Thursday, December 19, 2013

Richmond Elementary School

4th graders at Richmond Elementary School created a vision during a recent concert

Friday, December 6, 2013

New School Cuisine: Nutritional and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks

CESU chefs and managers participated in writing State wide school food service cookbook, "New School Cuisine: Nutritional and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks."
Over last year, 3 of our chef/managers came together with 12 other school chefs around Vermont to write, test and retest new school recipes that meet the new USDA dietary guidelines. 

This book will be sent to every school in Vermont and to every Child Nutrition Program in every state.

Last night at NECI was kick off for the new book. It is currently available online at:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

When does CESU close schools due to inclement weather?

Once again, we are approaching the time of year when weather might affect the school day.  The primary factor in determining whether to alter the school day is student safety. CLICK HERE to review the factors considered when making a decision about the school day due to inclement weather.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Richmond Elementary School and Camels Hump Middle School Selected for School Safety Pilot
Richmond Elementary School and Camels Hump Middle School have been selected to be a part of a new program via the state of Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Education.  Corporal Mark Moody, project facilitator, will be working with both schools throughout the pilot. He will review program objectives, schedules and how to best get started in moving the project along. Based upon the results of CESU (Chittenden East Supervisory Union) needs, Corporal Moody’s activities will consist of:
  • Crisis Plan Review and/or development;
  • Advise on developing localized training plans for crisis intervention;
  • Technical assistance on building a Safety Community Outreach Plan.

A significant piece of this work will be to ensure that the needs of all students, including those with disabilities, are addressed in all current or newly developed plans.

Corporal Moody is long-time School Resource Officer (SRO) who founded the Vermont Youth Officer’s Network and remains that organization’s Chair. He is also an active member of the Vermont School Crisis Planning Team and has intensive law enforcement training on school safety issues. In the role of AOE Resource Officer Liaison, Corporal Moody will provide technical assistance to schools around connecting the work of the school resource officer with school based activities, building connections with community responders, and increasing the capacity of the Crisis Response Team with an increased focus on students with disabilities.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mt. Mansfield Union High School 

Camels Hump Middle School

Win National Recognition for Energy Efficiency

Mt. Mansfield Union High School and Camels Hump Middle School have been recognized as two of Vermont’s first ENERGY STAR® schools. This achievement places the school in the top 25% of energy efficient schools in the country and signifies that it meets stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for healthy ventilation, year-round comfort, and lighting quality.

MMUHS and CHMS were recognized at an award ceremony on November 7th at Camel’s Hump Middle School in Richmond, along with 9 other Vermont schools that achieved ENERGY STAR designation. The ceremony also marked the launch of Project Green School, an initiative that aims to put all Vermont schools on the path toward ENERGY STAR designation by 2020.

This achievement reflects the commitment of our staff, faculty, students, administrators, and the many people who comprise the school community.  The Mount Mansfield Union School District and Chittenden East Supervisory Union share a vision to sustain great schools, to lower overhead costs, and to walk the walk of environmental stewardship in service to Vermont’s future. 

Among those in attendance at the award ceremony were Congressman Peter Welch, Vermont Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca, and representatives of the EPA, the Vermont Superintendents Association’s School Energy Management Program (VSA-SEMP), and Efficiency Vermont.

“The 11 schools we are honoring today have done great work,” said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “But the steps they have taken are within reach of any school in our state. With focused effort and enhanced support through Project Green School, we are looking forward to helping every community in Vermont provide a healthier and more energy efficient environment for their students.”

To learn more about Project Green School, or support your local school’s efforts to participate, visit

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fresh from Vermont:
New Cookbook Offers Healthy School Meals Children Love

VT Feed, the VT Agency of Education and the School Nutrition Association of VT have developed a cookbook to help transform the school lunch experience.  The partners are excited to announce release of New School Cuisine:  Nutritious and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks.  The cookbook features local seasonal recipes developed by VT school nutrition professionals with support from the New England Culinary Institute.  Three of CESU's food service managers and directors were involved in the program--Alison Forrest from Brewster-Pierce Memorial School, Karyl Kent of Richmond Elementary and David Horner the CESU Food Service Director.  All recipes are scaled for large-volume cooking and meet the latest USDA dietary standards. To view the cookbook visit the VT Agency of Education Website.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Congratulations to Kristen Barker!
2013 UVM Outstanding Teacher of the Year  

In her fifteenth year as a Mt. Mansfield Union High School counselor and Director of Student Services, Kristin Barker continues to provide inspirational leadership for her department as she  serves families, students and our community.  We appreciate her ability to continually seek the best ways to meet the needs of each individual learner and inspire her colleagues.  She has managed school climate and structural organization to assure the high school curriculum is aligned with 21st century skills.  She creatively solves complex social, emotional and academic concerns and is an asset to the profession and our entire community.  Please join all of us in congratulating Kristin Barker.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Mt. Mansfield Union School Board invites you to a Public Forum to discuss the development of the upcoming

Browns River Middle School
Camels Hump Middle School
Mt. Mansfield Union High School

Community input is a vital component in the budget development process.  
Please join us for a presentation and discussion of the 2014-15 school district budget.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!

Mt. Mansfield Union High School Library
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Monday, October 14, 2013


Champlain Valley Superintendents Discuss Calendar 2.0

Champlain Valley, Vermont - October 11, 2013 - Champlain Valley Superintendents have completed four public forums with over 1,000 people in attendance to discuss the proposed Calendar 2.0 calendar that uses existing calendar days in a different format intended to maximize student learning.

"It has been an exciting two weeks. The energy and interest exhibited at the community forums is testament to the importance our communities have in providing the very best educational opportunities for all of our students. We are grateful for the level of participation at the forums, on blog posts, and the many smaller groups that met over the course of the last nine months - all of which will be given serious consideration," commented Chittenden South Supervisory Union Superintendent, Elaine Pinckney. 

Superintendents in the Champlain Valley agreed during a meeting this week that the forums indicated there is not broad-based community readiness at this time to implement the proposal for 2014-15.  There remains a responsibility to engage communities in a conversation that looks at time as a variable in student learning.  Regional Superintendents also want to encourage and continue the energy around community engagement in education from the discussions at the forums. 

The Champlain Valley Regional Superintendents value input from their respective communities, recognize the need for community support and know that everyone wants what is best for all children. The feedback from the forums will be reviewed by the Superintendents in November to harness the creative thinking of the community in shaping 21st Century learning environments.  Additional answers to the questions that are being asked will be provided back to the communities and ideas presented by stakeholders will be further explored.

Jay Nichols, Superintendent of Schools for the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union, noted "We want the community to stay involved as we move through this discovery process and we plan to communicate our discussions and opportunities for engagement along the way."

Based on the Vermont Superintendents' Association (VSA) Education Quality Framework and the VT World-Class Education Agenda, the School Calendar 2.0 is a new way of looking at what a school calendar could look like. This calendar preserves the current 175 student days while building in blocks of times, or intersessions, that could be used for multiple purposes for multiple stakeholders.

For more information on the proposed regional calendar, visit: Highlights include customized learning, partnership with community organizations, timely and responsive professional learning, and preservation of quality instructional time.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2013

 Proposed Calendar 2.0: Forum Details and More about the Proposal
The Champlain Valley Superintendents Association (CVSA) has scheduled four regional forums to collaboratively discuss the proposed Calendar 2.0 with area residents, families, students and educators. The Superintendents in CVSA want to engage families and educators in brainstorming ideas for a school calendar that supports and maximizes learning of all students.  

Superintendents are exploring options around how to create a more efficient and effective use of the school calendar, with time and support as the variables to positive student outcomes. This calendar is a proposal intended to stimulate conversation.

The calendar proposed by CVSA preserves the current 175 student days, while shifting about 10 days into summer in order to build in blocks of times, or intersessions, during the school year.  The goal of the proposed calendar is to organize student instruction time so students have opportunities to pause and reflect and expand upon their learning. These intersessions are designed to be used in a variety of ways, including: student enrichment opportunities, chances to provide timely intervention for students who need it, in-depth and project-based learning, opportunities for teacher professional development, opportunities for teachers to review student data during non-instructional times, and opportunities for families to schedule routine appointments or take vacations without interrupting learning blocks of time.

The current century-old calendar offers limited flexibility in how time is paced throughout the school year.  As a result, opportunities for additional learning time for students only occur during the summer months, which is often not timely for students.  In addition, teacher professional development days are either front-loaded at the beginning or end of the year, with early release days structured throughout the year, and teachers leaving the classroom for professional development opportunities.  Intersessions could also provide time for students to participate in relevant learning activities, such as internships, foreign language trips, job shadowing, etc. without being out of the classroom.

“While earlier information indicated a 2014-2015 timeline, implementation of a new calendar is flexible and this proposal is a starter intended to stimulate conversation,” CVSA Co-Chair Judith DeNova said.  “Superintendents recognize change is hard and wish to engage the community in this change process.”

The forums are designed to provide an opportunity for families and educators to connect directly about how time could be used to further the quality of education in this region of Vermont.

The forums are open to parents, educators, students and interested residents.  Please join the Superintendents, and be prepared to have a creative conversation as to how time can better be used to support student learning:

  • Wednesday, October 2, 6:30 p.m. - Essex High School
  • Thursday, October 3, 6:30 p.m. - BFA St. Albans
  • Wednesday, October 9, 6:30 p.m. - Burlington High School
  • Thursday, October 10, 6:30 p.m. - Champlain Valley Union High School
The forums will be facilitated, and have been created in a format to ensure all participants have a voice in the conversation to talk about ways to improve upon the current calendar structure.  The evenings will be broken up into four parts: a general introduction/background, an activity for participants to provide their opinions to specific questions related to the proposed Calendar 2.0, an activity for participants to have conversations about how a calendar could be created, and a closing.  Ideas and suggestions will be compiled and made public after the forums, and will be used by Superintendents to inform future calendar decisions.

For more information on the proposed regional calendar, visit:

Monday, September 23, 2013

PROPOSED CALENDAR 2.0 A conversation about quality education.

The Champlain Valley Superintendents’ Association invites you to the upcoming forums for a conversation around education and how the proposed Calendar 2.0 offers unique opportunities for student learning, quality family time and teacher professional development:

  • Wednesday, Oct 2, 6:30 pm – Essex High School (2 Educational Drive, Essex Junction)
  • Thursday, Oct 3, 6:30 pm – BFA St. Albans (71 South Main Street, St. Albans)
  • Wednesday, Oct 9, 6:30 pm – Burlington High School (52 Institute Road, Burlington)
  • Thursday, Oct 10, 6:30 pm – Champlain Valley Union High School (369 CVU Road, Hinesburg)
 Learn more about the proposed calendar at:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Proposed Calendar 2.0 Forum: 
Information, Locations  Dates 

Click on the image above to see a presentation about the proposed calendar.

Four dates in October, 2013 have been established for community forums across the Champlain Valley region regarding the proposed School Calendar 2.0 for the 2014-2015 school year.

Based on the Vermont Superintendent’s Association (VSA) Education Quality Framework and the VT World-Class Education Agenda, the proposed Calendar 2.0 is a new way of looking at what a school calendar could look like.

This calendar preserves the current 175 student days while building in blocks of times, or intersessions, that could be used for a variety of purposes by students, families, and teachers.  This calendar is still a proposal and is not yet finalized.  It is meant to engage educators, students and families around how to further the quality of education in this region.

Dates of these regional forums are:
  • Wednesday, October 2, 6:30 pm,  Essex High School
  • Thursday, October 3,   6:30 pm,   BFA St. Albans
  • Wednesday, October 9, 6:30 pm,  Burlington High School
  • Thursday, October 10, 6:30 pm,  Champlain Valley Union H.S.
For more information on the proposed regional calendar, visit:  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

CESU Update on Voluntary Merger Plans
September 2013

In the Spring of 2013, Chittenden East Supervisory Union’s member school boards voted to move forward with the statutory steps required to establish a Voluntary Merger Planning Committee (VMPC) and to begin studying the viability of one unified Prek-12 school district.  The merger option the VMPC will be focusing on is a Modified Unified Union School District (MUUSD).  MUUSD’s are a school district merger option in Act 156.  
Currently, town school boards (i.e. Bolton, Richmond, Huntington, Jericho, Underhill Town and Underhill I.D.) are determining a budget for the VMPC, appointing committee members and establishing the representation of the VMPC.
The following links provide an overview of the voluntary school district merger process, the CESU Phase I Governance Study completed in 2010 and a description of Modified Unified Union School Districts:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Common Core

What is all the talk about the Common Core?

As you begin to hear and learn about the Common Core State Standards a good place to start is

The Common Core State Standards, also known as CCCS, are designed to 
“provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”(citation: Vermont formally adopted the CCSS in August 2010. 

Rather than focusing on the individual standards themselves, we urge parents and community members to envision a young adult at the end of their schooling:
As a parent or community member, if you are you curious about learning goals at each grade level under the Common Core, the National PTA has produced a guide for each grade level concerning the Common Core.
Chittenden East Supervisory Union educators and leaders are working to develop and align our curriculum and our instructional strategies to the Common Core State Standards.  Work began last year and continues through this year in the form of teacher driven curriculum development and alignment, professional development, teacher participation in lesson study (embedded professional development), readings and reflective practices.
For a list of frequently asked questions regarding CCSS please go to:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Proposed Calendar 2.0 References

Research Sources

Starting in 2006, CVSA began studying schools where achievement improved.  The regional group of superintendents soon realized that how blocks of time were devoted to student learning appeared to influence achievement.  Then, in 2010, CVSA officially charged a Task Force to review the current school year calendar, study alternative models, and recommend a calendar based on agreed-upon principles.

That Task Force referred to several sources as they created the proposed Calendar 2.0, including:
  • Regional Educational Laboratory at EDC 
  • National Center on Time and Learning
  • San Francisco Bay Area KIPP Schools: A Study of Early Implementation, First year Report 2004-2005 
  • Evaluation of the Expanded Learning Time Initiative: Year One Report 2006-2007
  • Learning Takes Time for At-Riskers. 2005 Education Digest
  • A New Day for Kids. 2007. Educational Leadership
  • Year-Round Education. 1993. ERIC Document
  • The Bigger Picture: What about Year-Round Education? 2005. Eric Document
  • Review of Extended-Day and After-School Programs and their Effectiveness. 1998.
  • Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk
  • What Twenty Years of Educational Studies Reveal about Year-Round Education. 1994. Eric Document
  • A Five-Year Comparison between an Extended Year School and a Conventional Year School: Effects on Academic Achievement. 2008. Eric Document
  • The Quality Imperative: A state Guide to Achieving the Promise of Extended Learning. 2009. Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices
  • National Association for Year-Round Education
  • The Perennial Reform: Fixing School Time. 2008. Phi Delta Kappan. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Opportunities Discussed During Recent Partner Summit

Discussion from recent Partner Summit 7/23/13

On July 23, 2013, CVSA and Vermont Afterschool, Inc sponsored a “Partner Summit,” where a variety of out-of-school organizations and school systems met to discuss opportunities within Calendar 2.0. There were 64 participants total, representing:

  • 13 statewide and cross-region partners 
  • 7 superintendents (and a handful of school leadership members) 
  • 18 afterschool programs 
  • 6 libraries 
The meeting agenda focused on: setting the context for the proposed Calendar 2.0, brainstorming opportunities, creating themes, and discussing next steps.

By the end, the entire group came up with nine themes that needed further exploration: Equity, Intersessions, Funding, Logistics, Communication, Childcare, Transportation, Teacher Contracts, and Learning.

Click here to view the presentation from the Partner Summit.

Discussion between school systems and local/regional organizations will continue into the school year. Partners and school leaders will be present at the upcoming Fall Engagements (Oct. 2, Oct. 3, Oct. 9, and Oct. 10) - these locations/times will be scheduled soon.

All participants scribed their thoughts about four questions (the first three questions were done in silence as participants walked around tables with large paper and markers)

This Partner Summit was the first time school systems and out-of-school organizations ever met to discuss our communities’ most valuable asset - children - and more specifically, how to create opportunities to enhance their learning experiences, both in and out of school.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Proposed Champlain Valley Regional “School Calendar 2.0” Community Engagements
 Scheduled for October

Four dates in October, 2013 have been established for community forums across Chittenden County regarding the proposed Vermont Champlain Valley regional “School Calendar 2.0” for the 2014-2015 school year. 

Based on the Vermont Superintendent's Association (VSA) Education Quality Framework and the VT World-Class Education Agenda, the School Calendar 2.0 is a new way of looking at what a school calendar could look like.

This calendar preserves the current 175 student days while building in blocks of times, or intersessions, that could be used for multiple purposes for multiple stakeholders.

        The dates for these regional forums are: 
    • October 2nd
    • October 3rd
    • October 9th
    • October 10th
Specific locations and times are being finalized and will be announced soon. For more information on the proposed regional calendar, visit:

Friday, May 24, 2013

School Calendar 2.0

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Parents and Community Members:

In 2010, the Champlain Valley Superintendents created a task force to review the current school year calendar, study alternative models, propose a modified calendar based on 21st century principles, generate an engagement plan and develop steps for implementing a transformed calendar for the 2014-2015 school year. 

Over the course of 2.5 years, the task force studied national and international calendar structures and analyzed potential constraints and challenges of altering the existing school year calendar – all with the goal of increasing student learning and achievement.  After much discussion, planning and exploration, the Champlain Valley Superintendents are ready to present a draft school year calendar to constituents. 

Below you will find resources that will help you understand the guiding principles of the draft school year calendar and some of the potential benefits of the model.  Please take time to review these resources and provide feedback.  It is important to emphasize that this is not an approved school year calendar.  The Champlain Valley Superintendents and I want to engage constituents in a conversation and get their input on the strengths and challenges of modifying a school year calendar format that has been in place for decades.  This communication is the first step in capturing feedback from individuals who will be affected by reconfiguring the school year.

Resources as follows:
Thank you for taking the time consider this change and share your perspective as we look for new and innovative ways to meet the academic and societal needs of every student. 

John Alberghini
Superintendent, Chittenden East Supervisory Union

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Case for Homework
I remember my elementary aged son coming home from school, dropping his backpack, grabbing some food and then running out the back door and tearing around the yard for hours, playing.  I also recall him working on a video with friends, in the back yard, filming, shouting French phrases, laughing, and then spending hours upon hours editing which was long and arduous, but he kept at it (this was a homework assignment).  I recall my daughter cranking out essay after essay for her senior English class during, groan, “boot camp.”  (Which later in college she said helped her learn to write more than any other experience). I was thinking about homework and how there is value in having students complete work outside of school.  This teaches both academic content and discipline.  However, our ire rises when a child is home, not wanting or able to do the work -- or we feel the angst of a parent trying to help their son or daughter who is exhausted or reluctant, or when homework creates a conflict around vacation or family time.
Perseverance is a trait cited repeatedly by colleges and industry as necessary for success.  We all know that those students who have sticktoitiveness and keep at the work learn valuable and necessary life lessons.  The questions becomes, how much of this is good?.  What is the role of homework? Everyone has opinions.  What kind of homework, how much, how hard, how often?  As you can imagine there are strong opinions on all aspects of the homework question.  Some feel as though completing homework is essential to success.  Others feel that children should only have focused and specific types of homework, yet others feel there should be limited or no homework. Often, when discussing homework, an individual might say “Research says that.....” and cite one of many studies.  
Homework is well researched over time, geographic locations, age groups and content areas.  Cooper, Robinson and Pitall (2006) wrote an in depth analysis of all of the homework research over a 16 year period --they looked at ALL the research into homework.   Their conclusion is that homework does improve achievement, but there are limitations, optimum amounts and other factors that influence both the impact and success of homework.
Several weeks ago the high school literary magazine hosted a showing of Race to Nowhere.  This film discusses some of our cultural values around our schedules, pressures and homework.  The film presents a perspective around homework. Following the viewing, a panel of teachers and students replied to questions and discussed homework.  I was refreshed by the student led event, and the current work of students at the high school who are sharing thoughts and opinions about homework.
As we move forward, I ask that we all take pause to look at the accumulated research. As a Supervisory Union, we have a policy on homework and with  that policy comes specific guidelines.  It is my role to develop those guidelines, and I invite all community members (PreK through 12th grade) - students, parents, teachers, to one or some of our four forums- two are in physical locations and two are digital through twitter and google+. During the forums, I will very briefly (five to ten minutes) share summaries of the research about the purpose and impact of homework.  I will then ask for your experiences and insights so I can use  information, along with the research,  to help craft inclusive and  appropriate homework guidelines. Please join in the conversation!

Monday April 15th Brown’s RIver Middle School Library 7 pm to 8 pm,

Tuesday April 16th Camel’s Hump Middle School Library 7 pm to 8 pm
Wednesday April 17th @jencesuvt #cesuvt Twitter conversation 7 pm to 8 pm  
Wednesday May 1st Google+Hangout - Join Jennifer Botzojorns 7:30-8:30 pm

Cooper, H., Robinson, J., Patall, E. (2006).  Does Homework Improve Achievement?  A Synthesis of Research 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research. Vol. 76, No. 1. pp 1-62.