FY'14 Audit Reports for:
Addison Central School
Ferrisburgh Central School
Vergennes Union Elementary School
Vergennes Union High School
are now available. Click here.
MESSAGE FROM SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
Dear Voters in the Panton, Waltham, Vergennes, Ferrisburgh and Addison Communities,
First, let me say that in the first half of my first year as Superintendent of Schools in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union, it has been my pleasure to serve your communities. I have enjoyed reacquainting myself with many staff I previously knew and also getting up to speed on all of the great things that students and staff are accomplishing. We are preparing our students for a very different workplace in a global world and we are accomplishing this by changing the way teaching and learning looks in the classrooms and in other learning environments. Education does not look the same as when we were in school and therefore we must use different approaches and different resources. It is my goal to provide every student in our schools with a world class education.
When I review budget voting results over the past ten years, I am heartened by the seemingly long standing history of support of all ANWSU schools. On the other hand, in recent past a few of the school budgets were defeated. Listening to the voters and trying to balance the needs of taxpayers with the needs of the schools can be at best a very daunting task. Not a day goes by when someone will say that we cannot afford this budget, it is too high and we need to send a message to Montpelier when another person protests that we cut too much out of the budget and we need to send a message to the School Boards. We are in interesting times trying to meet the competing values of our communities.
If you have been watching the news, our Governor and Secretary of Education have been reporting about the challenges of providing a quality education with yearly increases of expenditures when we have a state of declining student enrollment. We all know that we have a system that is not sustainable. The change we need is not simply a change in Montpelier; but change must also occur at the local level as well. The School Boards used good diligence this year when building their budgets by looking at their Class Size policies. When applying this policy to decisions we made to either reduce staff or in some cases increase staff it was due to aligning decisions to policy. We believe this policy has allowed us to “right size” our classrooms not to make hasty or random reductions.
If you have been following the local news, especially this past summer, you know that we have had to address some challenges with fiscal management and controls for all schools in the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union. With confidence, I can tell you we have made great strides. This progress has come with a price and it will take another year to put our financial ship in order. I am committed to making sure this happens. Because of the unclear budgeting processes and financial practices of the past building school budgets this year has been a challenge. I have appreciated questions from both City officials and community members when they do not understand or agree with information that has been posted. Through this dialogue and questioning we have improved our budget documents and are gaining more clarity about how school budgets were previously put together and financial information reported. Going forward we want community members to know that we strive to be transparent, responsive to questions and open to suggestions for improvement.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been invited to testify in front of the Senate Education and Finance Committees. I believe that there will be movement this session to make education policy decisions that will help us get on the right path to make education more cost effective, sustainable and improve outcomes for students. Unfortunately, policy change will not be made final before Town Meeting Day. The legislation that is being considered is a good start and if successful in achieving the outcomes of cost efficiency and improved student outcomes we will be on the right track to improve on this in the future. While this remains to be seen, I am hopeful that with your support we can continue to move our schools forward and make the needed improvements that will have a positive impact on all citizens young and old.
In closing, we encourage you to attend your school informational meetings. The dates are listed on the ANWSU website.
Superintendent of Schools
Addison Northwest Supervisory Union
VUHS Informational Meeting Tuesday, February 24 6:30 PM VUHS Library
VUES Informational Meeting Wednesday, February 25 7:00 PM VUES Library
ACS Informational Meeting Thursday, February 26 7:00 PM ACS
FCS Informational Meeting Monday, March 2 6:30PM FCS
NOTICE TO ALL STUDENTS IN GRADES 8-11
PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL CHOICE
Vergennes Union High School, along with all other Vermont high schools, will participate in what has been termed a statewide system of high school choice. In its initial configuration, implementation will essentially be a modified version of the regional choice that has been in place since 2002.
Under this modified plan, students from VUHS may apply to transfer to any other high school in the state. For the 2015-2016 school year, the maximum number of students eligible to transfer is limited to ten (10). The actual number will depend on the number of students selected in prior years to continue their enrollment at other area high schools.
To apply to participate in the program for the 2015-2016 school year (grades 9-12):
Notification of decisions to all students who have applied to participate will be provided no later than April 1, 2015.
Additional school choice information, including a timeline, is available from the Superintendent’s Office.
A student’s enrollment application may be denied by another receiving school if the student has been expelled or received an extended suspension for violation of Vergennes Union High School’s alcohol, substance abuse, or weapons-in-schools policies during the year prior to enrollment in that regional partnership school. Upon enrollment in the receiving school, students are subject to the disciplinary policies and procedures of the receiving school. If selected to attend another high school in the regional partnership, students shall be guaranteed enrollment in that receiving school until graduation as long as they remain residents of one of the Vergennes UHS town districts and are not subject to expulsion as a result of the receiving school’s policy and federal and state law.
2014 Outstanding Teachers of the Year(left to right) Michele Kelly, ACS Board Chair; Sheryl Thurber, ACS Literacy Teacher; Matthew DeBlois, ACS Principal; Sandra Chicoine, VUHS Drivers Education Teacher; Stephanie Taylor, VUHS Principal
Sheryl Thurber (ACS)
Sheryl is a teacher who puts children’s needs first and always has their best interest in mind. She spends countless hours helping every student in our school learn how to read and write. She is able to encourage a hesitant reader and move them forward even when it is not an easy task to complete. There are children who do not enjoy reading and somehow she finds a way to help them become successful readers. This takes a special talent, and someone who is very committed. She is also able to challenge some of the other students whom love to read and empowers them to reach new heights by sparking new interest and putting challenging text in their hands.
As a colleague she is willing to help all of the teachers in the building. It does not have to just be in reading either. She is willing to cover a recess or lunch duty so teachers can complete a task that otherwise may not get done, or meet with students, or go to a class. She is willing to meet before or after the school day starts or ends. She is a great advocate for teachers and is the Grievance rep. for our school and is also on the negotiating team as well. Above all of this she has worked hard trying to help gain a preschool at our school and made sure that we have had a summer school program in Addison so that students would be able to continue learning that may otherwise not be possible during the summer months.
She has served on many different committees such as the District Writing committee, the Leadership Team at Addison School, the Literacy Team and she has helped with professional development for the district as well.
Sandra Chicoine (VUHS)
Sandy is an exceptional teacher that is closely connected to students, both individually and as a group. She is a very caring and compassionate person and students realize that. Sandy makes connections with students that other teachers only dream about making. She listens to them, supports them, and advocates for them.
An argument can be made that Driver’s Education classes are pretty cut and dry, but Sandy keeps the students captivated, engaged and participating. She is not afraid to make tough decisions if it is in the best interest of the student and/or community. She goes above and beyond personally and professionally.