Utility Container

Mobile Menu Trigger (container)

Search Trigger (container)

Off Canvas Navigation Container



Enriching Wednesdays

For this week's showcase, we spent Wednesday afternoon with the students and staff at Spaulding High School experiencing and learning about Enriching Wednesdays.  New SHS Assistant Principal Becky Busker, SHS Instructional Coach Mya Violette, and many others have been hard at work this fall creating a new approach to building community and providing many different opportunities to support our students' success.  Take a look at some of the highlights of our visit.

It was a great experience listening to students share how well these Wednesday afternoons are working for them!  You will notice here that the goal of Enriching Wednesdays is to support students academically as well as emotionally.  One primary option is to provide a "call back" for students who need support in their classes; teachers can call back students, and students can also ask to be called back.  We saw both focused study groups and specific courses where students were getting small group or 1:1 support.

Those who are not called back can pick from a wide variety of enrichment options that are both student and staff generated based on mutual interest.  Everything is about building strong relationships, and I got to see students see their teachers (and each other) in a different, non-academic setting having great fun together.

This program is still at the beginning stages of development and the SHS team is working incredibly hard with the logistics, but I was very impressed to see how far things have come in just the first quarter of the year!  I think you'll be impressed too.

Thank you for reading, and we hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving break with your loved ones.

Farm to School Month

October is Farm to School Month and Shelburne Farms along with VT FEED and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont chose the SEA program to showcase the progress the staff and students have made so far this year with our school based farm to table efforts.  And they have accomplished so much!  Vermont officials including Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbets, Secretary of Education Heather Bouchey, VT FEED Director Betsy Rosenbluth, Barre City representative Jonathan Williams, and Barre City councilor Teddy Waszazak joined many others in a ceremony at SEA on Tuesday afternoon.  Students and staff planned this entire event, and BUUSD Manager of Food Programs Jen Hutchinson and SEA Student Support Specialist Alyssa Pratt joined me to share highlights

This summer, BUUSD staff attended the Farm to School Institute at Shelburne Farms to learn new ways to incorporate Farm to School lessons and practices into the school year curriculum. During this training they were able to network with other schools and programs from all over the country.  The results have been extraordinary, and yesterday visitors were able to enjoy a meal and activities prepared by our SEA students.  The kids have worked hard to improve garden spaces around the SEA grounds and learn about the joys of preparing fresh meals using locally sourced foods.  Congratulations to Jen, Alyssa, and the entire SEA community for this honor yesterday!


This week's School Showcase bring us into the woods with ECO at BTMES!  Our friends at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier have helped bring ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) to both BTMES and BCEMS for years, and we got to experience a wonderful hour in the woods with a group of BT 5th graders this week on a perfect autumn day.

After watching this video, you surely will have never seen a group of students more fascinated by fungus in your life!  BTMES teachers Kevin Rondeau and Luke Spencer bring their students out for ECO every Wednesday, and I was incredibly impressed with the whole lesson.  I learned more about mushrooms in that hour than I ever have!  North Branch teacher/naturalist Carrie Riker joined the team and also provided her expertise and fun, safe approach to learning about mushrooms.  The kids had such an engaging experience foraging for the diverse and wide variety of mushrooms to be found on the trail, and every single student was having a blast while experiencing that natural world.  The community can be proud that our schools provide opportunities like this for all of our students.

BTMES Town Hall

I recently joined the BTMES 7th grade team for their first Town Hall of the year, and it was a terrific and impressive experience!  7th grade teachers, BTMES principal Erica Pearson, and assistant principal Ted Mills led our students through an engaging session that focused on relationship building and social/emotional learning.  I found the presentation on Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying led by Mr. Mills to be particularly compelling, and our students had incredibly thoughtful questions to share with the group.  These Town Halls will be occurring across grades at BTMES all year; please reach out to the BTMES team if you'd like more information.  Check out our interview with the principals and some of our students.

Finally, we hope to see you at this weekend's Barre Heritage Festival!  The weather is looking great, and many of us from the BUUSD will be present for the fun on Saturday.  Check out this link with more information about the weekend.

Helping Hands

We are now in the middle of our second week of school, and I hope your students (and you!) are off to a great start! So much of the first four to six weeks of the school year are devoted to building community and strong relationships, as you may recall from our Welcome Back video a few weeks ago that our school district's focus for the year is to "support all learners' development through improving relationships and building a sense of belonging." Our community is stepping up to help our students feel welcome and successful right out of the gate.

I'd like to thank Barre's own Renita Marshall for leading a backpack and clothing drive last month for our students and families impacted by the summer floods. As many of you know, Renita leads the Renita Marshall Helping Hands Foundation and I was able to catch up with her at last week's Concert on Currier Park to listen to her share her story. Check out our brief conversation in this week's School Showcase.