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Friday, March 23, 2018


A Friday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

October 24, 2014

This past week was extremely busy for us. Last Friday Mrs. Keiling, Samuel Morey principal, and I attended the Vermont Rural Partnership Conference with three sixth graders.

The VRP organization tries to connect small rural schools with one another. They also support the schools with grants for school and community based projects. In the past, we have used grants for Nooks in the library and for our two Natural Playscape areas. This year we plan to request a grant to support our class gardens and begin a school-wide composting program.

Thanks to all of the families who helped on Saturday with the Natural Playscape. A huge thank you to Chip Powers for his time, supplies and equipment. We couldn't have done the project without him!


Special Assemblies


This week we had two special assemblies. The first was an architectural presentation delivered by Doug Sonsalla and Daniel Johnson. They spoke to the kids about the importance of architecture and their work. They also introduced the vintage Airstream Trailer that is currently traveling around the country. At the end of the presentation, Doug and Daniel challenged the students to design their future "Dream Houses." These pictures will be shown at the Rivendell Academy and a few will be taken to Boston to be displayed with the trailer.

Thanks to three members of The West Fairlee Fire Department, our students participated in a Fire Safety presentation. During the assembly, Cory Austin talked about the importance of smoke detectors and what our kids should do in case of a fire. The students had the chance to see the fire engine and the fire rescue truck. Each student left the talk with a pencil, coloring book, and a black fire helmet. A big thank you to the West Fairlee Fire Department!



A Friday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

October 17, 2014


Last Friday was a beautiful day for our annual All School Hike. With two full busses carrying staff, students and chaperones we drove to Bloodbrook Road in West Fairlee, and began the 1.9 mile trek up Bald Top. It was a brisk morning, but once the sun started shining, the trail and its hikers warmed up. At several points, we stopped to look at the beautiful foliage and interesting things like uniquely grown trees. At the top of the mountain, with the sun shining, we enjoyed great conversation and the view while we ate lunch. Our students had a chance to play games and explore various trails, and before leaving, we gathered for our all school photo. My favorite part of the hike was watching our students and their families spending quality time together.

Although tired, when we returned to school I saw many smiling faces and heard from several parents that this was one of our best hikes. I wholeheartedly agree! A huge thanks to all of our wonderful chaperones, and to Andy Boyce for making this year's hike so successful. Westshire Elementary ROCKS!


October 17, 2014 Newsletter

A Friday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

October 3, 2014WES-10314

It's almost hike time! Since the beginning of Rivendell, the Cross Rivendell Trail has been used as an outdoor classroom and a place of learning. Next Friday, our entire school will once again hike a section of the trail, heading east this year, to Bald Top Mountain in Fairlee. The hike measures about 3.6 miles round trip and is a moderate hike. Along the way, we'll take time to stop for snacks and discuss our natural surroundings. When we reach the summit of Bald Top, we'll break for lunch, pictures, games and fun activities. Please join us for this annual WES community hike!

Tentative scheduleWES-10314-2


We will make adjustments to the schedule based on weather conditions. Students must dress appropriately for the weather. They should wear comfortable shoes, broken in hiking boots or sneakers with heavy socks. Also, each student should bring a water bottle and a backpack that he/she can carry. Fruit will be provided for snack and bag lunches are available through the lunch program. Permission slips are attached. Please return them no later than Wednesday afternoon.

 Important Dates

  • Oct. 8th — Fall Picture Day
  • Oct. 10th — All School Hike
  • Oct. 13th — In-service for Teachers/No School
  • Nov. 6th — Three Way Conferences
  • Nov. 18th — Harvest Meal
  • Dec. 9th — Holiday Concert


 October 3, 2014 Newsletter


A Friday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

September 26, 2014

wes091914 2

Thank you to all of our families who attended Wednesday night's Open House. More than 100 people joined us to meet the teachers and learn about the work happening in our classrooms. After visiting classes, families came to the gymnasium for some conversation and delicious desserts. A special thanks to JM Landscaping for donating the awesome pumpkins and mums for our door prizes.
We are extremely happy to welcome so many new families to our Westshire community. Seven new students in grades 1-4 have joined us and they have brought so much to our school.

On Tuesday, Mrs. O'Hearn welcomed these students with a special "New Student Luncheon." The children enjoyed talking and having lunch together. At the end, they ate chocolate cupcakes made especially for them.

Don't forget to check the calendar because the next few weeks will be extremely busy with fall pictures, field trips and our annual all-school hike on Friday, October 10th.  children enjoyed talking and having lunch together. At the end, they ate chocolate cupcakes made especially for them.

Important Reminders:wes-92614 3

  • School begins at 8:00 and ends at 3:00. Please have your child to school on time. The morning is an essential part of our day because that is the time students participate in morning meeting and prepare for the day.
  • Breakfast starts at 7:45 and ends at 8:00. After 8:00 students will not be able to have a full breakfast. A fruit basket will be left by the kitchen for students who do not get to breakfast on time.

Important Dates

  • Sept. 27th — Rivendell Ramble
  • Oct. 8th — Fall Picture Day
  • Oct. 10th — All School Hike
  • Oct. 13th — In-service for Teachers/No School
  • Nov. 6th — Three Way Conferences
  • Nov. 18th — Harvest Meal
  • Dec. 9th — Holiday Concert

September 26, 2014 Newsletter


A Friday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

September 19, 2014wes091914 1

It's hard to believe we have already been in school for a month. The kids are doing extremely well—they have acclimated to new teachers, friends, schedules, and homework. I see happy faces in the halls and students that are engaged and ready to learn. Westshire is a great place to be!

I have exciting news to share. First, we are adding a second kindergarten class. We are so happy that we have 24 awesome kindergarten students, but in order to give them the best experience, we are hiring a part-time teacher who will work in the mornings with half of the students. Please join me in welcoming Sarah Molesworth to the Westshire team. Sarah is a community member who lives in West Fairlee and has two children in the district. She taught at the Fairlee School as a kindergarten teacher and when the district formed, she continued to teach at Rivendell.

Secondly, I'd like to introduce two other people who are supporting the staff and students of Westshire. Robert Bryant has provided crisis response services for schools and hospitals and youth service organization in the northeast during the past twenty eight years. His work with Rivendell utilizes his skills as a coach in support of all staff. He helps staff support students and is a member of our education support team at all three schools. The majority of Mr. Bryant's work is in helping staff to learn new ways to respond to challenging behaviors.

wes091914 2

Leeann Levesque is our new school-based clinician. Leeann is supported by Clara Martin. She will be 

Have a great weekend everyone! I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday night for our Open House.attending 504 meetings and IEP meetings as needed. She will also work with students in small groups, students in crisis or may just be someone that students can talk to if they need to process an issue. She will also be a support to families that may need services outside of school.

September 19, 2014 Newsletter

A Friday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

September 5, 2014

Welcome back Westshire families! Although I was anxious about what this year would bring, I could not wait to see all of your children, looking fine in their new outfits and carrying their backpacks and school supplies. For many of us, including our students, the first day of school felt like coming home.

Please remember that school starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. Be aware that we do not have supervision on the playground until 7:30. Visions and the ECP afterschool programs will begin next week and they are available from 3:00-5:30. It is imperative that we know your child's afterschool plans so please make sure to send a note to the office, and if/when these plans change, we need to be contacted as soon as possible.

As you know we are very aware of the importance of school safety. Beginning on Monday, September 8th, we will start using our new buzzer system. At 8:30 all of the doors to the building will be locked and you will have to ring the office to request entrance to the building. The front doors will be unlocked at 2:45 for dismissal. It is therefore important you have your child to school on-time. I have attached a more detailed letter from Brenda Needham, our superintendent.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful healthy snack program. I was incredibly impressed when I watched beautiful baskets of fruits and vegetables being delivered to classrooms for snack. We are so lucky! You can support the program by helping your children understand the importance of healthy eating and packing foods like yogurt, cheese, vegetable sticks, and of course, fruit. Remember, students are not allowed to have soda or candy at school.

Next week will be very busy. On Monday we will welcome our new kindergarten class at REP by "crowning" each one with a special hat made by the fourth grade students. Mrs. Drew has written a special song for them so we will also welcome them with song. We will begin at 11:00 in the gymnasium. Parents are invited to join us for this 30 minute event. On Thursday, all students in grades 1-4 will attend the Tunbridge Fair in Tunbridge, Vt. for their Agriculture Education day. The Kindergarten students will stay here at school doing special projects with Mrs. Waterman. Please see the attached permission slip that must be returned by Tuesday. Have a great weekend. I look forward to talking (and writing) to you soon!

September 5, 2014 Newsletter

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

June 9, 2014

It's hard to believe there are only a few weeks left until school ends. Our last day is Monday, June 23rd, a much later date than usual. While school is still in session, please encourage your child to maintain positive behaviors and to stay focused on school work.

Next Monday, June 16th at 8:30 a.m. we will hold a special REP to say good-bye to this year's 4th graders. Next year they will be attending Samuel Morey and we'd like to send them off to our sister school with a special presentation. Parents and friends are welcomed and encouraged to attend this 30 minute event.

There is still time to register for Summer-Scapes 2014. We're offering three morning academic programs and more than 20 afternoon fun camps. Participants can look forward to exciting field trips like the ECHO center in Burlington, the Seacoast Science Center, and an awesome trip to Wallis Sands State Park in Rye, NH. Many camps are still open and scholarships are available to those families in need. Please consider registering your child for this incredible summer camp experience.

This Sunday, June 15th at 9 a.m. we are looking for volunteers to help build two new structures on our school campus: five raised garden beds and a natural playscape area. The gardens will benefit our school by teaching our students to cultivate vegetables that will be used in our kitchen, and helping them to learn the science behind plants and vegetables and how they grow.

The new natural playscape will have many benefits as well. It will offer activities for students like balancing on wooden beams, climbing on leveled stumps and boulders, and stepping on strategically placed stones.

We know this is a busy weekend for families, but if you have any time, please consider stopping by school to help. We are still looking for natural items like boulders, long logs to be used for balance beams and several stumps of different lengths.


A model of the proposed Natural PlayScape

June 9, 2014 Newsletter


A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

June 2, 2014wse 0602

Last Friday was another amazing day at WES as we welcomed guests from our surrounding communities for Jobs on the Move—Building Trades. For more than an hour, students met and talked to local builders and listened to them explain how they became successful in their trades.

Both wearing orange shirts that read "No Job too Big or Small," Roger Zeno from Zeno's Home Maintenance and his son Riley, WES 4th grader, built a 2x4 wall frame right in the gym to demonstrate how walls are put together. Jim Strout, retired plumber from Orford showed students and staff how to build a trap with PVC piping. Bill Nunn and Robert Baker, of the Twin State Woodturners Club brought samples of hand-made wood items like cups, ball point pens, and bowls and explained how they use a lathe to create their wares. Nate Pero, local Native American expert, demonstrated masonry by bringing old bricks and explaining the intricacies of how they were made. He even poured cement in front of the kids to show them how to fit bricks and make a planter. Matthew Agrella-Sevilla from Timber Homes in Vershire, demonstrated post and beam construction.

wse 0602 2A special thanks to all of our presenters and a HUGE thank you to Mrs. O'Hearn for gathering these great builders and bringing them to our school.

We are working on our own building projects around Westshire. Thanks to the hard work of our Farm to School team and a generous donation from VerShare, on Sunday, June 15th garden beds will be made for each of our classrooms. The five beds will create "rays" around our Three Sister's Garden. Chip Powers and the pre-school team did an amazing job this past weekend adding natural elements to the current pre-school playground. They added a bike path that will encircle all of our gardens. Chip will also help create a larger natural playscape by the playground in the back of the school. Thanks to a grant by the Vermont Rural Partnership, we have $2,000 to begin the work. One more piece of equipment will be arriving in late June, a climbing structure that will accompany our other playground pieces. There will be volunteer opportunities this month so if you can help with any of our projects, please let us know.

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We are fortunate to live in a wonderful community that values its children and its school. Thank you to everyone involved in making Westshire Elementary the best school it can be!

June 2, 2014 Newsletter

A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

May 12, 2014wes-05122014 2

May is the perfect time to think about our environment so recently we welcomed two guests to help us get involved in local conservation efforts. Peg Willey spoke to us about Green Up Day and the importance of keeping our earth clean. She even brought green collection bags for students to take home. A huge thank you to the students and families who cleaned up around our school and our surrounding communities.

Jen Shatney, Farm to School volunteer, brought a bucket and scale and we participated in a composting experiment to see how much our uneaten food weighs. This process is just the beginning of our efforts to make Westshire a more environmentally responsible school.

wes-05122014The SummerScapes flyers have gone home and students are already registering for our morning and afternoon camps. This summer's camps include Curious Conservationists for our youngest children and Environmental Activists for campers in grades 4-6. In the afternoon we offer cool activities like cupcake wars, ceramics, solar cars, rocketry and basketball. Camp registration is open until early June, but space is limited. Camps are filled on a first come, first serve basis. Scholarships are available to Rivendell students. 


May 12, 2014 Newsletter

The SummerScapes flyers


A Monday Hello from Mrs. MacQueen

April 27, 2014

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The beautiful voices of our children could be heard throughout the building at last week's spring concert. For the first time ever, Mrs. Drew coordinated a concert for our youngest students and they did an amazing job!

The evening began with the first and second grade classes. They sang three songs, including an American Folk tune called "Fiddle De Dee," and performed the dance "King and Queens," an English Contra dance. The kindergarten students looked amazing as they sported hand-made duck hats for their rendition of "Six Little Ducks." They then used their hats as boats when they sang the Native American Lullaby, "Little Papoose."

wes 04282014-1I couldn't help but feel butterflies when the 3rd/4th grade chorus prepared to sing. They have been working since January to perfect their tone. This year, after much discussion, the students sang two contemporary pop songs—"Roar" by Katy Perry and "Fireflies" by Owl City. When the lights went out and the disco ball started to move, one could feel the excitement in the gymnasium. It was a truly beautiful sight to see the lights dancing on the walls like fireflies. It was a spectacular evening!

On Wednesday night, we celebrated our Everybody Wins students and mentors at a pot luck literacy event. After a delicious meal, Dr. Donna Coch, a professor at Dartmouth, taught an interactive workshop on reading, language and the brain. According to the students, the best part was seeing the actual brains of rats, sheep and humans!

April 27, 2014 Newsletter