News Briefs
April 19, 2018

Lakes Region News Briefs – April 18-24

By Lani Duke

Grade-schoolers learn life lessons, literacy

Kindergarteners in Benson Village School have been learning to write for practical reasons. The recently filled out a firefighter job application, wrote police tickets, and completed incident reports. They are also learning about the people in their community who produce food: farmers, grocers, bakers, and chefs.

Kindergarteners planned to run a (healthful) snack shop April 18-20, to benefit the Fair Haven food shelf.

The Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) recently awarded a $25,000 “Year of the Book” grant to Castleton Elementary. The grant will fund book giveaways, author visits, and family literacy events in the 2018-2019 school year, and share with Castleton Free Library in buying children’s books.

Slate Valley Modified Unified Union district readies for the coming school year

Slate Valley Modified Unified Union School Board has begun the hiring process for next fall’s staff. The entire district has undergone a security audit in partnership with the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust. Expectations are for a 50-page report.

Teachers in grades 6-12 are learning to understand Proficiency-Based Learning (PBL) and grading in preparation for implementing that program in the 2018/2019 school year. Some school representatives recently visited Mill River Union High in Wallingford and Mt. Abraham Middle School in Bristol to observe PBL in operation. The district also is sending four teacher teams/25 individuals to the UVM BEST Institute in June, using aid from a Consolidated Federal Grant. The program develops better anticipation and response to the needs of students who are at risk of or are experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges.

The district is organizing individual-school Parent Advisory Committee meetings. Parent attendance so far has been disappointing: three at Benson, one at Castleton Elementary, and none at Castleton Village, although they have been promoted via Front Porch Forum, letters sent home to parents, mailed flyers, and posting on the school’s Facebook page.

Castleton fills the town assessor gap

CASTLETON— In the wake of resignations by the town’s assessor Lisa Wright and assessor’s clerk Jacob Dorman on Feb. 5 and March 28, respectively, Castleton’s Select Board hired New England Municipal Consultants (NEMC) of Lyndon Center to complete the 2018 grand list and serve as interim assessor until June 30.

The consultant will bill the town no more than $1,250 a month, Town Manager Michael Jones told the Rutland Herald.

Under the terms of the contract, NEMC will field inspect properties, assemble the annual grand list of taxable properties, convert appraisal information into the Castleton billing and collection system, and give the town unlimited support by telephone.

If the town of Castleton hires a permanent assessor during the contract period, NEMC will act as a consultant to them.

The town may hire either a contractor or a town employee as its assessor, willing to work 15 hours a week – Wright’s commitment had been for five hours a week.

The additional 10 hours per week will result in the work being completed thoroughly and fairly, town leaders decided in the wake of a thorough assessment of the position.

Castleton String Ensemble forms

CASTLETON— Castleton music students have the opportunity to gain performance experience in the string arena with the formation of the Castleton String Ensemble for the 2018 spring semester. Members are students and faculty from not only Castleton U but also Rutland High and Green Mountain College, led by Peter Miller, who retired from serving Rutland Public Schools as fine arts supervisor and orchestra director in 2016. He has been teaching applied string lessons and string methods at Castleton for several years.

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