I would like to take this opportunity to introduce and welcome Beth Blanton (Miss Beth) to BFA Fairfax Elementary School. Miss Beth has joined us through our new partnership with the United Way of Northwest Vermont and their Foster Grandparent program. We feel so fortunate to have her working with our students and staff in Mrs. Penny Aceto’s classroom.  

Beth Blanton ("Miss Beth") is a Foster Grandparent.
Beth Blanton (“Miss Beth”) is a Foster Grandparent.

Sometimes an opportunity presents itself at just the right moment.  When I was contacted by Mary Pelkey from the United Way in October, we were confronting some difficult news about Mrs. Aceto’s health. Mary Pelkey shared that the Foster Grandparent program provides a caring adult that can support students in a classroom, fifteen to thirty hours a week with a focus on instructional and social/emotional support and mentoring.  After hearing her presentation, I was confident that this opportunity was what we needed.

Miss Beth started working this week and she has made an immediate and positive impact.  Our students have welcomed her into the classroom and are teaching her our routines and expectations.  She, in turn, has provided our students with another caring and trusted adult that they can interact with on a daily basis.  Miss Beth brings a lifetime of experiences and a kind and caring heart. She has also experienced some medical issues and brings a perspective and understanding of what Mrs. Aceto is dealing with.  

We feel so fortunate to have Miss Beth at our school.  I am excited to see how this new partnership evolves over the coming months.  We know we are in for some challenging times but are grateful to have her insight, the extra support, and her time. I hope she benefits as much from interacting with our students, as we will benefit from having her in our school. Please consider contacting your local United Way and learning about this unique program.


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

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