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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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September 22, 2011

Dear Rivendell Families,
Mr. Galli and I had the pleasure of participating in a simulation created by Mrs. Surprenant and her student teacher Mr. Allen-Fahlander for their National Issues course. Acting as members of the President’s cabinet, students were given the task of cutting funding for programs that would be reallocated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Students had several minutes to present their proposed cuts to the President and Vice President before fielding questions about their recommendations.

It was apparent that the students had taken their task seriously. They had thoroughly researched the budgets of programs within their agencies and came up with well-reasoned arguments justifying cuts. They sounded professional when making their presentations to the President and Vice-President. They did great thinking on their feet when we pressed them with questions about programs, funding, and their rationale for the cuts they proposed. They also found that sometimes the political agenda of the President trumped their arguments.

The next day Mrs. Surprenant, Mr. Galli, and I met with students to debrief the simulation. They told us that they liked listening to the ideas of their classmates. They said that they listened carefully to one another. Although I didn’t ask them directly I had the sense that they were proud of themselves and respected the work and ideas of one another. This aspect of their experience struck a cord with me, because it is not always the case that students at Rivendell see themselves as serious thinkers, when in fact they are. Sometimes in class I hear them minimizing their own ideas or the ideas of others. We are working hard to eliminate this negativity and replace it with the sort of self-respect and pride in the good thinking that the National Issues students demonstrated.

Other News:

  • Homecoming events take place Thursday through Saturday, September 22nd – 24th.
  • Our first Family Meeting for the year is on Monday, September 26th at the Vershire Community Center.
  • Also on September 26th, we will be welcoming Nancy Hall as our new School Counselor.
  • We welcome Carol Sobetzer as our new Yearbook Teacher and Fall Drama Coach. Ms. Sobetzer is also providing extra support for students.
  • Our transition to new courses and the new schedule has gone smoothly. This year we are working on achieving our district goal of providing integrated, team taught curriculum in grades 7-8 and 9-10.
  • Several students will be going with Doc Browne to an alternative energy conference in Burlington on October 11th. (http://www.revermont.org/main/).
  • October is full of testing dates – NECAPs and PSATs;
  • FAMILY MEETINGS:  All meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m:
    • Monday, September 26th Vershire Community Center
    • Thursday, October 27th West Fairlee Library
    • Tuesday, November 29th Vershire Community Center