarten on Wed at 6:30PM at TBPS, and Foreign Language on Thursday at 6:30PM at TBPS.

CBMS Scrapbook Club on Early Release Days- click here for details.

From Superintendent Brigid Scheffert:

Dear WWSU Community,

Another exciting school year is well underway as this glorious foliage season takes hold. Irene certainly created a challenging start to our school year. Our hearts do fill with kindness and pride as we reflect upon the generous outpouring of support in all of our local communities during these trying times.

I would like to share some information on where we are headed in the WWSU this school year. First, I remain extremely proud of our schools. Healthy, caring environments, strong dedicated
staff, and academically successful students make our seven schools some of the very best
Vermont has to offer. Please take some time to review the WWSU Performance Data Workbook
and WWSU Climate Survey Data on our website –  Collective hard work and dedication, along with strong community support make these continuing excellent results possible.

I am delighted to announce and congratulate two exceptional educators, both of whom have been nominated for the 2011-12  UVM Outstanding Teacher of the Year award. The first is Tom Young. Tom Young has taught first and second grades at Waitsfield Elementary School for the past 11 years. Throughout his tenure, he has demonstrated a commitment to ongoing professional learning, pursuing a master's degree through the Vermont Math Initiative and engaging in any professional work relevant to the needs of his students. He is committed to the success of every child who walks through his classroom doors and understands that it requires a significant range of teaching strategies as well as supporting the children's social and emotional growth.

Our second nominee is Wendy Peterson, an art teacher at Harwood Union. Ms. Peterson challenges students and their creative abilities on a daily basis. She is the only art teacher for the 7th and 8th grade students. She offers a variety of artistic opportunities that engage students in middle school and throughout their high school career. She has the ability to make connections with students that could easily be disengaged from school. She offers students a place to work, to help or to talk, supporting their transition from elementary school to middle school or middle school to high school. Students find her easy to talk to and enjoy their art experience. Ms. Peterson is also very involved with numerous activities that benefit the larger HU community. She is a positive individual that is willing to support many school-wide initiatives.

The WWSU is very fortunate to have two such wonderful professionals working with
our students each day. Congratulations and thank you, Tom and Wendy!

We will begin our work this year familiarizing ourselves with the Common Core State Standards
and the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which will replace the current NECAP testing. All schools within Vermont will be expected to fully implement these changes by 2014. Change can be a difficult and occasionally a painful process. Even in a perfect world, it moves forward in fits and starts. The journey towards change brings various levels of interest among those being encouraged to travel the path. I doubt if these initiatives will be any different. Each of us can think of many innovations in education that were touted as the solution to all of the problems believed to exist within the system.

Of course this begs the question, if we are doing so well, why change? The most compelling
answer I can give is that we are not succeeding with many of our students. Regardless of what
the state test scores say, are we satisfied with 20-30 percent of our students not achieving proficiency in any area? Even with our successes in the WWSU, we cannot be satisfied until all students are meeting with success. How can we achieve this? I believe that programs are never
the solution, and they are never the problem. It is people, not programs, that determine the
quality of the school. Ted Sizer once said, "We are so good, we know we can get better". I am suggesting that we should adopt this statement as our mantra largely because it doesn't build from a position of deficit. Well, there's a new concept for public education!

Great schools begin with great educators. Being an educator is an amazing profession. It is challenging, dynamic, energizing, and draining - but most of all, it is rewarding. The impact of a teacher on the life of a student extends far beyond anything they will ever know. The very best teachers make every student feel valued. They know who may struggle or who may be reluctant to speak up. They set students up for success, reinforce their attempts, build on those attempts, and then provide future opportunities and experiences even more challenging and involving more risk taking. Great teachers want their students to be more excited about learning tomorrow than they were today.
School starts fresh every year, and we need to take advantage of this new beginning. I need every
staff member to join on the path of success for all students as we embrace the Common Core
Standards, which focus more on career readiness and demonstrations of learning.

There will be increased focus on teacher effectiveness and learning outcomes as we transform to a more global 21st century model for learning and schooling. Transformation is a systems success or
failure. We will be asked to deliver far more than an excellent, traditional, preparatory education.
Every student will need to be prepared to take his/her place on the "world stage" by demonstrating
academic competence, disposition for learning, civic responsibility, and personal development.
Transformation will require us to further provide multiple pathways, personalized learning,
distance learning, state of the art technology, strong student voice, service learning, internships,
dual credit, dual enrollment, and schooling far beyond the walls of our buildings. In order for our
students to be well prepared for their future path, a quality education will ensure that they
participate in Pre-K to 16 experiences that deliver civic literacy, environmental literacy, health
literacy, global awareness literacy, economic/business literacy, financial literacy, and
information/media literacy.

Personalized learning will be center stage in 21st century schooling. Over the last two years, we have made many improvements in the WWSU, most of which are procedural or structural in nature. This year we will be more focused on our individual students than ever before. We need to celebrate and provide for each student's uniqueness. Katy Perry sings a song called "Fireworks" with lyrics that portray the idea that just as no two fireworks are alike, neither are our students; each different, each original, each spectacular. Teachers ignite the "fireworks" making them shine bright, with the power to own the night. By helping each one shine through, the majestic beauty of them all becomes possible. These lyrics are very inspiring, encouraging perseverance and acceptance of differences. All classrooms within the WWSU should also be.

The schools in the WWSU will continue to set high expectations, embrace continuous
improvement, practice data-driven decision making, provide a professional teaching culture,
support strong leadership, maintain school climates where all adults and students feel valued and
safe, and strive to regularly increase student supports and family engagement. Together we will
develop a well-planned model for growth and determine how we are going to get there.

I pledge to do what I can to keep our organization and its people moving forward on the path of growth to achieve success for each and every student who walks through our doors. After a summer of rejuvenation and reflection, we all can regroup and get on this very important path together. I wish each student the best school year ever! Please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime about anything you may have on your mind. I always leave conversations with parents and other community members more enlightened, and I appreciate your time.

Educationally yours,

Brigid Scheffert

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20

Cougar Cross-Country Ski Program- Thursday afternoons beginning December 15th- see details by clicking here

Grades 5/6 Fun Night- This Friday Oct. 21 - 7-9 PM.  $5 admission.

Lego Robotics is full...Stay tuned for future club offerings.

Club Cougar still has few openings...e-mail Cathy Knight if interested.  

Student dismissal is at 2:20 PM.  For students who must take the 3 PM bus, there is supervision provided.  For all other students who are not bus riders but are waiting for parents to pick them up should stay with their teacher to do work, report to the Homework Time in Club Cougar OR stay in the front office.  Students should not be left unsupervised at CBMS from 2:20 - 3 PM.

Survey for the Harwood MS-HS Principal Search- please add your input to this process!

The Ice Center Skates Back To Life this here for details!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oct 16

Meeting this Monday for 5th and 6th grade parents, to hear about the Environmental Education focus for April- Ferry Beach trip and local options.  6PM in the Cougar Cafetorium.

It’s time to start working on Odyssey of the Mind!  Heard of OM but you have no idea what it is? Are you curious to find out more? OM is a fun extra-curricular activity that keeps students busy from fall until March at least. CBMS has one team remaining this year, a group of 8th graders. Come out on Tuesday, October 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria for a presentation, discussion with coaches and team members, and a little demonstration.  OM is a creative problem-solving competition for students from kindergarten through college. Approximately 850 teams from across the United States and at least a dozen other countries took part in World Finals this year. Teams choose from a list of problems to solve, work during the school year on their solution, and present their solutions at local and state contests. Winners qualify to compete at World Finals. The state tournament this year is Saturday, March 10 at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg.   Crossett Brook teams have had great success at our state competition and have been represented at World Finals for nearly a decade. But, as students move on, we need to organize more new teams to keep the program thriving. Summaries of the problems for 2011-12 are available at and much information is at the Vermont website: Teams typically have 5-7 student members and one or two volunteer coaches. An OM team needs members who are creative; like to design and build things; enjoy art, acting and maybe even singing; like working with a group; and especially enjoy a challenge. Want to know more? Contact coaches Holly Alves (244-5262) and Lisa Scagliotti (244-1444); or Or just come Tuesday! 

NECAP testing happens during the next 2 weeks, as follows.  As ever, but even more so, please make every effort to send your learner to school well rested and well fed!
  • Tues, Oct 18- Reading part 1 (grades 5-8)
  • Wed, Oct 19- Reading part 2 (grades 5-8)
  • Thurs, Oct 20- Reading part 3 and Math part 1 (grades 5-8)
  • Tues, Oct 25- Math part 2 (grades 5-8)
  • Wed, Oct 26- Math part 3 (grades 5-8) and Writing part 1 (grades 5 and 8)
  • Thurs, Oct 27- Writing part 2 (grades 5 and 8)
Lunch bills in the redCheck out your balance on PowerSchool!  Don't know how to log in?  E-mail Em!

Grades 5/6 Fun NightThis Friday, Oct. 21st, we are having our first Fun Night of the year for grades 5 and 6. The cost is $5.00 per student. We are in need of chaperones and refreshment donations. We must have between 15-20 chaperones in order to supervise the cafeteria, the gym and the movie. If you think you may be able to chaperone and/or send in food or drinks, please indicate on the Fun Night form that is coming home with your child. For more information, please contact Stacy Grandfield,, or 244-4169.

Grades 5-8 One Studio "Hip Hop Halloween Dance" at CBMS- Friday, October 28th- 7-9PM- Grades 5-8...for details, click here.

CBMS Spirit Wear-  Order forms are available in the office for CBMS Spirit Wear...t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts, and sweatshirts. If you would like to order something, please stop by and pick up an order form and return to the office by Monday, October 17th.

Flu Guide for Parents- click here

Waterbury Skates Back to Life   The Ice Center in Waterbury celebrates its Grand Re-Opening Saturday, October 29th from 5-9 pm.  Come one and all to honor those whose lives have been dramatically altered by flooding and applaud the many who have selflessly given their time, energy and money to help their neighbors in need.  This celebration of community includes a figure skating exhibition, co-ed Varsity hockey competition, food, music and free public skating.  Bring your blades for our grand finale public ‘skate back to life.’  For more information contact Laura Parette (244-7292,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oct 12

PTO Meeting at 6:30PM tonight in the CBMS office...y'all come!

Winter Sports Sign-ups are happening on a list outside the PE office.  For more info, please e-mail Dan Gratton
  • Basketball at CBMS- grades 5-8
  • Gymnastics through Anissa's new Waterbury gym- grades 6-8
  • Nordic Skiing through Harwood- grades 7-8
  • Wrestling through Harwood- grades 7-8

Looking for 20+ Volunteers To Help Improve and Expand
The State Complex Trail in Waterbury on Saturday, Oct. 22  Do you want Waterbury to be a bike/pedestrian friendly town?  Then please do your part to make it happen!  Thanks to a generous grant from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters,  Waterbury in Motion is expanding and enhancing the bike/pedestrian trail that runs behind the Waterbury State Office Complex.  Waterbury in Motion is an all-volunteer group striving to develop a safe, accessible, and active bike/pedestrian system in Waterbury and the surrounding area.   

We need 20+ volunteers to help work on the trail on  Saturday October 22  
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM  (drop by anytime)
In the morning, meet at the Hope Cemetery end, on Winooski Street in Waterbury.
During the day, just walk down the trail from Winooski Street, and you'll see the team. (You currently cannot enter at the State Complex end of the trail due to cleanup efforts.)
What to Bring
There will be lots of tools on hand, but bring your own if you‘d like.  If you have a wheel barrow, please bring it.  Wear sturdy clothes, appropriate for weather, that you don't mind getting dirty, and bring water and a snack.
Who to Contact
If you'd like to help, please contact Duncan McDougall at   or   244-0944   Thanks!

From Superintendent Brigid Scheffert, regarding school delays/closings due to weather:

Dear WWSU Families,

It is hard to believe that while we are enjoying a glorious foliage season our winter weather is right around the corner. Before we know it, the snow will start to fall, and with all of its majestic beauty comes unpredictable weather! As you know, from time to time it becomes necessary to delay the start of a school day or close school altogether. Sometimes, reasons other than snow, such as power outages or freezing rain and sleet that arrive at precisely the wrong time can alter the schedule of the day.  Of course, safety is always my top priority when making these decisions. The WWSU spans approximately 42 miles from Warren to Waterbury, and oftentimes the conditions can be quite different.  My years of experience tell me that decisions to close school are often met with dissatisfaction, and I am hoping to do what I can to implement the best possible procedures in our supervisory union.  However, we all know that our Vermont weather can be very unpredictable and often changes drastically in a short period of time.

I would like to take this opportunity to share with our families how these decisions are made. In order to officially count a day for state purposes, certain criteria must be met. Transportation costs also factor into the decision. We try to avoid paying for an additional day of transportation which can be very expensive, and happens if elementary schools are open when the high school is closed and vice versa. I must also give some consideration to whether or not the faculty at large will be able to arrive safely and if we will adequately be able to staff the school for the day.  These are some examples of why if any three elementary schools need to delay or close, the entire district does the same. Also, if the high school needs to delay or close, then the entire district does as well. We need to have approximately 50% of our high school students attending to count the day, maintain the regional calendar, (including the Barre Technical Center), to maintain adequate classroom instruction, and to be responsible with our busing costs and contracts.

I rely heavily on management at the Bus Barn when it comes to evaluating the weather conditions. We have our cell phones set up for alert text messages. If an alert comes in, Steve at the Bus Barn begins gathering information from the National Weather Service. If the storm has already arrived, he checks with all of the town crews for their feedback on their road conditions. Steve regularly monitors the following sources for forecasts and predictions: The Weather Channel, WCAX, WPTZ, NOAA, Weather Underground, VT Agency of Transportation 511website, Agweb, Unisys Weather, Intellicast, CRWS, and last but not least…a stand outdoors! Steve calls me, reports the information, and together we decide between 4 AM and 5:30 how we will call the day.  I try to begin my calls by 5:20 a.m.  Laura Titus, my administrative assistant, calls the television and radio stations and sends out the ALERT NOW messages.

We need to call a delayed opening when a storm hits at a time such that the road crews cannot get their jobs done and the roads simply are not ready for buses to travel on them on time. This can be confusing for folks because often when you go out, the main roads will seem fine. Please remember that back roads can vary quite a bit.

The temperature can sometimes cause a delay. Freezing rain will cause both delays and closings more often than snowfall. If temperatures dip to 25 degrees below zero with the wind chill factor, we will delay if warranted and even close if the predictions should indicate because of the risk of frostbite while waiting at a bus stop. Luckily, we do not see many arctic Vermont days!

Your building principal should have sent home detailed information explaining the best ways for you to receive information about school closings and delays as soon as it becomes available.  Last year, WWSU launched a new messaging and communication system called ALERT NOW, which seemed to work well for everyone.

I would sincerely like to thank all of our WWSU families in advance for your patience and understanding with dealing with delayed openings and/or closed school days. I realize how frustrating it can be if conditions seem fine at your house or on your roads when I call a delay or closing. These decisions are made with all the best, available information possible, in a very short period of time, and taking into account the entire WWSU community. I will do my very best to keep school open whenever I can, while maintaining the safety and security of our greatest resource, our children.


Brigid Scheffert

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oct 10

PTO Meeting this Wednesday, beginning at 6:30 in the CBMS office...all are welcome!

CBMS is a Distraction Free Zone where the focus is on learning!  You can help maintain this focus by not texting or calling your child's cell phones during school hours.

Club Cougar has a few openings!  If you want to register your child, e-mail Cathy Knight.

Waterbury Public Library Forms Teen Group- On Thursday, October 20, during National Teen Reads Week, the Waterbury Public Library will be holding their first Teen Advisory Group (TAG) meeting from 3 - 4 PM at the Library at 28 North Main Street, Waterbury. The Library
encourages all teenagers who would like to have their say in programming, activities, and new book titles to join in the conversation. Come for snacks, and brainstorm some new ideas to make the library more “teen friendly”. You’ll also get to choose posters, suggest display ideas and have some fun in the meantime. Participation in the group can count towards required community service,
or “Change the World” projects, and look great on a college resume! For more information, contact Michelle Willey at 244-7036 or email

Would you like to have your son or daughter take piano lessons at CBMS during the school day? 
Piano lessons are being taught by Carol Schein on Mondays at CBMS.  The lessons are thirty minutes long and cost $18.  The lesson time rotates each week, so it will be eight or nine weeks before the student has to miss the same half hour class slot.  If you are interested or to receive additional information, please contact Carol at or at 244-4176.
 School Board Meeting this Tuesday, 6PM in the CBMS library- all are welcome!

6:00            I.            CALL TO ORDER and CONFIRM AGENDA

6:05            II.            COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC (Note that additional comments from the public will be welcomed throughout the agenda.)

6:10            III.            DISCUSSION (90 minutes)
A. Curricular Programs/Instructional delivery- discussion w/ Sheila R.
B. Policy Packet #2- First Reading
C. Snowplow bids
D. TBPS Lobby design
E. “Buy Local”

7:40            IV.            PRINCIPALS REPORT - Board Feedback (10 minutes)
A.   Written Report and Recommendations

7:50            V.            WWSU REPORTS            (20 minutes)           
B.    Superintendent’s report

8:10            VI.             OTHER BUSINESS (5 minutes)

8:15            VII.            ACTION ITEMS  (10 minutes)           
A.   Board Minutes (9/13/11)
B.    Board Orders
C.   Principal’s report action items
D.   Approve MS Cooperative Sports Agreement
E.    Approve Pre-School Agreement

8:25            VIII.  CONFIRM TOPICS FOR NEXT MEETING AGENDA (Nov 8, 2011 @ CBMS)  Main Topics: FEAT findings, Budget

8:30            IX.             EXECUTIVE SESSION to discuss personnel issue


The Search for Harwood Union’s Next Leader is Underway!  What qualities should we be looking for in our next Principal?  Community Forum- Thursday, October 13th at 6:30pm in the HUHS Library.  Come work with the Principal Search Committee to help form interview questions and set the criteria for selecting finalist candidates. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 6

Say CHEESE.....School Picture Day is today! 

Tonight is Back 2 School Night for all grades 5-8!  The PTO will be serving a Hot Dog Dinner from 5-6 in or near the Cougar Cafe- ($5 per person or $20 per family).  We will all gather at 6:15 in the gym, and you will then head out to follow your child's abbreviated schedule from 6:30 until 8PM.  Bring your walking shoes!

Balancing the Lunch Bills  In order to keep the Cougar Cafe in the black, beginning October 17th, a negative lunch account balance will mean that your child will not be able to purchase meals from the Cougar Cafe until the balance rises into the positive.   Thanks for checking your eater's balance on PowerSchool.  You can set PowerSchool to automatically e-mail your lunch balances to you...look for that setting under PowerSchool preferences.  

No School for students on Monday, October 10th.

Epic Rummage Sale to benefit area flood relief
Where: Mad River Garden Center
When: Sat. 10/8 - Mon. 10/10  9:00 - 3:00

Volunteer Opportunities :  
Wed. 10/5 - Friday 10/7 -  Bag, haul, sort apparel and set up sale.
Sat. 10/8 - Mon. 10/10 - Man the sale and sell, sell, sell in 3 hr. shifts. 

Please contact Mary Simmons -, 802-522-7761

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4

Back to School Night is this Thursday for all grades 5-8!  The PTO will be serving a hot dog dinner beginning from 5-6 in or near the Cougar Cafe- ($5 per person or $20 per family).  We will all gather at 6:15 in the gym, and you will then head out to follow your child's schedule from 6:30 until 8PM.  See you on Thursday!

CBMS Lunch prices-  Lunch is $3.25, Breakfast is $1.50
If you child is purchasing snacks from the snack machine, please send in extra daily snack money in order to keep the lunch money and the snack money separate.  Thanks in advance for keeping your child's lunch bill above $0! 

WIND ENSEMBLE PLAYS SATURDAY FOR FLOOD RELIEF: Several dozen local musicians will gather at Stowe High School Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for a fundraising concert to support Vermont flood-relief efforts. The Vermont Symphonic Winds ensemble will feature several local players including Harwood Union High School graduates  Kate Noyes Liptak, Dan Liptak, Will McCraw; Harwood trumpet teacher Jason Whitcomb; Harwood clarinet teacher Joni McCraw ; and trombonist Brent White of Duxbury. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

The Search for Harwood Union’s Next Leader is Underway!  What qualities should we be looking for in our next Principal?  Community Forum- Thursday, October 13th at 6:30pm in the HUHS Library.  Come work with the Principal Search Committee to help form interview questions and set the criteria for selecting finalist candidates. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.