"Putney: the World's Best Known Small Town"

(Courtesy Putney Historical Society)

Putney Central School opened on its current 175 acre site at 182 Westminster Road during the late spring of 1958.  Two major renovations, one in 1977 and the other in 1994, provided additional classroom space, new music and art spaces, and a lovely school library, home to over 6400 volumes. In 2014 we completed a three-phase energy retrofit of the entire building, with a special emphasis on the grades 4/5 "pod," the primary wing, and our gym/multipurpose space. Retrofits included two new boilers, one oil, the other pellet, new windows in the primary wing, additional insulation in all spaces, new air handlers and circulators, and computer controlled systems designed to enable both on-site and remote operation of the heating and fresh air systems. In addition, all lighting was replaced with energy efficient fluorescents.  As a result, our 46,000 square foot facility is now a comfortable, energy efficient place to work and play.

There are now computers in every classroom, including iPads and Macbooks, and in the middle school, Chromebooks. In addition, all teachers have both iPads and Macbook Air laptop computers, and there are eight Hitachi Starboards scattered throughout the building. Be sure to check out our PCS Tech page to learn more.

Things certainly have changed since the above photo was taken.  We'd love to be able to ID any of the dancers, so if you recognize anyone, let us know.

As part of the Farm Security Administration's corps of photographers dispersed throughout the country, Marion-Post Walcott traveled throughout Vermont, camera at the ready.  Several other images of Putney created by Walcott are available at the Library of Congress.

PCS Today

Today Putney Central School serves approximately 170 children from PK4 (15 students in '15/'16!)  through 8th grade. Our preschool, one of the few - if not only - programs in the state of Vermont that is full school day/full school year, is entering its fifth year.

Across the grades, our academic program is based on high expectations for all students, and places emphasis on mathematics, language arts, science, and social sciences, while not losing sight of the vital importance of the visual and performing arts, physical education, nutrition, health, and comprehensive wellness.  In many ways, we strive to provide our graduates a genuine liberal arts education by teaching across traditional curricular boundaries and addressing the needs of all learners, regardless of learning style.  It is a challenge, but one that all of us here at PCS embrace.

Among other programs, Putney Central School participates in the volunteer-taught nature in the classroom program Four Winds, and maintains strong school-community relations through the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization), the Putney Recreation League, Putney Family Services, the Bonneyvale Environmental Education Center, and a number of other local groups and organizations that use our school facilities for their activities and programs, such as AAU basketball and adult volleyball.

Facilities Upgrades

During the summer of 2010 we began Phase I of a comprehensive energy retrofit of our entire school complex.  Phase I entailed completely insulating the exterior walls of our gym, and installation of a new air handler and assorted controls. 

In addition, the front entrance to our school was given a new "store-front" -like treatment, which not only enhanced its visual appeal, but provided an all-important, energy conserving "air lock," which saves energy and keeps cold drafts out of the front hallway.  The glass and concrete slab are a terrific example of passive solar energy in action; even on the coldest winter days the entryway warms up to a very comfortable temperature. 

Phase II of our project, begun in summer of 2011, involved removing much of the exterior walls on the primary wing, then reframing, insulating, and adding new windows. Again, all with an eye toward an enhanced learning environment while at the same time conserving vital natural resources.

We launched Phase III during the summer of 2012, and in doing so replaced three aging oil furnaces with a state of the art pellet boiler, complete with a new oil backup system. Significantly, the new system is computer controlled, and features all new air handlers in the primary wing. All controls are web-based, so remote monitoring of the system is possible; a big plus on those days of low occupancy, such as snow days and school vacations.

Finally, thanks in part to a no-interest loan from Efficiency Vermont, during the summer of 2013 we were able to retrofit all of the lighting throughout the building.  Contractors installed new energy-efficient two-stage fluorescent lighting, with motion and voice-activated switches throughout the facility.  Yet another improvement to the facility that will result in an improved environment for teaching and learning, with the benefit of significant energy savings. 

It goes without saying that none of this would have been possible without the understanding, trust, and generous support of the taxpayers of Putney, who care deeply about our little school.

Our Curriculum

Putney Central School offers a rich curriculum consistent with the Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities, and promotes the development of skills in communication, reasoning and problem solving, personal development, and civic and social responsibility.  PCS, like all schools in Vermont, is making a transition to the national set of curriculum standards known as the National Common Core

Learning Opportunities

  • At all grade levels students focus on reading, writing, composition, and spelling. Students are exposed to many different genres of literature, and each grade receives regular instruction and guidance from the school librarian.
  • At all grade levels students focus on mathematics. This includes number concepts, measurement, geometry and spatial relationships, probability and statistics, patterns and relationships, and problem solving.
  • At all grade levels students focus on science, social studies, library studies, art, international studies,  music, health, and technology education.

During the /15/'16 school year we are piloting the highly regarded reading program Reading Street in grades K/1/2, with an eye toward expanding the program next year to include grades K-6.

In addition to the regular music program, instrument instruction is available to all students in  grades 4-8, as well as participation in band, jazz band, rock shop, music composition and chorus.  Contact our music teacher, Josh Fields, for more on our terrific music program.

Students’ achievements...
...are recognized a variety of ways. PCS has an honor roll to reflect high levels of accomplishment and effort; exemplary student classwork and artwork is posted along school hallways for all to see; and, of course, end of semester report cards.  We also schedule monthly PBiS celebrations, the aim of which is to celebrate all of the positive things that happen in school every day.

Over the next couple of years the WSESU, which includes PCS, will be moving toward a proficiency-based assessment system.  While not unfamiliar to those in the younger grades, this approach represents a bit of a sea change at the middle school level, and is a significant departure for the high school.  During the '14/'15 the VT Agency of Education sponsored a professional development series for district teams - including the WSESU -  aimed at laying the groundwork for the gradual transition to proficiency based assessments.  Reflecting on the successes that Maine has had in this realm over the past couple of years, the VT AOE contracted with the Maine-based Great Schools Initiative to increase our chances of success with this significant change.  For more on proficiency based learning (PBL): http://education.vermont.gov/proficiency-based-learning  or visit the Great Schools Partnership at: http://www.greatschoolspartnership.org/

Most of our graduates attend high school at Brattleboro Union High School (BUHS), while a few will attend other area schools, including the Putney School, Vermont Academy, or the Compass School.