Orchard Families Participate in International Night

  • Orchard School Celebrates International Night

    Posted by Corey Burdick on 11/7/2019 1:00:00 PM

    On an early November evening when the first dusting of snow began to fall, families gathered at Orchard School for International Night. The event, which occurs every other fall, is designed to be a celebration of Orchard's diverse community. According to Parent Merin Maxwell, who has been planning the event since 2015, International Night gives families a chance to do a country display. Every family is invited to register a table or simply attend.

    "We had about 30 tables this year, representing 25 countries. Students get passports and can get a stamp at each table, then show their passport for a prize. Some families bring food or an activity, others just bring items from a country. It can be where they are from, a place they have visited, or just somewhere they are interested in."

    This low key evening doesn't have a formal program and is truly a "walk around and discover" format. Countires represented this year included:

    China, Colombia, Corsica. Finland, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Moldova, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Venzuela.

    Photos to come!

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5th Graders Explore Lessor's Quarry

3rd Annual Orchard Fun Run!

  • 3rd Annual Orchard Fun Run!

    Posted by Corey Burdick on 10/8/2019 11:15:00 AM

    Ready to run or cheer? Friday, Oct. 11 marks the third year Angi Murray has coordinated ("with the help of many volunteers so we don't lose any fundraising dollars by having a third party involved!") Orchard School's Fun Run. Murray first introduced the event as a way to align PTO fundraising goals with the District's health initiatives. The response to that first event was so overwhelmingly positive, that the tradition continued.

    "It's an event that not only has become our biggest fundraiser, but brings our community and school together," Murray said, "There's nothing better than seeing the smiles on the students' faces as they cross the big balloon finish line."

    During the event, fellow students, parents/guardians, grandparents, and staff cheer on participants with high-fives and words of encouragement as they make their way around the course that spans the school grounds. The event begins with an all school assembly, followed by the youngest students running 1 lap,  2nd and 3rd graders, 2 laps, and 4th and 5th graders, 3 laps. Each student receives one ticket toward the grand prize giveaway and every additional $25 in donations means an extra entry into the grand prize drawing as well as eligibility for other prizes. Murray relayed that all of the run's corporate sponsors are local businesses and because of their support, 100 percent of the funds the students raise go directly back to the school.

    The event helps fund many Orchard PTO events for all families without cost including the Spring Fling, International Night, the Science Fair, and last year, the PTO brought in the Wonderlee Circus. The PTO also helps with classroom supplies/needs. This year, Murray's goal is to replace a damaged piece of playground equipment with some of the funds. Ultimately, though the run is about celebrating students.

    "I've received countless feedback from parents/guardians on how much their child enjoyed the event and looks forward to it each year. Last year, when we announced the Fun Run at the all-school-assembly, the whole gymnasium roared with excitement."

    Check back for pictures from this year's event!

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Orchard 5th Graders Study Geology Experientially

  • Learning about Geology in our Local Environment

    Posted by Corey Burdick on 9/20/2019 1:30:00 PM

    Orchard School 5th graders had the chance to take their geology lesson outside recently through a series of field trips to Salmon Hole in Winooski, Lone Rock Point in Burlington, and the Audubon Nature Center in Huntington. At Salmon Hole, students made rubbings of ripples in sedimentary rock and discussed atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. Then, at Lone Rock Point, students learned about the site; an exposed thrust fault that occurs when there is a break in the Earth's crust and older rocks are pushed on top of younger ones. Finally, at Audubon, students leanred valuable map and orienteering skills! Especially beneficial in our region; perhaps inspiring future exploration of our many hiking spots?

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Students Learn about Energy with VEEP

  • This September, 5th grade students at Orchard School started the year off with some hands-on learning about energy with VEEP (Vermont Energy Education Program). The mission of VEEP " is to build a deep understanding of energy through education, encouraging choices that result in sustainability in our communities, economy and environment." Their programs serves K–12 students, teachers, and school communities in Vermont and New Hampshire. 

    According to the organization, "We take a hands-on, minds-on approach to education. Our programming puts scientific materials and engineering equipment in students’ hands so that they can make predictions, test their assumptions, and make claims from evidence. Our approach is consistent with the kind of education John Dewey had in mind when he wrote, “We learn by doing, but only if we reflect on what we have done.”

Orchard Summer Gardens and Grounds

Orchard Summer Library: Reading and Activities Helped Beat the Heat

  • Get Excited about Reading at Orchard's Summer Library!

    Posted by Corey Burdick on 6/19/2019 12:15:00 AM
    This summer, while trips to the beach, cookouts, and hiking opportunities abound, it's also a fantastic time to discover a new author or book series. Orchard School made that easy, once again this year by offering Summer Library every Wednesday from 9-noon. The program ran June 19 through August 14. Orchard's PTO has been sponsoring Summer Library for over 20 years and more than 500 books are typically circulated each summer!
    Former Orchard parent Janette Hasenecz signed on for another season of overseeing the Summer Library program. This summer's theme was "Books are Sweet Treats." Every student who came to Summer Library received a special prize that had a sweet treat connection; from banana pens to plastic pineapples filled with bubble liquid to rubber duckies dressed like cupcakes. Every week held a different surprise. 

    According to Library Media and Technology Specialist Donna Sullivan-Macdonald, "While at Summer Library, students may play a game of checkers, build with LEGOS, or any number of creative activities. Miss Janette will be changing activities weekly!"

    In addition to Summer Library, Orchard has their version of a "Little Free Library" located in the school lobby where students can give and take donated books. With this Little Free Library, books will be available any time the school is open, typically between 8 AM and 6 PM, Monday through Friday. Sullivan-Macdonald wrote, "Please feel free to clean out your bookshelves for donations, as well as stop by to pick up a couple of "new to you" books over the summer."
    There's only one week remaining of summer library. Happy reading!
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Greening Up at the Orchard School Spring Tag Sale

  • Orchard School Spring Tag Sale Spurs Sustainability Efforts

    Posted by Corey Burdick on 5/9/2019 12:00:00 PM

    During the weekend of May 4, Vermonters statewide were busy celebrating Green Up Day by removing errant trash from neghborhoods, highways, and our natural areas. At Orchard School, students, staff, and community members were engaged in their own multi-faceted efforts to reduce and reuse via their annual spring tag sale; which took place Friday, May 3 and Saturday May 4. The total funds raised from the tag sale vary year to year, but the money goes toward Orchard's sustainability efforts; including the procurement of seeds, tools, compost, plantings, mulch, and other items to support the school's 9 cultivated beds and the students who engage in hands-on stewardship lessons.

    The tag sale was begun by former teacher and current director of South Burlington non-profit Common Roots, Carol McQuillen. After Carol retired, she continued to oversee the fall tag sale, but now, kindergarten teacher Raechel Barone (who joined the district in the 2015-16 school year) runs the spring sale. "It’s a beautiful event because it serves the community, is a model for how we can reduce, reuse and recycle AND helps sustain our gardens!" Barone said.

    Students district wide become involved with the tag sale in numerous ways. School's Out 4th and 5th graders unload boxes of donations and all of the classes engage in the gardens as part of farm-to-school lessons. "Just this week my class planted peas and students in School’s Out began sprouting cherry tomatoes from seed under the grow lights," Barone said, "These starts will be transplanted into our South Garden for snacks during the summer and back to school treats."

    While some of the gardens exist purely for their visual appeal, others produce food such as raspberries, herbs for tea like mint, lavender, tulsi, and chamomile, and of course, veggies like peas and carrots. Children who attend the summer programs at Orchard benefit by being able to snack from these gardens and last year, carrots were picked for use on the school's salad bar.

    In addition, students involved in this event are actively engaged in the District Ends. According to Coordinator of the Career Development Center, Christine Lundie, all SBHS 9th graders took part in Freshmen Community Service Day May 1 and Lundie's group landed at Orchard School. Lundie noted a direct link between these activities and the District's Transferrable Skills Ends metric; specifically Responsible and Involved Citizenship.

    Barone added that "SLAM students helping with the tag sale were actively working on “cooperating, collaborating and leading others” (under Disposition for Life Long Learning). When they engaged with the younger students and shared knowledge about protecting the Earth’s natural resources (as they did in my classroom with the paper mache project), they were doing this AND “demonstrating respect for self, others and the environment”, and “supporting, participating, and/or initiating socially responsible actions to benefit the local and global community” (all under Citizenship)." 

    Thanks to all of the students, staff, and community who participated! Can't wait to see what the gardens grow this spring and summer!




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