Local students head back to school

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Manchester Journal

Another school year is upon us and while the kids might not be as excited about it as their parents are, back-to-school fun brings lots of new things.

Students at Burr and Burton Academy and Long Trail School returned to school Aug. 22, with freshmen at BBA and new students at LTS starting the day before. Students in the Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union started Thursday and the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union returned to class Wednesday.Other schools, including the Maples Street School and Stratton Mountain School won't be back in the classroom until after Labor Day. BRSU teachers spent Monday back in the classroom, at the annual welcome back day of learning and professional development. Several teachers were honored.

Ross Harmon, a teacher at Mettawee Community School, and Holly Hjelt, of The Dorset School, were named The University of Vermont Outstanding Teachers, an honor for which they were nominated by their school principals or BRSU administrators.

And Heidi Underwood, of Manchester Elementary Middle School; Jennifer Russo, of Flood Brook School; and David Paarlberg-Kvam, of The Dorset School were honored with BRSU Teacher Recognition Awards, which are nominated by peers and their principals. The award drew 25 nominations this year.

Burr & Burton Academy

MANCHESTER — BBA opened the year with a near record of 750 students expected, including 165 incoming freshmen and about 60 international students from Asia, Europe and South America.

"This first day of school is an exciting time for students, parents and teachers," said Director of Admission Kirk Knutson. "Our administration remains committed to ensuring that every BBA student has access to a world-class education, and we wish everyone a productive school year."

Burr and Burton spent much of the summer sprucing up the campus, streamlining academic offerings, and welcoming new staff and teachers.

The school has eight new teachers, or teachers who have shifted into new roles heading into the school year. There are also six new faces or people in new roles among the staff.

Long Trail School

DORSET — Long Trail School begins the year with right at 200 students in grades six through 12.

Those students will be the first to get to use the school's brand new fieldhouse that was completed over the summer and features a basketball court, rock climbing wall, locker rooms, concession space, offices and more.

There are also six new faculty for the 2019-20 school year. One of the new faces that will be using the new fieldhouse is Mike Olson, who will serve as assistant athletic director for basketball and will be the boys head coach,

as well as associate director of admissions for international students.

Athletic Director Nicole Dexter will also teach physical education and coach. Dexter has been part of the Town of Manchester's recreation department where she was programming director.

Natalie Coe and Kenneth Mulder join LTS from Green Mountain College in the science and math departments, Mackenzie Hunter just moved back after working in Kuwait for three years, and Bo Malcolm, a 2012 LTS alumnus, graduated from Colorado College with a degree in English literature.

"Our new faculty, with their exquisite backgrounds, will fit right into an extraordinary scholarly community passionately dedicated to our students and their success," said Head of School Seth Linfield. "Our school in turn is intensely committed to our faculty, within a collective culture which values growth and empowers our professionals to fulfill their personal callings to teach, learn and make a difference."

Arlington Memorial High School

ARLINGTON — A new position has been created this year at Arlington Memorial Middle and High School to help students navigate their daily experiences at school.

James Aschmann, an English teacher who delivered the high school's commencement address in June, has been named Director of Equity and School Culture.

"Arlington Memorial is personalizing its approach," said Principal Sarah Merrill. "We recognize that there is a growing need to provide social and emotional support to students in their critically developing years."

Aschmann will serve as a resource to middle and high-schoolers by using principles of restorative practices.

The high school will welcome three out-of-district, tuition students this year, according to Missy Wilcox, public relations officer for the Arlington School District. That's a "big number for us," given that the school's graduating class in June was only 30 students, she said.

Arlington Memorial "made a big push" last school year with direct marketing and open houses to attract school choice families, some of whom had not been aware of the high school as an option and liked its small-scale feel, Wilcox said.

The high school will also be offering the Flexible Pathways Initiative, the state's dual enrollment program, which allows students to take college courses through the Community College of Vermont without leaving Arlington Memorial. 

Fisher Elementary School

ARLINGTON — Students at Fisher Elementary School this year will be able to avail themselves of a "sensory path" that was installed in a hallway over the summer.

The path features colorful decals adhered to the floor that encourage students to hop, twist and twist as they travel down the hall. The decals include a sunflower, frogs and lily pads and purple letters arranged in a hopscotch formation.

William Bazyk, Superintendent of Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union, recently posted on Twitter a video of himself using the path.

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"Full disclosure, it will take a few more tries for me to outright complete it," Bazyk wrote. 

Currier Memorial School

DANBY — Currier students will return to new floors in all classrooms and a new pre-K playground will be installed soon thanks to a donation form the town of Danby.

Asbestos tiles were removed from the front office area and plans to create an outdoor classroom are ongoing.

Currier has several new faculty members, including Aidan Sister, a pre-K teacher, Erica Albright, a grades 3/4 teacher, Amanda Begin, a library/media specialist, and Kelley Schults, an administrative assistant.

The Dorset School

DORSET — A brand new field awaited students when they returned finally making the badly needed fixes to the school's playing surface.

There 25 new students at TDS in grades 1-8, and a MakerSpace will be fully functional this year with sewing machines, mixers and stove, and woodworking equipment.

New staff include: Dianne Hosley, a reading specialist, Dan Seiden, music, Orla Dundas, middle school math, Mackenzie Prasch, middle school special educator, Makayla Stone, speech and language pathologist, Katherine Monahan, health teacher, Caroline Comley, RISE program, and Karyn Stannard, special education director.

MEMS

MANCHESTER — MEMS grew significantly from last year to this year with 82 new students in pre-K through eighth-grade.

Other advances were summer programs, including a Summer Success Program for incoming seventh- graders, an Anchor Summer Program, and a kindergarten through fifth-grade Summer School Program.

New staff include: Hannah Yarwood, Music, Keira Carmichael, Music, Anna Nicholson, Middle School Counselor, Katherine Monahan, Health, Hilary French, Sixth Grade Teacher, Karen Mayne, Middle School Math, Cristi Green, Middle School Special Educator, Erin Bourne, Pre K, Nancy Lewis, Paraeducator, Kevin Murphy, Paraeducator, Seth Rice, Paraeducator, Mellisa King, Pre K extra support, and Reiko DeSario, Pre K extra support.

Maple Street School

MANCHESTER — Maple Street School will start its 22nd school year on Sept. 3 with a new leader.

The independent day school, which serves children in grades kindergarten through eighth, announced earlier this year that it had appointed its fourth Head of School, Dr. Caroline "Cricket" Mikheev, who started July 1.

Mikheev came to Manchester from Sewickley Academy in Pennsylvania, where she served as Head of Lower School. Her selection was the result of a nationwide search.

Mikheev succeeds Fanning Hearon as the school's leader. Hearon is now Head of School at Palm Beach Day Academy in Palm Beach, Florida.

The school already has scheduled a number of public events throughout the year. On Friday, Sept. 27, at The Golf Club at Equinox, Maple Street will host its annual golf tournament, proceeds from which go toward the school's scholarship program. The next day, the school will staff a tent at the Peru Fair.

Maple Street has also scheduled a jazz event at Walker Farm in Weston for Nov. 9. 

Mettawee Community School

WEST PAWLET — Mettawee has a nice new parking lot this year that will make kids safer, parking easier, and more efficient. The new surface will better shed water during rain or snowmelt and keep cars and kids out of muddy lots.

The school is also using two fewer buses, reducing the number of buses from six to four.

A new addition to the library is a large mural painted by a former Mettawee student, Gretchen Hammell, who is now an art student at Long Trail School, and spent part of her summer painting the mural in the library.

There are 24 new students in school this year showing population growth also seen in many other district schools.

New staff include: Colleen Jennings, School Counselor, Karyn Stannard, Special Education Director, and Kayla Moore, Special Education Teacher.

Sunderland Elementary

SUNDERLAND — By combining kindergarten and first grades into a mixed-grade classroom, Sunderland now had six grade-level classrooms instead of seven. That allows for the school to now have a designated art and music room.

And the second-grade classroom is now next to the new K/1 with a door that joins the two, allowing for more collaboration between the two classrooms.

The outside of Sunderland Elementary got a new coat of paint on the outside of the school, freshening up the look for the new school year.

New staff include: Paul Eaton, special ed director, and Colleen Jennings, guidance counselor.


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