BFA Fairfax Alum- Troy Millette Rocks All School Morning Meeting

Target 4 – Engaged Community Partners
FWSU staff and students will collaborate, innovate, create and conceptualize ideas and learning with local, regional, state, and global partners to make
a difference in their community, state, and world.

Action Step – Engage community partners in a
focused collaborative inquiry process

Indicator of Success -Students are engaged with local resources and create community learning “labs” based on projects.

Yesterday morning students at BFA Fairfax were treated to the musical and comedic talents of Troy Millette (Class of 2012).  Currently, Troy is a senior at St. Michael’s College where he is majoring in English, while working at Minor’s store and pursuing a music career.


Troy shared an important message with our students about being passionate about your dreams, the need to persevere, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to reach your goals.  In between songs, he reminded students about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people and to take advantage of the opportunities that they have at their school and in their community.

We all appreciated starting our morning with wonderful songs and laughter.  Troy is a great representative of our school and the Fairfax community.  Thank you to him for sharing his talents and demonstrating to our students the importance of giving back.

Supporting All Learners through All Kinds of Learning: Feel the Blend!

Target 3: Flexible Learning Environments FWSU will maximize flexible learning environments by redefining the school day, promoting learning experiences that extend beyond the school classroom, and fostering creativity, innovation, and differentiated learning opportunities for all.

Action Step: Increase access to resources for all students using digital tools making learning more accessible for diverse learners

Indicator: Staff, students and community embrace the digital, social, mobile and “always on” learning styles of 21st century students.

This year, FWSU will use Schoology to create blended professional learning opportunities for teachers as well as students. Blended or hybrid learning opportunities utilize both online and in-person components in the delivery of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The digital delivery of content and instruction often provides the learner with better control over the time, location, and pace of the learning.

As part of the FWSU Mentoring Program, all new teachers will participate in a blended (or hybrid) course called Professional Practice Forum.  The purpose of the forum is to deepen understanding of new teacher practice by participating in a cohort that meets monthly – sometimes face-to-face and other times through the Schoology platform.


photo (2)

The blended course provides new teachers with several opportunities. They get to reconnect with other new teachers in their cohort on a regular basis for peer support and engage with content designed specifically to enhance their experience as first year educators in FWSU. Equally important, they get to experience Schoology from the student perspective, which can reinforce their own use of the platform and its collaboration tools for online and blended instructional features within their own classrooms.

schoology course

As we continue to make progress in meeting our Action Plan targets of personalizing learning for all students in flexible learning environments that reflect a digital-age culture, we provide a blended learning environment for teachers using Schoology to encourage us all to keep moving “above the line” in professional learning on the SAMR model.


BFA Fairfax Develops Peer Support Leadership

Target 2 – Leadership in a Student Centered Learning Environment. FWSU will foster development of teacher & student leaders who provide innovative opportunities for local and global student-centered learning.

Action Step – Ensure students and staff take an active role shaping their learning using rich, authentic questions, problems they identify, & diverse resources.

Indicator of Success – Student voice will have the power to impact the perceptions of others.

For thirteen BFA High School students, the first week of school included 3 1/2 days of Peer Support Training. Peer Support is a program which trains high school students in peer counseling skills as well identifying and implementing action plans aimed at promoting teen mental health. The training was held at the Bishop Booth Center in Burlington, VT, where students learned about active listening, diversity issues, problem solving, motivational interviewing, substance-abuse issues, adolescent development, teen mental health issues, suicide and self-harm, assertiveness, and stress management. Students also explored the role of a peer counselor and group problem-solving skills.

1BFA Peer Support

The group put their skills to the test by spending an afternoon at the UVM ropes course where they problem-solved unique obstacles and challenged themselves on the high elements.


Students who completed the training last year helped organize and lead this year’s training. The group is very excited to use their new skills and help their peers by implementing initiatives to support fellow students at BFA.


7th Graders at GEMS Participate in Penny Challenge

To start the year GEMS 7th grade students gathered in the newly-renovated library to hear “a penny for your thoughts”.

The 7th grade team decided to start off the year by having students complete an integrated research project revolving around a penny. All students will be required to find eight facts based on the decade of the penny students randomly chose; five historical events and three scientific discoveries.


Language Arts classes: Using three events researched, students will write a historical fiction piece about their penny.

Math: Students will find a scientific discovery for the year they selected and create an infographic in the form of a Picollage poster, keynote presentation, notability visual, or handmade poster.

Science: Students will research scientific discoveries to be used in their math infographic and social studies map.

Social Studies: Students will develop a map showing the important achievements during their penny’s decade.


Also included in the map assignment, students will create an annotated map that documents significant historical and scientific events they have researched for their penny’s decade.

A penny for their thoughts!

BFA Students Attend Summer Research Workshop

Target 1Student-Centered Learning
FWSU students will engage in personalize learning involving collaborative inquiry, problem solving and creative learning opportunities.

Action Step – Highlight, create and model innovative learning opportunities that promote
collaborative inquiry, problem solving and creativity for students and staff

Indicator of Success – Students and staff will participate in a global dialogue to engage in authentic investigation and problem solving with partners located outside of their school

BFA High School students Samantha King and Devan Borthwick recently attended a four-day workshop with Science teacher Thomas Lane involving research on carbon sequestration in plants at St. Michael’s College.

(BFA students Devan Borthwick (left) and Samantha King set-up an experiment to measure transpiration rate in Quercus palustris (Pin Oak) at the “Leaves of Green” workshop, St. Michael’s College.)

(BFA students Devan Borthwick (left) and Samantha King set-up an experiment to measure transpiration rate in Quercus palustris (Pin Oak) at the “Leaves of Green” workshop, St. Michael’s College.)

The “Leaves of Green” workshop, hosted by the Center for Workforce Development and Diversity at Saint Michael’s College, is an opportunity for high school teachers and students to explore how carbon is assimilated and partitioned by plants and how these processes affect agriculture, global climate change, and biofuel production.

(BFA high school student Samantha King transfers yeast solution to fermentation tubes to analyze carbohydrate levels.)

(BFA high school student Samantha King transfers yeast solution to fermentation tubes to analyze carbohydrate levels.)

This program is funded by a National Science Foundation grant.   It was developed by a consortium from the University of Missouri, Purdue University, University of Florida, University of Nebraska, Saint Michael’s College, and VT EPSCoR (Experimental Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research).  Students conducted experiments in stomatal density, transpiration, photosynthetic rate and sugar concentration using lab equipment provided by Saint Michael’s College.

Students conducted research on a project they developed. At the conclusion of the workshop they presented an oral report of their work.


Samantha and Devon decided to examine how relative atmospheric humidity effected photosynthetic rate.

LOG chart

(BFA student Devan Borthwick sets up an experiment to measure relative humidity vs photosynthetic rate of Malus sieboldii (flowering crab apple) using a growth chamber, CO2, O2 and humidity Vernier sensors. Samantha King (in the foreground) collects data.)

(BFA student Devan Borthwick sets up an experiment to measure relative humidity vs photosynthetic rate of Malus sieboldii (flowering crab apple) using a growth chamber, CO2, O2 and humidity Vernier sensors. Samantha King (in the foreground) collects data.)

The “Leaves of Green” workshop was a fantastic experience.  It gave students the opportunity to conduct authentic research, learn laboratory techniques and work with college professors and students from around the state of Vermont.

Welcome to Our New Educators, Part 2

This is the second post in a two-part series welcoming our new educators! If you missed part 1, read it here.

SANDRA MOULTON – Grade 6 Teacher at GEMS

moultonHometown: Georgia, VT

Hobbies/Interests:  Family time which includes a lot of sidewalk chalk, finger painting, and playdough at the moment.  Along with outdoor music festivals and hiking. I am an avid runner, hoping to do my 10th marathon in 2016!  I enjoy reading and spending as much time outdoors as I can.

College(s) Attended: University of Vermont, Southern New Hampshire University

Teaching Experience:  Title I/One-on-one/Enrichment at MBES in Colchester, Early Care Advocate with Head Start at the Burlington EEE program and The Burlington Children’s Space, 2nd-6th Grade Teacher at Isle La Motte Elementary School, 3rd-6th Grade Teacher at North Hero Elementary School, Gymnastics Coach.

Quotable: Live. Laugh. Love.

Why Teaching?: For those moments of breakthrough, when you can actually see the light bulb burst with light.  Teaching is my passion, I find such joy in working with people.

BRIAN GARVEY, Spanish Teacher at GEMS

garveyHometown: Richmond, Vermont

Hobbies/Interests: fishing, coffee, traveling, conversation, and baseball!

College(s) Attended: BA Castleton State College – Spanish Education, MA St. Michael’s College –  TESOL (in progress)

Teaching Experience:  Fulbright English Teacher in Medellín, Colombia at La Universidad de San Buenaventura (2014-2015)

Quotable: Why learn about a place when you can GO THERE.

Why Teaching?: I want to inspire others to see the world.

AMY MACBETH, Special Educator at GEMS

Hometown: Milton,VT

Hobbies/Interests: Playing with my girls, reading, hiking

College(s) Attended: Saint Michael’s College – BA; University of Vermont – M.Ed.

Teaching Experience:  9 years as a Special Educator in Milton.

Quotable: She believed she could so she did.

Why Teaching?:  I enjoy the learning process and helping others.

KELSEY FINK, Math Teacher at BFA HS 

finkHometown: Colchester, VT

Hobbies/interests: hiking, running, skiing, biking, swimming, ultimate frisbee, traveling

College attended: Bates College (BA in Mathematics and Psychology)

Teaching experience: I began teaching math (College Algebra, Trigonometry and Contemporary Math) in 2011 at Southern Maine Community College. In 2012 until this year, I taught Geometry and Algebra II at Scarborough High School in Maine. After moving to Vermont this year, I am excited to join the team at BFA Fairfax!

Quotable: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin

Why Teaching?: There is nothing better than seeing kids become adults. They find their passions, ask questions, and begin to take responsibility for their place in this world. Being a part of that transition is amazing. Beyond that, I love helping students challenge themselves in a subject that they have confidence in and build confidence where it might not exist. I love seeing students change their mindsets and accomplish things that they never thought were possible for them.

NICHOLE WALKER – Guidance Counselor at BFA MS

walkerHometown: I am originally from Colchester, Vermont and have just purchased my first home in Colchester this summer.

Hobbies/Interests:  When I am not at work I love to read, ride horses and get as much outside time as I can.

College(s) Attended: I attended UVM for both my undergraduate (2013) and my graduate masters program (2015).

Teaching Experience:  Prior to BFA I worked part time in Essex doing elementary guidance for K-3 for the last half of the 2014-2015 school year.

Quotable: “Do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda

Why Teaching?: I chose teaching, and specifically Counseling because I desired to work with students in a smaller more intimate setting.  Allowing them the space to find and work towards the solutions to their own problems as well as foster their own sense of change.

IAN FLINT – Band Director at BFA HS

flintHometown: I am originally from Hallstead, PA and have been living in Dartmouth, MA for the last 9 years.

Hobbies/Interests: In my free time I enjoy skiing and biking. I also do visual design for High School and College marching bands all throughout the United States.

Colleges: I attended West Chester University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate degree. I majored in Music Performance with a focus in Tuba. Currently I am pursuing my Masters in Instrumental Conducting from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

Teaching Experience: I have work as a district wide brass specialist for the Dartmouth Public Schools in Dartmouth, MA for 6. I also spent 2 years with Westport Public Schools in Westport, MA as the High School music director. I have worked with over 50 high schools as a marching band consultant and have also worked a Penn State University, Boston University, Texas State University and Bloomsburg University.

Why Teaching: I really enjoy working with students at all levels. I like starting them as musicians at the elementary level and seeing them grow over the years.

LESLIE SELLARS – Special Educator at FES

sellarsHometown:  I was born and raised in South Carolina, but am proud to call Fayston, VT my hometown now!

Hobbies: I love to practice ashtanga yoga, ski and ride my purple snowmobile.

College: Undergraduate at Limestone College, and currently studying in the masters program at Johnson State College.

Teaching experience: I am so excited for this year to be my first as a Special Educator.

Quotable: “Namaste”

Why teaching?: I just love to be with children, and helping them succeed!!


metayerHometown:  Fairfax, VT

Hobbies: Cooking, gardening, traveling, reading, yoga

College: University of Vermont

Teaching experience: 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies – Belmont, MA; 6th-8th grade Social Studies – St. David’s Bermuda

Quotable: “It’s not about being your best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.”

Why teaching?:  My passion for teaching comes from a love of watching people learn.  I am fascinated by the brain and watching those ah-ha moments makes me incredibly happy.  I also believe that for our planet to be a better place, we need to be teaching students about the diversity of the world we live in today.  I am very excited for this position because teaching world geography to 7th grade will be a perfect fit.

Welcome to Our New Educators – Part 1

We are pleased to introduce these amazing new educators at FWSU! Join us in welcoming them to our district.

milneANDREA MILNE – PreK Teacher at GEMS

Hometown: Georgia

Hobbies/Interests: being with my family, cooking and reading

College(s) Attended: UVM and Union Institute and University

Teaching Experience:  Preschool and Kindergarten Teacher

Quotable: “Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning”- Peter Pan

MARCY PERROTTE, HS Special Educator at BFA

marcyHometown: Briarcliff, NY

Hobbies/Interests:  I’m an adventurous home cook who loves to try cooking with new ingredients. In nice weather, you can find me cruising down the Burlington Bike Path or hiking up a mountain. In my down time, I’m often snuggling my cats or spending time with friends and family. I’m always ready to pick up a new book or newspaper article to read!

College(s) Attended: I attended Johnson State College and received my B.A. in Theater Arts. Currently, I am enrolled in the Saint Michael’s College Special Education graduate program and expect to complete my studies in May 2017.

Teaching Experience:  I completed my student teaching in Theater Education at U-32 in Montpelier. After that, I worked at the Winooski School District for five years and had various roles as a third grade teacher’s assistant, speech and language aide for grades 3-12, and program support specialist in a self-contained, alternative middle school classroom. Additionally, I spent two summers teaching theater programs at Smuggler’s Notch Resort and The FlynnArts summer program.

Quotable: “The beautiful thing about learning, is that no one can take it away from you.” – B.B. King and “Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes them meaningful.” – Unknown

Why Teaching?: There is no other profession where I can have as much fun as I do teaching while also making a difference in the lives of others. Teaching allows me to play, learn, and share knowledge with others. I’m happy because every day is a new day to learn.

youngERIN YOUNG – Grade 4 Teacher at GEMS

Hometown: Georgia, VT

Hobbies/Interests:  Hiking, Outdoors, going to the beach, snowshoeing, technology, hanging out with family, bonfires, softball

College(s) Attended: University of Vermont (2005-2009), Southern New Hampshire University (Currently Enrolled)

Teaching Experience:  I have taught for 5 years. I taught for 3 years in Pensacola, Florida and I taught in Jacksonville, North Carolina for 2 years.

Quotable: One of my favorite quotes that I had just come across… “Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.” -Scott Hayden

Why Teaching?: It is the most rewarding career. I get to work with children every day and learn alongside of them.

ANDREW JOHNSON – HS Social Studies Teacher at BFA

johnsonHometown:  Essex, Vermont

Hobbies/Interests:  Board Games, Reading Sci-Fi\Fantasy Novels, Playing with my 2 kids, Leading Cub Scouts

College(s) Attended: University of Maine at Farmington

Teaching Experience:  3 years teaching World History at North Country Union High School in Newport, VT; 8 years teaching in Essex at ADL, Essex High, and Center for Technology, Essex.

Quotable: “Wherever you go in life, Brother, Whatever be your goal, Keep your eye on the doughnut, Not on the hole.” —Optimist’s Creed

Why Teaching?:  I love teaching because it’s the way I get to share the amazing story of human history with all our remarkable achievements.  I love telling students about our story, everyone’s story, and how we are a part of it.  I enjoy opening students’ minds to where we are and how far we have come.

knowlesELLEN KNOWLES, Speech Language Pathologist 

Hometown: Newton, MA

Hobbies: hiking/nature walks, interior design, inventing new recipes and revamping classics in healthier ways.

Colleges Attended: University of Vermont, BA Psychology, University of Connecticut, MA Speech Language Pathology

Teaching experience: 14 years working in Early Intervention and school based settings in CT, MI, VA and VT as we moved around with the Coast Guard.

Quotable: “Integrity is everything.”

Why Education?: I am an SLP in the school: I am drawn to the collective environment and team work that goes into bringing out the best in children and maximizing their potential.

KAREN KRUPA – English Language Arts Teacher at BFA HS

krupaHometown: South Burlington, VT

Hobbies/Interests: running, biking, reading, cooking/baking, spending time outdoors

College(s) Attended: Salve Regina University, Newport, RI

Teaching Experience: 2 years

Quotable: “Readers are leaders”

Why Teaching?: I love school and always have. Teaching allows each day to be different and full of opportunities. Plus, teaching is just fun!

AMY RACICOT – French Teacher at BFA HSracicot

Hometown:  Colchester, VT

Hobbies/Interests:  Crafts, Sewing, Cross-stitching, learning languages and cultures, traveling, biking, jogging

College attended:  UVM for my Bachelors and St. Michael’s College for my Masters

Teaching Experience:  17 years of experience in public and private schools

Quotable: I love this quote because it shows we all have a purpose in life and a bright future to see ahead of us no matter where we are in our lives at the moment.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Why Teaching:  It is rewarding to see young minds learn new skills and be there to provide some of the skills they are learning.  I love to learn and it is exciting to help students find their drive to learn and explore as well.

KAITLIN SPANO – EEE Special Educator at FES

spanoHometown: Fairfax, VT

Hobbies/Interests: Running, gardening, outside activities, Spending time with my family

College(s) Attended: Undergrad- Rivier University, Graduate- UVM

Teaching Experience: I spent about 2 years working as a para at Burlington EEE first out of college, 4 years as a BI at NCSS, 2 years teaching PreK and 1st grade in Enosburg.

Quotable: “do what you love, love what you do”

Why Teaching?: Because It’s fun! Work should be fun and I love being the one to share the wonders of the world with our future!