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.