The Mountain Times

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News briefs from Killington Elementary School

NECAP testing results

The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), administered statewide to students to measure individual school's progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law, indicates that Killington Elementary School (KES) students do well.

Testing is done in third through sixth grades and KES students performed solidly in the top two categories: proficient and proficient with distinction, with reading scores in the 93 percentile and math scores in the 92 percentile. Fifth graders are also assessed in writing and performed in the 81 percentile for students meeting proficiency or proficiency with distinction.

Statewide, the comparable average scores are 74 percentile, 65 percentile and 46 percentile, respectively.

Small schools must interpret scores from year to year with caution, as tests are statistically unreliable in small group administrations. The NECAP is one piece of data, among many, worthy of consideration when evaluating the success of a school.

Evidence reinforces recognition of KES teachers' expertise and perseverance in providing high quality education to all children. Furthermore, we commend KES parents for providing a solid support system in the home environment.

Individual student results will be mailed home by the end of this month. Please contact Mrs. Pepe if you have any questions.

Project Groundhog

Is a groundhog truly a weather predictor? Many KES students are participating in Project Groundhog to determine if this is fact or fiction. For the six weeks following Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, students monitor and record daily temperature, sky conditions and how often school closes due to weather. The information collected is shared weekly with participating schools in the Northern Hemisphere via the Internet and the Project Groundhog website.

Project Groundhog is designed to introduce young learners to the possibilities of telecommunications technology through a meaningful, curriculum-based inquiry. It allows teachers to cover specific objectives in science, math, social studies, and language arts in a meaningful and engaging manner, and it is available to students and teachers throughout the world.

College students learn and assist at KES

Killington Elementary School (KES) buzzed with the excitement of meeting college students this week. Students from Castleton State College (CSC) began weekly visits to learn about the outstanding instruction that occurs at Killington Elementary School and to practice some of their new learning under the guidance of our teachers. Several of the college students will assist guidance counselor, Mary Hoag, with a student-mentor program. The focus for others is to learn more generally about the field of education within the regular classrooms.

Vermont Community Fund grant awarded

Killington Elementary School accepts a grant award of $5000 to cover extended guidance counseling services into the 2012-13 school year. Our guidance counselor, Mary Hoag, offers a wealth of services to our students and families. Because of Mrs. Hoag's knowledge, expertise, and superb practice in giving students coping strategies and training to deal with stress, anxiety, social conflicts, assertiveness, and more, our students are better equipped to learn each day. We are delighted to know that our guidance counseling time for the 2012-13 school year will be for two full days each week because of this grant award.

Stargazing at KES

Join us at Killington Elementary School on Feb. 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. as docents from the Horizons Observatory bring the night sky closer to home. We'll see planets like Venus and Jupiter along with a host of winter stargazing delights like the Great Orion

Nebula, the star clusters of Canis Major and Auriga, the beautifiul jewels of the winter sky like Sirius, Aldebaran, Betelguese, and much more.

Dress warmly as clear skies are often cold evenings. If you have not already sent an RSVP, but you know you would like to attend this event, please contact the school on Monday.

Student attendance matters

When your child misses school, she/he misses many valuable learning opportunities that cannot be replicated at home. Children learn every minute while in school: academically, socially, physically and emotionally. When parents ask to receive work from a day missed to keep their child up to speed, it is very difficult and often impossible to share the science experiments, the observations, the discussions, the collaborative problem solving and the writing analysis and synthesis that occurs throughout each day. It is equally difficult to re-create the social skill opportunities that grow and evolve day-to-day and year-to-year on the playground, in the dining hall, and elsewhere throughout the day. Most often, when children are out for a day or more, they return to school and find they feel frustrated. Help your child by making school attendance a priority. If your child is absent or tardy frequently, expect a phone call or letter from Mrs. Pepe to see if the school can help lessen these occurrences.

What is in The Cloud?

By Eileen Vaughn, librarian.

Cloud computing software allows you to get your information from any computer. People can also share using this web-based method. It is a storage option in the virtual cloud space online. Many of our students save their work in Google docs. As long as students have access to a computer that is online, they can open that document and continue working on it. Woodstock Union High School and Middle School students can no longer say they forgot their homework or left their flash drive somewhere. The work will be waiting for them in the cloud.

Dropbox is another easy option. Recently OnLive Desktop offered a free app for iPads that is preloaded with Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. You can then transfer documents, spreadsheets or presentations from your computer to your mobile device. This free app gives you 2 GB of storage in the cloud.

While many people store and share their photos on Google's Picasa, I like Yahoo's Flickr, another virtual storage area for my 1,500+ videos and photos. I sure don't miss my shoeboxes full of assorted photos!

Inside health class

By Jamie Sudol RN, school nurse

In our most recent health classes, we have been discussing personal safety and how our bodies are private. Anatomical names of body parts are used during these classes. This may have prompted some questions or discussions at home. Many parents are uncomfortable speaking to their children about human bodies and the purpose of its parts. Some of us just don't know where to begin. Books are always a wonderful solution to this dilemma. On the nurse's office bookshelf, I keep a wide variety of books on this subject for all grade levels. They are available for families to borrow at any time. Some of these books are utilized during my "developmental" classes with the fifth graders. Most of them, however, are simply here as a resource for families. Please come into my office and browse my bookshelves. The books are age appropriate and filled with wonderful, colorful illustrations. If you would like to take some home to share with your children, or review for yourself, please see me or Mrs. Pilsmaker.

KES news briefs were submitted by Sheila J. Pilsmaker, Administrative Assistant at KES, Feb. 10. The briefs are extracted from the KES newsletter, which is produced twice a month.

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