The FWSU Story: Kids Are Back!

Yesterday was the first day for students across the FWSU schools (BFA – Fairfax, Georgia Elementary and Middle School, and Fletcher Elementary School) and it was an exciting day! Having the hallways full of happy students looking toward their next adventures has always been a special time of the school year. Thank you to all the families for sending us your children, to the educators for working so tirelessly for all kids, and to the students for sharing your enthusiasm and aspirations with us. It’s going to be an awesome year!

I joined the FWSU community in July as Interim Superintendent, and from the first day I could recognize the specialness of organization. FWSU’s Action Plan highlights the commitment of “High Performance and Equity in a Digital Learning Culture” and having conversations with many educators over the summer reinforce the commitment to this work. I saw the welcoming of new educators through a commitment on understanding the impact of trauma on our children and families, the opening of in-service focused on understanding the impacts of equity, and, while visiting schools on the first day, seeing in action the welcoming and caring educators working with children.

There really is A belief in what is possible.

The images above really stuck out in my travels around the FWSU community. The messages were written on the sidewalk of the GEMS entrance and really hit home the purpose of our work – to support students in developing compassion and knowledge as citizens. As parents of three children (two in elementary school and one in college) my wife and I are proud to be Vermont educators, and I am looking forward to being part of the FWSU!

BFA HS students and teachers hit the gym as well.

Dr. Suess once stated, “Sometimes you will never know the value of something, until it becomes a memory.” As the children and staff return to the schools remember to take time to celebrate all the successes – big or small. Enjoy the school year!

Donald Van Nostrand is the Interim Superintendent of Schools at Franklin West Supervisory Union. He is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter at @dsvannostrand.

Be sure to follow #FWSUTwitterChallenge for the FWSU 20-Day Twitter Challenge and #FWSU all year to see more exciting things happening in our schools!

THE FWSU STORY: Watch Fletcher Kindergarteners Read Stories to their Principal!

Emergent readers and writers are the absolute best, and I am very fortunate to have Kindergarteners frequent my office at Fletcher Elementary School. The routine remains relatively the same regardless of the day. They call the office from their classroom to schedule an appointment to read to me. (Keep in mind that scheduling an appointment in kindergarten terms means it happens immediately.)


Fletcher Elementary Kindergartener reads his story.

When they arrive, they often have plastic coins from the classroom cash register. They hand me the coins, on the down low, as if I had them all along. And then they read. Like famous published authors, they pause to show me the pictures as they tell their stories. There is no better break in the day than being read to by a five-year-old. And when it’s all said and done, they allow me to buy the books with the plastic coins slipped to me just moments before. I buy the books for my office library, which we admire together before they return to class. Amidst the organized chaos that is a school day, this is my silver lining. Please enjoy their stories.


Christopher Dodge is the Principal of Fletcher Elementary School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @FletcherFalcon