BFA High School Science Team Completes Summer Research Training

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 - Develop opportunities for students to collaborate, innovate, create and conceptualize in all learning settings.

Indicator of Success – Students are engaged in answering authentic questions and solving problems in collaborative settings.

BFA High School juniors Sophie Lee and Rebekah Larose and Science Teacher Thomas Lane attended a training in June at St. Michael’s College. Student/Teacher teams from Vermont as well as Delaware and Puerto Rico were in attendance. The training week was funded by a National Science Foundation grant, Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). During the weeklong training students worked in the field, laboratory and classroom to learn research methods, skills, and how a research team functions.

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BFA students Rebekah Larose and Sophie Lee sort macrobenthic invertebrates in the laboratory at St. Michael’s College.

BFA students Sophie Lee (second from left) and Rebekah Larose along with other student/teacher teams tour Lake Champlain aboard the University of Vermont research vessel the Melosira.

BFA students Sophie Lee (second from left) and Rebekah Larose along with other student/teacher teams tour Lake Champlain aboard the University of Vermont research vessel the Melosira.

BFA students Rebekah Larose and Sophie Lee (right center) along with students from Castleton, Harwood Union and Rice under the guidance of Katie Chang (CWDD Research Technician) measure water quality and stream velocity at Monroe Creek near Shelburne, VT.

BFA students Rebekah Larose and Sophie Lee (right center) along with students from Castleton, Harwood Union and Rice under the guidance of Katie Chang (CWDD Research Technician) measure water quality and stream velocity at Monroe Creek near Shelburne, VT.

Rebekah Larose and Sophie Lee measure stream velocity at Mill Brook by BFA campus using a vernier sensor.

Rebekah Larose and Sophie Lee measure stream velocity at Mill Brook by BFA campus using a vernier sensor.

BFA students Sophie Lee and Rebekah Larose deploy a HoboWare temperature sensor at Black Creek in North Fairfield.

BFA students Sophie Lee and Rebekah Larose deploy a HoboWare temperature sensor at Black Creek in North Fairfield.

Over the next several months Sophie Lee and Rebekah Larose will be collecting stream data on temperature, pH, stage, discharge, macrobenthic invertebrate populations and total suspended solids. They will be contributing to a database used by researchers from around the world, as well as trying to answer their own research questions regarding the relationship between phosphate in streams and sediment particle size. Science teacher Tom Lane will continue to support them in their work.

Sophie and Rebekah are taking advantage of flexible learning opportunities at BFA Fairfax. This is an example of just one way that students are engaged in collaborative problem solving, addressing authentic issues with scientists across the world to answer important questions about our environment. Their learning extended through the summer, and they are developing relationships that will support them in realizing their dreams.

BFA Fairfax School Year Off-and-Running

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

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

Action Step– Provide students w/ access to content, resources, and methods for learning beyond the school day and beyond the school walls

Indicator of Success– Students are engaged in answering authentic questions and solving problems in collaborative settings.

Indicator of Success– The school calendar and definition of school day changes to become flexible and responsive to the needs of students.

Weeks before the academic school year started, BFA Fairfax High School students were already gearing up and beginning to meet the High School Essential Expectations  with a focus on Problem Solving and Communication at the annual running camp.

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Camp takes place at Underhill State Park State Park each year. This year conditions were not ideal, as “mother nature” did not cooperate, but students and coaches made the best of four days of cold rain and wind while living inside the clouds!

Coach Griffin was proud of the team when he shared “the conditions brought out the best in these 47 kids. It is remarkable how well young people can perform given freedom with guidance, trust with support, high expectations with reassurance.”

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Students spent the four days team building, training, playing, planning, and taking care of each other. They were responsible for their own cooking and cleaning. They learned life skills in an authentic environment.

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Students put their problem solving skills to the test as they looked for ways to keep dry and dry out clothes and gear that had gotten wet. Kayla Nester a leader on the team shared “we did a pretty awesome job of coming together and balancing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

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Michael Groening and Brenden Gregoire added, “Communication is key. It was great for team building and helping people new to the team become part of the team.”

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Coach Griffin summed it up: “We have ceased to be a team before school even starts. We are a youth-centered, youth-led community.”

First Day of School – The Best Day of the Year!

Today all schools in FWSU celebrated the return of our students. It is what we have waited for since school ended last June. Follow the FWSU Blog everyday for news and highlights of teaching and learning in all of our schools. 


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Swish!

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Rhythm makers

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Happiness at recess

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The “great tower” challenge

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Finding the obtuse angle in a classroom

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Digital expectations

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August 27th – 1st Day

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Getting to know our class

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Best year ever is underway

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Building our class – on piece at a time

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Polling the class — superpowers of a teacher explained

Welcome back everyone! It is going to be a great year. 

GEMS Preps for Day 1

Target 2Leadership 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 -Teachers embrace role of coach, facilitator and co-learner in a student-centered learning environment 

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It’s an exciting time of year at the GEMS Elementary School!  Teachers and professional staff have been meeting periodically throughout the summer to plan curriculum, discuss students and  prepare for a wonderful start of the school year.

In both first and second grade teachers set up open house  opportunities for children to attend, meet their new teacher and show parents their new classroom.  When asked, “Are you ready for school on Wednesday“?  One little girl stated, “I’m  so excited to be a second grader…… Up with all the big kids”!

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Tomorrow, is the first student day for 1-8 graders and buses are ready for pick up and delivery.  The first day of school is always exciting and everyone is looking forward to a wonderful year.  Tomorrow children will arrive, the schools will come alive, and the adults will hit the ground running!

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“It’s such a pleasure to work in such a caring community and fantastic school!” – Elementary School Principal, Steve Emery

 

FES Mapping for 2014/15 and Beyond!

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 Steps – (1) Ensure students and staff take an active role shaping their learning using rich, authentic questions, problems they identify, & diverse resources. (2) Provide multiple avenues for students and staff to lead, advocate, and serve within the school and community

Indicators of Success - (1) Teachers embrace role of coach, facilitator and co-learner in a student-centered learning environment (2) Creativity and risk-taking will be evident and celebrated as learners embrace new technologies.

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Tracey Godin, Jasmine Tremblay, Denette Locke.

As part of inservice, teachers at the Fletcher Elementary School took a leadership role in shaping the learning of students by continuing their work on curriculum mapping in the areas of Mathematics and English Language Arts. Mapping is a procedure for reviewing the “real” curriculum that is taught each day, week, and month of the year.

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Lorrene Palermo, Cassandra Underwood.

This collaborative work demonstrates a diverse curriculum with rich, authentic questions, problems with which students identify, as well as the use of a variety of school, community and global resources including substantive use of technology.

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Cathy O’Brien, Jannis Murphy, and Julie Steves.

We know that good schools do not happen by accident. They are built on a solid foundation of community, colleagueship, and good old-fashioned hard work.

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Teacher Inservice Begins at FWSU!

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

Action Step – Engage all staff and students in creating a personalized learning networks (PLN) that contribute to learning and instructional practice.

Indicator of Success – Staff will create personalized learning networks to communicate and collaborate with others.

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The time-honored tradition of summer “officially” ending for teachers occurred today. The first day of inserivce training, held each year for three days, began this morning at BFA Fairfax. Over 300 faculty and staff from GEMS, BFA and FES gathered to celebrate the coming 2014/15 school year. And to begin working together planning for the year.

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Superintendent Ned Kirsch opened the morning with a look at the transformative work our schools have been engaged in over the last several years. Numerous examples of FWSU students and teachers engaged in student centered learning were shared. Director of Curriculum Mary Lynn Riggs followed with a look at our current curriculum work and Common Core implementation. Before ending Director of Special Services Kim Magnuson reviewed our mission to reach each and every student, not matter what, no matter how. See the full presentation here.

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After the morning celebration of learning, teachers and staff returned to individual schools to begin the process of preparing for students to arrive on Wednesday. Agenda items ranged from learning the SAMR Model of technology integration to the appropriate use of AED devices and CPR.

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At BFA a special ceremony was held to recognize the UVM Outstanding Teacher of the Year 2014/15 Mary Schraven. Her hard work and dedication to the students of BFA is a gift to our community. The announcement was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Congratulations Mary.

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Day 1 is officially “in the books.”  Two more days are ahead of us and the planning is ongoing in preparation for the first day of school next Wednesday.

FWSU Welcomes New Teachers

Target 2Leadership 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 – Teachers embrace role of coach, facilitator and co-learner in a student-centered learning environment.

photo (4)School officially started for new FWSU teachers this week. Our 12 new staff members spent the last two days learning about a variety of topics that will assist them with transitioning into our schools. The training encompassed all aspects of teaching and learning at FWSU, including introductions to our evaluation system, introduction to the SAMR model of technology integration, and introduction to the FWSU action plan.

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FWSU has developed a strong mentorship program to ensure that our teachers are successful. Day 2 of Orientation offers significant contact time between our new teachers and their mentors. The afternoon also provides work time for new teachers to prepare their classroom alongside their mentor and get ready for students next week.

photo 1 (4)We are extremely proud to welcome our new teachers to our system and wish them success. In the coming weeks we will highlight each of our teachers in more detail! Welcome!

Summer Learning Days Launches “Out-of-this-World” Experience

Target 1 – Student-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 apply existing knowledge to create original works as a means of personal or group expression.

photo 4 (2)Summer is a great time for learning! For the past four weeks, BFA and FES PreK-6 Grade students enjoyed participating in Summer Learning Days!

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The program has inspired students to learn and develop as young engineers by completing a series of space-themed projects. Students became completely engaged in design process, problem-solving, and exploring space topics. They formed their own meaning with creativity, imagination, and used hands-on tools to express their ideas.

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The program was developed and organized by FWSU Digital Learning Specialist Angelique Fairbrother with a strong emphasis on discovery of content and application of key concepts.

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Here is a closer look at what our students learned about SPACE!

Moon Week:

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Rockets Week:

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Solar System Week:

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Constellation Week:

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photo 1What a great crew of students! They really enjoyed the “trip” to space!

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BFA Fairfax Celebrates its 4th Chinese Cultural Exchange Camp

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 – Develop partnerships with global partners to carry out a project related to units of study.

Indicator of Success – Collaborative student projects/partnerships become part of the fabric of the broader community.

photo 2 (1)For the fourth consecutive year, BFA Fairfax High School is hosting students from China in a two-week long cultural and language exchange program. The students are brought to Vermont by SPIRAL International for a 3-week intensive English Language immersion program. FWSU-area host families are welcoming the visiting students into their homes, which undoubtedly enriches their experience in the our country. The group has already spent time in Washington DC, New York, Philadelphia, and will be visiting Boston before they fly home. BFA educators Sara Villeneuve and Emily Cogan are serving as co-coordinators and co-lead teachers roles for this project.

photo 3Student leadership is an essential component of the BFA program. High School students serve as mentors to their Chinese friends throughout the exchange. It is a great experience for our students with lasting benefits. Past mentors have shared how important this connection was to them as learners and some have even kept in touch with the visiting Chinese students.

photo 1Cultural understanding is another pivotal piece of the exchange. Schools throughout FWSU have been promoting the concept of Intercultural Competence. Programs such as BFA’s Cultural Summer Exchange aids students in communicating with one another in Fairfax, even though they have different cultures and languages. The program provides an environment that enables students to share subject matters and to also socialize. As pictured above, our students do have a lot in common.

photo 5This year the program features a technology-rich environment to mirror how students at BFA, and our guests, learn. Mrs. Villeneuve created the curriculum using iBooks which is freely accessible to both students and mentors through iPads or individual handheld devices.

photo 1 (1)Friendship and colleagueship is certainly a huge part of the exchange each summer. We are proud of our students, families and teachers who are working hard to create memories that will last a lifetime.

FES Teachers Form Think Tank to Wrap Up School Year

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As the school year comes to a close and students begin summer vacation, teachers are still working hard. FES teachers formed a Think Tank happening during the June 17 and 18th inservice days.

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The first day focused on working together in teams to create curriculum maps, grade-level curriculum calendars, and a parent curriculum overview which will be shared with families at a grade level meeting during the first weeks of school.

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Julie Steves facilitated the curriculum work. Teachers were excited to have time to work in teams with literacy/math coaches, guidance counselor, music educator, and librarian all at the table.

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“This has been a super successful day. All teams enjoyed coming together at the end to report out on their work.” – FES Principal Bonnie Poe