Monday, August 29, 2016

Summer Letter and Welcome Back!

Summer Letter

Dear Students and Families,

Welcome to Team Fusion!  We hope that everyone has had an enjoyable summer and that you are excited for the year ahead. This letter is intended to provide information to help you begin the year as smoothly as possible. We look forward to a great start and a productive school year.

Our team consists of four core teachers: Mr. Keblin (Math), Ms. Windhausen (Science), Mr. Pless (Social Studies) Ms. Brosius (Language Arts); as well as our Special Educator (Jenn Cote) and several paraeducators who support students in our classrooms. For more information about each teacher, please see the profiles attached below.

Our Philosophy:

We are very much looking forward to building our team. In each of our prior teaching experiences we developed a philosophy grounded in the principles of teaching the whole student and cultivating a strong sense of community.

We are dedicated to improving student academic skills through inquiry tasks and mini-research projects.  An increasingly complex world calls for students to be proficient, not only in core skills, but in how to solve complex social, economic, and environmental problems.  We will strive to offer learning experiences tied to student interests, and will emphasize collaborative learning. We will also recognize the benefits of  integrated curricula and will link learning through common projects, assessments and homework assignments whenever possible. This process towards greater incorporation of learning experiences between the two grades, and the core disciplines - language arts, math, social studies and science - is an evolving one.

That being said, this school year will begin with a focus on building a lasting community based on respect and relationships.  As a team, we incorporate the ideals of Developmental Design into all aspects of our teaching.

Fall Breakfast:
We would like to invite you to join us for an informal breakfast on Friday, September 2nd from 7:30 AM - 8:00 AM in the team classrooms to celebrate the start of the school year.

Although not required, this is a great opportunity to meet all the Fusion teachers as well as other students and their families. We will provide juice and bagels with cream cheese; please feel free to bring a small breakfast item to share.

Fall Field Trips:
Fusion has a tentative team-building field trip in the works for September. More information will be given to students once school starts. The hope is to provide different program options for students to “challenge themselves by choice”.  While this field trip is likely to be for students and staff only, we are planning other field trips this Fall that will require parent chaperone support.  So far, these include:
  • Burlington, VT;  late September/early October; 7th Grade Trolley Tour/8th Grade Historic Tour and Melosira research vessel.
  • Montreal; mid-October; investigation of history and culture and practice with public speaking
More information on these trips will be shared early in the school year.

Please be advised: The field trips may occur the same day as sporting events - please contact us if there a need to discuss alternate transportation.

What To Bring for the Academic Year:
In preparation for the start of the school year, we ask that you do your best to have the following supplies:

  • Pencils
  • Colored Pencil Set (8 colors are enough)
  • Hand held sharpener (recommended)
  • One composition book to serve as a Science Notebook.
  • Students will need binder space for all core classes, but especially for Math and Science. The Team recommends either one 2-inch binder for all classes, or two 1-inch binders, with dividers.
  • Loose leaf lined paper
  • Loose leaf graph paper
  • Several different colored highlighters
  • Scientific Calculator (The TI-30 models are great and are about $10-15 at Staples)
    • Graphing calculators can be helpful, but are definitely not necessary. Since all students will have a laptop, everyone will have access to free web tools that can do the same work.
  • Ruler with metric units (Rubberized is better – less likely to snap, or be snapped)
  • Cheap earbuds or small headphones to use with the laptops
  • A box of tissues to donate to your homeroom teacher (you will thank us later:)

** We will not require students to use assignment books as all assignments will be posted on Schoology. However, assignment books will be made available to students who wish to use them to stay organized.

We recognize that wellness plays a vital role in student learning and success. Students are encouraged to bring in the following items to take care of themselves while in school:

  • Water bottle to keep at school - Students will have access to a Hydration Station in the hallway between classrooms
  • Healthy snacks
  • Extra sweater or jacket

Once again, welcome to the team! We look forward to getting to know all of our students and families!  We welcome your communication so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or comments. Our contact information is below.

Tom, Lisa, Bryant, Robyn

Team Bios

Bryant Pless - Social Studies
I have taught at Browns River Middle School since 1999.  Much of my continuing education over the past years have revolved around integrating technology and differentiated teaching methods.   Most of my formative teaching experience came from stints as an adventure-based educator and coaching basketball.  I originally hail from the southern United States, spending my summers and college years in Virginia, and the winters in Georgia.  Interests of mine include paddle boarding, canoeing, coaching, reading and exploring various hobbies (ie, puttering).  My family and I live in Jericho Center and can be found, on occasion, eating creemies in front of the store.

Lisa Windhausen - Science
This will be my ninth year teaching at Browns River Middle School!  I am a career-switcher, previously working in the natural resources management field as a botanist, wetlands ecologist, and invasive species coordinator.  I love science and math and enjoy making connections between these subjects and other content areas, as well as to real-world experiences outside the classroom.  I enjoy hiking, kayaking, swimming, gardening, reading, and skiing.  I live in Burlington with my husband, Jeff and my son, Dylan, who is now in middle school, and our new puppy, Bella!

Tom Keblin - Math
This will be my fifth year at Browns River and my tenth year as a middle school teacher. My first five years of teaching were as a 7th and 8th grade Math and Science teacher at Milton Middle School.  As a resident of Huntington, I greatly enjoy being part of the CESU community and Browns River Middle School. Currently, much of my life is defined by teaching and time with my young family: wife Sarah, son Mason (age 9), and daughter Evalyn (age 7). However, I always try to find time to get outside, whether skiing (all kinds), running, or biking (road and mountain). I have also played guitar since I was in the 3rd grade and continue to enjoy playing and singing with friends. I always enjoy connecting with students over experiences and passions, and I look forward to learning about those of our students in the coming year.

Robyn Brosius - Language Arts
I joined the Browns River community last year and I am thrilled to be a member of team Fusion! I grew up in Huntington, Vermont and attended Chittenden East Schools. As a student I participated in Track and Field and I was actively involved in the Theater Program. After attending college at The University of Vermont, I enrolled in the CCSU Teacher Apprenticeship Program during which I completed student teaching and received my training in the field of education. In my free time I enjoy reading, spending time with my family, trying new recipes, drawing/painting and spending time at the beach.

Permission Forms and Friday, September 2 Breakfast

RSVP for September 2nd, MEET-AND-GREET


______   No, I will not be able to attend the Meet-and-Greet
______   Yes, I will attend the Meet-and-Greet on Friday, September 2nd, 7:30-8:00 AM.
I will be able to bring _______________________________________ to share with the team.
Names of those attending:  _____________________________________________________________


Permission Form for Team Fusion Field Trips to Mills Riverside Park

I give permission for  __________________________________________ (child’s name) to attend field trips to Mills Riverside Park in Jericho throughout the 2016-2017 school year with Team Fusion. Notice will be sent to families prior to each trip.

Printed Name: _______________________________________________________________

Signature: _______________________________________________________________

*Please send this page with your child on the first day of school, Wednesday, August 31.