News & updates

News & updates

Braintree students enjoy outdoor classworkBraintree Students Enjoy New Outdoor Classroom

Braintree Elementary School has added an Educating Children Outdoors (ECO) program for the 2018-2019 school year. ECO is a standard's based nature immersion program for students of all ages.

Children learn valuable skills in nature inquiry, group dynamics, and cooperative learning though guided discovery. This year our kindergarten and first grade classroom is traveling outside to their ECO sight every Friday and we hope to expand this wonderful opportunity to other classrooms as well in the future.

Michelle Kluskiewicz our K/1 teacher and Abi Gershon our Teacher Interventionist received training over the summer in a nature immersion course in outdoor learning through intensive experiential lessons, activities and discussions from the North Branch Nature Center.

We couldn't have designed and prepared this outdoor area without the immense help of Michelle Kluskiewicz, Abi Gershon, Janni Jacobs, Pat Miller and Max VanHouten and his Environmental Resource Management students from Randolph Technical Career Center. We look forward to an exciting year learning about nature based education.

Braintree Students Meet Author Lisa BunkerBraintree students meet with Lisa Bunker

Our Braintree librarian Jennifer Curtin took three lucky students to visit with author Lisa Bunker today at the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Celebration. Tristan Gottshall, Grace Best and Mason Evans were able to visit with Ms. Bunker and hear her presentation. Grace received a special award for having read all 30 titles from the 2017-2018 list.


4 Winds is Back at Brookfield ElementaryFour Winds students learning

We are pleased to welcome our Four Winds volunteers back to school! This wonderful program, carried out by trained volunteers, brings enriching nature-based science instruction and learning opportunities to all of our students.

This year we will be studying Ecosystems. Topics such as Signs of Leaf Eaters, Leaf Litter, Snags & Rotting Logs, Squirrel Tales, Staying Warm, White-Tailed Der, Forest Birds and Pond Life will be explored. Take a look at the 4 Winds website to get an idea of what Four Winds is all about.You could also ask your child what they know about 4 Winds.
Our program coordinator, Kristina Emmons, could always use more volunteers. Please contact her for more information about how you can be a part of this great program. You can email Kristina at:

Randolph Elementary Students Are Wet Behind the Ears!Randolph Elementary Students go Snorkeling

Students in Mrs. Garrett and Ms. Skolnick's 3 & 4 grade classes now know what's going on in and under our rivers and streams. They recently visited Vermont's famous White River, facemasks, wetsuits, and snorkels ready to go!

Brookfield 3/4 Graders Explore Hildene

The Bookfield 3/4 grade from went down to Hildene, Lincoln's family home in Manchester, VT to learn about goats and vernal pools. The students got the chance to lehildene visitarn facts about the anatomy of goats, what can be made from their milk, and even got to bottle feed the baby goats.

After lunch they gathered in the classroom and learned about vernal pools and some of the creatures who live in them, before heading out to see one on site. There, the students got to explore with nets and other devices, the pools and their inhabitants while recording data on what they found.

Randolph Kindergarteners Study Chicks’ Metamorphosis
Courtesy of The Herald, May 24, 2018
Closing out a multi-unit study on life cycles, Randolph Elementary School celebrated its annual Chick Night with an open house event on May 17.

Studying for this hands-on unit began when students and teachers set the eggs into incubation the day after April vacation. These fertilized eggs were donated by Tracy Squire, who has a backyard chicken coop in East Randolph.

In teacher Sarah Langlois’ kindergarten classroom, her students watched as eggs sprang to life over the course of their 21-day incubation period. The pupils candled the eggs each day with the aid of a flashlight to see past the shell and examine growth intervals inside the egg. The students then created colored diagrams to better understand different components of the embryo.

This curriculum, a component of the Next Generation Science Standards, connects elements of multi-disciplinary study including math, music, art, reading, and writing. Unique within the Orange Southwest School District, the Randolph kindergarten class is the only one in the district to cover the life cycles of chicks. “In terms of our district, Chick Night is definitely a Randolph tradition,” Langlois said.

Langlois said highlights of the unit included the study of embryology and a week spent learning about many types of egg-laying animals and how they tend to vary. Studies also included vocabulary development as the children learned new scientific terminology. Learning songs helped the kids remember more complex ideas. Langlois said the day the chicks were hatching was the most exciting for her students. “The hands-on piece is really what makes it stick for these kids,” she said.

"Miss Gus" Awarded Nat'l Engaged Leader Award
Courtesy of The Herald, May 17, 2018miss gus

Randolph Elementary School’s Gus Howe Johnson, affectionately known as “Miss Gus,” was awarded the National Engaged Leader Award by the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) on May 6. The organization invites select students enrolled in colleges or universities nationwide to work towards being inducted into the society.

Johnson was working as a para-educator at RES and simultaneously finishing her master’s degree at Johnson State College in the spring of 2017, when she was chosen by local chapter head Susan Caswell Bellimer to participate in the program.

According to Johnson, in order to be inducted, she attended many speaker workshops and outlined personal and professional goals, which were monitored by officials at NSLS.

Following her induction in May 2017, “Miss Gus” jumped at the opportunity to shift from working one-on-one with students to having her own classroom of 21 fifth- and sixth-graders. Johnson decided to enroll in the second level of NSLS’s program, through which she earned the National Engaged Leader Award at the beginning of this month.

Community service is a key component for the NSLS award. For Johnson, that service came in the form of “hosting, supervising, and feeding” RUHS’s Students Against Violence Everywhere association in her Randolph Village home.

She chuckled as she recalled the sheer quantity of food she prepared while the young activists were busy brainstorming in her living room.

Johnson came to the teaching scene relatively late, following a 20- year career in journalism. A graduate of RUHS, she earned her bachelor’s in agricultural journalism from Hampshire College. An immediate job offer as the editor of the Maryland Farmer Newspaper sent the young writer throughout Maryland and southern Pennsylvania to report on issues she knew nothing about, Johnson said.

Johnson loves to help her students “find their topic”—both as young writers and as people.

“Make everything be a question,” is how she described her interview style, a trait she said she hoped to instill in her students.