Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wise Owl: December 23

December 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!


Some news and information that will be helpful to know as we head home for the Holiday Break:

SCHOOL BOARD MEETING LAST WEEK Anyone who got to see the "Must See TV" of last week's school board meeting on Orca got to see students from all three schools shine in the spotlight! Prior to our budget presentation, students from grades K-12 were invited to give a brief presentation on personalized learning and how such an approach has made school a more engaging experience for them. Representing UES were Mrs. Pierce's 5th graders, and I can't even begin to tell you how proud I was of their presentation! The students spoke with passion and heart about their work with the Whole School Energy Challenge, composting initiatives, waste audits, and various community outreach programs that they've been involved in the last two years. Board member Ken Jones spoke afterwards about how impressed he was with the poise of our students, and I couldn't agree more! Check out their presentation here for yourself.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS TO KEEP/SEND A CHILD HOME WHEN SICK This is the time of year when many of us, young and old, struggle staying healthy. Our school nurses, Sarah and Trees-ah, wanted to share some established guidelines you should follow when wondering if it's OK to send your child to school if they're not feeling well. The goal is to try to keep the whole UES community healthy through the winter, and we need your help! Here are the guidelines we all need to follow:

Signs and Symptoms to keep/send a child home 
  • fever, over 100 degrees.  Children must be fever free (without medication) for 24hrs. before returning to school.
  • diarrhea or vomiting within the past 24 hours.
  • persistent sore throat with fever or enlarged tonsils/glands
  • persistent upset stomach or headache
  • undetermined rash
  • reddened, itchy eyes with drainage
  • suspected/known head lice. Children will be seen by the nurse for return to school.
As always, parents can call the health office and speak with Trees-ah or Sarah Mele, RN if you have questions.  The nurse's office phone is 225-8206.

UES WINTER CARNIVAL/75TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION KICKOFF! Mrs. McGuiggan's 4th graders led UES through an opening kick-off assembly last week as we all get ready for our Winter Carnival in February! Mark your calendars: there will be all kinds of fun activities and celebrations the week of February 16-20! Here are some photos from the show:

UES WHOLE SCHOOL ENERGY CHALLENGE Mrs. Pierce's 5th graders ended our assembly by letting us all know about the UES Whole School Energy Challenge! The students shared tips on how we can all save energy for the school district, and we were all treated to a demo of a bicycle powered light bulb display! Check out this action shot:

UPDATE ON THE UES REPORT CARD You may have heard that UES is in the process of updating and improving the way we report our students' progress to both you and each other. The UES report card, which has traditionally been distributed twice a year, has not had a significant upgrade in many years, and our goal is to provide you with a document that meaningfully addresses the progress your child is making as a learner using language that any of us can understand.  

The faculty and I are determined to do this well, and we came to the conclusion this month that we're simply going to need some more time to unveil a new report card that is worthy of our community. As a result, the first report card of the year will be distributed the week of March 16-20 instead of the traditional end of January. This extra 5-6 weeks will give us the time needed to get it right the first time. We'd like you to know that even though there will be no report card at the half way point of the year, teachers will instead share a progress report with families which highlights your child's progress in literacy, math, and social development. Again, you will have these progress reports by the end of January. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns about the status of the UES report card, you can contact me at any time.

HENNESSEY'S HOOTS A Hennessey Hoot to....

* From IA Ariel Pascoe, who spends a lot of time having fun with and keeping our students safe on the playground: "I would like to nominate 5th graders Declan and Caleb of Mrs. Hickey's class for Hennessey Hoots!  Declan is such a natural helper that he noticed the playground teachers could use help carrying the ball bucket out to recess. He started helping every day and now it is a regular job. He recently started helping out with kindergarten recess at that time (I hear its going great!) and Caleb decided to fill in for him. What an awesome team!"

Declan and Caleb getting it done!
*   Another 5th grader, Tia Leno, who must have noticed that I looked a little, um, stressed out last week and decided to help me out by giving me a small gift to wear.  Thanks, Tia!  I calmed down immediately when I put this on!

Batman never fails.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wise Owl: December 10

December 10, 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 as we approach the Holidays:

PLEASE SUPPORT UPP: THE UNION PLAYGROUND PROJECT With the busy holiday season upon us, the UPP fundraising team wanted to provide a link to a letter you may forward or print and send to grandparents or other family members and friends who may like to purchase an alternative gift this season.  This is the same letter we sent out last month, but here it is again for you to share with friends and family if you'd like:

Fundraising Letter For Friends and Family

4th/5th GRADE HOLIDAY CONCERT! The annual 4th/5th Grade Orchestra/Band Holiday Concert will be next Tuesday, December 16 at 7:00 in our auditorium. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by to cheer on these young musicians!

UPCOMING ASSEMBLIES In addition to the concert above, there are some other shows/assemblies coming up next week:

1) The UES World Chorus and Ukelele Ensemble will be performing on Thursday, December 18 at 6:00 in the auditorium. If your child is performing, please arrive 15 minutes early.

2) The UES 75th Birthday/Winter Carnival Kick-Off Assembly will be taking place on Tuesday, December 16 at 8:30 for grades 3-5, and 1:30 for grades K-2.

Busy, busy! Parents and family members are always welcome to attend our shows and assemblies -- we hope to see you there!


"The Union School Parents Group would like to thank all the volunteers, families, students, and staff who helped make the Fall Scholastic Book Fair a success!  We couldn’t have done it without all of your support!

We had about 20 volunteers helping to set up, run the book fair, and pack up everything.  A special thanks goes to MJ Jennings and Emmanuel Williams who kindly moved their PE classes from the little gym for two days, and to Todd Keller and Doris Viens who helped make sure the little gym was ready and we had everything we needed.  

This Book Fair earned the USPG over $2000 in cash to directly assist the students and teachers of UES through field trips, art projects, classroom activities, etc.  
Thank you all for your support!  See you at the Spring Scholastic Book Fair!

Suzie Smith and Sidney Collier, Co-Chairs of the Scholastic Book Fair"

COLD WEATHER PRACTICES/PROCEDURES 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 Mrs. Giffin (ext. 8230) know about it right away; we have quite a supply of gear on hand here at UES!

Fun in the snow yesterday afternoon!

LISTSERV COMING SOON! We are working hard this year to improve communication at UES. As a complement to the Wise Owl, a group of parents has set up an email LISTSERV to connect parents, teachers, and staff with one another. The goal is to create a platform to share ideas in a way that constructively supports UES and educational experiences. Look for an invitation next week. If you would like to join the organizers in managing the LISTSERV, please contact ues.families@gmail.com.

NEXT MIDDLE SCHOOL MEETING Thanks to all of you who joined me, Mrs. Arnold and Dr. Ricca at last week's discussion on the 5th grade move to Main Street. It was a very positive discussion, and things are really moving in the right direction! For your calendars: our next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 3 from 6:00 to 7:00 at Main Street.

HENNESSEY'S HOOTS! A Hennessey Hoot to:

* ...1st grader Asa and his classmates in Mrs. Mello's class for helping out Mr. Keller and keeping our hallways neat and tidy so we can keep them clean. Asa noticed boot piles that were unacceptably messy, and he did something about it! Check out his work:

If only the entryway in my house looked like this!  How does yours look??
Excellent work!
*  ...The Montpelier Clicks Robotics Team who went to the Vermont State Tournament at Norwich University last month and competed with 29 other teams (some who were much older, grizzled veterans) and took home the second-place trophy in the Core Values competition!!  The team is comprised of MPS students in the 4th through 8th grades -- these 4th graders were participants:  Avery Smart, Owen Zeigler, Noah Samuelsen, Ben Asay, Dariush Sarafzade, and Anja Rand.  Congratulations on such great work while having fun doing it!