Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Feb 26

5th and 6th grade parents- Ecology Week is happening from April 12-15. We are looking for commitments from you as to your learner attending the Ferry Beach trip or the Audubon Center day trips. By the end of the day on Friday, March 4th, please click here to let us know your intent.

Parents of 6th and 7th graders: In 7th and 8th grade your child has the opportunity to attend either CBMS or Harwood Union Middle School. Details on the exchange can be found here. Please note the strict deadline of March 5th. To apply to the exchange, simply e-mail a note to Tom Drake (tdrake@wwsu.org) expressing your interest in having your child attend HUMS.

Spring Student-led Conferences are coming up!  Student-Led conferences will be scheduled from 3-8PM on Wednesday, March 16th.  Online sign-ups open up first thing on Friday, March 4th, and close at the end of the day on Friday, March 11th.  Step-by-Step instructions will be in next Friday's Cougar Comments.

March Cougar Cafe menu is now online- click here 

Brainado is coming to CBMS! What is Brainado? It is a brainstorm, only more! It is a brainstorm where students strive to discover their own deep interests, and teachers strive to create a learning environment where students can explore these pursuits.  Students will work on these projects for an hour a week, and then also during their free time.  Projects may range from starting a chess club, to learning a foreign language, to learning how to sew, to learning how to fly fish.  Our hope is that students will be able to explore personal passions with the support of mentors in and outside of the school community.  This initiative, which is our version of Genius Hour (see this 3-minute video for more info on Genius Hour), will happen in 10, 1-hour sessions, on Fridays beginning Friday, March 4th.  Students will be brainstorming their Brainados in the first two sessions, and then getting down to work.  And yes, Brainado is like Sharknado, but for the brain! 

Registration Information: Heart and Sole @ Crossett Brook Middle School This spring, CBMS will offer “Heart and Sole”, a program geared specifically toward middle school girls. This is a fun, social and emotional development program through running. Lessons are facilitated by trained coaches to safely prepare girls to complete a celebratory 5k run. The program will begin the week of March 21st and end the week of June 6th. The annual 5k celebration run will be held in Essex at the Champlain Valley Fair on Saturday, June 4th.  This year CBMS will have up to 30 spots for girls in grades 5 - 8 in two distinct groups. Registration options will be: Group A) M/W 2:30 – 4:00pm and Group B) T/TH 2:30 – 4:00pm. Girls must register for both days of the same group. Registration is online only. It opens here at 7pm on March 3rd, on a first come first served basis. We anticipate the program to fill quickly and are looking for girls committed to participating in the 10 week program.  Total program cost will be $28.00 per girl. Scholarships are available as needed. Thanks to the CBMS PTO and Girls on the Run for their generous support to reduce the fee from $80.00. If you have questions regarding registration, contact Sarah Popowicz at spopowicz@wwsu.org or 244-6100.


Thursday, March 10th, at 6 pm, nationally recognized presenter and author Scott Noyes will be at Waitsfield School to speak about Power Struggles and children. Scott focuses upon positive discipline approaches with appreciation for the complexity of chilcren, as evidenced in his latest book, "This Child is Driving us Crazy, What Should we do?" Scott's presentation will explore what effective responses to power struggles look like and how to turn power struggles into learning experiences. Thank you to the Waitsfield PTA for bringing this opportunity to our community; the presentation is free to all. Additionally, childcare is available (including pasta dinner); please contact Kathi Orr at korr@wwsu.org or 496-3643 to reserve childcare.

Ponderable: "When you are busy playing on the lacrosse field six days a week because in seventh grade you liked going to practices with your friends and your coach once mentioned you might have some talent, you may never discover that computer graphic design is your calling. When you take every opportunity to play piano daily in a band, orchestra and private lessons, you could easily miss the once-in-a-lifetime joy of being a member of a field hockey team. Pseudo passions can eat up our days and lay waste to any chance of finding real ones." From "Our Push for Passion, and Why It Harms Kids", by Lisa Heffernan in the New York Times - click here to read the full story.


Upcoming Dates of Note:
  • March 1- Town Meeting Day- no school for students
  • March 2- School resumes- 7:45AM
  • March 7- 8th graders meet with HUHS counselors (1:30-2:30)
  • March 8- WDSD School Board meeting- 6PM in TBPS Library.
  • March 10- HUMS Spring Sports meeting- 6PM in HUHS auditorium
  • March 10- Scott Noyes presentation at Waitsfield Elementary School- 6-7:30
  • March 11- Grades 7/8 Dance at HUMS- 7-9PM
  • March 15- Incoming 9th grade parent night @ HUHS- 6PM in HUHS auditorium
  • March 15- CBMS PTO meeting- 6:30PM in CBMS Library
  • March 16- Student-led conferences- 3-8PM
  • March 18- No School today
  • March 19- Odyssey of the Mind Tournament - CVU
  • March 19- Junior Iron Chef competition- Champlain Expo Fairgrounds, Essex
  • March 25- Fun Night for grades 5/6- 7-9PM
  • March 28- No School for students today; Inservice Day for Staff

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Feb 12

Our Food Service Program now has a Facebook page!  The goal of the page is to promote our program to parents and other national and local organizations.  Please like our page and share so more people can like it! Erika Dolan will be updating as much as she can.   Click here to view.

Cougar Kudos and a huge Thank You to our PTO for hosting and rallying the grades 5/6 Basketball Tournament again this year!


Your Voice Is Important!  The Washington West Supervisory Union Community Coalition invites you to participate in a discussion about the future of learning in WWSU through a series of Community Conversations taking place in March 2016. Community Conversations, also known as the Study Circle process, is a forum for community discussion, debate and feedback regarding teaching and learning in the schools of WWSU.  Come prepared to talk about ways for students to be prepared for the future, find ways the community can engage to support our learners, and have a voice in the future of educating all of our children.  Click here for more information.


#3 of the Top 10 Reasons for Moving to 1:1 Learning Technology Although it was never promised, 1:1 learning with technology has improved standardized test scores in writing, reading, and math. More importantly, it has resulted in greater student engagement and willingness for students to persevere in what has been called “hard fun” in science and other areas.

7th Grade Parents- take note!  Over the last several years, Crossett Brook’s 7th graders have been the recipients of a project aimed at building self-esteem through a demonstration of love and appreciation from those around them.  This project was implemented with an eye towards improving character, teaching respect for self and others, and building self-worth.  It is my belief that the more confident and happy one feels about him/herself, the more successful he/she will be in creating positive relationships with family, friends, and community members.   Lift-Up Letters, as they have come to be known, were an idea which we implemented in our former guidance classes with great success! Click here to get more details.  


      


Lego Mindstorms NXT Robot Beginners 2 Class – With Challenges - Instructor: Mike Maloney

This is level 2 beginners’ class. You will review skills learned in level 1 beginner class and then take it to the next level with both building and programming challenges. You will learn to use sensors and add loop and switch instructions, possibly adding a third motor. You will build robots to meet the constraints presented in a variety of challenges based on your skill level. There will be instructions followed by hands on training activities leading to challenges to put what is learned into practice. Working in pairs, students will apply the engineering process to learn about planning, designing, building, programming, testing, problem solving and team work. This is a class where you will work hard and have fun learning.

Who should attend: New or experienced students are welcome!

This class will fun for 5 consecutive Tuesdays, starting March 15th. The cost is $75. To sign up, click here.




Waterbury-Duxbury School Tax Rates Declining
The Waterbury-Duxbury School Board (WDSD) worked diligently to adopt a budget for 2016-17 that contains reductions to our base spending.  Although overall school spending increases modestly due to rising health insurance costs and contractually obligated increases in labor costs, we estimate that education property tax rates in Duxbury and Waterbury will be decreasing by 6.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.  
We believe this budget demonstrates our commitment to cost containment and property tax relief, without negative impact on student learning and while still investing in the continuous improvement of our schools.  We ask for your support of this budget, and the tax rate decreases, at the polls on Town Meeting Day on March 1st.
The WDSD’s administration did an excellent job finding savings and offering options— including an innovative reconfiguration of administration and ways to save on routine supplies—that should reduce upward budgetary pressures in the future.   Our adopted 2016-17 budget eliminates one administrative position at Crossett Brook Middle School in favor of a more unified approach to special education administration across the two schools.   This change represents a large percentage of the reduction in base spending and we believe it will improve continuity for special needs students and the overall quality of educational services.
It’s important to note that we considered two other options in detail.  Each would have increased spending further with no measurable impact on student learning and  each would have resulted in higher taxes.  At the end of the day, with diligent management from our administrative team, we were able to settle on a budget that prioritizes existing investments in the quality of our classrooms (base spending on kids will actually increase 1.5 percent) and leverages the state’s complex property tax system to deliver the first property tax rate reduction in many years.
This year variables in the statewide property tax formula have aligned in our favor.  With some creativity, the administrative team was able to contain growth to a level that is in line with growth in our economy and in wages over the last several years and allow us to provide some relief to taxpayers and maintain core investments in educational quality.
Additionally, the administrative changes position our district to advocate for additional organizational enhancements and substantial cost savings measures as the implementation of Act 46 – last year’s school consolidation legislation passed by the Legislature – proceeds within the supervisory union.   To be sure, the tax relief provided in this budget will be fleeting if we do not take advantage of the opportunity the Legislature has provided us to rethink—in partnership with our neighbors—how we’re delivering education at the elementary and middle school levels. 
Our work on Act 46 will likely bring forth a merger proposal from the Supervisory Union’s study committee this spring.  Since we already educate all of our high school students as one community there’s little reason to think we cannot also offer our elementary and middle school students more and better opportunities, while also lowering costs for taxpayers, in a similar model.  That’s the opportunity provided by Act 46.
As our discussions continue we hope you’ll take the opportunity to become informed and involved.  Our goal is to make further improvements in both the quality and cost of local education.
Please join us at the WDSD Annual Meeting on February 25th at 5:30 in the Thatcher Brook Primary School library to learn more about this year’s budget.  Comments and questions from the public are always welcome. 
Respectfully submitted by:
Reed McCracken, WDSD Chair
Jason Gibbs, WDSD Vice Chair

Thursday, March 10th, at 6 pm, nationally recognized presenter and author Scott Noyes will be at Waitsfield School to speak about Power Struggles and children. Scott focuses upon positive discipline approaches with appreciation for the complexity of chilcren, as evidenced in his latest book, "This Child is Driving us Crazy, What Should we do?"   Scott's presentation will explore what effective responses to power struggles look like and how to turn power struggles into learning experiences.   Thank you to the Waitsfield PTA for bringing this opportunity to our community; the presentation is free to all. Additionally, childcare is available (including pasta dinner); please contact Kathi Orr at korr@wwsu.org or 496-3643 to reserve childcare.


Crossett Brook Middle School
CROSSETT BROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL
DON'T MISS OUT!
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Memories to last a lifetime!

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Customize your student's Crossett Brook Middle School yearbook with their name, hobbies, passions, and accomplishments and keep the 2015-16 school year alive forever. Hurry, time is running out!




Upcoming Dates of Note:
  • 2Nite! February 12- Grades 7/8 Dance @ CBMS- 7-9PM. $5 admission.
  • February 16- Combined grades 5-8 Chorus and grades 7-8 Band concert - HUHS auditorium- 7PM
  • February 19- Last Day of Trimester 2
  • February 19- Winter Carnival @ CBMS, ending with the 8th Grade vs Staff Hoops game at 1:30.
  • February 22-March 1- Winter Break- school resumes on Wednesday, March 2nd
  • February 25- Annual School Meeting- TB Library- 5:30PM

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Feb 5

CBMS To Offer Girls On The Run! - CBMS is excited to offer a new middle level Girls on the Run program called Heart & Sole. The goal of this program is to build confidence and develop "a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness." This program will help girls grow stronger physically and emotionally through dynamic lessons as well as strength training and running. The girls will watch themselves grow stronger and more confident throughout the program, culminating in a 5k run and celebration on June 4th at the Essex Fair grounds!  For more information check out the website.  Some logistics:
  • We will hold 20 practice sessions over 10 weeks time (beginning March 21st and endingJune 4th)
  • Practices will be held at CBMS from 2:30 - 4:00.
  • We are still determining which days will work best for students and coaches...it will either be a M-W practice or a T-Th practice. More info to follow.
  • Thanks to PTO support, we are able to offer this program at a reduced rate of  $25-$35 per student, depending on final numbers. This is a drastic savings from the $80.00 fee GOTR charge...thanks again PTO! 
  • Some scholarship money is also available, please contact the coaches (emails below) for more information on this.
  • An informational meeting will be held on February 9th, during Den, for any student interested. This will help us project numbers and organize a practice schedule based on needs. Please encourage your student to attend if interested!
Space is limited, so please email Sarah Popowicz with interest. Include your students name, grade, team as well as practice dates that would work best for you (M-W or T-Th). This will help us finalize a practice schedule and calculate final costs. Look for more information and registration details within the next few weeks. We are so excited to get started!
Sarah Popowicz (head coach) spopowicz@wwsu.org
Mollie Burke (assistant coach) mburke@wwsu.org
Melinda Anderman (assistant coach) manderman@wwsu.org


How parents can model healthy tech habits, by Rachel Mark of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education.  A good read, full of timely reminders for parents on how to help with healthy technology habits.  Click here.


Family and friends invite you to join us along with the Harwood Boys Varsity Hockey Team and Garret Davis in a remembrance game honoring Mandy Drake Morse, Taber Merchant and all those who choose to give life. Mandy was a teacher and firefighter in our community, who lost her life battling genetic liver disease while awaiting a liver transplant.  Taber was a fellow student whose family chose to donate life after his passing.  The boys will be wearing special green “No One Fights Alone” jerseys in their honor.  

  • Who: Harwood Varsity Boys Hockey vs Missiquoi Varsity Boys Hockey
  • What: Remembrance Game for Mandy Drake Morse and Taber Merchant to bring awareness to organ donation and saving lives.
  • When: Saturday, February 6 at 6:45 PM
  • Where: Ice Center of Washington West, Waterbury, VT
  • Why: To help up raise awareness for liver disease and donating life.
Astronomy with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Optional opportunity during Den time - first Tuesday of the month in Melissa Williams room and open to all CBMS student. Join the Perot Museum astronomy education staff for monthly updates that bring you the latest and greatest in space science news! Your students will also learn what to watch for — and when — in the skies near you. Urge your child to attend!

Winterfest Snow Volleyball Needs YOU! - There are already two family snow volleyball teams anchored by Crossett Brook students - who will challenge them??!!   We are still looking for adult teams and family teams to compete in this year's Snow volleyball tournament Sunday, Feb 7, from 9:30 - 1:30 at the Ice Center outside volleyball courts.  Free Ice Cream coupons to the winning team!  After the volleyball championships, make a day of it and stay to play snow football and then attend free skate and/or the Winterfest Closing Ceremonies inside the Ice Center.  Register for volleyball and get more info here  

New this winter, Sugarbush Resort is offering full day camps for kids’ ages 7 to 12 over the Vermont February Vacation week.  This is a full day ski and ride camp, complete with supervised transportation to and from the mountain, lunches and four hours of lessons.  In knowing that many parents work over the break and are looking for day camps, we have arranged pick up and drop off each day in the CBMS parking lot.  Since this is our initial year, we wanted to start small and limit the program to just two local Middle Schools, Crossett Brook and Camel’s Hump.   Click here for more details. 

Ponderable:  I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate- this 5-minute video, while a bit edgy in parts, will make you think.  click here.


Save the Date - 10th Waterbury LEAP Energy Fair - Saturday, April 9 - 9 AM to 3 PM (FREE event!) - at CBMS - One of the largest and most popular energy fairs in all of Vermont. 700+ attendees. A family-friendly event. More than 75 energy-related exhibits with experts on solar power, energy incentives, energy audits, weatherization, green building, geothermal, biomass, pellet stoves, and many other subjects.
  • Breakout sessions on a variety of topics such as 'Sustainable Transportation', 'Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps', 'Solar Power', and 'Weatherization'. 
  • Free electronics recycling 
  • Free performance by Marko the Magician at 11 AM. 
  • Food and drinks available 
  • Learn dozens of ways to reduce your energy bills and save money. The event is hosted by the volunteers of Waterbury LEAP. Please come join us!
Any green energy companies companies that would like to have an exhibit table at the LEAP Energy Fair should contact Ned Houston as soon as possible at hesplanning@gmail.com. Exhibits sell out every year. Register early and save 50% on exhibit fees. Any questions? Contact Duncan at duncan@clifonline.org

#4 of the Top 10 Reasons for Moving to 1:1 Learning Technology  Technology has been shown to be a powerful tool for differentiating and personalizing learning. Students needing more support for basic skills can access help at any time. Likewise, students needing greater challenge can have their needs addressed. 1:1 access makes personalization possible.


Upcoming Dates of Note:

  • February 3-6- 5/6 Hoops Tourney @ CBMS
  • February 9- WDSD School Board meeting- 6PM in the CBMS Library. Relevant documents can be accessed here.
  • February 9- Band concert for all WWSU 6th grade band students- HUHS auditorium- 7PM
  • February 12- Grades 7/8 Dance @ CBMS- 7-9PM. $5 admission.
  • February 16- Combined grades 5-8 Chorus and grades 7-8 Band concert - HUHS auditorium- 7PM
  • February 19- Last Day of Trimester 2
  • February 19- Winter Carnival @ CBMS, ending with the 8th Grade vs Staff Hoops game at 1:30.
  • February 22-March 1- Winter Break- school resumes on Wednesday, March 2nd