RISD Elementary Parent Newsletter

July 31, 2018

Message from the Principal


Dear Rivendell Elementary Families,


I am so excited to begin the year as the principal of Westshire and Samuel Morey Elementary Schools. I have been spending my summer getting to know the systems, and working closely with Dr. Arbour, Mrs. MacQueen, Mr. Gelenian, and all of the wonderful teachers in our district. I am so excited to start learning about all the students and families as the year begins. I am proud to continue the wonderful traditions of both elementary schools, and then work to align curriculum and processes to be sure our students are getting the best education possible.


A little about me:


  • Where am I from?

    • I grew up in Rhode Island (on the ocean) and have moved steadily north throughout my education and teaching/administrative career. Though I love Northern New England, I do sometimes miss my ocean roots!

  • Funniest childhood story?

    • My brother and I were in a sailing race (he was the driver and I was the “first mate”). Due to a big error on our catamaran, I fell out out of the boat backwards . He kept racing and won the race.

  • What did I do before becoming an administrator?

    • I taught high school English and Theatre for about 14 years before becoming an administrator (if you hear show tunes coming from the office, don’t be alarmed!) I then was an administrator for 6 years before joining your schools.

  • Are you a mom?

    • YES! My son, Elias, will be joining our school as a kindergartener - we have recently moved to Orford. I also have three step children who live in Montpelier during the week - Isaak (16), Marshall (15), and Ireland (12).

  • What do you do when you aren’t working?

    • I love all water activities - swimming, boating, fishing. I love to read, and I LOVE to sing (though my singing can get a few eye rolls from my older kiddos). I also love cooking. I travel to see my mom and dad - who live on a lake in NH, and I love road trips to see far away friends. I also really enjoy watching my guilty pleasure - Grey’s Anatomy.

  • What did you want to be when you were little?

    • The President, a ballerina, or a lifeguard.


So enough about me….


Let’s talk about our hopes and dreams for our kids. Here is what I believe about education:


  1. All kids can learn and achieve greatness!

  2. Kids need to have a balance of rigor, relevance, and relationships in order to really enjoy school and get the most out of their experience in school.

  3. My behavior beliefs - love them up and hold them accountable.

  4. Learning should be fun!



My office door is always open if you have a concern or question. Mrs. MacQueen and I will be sharing our schedule in the days and weeks to come - we want to be sure that we each have equal time at both schools. Please contact Amanda Perry at Samuel Morey if you would like to make an appointment or need to see me for any reason - she will be the keeper of my calendar. You will also be receiving updates/letters in a more traditional way; however, as a busy mom, I often like to receive updates electronically to keep me organized. We will be sending home a way to opt in/opt out of paper or electronics.


I am so excited to start this journey with you! Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

What's New for the 2018-2019 School Year


Updated handbook!

We will be focusing on consistency between the two schools. A copy of the handbook will be sent home, but you can also access it online.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/19jroAmNhwgUPPgb80DztOg7WvUhc3hVh8JLW1rW57Xg/edit?usp=sharing


Continuous Improvement Plan

2018-19 Continuous Improvement Plan


  1. RISD will improve the teacher evaluation system during the 2018-19 school year. They will implement a walk-through check sheet with specific criteria, implement a smart goal process for teachers and staff, and complete a template indicating which teachers are being evaluated, how often, and determine what a effective summative evaluation will look like. This will be completed by creating a committee of teachers and administrators - a finished product will be created and implemented in the 18-19 school year.


RISD will work to improve the EST model at all three schools during the 18-19 school year to target academic and social-emotional goals for students. The schools will have one EST team which will have representatives from all three schools, create new communication templates, and work together to create supports for all students to achieve success in both the academic and social-emotional realms.



RISD will work to improve assessment for all students. A committee will research effective, nationally normed tools for diagnostic screening and universal screening for both academic and social emotional growth. The committee will make recommendations for implementation in the 2019-2020 school year. The District will also work to provide quality professional development to improve formative and summative assessment in the classroom, making sure that assessments are differentiated to meet the needs of all learners, valid and reliable, and demonstrate a high level of learning and understanding. We will also examine a data system for the storing, access, and manipulation of data.



RISD will work to provide high quality professional development surrounding project based learning and critical explorations. Teachers, staff, and administration will be guided through choosing and implementing effective, integrated projects with creative materials for critical explorations that encourage deep thinking and questioning about the subject matter at hand. This will ensure that all teachers have been trained in providing high quality instruction in project based learning and critical explorations.


RISD will work to provide high quality professional development surrounding curricular alignment. Teachers will concentrate specifically on English language arts for the first year of the cycle, working to align reading and writing workshop, spelling programs, phonemic awareness, and the integration of social studies in grades 3-12 into a humanities based model. Teachers who teach other concentrations will focus on aligning their non-ELA curriculum during this professional learning time.


RISD will work to provide high quality professional learning to all staff, teachers, and administration surrounding Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying and becoming a trauma informed school. This will ensure that all staff is properly trained on proper reporting techniques, investigations, and how to work with our neediest populations.

RISD Elementary Welcomes New Staff Members

We are excited to welcome these new staff members to our team.

Leah Wolk-Derksen (SME 3/4 Literacy and Social Studies)

Molly Rice (SME Preschool)

Elizabeth Duvall (Elementary music)

Nancy Neyerlin-Pisano (Elementary art)

Hannah Taska (SME Grade 1 long term substitute)


The following members of our team have changed positions

Maureen Moran (SME 5/6 Math)

Rachael Weber (3/4 Math and Science)

Carmen Winchester (Title One Math)

Upcoming Events

Meet and Greet

Thursday, Aug. 23rd, 2-3pm

744 Vermont 113

West Fairlee, VT

Come meet your teachers and see your classrooms! :)

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Meet and Greet

Thursday, Aug. 23rd, 2-3pm

214 School Street

Fairlee, VT

Come meet your teacher and see your classroom! :)

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

First Day of School for Students

Tuesday, Aug. 28th, 8am

214 School Street

Fairlee, VT

First Day of School For Students

Tuesday, Aug. 28th, 8am

744 Vermont 113

West Fairlee, VT