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  http://cbmsferrybeach.blogspot.com/

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 – www.wwsu.org.  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

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