THE FWSU STORY: Math Leaders Present at Statewide Learners Conference

Last Friday over 200 educators from across the state convened in Killington for the first statewide All Learners Math Conference.

ALN website

Math Teacher Leaders from all of our schools, along with the Curriculum Director, presented the following workshops for our colleagues:

IMG_2968A Framework for Implementation: Using HLCs – Tammy Chambers and Jennifer Bockus, BFA Fairfax Elementary

The High Leverage Concepts (HLCs) can be a good tool for focusing instruction. This session is dedicated to highlighting major areas in a teacher’s math instruction and planning that can be impacted by prioritizing a focus on 100% mastery of a HLC. We will explore a framework that makes use of three different contexts of instruction – curriculum, intervention, and daily instruction. Participants will reflect on ideas they have for their own classroom and grade level and brainstorm action steps towards a focus in their own classrooms.


Implementing the All Learners Project System-wide: Scaling up Practice to Move Learning Forward  – Linda Keating, FWSU Director of Curriculum  

This session will focus on how to use the All Learners Project in math as the foundation for MTSS for all high leverage concepts and skills necessary for continued progress in areas of proficiency.  Participants will learn the processes and strategies FWSU used to grow the All Learners Project in math into a systems-wide approach to curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  Discussion will focus on how distributed leadership and professional learning opportunities in curriculum, instruction, and assessment using All Learners principles can strengthen the sustainability of improvement efforts. Participants will be able to review frameworks and fidelity tools connected to FWSU’s comprehensive approach.

IMG_2962Math Menu for Coaches and Interventionists – Sharon Rock, BFA Fairfax Elementary and Denette Locke, Fletcher Elementary School

In this session will share our experiences working with teachers to implement menu. We will reveal techniques to support teachers as they move to implement differentiation during menu, including ways to organize and review to plan for instruction. Ask a group we’ll discuss ways to examine what the students did well, the misconceptions they might have and next steps based on the work we’ve gathered.

Menu 101- MJ Mitiguy, Lauralee Wilson, and Karen Lehning Georgia Elementary and Middle School

“The only true failure lies in the failure to start.” Harold Blake Walker. This session will give you the tools you need to get started with math menu or hone your current practice.  We will explore the components of menu and it’s management and provide many resources to help you create your own.

FWSU Math Leaders were part of the original All Learners Network which was the brainchild of Dr. John Tapper. The All Learners Project ​began as a three-state effort, including FWSU to promote access to mathematics concepts and skills for every student. The All Learners Project relies on in-school instructional support (Teacher Leaders) to help classroom teachers use formative assessment to plan Math Menus that differentiate instruction for every learner. In addition, FWSU Teacher Leaders support classroom teachers to provide inclusive learning experiences for diverse groups of learners, allowing for diverse learning opportunities based on strategy groupings. The heart of this system is a group of high leverage concepts and skills that are the focus of intervention and proficiency. Our preliminary results in FWSU suggest that this level of support and focus can lead to a deeper understanding for all learners. Based on those results, FWSU has extended the All Learners design to all content areas, which are known here as the All Learners Universal Frameworks. FWSU considered ALL LEARNERS to be a comprehensive approach to MTSS.

The components of the ALL Learners approach to instruction is in evidence in all of our K-6 math classrooms.

For more information on the All Learners Universal Frameworks and how they are used in FWSU, contact Linda Keating, Director of Curriculum

Linda Keating

Linda Keating is the Director of Curriculum at FWSU. She is a regular contributor to the FWSU Blog. You can follow her on Twitter @Educate4ward

THE FWSU STORY: Meet the New Teachers, Part 3

We are wrapping up our series of posts featuring new teachers at FWSU this year. Don’t miss Part 1 and Part 2.



Justin Wills with Fozzie

Teaching Assignment:  6th Grade

School: Fletcher Elementary

Hometown: Fairfax, VT

Alma Mater: UVM, Concordia University (Montreal)

Teaching Experience:  10 years in Franklin and Chittenden Counties

Why You Chose Teaching:  It is fun to work with the energy and creativity of students.

Hobbies/Interests: Playing guitar, cooking, hanging out with our dogs.

Little Known Fact About You: I share a birthday with Buddha.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Running a marathon and training our puppy Fozzie to sleep through the night.

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Try to get enough sleep!

Fun Summer Memory:  Exploring Colorado and Utah with my wife, and visiting family out west

Favorite Things: Chocolate chip cookies, Star Wars, and Bob Ross

Quotable:  “I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird.” Frank Zappa



Shannon Arnzen

Teaching Assignment:  K-2 Special Educator

School: BFA Fairfax

Hometown: Tuxedo, NY

Alma Mater: UVM M.Ed.

Teaching Experience: Long-term substitute for third grade STEM & Special Education teacher

Why You Chose Teaching:  I believe in the possibilities for all children

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, spending time with my family, hiking

Little Known Fact About You: I have three daughters

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Being a mom

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Get sleep and smile

Fun Summer Memory:  Santa’s Village!

Favorite Things: Homemade Pesto, Aerosmith, A Christmas Story

Quotable: All means all.”



Liz Noonan in her classroom

Teaching Assignment:  High School Social Studies

School: BFA Fairfax

Hometown: Jericho, VT

Alma Mater: Frostburg State University – Bachelors of Science, Masters of Arts in Teaching, Masters of Education (Administration and Supervision)

Teaching Experience: 6 years of Middle School Social Studies, 5 years of High School Social Studies

Why You Chose Teaching:  I have always loved working with students and sharing my knowledge with others to help create a more diverse and unique world.

Hobbies/Interests: Hiking, SUP, Skiing

Little Known Fact About You: I love to skydive.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Completed my doctoral coursework!

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Go Outside!

Fun Summer Memory:  4th of July at Wrigley Field

Favorite Things:  Movie – A Philadelphia Story.  Music: O.A.R

Quotable: “Every little thing, gonna be alright” – Bob Marley



Laura Heil

Teaching Assignment:  High School Science Teacher (Physical Science, Forensics, and Farm to School)

School: BFA Fairfax

Hometown:  Burlington, VT (but grew up in Hudson Falls, NY)

Alma Mater: I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from St. Michael’s College in 2010, and my Master’s of Science in Biology from Montana State University Bozeman in 2016. I recently completed Champlain College’s Teaching Apprenticeship Program (TAP) in the Spring of 2018 where I received my VT teaching license in 7-12 Science.

Teaching Experience:  Starting in 2012, I taught Ecology to K-8th graders at The Ecology School at Ferry Beach in Saco, Maine for a year and a half. During my TAP experience, I student taught science to 9th, 10th, and 12th graders at U-32 High School in Montpelier under Alison Gauthier. Following TAP, I taught as a long-term sub in Gabe Grant’s classroom here at BFA this past winter. Then, I finished the 17-18 school year as a long-term sub teaching science at Enosburg Falls High School.

Why You Chose Teaching:  I believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality science education and I strive to provide that to my students each and every day.  Also, seeing the world through a scientific lens makes life so much more exciting, and I hope to ignite that excitement within my students through teaching.

Hobbies/Interests: I love doing most outdoor activities including hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, and gardening. I also love to play field hockey, knit, host potluck dinners and travel.

Little Known Fact About You: During a trip to Zambia, I had the chance to touch a live cheetah! I was lucky enough to be a part of a team that was radio-collaring a cheetah. While the cheetah was put under, I got to give it a quick pet and get my picture taken with it.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  My Master’s research on Montana’s native, wild bees and the flowers they depend on was recently published in a scientific journal.

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Discover what self-care activities you enjoy most and strive to do one of those for yourself every day.

Fun Summer Memory:  As an Earthwatch Project Facilitator this past summer, I got paid to travel with a bunch of high schoolers to the sub-Arctic to Churchill, Manitoba and saw 6 polar bears, got to kayak with beluga whales, and saw the Aurora Borealis for the first time ever!

Favorite Things: I enjoy eating homemade hummus, fresh picked strawberries and blueberries, dark chocolate, chai lattes, sharp cheddar, and my parent’s homemade Bread & Butter pickles and salsa. I love most music but enjoy folk, bluegrass, Latin and jazz the most.

Quotable:  “Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.”



Michele Michalski

Teaching Assignment:  Grade 1/2

School: Fletcher Elementary

Hometown: Colchester, VT

Alma Mater: California State University San Bernadino

Teaching Experience:  14 years

Why You Chose Teaching: I love working with kids. It’s really fun to watch them learn and grow as humans and students.

Hobbies/Interests:  Cycling, swimming, reading, baking, and cooking

Little Known Fact About You:  I love to make ice cream!

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  I’m most proud of my two kids.

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Remember to take some time out for yourself doing something you love.

Fun Summer Memory:  Hanging out on the beach with my family.

Favorite Things:  I love ice cream and great Mexican food. My favorite movies happen to be mob movies. The Godfather and Goodfellas are favorites. I love to read, especially autobiographies and thrillers.

Quotable: “Find ways to be more awesome” – Kid President

THE FWSU STORY: Meet the New Teachers, Part 2

We are delighted to continue our series of posts featuring new teachers at FWSU this year. Don’t miss Part 1.



IMG_0367 - Shannon McCullen

Teaching Assignment:  Middle School Literacy Interventionist

School: BFA Fairfax

Hometown: Essex Junction

Alma Mater: University of Vermont – BA/BS in Political Science and Education Currently attending Purdue University – Masters in Special Education

Teaching Experience: I was a social studies long-term sub in Milton and was a long-term sub for this position last year

Why You Chose Teaching: I interned for Senator Shaheen in college and realized after that I wanted to work with kids more than work in government.

Hobbies/Interests: Boy Scouts, camping, swimming, hiking.

Little Known Fact About You: I am a Boy Scout leader in two units and hold a district position.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  I earned my Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Get enough sleep – no matter how hard it might be.

Fun Summer Memory:  I am the waterfront director at Mt. Norris Scout reservation and while teaching water sports, the motorboat died and had to be paddled back to shore.

Favorite Thing:  Anything Harry Potter

Quotable: “Be prepared” – Boy Scout motto



IMG_0808 - Christina Caswell

Teaching Assignment:  Second Grade

School: BFA Fairfax

Hometown: Fairfax

Alma Mater: Johnson State College Class of 2015 with a BA in Elementary and Special Education. Graduated Magna Cum Laude

Teaching Experience: I did my student teaching and a long-term sub position here at BFA, and then I taught in LNSU for two years in a multi-aged second and third-grade class.

Why You Chose Teaching: I knew I wanted to teach ever since I was little. I always played teacher with my stuffed animals and dolls, which led to babysitting, working at childcare centers, and now teaching in elementary schools.

Hobbies/Interests: Teaching of course! Being with family and hanging out with friends

Little Known Fact About You: I can’t bend my pinky finger due to cutting my tendon when I was younger.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Being given the opportunity to work at a great place like BFA!

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Sleep!

Fun Summer Memory:  I went to the best concert! I got to see Luke Bryan at Fenway Park!

A Few Favorite Things:  I love anything pasta, bread, or cheese related! I love my pets, country music, and BBQ’s. My favorite show to watch is This is Us – I cry every time!

Quotable: “If it is meant to be, it will be. Everything happens for a reason”



image - Jennifer McConnell

Teaching Assignment:  Music Teacher

School: Fletcher Elementary

Hometown: Sheldon, VT

Alma Mater: Moody Bible Institute – B.A. Church Music; Castleton University – M. Music Ed.

Teaching Experience: 14 years Franklin/Sheldon

Why You Chose Teaching: It fell in my lap when I first moved to Vermont, and I quickly fell in love with teaching. It is my calling, and I love my work!

Hobbies/Interests: Singing, Skiing, Playing Flute

Little Known Fact About You: I love the Patriots! (Not a little-known fact, but good to know this time of year!)

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  My 4 amazing kids: Sarah, Marcus, Duncan, and Matthias

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Registering for races keeps me running!

Fun Summer Memory:  Hanging out at Bromont water park in Canada (this summer). Touring Europe with my family last summer.

A Few Favorite Things:  Pizza (so cliche but so true), ice cream, and COFFEE!

Quotable: To my students ALL THE TIME: If you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, we won’t have any problems!



IMG_7499 - Emily Coale

Teaching Assignment:  School Counselor

School: Fletcher Elementary

Hometown: Winooski

Alma Mater: Middlebury College, Bachelor of Arts in Religion, George Mason University, Masters in School Counseling

Teaching Experience: This is my first year as a school counselor. I worked for two years as a kindergarten partner teacher for DC Public Schools.

Why You Chose Teaching: I think as school counselors we have a unique opportunity to be really creative with how we support students and families. I love working with students and their families as well as with teachers, school staff, and community resources to think of and coordinate supports and services to ensure all students have what they need to be successful in school.

Hobbies/Interests: Hiking with my dog Enzo, painting, drawing, and cross-country skiing.

Little Known Fact About You: I grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Completing my masters in school counseling!

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Do what you love!

Fun Summer Memory:  I got married!

A Few Favorite Things:  Chocolate, VT cheese, Mamma Mia, my beautiful baby niece!

Quotable: “No one is you, that is your power.”




Teaching Assignment:  Title I Math Interventionist

School: BFA Fairfax

Hometown: Originally from St. Johnsbury, VT and currently live in Swanton, VT

Alma Mater: McGill University, Montreal PQ Bachelors of Science Anatomy & Cell Biology

Teaching Experience: This is my 16th year of teaching and I have taught at St. Johnsbury Academy, Spaulding High School, and the Lake Champlain Waldorf High School

Why You Chose Teaching: I love working with students and making learning fun.

Hobbies/Interests: Reading and spending time with family and friends.

Little Known Fact About You: I love to make people laugh.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Making a happy and healthy family.

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Go to sleep at the right time!

Fun Summer Memory: This summer we went to the Jersey Shore and ended up swimming with stingrays.

A Few Favorite Things: I love food that makes me feel healthy and nourished, and I love music of all kinds…but mumble rap needs to go.

Quotable: “I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think that the same is true of human beings. We do not wish to see children precocious, making great strides in their early years like sprouts, producing a soft and perishable timber, but better if they expand slowly at first as if contending with difficulties, and so are solidified and perfected. Such trees continue to expand with nearly equal rapidity to extreme old age.” – Henry David Thoreau

THE FWSU STORY: Meet the New Teachers, Part 1

We are delighted to welcome some new teachers to FWSU this year. We asked them lots of questions and over the next few weeks, we will be introducing them to our readers.  



Christopher Cowey

Teaching Assignment:  High School Math Teacher

School: BFA Fairfax

Hometown:  South Burlington, VT

Alma Mater: Castleton University

Teaching Experience: First-Year Teacher

Why You Chose Teaching: To see the spark in the student’s eyes when they reach that pivotal “Ah Ha!” moment.

Hobbies/Interests: Team Sports, Strategic Games, Fishing, Camping, Kayaking, Golf, Skiing, Traveling

Little Known Fact About You: I have owned 4 cars, all of which have been Volvos.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Starting my career in a warm and welcoming community that I know will foster growth as a teacher.

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for help!!!

Fun Summer Memory:  Traveling to Ecuador with my family!

A Few Favorite Things:  Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, Celtics, Duke Basketball

Quotable: “Ask more than you answer.”




Teaching Assignment:  First and Second Grade Teacher

School: Fletcher Elementary School

Kathleen Pellegrino picture

Hometown:  Bomoseen, VT

Alma Mater/Degrees Earned: Castleton University, Bachelors in Elementary Education with minor in science.

Teaching Experience: About half-a-year as a maternity leave long-term substitute

Why You Chose Teaching: Watching as new learning concepts “click” with children is one of the best feelings in the world!

Hobbies/Interests: Ice fishing, traveling, being on the lake in the summer, stockcar races, the Pond Hill Ranch Rodeo, spending time with my Dad, gardening (small succulents indoors), cows, Shark Week, the Boston Red Sox, country music, the color pink, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, softball (playing and coaching)

Little Known Fact About You: I’ve gone by “KT” since I was 2 weeks old. K for Kathleen and T for Theresa; my middle name.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Landing this teaching job in such a sweet little school and district full of rockstars. Also, I caught a 14 lb northern pike last winter which is the biggest fish I’ve ever caught so that was pretty big news.

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Drink a gallon of water a day!

Fun Summer Memory: Shania Twain concert in July!

A Few Favorite Things: Chicken Parmesan, Oreos, flowers (Lilacs especially), The Lorax, country music, autumn, 4 wheeling, apple picking, snowman building, visiting my family and friends near and far. Did I mention my love for CHRISTMAS? I love Christmas decorating, Christmas movies, traveling to see Christmas lights, celebrating Chrismas!

Quotable: When given the choice between being right and being kind; choose kind.” I love the book Wonder!




Teaching Assignment:  Preschool Teacher

School: BFA Fairfax Elementary

Molly Foreman, Teacher at BFA Fairfax

Hometown:  Bomoseen, VT

Alma Mater/Degrees Earned: S.U.N.Y Cortland, B.S Elementary Education, Antioch New England Graduate School, M.Ed.

Teaching Experience: This will be my 19th year of teaching.

Why You Chose Teaching: I enjoy making personal connections with students.

Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with my family, reading, being outside

Little Known Fact About You: I have been to 49 of the 50 states

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  The family my husband and I have created.

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Be kind

Fun Summer Memory: Camping at the ocean

A Few Favorite Things: My family, Bruce Springsteen, the ocean

Quotable: “Love is all you need.”




Teaching Assignment:  FWSU EEE Special Educator

School: Fletcher Elementary School

Blythe Baskette

Hometown:  Haworth, NJ

Alma Mater: Sarah Lawrence College

Teaching Experience: Several years

Why You Chose Teaching: Love kids

Hobbies/Interests: Reading

Little Known Fact About You: I love my beagle.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  Scholarship I won from church!

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: Walking is great

Fun Summer Memory: The lake

A Few Favorite Things: Netflix

Quotable: “Try. Try. Try again!”




Teaching Assignment:  6th Grade Language Arts

School: Georgia Elementary Middle School

Heather Brown Georgia Elementary Middle School

Hometown:  Fairfax, VT

Alma Mater:  Bachelor: Saint Michael’s College Masters: Southern New Hampshire University

Teaching Experience: 7 years

Why You Chose Teaching: I love working with kids. I love their excitement and the energy they bring everyday. It’s really important to me to listen to them, learn about their lives, and help shape them into respectful and responsible adults.

Hobbies/Interests: Read, Crochet, Garden, anything with my kids!

Little Known Fact About You: I played softball in college.

Accomplishment you are most proud of (so far!):  I’m so proud of my two kids: Jackson (3) Kaylee (1). I’ve also recently completed my Masters in Education, which I’m proud of as it was a huge undertaking the last three years with raising a family as well.

Wellness Lifestyle Tip: It’s easily forgotten, but I like to take time to appreciate beauty in nature, especially here in Vermont. It’s so easily overlooked!

Fun Summer Memory: We vacationed in Maine this summer. It was our first large family vacation, 12 of us in all. We rented a house and it was lots of fun!

A Few Favorite Things: My favorite thing is spending time with my family.

Quotable: “Embrace each day. We don’t know what the future may hold.”

THE FWSU STORY: Join the 20 Day Twitter Challenge!

This year at the start of the school year, FWSU is encouraging everyone to participate in our third 20 Day Twitter Challenge. Each day features a different topic that together is designed to tell our collective story. We are talking about the WHY behind teaching and learning in FWSU. Here is a handy guide that you can use to take part. This year, the topics include #SDGThursday tweets that will highlight the Global Goals for Sustainability which is an important part of our curriculum in FWSU.


Here are a few of the great tweets this week!

Join us for Day 5 of the challenge on Tuesday, September 4th and share a favorite mindfulness activity you use in your classroom. Be sure to tag #FWSU so we can follow along. Together we can make our world a better place and celebrate learning each and every day!