The FWSU Story: “We Are All Interventionists” Training

The FWSU paraeducators attended the 4th Annual “We Are All Interventionists” training presented by Northwestern Counseling & Support Services (NCSS) School-Based programs. Paraprofessionals from schools throughout Franklin County attended a day of professional development targeted to the specific learning needs of paraprofessionals. This training is one of the many supports NCSS offers to schools and is free of charge. The training was held at Sheldon Elementary School.  

The morning keynote presentation focused on the importance of working together to better meet the mental health needs of students. They provided an overview of the NCSS continuum of school-based services and their role in schools.

Each of the four school based teams facilitated workshop sessions.  The NCSS teams are the Behavior Consultation Team, the Collaborative Achievement Team, the School-Based Clinician Team, and the School-Based Autism Program. Paras attended a variety of workshops throughout the day. The topics related to supporting the emotional and behavioral needs of today’s students. The workshops focused on functions of behavior, use of positive reinforcement, relationships, and professionalism. 

Rachel McIntyre is the Director of Student Support Services at Franklin West Supervisory Union. She is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY

The FWSU Story: Come Home to BFA Fairfax October 7-12

Fall in Fairfax is characterized by crisp air, apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes and amazing Vermont foliage. It also means Homecoming is here! 2019 BFA Fairfax Homecoming will take place the week of October 7-12. A variety of events showcasing our 7-12 athletic teams, school spirit and service initiatives will highlight the fun and festivities for all students, staff, alumni, and the greater community.  

As with every Homecoming Week, BFA Fairfax students will be taking part in a service initiative as well. During this year’s Homecoming football game, we will be cooperating with Make a Wish Vermont. We are extremely fortunate to live in our community of Fairfax, and year after year our service minded students find new ways to “pay it forward.”

We look forward to seeing you at 2019 BFA Fairfax Homecoming!  Thank you to all our students, parents, and community volunteers who make this week a spectacular annual event.

BFA FAIRFAX HOMECOMING WEEK – – OCTOBER 7-12, 2109

Monday 10/7

  • JV Football vs. North Country 4pm
  • JV Boys Soccer vs. BFA St. Albans 4pm
  • Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Richford 4pm

Tuesday 10/8

  • Fairfax Relays!!

Wednesday 10/9:

  • 8th Girls and Boys Soccer vs. Westford 4pm
  • 7th Girls and Boys Soccer vs. Vergennes 5pm

Thursday 10/10:

  • JV Girls Soccer vs. Enosburg 4pm

Friday 10/11:

  • 8th Girls and Boys Soccer vs. Fairfield 4pm/5pm
  • Farm to School Harvest Dinner

Saturday 10/12:

  • JV/V Girls Soccer vs. MVU 10am
  • JV/V Boys Soccer vs. Hazen 12pm
  • Football vs. Mill River 2pm
  • High School Homecoming Dance 7-10pm

Geri Witalec-Krupa is an Athletic Director/Assistant Principal at BFA Fairfax is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You follow her @GLWit

The FWSU Story: BFA Fairfax School Board Approves Building Bond

We are excited to share that after nearly two years of significant work, the Long Range Facilities Committee (LRFPC) has recommended, and the BFA Fairfax School Board has accepted, a building bond not to exceed $26.4 million. The bond proposal reflects a balance of the immediate needs and goals, while providing options for both the short and long term needs and goals of our school community. 

The LRFPC has completed a comprehensive process of evaluating our space needs, reviewing to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, and revisiting the previous assessments of the building’s mechanical, electrical, architectural, and code and compliance/life safety needs. In addition, we surveyed the community in the fall of 2018 and incorporated the feedback into this proposal. Finally, we have reviewed the previous recommendations for the building and have identified and classified building needs and recommendations into four categories (safety, accessibility, opportunities, and efficiencies). 

In an effort to provide choices, this building bond will have three articles for the community to consider and vote on:  

ARTICLE I 

Shall general obligation bonds of the Fairfax Town School District in an amount not to exceed $16,000,000 subject to reduction from the application of available state and federal grants-in- aid be issued for the purpose of financing the final design, permitting, site work and the construction of renovations, capital improvements and additions to Bellows Free Academy Fairfax Elementary, Middle and High School together with related site work and eligible project expenses. The renovations shall include adding four (4) classrooms to the elementary school, redesigning the entrances for all three schools and the library, reorganizing the Middle School (science labs, art and maker space, a hallway to the playground, improved space for S.T.E.A.M [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math] programs) , relocating the nurse’s station for grades 5-12, consolidating administrative offices, adding sprinkler systems where required, improving lighting and providing storage for athletic uniforms, the estimated cost of such improvements being $16,000,000. 

ARTICLE II 

In the event Article 1 is approved and only in the event Article 1 is approved, shall general obligation bonds of the Fairfax Town School District in an amount not to exceed $3,800,000, subject to reduction from the application of available state and federal grants- in-aid, be issued for the purpose of financing the final design, permitting, site work and the construction of renovations, capital improvements and additions to Bellows Free Academy Fairfax Elementary, Middle and High School together with related site work and eligible project expenses and shall include: a new Middle School Gym with separate Community access, which allows for large music space and additional practice and game space; High School Science labs; new art space; and World Language classrooms, the estimated cost of such improvements being $3,800,000. 

ARTICLE III 

In the event Article 1 is approved, and only in the event Article 1 is approved, shall general obligation bonds of the Fairfax Town School District in an amount not to exceed $6,600,000, subject to reduction from the application of available federal and state grants-in-aid, be issued for the purpose of financing the final design, permitting, site work and the construction of renovations, capital improvements and additions to Bellows Free Academy Fairfax Elementary, Middle and High School together with related site work and eligible project expenses. and shall include: a new High School Auditorium, utilizing the present stage with separate Community access; new spaces for the Band and Chorus; High School Science labs; and World Language classrooms, the estimated cost of such improvements being $6,600,000.

So how will this impact your taxes? Below is a chart that estimates the tax impact on home values based on a 20-year bond at a 2.37% interest rate. Your tax increase will be based on the number of articles that pass. For example, if all three articles pass and if you own a $250,000 home, then you will pay an estimated additional $509 per year. 

There will be four informational sessions for community members to learn more about this bond proposal. The meetings will occur on the following dates:

  • October 10, 2019 6:30 pm  (Middle School Gym)
  • October 26, 2019 10:00 am (Middle School Gym)
  • November 13, 2019 6:30 pm (Middle School Gym)
  • December 02, 2019 Special School Board Meeting 6:30 pm (Multi-Purpose Room)

The bond vote will occur on Thursday, December 05 in the Middle School Gym. There will also be absentee ballots available in the Town Clerk’s Office starting Friday, November 15. We encourage you to participate in the informational meetings and to learn about the details of this exciting opportunity for our community. 

Please feel free to contact Justin Brown (jbrown@fwsu.org), John Tague (jtague@fwsu.org), or Thomas Walsh (twalsh@fwsu.org) if you have any questions. We look forward to engaging our stakeholders in a process that serves our students, staff, and community for the next several decades.

Thomas Walsh is currently Principal of BFA Fairfax Elementary School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @educatamount

Be sure to follow FWSU on Facebook and #FWSU on Twitter to see more exciting things happening in our schools!

The FWSU Story: New School Year, New Beginnings, New Teachers in FWSU

A new school year is full of excitement for all returning educators, and in FWSU the first day of school is the best day of the year. But teachers who are brand new to FWSU get a 2-day preview of what FWSU is all about, along with lunch and tour of their home school well before that first day. When you are starting a new job, it’s a pretty great way to get off to a positive start.

We are so fortunate that FWSU attracts so many skilled and talented educators. So it is important that they have a chance to find out just how special our schools are, and that they have chosen well. Our FWSU schools and our educators share high expectations for teaching and learning, and along with that, we are collectively inspired by “a belief in what is possible.”

After some great food, gift bags, and welcome greetings from administrators from the Central Office and across the district, the learning begins. Some of the critical foundations they get a chance to learn about and experience during the 2-day orientation are systems-approaches to PBIS, MTSS, Technology Integration, Equity, All Learners Universal Frameworks, and creating Trauma-Sensitive Classrooms. In addition, they get to know a bit about our 3 schools and the pride that we share in being part of Franklin West Supervisory Union.  

The culmination of this mid-August orientation is a trip to their home schools that includes lunch, time with their principals, mentors, and mentor coordinators, and a Welcome Home tour of the school. 

Linda Keating

Linda Keating is the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at Franklin West Supervisory Union. She is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow her on Twitter @Educate4ward

The FWSU Story: Building Relationships Throughout our School Community at GEMS

The start of the school year is an opportune time to establish and build relationships throughout our school community. We know that learning can flourish when these relationships exist and that early in the start of a school year is the best time to establish connections.

We know the importance of, and the data that supports, building student-teacher relationships, but providing opportunities to engage school community peers through activities builds partnerships of trust, respect, and sometimes, friendships for life.

At the Georgia School, eighth grade students work throughout the year with younger elementary students in first grade to help build reading skills through fun and engaging activities. The positive interactions and support of one another is contagious and laughter and smiles fill the room.  

When asked how working with reading buddies has gone, first-graders responded:

“I like working with the older students.”

“My reading buddy REALLY helped me out.”

“I gave my reading buddy a hug to thank her.”

“My reading buddy helped me pick out my frog book.”

Steve Emery is the Elementary Principal of Georgia Elementary Middle School. He is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY.

The FWSU Story: Digital Learning For All

Thanks to the hard work of the IT staff under the direction of Jeff Smith, FWSU IT Manager, teachers at FWSU started the this school year with new MacBooks and iPads.

To get started with the new MacBooks, teachers participated in a day long inservice focusing on how they can integrate the digital resources at FWSU to impact learning for students.

We kicked off the day with Greg Kulowiec from Edtech sharing how staff can use Creativity, Design and Opportunity to inspire learning. After a motivating start with Greg, teachers then were able to explore and select different learning opportunities that best met their needs.

At the end of the day, staff were then able to meet with building administrators to plan next steps of how digital learning can be used for all students. Although inservice has concluded, this was just the first step of many as teachers move forward to innovating learning for all.

Angelique Fairbrother, FWSU Digital Learning Specialist
Angelique Fairbrother, FWSU Digital Learning Specialist

Angelique Fairbrother is the Digital Learning Coach at Franklin West Supervisory Union. She is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow her on Twitter @FWSUtech.