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Thursday, April 02, 2020


Important Notice

COVID-19 UPDATE (March 15, 2020)
All Rivendell Schools will be closed starting March 15, 2020 for the remainder of the school year
Please check our new section COVID-19 Information on the website

Annual District Meeting 
The Rivendell Interstate School District Annual Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, 2020
at Rivendell Academy has been POSTPONED (tentative date May 5, 2020).

Stay Connected using Social Media

Samuel Morey is now using a social media to stay connected with families and our communities. Please follow us on Facebook.

Dear Parents and Families,
As we prepare for school dismissal March 16th - April 6th, we would like to assess the needs of your family. Please complete this short survey TODAY/ASAP in order to help us plan. We are formulating a plan and will be in contact soon with details of our remote learning plan. Please monitor your email daily.

Survey to Prepare for Rivendell Elem. School Closings

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - February 27, 2020

February 28, 2020
Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,
There many student activities that I want to report about. The Grade 6 Math League team completed their contest on February 25th, and we will receive their results on March 30th. The second iteration of the School Culture Committee has created the “Be A Principal For A Day” event to be held on March 4th and the winning student to be “Principal” will be chosen from a raffle. The students on the School Culture Committee thought the winning student should do the following as the “Principal For A Day” among other things: 1.) wear a tie, radio, and bald cap, 2.) have bottomless hot chocolate in their coffee mug, 3.) morning bus duty with Mr. Lindemann to greet everyone as they arrive, 4.) make a SUPER important announcement over the intercom, 5.) have lunch with Mr. Lindemann in his office, 6.) must attend all three recesses, 6.) have no homework that day, 7.) have a special meeting with Superintendent Williams.

Also, March 4th will be the culmination of Kids Heart Challenge. With the Kids Heart Challenge, SME students are learning all about what they can do to keep their hearts healthy, take their own health challenge and learn how they can help others by collecting donations for the American Heart Association. Physical Education teacher Kristina Claflin is spearheading this effort, and the student who raises the most funds will have the opportunity to throw a pie in the face of Mr. Lindemann at the all school assembly.

On March 12th the 2nd Annual Art and Music Gala will be held at SME and it will feature artwork and performances by students from both SME and WES. To celebrate “March Madness”, a team of SME staff and Superintendent Barrett Williams will take on various three player basketball teams comprised fifth and sixth grade students in a tournament refereed by Kristina Claflin. I hope to report to you next month that the adults were undefeated in this tournament.

Parent Conferences will be happening in March and for the first time we will be implementing an online platform to help schedule these conferences called PTCFast. We are hoping to make conference signups as convenient as possible this year. Please remember that there is no school on Friday March 20th, but students are expected to attend their conference. To sign up for conferences please enter the following web address into your browser window:
https://www.ptcfast.com/schools/Samuel_Morey (https://www.ptcfast.com/schools/Samuel_Morey).
If you are unable to schedule conferences online, please contact us via phone at Samuel Morey 802-333-9755.

We are also preparing for the upcoming Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing for grades 3-6 for mathematics and English language arts, and grade 5 in science. SBAC testing will occur in March and April.

On the March 9th Inservice Day, Superintendent Williams will meet with the faculties of both SME and WES to continue to work on what literacy instruction will look like for both schools in the future. Related to this work, Title 1 Reading teacher Cally McCrave and I spent February 4th at Oak Grove School in Brattleboro learning about their approaches to literacy at grades K-2 and data analysis for teachers. Oak Grove School will be a great resource for us as we develop our literacy framework. On February 27th the faculty and staff of both SME and WES heard Dr. Bill Ketterer, a clinical psychologist, speak on the use of a relational approach with students. These trauma-informed practices are used by teachers and school staff to support healing and build lifelong resilience in children. We will continue to work towards our goal of becoming a trauma informed school.

To help with this effort, SME will be hosting a Responsive Classroom training for many RISD faculty and staff, as well as educators from all over New England from July 21-24.

Important dates:
• Wednesday, March 4 - Principal for a day event
• Wednesday, March - Culmination of Kids Heart Challenge
• Monday, March 9 – No School – Teacher Inservice
• Thursday, March 12, 6:00 pm – Music and Art Gala at SME
• Tuesday, March 17 – Annual District Meeting
• Friday, March 20 – No School - Conferences

In closing, I wish to reiterate how grateful I am for the support I have received from the RISD Board, Superintendent Williams, Principals Keri Gelenian and Melissa Zoerheide, and the Samuel Morey community in helping improve the educational opportunities for the students of SME. Happy Spring!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal


Message from the Superintendent, Barrett Williams, February 14, 2020


Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - January 24, 2020

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,
Besides the Winter Program being in full swing, I wanted to give you some updates on happenings at SME. Art teacher Tanya Libby is working with a group of students on designing and painting a colorful, new Samuel Morey sign that will be mounted at the entrance in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Math Coach Kathy McGowan and Title 1 Math teacher Miranda Garrow are working with a group of sixth grade students to prepare them for the Math League competition that will occur at the end of February. We will be forming the Math League teams for grades 4 and 5 shortly. Also, the second cohort of students on the School Culture Committee have met and are devising ways to put a little spice into our winter. More details to come!

Superintendent Williams met with the faculties of both Samuel Morey and Westshire yesterday to continue the discussion on what literacy instruction will look like for both schools in the future. This meeting was the second in a series of monthly meetings to help all faculty members understand the Common Core standards related to literacy, learn how current brain research has enhanced our understanding about how students learn to read, discuss best practices in literacy so that RISD can determine the desired resources for literacy instruction as well as a clear framework for instruction. The goal is to have a clear plan to implement for the 2020-21 school year. These meetings have been very productive.

Last week I attended the two-day ALICE Training Institute with Rivendell Academy Principal Keri Gelenian and Westshire Elementary School Principal Melissa Zoerheide. The ALICE program empowers individuals to use proactive strategies instead of the traditional lock-down approach. The ALICE program is endorsed by law enforcement across the country and in line with recommendations from the: Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); US Department of Education; along with many state agencies across the US, including the Vermont Agency of Education. Melissa Zoerheide, Keri Gelenian and I will be meeting with the Rivendell Interstate School District (RISD) Safety Committee in early February to share our learning and plan next steps in implementing the ALICE program. Superintendent Barrett Williams will be communicating to the families of all three schools after the RISD Safety Committee meets about this important topic.

Finally, I encourage all parents and guardians to learn more about the school budget for the 2020-21 school year by attending the RISD Board meetings on January 28 and February 4. Both meetings begin at 6:30 pm and will be held at the District Office. The RISD Board will discuss the 2020-21 budget on January 28 and vote on the 2020-21 budget on February 4. I hope to see you at these meetings since they impact the students of Samuel Morey, Westshire, and Rivendell Academy. Thanks for your support!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal


Message from the Superintendent, Barrett Williams, December 11. 2019


Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - December 6, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey parents and Guardians,
This has been a very busy week for SME students and staff! My first Grades K-4 winter concert was enjoyable to witness. I look forward to seeing the grade 5 & 6 winter concert next Wednesday at Samuel Morey. I appreciate all the work by the K-4 students and music teacher Elizabeth Duvall in making the concert a success.

Next Monday report cards will be going home in student backpacks. I want to remind you that we use a standards-based reporting of student progress. The standards we use are based on state and national standards. Please remember that this first trimester report card indicates the progress your child is making toward the end of the year grade level expectations. Make sure that the envelope in which the report card is sent home is returned promptly to SME and is also signed by you to indicate that you have read and received this important document. Thank you.

Also included with the report cards are the results from the Smarter Balanced assessments (also known as SBACs) taken in the Spring. Smarter Balanced assessments (SBACs) are administered to all students in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6, and include both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. These assessments are taken on computers and have a computer adaptive feature that adjusts the difficulty up or down depending on a student’s responses. We strongly believe there is merit in these assessments, and the results help us determine the strength of our instruction and how well we are able to prepare our students for the world beyond graduation. Since this is my first year as the Principal of Samuel Morey, I will use these results as a baseline going forward to measure the progress of our students going forward as I work with our faculty and staff to strengthen our academic program for your child.

Some academic enrichment opportunities that are coming up are the National Geographic GeoBee, Hour of Code, and the New England Math League. We will be conducting the National Geographic GeoBee for grades 4-6 on December 19th and 20th. The National Geographic GeoBee is an annual competition designed to inspire and reward students' curiosity about the world. The National Geographic GeoBee includes three levels of competition; school, state, and national. Schools conduct a GeoBee and name a school champion. The school champion takes a proctored online qualifying test and the top-100-ranked students in each state qualify to represent their school at the State GeoBee competition. State champions are then invited to compete in the national championship. The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2019 Computer Science Education Week will be December 9-15, but you can host an Hour of Code all year-round. The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. This week I had the opportunity to work with students in Kindergarten, fifth and sixth grades on coding with Gabi Martino, our Technology Specialist, to prepare for Hour of Code. What I liked about the coding activities is that every student can participate at their current level without feeling frustrated. I want to build more coding activities into our school year other than just the Hour of Code. Our practice materials for New England Math League recently arrived, and our sixth grade team is beginning to practice for the January Math League test. The New England Math League tests for grades four and five will be in the spring and we’ll be forming those teams soon.

I also wanted to announce that on December 19th we’ll host our first Games with Grandparents hour from 12:30, right before the early release at 1:30. We are looking forward to welcoming and sharing our school with grandparents while playing board games throughout the school. Connecting and appreciating our families and the larger community is a joy for the faculty and staff at SME. We are thankful to the Friends of Rivendell for providing cookies and coffee/tea.

In conclusion, I wanted to let you know that we have had many students and staff out with illness this week (including our nurse)! If your child is ill please keep them home until they fully recover so that we can prevent the stomach bug and flulike symptoms that are going around from continuing. Thank you for your support.

Happy Holidays!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal


Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - November 12, 2019

Dear SME Parents and Guardians,

Thank you for your participation in last week’s parent conferences. I hope that you left your child’s conference with an appreciation of all the hard work your child is doing this year. I also hope you left with a sense of the positive environment we are working hard to create at SME this year. I greatly appreciate the efforts of all the SME faculty and staff to make SME a welcoming and caring learning environment.

This year’s Harvest Dinner on November 19th is for SME students only. We will be inviting grandparents into the classroom in the coming weeks. The food service office at the district level made the decision to not have grandparents at the Harvest Dinner due to logistics involved with the high numbers of people to serve. I will be discussing this event with Superintendent Williams and Westshire Elementary School Principal Melissa Zoerheide to see how this tradition can be sustained in the coming years. Thank you for your understanding.

The Gaga Ball Pit hardware has arrived, and I will be coordinating efforts to get this new playground item up and running as soon as possible. Gaga Ball is an activity the students can play year round, and the snow that is falling as I write this will not hinder the students having fun playing Gaga Ball.

In other news, I have entered SME into the Math League for Grades 4, 5, and 6. Math League is an enrichment opportunity for students interested in improving their understanding of mathematics. The test is taken on-line in the spring, and our team and individual scores are compared with other schools in the New England and New York region. Previous schools I have worked in participated in Math League, and I wanted to have interested SME students participate in this optional math activity. I have ordered the test practice guides, and when these guides arrive I will determine student interest at Grades 4, 5, and 6 to create practice sessions. More information to come!

I know November is the month where we reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. I continue to be grateful for the efforts of the SME faculty and staff in supporting each of our students. I also appreciate the support that Superintendent Barrett Williams has provided me during my first year as the leader of Samuel Morey Elementary School. Thanks to the parents who have made me feel welcome and enthusiastic about joining the RISD community.

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal


Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - October 28, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,
Many thanks to the Friends of Rivendell for hosting the Halloween Dance that occurred Friday night at SME. As I watched the children running around the gym, I was reminded of the electrons that are moving freely around the nucleus of an atom. There was a lot of energy on display in the gym!

Last Monday I attended a workshop sponsored by the Vermont Principals Association titled “Practical Strategies for Reducing Anxiety and Defiant Behavior in the Classroom”. The presenter, Jessica Minahan, was very engaging and knowledgeable about this topic. She told the group that the National Institute of Mental Health stated that 31% of 13 to 18 years old have anxiety, and that 22-25% of children 3 to 5 years of age have clinical anxiety. She also stated that our working memory is impaired when anxious, and that we lose 13 to 20 IQ points in a moment of anxiety.

Ms. Minahan stated that students with anxiety cause so much stress for teachers because they are so unpredictable in their behavior, so it leaves a teacher in a constant state of hypervigilance. She also gave us the analogy of thinking of students with anxiety as a shaken can of Pepsi, and that all students may look the same on the outside (like cans of Pepsi), yet the teacher does not know which student is ready to explode due to their anxiety. Her presentation was centered around the following six ideas: 1.) Misbehavior is a symptom of an underlying cause. 2.) Behavior is communication. 3.) Behavior has a function. 4.) Behavior occurs in patterns. 5.) The only behavior an adult can control is their own. 6.) Behavior can be changed. Needless to say, there is great deal of useful information that I need to share with the SME faculty and staff around this issue. I am grateful that Superintendent Barrett Williams was the “Principal for a day” so I could attend this important professional development opportunity.

In other news, the Grade 5 & 6 Spelling Team will be competing against Windsor School in the Regional Competition of the Vermont Principals Association Team Spelling Competition on Saturday, November 2nd. The SME team is comprised of two 5th grade students and four 6th grade students. If they are successful against Windsor School, they advance to the State Final on Saturday, November 16th to compete against the other four regional champions. Good luck to our team.

Parent Conferences are just around the corner, and as a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Share the following information about your child with your child’s teacher: 1.) Favorite subjects. 2.) Outside interests and hobbies. 3.) Any medical or health needs. 4.) Things happening at home that may affect school-moving, divorce, the birth of a child, etc. At the conference, keep an open mind. Remember that both you and your child’s teacher want to help your child succeed. Even if the teacher says something you disagree with, listen to what the teacher has to say. Also:

  • Ask to see your child’s work. There is no better way to see how your child is progressing.
  • Ask your child’s teacher to explain terms that are new to you. Every profession has its own jargon which can be hard to understand.
  •  Sum up what you think has been said. Make sure both you and your child’s teacher agree on any decisions you have made about your child. If necessary, ask to meet again.
  •  Establish the best way to contact each other. Email? Phone?

Please contact me if you have any questions about parent conferences or any other school related matter. Have a safe Halloween this Thursday!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal


Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - October 16, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,

Can you believe the beautiful weather we are experiencing this autumn?! I thought that the weather we had for the All School Hike last week would be the end of the string of perfect fall days, but I was wrong. Being out at every recess sure has been a treat for me.

Many thanks to all the parents who participated in my first All School Hike. I enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with some of you as I trekked up and down Sunday Mountain. Also, I wanted to thank the parents and community members who attended the Community Forum at SME last Tuesday and the Friends of Rivendell meeting at Westshire Elementary last Thursday. I learned a great deal about the hopes, dreams and concerns the people in attendance have about the schools in the Rivendell Interstate School District. I have an “open door” policy at SME, and I am usually out in the bus loop every morning if you would like to chat. I can also be reached by phone or email. As I stated in my introductory letter to the community in August, I wanted to work in a smaller school where all students feel known by all the adults who work in the school. I believe Samuel Morey is a school where all students can feel that high level of care and support. I also believe that the Samuel Morey community believes in educating the “whole child”. As I continue to learn about the what makes Samuel Morey unique, I am also working on making tangible changes to improve the learning experience for the students as well as improvements to the learning environment and building.

One way to include the students’ input in improving SME is by forming a School Culture Committee (SCC). This SCC for the Fall trimester is a randomly selected group of two students each from grades 2 through 6. These eight students have met with Music Teacher Elizabeth Duvall and me for the last three weeks to brainstorm ways to improve the culture and/or building. This group has voted to have a Gaga Ball Pit on the playground (see the picture below of the Gaga Ball Pit at Sharon Elementary School). I will be ordering the materials for the Gaga Ball Pit in the coming week, and I will notify you if we need help constructing the Gaga Ball Pit or a source of woodchips to put into the Gaga Ball Pit.

gaga pit web

The SCC also will be having a Sports Team Jersey Day this Friday where all students and staff are encouraged to wear their favorite jersey to show the SME community the high school, college, or professional sports team they support the most. I already have my favorite Liverpool jersey picked out for Friday! The SCC has made other great suggestions (including getting the pot hole in front of the school filled) and getting tetherballs for the playground. There will be two more randomly selected SCCs, one for the Winter trimester and one for Spring trimester.

I will be attending an all day workshop this Saturday in Burlington on how to teach coding to students. Coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer to behave how you want it to. Every line of code tells the computer to do something, and a document full of lines of code is called a script. Coding helps children with communication, creativity, math, writing, and confidence. I will also be attending an all day workshop on Monday sponsored by the Vermont Principals Association titled “Practical Strategies for Reducing Anxiety and Defiant Behavior in the Classroom”. Superintendent Barrett Williams will be the SME Principal while I am gone that day.

In closing, I again wanted to express my gratitude for all the support I have received from the SME faculty, staff and parents in the first months as the leader of Samuel Morey Elementary School. Have a restful weekend!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal


It’s Time for the All School Hike!

On Tuesday, October 8th, Samuel Morey will be hiking the Sunday Mountain section of the Cross Rivendell Trail in Orford. This is an annual tradition that helps us build community and spend time outside connecting with nature as a school. Students will need:

  • Layered clothes for our typical cool fall mornings and warm afternoons
  • Closed toed shoes with socks suitable for a hike in the woods (we want to avoid blisters)
  • Full water bottle, a snack and lunch (students may get a bag lunch from school)

We will load the bus at 8:30 a.m. to go to the Sunday Mountain trailhead, and we will return about 2 p.m. There will be a chaperone meeting at 8:00 a.m. in the gym. We love when parents join us for the ASH, so please come along if you like! Parking at the trailhead is very limited, so we strongly recommend chaperones ride the bus with us if they can! On the back of this form is a map of where we will be with the trail outlined.

 Click here to download the permission slip and return it to school with your student. 

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - Sept, 23, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey Parents and Guardians,

Happy Fall! I wanted to start off by expressing my thanks to all the parents, students and staff who helped at the “Garden Party” this past Saturday morning. We moved the mound of dirt in the bus circle, pruned trees, weeded gardens, and chopped down a crab apple tree. The pile of wood from this tree is free for anybody that wants it, just come and pick it up. I believe that taking pride in our school building and grounds helps translate into a positive learning environment.

Last week we determined the six members of the Samuel Morey Spelling Team who will participate in the Vermont Principals Association State Grades 5 & 6 Spelling Bee Team Competition in October. We have four sixth grade students and two fifth grade students on this year’s team. I previously coached the Grade 5 & 6 Spelling Team at my previous school, and I look forward to working with these six students as we represent Samuel Morey Elementary and the Rivendell Interstate School District.

Another new change I am implementing is having a Samuel Morey Elementary School Culture Team (SMESCT), and its purpose is to identify projects/ideas to improve our school/community. The SMESCT is composed of two second grade, two third grade, two fourth grade, two fifth grade and two sixth grade students who were randomly selected to join Music Teacher Elizabeth Duvall and me for a three-month tenure (there will be three different teams during each year-a fall team, a winter team, and a spring team). We will meet three times this fall. The first meeting will be to brainstorm the idea we want to pursue; the second meeting to flesh out the idea; and the third to plan the full execution of the project. More details to come!

Finally, I hope to see you at our Curriculum Night/Open House on October 3rd from 6-7 PM. Have a wonderful week!

Steven Lindemann, SME Principal


Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - Sept, 13, 2019

Dear Samuel Morey Parents,

Please consider participating in our Samuel Morey School “Garden Party” on Saturday, September 21st 8:30-11:30 AM. We will be pruning trees, weeding, and getting the raised beds ready for next spring. Below is the list of tasks that the Samuel Morey Grounds Committee determined we should tackle on September 21st. We also listed the desired tools we will need. Please contact me if you have questions. I hope to see you next Saturday!

Steven Lindemann, Principal of SME

“To Do” List
Weed Whack Team

  • Need at least two gas-powered appliances
  • Weed whack school driveways and curbs
  • Weed whack building perimeter, and around the side flower gardens, tree wells and playground areas

Tree Trimming Team

  • Need small chain saw, tree saws, clippers, (wood chipper?)
  • Prune lower branches of 3 white pines near outdoor classroom
  • Prune lower branches of 3 maples around bus driveway
  • Prune lower branches of white pine behind backstop
  • Cut back verbena next to library/school building
  • Prune crab apples along school drive

Earth Moving Team

  • Need earth mover, rototiller, shovels, rakes
  • Move perennials in the center of Bus Loop to flag pole area
  • Level out dirt mounds in Bus Loop and plant grass seed
  • Level out the compost area behind the school dumpsters

Weeding and Mulching Team

  • Need weeding tools, baskets/bags to collect and move weeds, and bales of hay
  • Weed the grey rock area next to the front of the building
  • Weed all the gardens and areas identified below:

Reading Garden

  • Take down lattice work (need carpentry tools)
  • Remove broken barrels and clean up brush
  • Prune crab apple tree
  • Cut back perennials and weed entire area

Special Ed Garden

  • Weed garden and turn the soil
  • Cover with mulch for the winter

Crescent, Three Sisters, and Gordon’s Gardens

  • Cut back, mow, and mulch these areas for winter

Grades 5-6 Raised Beds

  • Weed, turn soil, and mulch with hay

Pre-school Garden

  • Weed

Picnic Table Shed

  • Rake out mulch
  • Trim and weed around poles and drums
  • Clean up hill slide area and weed

Back Side of Gym

  • Trim white pine behind backstop
  • Move black compost bin next to the one on side of cafeteria
  • Weed whack compost area
  • Set up hay pile to add to wet compost materials


Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - Sept, 5, 2019


The second week of school went smoothly, and I greatly enjoy popping into classrooms to see what the students are learning. I hope to see you next Thursday at SME at 6 pm for the first Friends of Rivendell meeting for the year. At this meeting I will answer questions, share my ideas about SME and how Friends of Rivendell can support our school. Also, I will share the goals of the newly formed SME Grounds Committee. This group is planning a “Garden Party” to spruce up the SME grounds (weeding, pruning, etc.) on Saturday morning, September 21st. We hope to see you there on Sept. 21 because “many hands make light work”. Have a restful weekend!

RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2019-20


RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2018-19