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K-5 Report Card changes for 2015-16

The Colchester School District is constantly looking for ways to improve the experience of parents understanding how their children are meeting grade level expectations. With the coming of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and proficiency based learning and grading, changes have been made to the report card for grades K-5 to reflect these changing expectations in 2015-16. The key changes will include language that will be consistent with CCSS, separate sections for classroom performance and assessments, opportunities to exceed in math, and a new section called “Speaking and Listening” which is a new claim found within CCSS. What will stay the same is the format, the identified proficiency levels, and that progress will be reported by trimester. All of these changes will help make the reporting system better aligned with the new state requirements and hopefully give both parents and their children better information on how they are progressing meeting these changing expectations. The first new report card will be heading home for grades K-5 on November 20.

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Colchester High School Students Selected for District III Music Festival: 47 Students Selected To Perform in November Concert

Nineteen Colchester High School band and twenty-eight CHS choral students performed in the Vermont District III High School Music Festival held on November 7 at Essex High School. The festivalfeatured wind ensemble, concert band and chorus performances by a select group of students representing all of the Champlain Valley’s area high school music programs.

The following CHS sopranos were chosen to participate in the festival under the direction of Stefanie Maas Weigand, dean of students for NEMFA and president-elect of the VT-ACDA: Emily Bissonette; Keegan Davis; Anna Eaton, Natalee Garen; Myla Jacobs; Samantha Kieny; Elizabeth Landry; Bella Lopez; and, Emily White. CHS altos selected to perform were: Devon Cameron-Vaupel; Erin Casab; Kianna Frost-Ohlsson; Emily Lopes; Cassie Mallabar; Ally Marcou; Victoria Mier; Nora Peterson; Olivia Trevisani; Kayley Tullgren; Kyra Walker; and Jessica Zwolen. CHS tenors selected were: Jonny Barden and Ethan Goedken. CHS basses selected were: Sam Burgess; Jimmy Collins; Morgan Eaton; Matthew LaChance; and, Alex Ratkovits. The concert chorus performed the following pieces: Kyrie, from Mass in G (Franz Schubert); It Takes a Village (Joan Szymko);Earth Song (Frank Ticheli); and Oye (Jim Papoulis).

The following CHS students were selected to perform in the Festival’s concert band under the direction of Stephen Rice, instrumental music teacher at Brattleboro Union High School: Abby Longchamp (flute); Katie Pierson (flute); Amelia Cassidy (bassoon); Ethan Dean (bari sax); Thomas Colgrove (trumpet); Laura Shaw (trumpet); Haley Kieny (clarinet); Rebecca Mier (clarinet); Chloe Bullock (clarinet); Cara Barmore (clarinet); Sophia Comi (clarinet); Kaylyn Morse (bass clarinet); Jacob Dell (tenor sax); Nathan Colgrove (French horn); and, Lauren Brooks (French horn). The concert band performed: Joy Revisited (Frank Ticheli); Rhythm Stand (Jennifer Higdon); Symphony No. 6, Movement II, Adagio Sostenuto (Vincent Persichetti); and, Bucimis, Bulgarian Folk Dance (Bob Lipton).

The following CHS students were selected to perform in the Festival’s wind ensemble under the direction of Dr. Mark Stickney, director of bands at Plymouth State University: Beth Moore (flute); Meghan Collins (alto sax); Kristian Labrie (percussion); and, Connor Zwonik (percussion). The wind ensemble closed the festival with the following performances: A Festival Prelude (Alfred Reed); Sheltering Sky (John Mackey); 136th USA Field Artillery March (Henry Fillmore, arranged by Foster); Albanian Dances (Shelley Hanson); and, Chester (Robert Schuman).

Students from the District III high schools must audition (or be nominated) for the opportunity to perform in the festival. In addition to Colchester High School, the following area schools participated in the festival: Burlington High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, Essex High School, Rice Memorial High School, South Burlington High School and Winooski High School. The purpose of the District III Music Festival is to enhance students’ school music experiences by giving them a chance to participate in music performing groups made up of top music students from other school programs.

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For more information, contact:

Marie Bouffard, Friends of Colchester Music Chair


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Veterans Day Celebration at Malletts Bay School

Students at Malletts Bay School attended assemblies on November 6th to learn about Veteran’s Day. Principal Julie Benay led the assemblies, which included information about the different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, the varied jobs and positions that service members fulfill, and the history from Armistice Day to today’s observance and traditions. Students were invited to decorate a star in patriotic colors, including names of friends and relatives who are serving or have served in the U. S. Armed forces. Students from the Summit House classrooms used the colorful stars to create a display in the hallway.

On Veteran’s Day, Students in Mrs. Rogers’ fifth grade classroom taught their peers about the tradition of “America’s White Table.” Based on the children’s book by Margot Theis Raven, the white table is set in the cafeteria with symbols such as a red rose, white candle, and empty chair. The tradition began during the Vietnam War to honor the many American’s who were captured or missing in action. Students set the table, created posters to explain the symbolism, and gave short speeches to explain the tradition.


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The Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the Bristol Police Department are warning Vermont businesses about an out of state company operating a scam that solicits local businesses to donate money to support their area school. The scam company hires a salesperson to ask local businesses to pay for an advertisement that will be placed on an educational folder, typically on a subject like drug prevention, that it says will be provided to students free of charge. This is a scheme that allows the out of state company to collect money from local businesses far in excess of the cost of the “folders” that it may actually deliver to the school. Businesses are advised not to contribute to this type of promotional scheme.

This week, the Bristol Police Department discovered this scam business was operating in Bristol using the names “American Youth Group, Inc.” and “National Campus Professionals.” Through its investigation, Bristol Police learned that the company was planning to contact businesses in other Vermont towns in the coming weeks, including Fair Haven, So. Burlington, and Colchester.

This same scam has operated in Vermont before; other business names that have been used are “PNM” (Production Network Media), “PMC” (Production Media Company), and “Student Relations Inc.”

If your business has been a target, please make a complaint to your local police department and to the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program. You may use the on-line complaint form on our website, or send a written complaint to the following address: Consumer Assistance Program, 146 University Place, 103 Morrill Hall, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405.

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Superintendent Search Committee begins its work

On November 4th, 2015 the Superintendent Search Committee met to begin the process to replace Superintendent Larry Waters who will be retiring at the end of this school year.  At this introductory meeting the process and time lines for each phase was discussed and identified.  The complete minutes will be attached at the end of this posting as will all the minutes after each meeting is held.

It was determined that Mike Rogers would be the committee chair and Aimee Boucher would be the secretary. The committee will follow the open meetings rules. The consultant assisting the committee to faciliate the process is Bob Stevens who represents the Vermont School Board Association.

The committee meeting dates will be November 16, December 3, December 17, and January 13.



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Colchester High School to participate in Agency of Eduction study on education funding

Colchester High School has been identified by the Vermont Agency of Education as a high performing school and they have asked it to participate in a study on the adequacy of education funding. This is quite an honor for the high school to once again be identified as a high performing high school as it was in 2012.

Picus, Odden and Associates is the group contracted by the Vermont Agency of Education to conduct the study. Colchester High school was one of five schools in Vermont selected to participate. The research team from this consulting group will be visiting the high school on November 9 to review a range of Colchester High School documents as well as interview administrators, teachers and staff. They will then produce a report on each school and then develop one cross-case analysis as the final document in the adequacy of education study.

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ACT 46 2016-17 Per Pupil Spending (PPS) Growth Threshold Comparing Area Districts and Colchester

A key aspect to Act 46 is providing spending thresholds for all districts based on a formula to equalize spending throughout the State of Vermont. The chart above shows the other area school district data compared to Colchester.  The information shows that Colchester spends $853 less than the state average (which equals $1.8 million if Colchester were at the State average) and $2461 per pupil less than the district with the highest per pupil costs.  It is evidence that the district has been very responsible with its budgets along getting good results for their efforts. It also shows how much each district can raise its budget this year without being penalized for going over that amount.  For Colchester that is 2.35% which will equal $682,549.

On October 20 Superintendent Waters presented the school board with a presentation on Act 46 and an outline about its impact on the budget this year.  That information is located on the district web page. You can get it at this link.

The budget process will also be an agenda item at the Board meeting on November 3.

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Varsity Girls Soccer Team was undefeated in regular season

The Varsity Girls Soccer Team, under the guidance of Coach Jeff Paul, was undefeated during the regular season with a record of 16-0. Their only loss came in the division semi-finals against CVU. This is the first time in the history of their program that the girls varsity soccer team went undefeated during the regular season. When the season started, the team determined their theme as “family”. This was a fitting focus for how the team worked together all season to achieve this fantastic accomplishment. They are to be congratulated for not only their record but for the way they carried themselves as a team and as individuals this entire season on and off the field.