As many of you know, young students in the BUUSD are very fortunate to have the opportunity to build positive relationships with our local police officers. This week, new Barre City Chief of Police Braedon Vail joined BCEMS Special Educator Allison Courtemanche for a Q & A with a group of 7th and 8th graders on the PEAK team. It was an informative and enlightening experience for all!
Happy New Year! Our first School Showcase of 2023 brings us to Barre City Elementary and Middle School and 5th Grade teacher Jody Leone's WIN group. Ms. Leone's 5th graders participated in a BUILD Design Challenge in December, and their work resulted in a $500 award for their classroom!
For those who don't know, last week was "Computer Science Education Week", and all of our schools are participating in the nationwide Hour of Code event this month! We got to spend time with all three of our district's Technology Integrationists the last three days as they collaborated with their colleagues to bring basic coding skills into the classroom. First, BTMES's Jess Van Orman joined band teacher Ally Tarwater and her 6th graders coding "Edison" robots to play their musical pieces. We then joined SHS's Angelique Fairbrother at the SEA program to hear how she is teaching their students to use Minecraft with their history lessons. Finally, we joined BCEMS's Mike Martin in the 4th grade classes of Roberta Melnick and Charlotte Murphy to learn how to move Angry Birds through a maze.
We joined BCEMS Art Teacher Eirene Mavodones and Barre City parent and artist Amber Charbonneau in their weekly after school Art Club with a group of 8th graders. At the height of the pandemic, Ms. Mavodones was concerned that too many of our students were missing out on opportunities to socialize and connect with their friends in shared interests. So, she and Amber did something about it! The BCEMS Art Club has been a joy for students on Friday afternoons for nearly two years now, and you can hear the experiences of some of our 8th graders.
I was able to join BCEMS Social Studies teacher Missy Wiggins' 7th graders last week for a fun lesson in her Ancient Civilization class. "Student Engagement'' is a key objective of our Strategic Plan, and it was great to see the kids using technology and engage in collaborative teamwork in their learning. Most of us will remember learning long vocabulary lists when we were students, but what you will see here is a perfect example of a traditional lesson made better with simple but creative and engaging methods. Ms. Wiggins made a vocabulary lesson come alive with an engaging and fun experience for her students, and the kids were all eager to share their work with us!
Last night, the BTMES and BCEMS middle school boys and girls soccer teams combined for a spirited game under the lights at Pendo Field on the Spaulding campus. It was a lot of fun for all the athletes and the big audience that came to cheer them on! BUUSD Athletic Directors Jodi Bushway (BCEMS), Jack Carrier (BTMES), and Derek Cipriano (SHS) joined forces with the BYSA to put on this event. Any opportunity to bring our school communities together is always welcome, and I want to thank all who made this event possible! What an incredibly fun way to spend a Wednesday night!
I got to experience an extraordinarily fun and engaging math lesson with some 3rd graders this morning, and I want to share it with you. Director of Curriculum and Instruction Karen Fredericks joined me in BCEMS 3rd grade teacher Carey Miller's classroom for about an hour today, and we got to see our new math program, Illustrative Mathematics, in action. Take a look here: https://youtu.be/YSdSx0WdbtM
We will be sharing a Weekly School Showcase video each week that shines a spotlight on our students and staff across the district. These Showcases proved to be very popular last year, and we look forward to showing you all of the outstanding and exciting learning opportunities that go on in our schools every day!
For this week, we have a showcase video welcoming everybody back and introducing our BUUSD Strategic Plan. We hope you like it!
Now that the weather is getting more beautiful by the day, it's really time for our kids to get outside and get active! Today's Showcase is a special treat as we get to spend time in BCEMS Physical Education teacher Jay Baitz's class with a group of kindergarteners! Mr. Baitz and his PE partner Jodi Bushway are doing wonderful things with our youngest learners as they learn to have fun being physically active.
One thing I've learned in over thirty years as an educator is that the best way to put yourself in a good mood is to visit a Pre-K or Kindergarten class. There is nothing like it! For this week's Showcase, we are visiting the Pre-K programs of BCEMS and BTMES, and I can assure you that you will soon have a smile on your face! We joined BCEMS Pre-K teacher Nancy Benoit and BTMES Pre-K teacher Kelsey LaPerle's classes recently and learned a whole lot about car detailing and the solar system during our visits.
We had a chance to visit Ujamaa math teacher Tana Cosgrove's 7th-grade math class yesterday and witness the students working together on ratios in a math lesson. The kids' engagement was amazing to watch.
What was most impressive about this math lesson was the collaboration I witnessed both between Ms. Cosgrove and Ujamaa Special Educator Becky Dwyer and the various groups of students who were working beautifully together throughout the lesson. It was great to hear the students talk about how they mix up groups and learn how to cooperate and problem-solve together. Ms. Cosgrove and Ms. Dwyer "work the room" following the lesson, but the focus is on having the students problem-solve with each other. Real-world skills in a real-world math lesson that focuses on financial literacy!
Our first Hero Spotlight is BCEMS Building Facilities Coordinator and SHS JV girls soccer and lacrosse coach John Walker. BUUSD Facilities Director Jamie Evans nominated John, and you will see in the following brief video how valuable he has been to the BCEMS community!
Stay tuned for more Hero Spotlights in the coming weeks and months, and please feel free to reach out with more heroes who have helped us all through these last two years.
I got to spend time with the BUUSD Art teachers last week as they set up the annual BUUSD Art Show at the Aldrich Public Library. The work on display from students of all ages was beautiful and I strongly encourage you to attend - the show is on display now through the end of March. This show has always been a highlight of the year for me and many others, and after hearing from our student artists you will understand why!
Welcome to the first School Showcase of 2022! This week, we find ourselves in BCEMS Art Teacher Kate Hawley's kindergarten class. As we know, the last week and a half has been incredibly challenging for our school community, but I found spending a half-hour with Ms. Hawley's group of six-year-olds the perfect answer to all of my woes! I think you will too.
For those who don't know, this week is "Computer Science Awareness Week", and both BTMES and BCEMS are participating in the nationwide Hour of Code event all week! We got to spend time in BTMES Tech Integrationist Jess Van Orman and BCEMS teachers Prudence Krasofski and Christine Everett's classes the other day talking to them and their students about their experiences. What a great visit!