A Heartworks, Renaissance, and Endeavour Tradition: Baking, especially at the Holidays!

Baking bread for family and friends grounds us in an important tradition this time of year:
a shared experience, following the rhythm of a process that is centuries old, and creating
sustenance with our hands that is made from local grains.

From the inception of Heartworks, baking bread has been a part of our tradition. At least twice a month, preschool students participate in a baking project, from apple cheddar biscuits to pretzels, the aroma of baking often fills the hallways. Baking holds many lessons for preschoolers, from the sensory experience of baking to reading instructions and measuring ingredients. Cooking their own baked goods can even help create a more adventurous palate!

This year, Renaissance students took baking one step further by participating in the Learn, Bake, Share Program sponsored by King Arthur Flour. In this program, students learn to make two loaves of bread from scratch, one to keep and one to give to those in need. Our students had to utilize math, science and reading skills as they learned to bake bread as part of a community service effort. We are very proud of the 4th and 5th graders who donated twenty homemade loaves to the Harbor House, a local shelter that provides temporary housing with 20 families currently in residence.

At Endeavour Middle School, our students are participating in an online MOOC course via Colgate University. They are connecting with Renaissance Elementary School alumna, Allison Zengilowski, who is currently a junior at Colgate. They are learning about production, distribution, and the culture of making bread around the world. They're also studying global food supplies, industrial farming, and water supplies. Using systems thinking, students have had the opportunity to explore the global network that’s often involved in producing this ubiquitous

This holiday season, we encourage you to spend time together as a family baking and consider all there is to learn. From measurement and math to the joy of filling the house with the delicious aromas of baking, we know it will be a fun, memorable experience. We hope everyone enjoys a wonderful holiday season, family togetherness, and the spirit of giving as you share your baked goods with friends, family, and those in need. Baking is truly a valuable experience!

Read more in our efforts in local publications:

Celebrating the written word at Endeavour


Congratulations to eighth grader, Oliver. His piece, "Winter," will be performed as part of Winter Tales by Vermont Stage at FlynnSpace in Burlington on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Emily, another 8th grader, wrote “The Words” and it appeared in the the online publication Vermont Digger and was read on Vermont Public Radio! Kudos to to our teacher, Julia Beerworth, for encouraging their love of writing and submitting their works to the Young Writers Project, Inc.!

Endeavour students collaborate with Colgate University’s Benton Scholars

Our sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students have enrolled in a two-week online MOOC course through Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.  Renaissance graduate, Allison Zengilowski, brought this to our attention and Andrew Everett, Director of Endeavour, readily agreed to this great opportunity.  The topic is bread and goes from production to distribution and how the world’s population uses it as a food source.  While enrolled in the class, our students are studying global food supplies, nutrition, farming, local, national, and world issues relating to agriculture.  The course was designed by first year students at Colgate specifically for middle school students.

Preparing Your Preschooler for Success

We are delighted to announce an exciting event that our school is hosting on Monday, November 16th on Preparing Your Preschooler for Success.  We are fortunate to have a panel of local educators who will address the issues and expectations of children as they transition from preschool to kindergarten. 

Please join us at 6:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel on Williston Road in South Burlington, adjacent to Al’s. This event is free, but we ask that you register for a space by clicking the button below. We want to give our families a chance to sign up before we open it to the public. We promise you’ll find it an engaging and worthwhile event!  

This session will cover important topics that will help you learn how best to prepare your child for a successful transition from their preschool experience to a full-time kindergarten and elementary school program.

Panel Participants:

  • Kathy Leo-Nyquist, Ed.D, Associate Professor in the Early Childhood program, Champlain College
  • Lori Meyer, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, University of Vermont, Department of Education
  • Rachel Franz, Preschool Teacher at Heartworks Shelburne, Member of the NAEYC Young Professionals Advisory Council
  • Suzanne Weishaar, former Kindergarten teacher, Sustainability Coach at The Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes
  • Melissa St. Amand, First Grade Teacher and former Kindergarten teacher at the Renaissance School at Shelburne Farms

More about the panelists

Questions? Contact us!

Sarah G. Soule
Director of Admissions

Cara M. Simone                    
Director, Academic Programs and Operations


52 Kids Foundation

On Friday, October 2, Endeavour welcomed Frank Woitera of Uganda to our school.  He spoke to the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders about the 52 Kids Foundation and his life in Uganda. He was joined by John Koerner of Shelburne and Heartworks Preschool “graduate” and now a high school senior, Camille Bartsch, who shared their experiences with the program. The organization's mission is to "Teach Ugandan children to live positively without aid." They started with children orphaned by AIDS, and have already sent many students to professional education, including nursing school and one is now attending University.

The Endeavour students recently raised $233 at a bake sale and they donated all of the proceeds to the 52 Kids Foundation! The plan is orchestrate a pen pal relationship and Skype connection with students in Uganda and at Endeavour.

Back on the Farm for Differentiated Learning

Pictured here: Sarah Soule, Director of Admissions, Alumni, and Parent Relations and Lisa Zengilowski, owner of the Heartworks, Renaissance, and Endeavour Schools.

Pictured here: Sarah Soule, Director of Admissions, Alumni, and Parent Relations and Lisa Zengilowski, owner of the Heartworks, Renaissance, and Endeavour Schools.

Read this article from the Shelburne News highlighting the differentiated education process employed at the Heartworks, Renaissance, and Endeavour Schools. 


We had a really fun final afternoon before April Break. With the weather warming up and everyone ready for a break from school, we spent the afternoon searching the woods behind Endeavour for four Geocaches. Geocaching is described as "the real-world treasure hunt that's happening right now, all around you."  Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. We all found the first cache together, and then split up into a girls group with Caryn and a boys group with Andrew to find the next three. It was a really fun outing and something the students can do at home with family. Andrew and his kids find it a fun way to get outside and sort of "hike with a mission."

Visit with Chris Danforth

On Friday, April 10th, the entire school got a presentation from UVM Professor and Shelburne resident, Chris Danforth. Chris and colleagues at the UVM Computational Story Lab have built an amazing new tool called the Hedonometer. This tool measures social output on the Internet to assess "happiness of large populations in real time." He wowed the students with ways complex mathematical models can help make sense of complex systems like weather or climate change. Then he walked them through the way he uses similar models to assess happiness in the world based on online expressions on Twitter, blogs, etc. Chris is a brilliant, entertaining guy - so despite it being first period on a Friday morning, he had them all loving math for an hour.  

H.297 trip to Montpelier

On Wednesday, April 8th, the entire school spent the morning at the State Capitol. We were there in support of H.297, a bill to ban the sale of ivory in Vermont. After an amazing presentation by Heartworks parent Ashley McAvey and Endeavour parent Laurel Neme, the students were driven to write letters to the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources. Then we were invited to testify to the committee, and sixth-grader Taegen Yardley was our designated speaker. Taegen did an amazing job, "stealing the show," according to Seven Days. The story was also covered by the Burlington Free Press, Shelburne News and National Geographic


Seusical Jr.

Presented by:

The Renaissance and Endeavour Schools

Thursday, May 7 at 6:30
At The Williston Central School
Admission is free!
Show will be about 1 hour

Seussical JR. is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by:

Muic Theatre International
421 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019

Script, music and all other material ©2006 Music Theatre International Broadway Junior and MTI's Broadway Junior Collection are trademarks of Music Theatre International. All rights reserved. 

Music by
Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics by
Lynn Ahrens

Book by
Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

Co-Conceived by
Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Eric Idle

Based on the works of
Dr. Seuss

Music Supervised, Adapted and Produced by
Byran Louiselle

Fighting to Save the Elephants

Dr. Laurel Neme (far left) and Ashley McAvey (kneeling front) pose with students and staff

Dr. Laurel Neme (far left) and Ashley McAvey (kneeling front) pose with students and staff

On Tuesday, March 17, Endeavour Middle School was visited by Shelburne residents Ashley McAvey and Dr. Laurel Neme who discussed H.297, bill that would ban the sale of all ivory in Vermont.  It will come before the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources (CFWWR) on Wednesday, April 8.

The students wanted to do whatever they could to help stop a world without elephants – a keystone species, so they worked on letters to the members of CFWWR, begging them to support H.297. On the day of the CFWWR hearing, the Endeavour students will travel to Montpelier with McAvey and Dr. Neme to show support for the legislation and speak on its behalf. Sixth-grader Taegen Yardley will voice our support for the bill to the committee on behalf of all her classmates. 

A longer story about the effort was published recently in The Shelburne News

Student Talent Show

Each year, the Renaissance School hosts a student talent show, and this year's show was a tremendous success.  A special addition to this year's show was the participation of Endeavour Middle School students, many of whom are Renaissance alumni, making the talent show especially meaningful.

Endeavour students Oliver Halberg, Taegen Yardley, and Kendall Muzzy flawlessly performed Ripple, by the Grateful Dead, and Josephine, by Brandi Carlile.  Catie Macauley impressed the audience with her dance choreography and performance with fifth grader, Camryn Muzzy. 

Taegen Yardley performed a beautiful solo vocal of the song When I Grow Up and Oliver Halberg entertained with a rocking guitar performance on the classic Johnny B. Goode.  A special thank you to Julia Beerworth, who guided the students through the rehearsals that resulted in their wonderful performances.

In keeping with Endeavour's commitment to service learning and outreach, Endeavour students attended the event not only as supportive audience members, but they also helped organize and run a very successful bake sale that raised over $160 which will be donated to All Breed Rescue and support student outreach activities during the spring.

We are so very grateful to the Endeavour community of students, parents and faculty for their support and participation in this very special evening of performances and look forward to next year's show.

The Math Behind a Successful Business

We hosted Green Mountain Credit Union CEO, Bob Lake, on Wednesday, March 11th. Bob and Andrew made initial contact related to the Life Skills unit on financial literacy and the stock market. And with Jonnie's general math class doing a start-your-own business unit, we though having Bob come in now was timely. He conveyed the basic message that success in business comes down to math, math, math, math and math. He walked through some of the math he must use in his daily business life, as well as the details he looks for in a business plan when funding someone or lending them money. He asked lots of questions of the students about their business plans, their assumptions, their marketing plans, etc. It became a very dynamic meeting, and he walked away very impressed with the budding business acumen inside Endeavour. 

Energy Education and Efficiency

Our seventh and eighth grade APS students worked for two weeks with Mariah Keagy of Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP). They used some of the VEEP curricula to supplement their existing science work. Included in that work was a unit on wind energy and a unit on renewables. The VEEP curriculum can be found here. As an add-on to that work, we also connected with VEEP's sister organization, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC). Ethan Bellavance of VEIC, who happens to also be the wife of our Ren 5th grade teacher, Caitlin Bellavance, came out to do an initial energy audit on our building. He set up a blower-door test and we sent the kids on a sort of scavenger hunt to find leaky spots. He also had an infrared camera we could use to take pictures of the cold spots with detailed data on how cold the air was that was coming in. It was a really fun and informative session. Any parent who has braved the cold front hallway of late will not be surprised that he described our building as the least air-tight he has ever tested. Our testing also resulted a punch list of small projects to seal up leaky parts of the building. We plan to have Ethan back to do further analysis on our top floor as well as on our HVAC system. We will continue to meet with Mariah to discuss another year-long outreach program for next year connected to VEEP's Whole School Energy Challenge. We want the students to do a full analysis of our building and energy usage with an eye on greening up everything we do. 

Local Motion Rides onto Campus

On Tuesday, March 3rd, we had Mary-Catherine Graziano from Local Motion come talk to the students. Mary-Catherine is the Outreach and Education Manager for Local Motion. She gave an quick overview of Local Motion's mission and vision, and then dove into a few campaigns our students can participate in. These include:

Safe Streets Stenciling: A series of safety messages that volunteers use spray chalk to stencil on sidewalks. Besides being lots of fun, it is an important medium to get the message out about safety behavior. Our students may do some stenciling as the snow melts. 

"Rides a Bike"Campaign: Yard sign style signs that can be posted on private property reminding folks that their neighbors, friends, coworkers, and teachers ride bicycles, and to drive with care.  

Live PHAT campaign: helmet campaign for young adults to choose to wear a helmet whenever they participate in a high-impact sport (like skiing, skateboarding, and bicycling).  Local Motion needs young adults to be ambassadors, to collect surveys, AND to help out with social media. Our students have the opportunity to distribute and collect surveys of people between the ages of 13-25 to analyze their helmet use. If they can collect 10 or more surveys, they will earn a free t-shirt and a Bern helmet.  So be on the lookout for surveys coming home with our students in the near future. 

I am also working with Mary-Catherine to design an outreach program for next year that will include all of these campaigns as well as a year-long project related to improving non-car mobility in Shelburne. 

COTS Visits Endeavour

Lori Goldman has Alden Spell manage the finances for the game.

Lori Goldman has Alden Spell manage the finances for the game.

We were happy to host Lori Goldman from Burlington's Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) on Friday, March 6th. COTS is the premier local organization battling homelessness. They provide shelters, transitional housing, and work to prevent homelessness before it happens. Lori walked the kids through an interactive game where they had to make choices about things like housing location, modes of transportation, medical insurance, etc., with the goal of remaining cash-flow positive and not running into debt and possible homelessness. Eighth-grader Alden Spell was given responsibility for moving bouncy balls out of a container and into a cup, with each decision made in the game resulting in balls being lost or added. The students were barely able to stay afloat, primarily because they were wise enough to spend a few balls on health insurance. That safety net kept them from bankruptcy. It was a great introduction for our students to the causes and effects of homelessness - especially for families and kids. 

Endeavour Middle School and Preschool Activities

On Tuesday mornings, a few of  the Endeavour Middle School students participate in an activity with one of our preschool classes. Recently, Amber’s class went to Endeavour and the children paired up with a middle school student to make full size self portraits. All of the children enjoyed working together on some very creative designs!

Endeavour-Heartworks Elective

One of the three electives offered in the third quarter for the Endeavour students is a joint project with Heartworks Shelburne. The five students have been matched with a pre-K class of five students for weekly projects. Every other week the Endeavour students will plan a lesson and host the Heartworks students at the Commons. On the alternate weeks, Amber Burritt and her preschoolers kindly host us in their classroom to help with a project of their devising. After two weeks, it has been a great success. We started with tracing life-size pictures of the middle schoolers in week one, and then produced Valentine's projects the second week at Heartworks. Enjoy some pictures from both days.

Doktor Kaboom! at the Flynn

The Endeavour students and faculty had a fun visit to the Flynn Theater in Burlington on Tuesday, January 13th to see "Doktor Kaboom!" perform his show entitled "It's Just Rocket Science!" Seattle-based performer David Epley dons the persona of a German scientist, Doktor Kaboom, to help teach kids that science is for everyone. As he states in one of his core values: "Science is not hard, but it does take effort. That's not hard, that's just work, and that's just life." His show was very funny and entertaining, and the students walked away with some cool skills at multiplying any double-digit number by 11 - ask them if they can show you!