VUHS e-News, Week of May 14, 2018

Brought to you by the Commodore Parent Teacher Group 

Administrators’ Message

School Safety Update

February 2019

While I won’t reiterate the national statistics that call upon us to focus more critically on preparedness in the event of a violent intruder, suffice to say our procedures need regular updates and practice. On our February 5th Early Release Day, school faculty, staff, and administrators attended an ALICE training facilitated by Josh Otey, Bristol Police, and Matt Tatro, Shelburne Police. ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, is an augmentation of our current practice and is based on two decades worth of research on what practices increase the odds of survival in these types of emergencies. ALICE is a nationally recognized program that provides response options based situations encountered during violent intrusions so as to respond in the most effective way possible.

This training is a continuation of ANWSD’s focus on school safety and security which included upgrades to our facilities to enhance school security, including new door lock  systems and security cameras. In addition, we have restructured our school district safety/crisis teams to include a Public Safety Team (PST) including many of our area police, fire, and emergency professionals. Our PST will hold their first meeting to follow up on this training later this year. Meanwhile, our District Safety Team continues to update our ANWSD Safety Plan to include these elements.

Currently, the schools conduct lockdown and evacuation drills with students, such as fire drills or routine building evacuations. These drills will continue. Meanwhile, we will extend staff training to include all elements of ALICE, including situational scenario drills which will occur in June 2019. While these types of drills surface emotional issues, we are obligated to support staff in developing skills which will increase our confidence and competency for emergency preparedness. Included in our long-range planning will be age- appropriate awareness training for our students. These trainings have not yet occurred and we will communicate with parents in advance of these taking place.

Sheila Soule

Superintendent of Schools

Addison Northwest School District

School Calendar Reminders

February ANWSD Board/Committee Meeting Schedule

February 18-22 - Winter Break

March 6 & 7 - Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences - Info will be emailed next week

March 7 - Half Day for Students - Dismissal at 11:15, Faculty/Staff Inservice Afternoon

March 8 - No School for Students/Faculty/Staff following evening conferences March 6 & 7

March 29 - Full Day Inservice for Faculty/Staff - No School for Students

Music Department News

The Green Mountain Music District Festival and performances on February 1st were fantastic! ANWSD students performed in three honor ensembles - Middle School Jazz Band, Middle School Chorus and High School Symphonic Band. Each ensemble performed a varied and interesting program. Students arrived at the festival well prepared on the pitch and rhythm requirements of the music. The guest directors rehearsed with their respective ensembles for over six hours refining entrances, balance, articulation, diction and dynamics. The concert was a marvelous celebration of the intellectual and emotional power of music in the lives of our students. Bravo to our ANWSD musicians!

Middle School Jazz Ensemble
Parker Kayhart - Trombone, Gideon Palmer - Drums, Xavier DeBlois - Trombone

High School Symphonic Band
Addie Brooks - Flute, Emma Bryant - Flute, Alisdair Chauvin - Percussion, Trudy Cosgrove - Bass Clarinet, Allie Croke - Tenor Sax, Leah Croke - Clarinet, Xander DeBlois - French Horn, Bess Gramling - Clarinet (First Chair), Anna Rakowski - Flute, Erich Reitz - Tenor Sax, Ashley Tierney - Bari Sax, Kai Williams - Bassoon

Middle School Chorus
Bee Eckels, Reese Gernander, Justine St. Martin, Matilda Seyler, Carter Brown, Keaton St. Martin, Cal Gramling, Siobhan Potter, Kimari Collins, Samantha Hallock, Elsa Michaels (FCS), Sam Michaels, Peyton Paquette, Isaiah Visser

Hannaford Career Center Newsletter

Check out the latest edition of the career center newsletter here.

Thinking about a program at the career center? Wondering what your options are there? Check out this flyer for more information about the February 14th open house.

Library News

The VUHS Library has reorganized the fiction collection by genre! Students are encouraged to explore our new color-coded collections: Action/Adventure, Animals, Classics, Dystopian, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror/Paranormal, Humor, Mystery/Thrillers, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, and Sports. You can also browse each collection online.

Vermont author Ann Braden will visit with Team Endeavor (7th grade) students on April 5th for a discussion of her middle-grades novel, The Benefits of Being an Octopus, an NPR Best Book of 2018. We're excited she'll be spending an afternoon with our students!

Winter Ball Pictures

Check them out here.

Champlain College Young Writers’ Conference

Dear High-Stepping Daughters & Sons of the Word Road,

You are once again cordially invited to attend a weekend of writing workshops, craft sessions, and open mic at the CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE YOUNG WRITERS' CONFERENCE, MAY 24-26. Now in our nineteenth year, our doors are open to high school students who wish to share their passion for story, drama, and song with their writerly brothers and sisters—and with celebrated New England authors. We offer three days of readings, improv, Moth storytelling, poetry slams, literary jazz/blues fusion, and extended friendship on the hillside campus of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.

OUR 2019 KEYNOTE SPEAKER IS AWARD-WINNING SINGER, SONGWRITER, & COMPOSER, MOIRA SMILEY. Moira's work can be heard on BBC TV & radio, NPR, PBS, ABC Australia's Books & Arts, in feature films, and on more than sixty albums. She performs regularly with her group, VOCO, and has toured with leading artists around the world—including tUnE-yArDs, Paul Hillier's Theater of Voices, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, KITKA, the Irish super-group Solas, grammy-winning pianist, Billy Childs, The Lomax Project, and the New World Symphony. Recent solo performances include TED, Stravinsky's Les Noces, and the London Proms Festival. In 2018, Moira released her latest solo album and choral songbook, Unzip The Horizon, and an upcoming concert at Carnegie Hall will be devoted to her work.

The APPLICATION DEADLINE of March 8 is fast approaching and the blue lights are flashing. If you have a tale to spin, or a story to share, please visit our website.

Very Best,
Jim Ellefson & Lesley Wright, Co-directors
(802) 865-8456

Bixby Library Teen Video Game Nights

Check out this flyer for two different nights of video games, board games, and video game themed books at the Bixby. The first evening is Thursday, February 14th, 7-10 pm for students in grades 9-12. The second night is Thursday, February 21st, 7-10 pm for students in grades 6-8. You must sign up ahead of time.

Bridge Building (STEM) Competition – and Crushing!

Middle School - March 22, 2019 & High School - April 4, 2019 at Vermont Tech - Randolph Center Campus

In advance of the event competition, teams of students create Popsicle stick built bridges; judging based on aesthetics, originality of design, presentation, ultimate load carrying capacity, and predicted failure point. No cost to enter, complimentary lunch and t-shirts - plus scholarship funds offered to the top performers. For details: click here or contact: John Diebold -

ProCity AAU Basketball

Procity AAU Basketball season is starting soon! Deadline for registration is Feb. 15th. Practices will begin late February/early March. Here are links to the registration form and waiver as well as specific information about the program. Please contact if you have any questions.

Vergennes Commodore Scarves Available from the Class of 2019

SCARVES have been reduced to $15 each. There are still plenty of cold days to come and we want you to stay warm! The class of 2019 is raising money for graduation. The seniors are selling scarves at all home basketball games this season until they are gone. You can also stop by room D1 to buy one or email class president Kylie Comeau at to order one.

VUHS Booster Club

Basketball season is in full force and the Vergennes Union High School Booster Club would like to thank you for your support. Varsity teams, please take a moment to sign up for your assigned basketball game to help with concessions. The Booster Club depends on your help/donations to run smoothly! Also check out our Facebook page .... Vergennes Commodores spirit! Click on the sign-up button. If you would like to attend a meeting, we meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month in the library at 7:00 pm.

Lifeguard Training Course

Click here for information about a lifeguard training course as well as a lifeguard recertification course at Middlebury College over February break. There are limited spots, so signing up soon is advantageous.


It’s not too early to be making plans for summer. The school counseling office will receive a variety of summer opportunities over the next several months. Click here to access a list of these opportunities for students currently in grades 7-12. We are not specifically endorsing any of these programs (because we are not familiar with all of them) and encourage you to further research any in which your student might be interested. As we receive additional program information, we’ll add it to this document, so check back weekly.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum On-Water Summer Opportunities

Champlain Discovery Kayak Program

Dates: June 17-July 20

Boys and Girls Ages 13-16

Champlain Discovery is a co-educational 5-week summer program where participants build their own 17’ sea kayak and then embark on a 10-day paddling adventure exploring Lake Champlain from Whitehall, New York to Burlington, Vermont. Scholarships available.

Expedition Champlain – A Rowing/Wilderness Voyage of Discovery

Dates: July 27 - August 3

Boys and Girls Ages 13-16

Explore the wonders of Lake Champlain for eight days, rowing our six-oar 32’ rowing boats.  This trip will start at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and venture north towards Canada, camping and exploring along the way. Participants row as a team in our traditional wooden rowing gigs, learning maritime and wilderness camping skills and experiencing first-hand the cultural and natural world that makes Lake Champlain so unique. Participants will live outdoors and row every day, so come prepared for some hard-work, good fun and incredible teamwork. Scholarships available.

Wind, Oar, Explore – A Rowing / Sailing Wilderness Voyage of Discovery

Dates:  July 12-July 19

Boys and Girls Ages 13-16

Explore the wonders of Lake Champlain for eight days, in our traditional 29’ rowing/sailing Whaleboats. This trip will start at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and venture north towards Canada, camping and exploring along the way. Participants sail and row as a team in our traditional wooden Whaleboats, learning maritime and wilderness camping skills and experiencing first-hand the cultural and natural world that makes Lake Champlain so special. Scholarships available.

Check out this website for information on all three programs or Contact Nick Patch at LCMM: 475-2022 x 113 or for more information.

Yearbook Ordering

Time to order your 2017-2018 middle school or high school yearbook.



Vergennes Union High School, along with all other Vermont high schools, participates in a statewide system of high school choice. Under this system, students from VUHS may apply to transfer to any other high school in the state. For the 2019-2020 school year, the maximum number of students eligible to transfer to another school is limited to ten (10). The actual number will depend on the number of students selected in prior years that are choosing to continue their enrollment at other high schools.

To apply to participate in the program for the 2019-2020 school year (grades 9-12):

  • Complete an application here or from the VUHS School Counseling Office;

  • All applications must be signed by a parent or guardian;

  • File the application with the School Counseling Office no later than March 1, 2019.

Notification of decisions to all students who have applied to participate will be no later than April 1, 2019. Additional school choice information, including a timeline, is available from the School Counseling Office or by contacting Jay Stetzel (

If selected to attend another high school, students shall be guaranteed enrollment in that receiving school until graduation as long as they remain residents of the Addison Northwest School District and are not subject to expulsion as a result of the receiving school’s policy and federal and state law.

Interested in Volunteering at VUHS (or any of our district schools)?

Do you have a talent that you might want to share with students? Do you want to chaperone field trips? How about working in the concession stand? We are now required to have all volunteers complete a background check process, the extent of which depends on your level of volunteering. Please use this link to access information about becoming a volunteer for any of our schools. If your volunteering is likely to be sports-related, questions can be directed to Peter Maneen (, otherwise, contact Jay Stetzel ( Thanks.

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 is March 6th at 6:30 in the VUHS 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 a meeting.

You can now follow us on Facebook!

Want to learn more about VUHS?

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.