CVU’s Good News
CVU faculty, staff, and students donated food or provided financial assistance to provide a turkey with all of the trimmings and homemade pies for approximately 20 local families so they could enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.
This past November, 40 CVU students attended the Princeton Model Congress in Washington, D.C. This year our delegation continued CVU’s proud tradition of excellence with three students, all from Shelburne, being recognized with awards: Lucas Hilker, House Armed Services Committee – Gavel; Alden Fletcher, Secretary of Transportation – Honorable Mention; and Will Keve, Senate Appropriations Committee – Honorable Mention.
On Friday, Dec. 14, Shelburne residents Lucas Hilker and Caroline Jones participated in the annual Rotary Public Speaking Contest sponsored by the Charlotte/Shelburne Rotary club. Each student wrote and presented a five-minute speech on the theme “Peace Through Service.” Caroline Jones was the winning speaker. She will continue to the next round where she will compete with students from clubs in our area.
Reading initiative crosses curriculum
Each year, schools across our district continue teacher learning and improving instruction by running in-house, targeted staff development or in-service days. This year the focus of CVU teacher in-service days is reading instruction and assessment across the curriculum. As a school, CVU wants its students to be able to read actively, think critically about the text being read, access whatever content is being presented, and then be able to apply that understanding. Intentionally working on reading instruction can help make this happen.
It is well-known that simply being able to read something isn’t the same as being able to understand and apply its content. Research suggests that students must understand why they’re reading a specific piece, what they should get out of it, and how to show that understanding in order to become better readers. These best practices in reading research form the basis of CVU’s work on improving reading instruction.
In-service days this year began with each teacher developing a new reading plan for at least one of his or her classes. Instructional coaches and reading instructors (CVU teachers with expertise in best practices in teaching reading) helped teachers refine these plans to include a well-defined purpose for the reading (why were they having students read that particular piece—for content? to understand a deeper theme? to make comparisons? to analyze?), a strategy for students to employ while reading (close reads or marking the text or creating charts specific to the purpose, for example), and a method for assessing how well a student understood the piece of reading. In subsequent half-days, teachers reflected on this process, learned new reading strategies, evaluated student reading data to improve their ability to differentiate instruction (a method of instruction that allows teachers to meet students where they are), and developed better methods of assessment.
Reading Instructors Tina Roberts and Jess Barnum and Instructional Coaches Emily Rinkema and Stan Williams led the intensive reading strategy workshops that focused not only on these new approaches for reading instruction, but also considered how to change the structure of a piece of reading to make it most accessible for all readers (looking at things like font size, copy quality, and anything else that might get in the way of understanding).
The improvements in reading instruction will be applied across all disciplines at CVU (except math). After all, reading is universal in all subjects–only the content changes. In this way, students will have consistent and frequent opportunities to deepen and reinforce their understanding of the strategies being taught, and to see the connections from one class to another. If students can better access everything being read in their classes, skills and outcomes should naturally improve.
Long gone are the days when teachers ask students to simply read a chapter of a textbook or an article or a novel and then test their comprehension. Instead, students will understand why they are reading a piece and know a set of strategies that will allow them to best access the content within it.
As the district moves toward implementation of the Common Core Standards (more to come on this topic in a later article), being more intentional about reading will aid our students in tackling the new standards and new assessments, where reading is a major focus.
Upcoming events of interest:
Jan. 9, 6 to 8:30 pm, Celebrate the Arts: Come see student work, music, theater, food, fashion, and design at this showcase evening. Perfect for everyone!
Jan. 24, 7 pm, Financial Aid Night
Jan. 30, 6 pm, 8th Grade Parent Night
Shelburne representatives to the CVU School Board:
Joan Lenes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Holson, email@example.com
Susan Grasso, firstname.lastname@example.org
CVU Liaison to the Communications Committee:
Robin Lauzon, email@example.com