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!

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