Monday, January 8, 2018

January 7, 2018

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"

Happy New Year Everyone!

Some news and information that will be helpful to know as winter has kicked into high gear!


January 10: UES Parents Group Meeting at 6:00
January 11: Care For Kids Parent Info Night at 6:00
January 15: MLK Holiday -- NO SCHOOL
January 22: District In-Service -- NO SCHOOL for students
January 29: Report Cards Mailed Home
February 1: 3rd Grade Solar System Performance
February 9: 2nd Annual Lip Synch Battle @ MHS!
February 14:  UES Parents Group Meeting at 6:00
February 26 to March 6: Winter Break -- NO SCHOOL (Students return March 7)

PBIS! What's PBIS you ask? Well, PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and I'm proud to say that the staff and children of UES follow this approach to improving the climate of our school. Here is a nice summary of the goals of PBIS from their website:

Vermont Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (VTPBiS) is a state-wide effort designed to help school teams form a proactive, school-wide, systems approach to improving social and academic competence for all students. Schools in Vermont are engaged in using a formal system of positive behavioral supports in their schools. Involved schools who implement PBIS with fidelity and integrity see a dramatic decrease in the number of behavior problems experienced in their schools. Additionally, students in these schools enjoy greater levels of support and inclusion than those in comparative schools who do not use a system of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

You all received a letter prior to the break from our Coordinator of Behavioral Support and Intervention Kellie Lynch on our plans for PBIS, and I share the highlights of it with you below:

Dear UES families,

In 2018 we are going to increase our communication with you about PBIS in our school. PBIS is an acronym for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.

Features of PBIS at UES are:

  • The development and teaching of behavioral expectations
  • Acknowledging students for meeting these expectations and for engaging in positive behaviors
  • Celebrations when goals are met to further acknowledge positive behaviors and to build school community
  • Procedures for responding to unexpected behaviors and to re-teach expected behaviors  
  • Check In/Check Out system for students who need some extra support in meeting the behavioral expectations

In the past, we used C.A.R.E.S. (Cooperation, Assertive, Respect, Empathy and Safety) but we wanted to transition to something a bit more simple and kid-friendly. We have shifted our school expectations and community building to:
  • Be Kind
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Safe
We are using those three guidelines to build our expectations in all areas of our school. When students demonstrate these expectations, they can earn gems which are collected to go towards earning classroom and school wide celebrations.

We already had one school wide celebration on October 31; students earned a 30 minute vacation from class and had Choice Time in their classrooms. On Wednesday December 20, we had our second celebration! We had two showings, in our auditorium, of the Wallace and Gromit short film, A Grand Day Out. Both celebrations were very popular, and the children were thrilled to have reached their goal.

Be on the lookout for more celebrations coming up in the near future!


Kellie and the PBIS Team deserve a ton of credit for the impact they've had on the way our students treat each other and our beautiful school! For those who don't know, Kellie brings a highly supportive, innovative, and positive approach to all of her work here at UES, even when some of our little ones are on the naughty side! Two wonderful things that Kellie has brought to our community in recent weeks:

* The Quiet Cafe! Beginning this week, students in grades 3 and 4 will have the opportunity to join an adult for a quiet lunch outside of the cafeteria with some of their classmates! Students can sign up for different slots during the week -- we expect the Quiet Cafe to become mighty popular!
* Buddy Benches! Kellie has worked with our 4th Grade Ambassadors to bring a beautiful idea to fruition that I believe will have a great impact on our children's time on the playground. Thanks to UES granddad George Johnson and the Konduri family for lending financial support to this project! Students were shown this brief video detailing the goals of Buddy Benches at last week's assembly:

Here are the 4th Grade Ambassadors joining Swoop and Kellie...

Lots of pride from Kellie and the Ambassadors as they were honored for their idea before the community.

SPEAKING OF LAST WEEK'S ASSEMBLY... As students were filing into our monthly assembly last Thursday, they were treated to a wonderful performance by not only 4th grader Evan Benoit, but also his mom Olga! All of us were so entertained by this talented duo!

Evan going solo, then...

... the big surprise!  Thank you Olga!
WALKING SCHOOL BUS UPDATE! Well, we made it through that first brutal Wednesday morning of 2018! It was 1 degree for our brisk walk last week, but we still had a number of brave souls join us for a great start to the day.

The Walking Wednesdays will continue as always this week and go right through the winter (as long as it's not below zero with the wind chill!), but we're making a significant change to one of the stops beginning this Wednesday. The Capital and college green stops will continue as always, but the bus leaving Shaw's with me and Ms. Parker will now meet at the Bohemian Bakery on Barre Street! Our hope is to attract more students from the Barre Street neighborhood and avoid the extra traffic and parking lot snafus that can often occur right downtown. We will leave from the bakery promptly at 8:00 and head straight up Hubbard Street down to Park Avenue at UES. We hope to see you there!


The Union School Parents Group will be meeting this Wednesday, January 10 in the UES cafeteria from 6:00-7:00 PM.  Childcare will be provided.

On the agenda presently for January 10:
.  Winter/Spring USPG events: lip synch battle, bingo night and ice cream social, scholastic book fair, and teacher appreciation week and breakfast. 

2. Treasury report (Bianca)

If you are interested in helping with upcoming events but cannot make the Wednesday meeting, please see below and contact the coordinator directly. These events will not happen without volunteers. Don’t assume someone else will do it.  Email us or come to the meeting, please. Also mark your calendars now to attend!

Lip Synch Battle:  February 9 at MHS
Contact: Jill Remick at
Bingo and Ice Cream Social:  UES April 13
Contact: Karen Supan at
Scholastic Book Fair:  UES April 11, 12 & 13
Contact:  Heidi Groff at
Teacher Appreciation Breakfast:  UES
(before school on) May 9

Contact:  Heidi Groff at

Thanks for all you do!  Hope to see you there. 

UNION PLAYGROUND PROJECT UPDATE! I just wanted to give you the latest on the status of the Union Playground Project.

The big news is that we are in the process of hiring a Project Coordinator to oversee the project, beginning as soon as possible!  The deadline for applying for this position is this Wednesday, January 10.   We are very excited to bring a person on board to oversee the final steps for planning this spring and construction this summer!  We're getting there, everybody.

Attached below is the job description, along with scope of work and other details, that is being posted to the community.  Please spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested -- we'd love to hear from them!  

The posting:  (The application deadline reads January 5 on this document, but it has been extended to January 10!)

2nd GRADE ENGINEERING DAY! Making the rounds the other day, I noticed a commotion in Mrs. Mears' class in the 2nd grade wing. As I walked in, it was immediately clear to me that the commotion was directly related to some highly engaged minds and bodies! Mrs. Mears' 2nd graders were in the midst of an engineering unit, and they had reached the point where it was time to put their ideas into practice. From Mrs. Mears: "The highlight (of the short week) was planning and building our final engineering projects.  Students were engaged, focused, and persistent in building, testing, and revising their ideas.  It was messy, but in the end we had 9 arcade games, 2 sturdy chairs and 1 amazing Rube Goldberg machine!"  It was so much fun to watch the students engaged in such deep thinking and rigorous teamwork!  Here is a shot of the messy action:

Mess?  What mess?

4th GRADE HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE AT THE MONTPELIER ROTARY Just prior to the break, UES music teacher Samantha LaFleur had Mrs. Miller's 4th graders join her for a beautiful performance of holiday songs at the Montpelier Rotary's weekly luncheon. The students put on a wonderful show! Two students in particular really had an opportunity to shine, as you can see below:

Miriam flies solo with a lovely performance on the violin.

Mrs. LaFleur accompanies Emily on guitar and vocal with Mrs. D and Landon on backup
A FEW REMINDERS FROM THE OFFICE... From our friendly Administrative Assistants Pam Foster and Diana Koliander-Hart:

Please remember to...

* ... sign in with the Front Office if you're ever visiting UES during school hours. You will be issued a bright yellow name tag to wear while you're with us!
* ... call the Front Office at 225-8200 if your child is ever going to be absent or significantly late. If we don't hear from you, you'll be hearing from us by 9:00! Calling in will save Pam and Diana valuable time and effort.
* ... do your best to ensure your student arrives no later than 8:15 each day! Arriving on time makes sure that your child won't miss any of their Morning Meeting, and it also guarantees a much better start to the day for everyone!
* ... call the Front Office at 225-8200 if you have changes to your child's after school plans before 1:00. Though we understand late emergencies can always happen, getting this information as early as possible is so helpful!

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