Hinesburg Community School Principal’s Report

October 2016

Grades K-2

Kindergarten has been studying fall. This week we have worked on apples, tasting different types, making applesauce, and tasting other apple things. Yummy!! Kindergarten has also implemented “All Kindergarten Morning Meeting” every Friday.

Each class takes a turn to lead a morning meeting for all three kindergarten teams. The components include: a greeting, a song, a game, and a share. Today we shared our favorite animal and the most popular was a cat!

Second graders continue to learn about plants. We were able to spend a fall afternoon in the garden finding parts of plants that we can eat and recorded our findings in our science journals. We will be visiting the Shelburne Museum to begin our study of life long ago.

Grades 3/4

Third: We are finishing up our weather unit this week. The students identified and classified different cloud types and world climates. We are also getting ready to move onto our next unit in math, which is our introduction to multiplication. We are continuing to practice reading fluency and retelling/summarizing.

Grades 7/8

In science, students are culminating their forces across a distance (static electricity, magnetism and gravity) by showing that they can generate a testable question and plan and conduct an investigation independently.

Unified Arts

Spanish: Seventh and eighth students have been working on a project related to the Hispanic Month. Sixth-grade students researched the importance of learning a new language and have been practicing numbers 1-1000 and classroom commands. Games, songs and immersion stories have been used in elementary classes to practice numbers, body parts, clothing, colors and calendars.

5-8 Music: Students are working on counting rhythms and ear training using solfege syllables. Bands: Students are working on concert pieces. Advanced is preparing for Halloween Songs at lunches on Oct 31.


Spelling Bee – Hats off to the HCS Spelling Teams who showed NERVES OF STEEL and great sportsmanship at the CSSU Spelling Bee! The 7/8 Team tied for second place, missing first place by only two points despite beastly-hard words and TWO flawless rounds. The 5/6 Team also faced tough competition and tied for second despite THREE perfect rounds. Each player took a risk, gave it their best shot, high-fived their teammates, and came out smiling.

The Connecting Youth Vermont Kids Against Tobacco Group has started up and has an enthusiastic group of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. The group has been active at HCS for the past 12 years. This year is the first year that the Connecting Youth did not get the VKAT grant because tobacco use rates in the region have dropped. The group will therefore be changing its name to CY-LEAD (Connecting Youth-Leadership Education the Anti-Drug) which will be consistent with all of the other CSSU middle schools and CVU’s prevention group. Without the grant there are no grant requirements or training opportunities, so the group is currently determining how they can be most impactful for the coming school year. Plans are underway for a Red Ribbon Week celebration as well as other prevention initiatives.

The HCS GLOW (Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever) Group has also started meeting this fall. The group is open for sixth through eighth graders as a safe place to come as you are. A couple of students will be participating in a statewide conference in November.

PBIS Award– HCS was recognized at the annual VTPBIS (Vermont Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) for being an exemplar school for four consecutive years. This is a fantastic school-wide achievement that we are very proud of for many reasons. During the conference, Jen Bradford and Kate Myhre were asked to run a session on what our Be a STAR program looks like at HCS to schools that were in the initial stages of implementing PBIS in their schools.

Early Release / Professional Development– The first two Tuesdays this month were once again centered on Proficiency Based Learning. We have continual support from our .5 PBL coach, Monica Carter, and periodic support from CSSU coaches Emily Rinkema and Stan Williams. Not only do these coaches help plan and develop the professional development portion of the faculty meetings, but they also make themselves available during the day to work directly with our classroom teachers. They are an additional resource as teachers plan, develop and teach to learning targets. Having them as a building-based resource has proved to be most effective in moving us forward.
Pumpkin Sale- In very short order, PiE once again organized and ran a very successful pumpkin sale. In just two short days, they were able to raise over $700. It’s great to work with such an incredible parent group who are able to organize such events in such a quick and efficient time period.

Curriculum Nights– At this point, many of our teams have now invited parents/community in for grade-level curriculum nights. Informing and building understanding for our parents is crucial as we continue to build strong and cohesive working relationships. Also, as a parent, understanding not only what our child is learning, but how we can help support this learning at home, is also a critical component of the home-to-school relationship.
UA Curriculum Night / Harvest Dinner- Once again, our UA teachers and PiE have teamed up to offer a fun and informative night for our community. On Nov. 1, the UA teachers will present their curriculum to interested parents directly prior to our annual Harvest Dinner. We are hoping that as many parents as possible come to be part of this wonderful event.