VUHS e-News, Week of October 16

Brought to you by the Commodore Parent Teacher Group 

Message from the Principals

Students are often surprised to hear that adults are constantly learning. Education does not end when one finishes with traditional schooling. All the more reason for us to help students understand that learning does not (and should not) happen solely in the classroom. As we look for more ways to personalize learning for students, we want them to be invested in their education because it is intrinsically important and relevant to them. We do not want students experiencing their education in middle and high school as something that is being done to them in which they have to endure what adults are “forcing” them to do. This is the challenge (as we buck against traditional educational practices) and learning that adults at VUHS are currently undertaking. This is evident in our transition to proficiency based learning and standards based grading. While most teachers have based their classes and teaching on standards for quite some time, this new model requires us to be more transparent about those standards and what we expect students to know and be able to do. Another part of the shift is grading students solely on their ability to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of each particular standard instead of determining a final grade for a class based on the average of grades throughout the term. The adults at VUHS are learning how to do this on a daily basis. We (Stephanie and Jay) are learning how to make PowerSchool do what we need it to do to report how students are doing on individual standards. Thank you for being patient as we all continue our learning and for asking questions when something is unclear or confusing.

Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences are Tuesday, October 17, 3:00-6:15 pm and Wednesday, October 18, 3:00-8 pm with the last scheduled conferences beginning at 6:00 (Tuesday) and 7:45 (Wednesday). This is a great time to check-in, especially if you are concerned about how your student is doing in general or in a particular class. All 7th & 8th grade students will participate in a student-led conference, but we strongly encourage all students to attend conferences with their parents/guardians. This is another way to engage students in their education and allow them to have a voice in their learning. The link to sign up for conferences was emailed earlier in the week and is included in the e-News below.

Please let us know if there are things you’d like us to discuss in our “Message from the Principals.” When you’re in the middle of things, it’s easy to forget that something may not be clear or understandable.

If you missed the proficiency based learning presentation at open house on September 28th, you can view a recording of the presentation on our website Please contact us with questions.

As always, be in touch with any comments, questions, or concerns.

Stephanie and Jay

District News

In the wake of the devastation of hurricane season, the VUES Community Group has decided this year to introduce trick or treating for UNICEF to their students.  This is the UNICEF program that asks kids to bring a small, cardboard collection box on their trick or treating adventures to collect spare change for children in need around the world.  So, be on the lookout for our little ones collecting candy and change on halloween!   

For more information about their initiative, you can visit the link here, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences

Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences are Tuesday, October 17, 3:00-6:15 pm and Wednesday, October 18, 3:00-8 pm with the last scheduled conferences beginning at 6:00 (Tuesday) and 7:45 (Wednesday). We encourage parents/guardians to set up conference times with teachers and morning meeting advisors. This is a great time to check-in, especially if you are concerned about how your student is doing in general or in a particular class. We strongly encourage all students to attend conferences with their parents as this is their education. When signing up for a conference, please enter your student's name in the comment section.

Grades 9-12, please use this link to access the SignUpGenius page.

Middle School Parents/Guardians,

Your student's morning meeting advisor will contact you to schedule a conference. If you wish to meet with your student's exploratory teachers, please select a time at the link above. If an exploratory teacher is not on the list, contact the main office for scheduling.

If you are having trouble signing up for a conference or have any questions, please call the main office (877-2938, extension 201) for assistance.

Looking forward to seeing you.

Support the Class of 2019 & the VUHS Soccer Teams at the Last Home Soccer Games of the Season

On Saturday, October 14th at 10 am, the VUHS Girls Soccer team will have their last home game of the season. The VUHS Boys Soccer team will play their last home game of the season on Wednesday, October 18th at 4 pm. At both games the Class of 2019 will sell concessions with all proceeds going to their class fund for prom and other events.

Diversified Occupations Yard Sale - Saturday, November 4th, 8 am - 3 pm

The sale is located at the Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury and they are currently collecting any items people want to donate. The proceeds go toward the end of the year trip. If you have items to donate, please call Polly at 382-1069 to arrange for pick up.

Picture Retake Day

October 27 - Picture Packages and IDs should be coming soon, so you can plan for picture retakes as necessary. Anyone who didn’t get a picture taken in September will need to do so on October 27th.

School Calendar Reminders

October 17 & 18 - Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences (3-6:15 pm October 17 and 3-8 pm October 18) See link above to sign up.

October 19 & 20 - No School

October 27th - Picture Retake Day

November 3 - Teacher Inservice/No school for students

Hannaford Career Center Newsletter

Check out the latest information from our community career center in Middlebury. Three of our students in Diesel Power Technology are pictured on page three of this October 12th edition.

Resources for Talking with Students About Violence

Given the recent tragic event in Las Vegas as well as other violence we hear about in the news, we encourage you to have conversations with your students. Here are two resources from our ANWSD school psychologists to support these conversations. Resource #1 and Resource #2

Music Department News

The Commodore Friends of Music will have their next meeting on October 17th, at 6:30 in the band room.  We would love to have more parent participation to ensure another successful year for our kids and the wonderful music program we are so fortunate to have. All are welcome, come join us! If you haven’t already, you can find us on Facebook!

Study Abroad

U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs


Experience a new world and expand your horizons – Study abroad in High School. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs offers scholarships to high school students (ages 15-18) to study abroad for one academic year. International exchange programs give you the opportunity to establish long-lasting ties with people around the globe, promote mutual understanding, learn a new language, and develop global leadership skills. Previous language study is not required.



Application: Closes December 11, 2017    

Scholarships Available: 250

Learn German

Visit to learn more.



Application: Closes December 5, 2017  

Scholarships Available: 65

Go to, Africa, Asia, the Balkans or the Middle East

Visit to learn more.



2018-19 Application: Closes November 2, 2017       

Scholarships Available: Approximately 670

Learn Arabic, Indonesian, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Russian, or Turkish

Visit to learn more.

Writing & Speech Contests


  • Some deadlines are quickly approaching, so read below.

There is a strong tradition in the ANWSD of student participation in writing and speech contests. Operating as the community liaison for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vergennes Rotary and Seth Warner-Rhoda Farrand Chapter of the Daughter of the American Revolution, Cookie Step (former VUHS social studies teacher) is once again offering to support, coach and mentor any student grades 5-12 interested in competing and learning some forever usable skills including public speaking, research and writing. Below are a list of contests and when they are due. Please contact her at

Daughters of the American Revolution (Grades 5-8, Grades 9-12)

·         Grades 5-8 World War I Writing Contest

·         Grades 9-12 Christopher Columbus essay contest


(Both contests are due in to local judges by Thanksgiving. Please contact Ms. Step as soon as possible.)

Veterans of Foreign Wars (Grades 6-12)

·         Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest (Grades 6-8) 300-400 word essay

·         The 2017-18 theme is: America’s Gift to My Generation

·         Voice Of Democracy Contest (Grades 9-12). 3-5 minute recorded essay with theme: American History: Our Hope for the Future. Essay must be received by Middlebury Post by October 29, 2017.


American Legion Oratorical Contest

·         Write and deliver one 8-10 minute speech on any phase of the US Constitution.

·         Write four shorter 3-5 minute speeches on assigned topics. You will be asked to give one selected at random at each level of the contest.

·         People interested in this should contact Ms. Step early in October. Local contest January, Regional February, States March, Nationals April.


Vergennes Rotary Speech Contest (Grades 9-12)

·         Local contest in early January.

·         Write and deliver a 3-5 minute speech on the Four Way Test. (An ethical code used by Rotary Clubs around the world before making decisions on what projects to take on.)


Lions Club Speak Out (Grades 11-12)

·         Local contest in early January.

·         Write and deliver a 5-7 minute speech on a selected topic to be determined soon.


Vermont History Day

·         Working individually or in small groups (up to 5), students choose a topic related to the National History Day annual theme, which in 2018 is "Conflict and Compromise in History." The topic can relate to Vermont, US, or world history. Vermont History Day is a great venue for personalized learning. Grades 7-12.

·         Students can choose an exhibit, performance, website, thesis paper or documentary as products.

·         Local contest in March or April 2018.


Contact Cookie Steponaitis at for more information or to begin a conversation about participating in any of these contests.


James Wakefield Rescue Row Results

Competing in the James Wakefield Rescue Row Saturday 10/7/17 at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, the VUHS Rowing Team once again proved why they are the best high school rowing team in New England. With the depth of this year’s team Vergennes was able to enter 7 teams in the various rowing divisions. With those 7 teams Vergennes captured 3 first place, 1 second place, and 1 fourth place finish. With a blistering time of 21 minutes and 36 seconds the VUHS team consisting of Bethany Delgadillo, Dylan Rapoport , Devon Coleman, Judith Portugal-Dunne, Ben Clark, Richmond Rathbun and Robert Verburg captured first place in the Intermediate Division.

In the Experienced Division the team of Nathan “fall in the lake” Devos, Zeke, Mitch, and Holden Clark, Mike Davis, Jackson Hameline and Aidan Gardner also took top honors in the Experienced 6 Oar Division

In the Novice Four Oar Division the team of Addie and Olivia Brooks, Karyn Kenfield, Emily Brinkman, and Claire Austin took home the top honors.

Way to go Vergennes Rowers.

Swim Team

The Addison Otters Swim Team season starts with a couple of "Try-it-out" days later in October. The swim team is open to all kids ages 5+. Click here for more information.

Are you looking for a way to get involved at VUHS?

The Commodore Parent Teacher Group is always looking for new members to work toward their mission of promoting family involvement in the school, improving communication between parents, teachers and administrators and providing enrichment programs for students.

For those interested, our next meeting will be November 1st at 6:30 in the library.  Can’t commit to meetings but want to get involved? Just let us know and we will add you to our distribution list. You will receive not only agendas of our monthly meetings but also periodic requests for help with different school initiatives that might be a better fit for you and your schedule! Please let us know if you would like to join us in our efforts. We would love to have you in whatever way you can participate. Contact Lynne Rapoport at, if you are interested or just attend the next meeting.

Want to learn more about VUHS?

Check out the VUHS Blog. We hope to make regular posts to keep everyone updated about the wonderful things happening at VUHS. You can subscribe to the blog with your email account and get regular updates and/or follow @VergennesUHS on Twitter (blog posts feed the Twitter account automatically). Please share this with others (alumni, friends, relatives, and community members). Don’t forget that you can also check out the school website!  There are lots of great resources and contact information for families and students.

Have a great week!