Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dorinne's Champlain Song at First Student Assembly

Sung to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad"

I've been working at Champlain School
All summer long
Custodians working at Champlain School
Staff and teachers right along
Can't you hear Miss Kendre calling,
"Line up for your class!"
Can't you hear Dr. D shouting,
"Line up for your class!"

Line up for your class!
Line up for your class!
Line up for your class - class - class!
Line up for your class!
Line up for your class!
Line up for your class!

Hazen's in the kitchen with Chef Kaye
With Miss Jane three lunches long
Hazen's in the kitchen with Chef Kaye
Serving three lunches long
Singin' fee, fie, fiddly-i-o
Fee, fie, fiddly-i-o-o-o-o
Fee, fie, fiddly-i-o
Kids learning all day long!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Celebrating Champlain Renovations

At the September Harvest Fest, three speakers presented at our ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new main office suite and four new classrooms with windows. We hope this beautification is just the beginning! Champlain parent Adam Bluestein shared the history of the Windows Committee, which diligently met over four years to keep the pressure on the Burlington School Board and administration. Adam recognized Zoe Richards, Heather Fitzgerald, Nina Chill, and Carin Lilly for all their commitment to this major school improvement. BSD property Services Manager Marty Spaulding thanked the many individuals who contributed to the renovation, including Champlain custodians Sam Jackson and Carl Terry. Students Damien Lilly, Jessie Fitzgerald, Miranda Brown, and Nora Vota cut the red ribbon on each door to the office, and helped lead the tour of our renovated offices and classrooms.
Carin Elly, Adam Bluestein, and Zoe Richards 
Marty Spaulding
Sam Jackson and Carl Terry

Communication Between Champlain's Office Team

Visitors to Champlain may have noticed a new gadget among main office staff. Caught on camera below are school counselor Greg Kriger, administrative assistant Janet Breen, and I holding our two-way radios (walkie-talkies) ready for action. Throughout the school day we communicate with two other colleagues, who also carry radios at all times, student behavior coach Kendre Guinane and head custodian Carl Terry (Sam Jackson after 2:30pm). We plan to add two additional radios for nurse Nancy Pruitt and for teachers taking children outside. Fortunately Champlain's after-school program staff communicates with radios on the same frequency, so we are in touch on school safety from 7am to 6pm.
A staple on many campuses, our radios not only alert each other to address concerns around the building, but notify Janet in case she needs to announce an immediate command, such as "Clear the Halls," over the Public Address system. Wait-time to handle classroom disruptions or an unexpected mess has been substantially reduced. Even on off-hours, use of radios must strictly apply to school matters, despite the temptation for a Rosco P. Coltrane impersonation.
Greg, Janet, and I pose with pride to reach each other instantly anywhere on campus with our two-way radios. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Helping Improve Food and Security

Food, Glorious Food
The food served at Champlain Elementary School by Burlington's Food Service is delicious, nutritious, and popular. The Parent-Teacher Organization Cafeteria Committee has organized a volunteer crew to help serve food and support students nearly every day. Their contributions have proven indispensable and deserve our gratitude. Not only does their volunteerism help save money for education, but their relationship building with students strengthens our community bonds. 
Students start lining up for lunch first with the salad bar. A meal must include a fruit or vegetable, according to federal guidelines. This week community member Kristin Boehm began helping each student receive the right-sized portion and enjoy a positive dining experience. 
Chef Kaye Douglas slices hot baked potatoes, one of the many unprocessed meal choices. When one of our three hundred and eighteen students make special requests, she really listens and considers what they're asking and what they need, which, speaking as a novice lunch monitor, isn't as simple as it seems.

School-sized Security
Last Friday members of Champlain's Incident Command Team met with Burlington Police School Resource Officer Bailey Emilo to finalize procedures for building evacuation and lockdown drills. The State of Vermont requires both in September, followed by alternating practices every month. For the first lockdown drill, we anticipate three officers will escort Incident Command Team members throughout the building to ensure that everyone is in adherence. While schools are among the safest places for children and the chance of a dangerous incident within a school building is very low, practicing drills, especially in tandem with law enforcement, prepare us for the more likely emergencies faced in Vermont, such as a power outage and weather event. 
The Incident Command System refers to the standardized response system to emergencies instituted by U.S. federal and state agencies. The unified approach allows multiple organizations to easily coordinate efforts through improved coordination and common terminology. 
Champlain's Incident Command Team includes William Boos, Janet Breen, Tammy Charbonneau, Ashley Franke, Kendre Guinane, Greg Kriger, Nancy Pruitt, Terry Ryan, Carl Terry, Jessica Villani, Lindsay Wilcox, and myself. Pictured on the left are Kendre, Terry, Greg, me, Officer Elimo, and Richard Amato. Formerly assistant principal at Hunt Middle School, Rich supports and coordinates emergency response efforts for the Burlington School District. On the right, Officer Elimo smiles as she informs us that SROs were once formally called, "Officer Friendly."

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Champlain Launches 2016-17

This past week Champlain Elementary School launched the 2016-17 school year. After a summer of extensive renovation and movement across the first floor, a few small tasks still remained. Parents/guardians and students may have seen Burlington School District Property Services staff tinkering with equipment, doors, and phones. More likely they experienced the joy on the faces of friends seeing each other for the first time since summer break, and the thrill of looking around our four classrooms now illuminated by natural light. Champlain educators are deeply grateful to the Window Committee of our Parent-Teacher Organization and our maintenance staff for their endless hours of commitment to improve our learning environment. Thank you to everyone for the patience and understanding this transition has required. Here are a few highlights of the first days of schools:
Champlain maintenance staff-member Mr. Sam Jackson usually works afternoons and evenings, but he spent all day alongside his colleagues preparing and cleaning throughout the renovation this summer. 
Second-grade teacher Ms. Ashley Francke has completed her new classroom arrangements with bookshelves below the new windows. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Ms. Francke also serves as Communications Officer of Champlain's Incident Command Team. Eight Champlain school and after-school employees comprise the team, managing emergency plans and carrying out practice drills. 
The beautiful voice of music teacher Betsy Greene resounded down the hall, leading our students in the Champlain School song. Her new windows enhance the natural wood of the many instruments her students learn in music class.
On the second floor, Ms. Regina Miller (right) repurposed a smaller classroom into a vibrant mathematics center. Sixteen fifth graders learn math with Ms. Miller daily, and students from all grade levels attend math interventions to improve their conceptual understanding and numeracy skills.
Near the math lab, Ms. Jill Sikora-Cain refined lesson plans after redesigning her learning environment for her third-grade class. 
First grade teacher Ms. Nancy Leon feels bright and cheery with sunlight pouring into her classroom after many years without windows. She rearranged her room once the painting and shelves were complete to greet her new students. 

Champlain's tireless administrative assistant Janet Breen multitasks all day with a smile in our brand-new main office suite. Her desk teems with new technology as a result of the renovation and security – a video monitor, intercom, and radio improve our building safety. Visitors may be surprised when Ms. Breen asks them to sign in and take a visitor's pass, but most understand the new measures are standard throughout the district and state.