VUHS e-News, Week of May 14, 2018

Brought to you by the Commodore Parent Teacher Group 

Administrators’ Message

Dear VUHS Families,

The most important thing we can do to ensure a quality learning experience for our students is to hire high quality staff. We’ve been hard at work filling some openings at VUHS. As you may know, both Mark Powers, high school science, and Leo Racht, high school math, announced their retirements this year. Thank you to both of them for their many years of dedication to the VUHS community. We will miss them and wish them the best in retirement.

We’re happy to report we’ve filled those openings with highly qualified candidates. Brian Johnson has been selected to fill the science opening and Kendra Christiana will join the high school math department. These candidates were selected through a competitive application and selection process involving screening interviews, teaching demonstrations, reference checks, and interviews with both the principal and superintendent.

Earlier this year, Brent Francis, high school science, and Julia Beerworth, high school social studies, were confirmed as permanent faculty members from their interim status. We will also welcome Kyle Vickers to the PE/Health department next year.

We are still in the hiring process for a middle school counselor, a middle school English Language Arts teacher, a half time PE/Health opening and our school nurse position. We’ll announce these as each process is completed and confirmed by the board.

Cell Phone Use: We’ve used this forum to talk about our increasing concerns around cell phone use in October and January. Adolescents in particular are susceptible to phone use that borders on addiction (see this article and we encounter students every day who refuse to give up their phone. Due to continued problematic use, the middle school has decided to expand their limits around cell phone use during the school day. Expect a revised set of phone expectations for middle school students to be communicated after the break. The upcoming vacation might be a good time to experiment with some limits on screen time in general. Here is a website that is promoting a screen free week and here are some screen time tracking apps.

Stephanie, Ed and Jay

CPTG Spring Fundraiser

The Commodore Parent Teacher Group (CPTG) facilitates educational enrichment grants at VUHS. In the last year we hosted a SAT Prep Class for students, helped the 8th grade fund a field trip to Hosmer Point camp, outfitted our math teams with team t-shirts, supported students on the French class trip to Canada, and helped sponsor a whole school presentation by Kevin Pierce and his "Love Your Brain" foundation, which was the focus of the senior walk-a-thon. Some of the funds are put to use for teacher/staff appreciation, open house, parent conference nights, and end of year celebrations. In appreciation for your donation we are offering a $100 gift certificate to the Antidote in Vergennes. For each $25 donation you will receive one entry into the drawing. You can donate by going here or dropping a check or cash off at the VUHS main office.

Thank you for your support.

Commodore Parent Teacher Group

School Calendar Reminders

April ANWSD Board/Committee Meeting Schedule

April 16 - Personalized Learning Parent Informational Series, 6-7 PM, VUHS Library

April 22-26 - April Break

May 6-10 - Teacher Appreciation Week

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

May 7 - Grades 9-11 Yearly Presentations (AM), Senior End-of-Year Presentations (PM)

May 22 - Underclass Awards Ceremony - 6:30 PM, VUHS Auditorium

May 23 - Rising 7th Grade Parent Night - 5:30-6:30 PM, VUHS Library

May 24 - Team Phoenix Capstone Day

June 14 - VUHS Graduation - 6:00 PM, High School Gym

Farewell VUHS - Mark Powers

It is with decidedly mixed emotions that I am informing the Vergennes school community that I will be retiring from my 25-year career as a science teacher, at the end of this academic year. It has been an honor and privilege to teach science at our school and be involved in many other ways with the development of the lives of the students in our community. I have also been honored to be a part of a community of outstanding teachers and support staff who work tirelessly to help young adults recognize the various pathways they can take to become productive and caring adults. I want to also express my appreciation of, and gratitude for, the solid support over the years of parents, many of who were once my former students!

My wife and I plan to travel as much as we can in the US and abroad but also will enjoy just being at home in Vermont enjoying one of the most beautiful places I know on the planet. Although I live in Charlotte, Vergennes, and the school, will always be a place I consider to be home.

Best wishes,

Mark Powers

Vermont History Day Recognition

On Saturday, April 6, middle and high students competed at VT History Day.

Samantha Colvin and Kimari Collins won the labor history prize for their exhibit.

Lila Carr and Natalie Jackman earned 3rd place in the junior division group performance.

Jarett Muzzy and Adam Clark earned 1st place in the senior division group exhibit and qualified for Nationals in June.

Congratulations to our students for representing our VUHS community and challenging themselves. And thank you to advisor Becca Coffey for her support of our students.

VUHS Senior Earns Gold Medal at SkillsUSA Competition

Congratulations to Holden Clark for earning a gold medal in automotive technology at the Vermont SkillsUSA Competition. He won a $10,000 scholarship to the University of Northern Ohio and will represent Vermont at the national competition in Kentucky in June.

ANWSD School Nutrition News

Check out your school meals on Instagram by liking and following @greatschoolmeals. See this flyer for more info. Most days students can see the meal before they get to the cafeteria. There are also pictures from the elementary schools and other things we are proud of.

Upcoming SBAC & VTSA State Assessments

This coming week and the week following April break students in grades 7, 8, 9, and 11 will complete different required state assessments. If you missed the separate email sent, please click on this link to view the letter.

Yearbook Ordering

Time to order your 2018-2019 middle school or high school yearbook. There will be very few yearbooks available for sale when they arrive at the end of May, so you must purchase a yearbook by Friday, April 19th to be guaranteed one.

High School Grades Have Been Posted

Quarter 3 numeric grades have been posted under “Grade History” in PowerSchool. On the initial page “Grades and Attendance”, you will now see columns for quarter 4 and semester 2 grades, any of which can be clicked on for more details relating to semester 2 classes.

To view standards grades on the “Grades and Attendance” page, click on the Standards tab near the top of the page. You can click on "Expand All" in the upper right or click on specific classes to open the standards for all or individual classes. The only standards that will have grades are the ones that have been attached to assignments or assessments within the class and graded by the teacher. In general, 1=getting started, 2=progressing, 3=proficient, and 4=advanced. While you can’t view the specifics related to numerical grades for semester 1 classes, you can see all of the standards and their grades for current and past classes.

It is easiest to see all of this by logging in on a computer instead of through the PowerSchool phone app. We encourage everyone to take the time to look at these standards and their associated grades as this is the direction that all of our grading is moving. Questions about specific numeric and standards grades should be directed to individual teachers. General questions about proficiency based learning/grading and transferable skills can be directed to Stephanie, Ed, or Jay.

If you need help setting up or accessing your PowerSchool account, please email Jay (

Middle School Grades in JumpRope

All middle school standards-based grades continue to be stored in JumpRope. If you need help accessing your student’s JumpRope account, please email Jay ( Questions about specific standards-based grades should be directed to individual teachers. General questions about proficiency based learning/grading and transferable skills can be directed to Stephanie, Ed, or Jay.

Seal of Biliteracy Opportunity

VUHS German teacher, Janet Kepes, is exploring a field test of the Seal of Biliteracy for VUHS for the 2019 - 2020 school year. Over 30 states in the US have adopted it and some teachers from Woodstock, VT are piloting it this year. In general terms, it is an official recognition from the school (but hopefully eventually the state) that a student is proficient to a certain degree in two languages. It would be somehow attached to a student's transcript and/or diploma.

Do you want to be a part of an advisory group to plan the field test for Vergennes? If so, email Janet at See more information at the Seal of Biliteracy website.

Addison County Career and Education Fair

This event will be held at the Vergennes Armory, coordinated by SSG Katie Kayhart of the Vermont Army National Guard, on Tuesday, April 16, 8 am - 3 pm. High school students who would like to attend during Block 5 or Block 6 need to sign up in the School Counseling Office. Teachers or other adults in the building can take classes or small groups of students over other times during the day by signing out/in at the main office. Represented businesses: Saint Michael’s College, Community College of Vermont, Vergennes Police Department, Vergennes Fire Department, U.S. Border Control, Bristol Electronics, Greentree Real Estate, Vermont State Parks, National Bank of Middlebury, 40th Army Band, Maintenance Company, Medical Company, Engineers, Education & Incentive Department, Transportation Unit and many more! More information can be found here. If you have a business or other entity that would like to participate, contact Katie Kayhart at 598-4116.

Vergennes Swim Team - Family BINGO Night

The Vergennes Swim Team Swamurai Council is hosting a family BINGO night on Monday, April 15 from 7:30-8:30 pm in the VUHS cafeteria. Bingo cards are $3 for one pack (ten cards) or $5 for two packs. We will raffle several themed baskets including: Spa Basket, Kids Basket, Basin Harbor Basket, Dakin Farm Basket, Salon Basket, Candy Baskets, Vermont Soap Basket. Raffle tickets are $.50 each or $5 for an arm's length. Please come and support our swimmers and win some great prizes!

Lifeguard Certification Course

Mt. Abe Pool - Begins the end of May. See this flyer for more details.


The school counseling office has received a variety of summer opportunities. Click here to access a list 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.

UVM Science & Environmental Opportunities for Middle & High School Students

Summer of Science: Registration is now open for these activities. Open to youth in grades 7-12. Click here to learn more.

  • GIS Camp (June 24-28, 9:30 - 3:30 daily)

  • Farming, Climate Change & Water Quality (July 11, 9 am - 12 noon)

  • Natural Resources Management Academy (July 19-21, overnight camp)- registration is open; click here to learn more.

  • Science on Lake Champlain (July 25, full day or half day 9 am - 12 noon or 1:00 - 4:00 pm)

  • The Science of Maple (July 31, 9:00 - 11:30 am)

UVM is accepting applications from students who are interested in joining the VTeen 4-H Science Pathways Cafe Leadership Team. Learn more here.

Next teen science cafe "Cancer Treatment Discovery! Form Fits Function" on Saturday, May 4 at Dudley H. Davis Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. Click here for the cafe flyer. Or sign up online today!

Youth Environmental Summit: YES is an annual event for students in grades 6-12 who want to learn about environmental issues and find ways to take action. This year's Summit will take place at the Barre Civic Center on November 1, 2019 - Save the Date! If you would like to submit a workshop proposal, then please click here for the form. Proposals are due by June 1st. We strongly encourage youth presenters to apply! And, teachers take note - the Vermont Creative Schools Initiative Teacher Institute is offering to help you design your school project for YES. See this flyer to learn more about this opportunity. Check out this video from last year's cafe to hear from teen presenters directly.

UVM Summer Academy....Students completing 10th, 11th, or 12th grades can choose from 4-week programs (2 weeks on campus, 2 weeks online) in Health & Medicine, Adventures in Neuroscience, Storytelling with Words and Photographs, Biomedical Science and Human Disease, and Drones for Environmental Mapping.

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 May 1st 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 email 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! 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?

Check out the school website! There are lots of great resources and contact information for families and students.