Friday, November 1, 2013

Nov 1

Upcoming Dates of Note  
  • PTO Wreath and Poinsettia Sale- Nov 1-15
  • Early Release Day (noon dismissal)- Wednesday, Nov 6
  • PTO Screening of "Bully"- CBMS cafeteria- Thursday, Nov 7th- 6:30-8:30PM
  • School Board Meeting- Tuesday, Nov 12 - 6PM - CBMS library
  • PTO Meeting- Wednesday, Nov 13- 6:30PM - CBMS library
  • CBMS Concert- Wednesday, Nov 20- 5-8 Band and Chorus- 7PM start
  • Trimester 1 Report Cards coming home with students- Friday, Nov 22
  • Parent Conferences- Nov 25, 26
  • Trimester 1 Recognition Assembly- Tuesday, Nov 26th- 8AM 
  • Thanksgiving Break- Nov 27-29
  • Picture Re-take Day- Friday, Dec 6

Hot News- CBMS PTO attains 501C3 status!  Yahoo, and congrats to the PTO!  Please come to the Screening of "Bully" next Thursday night!

The snow is falling, the mountains are white, and the children are ready for Halloween night!  Thanksgiving and Hanukkah play tag in November with the holiday season quick in December.  Want to do something that is festive and bright…adorn your house in pink, marble and white. Love the aroma of the balsam and pine?  Add a wreath and the smell is divine!  Still feeling festive and want to sell more?  Knock on your neighbor or local business’s door.  The sales are small, so you might say, but they all add up in much larger ways!  Support your school and local business too and the money will pass right back to a student near you!  CBMS PTO Wreath and Poinsettia Sale: Nov 1-15, 2013.  Please check with your son or daughter this Friday, Nov 1 for the order form.  Orders and money will be accepted through Nov 15, 2013.  Pick up will be at Evergreen Gardens Dec 6-8, 2013.  All checks may be made payable to CBMS PTO.  More details and additional order forms can also be found on the CBMS PTO website.  

News from the Cougar Café:  We started the year with so many good things coming from our Food Service Program:
  • Our Program is partnering with Vermont FEED in a very exciting program for this school year. This partnership will develop stronger roots for our Farm to School Program.
  • The first Local Crunch at Lunch event was very well attended and students and parents had the opportunity to celebrate Farm to School month together in our cafeteria.
  • We have purchased many products and fresh produce locally, including all of our lettuce.  (Green Mountain Harvest, Red Hen Bread, Pastabilities, Misty Knoll Farm, Neil Farm, Cabot Creamery, VT Bean Crafters, Owls Head Farm, and others)
  • As many of your might have seen on the news the State of Vermont, in partnership with VT FEED and the School Nutrition Association of Vermont, has created a cookbook with recipes tested in schools across the state featuring local ingredients. We are very proud that one of the Chefs participating in this project was our Food Service Director, Erika Dolan. This year Erika has also been elected the President Elect of the School Nutrition Association of Vermont, where she provides professional development to school food service staff and help support child nutrition program throughout the state.
  • In November you are invited to join us for our Thanksgiving Lunch on November 14th. Please contact the CBMS office by e-mail ( or via phone (244-6100) and make a reservation by Tuesday November 12th. On the menu – Roasted Turkey with Gravy or Stuffed Mushroom, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Squash, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, and Tossed Salad (no salad bar this day).
Thank you so much for your continued support of our food service program!

High 5's Assembly- Last Friday the High 5's Foundation came in to present to a large number of CBMS students about the importance of wearing helmets in many activities- Helmets are Cool!  You can view the video that presenters showed to our students at

Op Ed: Common Core - What is it and why did Vermont adopt it? by Armando Vilaseca, Secretary of Education (October, 2013)

Vermont, along with 44 other states, adopted a common set of educational standards called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which will be used to articulate what we expect our students to know and demonstrate in grades Pre-K - 12. Vermont’s current Framework of Standards has been in place for over a decade and has served us well. As society’s needs change and the expectations for schools change, our standards must also be adjusted.

CCSS provide all of the participating states a common platform to build their local curricula. It's important to point out that the local schools and teachers still decide how they want to teach and what curriculum they use, the standards provide the schools and teachers with a framework. These standards are an evolution of our current standards and are written to prepare all students to be "college and career ready" by the time they graduate from high school. Vermont played an active role in the adoption of these standards as former Governor James Douglas (then chair of the National Governors Association) worked with President Obama to initiate this work. Vermont has experience working across state lines, as we were a founding member of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP); we collaborated with NH, ME, and RI to develop rigorous common standards and uniform assessments. Our New England experience was used as a model for the CCSS.

For many years, as a Vermont educator, I could never understand why as a nation we had fifty sets of standards, and why each state had different sets of goals for their students to meet. I understand and support the concept of states’ rights, but this idea no longer makes sense when we have become such a mobile and transient society. Often these moves mean students miss information or have lessons repeated because of the incongruence of our state standards. Additionally, the assessments aligned to these standards are used to compare states even though the standards have varying levels of difficulty.

Recently, there has been much discussion at the local and state level about the adoption of these new standards. The CCSS were written by states for states to meet our country’s needs in the future, and are not federal standards. Some will argue that these standards are not needed, or are not rigorous enough, or are too rigorous, or are being driven by foundations or big monies. It is true that many national organizations have supported the writing of these standards, but it was not the big corporations driving the decision to adopt the standards, rather it was our states that led this charge. 

Vermont was involved in developing these standards and we have also been instrumental in working on the assessment that will measure our new standards. Vermont and our bordering New England states have all been actively engaged in this work, we all see this as the logical evolution of our current standards. 

You may have heard arguments against these standards by an array of individuals and groups. Are these standards perfect? No, but they are an improvement from our current standards. These standards are more reflective of Vermont's and our country's needs, both now and in the future. Working among states requires some collaboration and compromise. It is a testament to our Governors and our states' educational leaders to have come up with such a forward thinking concept. I applaud the legislators and state boards of education for supporting and adopting these new standards when our political process in Washington seems paralyzed by partisan gridlock.  

Governor Shumlin and I have advocated for raising math and science graduation requirements for some time – doing so will align our graduation requirements with these new standards.

For many of you, this information is new and I hope that it has been helpful in providing you some perspective on what the Common Core is and why it is important not only to Vermont but for our entire country. 

Armando Vilaseca, Secretary of Education, lives in Westford, VT.

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