News & updates

News & updates

farm to school grant winnersBraintree Elementary Awarded Farm to School Grant

Braintree Elementary School was one of just seven schools throughout the state recently awarded a $15,000 Farm to School Grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM).

The VAAFM hosted a celebration of the Vermont Farm to School and Childcare Grant Program at the Vermont State House on Wednesday, March 12, where it recognized seven school communities and two early childcare organizations with important grants to support their local food programming.
The program strives to improve the education and health of Vermont’s students, as well as positively impact the local economy, by providing Vermont schools and childcare programs with technical and financial assistance to develop and execute farm to school and farm to childcare programs. These programs integrate fresh, healthy, locally grown foods and nutrition education into Vermont’s cafeterias, classrooms and communities.
On hand to present the awards was Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts, Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Education Secretary Daniel French.

“We’re so excited about receiving this grant,” said Misse Axelrod, founder and director of the Vermont Farm and Forest School in Roxbury, “and we look forward to digging even deeper into growing a strong Farm to School Program here at Braintree. When students are connected to the food they eat, they are more likely to make healthy choices and eat more fruits and vegetables. The school is excited to cultivate relationships with local farmers through on farm connections, local food in the cafeteria, and plans to bring the community together through farm and food. The grant will give the school the support they need to make this all possible.”

Axelrod has been working with the Orange Southwest School District and the Farm to School Coordinator since 2019. The Vermont Farm and Forest School works with a dozen schools in Central Vermont and statewide on farm, food, nutrition education.

Vermont is a national leader in farm to school programs and activities, and has played a major role in helping secure hundreds of thousands of federal grant dollars for farm to school programs throughout the state.


March is Youth Art Month at Randolph Elementary

Artwork from Randolph Elementary School

It's Youth Art Month at Randolph Elementary School (and across the country), and our student artists will be participating in several art presentations at the Vermont Statehouse and at Chandler Gallery. Our theme this year is "eARTh" which celebrates the 50th anniversaries of Earth Day and Vermont Green Up Day. Several of our pieces will be displayed along with other PreK- grade 12 work from around the State in an effort to show how art can reflect, communicate and illustrate our roles as stewards of our planet. Artists have long used their work to inspire others to appreciate and respect the natural world, and our students are adding their voices to this tradition.

The RES exhibits will include painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing from all OSSD students, PreK through grade 6. Preschoolers created a collaborative earth and earth prints while Kindergarten students made clay pieces about

endangered Vermont species. First and second graders created an installation of imaginative colorful plants, bugs, and fish, reminding us that nature inspires our imagination. "Save Life on Earth" is a collection of realistic animal portraits created by third and fourth graders that reflects their interests and the development of their observation skills; while complex, made from clay Earth Guardian sculptures were crafted by fifth and sixth graders. Their painted forms were inspired by indigenous people from Central America complimenting one of their theme units this year.

Randolph Elementary School Holiday Market
picture of vegetables
Don't forget to join your family and friends on Saturday, December 7th at the annual RES Holiday Market.

We’ll have a wide variety of vendors showcasing their jewelry, preserves, syrup, hand-knits, ornaments and more. Plus there will be live music and delicious food, including soup, salad, coffee and tea. 

Looking for that perfect holiday gift, or just want to catch up with your neighbors and friends? Don’t miss the RES holiday market. All proceeds will benefit the Farm to School Program.

For more information on farm to school activities and eating healthy, check out the Vermont Farm and Forest School at Drift Farmstead here:

Brookfield classes take in Bubble Mania!
bubble mania artist casey carle
Brookfield students recently attended a “Bubble Mania” performance put on by famous 'bubble mania' artist and performer Casey Carle.

An extremely popular show, Casey combines polished entertainment with high quality visual art and practical, age appropriate science.  Students of all ages learn how bubbles form, why they're spherical, how to make a square bubble, and the science of bubble bursting - each topic related to the physical laws of the natural world.

Older grades learn to appreciate practical applications of diverse bubbles in everyday life (soccer balls to air bags) and are actively involved in fun demonstrations of molecular bonding and surface tension.

But what did the students think of the performance? Let’s hear it in their words:

Casey Carle is very funny, he has a lot of energy and it was very cool when he put the boy in the bubble and it was cool.

Bubble Mania was a fun show because there was a trash bucket that had a fog machine in it and when the guy hit one side a fog circle came out. When the bubble guy blew bubbles at the fog they circled around.
Casey was an awesome performer and an awesome bubble-ologist. Casey used science and a lot of humor to amaze us and inspire us. Bubble Mania was awesome, I would go back any day.

Bubble mania was a fun and educational way to learn about bubbles.

Casey-Carle is entertaining and humorous. He is a bubble-ologist and he studies bubbles. He finds ways to entertain us and he makes doing bubble tricks look easy. Last time I did bubbles I could barely blow them out of the bubble wand.

Bubble mania is a very fun performance. Case is very humorous and the things he can do with bubbles are amazing.

Casey ties together humor and bubbles in Bubble mania. He makes learning about bubbles fun and extraordinary.

I think that Bubble mania was an amazing performance. Casey did a good job on making hilarious jokes, and using science words within the jokes. He also did some pretty cool tricks and experiments with bubbles. 

Braintree Upper Grades Enjoy Cardigan...AGAIN
picture of three braintree students
Braintree Elementary students in 4th, 5th and 6th grades, along with a contingent of parents, grandparents and former students, all enjoyed (another!) great hike up Mt. Cardigan in New Hampshire.

The colors were at their peak and stunning, and despite a few 45 mile per hour gusts, nobody got blown off the mountain! Our 'guesstimate' is that this is the 25th year in a row that Braintree students and their families have hiked Cardigan!

RES 3/4 Team Visits Groton State Park

RES teachers Linda Garrett and Nora Skolnick took students in the third and fourth grade classes on an overnight camping trip to Groton State Park recently. 

As part of their geology unit, the classes went on several hikes, Randolph elementary students pose for a photofocusing on the rock formations and the impact of the glaciers in the area. They also examined some of the natural history of the area. 

It was a great way for students and teachers to bond together as a group  - especially as they enjoyed smores, stories and songs around the campfire. Students took a night walk before retiring to their cabins, enjoying the late summer/early fall quiet and beauty of the park.

Braintree / Brookfield Students Go Snorkeling
picture of students about to go snorkeling
On Wednesday, September 11th, Brookfield 5th and 6th Graders went to Rochester to snorkel in the White River. The students were able to observe fish and invertebrates in their natural habitats, in a section of the river restored by the White River Partnership.

The students had studied a curriculum provided by the program beforehand, introducing them to the concepts of National Forests, watersheds, types of river habitats, and species diversity. The students also spent part of the day using nets to find macro-invertebrates, and learning about what they found from the program staff.

Braintree 4th, 5th and 6th graders also got a chance to investigate the river with nets and wetsuits! Organized by White River Valley Partnership and Green Mtn. National Forest, the kids learned about land and water management, along with macroinvertebrate (water critters) identification. Best of all, they got to snorkel with wetsuits and snorkels and discover all the life in the river. 

Brookfield Classes Attend Tunbridge Fair
On Thursday, September 12th, Grades two through six attended Agricultural Education Day at Tunbridge Fair. Students were able to visit the animal exhibits, and see an enormous variety of farm animal breeds.
Students also spent time on 'Antique Hill", living history through exhibits that demonstrate skills, equipment, and buildings from colonial times to the present. These exhibits include a blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, sugar house, early internal combustion engines, civil war re-enactment, and a pump log maker. Students also were able to watch working steers and oxen compete in a log scoot during their lunch break.

Randolph Elementary's Garden is GROWING!!raised flower beds
Farm to School has been busy this summer creating an edible landscape for students to enjoy in years to come!
A big shout out thank you to Ross Evans, Peter Evans, True North Wilderness, community volunteers, Ember Hill Farm, Easthill Tree Farm and the students of Ms. Van Houten's class for making this project possible!

We are still looking for some plant donations to fill in some space. Donations can be dropped off the morning of 9/5. Raspberries, blueberries, hydrangea bushes (med size), perennial flower devisions - whatever you might have.
Questions can be addressed to Misse
Misse Axelrod

Students Hold ‘Inventions Fair’
Courtesy of The Herald, April 18, 2019
Photo by Tim Calabro / Story by Cecile Smith
Randolph Elementary Student Experiments with Morse Code
“The world wouldn’t be the same without it,” said elementary student Emma Dimick-Ritter last Thursday as she explained why she chose to study the development of the internet for a class assignment.

Dimick-Ritter’s research project was on display at an “inventions fair” hosted by three different fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms at Randolph Elementary School. Migrating from room to room, students took turns manning their displays and visiting those of their peers.

Pupils in Gus Howe Johnson’s class began researching inventions in February and focused on determining how the innovation changed the life of its inventor and the world, Johnson explained. This project, she added, was designed to introduce students to a unit on the Industrial Revolution.

Fellow educator Melinda Robinson saw the potential for an “inventions fair”—a museum of sorts, involving students in several classrooms— and “the kids got very creative about their projects,” Johnson wrote in an email.

In order to demonstrate her learning on the invention of Hungarian Argentine inventor László Bíró, one student handcrafted a ballpoint pen using a drinking straw, plaster, and homemade ink—made from blueberries, vinegar, and salt.

Blake Allen, whose arm rested in a cast beside her display, eagerly explained the basics of how x-ray images are taken. Nearby, Cameron Shultz-Currier sat in front of a model telegraph machine she had built out of a tissue box.

Connor Hood and a handful of classmates crowded around the bicycle he constructed entirely from scratch. Hood even did the welding himself, he said proudly.

Pasteurization was the topic of choice for Megan Taylor, who is involved in 4-H and said she has “always been interested in animals and farms.”

Across the hall, Evelyn Murawski stood beside a brightly-colored trifold containing images of early cameras. Photographs, she said, require no writing and allow people to simply “take a memory.”