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Saturday, September 19, 2020



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RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2020-21

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - September 9, 2020

Dear Westshire Families,

It’s Friday and I don’t know about you but I learned a lot this week!

First off, I’m so grateful for the work of caregivers and parents in getting your children connected and participating. The commitment to your children shows as you supervise and support the teaching day after day. This is an important time of the year. We get back on a school schedule, assess where students are at with math and literacy so we can target our instruction, we set the expectations, and we get to know each other.

Wow, I’m impressed by the staff at Westshire! I have seen the staff take the care they have for students and a commitment to quality of work and persevere during this unprecedented time. It takes some real grit to create an entirely new plan at short notice, or being flexible and patient with internet issues, or just following up with every student and family ready to solve any problem that arises. I use grit to describe the passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement, with no particular concern for rewards or recognition along the way.

Westshire parents, caregivers, teachers, and staff are all showing up with some true grit. We have to ability to push on with high expectations for all students in the midst of our current COVID-19 challenges and this is something to cherish. Thank you all.

Here are some important updates and details:

“Tuesday Tours” (formally known as Tuesday drop-off and pick-up) will continue next week 10-2. Again, some teachers will send home materials and you can send completed work back to school. Any school paperwork packets need to be returned immediately.
Note: If your student (or their sibling) is at the school at all during the week we won’t stop at your house. If you won’t be home, send us a note so we can make other arrangements.

All school-age children are required by law to attend school, remote, hybrid, or in-person.   You need to alert us if your child will not be able to participate in remote learning let us know why he or she is not participating.  Obstacles to participation can be best addressed if we work together and communicate. We know these are unusual circumstances and we will do everything we can to help.   We are expecting students to be active participants in learning throughout the week. We know that there will be moments for all families that make it difficult to attend every class, however we ask that you do your best to support your child in attending school.

In-Person School Re- Opening
Many people are wondering when we will make announcements about in-person school opening. As of today, we have no reason to change the plan of starting in-person in October. I will let you know right away if anything changes on this front. We will be communicating more specifics about the plans (both for remote and in-person) for October, soon.

Thank you again for your continued efforts.


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - September 4, 2020

Hello Westshire Families,

Thank you parents and caregivers for being incredible. We notice that this takes a lot of effort on your part. The understanding and communication we have received from you, has kept us happy to do our jobs. Here at Westshire, we love teaching kids and the added challenges of remote learning have made us more determined and creative. It’s been a very full week for teachers and staff at the school as we have visited your driveways, met you at the school for introductions, and Zoomed many times. We have only just begun. What remains constant is the joy we feel when we see the familiar faces of the students. We treasure time together, in all forms this takes.

I encourage you to reach out and call or write if you need any support. We are here to support you, we want to help! We only succeed together and those of you with your children during the school day have our utmost care, respect, and support. This is not easy for anyone. There are bound to be times for everyone during the next few weeks that reaching out to the school will make a difference. I encourage you to do this. Lean on us. We are here for you.

Monday is Holiday – NO SCHOOL.

Tuesday drop off and pick up – 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM It’s the same route as this week, but it will go faster without taking pictures.
We need to get the paperwork back. It takes time to complete but then your child is officially registered for the year. We have to get all paperwork completed next week. Fill it out and have it ready for the pick-up on Tuesday. Let us know if your child won’t be home! If you won’t be home you can drop paperwork off at the school (there is a box out front). Some teachers will be sending more materials home too. If you are not going to be home and your student has materials ready, we will arrange this to ensure your student gets the necessary materials.

I’m staying determined and hopeful about this school year. So far, so good!
Have a great weekend!


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - August 31, 2020

Dear Westshire Students and Families,

Happy First Day of School! Hopefully a once in a lifetime first-day experience!

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We ask for your patience and understanding as we do 

Here’s the plan:something new today. We know that we will keep learning and improving. Share with me your feedback to help us serve your needs.

1. We’re going out to you to take student pictures! This is a fun Westshire tradition!

2. We have some paperwork that needs to be complete for pick up next Tuesday.
3. All students have school materials (and some students have Chromebooks) that we will drop off.

Karen Ward, Barb Griffin, Amy Kosakowski, and Emily Waterman are heading out to the roads of Vershire and West Fairlee to invite students to come up when they see the decorated CAR or VAN at your driveway. Wear masks and come out to get materials and have a first-day picture taken with the special picture frame.

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Many of you have contacted so we know you won’t be home and that you will pick the materials up at the school at a later time. If we miss you for some reason, maybe you don’t see us outside in time, that’s okay! You can pick up at the school or work out a plan for drop off.

*A note on Chromebooks. You will need to sign an agreement to receive one. We will have that form ready for you to sign. If you expected a Chromebook and did not receive one, let us know. We want all our students to be successful at accessing school and will get you what is necessary to do that. The Chromebooks are in short supply, so only ask if you need one.

SCHOOL LUNCHES: Meals will begin again on Monday, August 31, 2020. They will be available for pick up every day at 10:30am at your choice of school. Lunches will be charged to Mealtime accounts as we did last fall when we were in school. Meals will also be offered at school for those students in attendance.
Fill out the free and reduced application (in your paperwork packets), even if you don’t think you apply. Filling this out helps your and our school and we appreciate it. This application covers additional benefits, not just meals. Applications need to be filled out yearly as circumstances do change. The components for meals that will be sent home will be the same that was provided in the spring and summer.
Please e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to receive daily meals. If you will not need meals on a specific day or period of time, please let me know and I will make sure a meal is not made for you and doesn’t get charged to your account.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - August 28, 2020

Our First Day is Monday, August 31st

On this day Karen Ward and Amy Kosakowski and two other staff will be going to your driveways between 10 AM and 1 PM to take a First Day Picture (with the special picture frame), and drop off registration paperwork and other school materials. The paperwork will need to be completed and returned. We will pick up the paperwork on the following Tuesday or you can send it to us.

What to expect the first day. This will not be a typical Monday and our normal schedule will not begin. Classroom teachers will be reaching out to families on Monday and will have a simple activity for kids. Take this day to review the schedule, try going on any of the sites that teachers have sent a login and password information for and set up a free Zoom account if you don’t have one on your computer or device.

Chromebooks will be delivered to students who need them. If we have you on our list of who need a Chromebook you will be getting a separate email with the agreement that needs to be signed before we can give you the device. We made the list based on the technology survey and the needs from last year. If you don’t get an email this week and need a device, contact me.

Not home? Contact me to make other arrangements if you do not plan on being home for the delivery. I have received a few messages on this already. You can stop by the school on Tuesday to pick up the items.


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - August 20, 2020

Dear  Westshire Families,

I am writing to share the structure and expectations for remote learning during the first five weeks of school.  This remote learning structure will look different than what you and your child experienced in the spring.  All faculty and staff will be in the building during this remote learning time to plan and provide synchronous and asynchronous instruction to students.

Synchronous learning refers to all types of learning in which learner(s) and instructor(s) are in the same place at the same time in order for learning to take place.  This includes in person classes, live online meetings when the whole class or smaller groups get together.

Asynchronous learning are forms of digital and online learning in which students learn from instruction – such as pre-recorded video lessons or games-based learning tasks that students complete on their own – that is not being delivered in person or in real time.

The attached document explains the structure of each school day.  Classroom teachers will be providing you with more details about their individual schedules in the coming days on what asynchronous and synchronous learning will look like at that grade level. The expectation is that your child will attend their designated times with their classroom teacher. Each morning, teachers will take attendance during their Morning Meeting.  We also expect that your child will attend any scheduled classes and small group instruction with their designated Specials (Art, Music, PE) teacher and any other faculty and staff (e.g., Special Educator, Title 1 Reading Teacher, and Learning Coaches).  Student progress and work samples will be assessed during this temporary period of remote learning.  We’re very hopeful that we will have all students in the building regularly after October 2.

For students with no Internet access at home, we have designated 8:30 am to 11:30 am as a time for students to access the school’s Internet broadband on days synchronous learning is required. I will be reaching out to those families to make arrangements based on the RISD Tech Survey that was sent out recently.  Their classroom teacher will be in a separate location to provide synchronous instruction and office hours.  Students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be contacted by the Special Educator who is their case manager for what their services will look like during this remote learning period.  Transportation will be provided to students in these two categories who need it. We strongly encourage families to provide their own transportation to school because of safety considerations.

Normally, the first week of school is when teachers build relationships with their students and instruct them on the routines and procedures of the classroom.  During the first week of school while in remote learning, faculty and staff will be building relationships and instructing students on how to use the platforms for remote learning. There will be little emphasis on academics from August 31-September 4. We are working on an orientation schedule for your child. More details will be coming soon.

Our first day we will be celebrating by coming to each families driveway and offering to take a picture with our special first day picture frame. We will also drop off Chromebooks, paper materials and get any paperwork you have completed for us. Let me know if your child will not be home and we will make other arrangements.

Please contact me if you have any questions. I know that this has been a complex and challenging time for all of us.  I’m grateful for your support as we navigate this remote learning environment together.


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

(802) 333-4668; 4105
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - August 18, 2020

Hi Families,

Start day: School starts on August 31st using remote learning.
Preschool will start on September 8th and have a portion of time on-site daily.

Getting Set up for Learning: K-5th graders will be invited to come to the school in small groups for orientations with their classroom teachers during the first two weeks of school. A schedule for this will be provided the week before school starts. Parents still have the option to keep kids home and do the orientation remotely as well. Teachers and staff will be at the school full time and we will be readily available. We will be providing Chromebooks for students who need them and for all 3-5 graders.

Information: I will send a weekly email on Thursdays with updates. A Zoom meeting will be offered for families to ask questions about school this year before school starts. Also, we will be providing parents and caregivers regular times to ask questions and get specific coaching on remote learning.

Questions: Many of you have or will have questions about internet access, special education services, and if there are options to help essential workers with their children. I’m working to get these answered as quickly as possible. A survey is going out to all families in the district gathering more information about internet access and needs for bussing when we start in-person learning, fill this out.

  • The Westshire classroom teachers:
  • Preschool: Caitlin Leonard and Heidi Nichols
  • Kindergarten: Emily Waterman
  • First: Emily Lloyd
  • Second: Noah Pierpont
  • Third: Kaitlyn Townsend
  • Fourth: Rachael Weber
  • Fifth: Kelsey Moore-Quinn


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

(802) 333-4668; 4105
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2019-20

Westshire Summer Math and Reading Challenge

Students can have some fun with learning and challenge themselves to doing some reading and math during the summer. There are two challenges each will be rewarded with something special in September.

Challenge A – Complete 7 math and 7 reading squares
Challenge B – Complete all of the math and all of the reading challenges


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - June 12, 2020

 Dear Families,

I hope this message finds you well. Here is some information regarding the summer and next year.

I want to say a final thank you to all the Westshire staff and to families for all that you did to help students grow and learn this school year.

Narrative Reports
You will be receiving by mail narrative reports, these will be sent on Monday. These reports will overview the last few months of remote learning and provide recommendations for areas of future learning.

Westshire Summer Math and Reading Challenge
Students can have some fun with learning and challenge themselves to doing some reading and math during the summer. There is a choice board that will come in the mail with the narrative reports. You can also find them on the website. There are two challenges each will be rewarded with something special in September.

Challenge A – Complete 7 math and 7 reading squares
Challenge B – Complete all of the math and all of the reading challenges

What is school going to be like? What will be different?
The Rivendell District Re-Entry Committee will be working on planning for next school year and keeping you updated with any new information.

Budget Outcomes/ Visions Afterschool program
The school budget did not pass and another budget will be voted on. One of the decisions that the board made was to eliminate the afterschool program for the elementary schools. We are looking into offering a program limited to Thursdays from 1:45-3:00.

Our school is adding 5th grade. Our classrooms will all be self-contained, meaning that each class will have one classroom teacher who teaches all the subjects for that grade level.

I’m excited to introduce our new 5th-grade teacher Kelsey Moore Quinn. She has a wealth of experience teaching 5-8th grade. She is looking forward to connecting classroom learning to the everyday life of students Westshire. She has with her students constructed a ten-hole miniature golf course, worked with local farmers to develop a school CSA, testing scientific hypotheses on the trail, and much more. Welcome to Westshire!

Special Educator
Welcome to Westshire Sam Bonasera! We look forward to having you on our staff.

Music Teacher
Welcome to Westshire Madeline Hally! We look forward to having you with us and Samuel Morey.

Thank You
To our Behavior Coach, Katie Tolbert has served Westshire for over 5 years with a whole-hearted investment in students. She has supported student growth through caretaking relationships. I’ve enjoyed working with Katie and highly value her work with Westshire kids. Katie has provided so much care and creativity with her focus on being kind. I will miss having Katie as our behavior coach next year, as I’m sure will all of the staff and students.

To our Learning Coaches, James Fein, and Kayla Meier thank you for all you have provided for our students this past year. With the current financial situation and staffing needs we know we may not be able to have you with us at Westshire next year. I greatly appreciate all that you have given in kindness, caring, and supportive student instruction. Thank you!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - May 29, 2020

Dear Families,

We got this! Keep working hard! Last week is almost here.
I hope this warm weather is enjoyable and everyone is staying cool. Exploring and enjoying the outdoors is a wonderful way to spend time and it’s more challenging to stay on track with school work for some students. The last couple of weeks of school tend to make students into more distracted learners as they start to check out, knowing the end is in sight. When we’re in the school building teachers plan for this by keeping high expectations, sticking to the regular routines, and structuring the plans to celebrate (by taking an outdoor break or doing an extra fun activity) after kids have been working hard. I encourage you to keep to the routines that have been established and continue to engage in school right up until June 5th. Reach out to us for ideas or just encouragement, we have plenty of both.

On Friday, June 5th we will have a Reverse Parade from 5:00-6:00 at the school. You are invited to come to the school and drive around the loop to wave at the staff. You can decorate your car and a sign that says the kid's names is wonderful so the staff knows who they are waving at. At this time your teacher may have items for pick up. You can return library books and chrome books. We will be handing out popsicles.

The budget was voted down. The School Board will meet on June 4th to discuss the next steps to getting a budget passed. Reducing the budget means difficult choices and changes. We have been and will continue to take steps to reduce spending given our current situation. As we work on doing what has to be done to move ahead, my goal for Westshire is to maintain a positive caring culture and provide quality academic instruction to all students.

Next Year
Much is still in flux and will be clearer in time. This will be a very busy summer as planning goes. The 5th grade is still going to be added to Westshire, so the current 4th graders will continue at WES.
We will have to make some changes to keep everyone safe when we go back to school. The CDC has released guidelines and the VT AOE is expected to release its requirements within this coming week.

We are in a position to grow and find opportunities for positive change within the biggest global crisis we ever known. Westshire is unique and well-loved and has capable, smart, creative, dedicated adults who will be there for the students. Fortunately, we are ready and able to adapt and support families and students and teach the children of Vershire and West Fairlee.

Have a good weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - May 22, 2020

Dear Families,

It’s warm and we are heading into Memorial Day weekend!

School Budget Vote:
If you have not sent in a ballot, you can still vote in person on Tuesday at the Rivendell Academy. If you have questions, here are answers. There has been some inaccurate information circulating. https://www.rivendellschool.org/images/stories/districtinfo/annual_meeting_docs/2020/The-Power-of-Your-Ballot.pdf
Here is the document that shows examples of what the actual increase will be to taxes in each town.

School Meals:
For those who are accessing our school meals please note that we will NOT be serving food on Memorial Day. We are in the process of figuring out possible meal service for the summer. A survey will be sent on Tuesday asking if you would be interested in summer meals to determine the needs.

Summer Program:
Due to the safety considerations for children and staff the school is not providing a summer program this year. I know that this is a huge loss of a highly anticipated annual tradition and a real hardship for families that rely on it for childcare.

Last Day of School:
June 5th is the last day of school. Chromebooks, library books and other school materials are to be returned the following week on June 12th. Any personal belongings and student work from the year will be ready to pick up also on June 12th .

Report Cards:
Teachers and staff continue to work tirelessly to create online lessons and to connect with students. You will receive by mail after school ends an end of the year description of the last trimester of school and recommendations for your child’s future academic growth.

Next Year:
Questions about next school year are on our minds. There are a lot of unknowns. We are monitoring the guidelines that we will need to follow from the CDC, AOE, and the Vermont State Health Department. I will be working with the other administrators in the district, nurses, and custodians over the summer to plan for a safe and welcoming back to school in the fall. As details emerge I will keep you updated.

Staying Motivated:
With the warming weather and the prospect that some of our businesses will open up, allowing parents to go back to work, it may become increasingly harder for students to stay engaged with school. I encourage you to think about how to keep your child participating in school. Much can be learned in these last two weeks. Parents should consider checking in with their child’s teacher more frequently to check on the status of their engagement.

Memorial Day:
During your time this weekend, take a moment to remember someone, perhaps a loved one in your family that lost their life while serving or talk to your children about why we take the last Monday in May, every year, to commemorate this holiday.

Please reach out with any questions, concerns, or comments that you may have.

Enjoy what is shaping up to be a sunny and warm weekend.
Stay healthy and stay safe.


Melissa Zoerheide
Principal, Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - May 1, 2020

 Hi Families,

I miss seeing you and your kids at school! Every time I talk to a parent or see students in a zoom meeting my world gets brighter. I have two kids (in Kindergarten and fourth grade) and as a parent speaking, doing school from home has been tough! So tough! In fact, we feel like each week involves more learning of what does not work, than what does. And this week we still haven’t really figured it out. I’m regularly struggling with how to keep a routine, keep up with dishes, laundry, understand all the new online materials and to get assignments in. My kids seem to want to watch YouTube and not much else. They do not want to do school work and they are very stubborn! We are juggling multiple needs for computers, internet issues and frustration in trying to get set up with the latest reading group or math program. I know firsthand that schools are asking a ton from families.

My message earlier this week was a reflection of my hope for us all to keep trying (to step up and stay in the game). I need this mindset to stay focused and engaged, however my message was not clear enough. To be honest, some days getting my children to do school work feels impossible. We have to find the energy to reset and keep trying. This energy might come from multiple places. I call my friends who are parents and I’ve sent my fair share of “Help!” messages to my children’s teachers. My hope for all of us is to remember, that we can do this and we will. As your principal, I’m sharing my personal experience because I want you to know that I have the utmost respect for you.

I know you are doing your best! And I’m so impressed with the work I see from the kids right now. I know you take it seriously and I love that about this school. I also know that encouragement comes in many forms and we have very high expectations for the students at Westshire, we have incredible kids!


Food: My number one concern is having basic needs met. The school offers breakfast and lunch. This is available free of charge for all students. It’s simple to sign up by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The community also has other options to help with weekly groceries contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a more information.

Stay in contact: Above all else let us know you’re there. We care and even a simple “Hi, we’re good.” matters a great deal. In fact, keeping in touch matters much more than completing assignments. I have complete faith in that you are making sound decisions of what is right for your family during this difficult time. We are all learning in everything we do with our kids, be it a walk in the woods, a family game, a meal together. In an effort to stay connected and offer the most support possible, you should be receiving calls or emails. This is to provide help in any ways we can. The entire purpose is to support you and do everything we can to make this easier. Let us know if you want more or less contact.

Chromebooks: Across SME and WES we have 72 students borrowing devices. If this option would help make it possible for your child to do the school work, let us know.

Recommendations of time: We recognize that continuous learning opportunities are important but place a greater value on the social-emotional needs and the overall health of our students and families.

  • Pre-k: 30-45 minutes
  • K-1: 45-60 minutes
  • Grades 2-3: 60-75 minutes
  • Grades 4-6: 90-105 minutes
  • Take movement breaks every 30 minutes.

Keep up the good work!
Stay connected!

Don’t give up, if you have a hard day or challenging week! I’m here with tons of understanding and so are all the amazing teachers and staff.

Sending my very best wishes,

Melissa Zoerheide


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - April 10, 2020

 Dear Families,


My message for students is simple. As we begin the last 7 weeks of school, it is time to step up, give it your all and be fully in the game!

Look over the new remote learning website and review the expectations. 

Having kids at home all day every day is our new reality. At it’s best, this Covid-19 situation is not ideal. However, you and your child (or children) are absolutely expected to keep engaging with us. Your willingness to share how it’s going will help us both get better at this.

Keeping stepping up, step into this new world, even if you don’t want to. It’s required. We have to do it. The parenting job description has expanded. The school is for you. We hope to be a consistent, responsive, and supportive team ready to serve.

We’re expecting your child to do school work and to learn. We know it is very much in the hands of parents to facilitate this. Factors like employment situations, number of children at home, reliability of internet can all be obstacles in the already challenging situation. I’ve asked all staff to be available to help and support the academic learning for students. I’m asking parents and students to do there very best work for the remainder of the year. This time will be well spent in assuring the continuation of learning and prepare students for their future.

Thank you!

Melissa Zoerheide



Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - April 10, 2020

Dear Families,

We’ve ended another week. My sincere hope is that your lives have gained some stability and peace within these difficult circumstances. I know each of our situations are unique and the effects of the school building closing and stay at home orders are at minimum disorienting. The staff at Westshire is keeping your family in their hearts and minds. We are dedicated to being there for you. Keep communicating with us about what works and how it’s going. THANK YOU for all that you are doing as parents and caregivers! We know it is a lot!!!

Remote Learning Plan: If you haven’t taken a look at the letter from the district office sent yesterday, it gave an overview of a Remote learning Plan. The main idea is that we have more clarity on what the rest of the year will look like. Over the next week, teachers and staff at Westshire will be planning and preparing for how we approach learning for the next few months. This looks differently for each class next week. All students will continue to have work to do each day.

  • Preschool is gathering feedback about the morning meetings and will continue to invite students to join in.
  • For Kindergarten, a plan is already established and will continue as is.
  • For 1st grade, on Monday Miss Nancy will cover questions, while Ms. Lloyd plans.
  • For 2nd grade Mr. Pierpont is carving out parts of each day for planning and won’t be having any significant adjustments.
  • For 3rd and 4th grade, schoolwork will not include any new lessons or extra class meetings, on Thursday and Friday questions will be covered by support staff so that Mrs. Rachael and Ms. Townsend can work on the curriculum for the upcoming months. As usual, you will hear directly from the classroom teachers. I ask for your understanding and patience as we do our very best to set up remote learning.

Attendance: In order to count our remote learning as school we are required to take a daily attendance and establish contact with students regularly. On Monday morning you will receive an email that will connect you to the daily attendance form. It will take 30 seconds to fill out for the day. A new email message will be sent to you each morning. If you do not have wifi access, you can call the school at 802-333-4668 and leave a message. Please tell us your name, the date, and the student or students you are calling in attendance for. We will follow up with the families of students we do not hear from. We are expecting students to be active participants in learning throughout the week. The staff and teachers will be providing structures and supports for this to happen. Reach out to us with any questions.

Screen time: This is an incredibly stressful time for many people. We are juggling our jobs, family life and teaching our children. For many of us this means more time online than your family has been accustomed to. We would like to share a two resources that might be helpful. Your family might consider a clear agreement with your child/children about the safe and healthy use of devices. Safekids.com has a model Family Agreement for Online Safety The Common Sense foundation has a longer, more flexible one. Both sites provide lots of information about safe online resources and Online Safety.

April Break: I know everyone is wondering about this. The district office will send a message next week.

Have a great weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from Melissa Zoerheide: April 3, 2020 

Dear Families,

IMPORTANT: On Monday, PICK UP a new packet of materials for each of your children

Location: The packets will be arranged by grade on the far side of the front of the elementary school building. If you are looking at the front door, go right and walk towards the big fields. You will see an area with a porch style roof that runs along the front of the building on the far side. It is the same area that we had put the packets the first time.

Personal Safety:

  • All the packets will sit over the weekend and on Monday only be touched with clean gloves by only one person. The packets will be spread out as much as possible, only touch your own child’s materials.
  • Do not linger and give distance to others to maintain the full precautions of distance between people. To be as safe as possible, wait to another 24 hours to open and touch the materials and disinfect anything that can be disinfected. We have been very careful in preparing them and we would rather stay on the side of extra caution during this time.
  • If you can’t pick up on Monday or you need a delivery of materials to your home or you have other questions or concerns, contact Karen Ward (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Melissa Zoerheide (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Over the next couple weeks, we are continuing our efforts to make it work well for your family to continue the student learning in your home over the rest of the school year. Large scale remote education for young children has never been done before. Each child will have differences in his or her adjustment to this new experience. Sadly, we can’t replicate many of the things that are offered when we are in person. We are doing our very best to get the benefits of all the things we can do. We are providing plans, materials and suggestion that we hope will be flexible enough to meet the needs of a range of students. Let us know what works and what doesn’t.

We are working on providing a simple overview for each grade level, in one place. We understand that all the changes over the last few weeks can be confusing and overwhelming at times. We are aiming for increasingly clear and simple formats. It is important to both honor the continuation of learning while being realistic day to day with all the factors at play.

Above all else, keep in touch (even if you have not been able to keep up with the work). The teachers and staff at Westshire will be supportive and understanding. Just a note that tells us that you have seen or read some of the emails is worth sending. We saw your kids 5 days a week for months and they are super important to us, we want to stay connected. Staying connected is the priority for us right now!

Take care and best wishes,

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - March 1, 2020

Dear SME and WES Parents and Guardians,

As we shift towards planning for long-term remote learning, we wanted to provide an overview of how this “system” will work in our two schools. Obviously, it will rely heavily on technology using the many digital tools and resources available to us. Our first step is ensuring everyone has a device to work on. We sent out a survey to families with students in grades K-6 assessing their needs for a device. We have classroom devices that can be loaned out to students who do not already have access to one at home. Please contact your building principal if you have a technology need.

For next week (April 6 through April 10), all students will continue to work on the assignments already provided to them during this “maintenance of learning” phase. Basically, it is work that they are already familiar with because they had begun learning it while school was still in session. The following week (April 13 through April 17), we will begin to weave in new learning online learning platforms, also referred to as “continuation of learning”. By the end of next week, your school’s principal will further explain the details of how this will all work but we wanted to provide you with an overarching idea of the district’s framework. We are striving to be fully operational with our continuation of learning plan no later than April 20.

When designing our continuation of learning plan, there are two types of remote teaching and learning that will happen. The first is synchronous learning which means real-time or live communication with guardians or students through a phone call, Google Meet, or Zoom (online live video conferencing). Often these will be class check ins, question and answer sessions, or even a remote morning meeting. The second type of learning is how our teachers will provide instruction and that is called asynchronous learning. Asynchronous learning means our teachers will record videos for parents, guardians and students that can be viewed at their convenience. One popular method of this is “screencasting”, which allows teachers to record and narrate their computer screen. Asynchronous learning will allow our families flexibility in when their students are learning; knowing that many will log on at different times but ensuring that all will have access to the same material from their teachers.

Further information and expectations for the use of video conferencing applications such as Zoom and/or Google Meet at the end of this week. We will also be sending out a set of recommendations for the use of district devices as well as a parent consent form. Please review them with your child(ren). There are reasons for entering cautiously into beginning the use of video conferencing- protecting your student, their privacy, and following confidentiality laws are of utmost importance.

We have been extremely impressed with the ability and willingness of our teachers to create remote learning opportunities for our students. Please remember that this mode of teaching is new for many of us. In the coming days, your administrators, teachers and technology specialists will be holding many remote meetings to plan curriculum and develop lessons that can be delivered remotely to your child(ren). Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we make the full transition to a remote learning environment, which will become our new normal. As always, if you need something please reach out to us. We are here, willing to help, and in this together!


Melissa Zoerheide, WES Principal
Steven Lindemann, SME Principal

Message from the Principal, Steven Lindemann - March 1, 2020


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 Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: February 25, 2020

Dear Families,

We hope you had a restful and enjoyable February break!

We wanted to remind families that there will be no school

  • Monday - March 9th
  • Friday - March 20th

I love to read week- March 4th Dress up like your favorite book character

Parent-teacher conferences sign up now! Student/Parent/Teacher conferences are coming up in March. Our school is using PTCFast.com 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:

If you are unable to schedule conferences online, please contact Karen Ward via phone Westshire 802 333 4668

Sign up now open for Preschool registration for the fall.
Contact Heidi This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 333-4668 to get more information.


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

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: January 24, 2020


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: January 13, 2020

Dear Westshire Families,

It’s great to be back into the regular weekly routine after the break from school. Despite the dramatic highs and lows in the weather over the last couple weeks we have still been outdoors most days for recess. Remember to send in dry winter clothes, boots, hats, gloves/mittens every day. Hopefully the soft snow will return soon because, the most popular way to spend recess is sledding!

See information about the upcoming budget forums below. Now is the time to get involved what’s being considered for the budget and plan for next school year.

In addition, we would like to hear your thoughts. Fill out the RISD Strategic Planning Survey so your voice is heard in creating the next strategic plan.
The Rivendell Interstate School District is approaching the end of its current strategic plan that was developed in 2015. With a new administrative team in place I am excited for the opportunity to build upon the current foundation to create positive school climates and enriching academic experiences for our children in the future. Fill out the survey for the website https://www.rivendellschool.org/

Upcoming Events
*For all information related to School Board meetings and the upcoming budget go to https://www.rivendellschool.org/
FYI - These discussions may address Westshire elementary adding a 5th grade and the preschool program structure.

  • Community Budget Forum – District Office Tuesday January 14th at 6:30PM
  • No School – Monday January 20th
  • Community Budget Forum – Westshire Elementary School Tuesday January 21st at 6:30PM
  • February Break – Feb. 17-21st

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

Letter from Barrett Williams, Superintendent


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: December 9. 2019

Concert - Upcoming break - Differences day - Report cards

Dear Families,

It was really wonderful to have the gym filled with so many friendly faces at the concert last week! Thanks to everyone who could make it to the performance.

We have two weeks of school before the break and we plan on keeping students focused and productive in school. Keeping routines, and taking care to eat and sleep well is extra important as we head into this busy time of year.

Again this year, we will have a Differences Day, which is an event where students have a short experience that brings more awareness to disabilities and differences. “The goal is to help each child recognize his or her uniqueness and challenges and, in doing so, to promote a deeper understanding, respect, and acceptance of all people.” -from the program Ann O’Hearn has been teaching in Guidance class, called Changing Perspectives. https://changingperspectivesnow.org/ Ask your child about this experience on Tuesday.

You will be getting the first trimester report cards on Monday. The report cards are Standards-based. This means that you’ll see a list of what teachers expect your child will master by the end of the school year and numbers between 1-4 that indicate progress made so far.


  • December 9th Monday – Report cards go home in backpacks
  • December 10th Tuesday – Differences Day
  • December 23 - January 1st - No School
  • January 2 – School begins again


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: November, 24 2019

Dear Families,

We’ll host our first Games with Grandparents hour this Wednesday at 12:00, right before the early release at 1:00. We are looking forward to welcoming and sharing grandparents while playing board games throughout the school. Connecting and appreciating our families and the larger community is a joy and responsibility for the faculty at Westshire. We are thankful to the Friends of Rivendell for providing cookies and coffee/tea. We are thankful for all the people that support our school at the District Office (food service, operations, technology, accounting, payroll, human resources, administration). I am thankful for our teachers, staff, and students who are taking on the work of learning and education.

Thank You ALL!

Morning Drop Off Information:
All students should arrive dressed for the weather and go directly to outdoor recess before school starts in the morning.
Soon there will be a sign at the front of the school that will say -Indoor- on days that it is too rainy or cold to be outdoors.
All backpacks are to stay outside near the back doors (we are working on getting hooks and a tarp). Students that eat breakfast go in at 7:45. When school starts at 8:00 students will go into their classrooms. *Remember to send in winter clothes every day.

Upcoming calendar events:

  • November 27th Games with Grandparents 12-1 pm
  • November 27th Early Release 1:00 pm
  • November 28-29th NO SCHOOL Thanksgiving Break
  • December 3rd School Board Meeting 6:30 pm
  • December 5th Winter Concert 6:30 pm (doors open at 6:00)
  • December 6th Pajama Day – Wear PJ’s to school
  • December 9th Report Cards go home in backpacks
  • December 23 - January 1st NO SCHOOL Holiday Break


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: November 17, 2019

Dear Families,

It’s been a wonderful time at Westshire Elementary with students and staff alike set into the weekly routines. Knowing what to expect day to day is a great place to be and I’ve found so much to enjoy and appreciate in this new season. The few inches of snow have given us new ways to enjoy recess with sledding, fort building and imaginative games that involve animals that enjoy the winter.

Most of our parent-student conferences have happened and I hope this provided ample information about this years’ learning. If you have not had a conference, contact your child’s teacher.

I’m working on more frequent newsletters so keep a lookout for more emails to come!
Upcoming calendar events:

  • November 21st Picture Retakes - let us know if needed
  • November 27th Games with Grandparents 12-1 pm - Invitations are going home with students. Cookies and tea.
  • November 27th Early Release 1:00 pm
  • November 28-29th Thanksgiving Break
  • December 3rd School Board Meeting 6:30 pm
  • December 5th Winter Concert 6:30 pm
  • December 6th Pajama Day
  • December 23 - January 1st No School


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: October 27, 2019

Dear Familes,
We are having a fun Friday this week. We plan on having a great day with our regular academic learning and some extra fun. Students are invited to wear pajamas to school on Friday.

No Halloween costumes during school this week. We decided to keep the focus on learning and not risk wearing out costumes before trick or treating.

Reminder: Dress warmly, the weather changes fast. Pack warm clothes every day!
Kids should bring a warm jacket, hat, mittens/gloves, and wear long pants to school every day. Winter boots and snow pants will be needed soon.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Pajama Day Friday 11-1-19
  • No School/Parent Conferences Friday 11-8-19
  • No School/Veterans Day Monday 11-11-19
  • Early Dismissal 1:00 Wednesday 11-27-19
  • No School/Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday 11-28-19 and 11-29-19
  • Picture Retakes 11-21-19
  • Winter Concert 12-5-19


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: October 18, 2019

Dear Parents and Families,

We have been in school 36 days now and it is starting to feel like we know each other. I’m working on setting up a regular weekly newsletter to highlight what’s happening at Westshire day-to-day and to provide dates on upcoming events. The newsletter will begin in the next couple weeks. I’m very excited to get this up and running because there are many great happenings to share.

Teachers have started to dive into more of the content of the curriculum, as setting the positive tone and culture of the classroom is now set. This week, all teachers met with educator instructors from the Montshire Museum to look deeply at this years’ science units. On Monday, we increased our collaboration with the educators at Rivendell Academy and Samuel Morey by meeting together and finding connections and resources in our district. Teachers left with new connections to strengthen what we do together. I’ll be sure to highlight more specifics (like the 1st grade forest exploration unit). New and experienced teachers are regularly meeting for mentorship to build both the friendly excitement for learning and the rigorous pursuit of high-quality teaching.

We are happy to be outside for the morning and mid-day recess unless it is pouring rain or very cold. We have just put in an order for more recess equipment as these items have begun to dwindle (like balls, jump ropes). In addition, I’m hoping to add a Ga Ga ball structure to the playground. Ga gab ball is a safe and pro-social ball game that can be played in a large group. The set up will require some communities volunteers to help put together, let me know if you are interested in helping. More details on this to come. A reminder that the weather is changing and kids need warm clothes, boots, hats, mittens for school.

Thanks for being the dedicated caregivers of the students at Westshire. I’m impressed daily by our families because I’ve heard from you and see you in the hallways. You are focused on your child’s education by working together in a caring way to address questions, hopes, and concerns. Thank you for saying hi when you’re in school and communicating with teachers when the need arises. Westshire is a great place, thanks for welcoming me into your world.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the sunshine!


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: October 9, 2019

Happy Fall Parents,

Colder temperatures are here. We will still be outside (except in pouring rain and extreme cold).
Kids should bring a jacket, hat, mittens/gloves, and long pants to school every day. Winter boots will be needed soon.

Stay warm,


*If winter clothing is a financial hardship this year, please contact me or Ann O’Hearn, the school counselor.


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: October 8, 2019

Dear Westshire families,

Happy October! The leaves are changing and the temperatures are dropping quickly. Thank you to everyone who was able to make our open house, we enjoyed seeing familiar faces as well as meeting some new! We also wanted to recognize the chaperones who joined us on our all school hike. We had a beautiful day hiking up Flag Pole Mountain in Vershire, Vermont. We appreciate all of the chaperones, staff and students for creating a fun day spent outdoors as an entire school!

Picture day is fast approaching! Westshire Elementary picture day will be THIS Friday, October 11th. Picture forms have been sent home in backpack mail. If you are needing a new form, please let Mrs. Ward know at the front desk and a new form will be sent home with your child.

Upcoming important dates:

  • Friday, October 11- PICTURE DAY
  • Monday, October 14- NO SCHOOL- TEACHER IN SERVICE


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: September 27, 2019

It could not have been a better day to be hiking last Friday. What a beautiful day! Kids worked together, followed directions and school expectations while playing, hiking and getting lots of fresh air. We got to know our local area and the cross-rivendell trail. Thank you to all the parent chaperones, it was great to have you join us!


September 19, 2019

Dear Families,

We are off to a great start! I welcome communication and I’m happy to set up a time to meet if you’re ever interested in talking about our school and education. I suggest that you seek out your child’s classroom teacher first. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.

  • September 26 6:00-6:45 PM Open House for Families
    Tour your child’s classroom, talk to teachers, sign up for classroom blogs and more.
  • September 27 10:00-2:00 PM All School Hike (ASH) See permission slip.
  • October 11 School Picture Day

Best Wishes


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: September 14, 2019

Our First Community Meeting of the Year

We had our first community meeting which brings K – 4 grades together for a Monday morning singing, announcements, appreciations and recognition of birthdays. Thanks for our Music Teacher Elizabeth Duvall for her role in providing structure and playing the guitar!


Learning and Fun at the Tunbridge Fair!

The fair was a tremendous success, full of fun and learning. We discovering how tools were used in the past with reenactments of stores and schoolhouse, blacksmithing and farming. We used our senses spending time with goats, pigs, chickens, cows, oxen, horses and more animals. We were impressed with the beauty and size of vegetables, fruit and flowers. We were inspired by contest entries of fine craftsmanship, in sewing, quilting, woodworking, art, lego creations and more. What a day! Thanks to all the parents who attended.


 RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2018-19