Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wise Owl: November 23

November 23, 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!


It's been a busy November! Some news and information that will be helpful to know...

PLEASE SUPPORT UPP: THE UNION PLAYGROUND PROJECT  The Union Playground Project has taken off and is full of energy and momentum! Folks, after decades of little action and improvement, our school's community playground is finally going to get the attention we've been waiting for! Our Planning and Fundraising Committees have already been working long hours to get this project off the ground, and it's clear to me that these folks have more than enough creativity, energy, and staying power to see this through! Very exciting!! 

From the UPP Fundraising Committee:

Hello UES Families,

As promised in the letter from the UES Playground Fundraising Committee that went home via your child's folder- Here is the online version with an alternative gift letter attached making it easy to forward to relatives.
Please Support UPP
                Union Playground Project                 

What is UPP?
UPP is the Union Playground Project.  This fall kicked off a fundraising campaign and a multi-year project to repair and significantly improve both the kindergarten and the upper playground. This valuable project that will greatly benefit the comprehensive developmental needs of all children is now gaining momentum for a multi-phase endeavor!
UPP Needs Your Help!  There are 2 ways you can help before the end of the year:

1.  Please Donate!                                                                                                                       
Help boost UPP outdoor recess for our children and enrich their play, growth, development, minds and muscles! Our public school and community playground is so much more than a place to expend excess energy and increase gross motor skills. The benefits of a well-planned and improved play space will inspire greater creativity, decision-making, imagination, social skills and problem solving skills and improve the overall physical and mental health of our children.

Please make checks payable toMontpelier Public Schools  and send to: c/o Theresa Giffin, Union Elementary School, 1 Park Ave. Montpelier, VT  05602   OR:  Return in your child’s folder.
2.  An Alternative Gift for The Holidays In Honor of A Union Elementary Student!
Do you have relatives, friends and neighbors who might like to make a donation in honor of someone special (your child!)? This is a meaningful gift option that’s guaranteed to be long lasting, doesn’t run on batteries and won’t clutter your floor!
 Please see the attached letter, which you can forward to grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives.  You may also decide to honor your own child. 

Please note: Alternative gift cards will be mailed to the UES student being honored.

Kind regards, 

The UES Playground Fundraising Committee (Theresa Giffin, Chris Hennessey, Sarah McKearnan, Jennifer Matthews, Kristin Darcy, Alison Lamanga, Emma Bay-Hansen & Jenny Sheehan)

Fundraising Letter For Friends and Family

Check out this preliminary Playground Board designed by UES mom and local architect Tolya Stonorov:

UPP Playground Board

VETERANS DAY PARADE If the incredible work of our playground committees wasn't enough to make me feel proud, this year's Veterans Day Parade perfectly symbolized why I love working and living in Montpelier so much. Our veterans were honored by students of all ages from the beginning of the parade until the ceremony at the high school, and I still get goosebumps when I remember what it felt like to turn the corner off of State Street with all the Union children and see the entire MHS student body and faculty there to cheer us all on! What a great event for our veterans and our community! A photo gallery:

MAIN STREET MIDDLE SCHOOL MEETING DECEMBER 2! Please join Dr. Ricca, Mrs. Arnold, and myself on Tuesday, December 2 from 6:00 to 7:00 in the MSMS library to discuss all things middle school. All members of the Montpelier community are invited to attend. The MSMS Parents Group put together this flyer/invitation for us:

PLANTING HOPE ON NOVEMBER 4 Planting Hope visited UES on November 4, and it was a wonderful day of fun and cultural exchanges for all of us! From Ms. Lloyd: "Chris, my class LOVED ...the visitors from Nicaragua.  Our guests introduced themselves and fielded questions from students.  They spoke about their jobs in Nicaragua and the differences they notice between their own culture and our culture in Montpelier, VT.  They spoke in English and Spanish-- I got to use my Spanish skills.  Then, a few of the visiting teachers taught my class a Nicaraguan salsa dance!  What followed was one on the most amazing cultural exchanges I've seen in all my years of teaching: 5th grade kids who spoke mostly English were trading dance moves with Nicaraguan teachers who spoke mostly Spanish. Both were filled with admiration and respect for each other.  By the end of the day, when I asked my students how many were interested in visiting Nicaragua some day, 100% of them raised their hands.  One student even exclaimed, "Visit?!!  I want to spend a YEAR there!"

Ms. Lloyd's 5th Graders with Planting Hope

From Mrs. Kane, who has done a tremendous amount of work getting this project off the ground:  "This February, Montpelier’s Union Elementary School students, alumni, staff and community members, and their family and friends are invited to celebrate the 75th anniversary of our school building during our first-ever UES Winter Carnival!  We are planning special events for the week of Monday, February 16 through Friday, February 20.  

Leading up to the Winter Carnival, local artist Gowri Savoor will visit UES for a lantern-making art residency from February 2-13, thanks to the “Artists in Schools Grant” awarded by the Vermont Arts Council. In Art classes, all K-5 students will create a hand-made lantern from sustainable materials including willow and tissue paper. Lanterns will be suspended from bamboo poles and lit with battery operated LED lights.
At 6:00 on Wednesday, February 18th, we will have a special evening celebration for Union Elementary School’s 75th Birthday.  Led by samba band Sambatucada, we will parade with our lanterns from UES to the Vermont College of Fine Arts Green.   At the VCFA Green, we will celebrate with hot chocolate and singing.  Our parade is supported by a “Community Arts Grant” awarded by Montpelier Alive and funded by the Downtown Improvement District Assessment.  Students will take home their lanterns following the celebration!

More details will follow soon. Thanks to the UES Parents' Group for their amazing work and support!  Please contact Jenny Sheehan at <> if you are interested in working with us to prepare for the special events."

UES DELAYED OPENING AND CANCELLATION PROCEDURES: Winter is coming, and with the unpredictable weather comes the possibility of cancellations or delayed openings for school. There has been some confusion in recent years about the exact time school opens at UES on delayed opening days, but we finally got this cleared up last year. Here is what you need to know in case Mother Nature throws a snow or iceball at us one of these mornings:


9:30     Teachers arrive 

10:00   UES doors open; buses begin to arrive; we're open for business!

10:00-  Students will begin arriving to class; transition time; Morning Meeting.

10:25   UES schedule officially begins.  Students will proceed as normal where the schedule would be normally at 10:25.  Lunches will not be effected.

SOME ECO HIGHLIGHTS If you haven't had a chance yet to join your child on an ECO trip, please try to do so as soon as you can. You definitely won't be disappointed! Here are a few nice pictures of some science adventurers in Mrs. Mears' class:

Bugs and Logs.  Always a good combo!

HENNESSEY'S HOOTS! A Hennessey Hoot to:

* Todd Keller, Chris Luce, Pam Foster, Zephyr Cerulli, Nancy Webb (and the WHOLE cafeteria staff), and, well, all of us, for putting on a spectacular and smooth UES Thanksgiving Luncheon last week. Together, we served over 850 students and family members on Wednesday! Among the many highlights was having students from the MHS Soar program join us to help out in a variety of ways, and they shared this beautiful slide show with me of their experience:

* First grader Olivia in Ms. Freeman's class, who noticed that some of the children on the playground weren't always being nice to each other and decided to do something about it. Olivia created this anti-bullying poster that she shared with her class. Very well done, Olivia!

*  Second grader Isabella in Ms. Pine's class, whose artwork was selected to be on the front of our UPP (Union Playground Project) greeting cards!  You'll all be seeing these cards soon enough, and be sure to thank Isabella for her beautiful design when you see her!


Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 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...

PLANTING HOPE TOMORROW! The Planting Hope assemblies with performers from Nicaragua are on for tomorrow (Tuesday), and we'd love to have you join us! The K-2 performance will be from 8:30 to 9:15, and the grades 3-5 performance will be from 1:45 to 2:30. Please join us in the auditorium for some inspirational and entertaining dance and improv from another part of the world!

PINEER ART! Ms. Pine's 2nd grade "Pineers" stopped by our office on Friday to show off their incredible "Gourde Creatures!" After a few weeks of working really hard on their writing, it was time to bring out their inner artists, and they produced some beautiful work. Thanks for sharing, Ms. Pine!

Look closely.  There is some amazing creativity in this picture!

2015 SCRIPPS SPELLING BEE! I am very pleased to announce that Union Elementary will be participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this spring! Over 10,000 schools from around the country (including Main Street Middle School) participate in Scripps, and the best of the best get to go to Washington, D.C. in May to go for the championship. Scripps is open to students in grades 5-8, so the winner from our 5th grade will have the privilege of representing UES at the state championship at St. Michael's college in the spring! Many more details to follow, but here is the link to Scripps if you'd like some more info:

Scripps Spelling Bee

THANKSGIVING DINNER AT UES! The annual UES Thanksgiving Dinner will be held this year on Wednesday, November 19. Folks, if you haven't joined us before, you won't want to miss it! Due to high demand, reservations are required for the dinner, and order forms will be coming home with your children this week.

2014-15 UES FAMILY DIRECTORY From the UES Parents Group: "The ever-popular Union School directory will be published in November.  Paper forms went home last week and are due back at school by this Wednesday, November 5.  This year, we are asking families with internet access to fill out the form online at UES Directory Form in order to save us time and decrease errors. The directory provides the Union School community with families' contact information.  It is intended for use only by UES families and staff, and only families that fill out the form are included.  Participation is optional and families can include as much or as little contact information as they'd like." 

HENNESSEY'S HOOTS! A Hennessey Hoot to:

* Kindergartener Holden, who realized that the stacks of chairs in Mrs. Koch's class were leaning forward and in danger of tipping over. Well, he decided to do something about it! I noticed students stacking the chairs this way and said, "No, no, they all need to be in the same direction." One of Holden's classmates corrected me gently, saying, "But Mr. Hennessey, Holden found a better way. Now they don't tip over!" Yes he did!

Holden, proudly showing the best way to stack chairs.  Genius.

*  2nd Grader Calvin, who, rumor has it, knows a thing or two about Batman.