Sunday, March 8, 2015


These 4 little letters mean big changes for summative assessment in Vermont! The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium designed this test to replace the NECAP and assess proficiency of the new Common Core State Standards. 

For the past several months, educators have accelerated their preparation for this test, which we will begin administering in grade 3-8, in math and literacy at the end of March. To prepare, our school convened a team of school-based experts in both content and technology, led by Mike Weber, to move our readiness forward. 

From the Agency of Education website: As a member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), Vermont joined with a cadre of other states to develop the next generation of educational tests for English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. SBAC will be fully aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), use state of the art computer adaptive testing and accessibility technologies, and will provide a continuum of summative, interim and formative tools that can be used for a variety of educational purposes.

Please take time to look through these resources designed for and available to students and parents:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Follow Sheldon Elementary on Twitter!
Signing up with Twitter
To create an account:
1.     Go to and find the sign up box, or go directly to
2.     Enter your full nameemail address, and a password you will easily remember but others would not.
3.     Click Sign up for Twitter.
4.     On the next page, you can select a username (usernames are unique identifiers on Twitter) — type your own or choose one we've suggested. We'll tell you if the username you want is available.
5.     Double-check your name, email address, password, and username.
6.     Click Create my account. You may be asked to complete a Captcha (verifying some letters or numbers) to let us know that you're human.
7.     Twitter will send a confirmation email to the address you entered on sign up, click the link in that email to confirm your email address and account.

Tips for picking a username:
·         Your username is the name your followers use when sending @replies, mentions, and direct messages.
·         It will also form the URL of your Twitter profile page. We'll provide a few available suggestions when you sign up, but feel free to choose your own.Please note: You can change your username in your account settings at any time, as long as the new username is not already in use.
·         Usernames must be fewer than 15 characters in length and cannot contain "admin" or "Twitter", in order to avoid brand confusion.
Important information about your email address:
·         An email address can only be associated with one Twitter account at a time.
·         The email address you use on your Twitter account is not publicly visible to others on Twitter.
·         Twitter will  use the email you enter to confirm your new Twitter account. Be sure to enter an email address that you actively use and have access to. Check your inbox for a confirmation email to make sure you signed up for your account correctly.
First steps after you've created your account:
1.     After signing up, follow @SheldonSchoolVT. Following means you'll get that user's Tweets on your Twitter homepage. You can unfollow anyone at any time. Find out how to follow news sources, friends, and more in our How to Find People on Twitter article.
2.     Read our Twitter 101 article if you need additional help.
Take the Twitter Tour to find out where things are on our website. Or, learn about using Twitter on your mobile phone

Friday, November 7, 2014

 Common Core State Standards

Have you heard about the Common Core State Standards? The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) were adopted by the Vermont State Board of Education, along with over 40 other states. For Vermont, these new standards have replaced the Vermont Standards for math and literacy.  CCSS outlines what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade.  Click here to visit the CCSS website and read your child's grade level standards. 

Now that we are using this  new set of standards for teaching and learning, we will no longer administer the NECAP test each fall. Instead, we will be using a new testing system: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). 

The following resources have been developed for parents, and can provide additional information about these changes:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Full STEAM Ahead!

You may have noticed the blurb about STEAM in the middle school on the front page of our website. Pretty exciting stuff!  As we move forward with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Math Standards, the need to make learning accessible, relevant, and engaging for students takes on new dimensions. This year, our middle school teachers are collaborating on some ventures that will bring these elements together through the lens of design. That focus on design is where the A in STEAM comes into play -- A is for Art.  

Why the shift from STEM to STEAM? The STEAM movement was initiated by the Rhode Island School of Design. Here are their thoughts on why the shift is so critical: "In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future.Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM."  

As our middle school teachers took up the STEAM mantle this year, they also took the time to craft their own statement about why this is an important emphasis for students:

STEAM is the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.  The purpose of STEAM Time is to provide students with authentic learning opportunities about the world around them through the integration of a multitude of subjects, using the expertise of  teacher specialists to guide, while placing emphasis on student-directed learning through innovation and creativity. 

The short term goals of STEAM for the Sheldon Elementary Middle School:
1. Students will be able to develop creative habits of mind.
2. Students will be able to implement different problem solving strategies. 
3. Students will be able to influence their community with innovative ideas.
4. Students will gain a better understanding of the components of STEAM in relation to the real world. 

The long term goals of STEAM for the purpose of Sheldon Elementary:
1. Through STEAM, students will become better citizens by becoming more prepared for 21st century jobs.
2. Through STEAM, students will begin to see the larger picture of how the world works. 

Learning Outcomes for the purpose of STEAM will be:
1. Students become comfortable working in peer groups to accomplish tasks.
2. Students will understand the need for creativity and innovation in the 21st Century.

STEAM is gaining steam here in our middle school! What are your thoughts or questions about STEAM?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sheldon School is on Twitter!

Today the sun is shining and I am hoping that all of our Sheldon students can get outside and enjoy this beautiful day. You'll be back sooner than you think!

Our school is now on Twitter!  If you have a Twitter account, you can find us at @SheldonSchoolVT .  We will use this account to tweet about good news, announcements, and current and future events at Sheldon Elementary School.  When you are asked how you know so much about our school you can say, "A little birdie told me!"

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Brand New Year!

Welcome 2014!  So glad you're finally here! Beginnings are wonderful gifts, and I am determined not to squander this opportunity to proclaim 2014 the year of READING!  My personal goal is to read two books a month.  Although I read lots of articles and blogs online, I knew it was time to set a more rewarding goal.  So, I loaded up my Kindle in preparation, and I also have a stack of books calling my name right now. 

Here are some tips to remind us all how important and rewarding reading can be. These come from Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer.

Eight Ways for Parents and Teachers to Foster Wild & Lifelong Reading Habits

by Donalyn Miller

1. Model daily reading habits. As literacy expert Stephen Krashen reminds us, “Children read more when they see other people reading.” Talk with children about what you are reading and why you find reading personally interesting and meaningful.
2. Set aside time for daily reading. If we value reading, we must make time for it. Children who read at least 20 minutes a day score in the top range on reading tests and express more motivation and interest in reading. Even short blocks of time every day are better than bursts of reading on a occasional basis.
3. Carry a book with you everywhere. When packing for trips or running errands, throw books and magazines into the suitcase or back seat. Carrying something to read helps ward off “reading emergencies”—those times when you are stuck waiting without anything to do. The number one way adult readers rack up reading time is stealing short reading breaks in between other obligations. Carrying a book with you shows children how to steal this reading time.
4. Provide a wide variety of reading material. Fiction and nonfiction, print and online magazines, graphic novels and comics—children need access to lots of texts that match their interests and reading ability. You never know what book or topic might engage a child with reading.
5. Read aloud with children. Sharing books with children—even teenagers—reinforces that reading is important and something you find personally rewarding. Through reading aloud, you send pleasure messages about reading and can share books with children that they might not be able to read on their own. With older children, reading together can provide a launching point for discussions and help you connect on a regular basis. Burdened with homework and after school activities, many teens stop reading for pleasure. Reading together can keep them invested.
6. Visit the library often. Beyond free access to thousands of books, libraries offer qualified librarians and staff who can help match reading material to your child’s interest and locate online and print resources to support children’s needs. Most libraries host reading events and programs like summer reading clubs, too.
7. Celebrate all reading. Children read more when they are given choices in what they read. When reading for pleasure, children should control their own book selection with your personal limits on content and topics the only restrictions. Do not push children to read harder books, abandon picture books and comics, or limit their choices by reading levels when selecting pleasure reading books at the library or bookstore.
8. Limit screen time. The more time children spend using electronic devices and watching television, the less they read. While children need digital literacy skills, reading websites and surfing online don’t provide the same vocabulary development or reading stamina that reading books and magazines do. If children read e-books on electronic devices, shut off Internet access and limit other features during daily reading time.

What will you be reading in 2014?

Monday, November 18, 2013

We're SWIFT!

What does it mean to be a SWIFT school?

You may have seen Sheldon Elementary mentioned in the local newspaper as being chosen, along with Swanton, as one of Vermont's SWIFT schools. SWIFT stands for School-wide Integrated Framework for Transformation. It is a school improvement framework that addresses actions the school needs to take in 5 areas and measures progress based on 10 features. The five domains of SWIFT are: Administrative Leadership; Multi-tiered System of Support; Integrated Education Framework; Family and Community Engagement; and Inclusive Policy Structure and Practice.  Our school's action planning team has now become our SWIFT team. We meet monthly at our school and then have another meeting with our counterparts in  Swanton to collaboratively plan and address needs in both our schools. This partnership is extremely important in developing a shared understanding of how we can maximize our resources to improve student learning. We have already had two visits from our SWIFT technical assistance team. The team consists of University representation (from UVM and the University of Kansas where the program started); the federal education level, and our own State Agency of Education. The program is funded by a federal grant which brings in $20,000. for our SWIFT schools in FNWSU to use for their improvement efforts. The program will be implemented and supported over a four-year period beginning this year.We are both proud and excited to be part of this cutting-edge, student-centered  initiative, which places so much emphasis on local values, support, and relationships.

For more information about SWIFT, please visit: .