News & updates

News & updates

hildene visitBrookfield 3/4 Graders Explore Hildene

The Bookfield 3/4 grade from went down to Hildene, Lincoln's family home in Manchester, VT to learn about goats and vernal pools. The students got the chance to learn facts about the anatomy of goats, what can be made from their milk, and even got to bottle feed the baby goats. After lunch they gathered in the classroom and learned about vernal pools and some of the creatures who live in them, before heading out to see one on site. There, the students got to explore with nets and other devices, the pools and their inhabitants while recording data on what they found.

Randolph Kindergarteners Study Chicks’ Metamorphosis
Courtesy of The Herald, May 24, 2018


Closing out a multi-unit study on life cycles, Randolph Elementary School celebrated its annual Chick Night with an open house event on May 17. Studying for this hands-on unit began when students and teachers set the eggs into incubation the day after April vacation. These fertilized eggs were donated by Tracy Squire, who has a backyard chicken coop in East Randolph.

In teacher Sarah Langlois’ kindergarten classroom, her students watched as eggs sprang to life over the course of their 21-day incubation period. The pupils candled the eggs each day with the aid of a flashlight to see past the shell and examine growth intervals inside the egg. The students then created colored diagrams to better understand different components of the embryo.

This curriculum, a component of the Next Generation Science Standards, connects elements of multi-disciplinary study including math, music, art, reading, and writing. Unique within the Orange Southwest School District, the Randolph kindergarten class is the only one in the district to cover the life cycles of chicks. “In terms of our district, Chick Night is definitely a Randolph tradition,” Langlois said.

Langlois said highlights of the unit included the study of embryology and a week spent learning about many types of egg-laying animals and how they tend to vary. Studies also included vocabulary development as the children learned new scientific terminology. Learning songs helped the kids remember more complex ideas. Langlois said the day the chicks were hatching was the most exciting for her students. “The hands-on piece is really what makes it stick for these kids,” she said.

Making Connections

The students learned about all the parts of the chicken, studied the difference between hens and roosters, and surveyed different chicken varieties. They also helped ready the classroom for the hatching stage and actually watched the process as baby chicks emerged from their egg shells.

“A lot goes into the night. It is well worth it to see their excitement in learning,” she said.
Symbolic of the kindergarteners’ readiness to graduate into first grade, the children will observe the lively chicks for 14 days after they hatch, ending the study unit on baby chicks.

Students sometimes ask to take home the baby chicks and raise them into chickens over the coming summer. Langlois said she handles the opportunity on a first-come, first-serve basis after speaking with the student’s family.

The final unit of the year in kindergarten will proceed to cover ideas surrounding force and motion, where students will have more hands-on exploration of these ideas through the building and testing of different structures.

“Everything is closely connected,” Langlois said.

"Miss Gus" Awarded Nat'l Engaged Leader Award
Courtesy of The Herald, May 17, 2018miss gus

Randolph Elementary School’s Gus Howe Johnson, affectionately known as “Miss Gus,” was awarded the National Engaged Leader Award by the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) on May 6. The organization invites select students enrolled in colleges or universities nationwide to work towards being inducted into the society.

Johnson was working as a para-educator at RES and simultaneously finishing her master’s degree at Johnson State College in the spring of 2017, when she was chosen by local chapter head Susan Caswell Bellimer to participate in the program.

According to Johnson, in order to be inducted, she attended many speaker workshops and outlined personal and professional goals, which were monitored by officials at NSLS.

Following her induction in May 2017, “Miss Gus” jumped at the opportunity to shift from working one-on-one with students to having her own classroom of 21 fifth- and sixth-graders. Johnson decided to enroll in the second level of NSLS’s program, through which she earned the National Engaged Leader Award at the beginning of this month.

Community service is a key component for the NSLS award. For Johnson, that service came in the form of “hosting, supervising, and feeding” RUHS’s Students Against Violence Everywhere association in her Randolph Village home.

She chuckled as she recalled the sheer quantity of food she prepared while the young activists were busy brainstorming in her living room.

Johnson came to the teaching scene relatively late, following a 20- year career in journalism. A graduate of RUHS, she earned her bachelor’s in agricultural journalism from Hampshire College. An immediate job offer as the editor of the Maryland Farmer Newspaper sent the young writer throughout Maryland and southern Pennsylvania to report on issues she knew nothing about, Johnson said.

Johnson loves to help her students “find their topic”—both as young writers and as people.

“Make everything be a question,” is how she described her interview style, a trait she said she hoped to instill in her students.

RES Students Explore Howling Wolf Farm
On Thursday, May 3rd, Ms. Gus's 5th and 6th grade class, along with their buddies in Mrs. Mitchell's 1st grade class, went to Howling Wolf Farm in Randolph for a day of high adventure.

They experienced, in between three rainstorms, learning about Katahdin sheep and lambs, how they shed their wool, and how their hoofs are trimmed. They explored a pond complete with turtles, salamanders, and frog eggs. They then picked their way through a "maze" made with sheep fence; enjoyed lunch by the pond; took a hike up into fields and forests to study plants, trees, and wildlife habitats; and managed to run into three snakes and a couple of sheep carcasses.

All in all – a busy and productive day! Thank you Jenn Colby of Howling Wolf Farm for a wonderful adventure!​

Braintree Students Will Help Update the Town Plan
By M.D. Drysdale, courtesy of The Herald, May 03, 2018.

Faced with the need to update the Braintree Town plan, the Braintree Planning Commission has enlisted help from those who might benefit over many years—students at the Braintree Elementary school.
Students in grades four, five, and six have been asked to help illustrate the town plan with photos of Braintree’s scenic views, historic buildings, and recreation areas “which make Braintree such a wonderful place to live,” according to planning commission member Nathan Cleveland.

“I hope that the contest will result in the kids having a better understanding of how and why we have local government, and how planning can help identify and protect our natural, scenic, and built resources for future generations,” he told The Herald.

Teaming with teachers Larry Burns and Janni Jacobs, Cleveland has organized a photo contest to help demonstrate recreational, historical, and scenic areas. The two will kick of the project on May 17, with a showing of slides and maps of historical places.

Each student is then asked to take photographs demonstrating four categories—historical, recreational, scenic, and rural scenic roads. He gives as examples, the Braintree Hill Meeting House, old stone walls and dam sites, snowmobile and horseback trails, Mud Pond and nearby Rolling Rock, and 11 scenic roads.
Students will receive the full list of suggestions at the May meeting.

In addition to being a fun and educational project for the students, Cleveland hopes that getting the kids interested will get their parents involved, as well. The contest rules and the Planning Commission’s survey will be sent home with the students.

He’s also looking to the students for their perspective of their town: “I hope that we will get a better understanding of what the kids find to be scenic, historical, and in general what makes our town special,” he said.

Each student may submit five photographs no later than June 4, and the town planning commission will select the winning photos on the 8th.

Junior Iron Chef(s) Compete Statewideiron chef

Randolph Elementary had two teams compete against 30 other teams around the state in the 11th annual Junior Iron Chef Competition on March 17th.
The competition took place in Essex at the Champlain Valley Expo. Each team was made up of 5 students for a total of 10 students in 5th and 6th grade.

The teams began meeting shortly after the December break and worked hard to come up with delicious recipes to put before a panel of 12 judges.
The Poppin' Peppers made a vegetarian chili with homemade corn bread and the Exotic Burritos made a breakfast burrito with a maple syrup based fruit salsa. The kids were fantastic and had lots of fun!
The Poppin' Peppers -- coached by Jessica Allen and the Exotic Burritos -- coached by Josh and Alicia Hanford represented Randolph Elementary School well.

Brookfield Students Enjoy Drumming Performancetaiko

Brookfield Elementary School students learned the basics of Taiko drumming during a break in their studies recently.

Taiko is a Japanese style of ancient traditional drumming. Sensei Stuart Paton gave an hour performance to the school and members of the Brookfield community and afterwards, gave the individual grades a chance to try it out for themselves.

Students evidently liked what they saw, and enjoyed the learning process!

Destination Imagination Teams Gearing up the VT State Tournament

Randolph’s Destination Imagination Teams are working hard on their presentations for the Vermont State Tournament coming up on March 24th.

We have 3rd - 6th grade teams working on the Scientific, Fine Arts and Community Service Challenges this year. The Scientific group is creating a wild roller coaster ride through the brain. The Fine arts group is creating a musical play about wizards, scientists and cats. And the Community Service team is working with the Joslyn House to help fund some building improvements.

All of our “DI” teams invite the community to support their efforts by coming to our St Patrick’s Day Supper and Bingo Night on March 17th. More info to follow.

Randolph Elementary Readers Shatter Reading Records!

RES readers were busy last month! They spent the month of February tracking their reading hours with the goal of breaking last year's record - by a lot! And by the end of February? They did it. The RES Readers had read a total 3227 hours!!!

On Friday, February 23rd, all the students celebrated their reading success with an Olympic Reading assembly. After a closing Olympic procession we had a staff minute-to-win- it competition that made for lots of laughs. Students that read to pre- determined reading levels were awarded Olympic reading medals. Each student who turned in at least one reading log received a special "Olympic Reader" bookmark.
Students also engaged in other fun activities to celebrate reading during February.

On three different Fridays, students in all grades celebrated their reading accomplishments by making Olympic torches, Olympic mascot hand puppets, Olympic medals, and origami Olympic rings. On February 16th, students in 4th - 6th grade who had read three or more titles from this years' list of thirty DCF books were invited to a recess-time birthday party in Dorothy Canfield Fisher's honor.

Go RES readers!

Brookfield Students Have Been Busy this Winter
brookfield artist
Fifth and Sixth grade students at Brookfield School have all been participating in the LEAD (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) program for the past 10 weeks. On Thursday, February 22th at 9:00am, they will graduate from the program. As part of this graduation, a few students will have a chance to share what they have learned in LEAD and all students will have some work they have done for the program on display.

Students in Mrs. Ferris' 3/4 and 5/6 classes have been learning about snow and snowflakes. They learned about how snowflakes begin, how temperature impacts the formation and type of snowflake. Why snowflakes are 6 sided and how each one is unique. Students also learned that eating snow isn't necessarily a good idea because snowflakes sometimes start from dust or bacteria particles and travelling through the atmosphere and they can collect lots of other foreign particles. For an art/science project during the unit students made salt and glue snowflakes to learn about absorption, how colors change and why some are more vibrant than others. They also learned about texture and much more.

Braintree Students Blast Off

Students in Braintree Elementary School's 4th, 5th & 6th grade traveled to Rutland recently to learn about chromatography. Students were able to make straw rockets and then launched them outside. Such a wonderful learning opportunity for students and you can just hear the excitement as the rockets go up!
Thanks to Marie Herow for recording this wonderful experience. Click here to watch video.

braintree kids

Braintree School Earns PBIS Merit Awardreaders

Braintree Elementary School has been notified that it’s received the Vermont Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports (PBIS) Merit award for the 2016-2017 school year.

The award is based on the implementation of a universal PBIS system along with using a problem solving framework to improve student outcomes.
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.

Congratulations to the students, staff, faculty, administration, and families who’ve worked so hard to make this happen.