Old year ends and new year begins busy at school

In the weeks before the holiday vacation, Charlotte Central School was busy. The Parent Teacher Organization-sponsored craft fair brought together members of the school community — neighbors, students, caregivers and artisans. Vendors displayed their wares in both gyms, there was a do-it-yourself craft area for children, a silent auction and hundreds of holiday shoppers.

Erika Norris, an art educator, displayed creations from her students to celebrate their personal journey of exploration and discovery. Art that turned recyclables into “what-ifs,” creations that were from joy, messes and endless possibilities, and many other creative expressions were showcased. Walking through the halls of Charlotte Central School felt like visiting a museum, where students giggled with pride to show others their masterpieces.

The Multipurpose Room came alive with tunes performed by student musicians. Kids who may not typically feel musical were part of something bigger. Their commitment was met with awe and applause. Who knew Taylor Swift’s medley of tunes played by a middle school band could hook students in kindergarten and above into the possibilities of their music-playing dreams?

Staff members enjoyed the PTO-sponsored pizza donation from Folino’s, which brought people together to share personal stories and to feel reconnected during this busy time of year.

The student body earned a whole-school Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports celebration by modeling our Charlotte Central School precepts: Taking care of self, taking care of others and taking care of this place. Around the building students participated in a variety of activities including 3D snowflakes, indoor gaga ball, engineering challenge, big-little reading partners, cooperative games and origami.

The climate, colleagues and cohesion committee planned the Wednesday staff meeting that brought together members of the school: educators, support staff, the cafeteria crew, bus drivers, office staff and the facilities and maintenance team. This feat is something to celebrate at Charlotte Central School since the staff covers shifts from 4 a.m. to midnight. During this gathering, junior counselors from the Part 2 after-school program surprised staff by serving hot chocolate and sweet treats. These brave youngsters circulated around and took orders offering options of candy canes, whipped cream, marshmallows and sprinkles to enhance each mug of cocoa.

Starting the new year
The University of Vermont is offering extension workshops for students in fifth through 12th grades which offer exciting teen science, coding and engineering programs.

Jan. 13 will be the first teen science cafe of 2024 where participants will learn all about Life in a Drop of Water: A Deep Dive into Aquatic Microbiology and Phytoplankton. In this cafe students will interact with microscopic life in Lake Champlain, mud puddles and the ocean using microscopes; learn about the importance of microscopic aquatic life and why NASA is sending algae to space; and even create living mini-ecosystems in a bottle to take home. Open to youth in seventh-12th grade.

Starting on Feb. 1 students will have the opportunity to learn how to create their own website. In the 4-H World Changers: Learn to Code series, students will learn to design and build a website to take action on something that matters to them. The group will meet virtually each Thursday from Feb. 1-March 7, 7-8 p.m. This is open to fifth-12th grade students.

Feb. 10 will be the next teen science cafe and will focus on agrotek innovation. This café will introduce students to different ways that technology is applied in agricultural settings to create new products or improve the environment. This is a teaser to get students interested in the summer AgroTek Academy at the University of Vermont. Open to seventh-12th graders.

Lastly, on Feb. 17, Discover Engineering is a free annual event for youth in fifth-10th graders who want to learn about engineering, build skills and network with engineering students, faculty and professionals.
More information about each program and registration.