Ghost Update

September 15, 2021

Dear RU Families,

We have reached our first full week of school. Our add drop period ends on Friday, and fall extracurriculars are well underway. We were able to co-host a well attended cross country meet at VTC last weekend, and both of our varsity soccer teams have been able to put wins (yes plural) on the board!


Students have been telling us about the things they are doing in their elective classes, whether they are improving in theater or building or planning to cook. In so many ways this feels like a normal school year, but in others it does not. Many students are grappling with hard feelings about masks and protocols still in place to keep our school safe. It is not easy to navigate all of these feelings and protocols, but we are doing it. Together, families, staff and students are doing what needs to be done, to meet expectations and keep us as safe as possible.


We are planning to have Fall Festival and Open House on the evening of Thursday, September 30. Dinner will be served at 5:30 PM and classroom visits will begin at 6:30. All attendees will be asked to wear a mask indoors and when not eating if sitting or standing closely together outside. We are excited to be able to have families visit, but we also know that this could change at any moment should COVID conditions change. We will be in touch if plans change, but otherwise, we are looking forward to seeing you all soon.


Sincerely,


Caty & Lisa

Advisory Returns!

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Above, the Rizos advisory, with support from Driver's Education teacher, Paul Parsons, takes part in a team building activity.
Advisory is back at RU. Students may have returned to their pre-COVID advisories or have joined a brand new one. Groups were given ample time to connect or re-connect at the beginning of the school year. Student led conferences are scheduled for Wednesday, October 13. Please look for communication from your child's advisor soon if you haven't heard from them already, and plan to schedule a conference!

RU Student Services

Introducing the RU School Counselors

Kara Merrill, Middle School and half of 11th and 12th grade, Advisor for 12th Grade Academy

This is my fifteenth year at RUHS, and I have loved every minute of my experience at this school. I work with all 7th and 8th graders as well as half of the 11th and 12th graders. I love the variety of students that I get to see, as well as the fact that by the time kids are in the 12th grade, I have witnessed their development over the course of all six years of their time at RUHS. I work with students in classrooms, small groups and individually. I have a passion for teaching consent to adolescents. In fact, I have worked with Prevent Child Abuse Vermont for over a decade in the hopes to better prepare our early adolescents to understand the intricacies of consent. I also love helping students in the upper grades work through the post-secondary planning process. Seeing kids post-graduation in new environments is such a joy. Finally, in addition to being a school counselor, you can find me running after school with the cross country team as the varsity girls’ coach!

Contact Information

Phone: 728-3397 ext. 1143

Email: kmerrill@orangesouthwest.org


Beverly Taft, Grade 9 & 10 and half of the 11th and 12th grade, Advisor for 11th Grade Academy. I cannot believe I am writing this, but this is my 18th year at RU. I have recently moved to Randolph and love the fact that I am now a member of the greater community. My passion really lies in helping young people develop areas of meaningful interest and taking ownership over their learning; after all, when else can a learner access a wide variety of opportunities, resources, and guidance, for free, except within public school. My hope is for my students to leave RU feeling empowered! I feel incredibly grateful that my career has given me the privilege to witness learners coming into their own and feeling they have agency over the direction their journey can take them. In addition to school counseling and leading 11th grade Academy, I am leader for our grade 11/12 team.

Contact Information

Phone: 728-3397 ext. 1146

Email: btaft@orangesouthwest.org


First Semester Scheduling

We have been busy helping students make tweaks to their first semester schedules in order to create the right mix of required and elective courses that make them excited to come to school five days a week! Students had so little choice in their schedules last year, it has been nice to be able to offer kids more selection. The add/drop period ends this Friday, September 17th. Please contact the school counselor who works with your student if you have any questions, concerns or thoughts that relate to the scheduling process.


12th Grade Academy

Advisors: Kara Merrill, Lissa Fox, Craig Wiltse

It has been the highlight of the last three weeks to work with RU seniors during 12th Grade Academy. From the first day, they have humored the three advisors by actively participating in every game, no matter their level of interest. We meet Mondays and Thursdays during the advisory time as well as any extended advisory. We are offering mini-workshops that kids can self-select on a rotating 2-3 week schedule. Mini-workshops will vary over the course of the year to provide students meaningful opportunities that they have brainstormed needing in order to have a successful senior year. Students appropriately noted that they wanted a mixture of college exploration, career exploration, senior project support, and FUN. The first workshops started this week.

1. Kara Merrill: Starting the Common App, college essay writing and letter of recommendations

2. Lissa Fox/Craig Wiltse: Pre-approval process, including the prep work for the first set of panel meetings in early October.



11th Grade Academy

Advisors: Beverly Taft, Jane Drown, Brian Rainville

It is great to have this designated time with our 11th graders as they start to really think about life after RU! The first few weeks have focused on getting to know how we (the school and advisors) can best support learners during this demanding year, hearing from our director of PBLs and flexible pathways, and looking at graduation progression. We hope to create a culture of exploration, engagement, and agency in their own personal journeys! In the coming weeks and months, we will hear from early college and dual enrollment advisors from within the VSCS, covering aspects of “adulting” such as: financial literacy, employment forecasting, job interviewing, college and career exploration, navigating the human service system, wellness and hearing from industry professional and alumni. If you are parent/guardian and would like to present on topics related to your work, we would love to hear from you!!

Middle School Reading Challenge

If you are in grades 7 or 8 and read some books over the summer, submit your reading list to Ms. Floyd by Monday, September 20. If you have read more books that either Ms. Floyd or Ms. Merrill you will be invited to a pizza party with them to eat delicious pizza and talk about books!

Academics Spotlight: Science

Over the summer science teachers from across the district working on aligning curriculum so that students are learning science from a very early age right through high school. This month we are highlighting the work that is happening in this department.

7th Grade Science

Above, 7th graders, are beginning the year, led by teacher Sarah Hardy, looking at the scales of time and space. Their first activity is looking at Charlotte's Bones, then blowing up the drawing in the article to make a life sized Charlotte. Students made their drawings on the pavement behind the school. Next, they will investigate the scale of the solar system, then the geologic time scale.

8th Grade Science

8th grade science teacher, Michael Gray, has been introducing 8th graders to engineering standards by designing and building rockets. Students will collect data and then analyze that data, checking it for accuracy. They will end this short introduction by using their rockets to show the modeling process, make a claim, support that claim with evidence and finally document it all in a Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning Report.
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Rockets were assessed based on how straight and high they flew. Pictured above is the rocket built by Evelyn DiGloria, Lindsay Stender, Cady Taylor, and Calleigh Champney. Their rocket took the top spot in their Traveling Group!

9th Grade: Integrated Science I: Earth Science with Chemistry

Patrick Martin's students are learning how energy and chemical composition lead to changes in Earth’s surface over short and long time scales as well as the interconnectedness between the Earth’s materials and the geological, biological, hydrological and atmospheric systems.

Teacher Patrick Martin hopes that an intimate look at our planet and these complex systems will help students to not only generate curiosity about the Earth and all of its complexities, but to try and make sense of the world through a scientific perspective.

10th Grade: Integrated Science II: Biology with Chemistry

Below, students Blake Baker and Jacob Zarum are sketching a locally caught small mouth bass. Teacher Deborah Schaner shared that some students reported that this is the first time they have observed a fish so closely. Students are drawing the fish so that they can interpret the anatomy and put it on the page. Then, they had to learn the anatomy so that they could continue drawings, independently for homework. They are learning the anatomy so that they can easily distinguish between bass and trout, because trout are their bio-indicator species that they will use to evaluate Ayer's Brook.
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Integrated Science III: Astronomy with Physics

In this class students have been looking at the recent uptick in solar activity. For the past 20 years, the Sun has been relatively quiet. None of our students have experienced the Northern lights in their lifetimes. Yet, just before the start of school, the Sun has been kicking into gear with a drastic increase in the number of sunspots. As a result, there was a pretty major Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) on August 28th that was pointed at the Earth that hit us on the second day of school. Unfortunately, it was cloudy that evening, so no Northern lights for us.


the point of this unit is to build a model to show how magnetic fluxes from solar storms can cause power surges and shut down electrical grids, and how we can protect against such surges. Students will be building physical models of electrical grids and measuring the strength and direction of the magnetic field before simulating the effects of a solar storm (with more magnets) and observe the results. Students will then be expected to extrapolate that understanding to model how solar storms happen in the first place.

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The above picture was taken from a Solar Dynamics Orbiting telescope which was launched in 2011.

AP Biology

Below, AP Bio students, taught by Deb Schaner, are holding models of water molecules after creating a model of a large protein molecule, which is on the counter, via the process of dehydration synthesis. They are learning about how incredibly large molecules are made out of smaller sub-units, and when those sub-units are properly put together water molecules are a by product.



From left to right: Pablo Mendez, Owen Schulz, Abigail Becker, and Maeve Kennedy

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Contact Us!

We are so grateful to be back together in the building this year. Thank you for all of the community support as we work to build and strengthen relationships and create a safe, nurturing academic environment for our students.


Sincerely, Caty and Lisa


If you have questions or need additional information about Randolph Union please reach out to Co-Principals Lisa Floyd (lower grades - 7-9) or Caty Sutton (upper graders 10-12).


lfloyd@orangesouthwest.org

csutton@orangesouthwest.org


or call (802)728-3397