Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23, 2015

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"


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


January 4: Return to School!
January 6: PreK Information Night (if you missed last week's meeting!)
January 18: MLK Day: No school! (In-Service for MPS Faculty)
January 22: Report Cards mailed home
January 27: Community Forum #3 (See Below)
February 13: UPP Fundraiser! (See Below)

ONION RIVER BIKES GO TO TWO LUCKY UES STUDENTS! What a great story this is! And it says so much about the generosity of our community!

Earlier this week, our own MJ Jennings (also an occasional Onion River employee) came to let me know that a local woman had won an Onion River bike in a raffle. Not needing a new bike, she approached the OR staff to let them know she'd like to donate the bike to a worthy UES student! Wow! Moved by this generous spirit, the OR folks decided to donate another bike of their own! So... the decision was made to randomly select one lucky student from the 3rd and 4th grades for this incredible Holiday treat! Here is MJ with one of the Onion River guys picking the lucky two kiddos:

Who's it going to be??

And here are the lucky two UES students, 4th Grader Bethany Brush and 3rd Grader Ari Jorgenson, being presented their brand new beautiful bikes this morning! Thank you Onion River, and thank you to the mystery woman whose generous spirit was not lost on any of us!

UES FOOD DRIVE A HUGE SUCCESS! Speaking of generous spirits, UES set a goal K-4 to gather 800 non-perishable food items for our annual Holiday Food Drive. Well, as expected, our students (and all of you) stepped up in a big way and far surpassed our goal in the first few days! Mrs. Giffin let me know that she lost count when the number went way over 1200 items! The children delivered all the items to the Food Bank in the pouring rain yesterday to the grateful staff. Here are Mrs. Mello's kinders checking out our progress late last week (note the maxed out thermometer!):

COMMUNITY FORUM, JANUARY 27! Our ongoing series, "The Future of School," will be continuing with our third forum of the year on the evening of January 27. The focus of this session will be on "Proficiency Based Learning" and how we assess the learning of our students PreK to grade 12. We will gather in the MHS Library from 6:00 to 8:00 with a quick pizza dinner starting at 5:30. We really hope to see you there!

UPP FUNDRAISER, FEBRUARY 13! If you haven't done so already, mark your calendars! The "Give it UPP!" Auction Gala Event is on Saturday, February 13 from 6:30 to 11:00 at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Alumni Hall! Tickets are now available at Capitol Stationers or online at; buy them early -- $22 a ticket (or $40 for two) until January 15!  We will have more details about the Gala right after the vacation, but we're very excited about the items local businesses and artisans have donated to the cause!

BURTON SNOWBOARDS VISITS UES! First graders got a special treat when Burton Snowboard instructors visited UES as guest PE teachers! Students got to learn the basics of snowboarding from the pros! Just another awesome day in the Union Elementary Phys. Ed program!

Learning the basics!

Mr. Williams, MJ, Mr. Hennessey and the Burton Crew
AUDITORIUM UPGRADES! I'm sure many of you have noticed the deteriorating ceiling in our auditorium. Or, perhaps, you've noticed chunks of plaster falling upon you during one of our performances! Fun! The good news is that at long last our ceiling is being both repaired and given a fresh coat of paint! We hope to have this first phase of an auditorium "freshening up" done before we return from the break. Progress! Here is Mr. Keller supervising the action:

DECEMBER CARES ASSEMBLY! For the first time ever at UES, a 3rd grade class ran one of our assemblies, and they did a terrific job entertaining and inspiring the UES community. A big "Hennessey Hoot" to Mrs. Pine's "Pineers" (could there be a better class to demonstrate RESPONSIBILITY??) for their outstanding efforts!

A well-rehearsed skit demonstrating RESPONSIBILITY
Grace and some beautiful cookies share the stage!
COLD WEATHER PRACTICES/PROCEDURES It's hard to believe now, 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 Mrs. Giffin (ext. 8230) know about it right away; we have quite a supply of gear on hand here at UES!