Monday, October 27, 2014

Wise Owl: October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"
Welcome to the Union Elementary Wise Owl!  We hope that you enjoy this new way of learning what's going on at UES! I'll be updating the Owl every few weeks with both news and celebrations, and our goal will be to send it to as many members of the UES community as we can. If we have your updated email address, you'll get it!

Some news and information that will be helpful to know...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  Halloween is coming this Friday, 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 Friday 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 Monday.  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!

UES PREK-4 DESIGN TEAM I'm happy to announce the formation of a Union Elementary PreK-4 Design Team starting next month! As you know, the 5th grade will be moving to Main Street Middle School next year, and with that move will come a restructuring of the grades and teams at Union. This team of myself and ten teachers will be researching the most student centered approaches to structuring a PreK-4 school with five grades instead of our current six. This will be very exciting work, and our goal will be to make Year One as disruptive to as few children and teams as possible. Please be on the lookout for a Parent Survey in the next few weeks; we'd really like to get your input on this very important topic! In the meantime, please contact me or stop by if you have any questions or concerns.

PICTURE RETAKE DAY TOMORROW! Lifetouch Photography will be at UES tomorrow from 8:00 to 11:00. If your child missed Picture Day last month or would like a retake, tomorrow (Tuesday) is the day to get it done!

LOST AND FOUND Anyone who has been in the lobby of UES in recent weeks will notice that we have a growing collection of high quality jackets, sweatshirts, and other items that haven't made it safely home. In the past we have always kept these items in the auditorium for months at a time in the hopes that children and parents would claim them. Storage has become an issue, however, and we figure that if we have a deadline, people are much more likely to claim their lost items! So... on Monday, November 10, all unclaimed items will be donated to Planet Aid. Every two weeks thereafter, the lost and found will be cleared and all items will be donated. Now is the time to check with your child to see if he or she is missing something. There are some really nice things on those racks, so please check them out!

On a related note, as a baseball fan, I am sure someone is missing this beauty of a Detroit Tigers cap. I know I'd be missing it! It's a size 7 5/8, so please come in to claim it if it's yours!

2006 Tigers World Series Cap -- any takers?
PUBLISHER'S WORKSHOP WITH MRS. CODY Last week, Mrs. Cody and her students invited me to their classroom to celebrate the completion of their first books! Not only did they share apple cider and goldfish crackers with me, but these 1st graders also treated me to readings of their books! It was a lot of fun -- thanks Mrs. Cody's class!

Mrs. Cody's 1st graders celebrating the publication of their first books

WALK AND BIKE TO SCHOOL WEDNESDAYS! Mr. Williams, MJ, and I plan on continuing our "Walk and Bike to School Wednesdays" at least up to the Thanksgiving break, and we'd love to see you join us! I'll be at Shaw's, Mr. Williams can be found at the State House lawn, and MJ will meet children at the college green. We'll always leave just after 8:00 for a brisk, refreshing walk to UES! Last Wednesday, our numbers went down due to the pouring rain, but that didn't stop McKenzie (2nd grade), Dax, and Tong (both 1st grade), from joining me under my big umbrella for some fun puddle jumping on the way to school! Here we are just before class:

McKenzie, Dax, Mr. Hennessey, and Tong -- dry and ready for school!

Mark your calendars:  Planting Hope will be visiting UES on Tuesday, November 4 to share their dance and improv performance with our students.  By all accounts, this is a very exciting show, and we'll all be ready to give our Nicaraguan friends a warm UES welcome!

UES PARENTS GROUP: PLAYGROUND UPDATE Last week, the UES Parents Group held a meeting in the UES library to discuss planning and fundraising for the ongoing playground rebuilding project. Two sub-committees emerged from this meeting: one devoted to fundraising and the other to planning and design. Both groups will be meeting in early November to continue the discussion, and I think it's safe to say that we all left our first gathering very excited about the future of this project! I'll have more details about this work following our next meetings in a few weeks.

FIRE SAFETY WITH MRS. BATES Officers from the Montpelier Fire Department paid a visit to Mrs. Bates' class last week to talk fire safety with UES kinders. Needless to say, the firemen had a very enthusiastic reception with lots of excellent questions. Thanks for coming, gentlemen.


Save the dates! Thursday, November 13, 8am-3:30pm, and Friday, November 14, 8am-3:30pm and during Friday Family Movie Night (time and movie TBA), Union Elementary School, Little Gym, First Floor

We invite you to visit the UES Parent’s Group Fall Fundraiser to experience a celebration of reading that provides the opportunity to support a universal mission: encouraging kids to read every day! Please be on the lookout for the Scholastic books preview that will be sent home soon. During the Book Fair, each child will visit with his/her class and will have the opportunity to discover and purchase from hundreds of fun, engaging, affordable books, starting at only $2. Parents and family can come to the Book Fair during the day or before or after school. You can also select books from your child’s teacher WISH LIST to help build their classroom library.

Also, if you or extended family are unable to attend, or you want to purchase books outside of these hours, please visit our online fair beginning November 7

We look forward to having you participate in our Book Fair, and remember, all purchases benefit our school! Last Spring’s USPG Book Fair was able to raise over $2000 in cash to directly assist the students and teachers of UES through field trips, art projects, classroom activities, etc. In addition, we earned over $500 in free books for students and classroom libraries. Volunteers are needed to help set up, help kids choose books, or help pack up.

Please contact Sidney Collier #223-9120 / Suzie Smith #338-0669 or at

Thank you all for your support!!!

HENNESSEY'S HOOTS!  A Hennessey Hoot to:

* Mrs. Kane, who once again did a beautiful job creating the Kinder Cave with all of our aspiring artists! These young artists (along with their families) built the cave in just 35 minutes -- a new record!

Kinder Cave Fun!
* Mrs. Wrigley, who was honored last Wednesday as one of UVM's Teacher of the Year winners! Dr. Ricca and I joined Mrs. Wrigley and her family along with other honorees from around Vermont at UVM's beautiful Ira Allen Chapel for the ceremony. Congratulations Emily!

Mrs. Wrigley with fellow Honoree Mr. Taylor of Main Street Middle School

Mrs. Goldblatt and the 4th/5th grade orchestra, who sounded terrific when I stopped by the auditorium the other day.  Here they are getting ready for their next performance:


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wise Owl: October 13

October 13, 2014

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"
Welcome to the Union Elementary Wise Owl!  We hope that you enjoy this new way of learning what's going on at UES! I'll be updating the Owl every few weeks with both news and celebrations, and our goal will be to send it to as many members of the UES community as we can. If we have your updated email address, you'll get it!

Some news and information that will be helpful to know...

International Walk and Bike to School Day!  Our first Walk and Bike to School Day was a huge success!  I had over 30 students join me at Shaw's last Wednesday, and Mr. Williams and MJ had over 30 others join them from the State House and the Vermont College green for a nice walk to school on a lovely autumn morning.  The day was so successful that we will continue to meet students at 8:00 at Shaw's, Vermont College, and the State House each Wednesday morning through October!  Parents and little brothers and sisters are welcome to join us!  

Mr. Hennessey's Crew outside Shaw's
Mr. Merrylees greeting happy walkers and bikers Wednesday morning
Next Main Street Middle School Information Night  Our first informational night for parents of 4th graders moving to the Middle School next year was a big success last Tuesday night!  About 25 parents joined me and Main Street Principal Pam Arnold for a tour of the school and a Q & A session.  Mrs. Arnold and I have scheduled the next meeting for Tuesday, December 2 from 6:00 to 7:00 at the Middle School.  Though the focus of these meetings is on the move of the 5th grade to Main Street, we'd like to welcome all MPS community members to join us for the discussion.  Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

Ms. Lloyd's Class Constitution  Ms. Lloyd's 5th graders have spent time this fall putting together a Class Constitution based on C.A.R.E.S. (if you don't know what C.A.R.E.S. is, ask your child about it), and I had the pleasure of joining them at the State House last Friday as they ratified the document in the House Chamber.  It was a beautiful ceremony that showcased a learning experience of incredible authenticity.  How many children in the United States can walk from their classroom to their State Capitol in less than ten minutes? What a treat!  Here are some photos of the experience:

Ms. Lloyd's 5th Graders at the State House

Linnea reading her section
Students signing the Constitution
Genevieve's Fundraiser! The UES Parents Group asked me to remind you all that the order forms for this fall's Genevieve's Fundraiser are due by the end of the day tomorrow, Monday, October 13!  

Parent/Teacher Conferences  There will be no school on Thursday and Friday, October 23 and 24.  If you haven't scheduled a conference with your child's teacher yet, now is the time to do so!

Playground News!  For those who aren't aware, UES is applying for a state grant of up to $25,000 to be applied to upgrading our upper and lower playgrounds.  This work is a long time coming, as significant improvements haven't been made to our grounds in over 20 years!  As I mentioned at a school board meeting in May, this project is a major priority for the UES community, and we're going to need your help!   A few things to consider:

*  the grant proposal was due this past Friday, October 10.  An enormous thank you is due to UES parent Angelica Caterino for coming in and using her tremendous grant writing skills to lead the way and to Montpelier community members Stephanie Congo and Beth Burgess for helping us as well.  

*  in just over a week, we collected over $4,000 in cash and $15,000 in "in-kind" donations from various individuals and businesses in Montpelier.  If approved, the state will match up to $25,000 of these funds!  Though the grant proposal was due Friday, we can continue to collect donations for up to two months.

*  an informational/planning meeting will take place Tuesday, October 21 from 6:00 to 7:00 in the UES library to update interested folks about the project.  We hope to see you there!

The Great Pumpkin!  We got our annual Great Pumpkin visit last week, and many of our children had a chance to come out and marvel at the 1400+ pound behemoth you see below! Many thanks to Mrs. Quinn's Amelia, whose gramp loves to come visit every year to show off his hard work.

Mrs. Koch's kinders enjoying the Great Pumpkin!

Hennessey's Hoots!  A Hennessey Hoot goes to:

*  Superintendent Brian Ricca, for being honored by Phi Delta Kappa as an Emerging Educational Leader.  Check out the link below:

*  Theresa Giffin, for her unbelievable efforts in rallying the community to get behind our Playground grant proposal (see above) the last two weeks!   UES wouldn't be in the running for this large sum of money without Theresa's hard work, enthusiasm, and persistence!

*  4th graders Ella and Anna, for their efforts in putting together a Winter Talent Show with the UES Parents Group.  This show wouldn't be happening without their hard work, enthusiasm, and persistence!  (Do we see a theme emerging here?)

Anna and Ella