Monday, January 8, 2018

January 7, 2018

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"

Happy New Year Everyone!

Some news and information that will be helpful to know as winter has kicked into high gear!


January 10: UES Parents Group Meeting at 6:00
January 11: Care For Kids Parent Info Night at 6:00
January 15: MLK Holiday -- NO SCHOOL
January 22: District In-Service -- NO SCHOOL for students
January 29: Report Cards Mailed Home
February 1: 3rd Grade Solar System Performance
February 9: 2nd Annual Lip Synch Battle @ MHS!
February 14:  UES Parents Group Meeting at 6:00
February 26 to March 6: Winter Break -- NO SCHOOL (Students return March 7)

PBIS! What's PBIS you ask? Well, PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and I'm proud to say that the staff and children of UES follow this approach to improving the climate of our school. Here is a nice summary of the goals of PBIS from their website:

Vermont Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (VTPBiS) is a state-wide effort designed to help school teams form a proactive, school-wide, systems approach to improving social and academic competence for all students. Schools in Vermont are engaged in using a formal system of positive behavioral supports in their schools. Involved schools who implement PBIS with fidelity and integrity see a dramatic decrease in the number of behavior problems experienced in their schools. Additionally, students in these schools enjoy greater levels of support and inclusion than those in comparative schools who do not use a system of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

You all received a letter prior to the break from our Coordinator of Behavioral Support and Intervention Kellie Lynch on our plans for PBIS, and I share the highlights of it with you below:

Dear UES families,

In 2018 we are going to increase our communication with you about PBIS in our school. PBIS is an acronym for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.

Features of PBIS at UES are:

  • The development and teaching of behavioral expectations
  • Acknowledging students for meeting these expectations and for engaging in positive behaviors
  • Celebrations when goals are met to further acknowledge positive behaviors and to build school community
  • Procedures for responding to unexpected behaviors and to re-teach expected behaviors  
  • Check In/Check Out system for students who need some extra support in meeting the behavioral expectations

In the past, we used C.A.R.E.S. (Cooperation, Assertive, Respect, Empathy and Safety) but we wanted to transition to something a bit more simple and kid-friendly. We have shifted our school expectations and community building to:
  • Be Kind
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Safe
We are using those three guidelines to build our expectations in all areas of our school. When students demonstrate these expectations, they can earn gems which are collected to go towards earning classroom and school wide celebrations.

We already had one school wide celebration on October 31; students earned a 30 minute vacation from class and had Choice Time in their classrooms. On Wednesday December 20, we had our second celebration! We had two showings, in our auditorium, of the Wallace and Gromit short film, A Grand Day Out. Both celebrations were very popular, and the children were thrilled to have reached their goal.

Be on the lookout for more celebrations coming up in the near future!


Kellie and the PBIS Team deserve a ton of credit for the impact they've had on the way our students treat each other and our beautiful school! For those who don't know, Kellie brings a highly supportive, innovative, and positive approach to all of her work here at UES, even when some of our little ones are on the naughty side! Two wonderful things that Kellie has brought to our community in recent weeks:

* The Quiet Cafe! Beginning this week, students in grades 3 and 4 will have the opportunity to join an adult for a quiet lunch outside of the cafeteria with some of their classmates! Students can sign up for different slots during the week -- we expect the Quiet Cafe to become mighty popular!
* Buddy Benches! Kellie has worked with our 4th Grade Ambassadors to bring a beautiful idea to fruition that I believe will have a great impact on our children's time on the playground. Thanks to UES granddad George Johnson and the Konduri family for lending financial support to this project! Students were shown this brief video detailing the goals of Buddy Benches at last week's assembly:

Here are the 4th Grade Ambassadors joining Swoop and Kellie...

Lots of pride from Kellie and the Ambassadors as they were honored for their idea before the community.

SPEAKING OF LAST WEEK'S ASSEMBLY... As students were filing into our monthly assembly last Thursday, they were treated to a wonderful performance by not only 4th grader Evan Benoit, but also his mom Olga! All of us were so entertained by this talented duo!

Evan going solo, then...

... the big surprise!  Thank you Olga!
WALKING SCHOOL BUS UPDATE! Well, we made it through that first brutal Wednesday morning of 2018! It was 1 degree for our brisk walk last week, but we still had a number of brave souls join us for a great start to the day.

The Walking Wednesdays will continue as always this week and go right through the winter (as long as it's not below zero with the wind chill!), but we're making a significant change to one of the stops beginning this Wednesday. The Capital and college green stops will continue as always, but the bus leaving Shaw's with me and Ms. Parker will now meet at the Bohemian Bakery on Barre Street! Our hope is to attract more students from the Barre Street neighborhood and avoid the extra traffic and parking lot snafus that can often occur right downtown. We will leave from the bakery promptly at 8:00 and head straight up Hubbard Street down to Park Avenue at UES. We hope to see you there!


The Union School Parents Group will be meeting this Wednesday, January 10 in the UES cafeteria from 6:00-7:00 PM.  Childcare will be provided.

On the agenda presently for January 10:
.  Winter/Spring USPG events: lip synch battle, bingo night and ice cream social, scholastic book fair, and teacher appreciation week and breakfast. 

2. Treasury report (Bianca)

If you are interested in helping with upcoming events but cannot make the Wednesday meeting, please see below and contact the coordinator directly. These events will not happen without volunteers. Don’t assume someone else will do it.  Email us or come to the meeting, please. Also mark your calendars now to attend!

Lip Synch Battle:  February 9 at MHS
Contact: Jill Remick at
Bingo and Ice Cream Social:  UES April 13
Contact: Karen Supan at
Scholastic Book Fair:  UES April 11, 12 & 13
Contact:  Heidi Groff at
Teacher Appreciation Breakfast:  UES
(before school on) May 9

Contact:  Heidi Groff at

Thanks for all you do!  Hope to see you there. 

UNION PLAYGROUND PROJECT UPDATE! I just wanted to give you the latest on the status of the Union Playground Project.

The big news is that we are in the process of hiring a Project Coordinator to oversee the project, beginning as soon as possible!  The deadline for applying for this position is this Wednesday, January 10.   We are very excited to bring a person on board to oversee the final steps for planning this spring and construction this summer!  We're getting there, everybody.

Attached below is the job description, along with scope of work and other details, that is being posted to the community.  Please spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested -- we'd love to hear from them!  

The posting:  (The application deadline reads January 5 on this document, but it has been extended to January 10!)

2nd GRADE ENGINEERING DAY! Making the rounds the other day, I noticed a commotion in Mrs. Mears' class in the 2nd grade wing. As I walked in, it was immediately clear to me that the commotion was directly related to some highly engaged minds and bodies! Mrs. Mears' 2nd graders were in the midst of an engineering unit, and they had reached the point where it was time to put their ideas into practice. From Mrs. Mears: "The highlight (of the short week) was planning and building our final engineering projects.  Students were engaged, focused, and persistent in building, testing, and revising their ideas.  It was messy, but in the end we had 9 arcade games, 2 sturdy chairs and 1 amazing Rube Goldberg machine!"  It was so much fun to watch the students engaged in such deep thinking and rigorous teamwork!  Here is a shot of the messy action:

Mess?  What mess?

4th GRADE HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE AT THE MONTPELIER ROTARY Just prior to the break, UES music teacher Samantha LaFleur had Mrs. Miller's 4th graders join her for a beautiful performance of holiday songs at the Montpelier Rotary's weekly luncheon. The students put on a wonderful show! Two students in particular really had an opportunity to shine, as you can see below:

Miriam flies solo with a lovely performance on the violin.

Mrs. LaFleur accompanies Emily on guitar and vocal with Mrs. D and Landon on backup
A FEW REMINDERS FROM THE OFFICE... From our friendly Administrative Assistants Pam Foster and Diana Koliander-Hart:

Please remember to...

* ... sign in with the Front Office if you're ever visiting UES during school hours. You will be issued a bright yellow name tag to wear while you're with us!
* ... call the Front Office at 225-8200 if your child is ever going to be absent or significantly late. If we don't hear from you, you'll be hearing from us by 9:00! Calling in will save Pam and Diana valuable time and effort.
* ... do your best to ensure your student arrives no later than 8:15 each day! Arriving on time makes sure that your child won't miss any of their Morning Meeting, and it also guarantees a much better start to the day for everyone!
* ... call the Front Office at 225-8200 if you have changes to your child's after school plans before 1:00. Though we understand late emergencies can always happen, getting this information as early as possible is so helpful!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"

November 29, 2017

Happy Holiday Season everyone!

Some news, information, and FUN that will be helpful to know as colder weather comes around the corner (November was a busy month!):


Professor Mahesh Sharma Visit to UES: Thursday, December 7. You're welcome to join us!
UES All School Assembly! December 13 @ 8:30
UES Parents Group: Wednesday, December 13, 6:00-7:00
A Christmas Carol at the Barre Opera House! December 22 and 23 (See below!)
No School (Holiday Break): Friday, December 22 (NO SCHOOL that day) to Monday, January 1. We return to school on Tuesday, January 2.

UNION PLAYGROUND PROJECT UPDATE Thanks to all who joined us at the UPP Informational Night on November 13! We had over 40 members of the community along with representatives from the Vermont Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation and the Johnson Company join UPP presenters (and UES moms Sarah McKernan, Tolya Stonorov, and Stephanie Hurley) for a fact-filled and highly informative evening. If you weren't able to make it, UES Dad Chris Green and MHS student Emery Brush of ORCA put together a nice video of the presentation for your information and enjoyment. It will be well worth your time to get up to speed on the progress we're making! We discuss the new playground design, the impact of the urban soils on the project, and an updated timeline for moving the project forward along with anticipated costs. Here is the Youtube link:

UPP Information Night, November 13

One more UPP related news item, and it's a great one! The holiday gift and gift wrap fundraiser to raise funds for new play equipment at Union Elementary has been extended. You can now shop on-line through Monday, December 4, and about 40% of your purchase will go to support this important project. In this linked letter and flyer, you will find instructions for purchasing holiday gift wrap, kitchen and home goods, and personalized gifts for the holidays.

This is fine quality stuff, and every little bit helps as we bring this project to the finish line.  If you or anyone in your family would like to contribute to the Playground Project without buying stuff, you can simply write a check to Union Elementary (with "UPP" in the subject line on the bottom left of the check) and deliver it to Pam or Diana in the front office.  We appreciate your support!

DIADEL ORTIZ: LIFE CHANGER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE! I have something really nice to share with you...

Melanie Taylor, a UES 4th grade mom, sent this to me earlier in the month:


I hope you can help me. I am a parent of a student at your school and I also work for National Life.  National Life has a program they sponsor every year called Life Changer of the Year.  It's about someone that has a positive impact on the students, teachers, and community.  I nominated Community Connections Director Diadel Ortiz.  You can see the link below and my story of why I nominated Diadel.

I need people to go on the site and comment on how she changed their life. I was wondering if you could help me to spread the word and maybe put it on the school website and get the word out. Judges will look at how many people will leave comments on her profile.  I hope you can be part of this and help Diadel's nomination.
Thank you and I hope to hear from you.

Melanie Taylor"

Well, could there be a more deserving person for this honor?  Anyone who has had the privilege of getting to know Diadel over the years knows the impact she has had on so many of our children's lives!  I for one am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on why Diadel is a Life Changer, and I welcome you all to do the same.  Simply go to the link below to share your thoughts by December 31.  

The link:

WALKING SCHOOL BUS The UES Walking School Bus Wednesdays are continuing through the winter! Yes, even on cold mornings! (Though not too cold -- see below!) Come join us at Shaw's, the State House, or the college green at 8:00 sharp each Wednesday. We hope to see you! A Hennessey Gem to MJ, Sarah Mele, Samantha LaFleur, Emmanuel Williams, and Chris Parker for joining me in keeping the "bus rolling." It's a terrific way to start the day.

COLD WEATHER PRACTICES/PROCEDURES It hasn't really happened yet, but the cold weather will get here eventually! The faculty and staff of UES strongly believe that our children need as much time as possible running and playing outside, even during the cold of our Vermont winters. For our students to enjoy this time on the playground, it's essential that they come to school with adequate snow gear to keep them warm and dry. There are certain mornings and days, however, where it really isn't safe to be outside no matter what they're wearing due to extreme conditions. The procedures we follow are straightforward and in general practice around the state: if the temperature (with wind chill) is at 0 degrees or above, we'll be going outside. On cold days, we monitor the local conditions very closely at this weather site:

Local AccuWeather Forecast

This is an excellent site, and it will take you directly to the conditions and forecast for Loomis St. here in Montpelier! You can't get much more local than that! Again, please make sure your child comes to school prepared for the conditions, and please let me know if you have any questions. If you need assistance getting appropriate gear for your child, let us know in the front office right away; we have quite a supply of gear on hand here at UES!

UES DELAYED OPENING PROCEDURES: Speaking of cold weather, winter will soon be in full gear, and with the unpredictable weather comes the possibility of cancellations or delayed openings for school.

Here is what you need to know in case Mother Nature throws a snow or ice ball at us one of these mornings. You will receive a robocall from Dr. Ricca as soon as the decision is made to either delay or cancel school. You can also check the local media very early to get the latest info for schools in the area. For delays:


Buses will run exactly two hours later than normal.

* The UES Morning PreK program will not be in session on Delayed Opening Days *

9:30     Teachers arrive 

10:00   UES playground ready for students; IAs arrive; buses begin to arrive; we're open for business!  Students should arrive no earlier than 10:00 to ensure we have enough supervision on the playground.  If the temperatures warrant it, we'll have "indoor recess" from 10:00 to 10:15.

10:15   The bell rings.  Students will begin arriving to class; transition time.

10:25   UES schedule officially begins.  Students will proceed as normal where the schedule would be normally at 10:25.  Lunches will not be affected, but the Snack Program will not be running on delayed opening days.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL AT THE BARRE OPERA HOUSE! I'd like to announce a wonderful opportunity for you all to celebrate the Holiday Season! This original musical production of the Dickens classic includes a number of members of the MPS community both young and old(er), and it promises to be a heartwarming and entertaining evening! You may recognize UES dad Dan Clar and yours truly in the promo poster below! The show goes on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 in the beautiful Barre Opera House. I hope to see you there!

A Christmas Carol,                              ​

​                                          ​
the new musical       


​     December 22, 7:30 pm;  December 23, 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

​Live music, professional actors, 80 Vermonters in a hot-off-the-press​ ​new musical based on the classic tale by Charles Dickens. Scrooge​ ​(Broadway veteran Bill Carmichael), Marley, Dancing Gravediggers,​ T​iny Tim...and who is that playing the Mayor of London? 

An imaginative fast-paced Vermont original featuring 4-part singing,
​ ​
children's voices, riffs on ancient carols, blues, classical, Latin rhythm
​ a​
nd contemporary savoir fair.

Brighten your holiday celebration and treat your out-of-town guests to
​ ​
a full-length musical delight in the heart of Vermont.

Produced by Vermont Youth Theater & Company
Tickets:;  Box office: 476-8188
​More info: ​

VETERANS DAY PARADE! In a month of many highlights, we have to mention the honor of participating in this year's Montpelier Veterans Day Parade. Another Hennessey Gem to music teacher Samantha LaFleur for her organizational efforts and enthusiasm in planning this event. It's safe to say that our veterans greatly appreciated our presence! I'd also like to thanks MHS principal Mike McRaith and MSMS principal Pam Arnold for encouraging their students to join the audience on an exceptionally cold day. It was such a joy to march through town with all our students cheering us on!  Here are some pictures from this special day (it was as cold as it looks!): 

Hennessey's Gems

A Hennessey Gem to...

*  ..the UES Parents Group for the tremendous amount of work they put in to the Scholastic Book Fair!  As usual, it was a great success!  Here is some of the crew hard at work (and play):

Thanks to UES Moms Allison Parrish and Alyssa Moorman for their hard work, and 4th grader Dorina for her boundless enthusiasm!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"

October 29, 2017

Some news, information, and FUN that will be helpful to know as the autumn weather finally comes!


No School (P/T Conferences): Thursday and Friday, November 2 and 3
UES Parents Group: Wednesday, November 8, 6:00-7:00
Scholastic Book Fair! November 8, 9, and 10
Veterans Day Parade! Friday, November 10, mid morning
Family Movie Night! Friday, November 10
Union Playground Project Community Night: NEW DATE: Monday, November 13
Community Thanksgiving Lunch! Wednesday, November 15
No School (Thanksgiving Break): Wednesday, November 22 to Friday November 24

University of Vermont Outstanding Teacher!  Dr. Ricca and I had the pleasure of joining Teacher of English Language Learners Hannah Barden earlier this month at the University of Vermont as teachers from around the state were honored for their teaching excellence! If you know Ms. Barden, you'll understand why so many of her peers nominated her for this honor. I was certainly honored to join her!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Halloween is coming this Tuesday, and it's time to be thinking about how we'll approach this special day as a school community.  As much fun as it would be to celebrate with costumes and parties, we believe that such revelry would be simply too disruptive to the learning environment for an entire day.  We ask that students keep the costumes and candy at home so they can be ready for the fun on Tuesday night.  Please help us maintain a healthy learning environment the following days as well; we ask that all candy remain at home when the children return to school on Wednesday.  If you have any questions or concerns, please call me or stop by.

On a more fun note, many children know that I have a very close friendship with Batman (it's true!), and I know for certain that he'll be spending Halloween night at my house in the meadow neighborhood!  As always, all superheroes who stop by will get two treats!  Have lots of fun and be safe -- we hope to see you all!

Parent/Teacher Conferences ...are scheduled for this Thursday and Friday, November 2 and 3. There will be no school on both days. If you haven't scheduled a conference with your child's teacher yet, now is the time to do so!

SUMMIT SCHOOL SESSION TWO! Summit School's second session begins next week, and goes to mid-December! Check out these terrific offerings for your musically inclined student:

WALKING SCHOOL BUS UPDATE Our apologies for the Walking School Bus being shut down this week! Generally speaking, the bus will go on rain or shine, hot or cold! We needed to have the full faculty here before school last Wednesday to have a group picture taken, thus the need to cancel. Just like Tuesday night, an email to the community will go out the night before to confirm the cancelation. Unless the windchill falls below 0 degrees, the Walking School Bus will go on!

Mrs. LaFleur wanted me to share this great shot of her Capitol Crew:

Clearly a perfect start to the day!

A Few Reminders From the Front Office: Pam and Diana greatly appreciate your cooperation here, and so do I!

* The Start to the Day:The school day begins at 8:15, and our Morning Meetings in classes begin at 8:25. Please do your best to ensure your child is in his or her classroom by 8:25 so they don't miss this essential start to the day! Additionally, children cannot be at school prior to 8:00 - there is no supervision on the playground prior to 8:00, and the doors to the building are locked until 8:00. Teachers will be meeting and preparing for the day every day before 8:15 when the bell rings. Thank you all in advance for helping us with this! We really appreciate it.

* Calling in Absences or Changes in After School Plans: In order to ensure that we know where all students are and where they are going at the end of the school day, we'd like you to be aware of our procedures concerning absences and after school plans:

PLEASE CALL your student in absent before 9:00am to the front office (225-8200)
PLEASE CALL After school changes in before 1:00 pm to the front office (225-8200)
PLEASE DON’T text or e-mail after school changes.

* Sharing Contact Information: In order to protect everyone's privacy, the office cannot share families' contact information (email, phone numbers, addresses, etc.) with other families (for birthday parties, weekend plans, playdates, etc.).

Hennessey's Gems "Gems" and not "Hoots"? See below!

A Hennessey Gem to UES First Graders for...

* ...welcoming Professor Mahesh Sharma when he visited us recently to work with our students in their math classes! Kinders, 2nd and 3rd graders got to visit with Professor Sharma too, and he'll be joining us again in early December. Please let us know if you'd like to come in and join us!

 Professor Sharma with Ms. Closter's 1st Graders

....entertaining all of UES last week with their Annual Bug Parade!

Mrs. Griggs' 1st Graders buzzing through the halls!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Wise Owl, October 5, 2017

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"

October 9, 2017

Some news, information, and FUN that will be helpful to know as the leaves start to fall!


UES Parents Group Meeting: Wednesday, October 11
Picture Make Up Day: Thursday, October 19
Union Playground Project Community Night: Thursday, October 26
No School (P/T Conferences): Thursday and Friday, November 2 and 3
Scholastic Book Fair! November 8, 9, and 10
Family Movie Night! Friday, November 10
Community Thanksgiving Lunch! Wednesday, November 15

Wednesday's Parents Group Meeting: An Evening with Mahesh Sharma

Please join us this Wednesday evening, October 11, in the UES cafeteria at 6:00 for an evening with nationally known math educator Mahesh Sharma! For the last two years, Dr. Sharma has worked with teachers at both UES and Main Street Middle School to discuss how children learn mathematics, why mathematical learning problems occur, and what they can do to help children learn mathematics more effectively. This summer, over 20 UES students joined teachers from Montpelier and central Vermont in a one week Summer Math Lab to test out a wide variety of learning strategies and methods together. It was a wonderful week of learning, and Union Elementary has the pleasure of having Dr. Sharma join us this week to work with our students and teachers during math time. Join us Wednesday night to hear all about it!

The pictures below are from this summer's Math Lab. If you look closely at a number of them, you'll see students playing card and board games together and with teachers. Traditional games like "Go Fish", "Connect Four", "Othello", and so many more are a perfect way to build numeracy and a "sense of numbers" with your children while also having fun together. You will hear Dr. Sharma promote the idea of spending lots of time at home on games like this, and it won't take long for you to see how your kiddos will enjoy this so much more than traditional work sheets! You'll also see students using sets of colorful blocks called "Cuisenaire Rods", and I have to say that using these this summer had me looking at my own mathematical learning in a totally different way. Dr. Sharma will go into detail on how these manipulative blocks can really enhance mathematics instruction at our meeting, but I found a nice description on their history and how they work on Wikipedia of all places. Check it out here:

Cuisenaire Rods

Some action shots from the Summer Math Lab:

The next series of pictures below are of math classes here at UES this first month of school.  Note the regular use of the Cuisenaire Rods and card/board games...

Mrs. Reed's 2nd Graders hard at work
Ms. Hickey's 4th Graders getting messy with the Cuisenaire Rods
Connect Four.  High stakes.  Strategy.  Deep thoughts.
Mrs. Pierce's 4th graders enjoying math in a different way
Othello.  "Minutes to learn.  A lifetime to master."  So true!
So, there you have it!  We really hope to have you join us Wednesday night!

Fall Festival/Kids Cup! A day later, and I'm still amazed at what a great event yesterday's Kids Cup was! Hundreds of children and families from the whole MPS community joined together on a beautiful (and unexpectedly warm and sunny) day to help raise money for the UES Parents Group. So many "Thank Yous" are in order here, but the big one needs to go to UES mom Adrienne Gil! What organization skills! Adrienne had lots of help from many of you, but without her....

We got some nice coverage of the event on Channel 3 last night. Check it out here:

WCAX Kids Cup Coverage

And some Action Shots:

Surprise Prizes!

Monster Fun!

Pumpkin decorating!

Test Your Aim!

Families and kiddos getting ready for the Fun Run!

The first wave of runners came in at under 8 minutes.  Wow!

MHS Principal Mike McRaith was shocked at the accuracy of the UES arms!
The Kitchen Crew keeping us all well fed and happy!

The start of the 5K race -- note some of the young runners up front!

For the record, the Dunk Tank is a more refreshing experience on an 80 degree day than a 55 degree day.  Also, UES kids have remarkably accurate and strong arms!  Some of the action:

Personalization at Union Elementary School Have you ever wondered what teachers and principals do on those in-service days? OK, maybe you haven't, but in case you're wondering, Friday was a very productive and enlightening day for all of us! All three MPS schools are focusing on Personalization, Proficiency, and Equity for all of our students, and we had the pleasure of being joined by author and educator Kathleen McClaskey for the day. Kathleen is the author of Making Learning Personal, and teachers throughout the district will be reading this book together over the course of the year. As a parent of two MPS students myself, I can't tell you how happy I am to know that our teachers are making personalizing my daughter's learning experiences with us a priority. This is such important work, and your children will be the beneficiaries of all of it! The days of "one size fits all" learning are over folks, and Montpelier is at the forefront of this work. This should be welcome news to all of us.

Kathleen McClaskey working with UES teachers on Friday
No Walking School Bus This Week! We will be having a Faculty Meeting on Wednesday morning with Mahesh Sharma, so there will be no Walking Wednesday School Bus this week, Wednesday, October 11. The Walking School Bus will resume as normal next week!

Box Tops! Thanks to UES mom Missy McGibney for taking on the Box Top fundraising efforts this year! Every one of those little box top cutouts makes a difference! Missy shared a letter with you last month, and I share it with you below again:

Dear UES Families,
Fall Box Top submissions are upon us.  Box Tops are located on several common household products.  They are each worth .10 and when clipped and submitted our school earns money that can be used for just about anything, including field trips, classroom supplies and special projects.  A list of participating products is located on the back of this sheet.  We have set a new fundraising goal of $2000 for the 2017-2018 school year.  That means we need to collect 20,000 Box Tops!!!  This goal is a significant increase from last year’s earnings, so I’m asking for everyone’s help.  
In addition to the regular Box Tops, we find on packages, there are also additional ways to earn money.  Please look on packages for “Bonus” Box Tops.  These look a little different, but will have a code we can send in.   Occasionally your grocery store receipt will print out a coupon with eBox Tops.  Please send those in, as well, and I can enter them online for quick and easy money.
You can submit the Box Tops by using the included submission form or simply place the clipped tops, in a Ziploc bag, and I will get them counted and sorted.  If you chose to use the included form and don’t have enough to cover the entire sheet, that’s okay.  Send the sheet in and I will get it completed!!!  Please submit all of your Box Tops, to your child’s teacher or drop them in the Box Top collection box located outside the school office, by Thursday October 19th.  
Box Tops do have expiration dates and many of those dates are quickly approaching.  Please make sure you send everything you have so we don’t lose out on any free money, for the students.
Please ask others to save their Box Tops for UES.  They are an easy way for grandparents, extended family, neighbors, friends and co-workers to help support our kids and our school.  These collections will be ongoing, so even after October 19th please continue to clip and save.  
If you have any questions please contact me at:

Thank you,

Missy McGibney

Class Pictures Many of you are aware that our school photo company, Lifetouch, has decided with our input to not produce class photos this year. First, the good news: our plan is to take high quality digital class photos of each of the 24 classrooms this fall. We will make sure that the pictures are taken on a day with all students present, which has been a problem on Picture Day in the past. These photos will then be shared with you! Picture re-take day is scheduled for next week, October 19. Once we have photos of all of our students, a composite class group picture will also be shared with families. This decision was made following concerns that too many students were missing from our class photos, and we want to make sure everyone is in the shot! Please let us know if you have any questions -- we hope to have these pictures taken before Thanksgiving.

UPP Update There was a typo in the UPPDate we sent out last week! To clarify, the UPP Community Information Night is on Thursday night, October 26 in the UES cafeteria at 6:00. Please let me know if you have any questions -- we really hope to see you there!

Hennessey's Gems "Gems" and not "Hoots"? See below!

A Hennessey Gem to...

* ...UES PE Teachers MJ Jennings and Emmanuel Riby-Williams for getting our kiddos to set personal goals for wellness! It may be hard to see here, but try to zoom in to get an idea of what our students are thinking to become healthier, more fit people this year. Their "Hopes and Dreams" are inspiring! You can also see the poster below in the hallway outside the gym.

*  ... UES teachers Samantha LaFleur and Kellie Lynch for introducing GEMS as our way to work toward school wide goals.  Students earn gems for taking care of themselves, each other, and our school.  Here is Mrs. LaFleur introducing the gems at a recent assembly with our new mascot Swoop!

*  Mrs. Mello's Kinders Lia and Jiya for adding to the big Gem Jar in the hallway outside the main office.  Look how much it's filled up in just a few short weeks!