Charlotte Central School (CCS) faculty and staff will officially return on Thursday, Aug. 22, with the annual CVSD convocation at CVU. This day will include a welcoming from CVSD Superintendent Elaine Pinkney, school board representatives and members from the CVU student council. The day continues with bucket-filling stations covering a variety of instructional and transformational school practices.

The entire Charlotte Central School faculty are excited to welcome CCS students on Wednesday, August 28. Communication will be coming to families from grade-level teams and the CCS administration about specific updates for the coming year. We have seen a growing number of students enrolling this summer and are also working with some new information platforms, including the installation of a new phone system. CCS will be sending information to families as soon as we are able.

We are also pleased to announce the following new faculty and staff members to our school community:

Nick Elderton, PE and health education. Nick most recently taught at physical education and health at St. Francis Xavier in Winooski but is familiar with CVSD, having previously worked and coached at Shelburne Community School.

Lisa Bresler, art. Lisa comes to us from Shelburne Community School, where she was an art instructor for two years. Previously, Lisa taught art at Sheldon Elementary School. Lisa is the secretary and president-elect of the Vermont Art Teachers Association.

Betsy Lloyd, school counselor.  Betsy has most recently been the 504 coordinator at Browns River Middle School in Underhill. Her diverse experiences there were dedicated to cultivating a supportive and inclusive environment for all students. Betsy has specific training in Mindful Educator Essentials.

Lauren Calkins, school nurse. Lauren has been a registered nurse for 11 years, with nine years of experience as a school nurse. She is committed to student health and working collaboratively with school personnel to develop a healthy school climate and to keep kids in the classroom and learning.

Dana Hanf, vertical elementary teaching position. Dana will be part of our newly formed 1-2 multiage team and our grade 3 team. Dana will take the lead role teaching grade 2 mathematics and will also teach math and writing as part of the grade 3 team. Dana is a native of Georgia, Vermont, and has most recently taught in Massachusetts.

Lizzy Healy, special educator. Lizzy comes to us with four years of experience as a special educator at Sheldon Elementary School. Originally from Long Island, she came to Vermont six years ago to attend UVM and decided to stay here permanently after she graduated. Lizzy will be supporting students in grades K-2.

Alyssa Jones, speech language pathologist. Alyssa joins CCS as a recent graduate of UVM. She previously interned at Williston Central School. Alyssa will be working with students in grades 6–8.

Amy Sayer, Amy has been the student assistance professional (SAP) at Shelburne Community School (SCS) for several years. This year she will be supporting both SCS and CCS, working closely with our middle-level in health programming and student support services.

Teachers and teams at CCS have spent a great deal of time throughout the spring and summer participating in planning and professional development to prepare for the upcoming year. Our newly formed 1-2 multiage team has spent a great deal of time mapping curriculum to support a transition to a new model. Students in grades 1 and 2 will be in multiage homeroom groupings for morning meeting/social-emotional learning, reading, science and social studies. Students will be in smaller, grade-level groupings for writing, word study and math. Team teachers for grades 1 and 2 will specialize in one area for grade-level instruction: Shannon Spellman teaching grade 1 writing, Michelle Filardi teaching grade 1 math, Monica Lubic teaching grade 2 writing, and Dana Hanf teaching grade 2 math.

Our grade-level teams for grades 3 and 4 also have new teaming configurations. Kris Gerson is moving up to grade 3 and will be teaming with Linda Poirier. Our grade 4 team will be taught by Leslie Thayer and Kathy Lara. This year, our grade 3 classes will also break out into smaller grade-level groups for writing and math, with instruction being shared by Kris Gerson, Linda Poirier and Dana Hanf. Teachers in grades 3–4 have done preliminary curriculum mapping work to identify collaborative opportunities within their instructional units.

All of our K–4 classroom teachers, special educators, SLPs and literacy specialists and interventionists are participating in the MindPlay Comprehensive Reading Course for Educators, a professional development course designed to increase educators’ understanding of how to provide instruction in phonological awareness, reading and spelling development, phonics fundamentals for reading and spelling, fluency, grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension. This learning will be a major area of focus within teacher professional development throughout the year.

In June, all teachers and staff participated in training focusing on the updated CVSD Crisis Response Protocols. Updates to the physical space of our school and discussions focusing on knowing and supporting our students were key. Rebecca Haslam also continued her work with CVSD school board members, administrators and educators regarding Equity Literacy: Identity, Bias and Student Achievement. Haslam’s facilitated dialogue addressed values for our school community, the impact of bias on relationships and culture, and how to create time and space to understand students’ experiences in school.

This summer, CCS also sent teams to two key professional development offerings.

Five members of the CCS faculty attended the Vermont BEST Institute in Killington during the week of June 24. The CCS team attended a multiday professional development strand on Creating a Positive and Proactive Classroom Environment to Promote Academic and Behavioral Success. With this training in mind, the team used it’s team time to design professional development and teamwork for 2019/2020, analyze structures and functions within our MTSS, and to refine some of the PBIS features within our school.

Fourteen members of the Charlotte Middle School attended Tarrant’s Middle Grades Institute at Champlain College, working with middle school practitioners and trainers from around the state. The week’s whole-group learning focused on Paul Gorski’s Equity Framework, teaching us how to recognize, respond, redress and work toward creating and sustaining a culture of equitable practices. Teams and individuals were able to dive deeper into the pedagogy and content important for middle-level education: personalization, social justice, project-based learning, adolescent development, MakerSpace, student voice, and digital literacy to name a few.

The excitement and inspiration gained from the week led our team to request additional collaboration with the Tarrant Institute. Some of our Tuesday professional development will enable continuous growth in the areas listed above.