Sunday, December 20, 2015

Socrates Cafe: What are the qualities of a hero? What is Courage?

Socrates Café to be Held At Harwood Wednesday, January 6,  2016
 6:00-7:30 PM
Harwood Middle School Multipurpose Room

Students in Katherine Cadwell’s Introduction to Philosophy class will host a Socrates Café for the entire Harwood community onWednesday, January 6, 2016 from 6:00—7:30 PM in the HUHS Middle School Multipurpose room.

What is a Socrates Café, you might ask?   A Socrates Café is a gathering where people from different backgrounds get together and exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences while asking questions. Harwood student have been hosting these gathering for the past five years. Anyone and everyone who’d like to engage in a common quest to gain a better understanding of human nature is welcome to attend. We ponder difficult and interesting questions in an effort to become more empathetic people and more critical and creative philosophical inquirers.  

The discussion on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 has been organized and will be led exclusively by students in the fall semester Introduction to Philosophy class. The entire community will talk together in small groups to discuss such questions, as “Is it ever okay to lie?" "What are the qualities of a hero?"' What is courage?" and other timeless and timely questions. Refreshments will be provided.  
We hope that you will join us for a lively evening of discussion and dialogue. For questions and more information, please contact Katherine Cadwell at  (802) 522-7410 or at

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Winter Sports Coming Soon!


Our ski/snowboard program will begin on January 7th with a required
volunteer coach training and clinic at Sugarbush's Lincoln Peak from 11AM-2PM in the Blazer Room in the Valley House Lodge. We will meet indoors from 11:00-12:00, directly followed by an outdoor training from 12PM-2PM.  This is a mandatory training; attendance is necessary in order to volunteer this winter.  We are still looking for a few more volunteer coaches.  Please email Dave Knoop at if you would be available and interested.

Here are the dates for the following Thursdays that we will be heading up to the mountain:

January 14th
January 21st
January 28th
February 4th
February 11th
March 10th
March 17th
March 24th
March 31st

Think Snow!
Jean Berthiaume

Monday, December 14, 2015

Principal's Report for December 2015

Principal’s Report
December 15th, 2015

Troy Wunderle Inspires Students Through Circus Acts
Troy Wunderle once again engaged our students in a variety of circus acts and art of performance.  He not only taught and supported them with a new skill, but also self discovery and important lessons regarding perseverance and grit.

On Thursday evening, students concluded their time with Troy with a fantastic show where students demonstrated what they had learned or were improving upon.  Some students performed their personal best at the show!  There is no doubt that a number of students were inspired to practice further and perhaps even perform again at our Talent Show this winter.

Lastly, I want to share with you that a number of parents reached out to the me to let us know how much they appreciated this artist in residency and, most importantly, how significant it was for their children.  Watching from the sidelines, I enjoyed the performance with students and the faces of families and friends whose hands and cheeks must have been sore after clapping and smiling for this hour-long show.

ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Grant Awarded to FES
The Irasville Country Store nominated the Fayston School for a 4th year in a row for the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Grant in the amount of $500.  This grant is to be used in the area of mathematics or science.  

Cheryl Kaminski delivered the great news to us recently and handed us the check.  Historically, we have applied these funds to support the Lego Robotics program that we have offered after school here at FES.
Screening of 2015 Sundance Film Festival Winner Movie Most Likely To Succeed
This is a kick off to a community dialogue regarding the significant changes that are happening and coming in terms of teaching and learning in the WWSU and throughout Vermont.  Save the date and come see this great film on January 14th from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Last week, Fayston School engaged in Hour of Code!  The Hour of Code is a global movement that introduces students to computer science. It is designed to demystify coding and show students that anybody can learn the basics. Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. See more stats on  Below is a window into what The Hour of Coding looks like today here at FES!

Mrs. Schlageter, our tech integrationist, introduced Mrs. Boyden's 1st and 2nd graders to Kodable.  Let me just say that engagement was high and students were seriously coding!

Mrs. Schlageter engaged Mrs. Vasseur's 5th and 6th grade class in coding too!  Students got to choose programs that introduced them to coding.  Some students choose Music Made with Code, Artist, Scratch, Mindcraft, and Lightbot.  I asked the question... "Is coding all fun and games?"  All students with smiles on their faces said, "Yes!".

Fayston School Offer 2 Sessions of Lego Robotics Again This Year
The mission of the Lego Robotics Club is to help students develop problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity skills through direct, purposeful learning experiences. Students will engage in Mathematical, 21st Century, and Health/Wellness curriculums as they work together to complete a variety of challenges.
Fayston Elementary School utilizes Investigations, a research-based curriculum that emphasizes reasoning and the real-world application of mathematical concepts. A component of Investigations is the LogoPaths software program. Through LogoPaths, students use math concepts, reasoning and problem solving skills to program a virtual turtle to maneuver through a maze or across an empty plane. Lego Mindstorms depends on similar programming foundations while achieving the equitable learning outcomes. Through Lego Mindstorms, students use the Mindstorms NXT software to program physical robots they build. Programming includes distance traveled, degree of desired angle to turn, how and when to use specific sensors, and what logic rules will be applied once a sensor is in use.

21st Century 
By participating in Lego Robotics Club, students will develop technology literacy as they build and program their robots using the Mindstorms NXT software. Students will be responsible for managing all the necessary hardware and equipment, connecting and syncing the software with the robot’s “brick” which can run a program independent of the computer. Lego Robotics Club will also promote critical thinking and problem solving.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fayston Students Engaging in Hour of Code!

Fayston School engages in Hour of Code this week!  The Hour of Code is a global movement that introduces students to learn computer science. It is designed to demystify coding and show students that anybody can learn the basics. Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. See more stats on  Below is a window into what The Hour of Coding looks like today here at FES!
Mrs. Schlageter, our tech integrationist, introduced Mrs. Boyden's 1st and 2nd graders to Kodable. Let me just say that engagement was high and students were seriously coding! Here is one of our students explaining to me how he is learning how to code.

Mrs. Schlageter engaged Mrs. Vasseur's 5th and 6th grade class in coding too!  Students got to choose programs that introduced them to coding.  Some students choose Music Made with Code, Artist, Scratch, Mindcraft, and Lightbot.  I asked the question... "Is coding all fun and games?"  All students with smiles on their faces said, "Yes!".  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Faystonians Making Their Mark!

Recently, some Faystonians were inducted into the The National Honor Society (NHS) at Harwood Union High School!  NHS is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. 

From left to right:
Caleb Hoyne, Ethan Riddel, Phoebe Pacheco, Shiv Seethepalli, Curtis Wilcox, and Cameron Andrews

Fayston School is proud of these former students as they are a model for the students here at Fayston School today!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Principal's Report

Principal’s Report
November 17th, 2015

Reminder: Thanksgiving Lunch Wednesday, Nov. 18th
Our traditional Thanksgiving Lunch with community and families.  This year we will be soliciting volunteers on Monday, November 16 from 5:00-7:00 and Tuesday, November 17th from 2:00-5:00 to support Cheryl and Sandy in preparing for this popular event.  Families and community members welcome.  Please call the school at 496-3636 so that we can ensure enough food.

Troy Wunderle Returns As Our Artist in Residence!    
Troy Wunderle will again join Fayston School this Fall, November 30th through December 10th as our Artist in Residence. His Big Top Adventures will work with Fayston’s students to create a circus performance to be hosted in the Fayston School Gymnasium for the community to attend during the evening of December 10th. These weeks have become an enormous period of growth for students and classrooms as each student works to challenge themselves while working collaboratively with peers to contribute to a performance that is truly something to be proud of.

World Kindness Day Recognized at FES  
On Wednesday, 6th grade student leaders attended various Morning Meetings throughout the school in an effort to promote acts kindness on World Kindness Day on Friday, November 13th. The Student Leadership Team - Izzy Hubble, Clara Kelly, Liam Laidlaw and Rubi Murphy - had identified kindness as an area that we could improve on based on results from last year’s climate survey they designed and implemented.  Although the overall survey results were positive about our school, students felt if even a few students perceived kindness as an area where we could improve then this would be one of their priorities for this year.  

Student leader representatives attended morning meetings and brainstormed ways students on how they could participate in World Kindness Day. Here is the morning message that they drafted for teachers for this particular morning meeting:

Good morning, (Teacher’s) class,
This Friday is World Kindness Day. What is one way you can show kindness to others at Fayston School. Write your answer below, including your initials.

Students leadership then used the ideas generated to create posters on kindness and gave them to classrooms for Friday.  Later on this year, student leadership will encourage on going acts of kindness…. stay tuned!

Safety Audits Conducted By Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust (VSBIT)
This fall I requested 2 audits of our school.  The first was a security inspection and the second was updated playground inspection.  We have received the playground report and are making progress on the report’s recommendation.  We are still awaiting the security inspection report and plan to share this report with our safety committee when we receive it.  

Progress Reports & Conferences  
Progress reports will be going home on Friday 11/20.  Conferences will be in the afternoons/evenings of Monday 11/23 and Tuesday 11/24.

October is Fire Safety and Prevention Month
Local firefighters from the Waitsfield/Fayston Fire Department shared important lessons with Fayston students about fire safety and prevention at our school on October 29th.

Vermont Rural Partnership Awards Fayston Grant
Carla Lewis, Alex Morse and I worked with students representatives from the 3rd and 4th grade classes write a grant proposal for $1,500 to support a place-based/service-learning project to enhance/improve signage on our nature trail.  On Friday, November 6th, I attended a grant meeting to present our proposal and review other proposals at the Newark Street School in the Northeast Kingdom.  The Vermont Rural Partnership representatives who reviewed our application were so impressed with our proposal that they made a completing argument to all members to give us an additional $500!! Congratulations to our students (Quinn, Mae, Madison, Tim, Alex) and teachers for their time and enthusiasm to create an authentic learning experience where students meaningfully integrate literacy, science, art, and technology into a place based and service learning experience for students!

5th Grade Students Go To Boston!
On Friday, November 6th, Fayston 5th graders spend the night in the Boston Museum of Science.  This Overnight Program allows students and their adult chaperones to discover science in an entertaining, educational, and interactive way through hands-on science activities, a Theater of Electricity Lightning show, science demonstrations, an Omni film, and time to explore the Museum.  Our 5th grade students accompanied by other 5th students from Moretown, Waitsfield, and Warren Schools returned on Saturday, November 6th.  
A special thanks goes out to Doug Bergstein, Carol Mangan, and Mary Seaberg for giving up a part of their weekend to attend with our 5th grade students.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Harwood's Track in the Woods for Future Harwood Students!

I am blogging this out on behalf of Rob Williams and the Friends of Harwood TRACK IN THE WOODS fundraising team.  This future track will be of benefit to our students and families here at FES!   They are asking for our help in supporting a new TRACK IN THE WOODS @ Harwood High School via an IndieGogo campaign.

Here is a 90 second video and how to donate for Harwood's TRACK IN THE WOODS:

This will be a community resource for ALL of us to enjoy for decades to come.

PS - We have a $5,000 donation on the table if we can crack $10,000 at our IndieGogo campaign by Friday, October 23rd. Time is of the essence. Every dollar and donor matter.  
Click here to watch our fun 90 second video, and donate:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Donors Choose Project- Maker's Space at FES

Dear Families and Friends,

On behalf of Mr. Stevenson, I want to make you aware that he has requested the support of, an award-winning charity, to fund our Maker's Space here at FES.

He's asking for donations of any size to help to help bring Maker opportunities to our students.  For the next 4 days, any donation you make to my project will be doubled (up to $100). If you know anyone who is passionate about education and might like to support this cause, please pass this along.

Here's his request:

School - Makerspace Projects 

To have your donation matched dollar for dollar, enter the promo code SPARK on the payment screen. This awesome match offer lasts through October 8.

We greatly appreciate your support.

Jean Berthiaume

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fayston Open House- Tuesday, October 6th 5:30-6:30

Dear Families,

We look forward to seeing you at our Open House on Tuesday, October 6th from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. There will be scavenger hunts to help guide your experience. This is a true open house, so come by when it works for you, but plan that you'll need at least 20 minutes.  Just before our open house there will be an introduction to Personal Learning Plans for 5th and 6th graders in Mrs. Vasseur's classroom from 5:00-5:30.

Our sense of community is so important to our school and we see our open house as one of many opportunities to connect between home and school to foster our partnership in educating children.
Thank you for respecting that open house is not a time where staff can speak about individual students' progress in specificity. Such discussions are best done via phone, email or in person when there can be greater confidentiality and time for thoughtful discussion.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nurturing a Growth Mindset at FES!

Every so often a truly groundbreaking idea comes along. This is one. This summer the staff at FES all read Mindset by Carol Dweck.  We have taken the time to make meaning for ourselves as learners and over the last few weeks we have been engaging our students in how to nurture a growth mindset where resiliency and perseverance is a celebrated part of learning!

If you are interested in learning more, check out these two great TED Talks:
(Click on the links below.)
  1. The Power of belief -- mindset and success | Eduardo Briceno | TEDxManhattanBeach
  2. The Key to Success? Grit - Angela Duckworth

Sunday, September 20, 2015

New Embankment Slides at Fayston School!

Thanks to the generous support of the Fayston Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) we have been able to install 2 embankment slides on our playground.  Enjoy the brief video below and hope to see many of you at our first PTO meeting on Tuesday, September 22nd at 6:00 at the Mad River Barn!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dot Day! Celebrating Creativity, Courage, & Collaboration! September 15th

According to Peter Reynold's website, International Dot Day is scheduled for tomorrow September 15th. This week in Library, Mrs. Schlageter will be reading the book called, The Dot and leading book-related discussions and activities. Mrs. Morse has planned some dot-related artwork creation as well.

As you may know, the book The Dot celebrates student risk-taking, bravery, and willingness to make a mark. Readers see how a small dot becomes a breakthrough in courage and confidence for the main character.

Students may choose to wear dots to school in celebration of "making your mark" on the world tomorrow (September 15th).

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

First Whole School Meeting at Fayston!

This morning we met together for our first All School Meeting! Mrs. Boyden, Liam Laidlaw, and Rubi Murphy joined me in planning and facilitating a successful meeting. A special thanks goes out to them!

The focus of our meeting today was to discuss our school and bus expectations.  
How do we follow our school rules of “Be safe” and “Be respectful”? What does it look like on the school bus? ...on the playground? the hallway?

Here is a quick video and sound bite of our discussion with each other:

Here is an energizer, Liam and Rubi lead us in!  Check it out below:

Please join us for our next Whole School Meeting on September 23 from 7:40-8:00.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fayston's 1st Whole School Meeting- Wednesday, September 9th

Whole School as a Community

Just like Morning Meeting, which happens in every classroom at Fayston School every day, these all-school meetings allow students and teachers to build a positive sense of community. Kids get to see and connect with other kids, teachers, staff, and families.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 9th from 7:40-8:00 in our gym/multi-purpose room we will meet for our first whole school meeting. Parents are welcome to attend with the expectation that they join in!

The focus of our whole school meeting tomorrow is to discuss our school's expectations which are:

  • Be respectful, and respect everyone and and everything
  • Be safe
  • Be ready to learn and support each other

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Responsive Classroom Morning Meetings

Responsive Classroom 

Fayston School is a Responsive Classroom School.  Responsive Classroom is a research-based approach to education that is associated with greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate. One element of RC that I would like to share with you is Morning Meeting.

What Is Morning Meeting?  

Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting is an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically. Each morning, students and teachers gather together in a circle for twenty minutes and interact with one another during four purposeful components:

1. Greeting Students and teachers greet one another by name and practice offering hospitality.

2. Sharing Students share information about important events in their lives. Listeners often offer empathetic comments or ask clarifying questions.

3. Group Activity Everyone participates in a brief, lively activity that fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills (for example, reciting a poem, dancing, singing, or playing a game that reinforces social or academic skills).

4. Morning Message Students read and interact with a short message written by their teacher. The message is crafted to help students focus on the work they'll do in school that day.

Please join us during our daily morning meetings.  Most meetings start at 7:40, however check in with your child’s classroom teacher to confirm.  Having your child arrive on time to school ensures that they will be able to participate in Morning Meeting which is an important part of their school day!

In addition, twice a month on Wednesday mornings we will have a whole school morning meeting from 7:40-8:00 to discuss whole school topics and to build community.  Parents are welcome to join us! You will find whole school meetings dates by checking out our school calendar on our website.  Feel free to add our calendar to yours.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

First Day of School!

Today we celebrated the 1st Day of School with our traditional First Day of School Breakfast! Thank you again to Cari Wilson for taking the lead on what is truly a collective effort.  Cari and her mom, along with Jill Ellis, spent the good part of Monday setting the tables and creating bouquets of fresh cut flowers (donated by Cari, Jill, and other Fayston Families).

Special thanks also goes out to Cary Bennet who played our new piano during our breakfast!

Parents!! Please remember to sent in your Student Bus/Pick Up Schedule.  They must be returned to Amy Yavitz as soon as possible. Thank you!

In closing, I am including below my first school podcast where you will hear a few Fayston students answering the following question.  How was your first day of school?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bus Routes and Getting Ready for School Tips

**Here are some helpful tips with helping your child(ren) get ready for the school year...
  1. Talk about school starting as a positive event – not a negative.
  2. Have your child help pick out their own school supplies (backpacks, lunch box, pens, pencils, etc.)
  3. Visit or revisit the school grounds so that your child feels comfortable in their school environment.
  4. Start tailoring your schedule now so that it matches your school schedule.  Earlier bed times and earlier rise times.
  5. Engage your child in discussion about the upcoming school year – what are they looking forward to, what are they scared of?
  6. Make sure your child knows emergency contact information.  This will help your child and you both feel more secure.
  7. Take advantage of any back to school open houses, tours, or parent-teacher meetings that the school offers.
  8. Familiarize yourself and your child with their teacher’s name, school room location, school office, and locker location.
  9. Discuss your child’s school schedule.  When do they start, when is lunch, when does school get out?
  10. If your child takes the bus, visit the bus stop and make sure your child knows what time the bus picks up.
  11. If you have any specific concerns regarding your child, contact the appropriate party and make your concerns known.  This could be the teacher, school nurse, school counselor, etc.
  12. Start building up their confidence by revisiting topics that they were learning last year.
  13. Encourage your child to work hard this school year by setting up a study schedule and quiet area for them to work in.
  14. Label your child’s belongings.  Many kids will have the same backpacks, lunch boxes, etc.  Print your child’s name, use stickers, or even use a luggage tag to help them identify their stuff.
  15. Have your child’s backpack and lunch prepared the night before to help the first day of school go as smoothly as possible.  Enclose a special note with their lunch so they know you are thinking of them.
  16. Make sure you enjoy these last days of summer!!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer is a time to do some deep cleaning here at FES!  Mr. Withey has been hard at work moving things out of classrooms, waxing floors, and cleaning carpets.  Today, we have New England Air cleaning our air ducts.  Thank you Mr. Withey for all the hard work in preparation for Fayston students, staff, and families this fall!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

RC Professional Development for FES Staff!

The Responsive Classroom Course

Fayston School sends 7 staff members to a Responsive Classroom Course and Train the Trainer workshop to support our school's commitment to being a Responsive Classroom School.   The courses and workshops provided professional learning for staff to become more effective by learning research-based strategies that lead to:
  • Engaging academic instruction
  • Better classroom management
  • Positive learning communities
This interactive, highly practical 28-hour course is a new and improved entry-level training. It gives classroom and special area teachers everything needed to start using core Responsive Classroom teaching practices.
From left to right: Mary Seaberg (Instructional Assistant), Gwen Lyons (On-Staff Substitute/Instructional Assistant), Ross Greene (Our new P.E. Teacher), Justina Boyden (1st/2nd Grade Teacher), Rachel Foley (Pre-K Teacher), Jessica Knoop (Instructional Assistant), and Amy Yavitz (Administrative Assistant)