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Principal's Newsletter

May 2019

Youth Summit held at Harwood Union High School | Student Council | Community Forum

Warmer Weather Brings Outdoor Updates | Innovation and an Opportunity Leads to California

Teacher / Staff Appreciation Week

In the last few years, there have been many changes to our school, all in the hopes of improving our school and school community for the benefit of our students.  However, we have not consistently had student voice as part of these changes.  As we move forward with refinements and changes, we are hoping to include student voice more consistently in these efforts.  We have long-standing had Student Council as a form of student representation, and look to use them more consistently for this effort.  We are currently in the process of including student feedback in coach evaluations, including students in coach hiring panels, creating a mentoring program and having advisory leads.

Additionally, we are looking for students to take pictures of student events, write pieces about student events, and create artwork to enhance our school community and capture it from the students’ perspective.  Those interested in doing any such activities or that have other ideas should contact Brenda Waterhouse at

Youth Summit held at Harwood Union High School

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, eight students attended the second annual Youth Summit held at Harwood Union High School. The students who attended included one senior, David Toborg, one junior, Natalie Mattson, four sophomores, Natalie Taylor, Alyssa Winkler, Katelyn MacIver, and Will Poirier, and two freshmen, Noah Rubel and Tasia Avery. 

The day started with the group attending one of Harwood's student-led assemblies, where two members of the SHS Assembly Committee, David Toborg and Natalie Mattson, gathered new ideas for our own assemblies.  The rest of the day was spent discussing two subjects: school climate and proficiency-based grading. Our students worked at times as a Spaulding cohort but also spent time working and talking with students from other schools. 

Several students have expressed an interest in our hosting the summit next year, so we will be moving forward with plans to invite student representatives from area schools for the third annual Youth Summit.

Student Council – Student Representation Allows for Student Voice

Student Council is open to any students wanting to join and have a voice in such activities as Spirit Week, Pep Rallies, Blood Drives, and Food Drives.  Students are also voted in as class officers by their peers, representing them in matters of interest and concern.  Student Council brings matters to the group and discuss, looking for action steps.  Administration also meets with Student Council to hear matters of interest and concern, while also bringing matters for student input to the group.  As we continue to grow in opportunities for student voice, we encourage all students interested in taking action to join Student Council – those interested can contact Pat Leene at or Peggy Portelance at  Students can also reach out to their class representatives to bring matters to the group. 

Please look for student surveys, updated bulletin boards and other activities organized by Student Council.  Please feel free to see class representatives, Mr. Leene, Mrs. Portelance or Mrs. Waterhouse if you have any ideas for other ways student council can improve student voice at SHS.

Community Forum

Our monthly community forum is held on the third Wednesday of each month from 5 PM – 6:30 PM.  Our next forum will be May 15th and the topic will be Work Based Learning (WBL).  If you are interested in suggesting future topics or cannot make this meeting, please feel free to contact Jim Ferland at

Warmer Weather Brings Outdoor Updates

For those that drop off / pick up students by the auditorium, you will be noticing some changes in the area of our outdoor space near the cafeteria and exit areas.  These changes are two-fold:  to improve student safety and to improve the appearance of our outdoor space.  Granite benches and receptacles will provide a barrier between the parking area and the outdoor seating area, as well as a safer barrier between the student walking path and the exit area for traffic.  

Additionally, we are working on a mural and student artwork that will decorate the exterior of the building.  This will not only showcase some of our talented student work, but will enhance the overall appearance of our outdoor dining and classroom space.  

Another project that we are looking for ideas and help with is the landscaping of the front of the building.  This area is also intended to include a memorial space in recognition of staff members and/or students that are no longer with us, donated by their family and friends.

Those interested in more information about any of these projects may contact Luke Aither at

Innovation and an Opportunity Leads to California

Spaulding High School has been collaborating with the Generator, a makerspace located in Burlington, which allows for artists, innovators and technology to come together.  Through the Generator and our Work-Based Learning program, several different opportunities have risen to benefit our students over the last two years.  One such opportunity is through the SPARK initiative.  The SPARK initiative focuses upon Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. 

Makayla Chouinard, Carm Le, Ella Hilton-VanOsdall, & Emma Poirier form the SHS SPARK team.  Over the course of this past year, the students have been working with the Generator to develop a prototype that would be used by nurses to track concussions in the field.  These students will now be representing Spaulding High School and traveling to California in May through the generous support of the Generator.  They will be presenting their prototype, Beta Band at Demo Day at Stanford University.  Its purpose is having an EKG Field Kit for schools to determine the brain health of students and an adaptive lesson planner to help teachers and students plan a healthy recovery work load, post concussions. According to Ella & Emma, "It's a great opportunity and incredibly meaningful." Both noted in unison in response to being selected and having the opportunity to present their innovation to leaders at Silicon Valley in California.  Carm noted "this experience is empowering me to become an engineer and know that I can make a difference,' especially when approaching an issue through an empathetic lens."  Makayla concurs and believes she has a "sense of responsibility and sensitivity when interviewing concussed individuals... I want to create something that helps someone I know."

To learn more about the Generator and the SPARK initiative, please see Spark Empowers Vermont’s Lost Einsteins at

Teacher / Staff Appreciation Week

May 6 – 10, 2019 is National Teacher Appreciation Week.  We combine the recognition of all of our staff into this week – whether maintenance staff, nurses, counselors, cafeteria staff, library staff, clerical staff or teachers – many go above and beyond daily for the benefits of our students and school community.  During this week, Student Council is organizing a week of activities as a way of saying “Thank You” to our dedicated and supportive staff.