Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 18, 2017

FAP Craft Show: Volunteer and/or Shop!

Save the date: The FAP Craft Show takes place on Saturday, November 4th, from 9:30 am – 4:00 pm at Williston Central School. There are over 100 crafters, artists and specialty food vendors participating. You'll find lots of amazing handicrafts, toys, artwork, jewelry, decorative items and yummy foods all made by talented crafters and artists.

Whether you want to shop or not, we need YOU! This is one of the biggest Families as Partners fundraisers, and the proceeds from the show help fund events, activities and grants that benefit all students in the Williston schools. Please share some of your time and volunteer for a shift to set up (Friday afternoon, Nov 3) or during the show on Saturday.

The sign-up link is here: (You will need to enter your email address to sign up for a shift but will not need to set up an account with”

Conference Schedule

Wondering about the conference schedule?  We completed goal setting conferences starting in August and ending just recently.   We will be setting up student-led conferences again in late Nov/December as the first trimester ends.  Your son or daughter will share his or her work in relation to PLP goals and we will review class-specific reports as well.

Polar Express

Saturday, December 9th from 3:30 - 8:00 pm 

Last Year's Polar Express

Swift House has a long tradition in helping with The Polar Express, which raises over $100,000 each year for the Vermont Children's Trust Foundation. Last year we brought 70 elves to the event!   We have a blast and we support a great cause.

We will meet at the downtown Burlington train station. Shirts and elf hats are provided if needed. Gary Howard, our beloved retired Swift Facilitator, will be the "Santa" on this day. Please note that we need all elves to stay through the entire shift.

Click here for further details and the sign-up form.  Check with your child to see if they have signed up already.  If duplicate sign-ups occur it's not a problem; we will delete duplicates before submitting our final elf count and t-shirt order.

Sign-up by October 30th to secure your spot.  Thank you!

NYC Field Trip Forms

We are excited to being planning for the Swift House trip to NYC.  This three night trip focuses on creating a personalized learning experience for all interested students in the Big City.

Detailed letters and permissions slips for the Swift NYC trip were stapled to your child's Greensheet this week.  Some important details include:
  • Trip open to all Swift 5th-8th graders
  • Trip dates: May 29th-June 1st, 2018
  • Project Commitment: Students complete a research project related to the city starting in February, 2018
  • Fundraising Commitment: Families- both students and parents- are asked to commit to at least three of our major fundraisers.  See details on Fun Night below.
Also note, this trip is optional.  Typically 20-30 students of all grades chose to stay in Williston and form the "Home Team."  We will have a special project-based unit of study with local field trips while others are away in NYC.

For detailed information please see the forms attached to Greensheets this week, or linked below:
Please e-mail your child's core teacher with any questions.

Fun Night- Friday, October 27th

Many more volunteers needed for our first field trip for the Swift NYC trip.

Our first Fun Night fundraiser is coming up soon – Friday, October 27th from 5 – 8:30 pm (students will be arriving at 5:30 and leaving at 8). We need lots of folks to help make this event successful – you can sign up to help with set up, clean up, bringing in supplies or by participating in running some of the activities. It’s a fun night (no pun intended). The kids really enjoy it ~ Please sign up to help out here:

Fun Night Sign Up

Thank you so very much!! You support and participation are truly appreciated. Please let me know Shelly Masson know if you have any questions, suggestions or thoughts.

Yearbook Purchase

The Williston Central School yearbook is on sale now through February break.  Click here to order them online at your convenience.

Theater Updates

Performance: Thursday, November 2nd @ 6 pm

Students should have brought in their "base" costume this week.  We are busy outfitting them with all of the needed accessories here at school.

No tickets are required for the night of the show.  Show up early for a great seat.  Bring cash or a check if you would like to donate to our theater supply fund on the way in the door.

Soldier (Jonas) and Will Scarlet (Candace) practice their swordfight

Science Update

In 5/6 science we've been studying the forces within the Earth that causes changes on the Earth's surface.  Students modeled the layers of the Earth with scale diagrams.  They also researched natural resources and the forces which cause them to form.

The Earth's Layers

In 7/8 science we've studied how scientists piece together the puzzle of the Earth's plates through a variety of evidences, such as fossils, rock strata, and glacial tracks.  We have focused on using specific pieces of evidence to support a claim.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 13, 2017

Long Term Sub: Emily Brewer

Hello Swift Families!

My name is Emily Brewer. I am so excited to begin working with Swift as the substitute for Mrs. Donnelly! I have worked as the WCS Part 2 After School director for the past two years and have gotten to know WCS and many of its amazing students in the process. I graduated from UVM with a degree in Middle School ELA and Science. After UVM, I spent a year in Santiago, Chile teaching English and working on farms learning about Permaculture. I am a huge believer of hands-on learning and will do my best to get to know your kids, to help make their learning experience as personalized as possible.

In my free time I enjoy traveling, exploring Vermont, skiing, and cooking. I am looking forward to getting to work with all of you. Please do not hesitate to introduce yourselves or to ask any questions that you may have!


Costumes Needed for Theater Unit

Please see the document linked here for a list of items that we are hoping your child can bring from home for his/her role in the upcoming theater unit by Tuesday, October 17th. If you don't see your child's name, it is because he or she is in a technical role that does not require a costume. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Patrick Clow blocking the opening scene of the Tempest

Support with Theater Unit: Painting and Building

We are all working hard on the Swift theater unit, and we always look forward to the help that parents provide with painting our flats (backdrops) and building large set pieces. We are hoping to get some of this year's projects done during the school day next week (10/16-10/19), with a full morning on Friday (school is not in session that day) to finish up. Please use this link to sign up if you are able to help. We will have a list of projects to be completed by the end of the day this Friday. Thank you so much for considering, and we look forward to working with you!

Support with Fundraising

Hello Swift Families,

 Hope you are all doing well and enjoying our Vermont summer! First and foremost, please consider supporting our FAP Annual Fund – the FAP funds go to help support all students in the school and some were used to pay for our Swift Campout. A big thank you to folks who came out to our meet and greet and help brainstorm ideas for fundraising. For those of you new to Swift, each year the students have the option of going on an “end of year” trip that is also connected with a research project and school curriculum. Past locations have been Washington, DC and NYC. NYC is the anticipated location for the June’s trip. (FYI – students do not have to go on the trip and instead get to be part of the “Home Team” doing a lot of great activities during that time.)

 Currently, our plan is to sponsor:

  • 2 Fun Nights – one coming up October 27th and one in the spring (hoping for Big Basket Raffle night) 
  • A New Year’s bottle drive (we made the most money with this one last year) – Saturday, January 7th
  • Marko the Magician – hoping to do January 19th 
  • Selling food concessions during the play in the Spring 

 We would also like to have a few “Dining for a Cause” nights at local restaurants. Some other ideas included: Silent Auctions Raffling off an item at the November 4th WCS Craft Fair – I have an idea of an item that I’m researching but would welcome other ideas. Calcutta or Group Bunco event for the community Spaghetti Dinner for the community Car Wash Pie/Bake sale I’ve put together a list of the events we know we need to do and I am looking for a person to take charge of coordinating each one. If you are interested, please put your name next to the item you would like to help coordinate and I will be in touch with forms, etc to make it all happen.  Please click here for sign-up form.

AND, if you have an idea or something you would like to take charge of – add it to the list!! Together we can make it a great “fun” year! Thank you all so very much! Please let me know if you have any questions

~ All the best, Shelly

Advertise in the Swift Theater Program

Would you like to advertise your business among Swift House families while helping support the team?  Advertise in the Theater Program for a win-win.  The funds would all go directly to Swift House programing and your business will be featured in the program handed out on the evening of the show.

If you're interested, please contact Lisa Barland.  We ask for:

  • A minimum $20 donation to advertise
  • Image/text that we can copy in black and white
  • Payment and submissions by Friday, October 27th
Thank you for considering! 

8th Grade Challenge Kickoff

Eighth graders are in the initial stages of planning their year-long 8th grade challenge projects.  They are submitting their "Kick Off Form" by October 27th which includes details about the topic, subfocus questions, a mentor and the community connection.

For more details and due dates see the Swift website here.

Change Round Up

All Breed Rescue and Florida grade school

Saturday, September 30, 2017

October 1, 2017

Donate to the FAP Fund

If you have not already, please submit your donation to the FAP Fund.  This payment is in lieu of writing checks for each field trip that happens throughout the school year.  In the past we collected checks for the Flynn, Sandbar, and Grand Isle State Park; now we simply receive a block of funds from the FAP once a year.

Click here to donate online.  Suggested donations are outlined per student on the website.

If you donated already, thank you so much!

Sharing the Swift PLP Model

Kevin Hunt headed to Montpelier this week to share the Swift PLP model with 50+ educators from around the state. Swifties Wyatt Wolpert and Nora Engisch joined him, sharing their own work with a room full of educators.  Excellent work, Wyatt and Nora!

PS As you can see, you can follow us on Instagram at the address above!

Google Classroom Invites

Swift facilitators post all assignments and many resources for Swift classes in Google Classroom.  Students complete some assignments via Classroom as Google Docs or other attached files.  Students complete other assignments on paper and simply mark the assignment as done on Classroom.  There are two ways to stay in touch with your child's assignments in Google Classroom.

1) Install the Classroom app on a mobile device and have your son or daughter log in.  You will be able to see Classroom as they see it.

2) Accept our invitations for Google Classroom Summaries.  All Swift guardians have been invited.  If you do not see this invitation in your e-mail, please contact Amanda, Kevin or Amy.  Some parents have found the invites in their spam folders.  A typical summary will look like this:

To learn more, head to the Google Support Site.

WCS Curriculum Night

Thank you for the great turn out at Curriculum Night on Wednesday.  Please see the links below to review our presentations.  We discussed the various bullets in more detail at the meeting, so if you have any specific questions, please contact Amanda, Kevin or Amy.

Literature Wrap-Up

All literature groups had their final meeting on Friday.  We will all work on the theater unit starting Monday during our literature block.  New literature group sign-ups will go out at the end of October.

Ms. Laberge's literature group on Heat by Mike Lupica wrapped up this week by wearing our favorite baseball gear, sharing final projects, and listening to some Cuban jazz music. They also watched the first part of The Sandlot, the best baseball movie ever!

Swift Theater Festival

We launched the 2017 Theater Festival this week.  We reviewed these key details with students:
  • Students will choose between Shakespeare's Tempest or Robin Hood
  • All students will have a role, whether on stage or behind the scenes (see sign-up here)
  • Rehearsals will take place during our literature class until the final production week
  • Mark your calendar for our performance evening:

Thursday, November 2nd @ 6 pm

Homework Club

Snacks and supervised structured work time!  Any and all Swift students are welcome to join us for Homework Club, supervised by our fantastic Abby Granoff in Swift House and supported by our administration.  

  • Mondays, 3:00-4:30 (late bus at 4:30)
  • Tuesdays, 2:00-3:30 (Late bus at 3:30)

Welcome Long Term Subs to Swift

Next week, we bid a fond farewell to Stephanie Bliss as she moves into her new role in the WCS IT department, and we welcome Emily Brewer as Ms. Donnelly's long term sub until Ms. D is able to return. Emily comes to us from the director position at the Part 2 program at WCS, where she has become familiar with some of our students, as well as WCS systems like PBiS. She is certified to teach science and ELA, and is also excited for the opportunity to teach social studies. She is spending as much time as she can with us this week to get to know the Swift students and our team's expectations and structures.

We are also excited to welcome Katherine Cooper as Ms. Laberge's long term sub, starting in mid-November and continuing full time until the February break, then remaining with Swift to teach afternoon classes upon Ms. Laberge's return in March to a part time schedule for the remainder of the school year. Katherine interned with Voyager several years ago, and taught in a full time one year position with Full House last year, so she is very familiar with our school, programs, and systems. She is certified to teach science, social studies, and math, so she is a great fit for this position! Katherine will be overlapping with Ms. Laberge for a few days this fall to learn more about her core and the classes she teaches.

Please join us in welcoming these two teachers to our team, and feel free to direct any questions to Amanda, Amy, or Kevin.

Swift Interns for the 2017-2018 School Year 

Megan Bishop
Hi everyone! My name is Megan Bishop and I am a senior at UVM. I am originally from Natick, MA, but I feel lucky to have called Vermont home for the past three years. I am thrilled to be a part of the Swift team, starting the year off interning with Amanda Laberge. My areas of concentration are ELA and Social Studies, and I am minoring in Global Studies. I love to travel and have received credits studying abroad in Nepal and Ecuador.

At UVM, I am a mentor in the DREAM program, a nonprofit organization that connects college students to children from local affordable housing communities. In addition, I am a member of the Slow Food club, which fights for food justice, grounded on the belief of good, clean, fair food for all. After studying the negative effects of oil drilling in the Amazon, I have joined other students to form a club called Unidos Por Ecuador, in which we help raise awareness and funds for cancer victims within indigenous communities. In my free time, you’ll find me outside-- hiking, running, or meandering through a farmers market.

Wynn Poleman

Hello SWIFT families! My name is Wynne Poleman. Ever since I was in middle school, I’ve known that I wanted to be a Middle school teacher myself one day and it’s a passion that I’ve had ever since. My content areas are Math and Science; however, I get excited about teaching all subjects. It is my joy to work with, teach and inspire kids. I feel that teaching is more than just a career it is a lifestyle, one where I never stop learning, one that keeps me grounded, luckily young hearts don’t let you take yourself too seriously, and one that hopefully gives me a chance to make a positive difference and be a resource for as many children as possible. It’s my goal to help kids fall in love with learning and discover what they are passionate about, something I’m still doing today.

Outside of school I love to spend as much time outside as possible going on adventures (I’m the one looking very excited about hiking on the left), often with my sister who is also majoring in middle level education at UVM – it seems to run in the family. I love to stay active and I have a competitive streak when it comes to sports, field hockey being my favorite sport to play for the last 8 years. Spending time with my friends and family, is very important to me – it is these relationships that bring me the so much happiness in my life but also those that I make with the students I work with that get me up at 6am every morning excited to come to school!

 ~ Ms. Poleman

Sarah Leister

Sarah on the left
Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Leister and I am a senior at UVM in the Middle Level Education program! I grew up in Williston and was a Swift student from 2006-2010! I started my higher education in North Carolina but quickly discovered that I needed to be in Vermont because it is the most incredible place to live. I am so excited to be working with Mr. Hunt this year as his student intern! My areas of concentration are Math and Social Studies but I hope to be certified to teach all four core subjects eventually.

I have known that I wanted to work with middle school students since I first became a summer camp counselor at YMCA Camp Huckins, where I have spent every summer for the past 13 years. The energy and humor these kids have is truly inspiring.

Outside of school I like to spend a lot of time outdoors with my friends. I love to swim and spend time on the lake with my family. Weekends in the winter usually consist of skiing at Bolton Valley or exploring Vermont with my friends.

I am so excited to be back in Swift House and I cannot wait to learn from your students and watch them grow as learners and as people!

More Campout Photos

Great ones from Ms. Bisbee!