A Peek at Some of CSD’s Green Initiatives

It’s no secret that we live in a really amazing place. Not only is Burlington considered the healthiest city in the nation (and really, that means us here in Colchester, too), Vermont has often been called the healthiest state in the country. Even more amazing is that Vermont is also considered the most ecologically friendly state in the country.

As such, it probably comes as no surprise that the CSD community is also healthy, vibrant, and socially and ecologically conscious. Community volunteers lend a hand to one another and to the global community in times of need. Volunteers are revolutionizing the MBS gardens, and we have a host of initiatives that are committed to health, well-being, and a greater understanding of and appreciation for the natural world.

We also have a fantastic wellness program and a fabulous food service program, so is it any wonder that CSD has also undertaken a number of green initiatives?

Did you know, for example, that CSD replaced its old Ford Taurus driver’s education vehicle with a new Toyota Prius—a hybrid vehicle that typically exceeds fifty miles per gallon—with funds received from an ARRA grant?

The district utilized funds received through another grant to install more than eighty LED lamps throughout the parking lots at Colchester High School, Malletts Bay School, and Colchester Middle School, resulting in an annual savings of fifty thousand (50,000) kilowatt hours and additional incentive dollars. The district also installed upgraded lighting at both Porters Point School and Union Memorial School. In fact, CSD worked closely with Efficiency Vermont and various vendors to replace lighting in all schools with high-efficiency lighting, and the anticipated savings to the district were such that Efficiency Vermont covered the entire cost with incentives.

Three high-efficiency boilers resulting in annual cost savings replaced the aging boilers at Colchester Middle School.

And in addition to the efforts the district has made toward implementing more ecologically friendly cleaning products in our facilities, it also works closely with Chittenden Solid Waste District in order to increase recycling efforts.

There are a number of additional potential green projects under consideration for CSD, including the installation of insulated, energy-saving window shades in some of the district’s facilities and the possibility of constructing a greenhouse at Colchester High School at some point.

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Many Thanks to the Community for the Vision Summit

As the writing team gets down to the business of writing the strategic plan for Colchester schools, it wishes to once again thank everyone who helped to make the Vision Summit so successful.

Parents, community members, teachers, and administrators collaborated over many months in order to make the event a worthwhile and rewarding experience. Special thanks to Lisa Lagerquist and Tom Bacon for their particularly tireless efforts in coordinating the seemingly countless details. Many thanks once again to our generous sponsors, co-facilitators Mary Jane Shelley and Dr. Marge Schiller, and the student performers. Most of all, thanks to each and every person who participated in the two-day summit. It was an extensive time commitment involving sometimes intense idea generation and strategy, and the summit was successful because of the efforts of each and every participant.

Check out this video of the summit—shot and edited by CHS student Alec Kozlowski. And if you missed it the first time, please visit the article we published recapping the Vision Summit by clicking here.

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Vision Summit a Success … and Just the Beginning

The highly anticipated Vision Summit on June 15 & 16 was a hugely successful event and a shining example of the synergy that invested community members can create together.

The summit was designed and planned in a collaborative effort between the district’s administration and dedicated parents and community members. Pre-planning meetings took place in November and February to pave the way for this successful community event.

The ideas generated and the information collected over the course of the two-day summit will be compiled and analyzed by the team tasked with writing the strategic plan for Colchester schools. As Superintendent Larry Waters said at the summit’s conclusion, “This is the very beginning of our work here.”

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Approximately sixty-five people representing a wide range of ages, backgrounds, experiences, and careers attended the summit, all of whom viewed student artwork and listened to small chorus and band ensembles. Some of the participants took home door prizes donated by area sponsors.

The two-day event was structured around one-on-one interviews, small group discussions and collaboration, and whole-group presentations. The different discussion formats were used to generate a variety of wish lists, which were then aligned and unified in order to identify the common elements. The summit culminated with group planning centering around how to achieve those unified elements in our schools.

The wealth of ideas and beliefs about learning generated at the summit are too numerous to list here, but among them were the following:

• Schools should allow students to be more self-directed, and students’ interests should be a larger component of their education.
• Students should have more of a voice in their own learning, and they should be treated as colleagues rather than as subordinates.
• Learning can and should occur less in the classroom and more in the community; there should be more community-based activities in students’ education, and the community should be a support mechanism in the schools.
• The community isn’t just about Colchester, because technology makes the world smaller—so we need to utilize that more effectively while still bearing in mind that technology cannot replace face-to-face communication.
• We need to change the definition of school to not simply mean a physical space or an institution and the definition of student to not simply refer to those between the ages of 5 and 21 but rather to all of us in the community—all of us are lifelong students, and our community should support that.
• We must change what failure means, allowing it to become more of a learning experience rather than something resulting in punishment.

Co-facilitator Marge Schiller, who has led numerous summits of a similar nature over the course of her career, noted that the participants in this summit had a number of very similar goals and visions for the district, particularly the interest in intergenerational learning and activities. She also said that the many personal stories that participants shared really fueled the discussions and created a huge impact. She observed that there was a tremendous amount of ownership and involvement in this summit by the Colchester citizens.

Bill Romond, a retired deputy commissioner with the Vermont Department of Education, a member of Mobius’ board of directors, and a former CSD teacher, said, “The summit exceeded my expectations because of the unanimity of view. It was very comprehensive and collaborative, and there was a call for community commitment to be a part of the system. The [appreciative inquiry] process was really helpful in that it is designed to leverage strengths rather than focusing upon weaknesses.”

CMS’s assistant principal, Peg Gillard, said, “I was really inspired by the involvement of our students. They really contributed a lot, and I really appreciated it.”

Parent and community member Tom Bacon added, “There were so many great ideas and so much passion that it was hard to stay on topic.”

At the summit’s conclusion, Superintendent Larry Waters said, “This is one of the greatest community buy-in projects I’ve ever been in.”

Alec Kozlowski, who will enter his senior year at CHS this fall and who has won acclaim for his work in film, captured the summit in this video.

As a closing remark, here is a quote from Dr. Lilian Katz, which was provided at the summit by MBS principal Julie Benay:

I really believe that each of us must come to care about everyone else’s children. We must come to see that the welfare of our own individual children is intimately linked to the welfare of all other people’s children. After all, when one of our own children needs life-saving surgery, someone else’s child will perform it; when one of our own children is threatened or harmed by violence on the streets, someone else’s child will commit it. The good life for our own children can only be secured if it is also secured for all other people’s children. But to worry about other people’s children is not just a practical matter; it is a moral and ethical one: to strive to secure the welfare of all other people’s children is also right.
—Dr. Lilian Katz

Food and Entertainment at the Vision Summit!

Besides being an inspiring, vitally important community event that will have a lasting impact upon the future of our schools, and in addition to a host of great door prizes that many lucky participants will claim just for attending, there will also be great food and entertainment provided at the Vision Summit—including a display of artwork from students across the district—and all food and entertainment is free of charge!

Small choral and band ensembles from Colchester High School, directed by Paul Hawkins and Evan Peltier, will provide musical entertainment, and meals will be provided on both days.

The administration will serve a barbecue on Wednesday, June 15, including grilled items, assorted salads and beverages, and some dessert offerings.

There will be a continental breakfast (including coffee and tea, assorted bagels, and yogurt and fruit) and a luncheon buffet on Thursday, June 16.

Lunch will include turkey, ham, and vegetable wraps, veggie platters, potato chips, and assorted beverages and desserts.

Please note that all CSD Spotlight articles about the Vision Summit can be found here or by clicking on the “Vision Summit” link under Categories on the right-hand side of this screen.

Remember, the Vision Summit will be held on June 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and June 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Colchester High School. All members of the Colchester community are encouraged to participate.

Please register at www.csdvisionsummit.org/ or by calling (802) 264-5999.

What Is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative inquiry will serve as the foundation for the Vision Summit, which is rapidly approaching. Through this process, Colchester School District and the coordinators of the summit hope to obtain and develop a clear direction for our school system based upon the desires of the community members.

So what is appreciative inquiry?

To put it simply, appreciative inquiry (AI) is a method of improving something by determining what is already going well and leveraging those successes—as opposed to identifying problems and attempting to devise ways of correcting them. AI is an asset-based approach built upon the assumption that everything has positive aspects associated with it, and it examines ways in which to expand upon those positive aspects to make something better.

Participants interested in preparing a bit in advance for the Vision Summit can learn more about appreciative inquiry. A great deal of information about AI is available online. For more information, consider visiting some of the following websites:

centerforappreciativeinquiry.net/

appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/intro/whatisai.cfm

appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/intro/definition.cfm

www.positivechange.org/about-us/appreciative-inquiry.html

www.learningconnections.org/ai/

Please note that all CSD Spotlight articles about the Vision Summit can be found here or by clicking on the “Vision Summit” link under Categories on the right-hand side of this screen.

Remember, the Vision Summit will be held on June 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and June 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Colchester High School. The summit is free of charge, and all members of the Colchester community are encouraged to participate.

Please register at www.csdvisionsummit.org/ or by calling (802) 264-5999.

Want to Learn More About the Vision Summit’s Facilitators?

The upcoming Vision Summit has been in its strategic development for months in an effort to make it a truly dynamic and effective platform for planning the future for Colchester’s schools. A host of dedicated individuals have collaborated on this initiative, including school administrators and teachers, parents and students, and members of the Colchester community. The Vision Summit will be facilitated by Mary Jane Shelley and Dr. Marge Schiller.

Would you like to learn more about these two facilitators?

Here are the bios they have provided.

Mary Jane is dedicated to the success of the professionals who lead our public schools. She had fifteen years of experience as a child and adolescent
mental health clinician, school administrator, and mental health consultant in public and therapeutic school settings prior to starting TriFocal Consulting six years ago. TriFocal Consulting offers group facilitation, training for administrators in facilitation skills, strategic planning, and leadership coaching and assessment to educational administrators and school-based teams. Mary Jane blends her strong belief in the wisdom, knowledge, and strengths of school leaders with her deep understanding of systems and the processes needed to help administrators increase their individual performance and organizational effectiveness.

Marge Schiller, PhD, is a thought leader in appreciative inquiry. She is a founder of Positive Change Core and Appreciative Inquiry Consulting. Marge is the author of many articles and chapters, including Appreciative Leaders: In the Eye of the Beholder. She is a consultant, writer, speaker, and teacher who has taught at Boston University, Harvard University, and the University of Massachusetts, as well as the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Roffey Park West in Sussex, England.

Please note that all CSD Spotlight articles about the Vision Summit can be found here or by clicking on the “Vision Summit” link under Categories on the right-hand side of this screen.

Remember, the Vision Summit will be held on June 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and June 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Colchester High School. The summit is free of charge, and all members of the Colchester community are encouraged to participate.

Please register at www.csdvisionsummit.org/ or by calling (802) 264-5999.

Revised Vision Summit Agenda

Please note that the Vision Summit agenda has been revised.

Please click here for access to the revised article.

Thank you!

More Vision Summit Door Prize Information!

On June 2, we talked about some of the door prizes that will be won by Vision Summit participants. We’d promised more information about additional door prizes, and now here it is!

Gadue’s Dry Cleaning is donating a $25 gift card.

The Village Scoop is donating a $25 gift card.

Just Sports is donating a pair of Pepper’s unisex sunglasses.

Sophie’s American Bistro is donating two $30 gift certificates.

Dick Mazza’s General Store is donating a $25 gift card.

Costco is donating a $25 gift card.

As a recap of our previous door prize list, here again are the other generous sponsors and their donations:

Coke is donating beverages to the event.

Dorset Street Hannaford is donating a $25 gift card.

Claussen’s Florist & Greenhouse is donating a $50 gift card.

New York Pizza Oven is giving away three large cheese pizzas.

Mike’s Auto Parts is donating a $25 gift card.

A Flower a Day is donating twenty Happy Bouquet certificates!

Three Brothers Pizza & Grill is donating two $25 gift cards.

St. Michael’s College is donating a T-shirt.

Many, many thanks to all of our local sponsors!

But remember, you can’t win if you don’t attend. Please register for the Vision Summit at www.csdvisionsummit.org/ or by calling (802) 264-5999.

The Vision Summit will be held on June 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and June 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Colchester High School. The summit is free of charge, and all members of the Colchester community are encouraged to participate.

The Changing Face of Education

Whether you are planning to attend the Vision Summit or not (and we really hope you are, by the way, so if you have not already done so, please register at www.csdvisionsummit.org/ or by calling 264-5999), we strongly recommend that you take a few moments to look at the following videos and link about the future of education and the sorts of challenges we must consider as we formulate and sculpt our strategies going forward.

To further our point, you may be familiar with Beloit College’s Mindset List, which reports on the world view of college students as their enter their freshman year. Essentially, the Mindset List is a commentary about the current state of the world as seen by the generation poising to take over from their parents. As an example, did you know that, according to Beloit’s Mindset List, many members of the class of 2014 do not know how to write in cursive and have never worn a wristwatch? They feel that e-mail is too slow, and many of them have never had a telephone with a cord. They do not remember when Rodney King was in the news, and they do not fear a Russian missile strike—Americans and Russians have lived together in outer space for these students’ entire lives. (Check out the Mindset List if you’d like to read more about this; it really is fascinating.)

The point is that the world is changing faster than it ever has before in the history of humankind, and our responsibility of sufficiently shaping education to keep pace with that must change right along with it.

Truly, this is really powerful stuff.

While marketed toward educational institutions in New Brunswick, this first video is nevertheless extremely relevant to what we face today here at CSD and everywhere else around the globe.

Click here for an interesting link about twenty-first century education.

Finally, please take a few moments and view this video that further expands upon the ideas of what education used to be, what it currently is, and how it needs to change going forward.

The information presented in these links provide exceptional food for thought as we gather ourselves for the work to be done at the Vision Summit and beyond.

Here, now, all over the country, and all over the world, these are the very sorts of things we all must consider as we examine our schools and our entire educational system to determine the ways in which we must prepare our students for the world awaiting them.

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Some Helpful FAQs About the Vision Summit

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the Vision Summit and the answers to those questions.

What will we be talking about?
We will begin by exploring three topics that arose after the Summit Core Planning Team conducted 85 Pre-Summit Interviews. These topics include Preparing Our Students for the Future, Community Partnerships, and Effective Communication. We will also be gathering your ideas for the future of Colchester education and beginning to develop a plan for getting there.

Who will be there?
A maximum mix of parents, teachers, students, administrators, community members, and business leaders—a population that reflects our town, old and young and those in the middle—coming together to hear and to be heard.

Why is this event two days?
This is something different from anything you’ve ever participated in. The purpose is to listen to what people have to say. To do that, we will be having a series of deep conversations that lead us to individual and community clarity about the future of Colchester schools.

What happens if I can only come for part of the time?

We recommend that people come the whole time, because conversations build on one another and get us to a common vision. There is a strong connection between the time we spend together and the success of the outcomes of our work together. We know that there are many more of you who would like to attend but just can’t make the two-day commitment. We understand. There will be opportunities in the future for you to be part of creating the future that the district creates through our Vision Summit.

What will the experience be like?
Fun, interesting, participatory, engaging, enjoyable, and productive.

What do I need to do?

Come and participate in the visioning of the future of Colchester education and be part of the group who help to turn our vision into our reality. Come, show up, stay for the full time, and be prepared to work and play and talk together. Be prepared to spend these two days with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues crafting the future of Colchester schools.

Please note that all CSD Spotlight articles about the Vision Summit can be found here or by clicking on the “Vision Summit” link under Categories on the right-hand side of this screen.

Remember, the Vision Summit will be held on June 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and June 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Colchester High School. The summit is free of charge, and all members of the Colchester community are encouraged to participate.

Please register at www.csdvisionsummit.org/ or by calling (802) 264-5999.

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