Sick Policy

Put those tissue boxes to good use!

Put those tissue boxes to good use!

It is our goal to keep our entire school population as healthy as possible. With the guidance of the Childcare State Regulations, Vermont Department of Education and Vermont Department of Health, we have the following health policy.

  • It is best to keep children home who do not seem well enough to participate in the regular activities or to be cared for fully within the classroom; this may include lethargy, severe coughing, difficulty breathing, severe sore throat, earache or abdominal pain.
  • Children who have a fever of over 99.0 degrees are asked to remain home until the fever is less than 99 degrees for 24 hours, without ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 
  • Children with a known communicative condition (such as, but not limited to strep throat and conjunctivitis/pink-eye), are to remain out of school until they have received antibiotics for 24 hours. Please inform us of any illnesses so we can inform other families of symptoms to look for in their child. If a student comes to school and is suspected of having a communicative condition, the parent will be called and asked to pick up the child for further diagnosis from a doctor and treatment, if necessary.
  • Children who have had two or more incidents of vomiting or diarrhea, are required to not return until their symptoms have been fully resolved for 24 hours and they are able to resume normal dietary habits and activities.
  • Children with an unknown rash will be asked to see a physician to confirm that it isn’t a communicative condition. Students with a rash and a fever will need to stay out of school until confirmation of the rash and the child is fever free for 24 hours. 
  • Children with head lice and/or nits, can be in school after receiving a first treatment with a product that will kill head lice. Parents are asked to pick out the small nits (eggs) each day for at least ten consecutive days. We will also be checking all of the children at school. Whenever head lice are found, the parent will be called and asked to pick up their child and apply treatment.     

If your child has any of these conditions, please care for them at home. We will miss them while they are ill, and this will hopefully enable all of the students to remain healthier and in school. If your child becomes ill at school, you will be called to come and take him or her home. If we are unable to contact you, we will reserve the right to call the emergency contact on your child's application. 


French Class with Caroline Juneau

Comment t’appelles-tu? Quel âge as-tu? Qu’est-ce que c’est? These are some of the questions the Renaissance students are able to ask and answer in French class. Since the beginning of the school year we have learned or reviewed vocabulary related to our classroom, Halloween, clothing and food – including singing the blessing in French before snacks and lunches. Children can name all the colors and count to 20 in the younger grades, to millions for the oldest. Songs, physical activities, and board games with scripted dialogues are all part of the French curriculum to encourage speaking and fluency.
     Fifth grade has been exchanging letters with their former classmate, Charlotte Lamer, who moved to Paris this summer with her family. The on-going correspondence has motivated them to write in French as they keep her up-to-date with what is going on at the Renaissance School.
    We are currently learning about the body and there is nothing like a game of twister to make students want to speak French. There is no being shy about speaking a foreign language when you have the chance to twist your classmates into knots. 
    I enjoy watching all the children gain confidence in addressing me in French. They never fail to say “bonjour” whenever our paths cross, at school or around town. And I love to hear their stories of how they got to use French in Montreal.
Bonne Année 2016 to all,


Spanish Class by Marcela Bronk

Estimadas Familias,
Feliz año! I am amazed to see how much the students have learned in the first half of the year. We started Spanish across all classes with an “All about me” unit that helped everyone get to know each other and learn basic dialogue questions and responses. The K and 1st graders love to participate, play games and even practice in the hall. It is very rewarding to see them getting comfortable speaking Spanish. The 2nd graders are avid learners for new vocabulary and have completed several projects like “Todo Sobre Mí” notebook, “Scarecrow Prepositions” and recently decoded a “Receta para un banner” (Recipe for a banner). I am very pleased to see their progress and passion for learning the language.

The upper classes (3/4/5) continue to eagerly review and learn the theme vocabulary for the week. Their level of engagement during class shows how much they are able to remember from session to session. We also started the year with a “Todo sobre mí” unit and finished with a “Todo sobre hoy” unit. They really enjoyed being “El Meteorologo del dia” (the meteorologist of the day).  I was very proud of their fall project: “El Abecedario de Halloween” (The ABCs of Halloween).  Each student across third through fifth grade was assigned a letter with a Halloween noun in Spanish. Their task was to find the meaning of the noun, research three adjectives that would describe that noun and write a small paragraph to go along with their picture.  We had some fascinating adjectives like “espeluznante” (creepy) and “misterioso” (mysterious), which described the essence of their Halloween noun. They did a fantastic job with this project! 

All grades had a culture corner at the end of our units. We’ve talked about a very important Mexican holiday tradition called “El Día de los Muertos” (Day of the dead) and “Las Posadas” (the story of the nativity), which is celebrated in many hispanic countries. The upper grades also designed a movie clip to our holiday performance song, “Mi burrito sabanero” (Mi little donkey).  Looking ahead in the new year, the K/1/2 classes will be starting the “Todo sobre hoy” (All about today) unit, where they will learn about the days of the week, the months of the year and the seasons along with activities that they enjoy. The 3/4/5 classes will be starting off the new year with a unit learning about famous hispanic people in sports, arts and literature.

Thank you for encouraging your child to learn Spanish. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to leave a note in my mailbox. 

Music and Theatre Arts

by Nikki Juvan and Andrea Beam (K-2nd Music Teacher)

Happy New Year! First we want to congratulate all of the students for a wonderful winter performance. Andrea and Nikki were so pleased with how hard they worked learning all of the music, and we were so proud of their performance. It was truly a wonderful evening of music which celebrated all of our students’ talents!

In grades K-2, in Music class, we began the year by learning to sing some popular campfire songs, and dance to “action” songs like the Hokey Pokey. The children have been learning to read rhythms and are reinforcing their knowledge through rhythmic games. Second grade has even begun to take the next step, becoming familiar with the staff and notes in the C scale. They have been using chimes in class to help with this, and will continue to utilize the chimes throughout the year, eventually composing and playing their own tunes. At the end of every music class, all classes listen to a piece of music which has included classical, blues, jazz, and marches, and the children discuss the imagery and emotions the music elicits. In the coming months, all grades will continue to read, write, and play rhythms, strengthen their ear through singing and pitch work, and grow in their appreciation of different music genres and styles. In Drama class, we have been learning about or reviewing the basics of being onstage and how we use our bodies, voices, and imaginations to create different characters. We practiced these skills through many theater games that also focus on working together to tell stories. In the months ahead, we will use short stories and fairy tales to create our own scenes as well. 

In grade 3, in Music class, the students spent the fall learning to play the recorder. This combined their knowledge of notes on the staff and rhythms as they read music and also created their own recorder compositions. In grades 4-5, students continued to learn more complex rhythms and were challenged with more difficult vocal repertoire. They also completed a study of opera where they listened to the Magic Flute. In Drama class, the children continued to practice their performance and stage skills. The 3rd grade wrote short scenes based on certain criteria, and the 4th grade focused on improvisation and creating scenes spontaneously. Each 5th grade student was assigned a monologue and worked with a partner as both actor and director before performing for the class. As we move forward in grades 3-5, the focus of both of our classes will be preparation and rehearsal for the spring musical, which will be The Music Man, JR to be performed on May 13th at Williston Central School. 


PE and Character Development

by Andrea Beam

The children have had lots of fun this year learning new games, getting stronger, and working as a team. In Character Development, we began the year with lessons in sportsmanship and teamwork, and have since covered compassion, mindfulness, and determination. We’ve incorporated these themes into our P.E. games to help reinforce the lessons. First through Fifth Grade students have been working on the specific skills and rules of soccer and basketball, and have played some exciting scrimmages as a result! With respect to these sports, the K/1 Class has worked mainly on the building blocks to excel in the sports down the road (i.e. ball handling with hands and feet, body and spatial awareness, etc.). In all grades, we have also focused on many “non-traditional sport” skills, such as hiking, yoga, hula-hoop, jump-rope, and juggling. We’ve also played lots of fun games like Capture the Flag, Steal the Bacon, and Sharks and Minnows. First through fifth grade students are currently undergoing their Fitness Challenges, which consist of running, stretching, and up to two minutes each of push-ups, planks, and wall-sits. Our next units for all grades in Character Development will involve courage, forgiveness, and honesty, while in P.E. we’ll cover volleyball and floor hockey, and once the snow is a little more plentiful, we’ll head outside to build snowmen, snowshoe, and cross-country ski.

The Art of Education in the Art Room: More Than Just a Pretty Picture

by Laura Poirier

Almost every time a project is displayed at the Farm, at Endeavour, or as stage scenery for our performances, I hear comments from parents about how much they like their child’s artwork. I am delighted that the end product is something pleasing to a family, and know that these masterpieces made of paint, crayon, glue and paper represent a joyful time of development in a child’s life. It is wonderful to share in these fun, creative, and sometimes messy moments with the students here at Renaissance School. What you don’t see, what happens behind the scenes in the Art room, to help a child arrive at the end product, is a fully connected, inter-disciplinary and immersive experience that just so happens to result in a piece of artwork. The students are learning so much more than how to make a pretty picture.

I am happy to share with you a few examples of embedded learning within a few of our recent projects. The Holiday Performance, Winter Windows, beautifully showcased the performing arts talents of our children as well as their impressive visual arts skills. All of the stage window artwork was created by the children during their Art classes. Although the scenes for each group were lightly sketched in advance, it was the job of the children to work collaboratively on each of their four panels to compose a cohesive four part image, matching in application, neatness, and color, with variations in value and tone. The students moved in sync around the tables to ensure complete coverage and to assist each other to finish during their one hour time frame. The Fifth Graders were enlisted to further assist in the window pane black tape edging to prepare all of the panels for hanging on the stage.  I think we can all agree that the results were truly breathtaking. 

From Kindergarten through Fifth Grade the children are presented with project work designed to introduce them to the seven principles of design. These seven art-making tenants have been the building blocks for all artists and artwork since the beginning of time. The students learn about color, line, shape, texture, form, value and space. Although they do not always know it, each of their projects has been designed to encompass at least two of the elements each and every time. This project approach and philosophy of guided practice allows the student artists to grow in their artistic skills over the course of their early elementary schooling with expanding working knowledge and confidence. The theme for this year is color connections; how colors work together and the fun of experimenting with them in all of our project work.   


While it is easy to see how many of our projects relate directly to classroom themes in Science and Social Studies, you may not realize that many also involve higher-level mathematical thinking to translate linear, geometric, and 3-Dimensional concepts into balanced and visually stimulating artwork. For instance, the First Grade class completed a painting project in late November where they had to create a picture using four lines and four circles. The rules of application were that at least one line and one circle had to intersect with at least one other line and circle. The use of color within the resulting shapes had to be carefully planned to keep same or similar colors from touching. Wow! That is a huge amount of complex mathematical thinking, and they all got it.

Meanwhile the Kindergarten classes were putting finishing touches on accordion folded 3-D paper fan color wheels. “Fold, press, flip” echoed through the Art room as the children perfected the technique. The fine motor skills required to successfully accomplish the task were clearly challenging at first, but slowly and surely everyone finished the job. The wheels are accurate to the chromatic scale for primary and secondary colors. The creation of 3-D sculptures requires thinking in spatial shape and form relationships as well as strong fine and even gross motor skills at times. The emphasis on process versus product ensures that everyone is successful as far as they are able to take a project because they have had the opportunity to experience a new technique or material. 

Annual School Talent Show

Please join us for the Annual Renaissance School Talent Show on Friday, January 29 from 5:30-7:30 at the Endeavour Middle School. Please also encourage your child to participate in the show. There is a sign-up sheet near the front desk.

Last year over 30 students participated; talent can include anything they would like to share – from reading a poem, reading a short piece they wrote in school, telling jokes, dancing, singing, gymnastics, performing magic tricks or playing an instrument. Students can join with other students to perform together or perform separately. We would like each act to be shorter than five minutes. If a student wants music to be played to accompany their talent, please submit a CD with just their song that we can use at the show as this will be the only way to have music being played. We would need the CD on Friday morning at school so we can make sure it works well before the show. Thank you.

The Fifth Grade students will be the M.C.s for the evening and also be available to help any students with their act. Everyone in the school is invited and encouraged to attend the show, whether or not you have a child participating or not.

There will also be a sign-up by the front desk asking for dessert items to share after the show – brownies, cookies, fruit, etc. The evening is a wonderful social event for parents and students! We hope you will attend; it is a lot of fun and the students have a great time!


Washing Hands

Thank you so very much for helping your child in washing his/her hands upon arriving to school in the morning. This greatly reduces the amount of germs coming into our school and especially helps in preventing the spread of colds.

We are working on teaching the children the proper way to wash their hands as written by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. We would appreciate your help in practicing these techniques at home as well as when washing their hands upon arriving to school.  The goal is to teach older children to carry out the procedure themselves; for younger children the goal is to supervise them in carrying out the hand washing procedure, which is: 

Washing Children’s Hands

  • Moisten hands
  • Squirt a drop of liquid soap on children’s hands
  • Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds
  • Rinse their hands well in running water, directing flow from wrist to fingertips
  • Dry hands with paper towel
  • Turn off faucet with paper towel and discard

In this way, by turning off the faucet last and with a paper towel, the children’s hands remain germ free after washing.
Thank you for keeping these techniques in mind and teaching them to your child. Many, many people are more mindful to these techniques and are following them when in public restrooms.

The Renaissance School Holiday Performance

The annual Holiday Performance on Wednesday, December 2 in the Williston Central School auditorium, Winter Windows, showcased the amazing musical talents of our Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students. The Fifth Grade class opened the show reciting a poem about this happy time of the year and then introduced each group’s storefront winter window as the classes performed music of the season corresponding with their particular window scene. These beautiful winter scenes were created by the students during their weekly Art classes with Laura. The well-attended evening was under the musical direction of Nikki Juvan, and Andrea Beam on ukulele, with accompaniment by Josh Glass on piano. The First, Second and Third Grade classes played bells, xylophones, and recorders during their portions of the show in addition to well-rehearsed holiday singing. The oldest classes wowed the crowd with tight harmonies and beautiful solo performances during their segments. Several Endeavour Middle School students, who are Renaissance School alumni, ran the lights and sound for the show. The evening concluded with the all-school sing with past Renaissance students joining on stage to round out this wonderful family show. 

Harbor Place Holiday Donations

The Renaissance School is once again collecting items for the Champlain Housing Trust’s Harbor Place temporary housing community in Shelburne. This will be the third year that the students, families, and staff members have donated to the organization, and we are so pleased to be able to partner with the CHT to support the individuals and families who call Harbor Place home during challenging, and transitional times; especially at this time of the year.

The school will be accepting donations of the following items from December 1st through the 17th: Cold weather attire (gloves, mittens, hats, and scarves), microwavable food, toiletries, bus passes, and gift cards to specific locations. Donations can be dropped off in the collection boxes located at the front desk.

The Fifth Grade students will be counting and organizing the items, as well as keeping a tally of the donations, and will share this information with the rest of the school and Anna Herman of Harbor Place at our December 18th morning assembly. Thank you in advance for helping us in this annual holiday season outreach.


Hunger Free Vermont Check Presentation

The Renaissance School was pleased to present a check for $2,265.00 to Monica Taylor, Donor Relations Manager, of Hunger Free Vermont during the Friday morning assembly on November 6. The funds were raised by the students for our annual fall Hike for Hunger Free VT which took place earlier in the school year.

Monica spoke to the children about the role that Hunger Free Vermont plays in supporting local efforts to combat hunger across the state, through a wide variety of activities. She talked about how HFV provides a “safety net” for members in our communities who would otherwise go hungry, and spoke about the following outreach efforts which are found on their website: 

  • establishing and expanding school breakfast and lunch programs
  • helps community groups provide nutritious meals to low-income children during out-of-school time during the summer months and in afterschool programming.
  • Learning Kitchen classes empower low-income Vermonters to make healthy choices through nutrition education, emphasizing the importance of regular physical activity, and improving cooking skills. 
  • improves access to and participation in 3SquaresVT (formerly the Food Stamp Program) which is one of the most reliable, consistent, and dignified means to prevent hunger. 
  • helping child care providers access the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This program provides child care centers, home-based child care, and after school programs with nutrition education and reimbursements.

Members of our Fifth Grade class presented the ceremonial check at the end of the informational discussion and are shown here with Lisa Zengilowski, Renaissance School Director and Monica Taylor of Hunger Free Vermont. For more information on the organization please visit them at


How to Help Your Child Become a More Fluent Reader

Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression. Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read.  Fluency changes, depending on what readers are reading, their familiarity with the words, and the amount of their practice with reading text. Even very skilled readers may read in a slow, labored manner when reading texts with many unfamiliar words or topics (imagine yourself trying to read a technical book about a complicated subject that you know nothing about!).

There are many ways to help your child read with more fluency. One of the best ways is to “echo read,” where you read a sentence or passage from a book out loud and then ask your child to read the same sentence or passage out loud to you. With this strategy, children hear you read with accuracy and expression, and they are able to practice saying the words the same way.  Your child’s teachers at Renaissance often use this reading strategy to improve fluency.

Another way to help develop fluency is simply to have your child read aloud to you every day.  Let your child choose books to read and re-read, and ask him or her to read it aloud to you. The more a child reads aloud, especially from familiar books, the more she or he will recognize words and phrasing and be able to read smoothly and with expression.

Try to make sure that books you’re reading with your child are at the right reading level; a "just right" book is not too hard, but not too easy. When looking for books for your child to read on her or his own, try the 5-finger test:

  • Open the book to the middle.
  • Choose a full page of words.
  • Read the page out loud, and hold up a finger each time you come to a word you don't know.  
  • If your child holds up 5 fingers after finding 5 words she or he does not know, the book is going to be too hard to practice fluency.

Some of the information in this article is from Reading Rockets, a national program that creates and disseminates free, evidence-based information about reading through three major services: PBS television programs, online services, and professional development opportunities. For more information, please visit 

Happy Reading!

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:

Kindergarten Overview at Renaissance

Tuesday, December 8th 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, December 15th 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Please join us at the Renaissance Elementary School for a Kindergarten Overview Program and learn more about our program for students who will be entering kindergarten in the fall of 2016.  Meet Renaissance School Director, Lisa Zengilowski, and Assistant Director, Danielle Harris, tour the school, and enjoy light refreshments. Find out about our outstanding academic program that emphasizes social, emotional, and life skills for children. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

To register, please complete the form below or contact Sarah Soule, Director of Admissions, or (802) 951-1833.

Your Name *
Your Name
Your Child's Name *
Your Child's Name
Date Preference *

Field Trips at Renaissance

We regularly take our students to off campus sites to enhance their classroom experiences. Recent class outings have included a field trip to the Shelburne Town Offices where our second graders learned about the process of registering to vote, they toured the town vault, and met with police officers. The third graders trekked to the top of Mount Philo, Vermont’s first state park, in Charlotte. The first graders enjoyed a morning at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and saw a play Caps for Sale

Smile Docs!

As part of the science curriculum and learning about the human body, Rebecca Belrose, our fourth grade teacher, invited students from the University of Vermont’s Medical School to come to our school for two sessions. Using stethoscopes and a skeleton, the medical students worked closely with the fourth graders as they talked to them about anatomy and physiology. This was truly a wonderful experience for everyone!

Parent Teacher Conferences

A sign-up sheet for the parent/teacher conferences on November 9th and 10th is posted on the bulletin board at your child’s class. Please be sure to sign up for a 30-minute individual time with your child’s teacher. This is a wonderful opportunity to have the complete attention of your child’s teacher for 30 minutes to hear all about your child’s day as well as to ask questions and share your goals for your child.

On Monday, November 9th, school is closed for the day and conferences are held from 8:00 with the last one scheduled for 4:00. On Tuesday, November 10th, school closes at 12:00 and conferences start at 1:10 with the last conference at 3:50.

We look forward to meeting with you, to answer your questions, and to share all of the wonderful work your child has been engaged in to date.

Halloween at the Renaissance School

Students and teachers, goblins and ghouls… it’s Halloween at The Renaissance School! In what has become a favorite holiday celebration at the school, students and teachers alike embraced the fun and excitement of this October event as we celebrated together on Friday, October 30th.
In the days leading up to the festivities, the Fifth Grade students worked together to set the mood by placing ghosts, spiders, pumpkins and other fun, traditional décor in the hallways and doorways throughout the school. They were also eager to share the excitement with the K/1 class by hiding pumpkins donated by Shelburne Farms in the garden “pumpkin patch” near the school’s recess hill for their young friends to find.

The school held a morning costume parade in the courtyard, with students and teachers alike donned in bright, funny, traditional and not-too-spooky costumes. As has become customary, many of our school families stayed to watch the annual parade and to enjoy the annual Halloween skit which is performed by our teaching and support staff. This year’s skit was based on the new children’s classic “Room on the Broom” by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Schefflern.

After the parade and skit, the children rotated between classrooms to take part in fun stations complete with games, crafts and movement activities organized and run by the teachers. We would like to thank the many parents who attended the parade and skit, as well as those who came into the classrooms later in the day bringing crafts and treats for the children. Your participation in these special holiday events make really wonderful memories for your children and the school community. 


Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade Classes Visit BCA “Of Land and Local” Art Exhibit

The students in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade classes were treated to a wonderful gallery experience at the annual Burlington City Arts “Of Land and Local” art exhibit which is held each fall at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn. The children enjoyed viewing and discussing the many different pieces of original artwork with the education staff from BCA as they toured the gallery spaces with their classroom teachers and Art Teacher Laura Poirier. This year’s theme showcased each artist’s personal connection to the Shelburne Farms property, and included paintings, photography, organic and non-organic sculptures, fiber art and fused glass work. Several of the artists incorporated video, sound and slide show monitors into their displays to enhance and continue the artistic vision and story-telling of their artwork, creating a multi-sensory experience for the viewers. 

The BCA staff received a nice thank-you letter and photo collage of pictures taken during the gallery visits from the school, signed by the students and teachers. The Renaissance School received a nice note from Burlington City Arts Director of Visitor Services and Gallery Education Melinda Johns which was shared with the students: “Thank you for bringing the Renaissance School 3-5th grade students to the Coach Barn again this year to explore our annual Of Land & Local exhibition!  I really enjoyed seeing you again and interacting with the students.  They are so inquisitive and engaged, it's truly a treat to spend time with them interpreting works of art and hearing their ideas and insights.  We look forward to future visits and collaborations!  We also invite the Renaissance School to visit the BCA Center to explore exhibitions and gallery education programs during the school year.”