Welcome to Chester-Andover Elementary School!
CAES is a K-6 school of 240 students and 60 staff. This year we have two Kindergarten classrooms, three first grade classrooms and two second grade classrooms. Our upper grade rooms consist of two third grade, two fourth grade and three 5/6 combined classrooms.
All students at CAES attend Library, Music, Physical Education, Art, Guidance and Mindfulness. We have a vibrant Afterschool Program (ASP) which currently has fifty-five students enrolled. The ASP program also runs for a full day for eight weeks during the summer. During the winter students participate in the Winter Sports Program (WSP), which includes skiing, ice-skating, bowling, swimming and a Kindergarten program.
Every other year our 5/6 grade classes attend the Keewaydin Environmental Education Center (KEEC), which is located on Lake Dunmore in Salisbury. The week spent at KEEC is a full, active, exciting learning experience. Living away from home with teachers and friends creates a sense of class cohesiveness as well as individual independence.
CAES is recognized as a Vermont Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) School of Distinction. At Chester-Andover Elementary we are known as the CAES Eagles who SOAR at learning when we are Safe, On Task, Accountable and Respectful. Students start their day with a classroom meeting and we have a school-wide assembly once a month to celebrate our community and the learning that has occurred in the previous month.
We are very proud that Chester was selected this year as one of the ten Vermont Promise Communities. This is a grant project through the Department of Children and Families for towns to create opportunities to improve Kindergarten readiness. I am grateful for the time and effort that Niki Oleski, Jaimie Maloof, Chris Meyer and Stacy Sanderson have dedicated to this project. We have attended multiple trainings, created outreach to the community and compiled data to support our efforts. The Promise Community Initiative will provide supports to help our community to work across sectors – including health, education, human services and community planning. The $150,000 grant will go toward buying equipment for our playground, enhancing the Community Garden, and improving communication and connections for the children and families in Chester.
Two years ago we formed a playground committee that is now a sub committee of the school board called Pennies For The Playground. The committee is dedicated to designing and funding a new playground for the children and has raised $31,889 to date. This past October we were able to purchase a new climbing structure through the combined efforts of Pennies For The Playground and our Medicaid funds. The climber is located on the northwest side of the building and is being used by all students. As we look to implement a new playground this coming summer we will focus on the current structure area. Eventually our goal is to have new and engaging equipment in all areas of the school grounds.
Four years ago CAES joined the list of Vermont schools needing to show improvement in the areas of reading and math. We continue to work on our plan of improvement through the use of Title 1 teachers, coaches and professional development. Last year the teachers looked at how math was taught across the grade levels and decided to implement the newest version of Everyday Math as another step toward improving student learning. This year we are beginning the process of moving toward Proficiency Based Education and Personalized Learning. While the process will be moving slowly, I am excited about students having a greater understanding of how they learn and having more voice in the process.
This year we have started a volunteer program called Eagle Buddies. We have parents and community members helping students in the lunchroom, reading to classrooms or individual students and working along side teachers in the classrooms. As we look to build this program over the next few months we will be hosting informational evenings.
It is both an honor and a pleasure to be working with the staff, parents and community members of Chester-Andover Elementary School. As we make the transition into a new unified district I will be working diligently to find new and expanded opportunities for our children through our valuable school-community connections. If you would like to learn more about our school please give me a call or consider attending a Friday morning coffee hour! We meet on the first Friday of the month from 7:45-8:45 a.m. in the school conference room for coffee and conversation.