PUTNEY CENTRAL SCHOOL
An exceptional PK-8 School located in beautiful southern Vermont
All students are encouraged to participate in after-school sports programs offered by both PCS and by the Putney Recreation League (PRL).
PCS offers competitive team sports after school in soccer, basketball, and baseball, softball for all middle school students, in addition to the regular physical education program for all grades. During fall and spring we also offer a mountain biking activity headed up by our own Tony Coven, and local mountain bike and cyclocross legend Pip Bannister. We're also excited to let you know that year two of our cross-country running program was a big success, with a number of students participating in training sessions and competing in several area races, including one sponsored by PCS.
Great emphasis in all programs is placed on good sportsmanship, team play, and trying to reach for our personal best. At PCS we also have a great Winter Sports Program that takes place one afternoon a week during the months of January and February, the aim of which is to offer students the opportunity to better their skills in downhill skiing, snow boarding, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Students interested in nordic skiing are encouraged to see our principal, Mr. Pelletier, for more information about the Putney Ski Club and the Bill Koch League for young nordic skiers. No experience necessary!
The PCS Winter Sports Program, which runs for six Fridays beginning in January, is an integral part of our school curriculum. Students in grades 3-8 can participate in ice skating, nordic skiing at Grafton Ponds, and downhill skiing and boarding at Mt. Snow. Younger students generally remain on campus, where they engage in a variety of fun outdoor and indoor activities.
Each year a large raffle of donated items provides funding for scholarships and transportation for our Winter Sports Program; no student is denied participation due to inability to pay. At PCS we're justifiably proud of the commitment that our school, parents, and volunteers have made to this long-running program.
Four Winds is a volunteer program which works with classroom teachers to provide educational opportunities related to the natural world.
We have a strong group of current volunteers. Each classroom, (K-5) has a team of 2 or 3 volunteers who are trained in this month's topic to engage students in inquiry-based natural science. Our volunteer group for this year is a nice combination of current parents and retired community members who, as you said, "get kids". They are retired librarians, pediatricians, and many of them eat lunch with the students during the Putney Cares lunches. We are: Ariane Lavoie (pre-K parent), Meghan Houlihan (K, 4, 5 grade parent), Rhonda Zoch (6 grade parent), Laura Chapman (2nd grade parent), Autumn Blais (3rd and 6th grade parent), Alex Schaal (3rd and 6th grade parent), and myself (2nd and 4th). Plus, Louise Garfield, Jane Katz Field, Susan Hessey, Wendy Wilson, and Ramona Lawrence from the community. Feel free to stop into one of our workshops. We meet the first Friday morning of every month in the Y Aspire room.
The Four Winds Nature Program brings parents and community members into the school and gets children outside to learn. How wonderful for children to explore natural science in every season right out the classroom door! It’s rigorous science learning, and it’s fun. These Nature Program lessons support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core. Please find an explanation of the alignment attached to this email. I also attached a description of what we be studying each month and an example of the Teacher Resources Page we provide to all teachers for each unit.
Emily Pals, PCS parent and board member, is our school’s Four Winds Nature Program coordinator, I welcome your input and greatly appreciate your support. Feel free to email Emily at if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for this program. Thank you!
Our school and community garden has served a number of functions over the years: as an outdoor learning environment, as a means for students to gain a better grasp of where their food comes from - other than the supermarket - and a resource to share with our community.
Over the past couple of years we have turned our attention to transitioning our garden to a more purposeful, crop-based learning site. We'll still keep our raised bed sections for individual classroom use, but will be tilling a large portion of the garden with an eye toward raising crops that we can then utilize in our school kitchen. Much thought has gone into this, and our garden committee is excited to begin implementing some of their plans during the coming season. This is exciting, and we're more than pleased to have the opportunity to integrate our school garden into the fabric of our daily lives here at PCS.
The School Forest owes its existence to the foresight, back in 1957, of a School Board which decided to purchase not just the 12 acres needed as a site for the new local school, but also the additional 164 tract that included both the Sacketts Brook floodplain behind the school and the wooded hillside beyond the brook, all the way to the Bare Hill ridge. The Forest was partially logged in the early 1980’s and the logging roads began to be used by mountain bikes and various kinds of motorized vehicles. However, because of inadequate foot access over Sacketts Brook, for many years neither students nor townspeople made much use of the recreational and educational potential of this extensive and beautiful woodland.
During the early 90's various interested parties – the Putney Conservation Commission, the Windham Regional Commission, certain individuals, and ultimately the School Board itself – became involved in rectifying the situation. A School Forest Committee was established by the Board in early 2000, which began organizing winter snowshoe hikes and spring flower walks to increase public awareness of the Forest, and set about raising money to construct a sturdy footbridge over Sacketts Brook. Aided by a major matching grant from the Thomas Thompson Trust the Committee was able quickly to raise sufficient funds in the community and in November, 2001, an attractive structure bearing the student-chosen name, “The Portal to the Sacred Woods”, was dedicated at an all-school ceremony.
With the bridge in place it was now possible to begin developing a foot-trail system, relying almost entirely on student participation. The first After School Forest Program, involving only seven students, took place in Fall, 2002, creating a completely new foot-trail, the After School Trail. Since then successive Fall and Spring After- School Programs, involving growing numbers of students – over 10% of the student body in 2004-2005 – have created a network of fine, well-marked trails that are heavily used not only by students but also by large numbers of townspeople.
In the winter of 2004, the School Forest Committee organized the first on-campus outdoor component of the Winter Sports Program, emphasizing snow-shoeing and winter forest studies. The program was again offered in 2005 and its is expected that both it and the Fall and Spring After-School Programs will become an integral part of the School’s outdoor activities. Classes have begun to use the forest too, notable examples being a “planet walk” (demonstrating the relative distances in the solar system), a study of diseases of oak trees, and the identification and tagging of various tree species. From time to time the Committee organizes hikes for both kids and adults around themes like wildflowers, fern identification, and owl-calling. Lest we forget, we have our annual School Forest Day, a wonderful all-school activity where middle school students create myths - and accompanying costumes - and the entire school travels to various locations in the Forest to be treated to a dramatic performance of the myth.
For the past several years the School Forest Committee has organized and led six-week spring and fall programs in the School Forest. These take place after school, two days a week, from 3 to 5 pm and are open to all students in grades two through six. Activities have included building six new trails, installing an information kiosk, constructing a lean-to hideout, playing woodland games, maintaining the trail system, and enjoying camp fires and swims in Sacketts Brook.
Out forest also gets plenty of use in the winter, as part of our winter sports program. Snow-shoeing and/or hiking, as well as some great sledding, have all taken place there during the winter months.