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Friday Focus 032715

posted Mar 27, 2015, 10:18 AM by Michael Lepene

Frances C. Richmond Middle School Friday Focus
Friday, March 27 2015

+Principal’s Corner

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This week I am featuring a mini photo-journal of some recent enrichment experiences that students and staff from RMS have enjoyed. While they are only a sample of the extensions of learning created and experienced by our students and staff I think you will be impressed by connections made both locally and beyond from RMS.

+Dartmouth EdX "Intro to Environmental Science": Students and staff from RMS participated in the first EdX course offered by Dartmouth College this Winter. The group of eight students were guided by Mr. Schluntz and Ms. Wallis. Participants joined a global community of learners in an exploration of a number of environmental topics. Near the end of the course the professor, Dr. Friedland, made a personal visit to discuss the course with the RMS team. Congratulations to all of the participants!


+Vermont Junior Iron Chef: RMS teacher Anissa Morrison led a team of junior chefs to the Vermont competition last week. Students competed by creating delicious and creative dishes from local nutritious ingredients. This experience was an extension of the many foods courses taught by Anissa including a competition cooking class. Congratulations to all of our chefs!

vt junior iron chef

+Green Lunchers Visit Colby Sawyer Sustainable Classroom: The RMS Green Lunch Club visited the Colby Sawyer College Sustainable Classroom this week to look for ideas and opportunities to improve and implement sustainable practices at RMS. Students witnessed a multitude of technologies, strategies and innovations that they will use to guide their future work. This trip was part of the club's gearing up for some energy awareness activities at RMS this spring including a "Dark Day". This club sponsored spirit day will include efforts to reduce energy use across the building and increase awareness of energy sources, consumption and potential savings. In order to generate a baseline we have been monitoring our electricity consumption over the past few weeks. Thank you to RMS adviser Sarah Glass for creating this opportunity.

electricity graph

+Model United Nations: This week the RMS Model United Nations Team is participating in the International Model United Nations Convention in NYC. They are joining middle school teams from around the world in what will be an authentic convention complete with debate, committees, and time spent at the UN. The RMS team is representing Belarus at the convention and their visit will include time at the Belarusian Mission with the ambassador. The team has been preparing all year for this event by researching current issues faced by Belarus, speaking with current and former government officials, and writing position statements. This group is led by Ms. Groby and Mr. McCarthy. We look forward to hearing about their experience next week.

model un in nyc


3D Vermont History Competition: A group of students from our 3D history elective participated in their culminating event today. In this course students researched local historic buildings, created models using a computer program (Sketch-Up) and then printed scale models using our 3D printer. At the competition students placed their models on a map of Vermont (and Hanover, NH) and then gave presentations on the history of their building and the process they used to create the models. The team was facilitated by Associate Principal Amanda Yates and Art Teacher Luke Eastman and received support from Social Studies teachers Ellen Fisher and Maryann Nugent. Congratulations to all of the participants!

3dphistory group

NH Middle Level Honors Band Festival: Students from the RMS program represented our school at the Honors Band Festival last week with RMS teacher Jonica Leuthauser. Students auditioned to be a part of the honors band and competed with students across the state for these highly prestigious opportunity. Congratulations on this recognition!


As you can see, it has been an exciting week at RMS. While many experiences are included others are not this time around. We hope we can create opportunities to extend and enjoy learning for every student. This is part of our effort and mission to provide a comprehensive education for each student. I am extremely proud of our students and staff and look forward to sharing even more with you in future editions of the FF. 

Michael Lepene 

+All School News and Events (RMS web site has GoogleCal with events and dates/times)

Monday, March 30: 6th Grade Chorus and 8th Grade Chorus Concert, 530p, RMS Auditorium.

Tuesday, March 31: 4th Quarter Elective Arena Scheduling

Tuesday, March 31: 7th Grade Girls Chorus and 7/8 Boys Chorus Concert, 530p, RMS Auditorium.

Thursday, April 9: 7th Grade Civil War Project Night, 6p, RMS.

Friday, April 10: Q3 Ends at RMS.

+RMS Notes and Information

-2014-2015 Annual Parent/Guardian Survey: Thank you for the wealth of feedback you have provided through our annual survey. We are already utilizing your contributions in team, grade and committee meetings. At the same time, we are beginning the work of doing a deeper analysis of trends and connections between themes. Your feedback will continue to guide our work now and in the future. You can find a summary of responses at this link:  Password is "geese". You will notice that open-responses are not included in this summary. We are working through those results and will provide a summary at a later date. Thank you again for your assistance in our efforts to make RMS a great school.

-6th grade parents:  Student presentations will begin next Wednesday, April 1, in the RMS auditorium.  We hope you will be able to join us for your child's culminating project of the Famous Scientist unit.

If you did not receive an e-vite that was sent to you March 17th, please contact
-7th grade Civil War Night:  April 9, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.  It is therefore fitting that 7th grade Civil War scholars will be presenting exhibitions of their learning to the RMS community.  We will be hosting a Civil War Night on Thursday, April 9, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.  Families are invited to tour the exhibition halls during that time. Students will present re-enactments, living museums, Mess and Hospital tents, as well as exhibits on Civil War Spies, Smuggling, and more.  It should prove to be an enriching evening for all.
-EdX at Dartmouth continues at RMS. RMS students led by Mr. Schluntz and Ms. Wallis participated in Dartmouth College's first EdX course "Intro to Environmental Science" this winter. Our students enjoyed participating in a college course with students of all ages across the globe. Further, thanks to our proximity with Dartmouth we enjoyed a visit from the course professor and support from the Dartmouth community. Following this very successful opportunity we are creating a cohort opportunity for RMS students interested in the new Dartmouth EdX course "The Engineering of Structures Around Us." This course has prereqs of high school algebra and geometry. With this in mind our intended audience would be students enrolled in our Geo course. That said, with support students not yet in Geo may be successful. If your child is interested in the content and trying this learning opportunity please have them talk with Mr. Lepene. We plan to offer weekly lunch discussions around the course assignments and content for those interested. Learn more about the course and other EdX opportunities at:

+Community Calendar and Activities 

-Sonia Kovalevsky Math Day at Dartmouth is a fun-filled day of mathematics with hands-on workshops and talks for middle and high school female students and their teachers, both women and men. Originally started and funded by the Association for Women in Mathematics, The purpose of the day is to encourage young women to continue their study of mathematics and to assist the teachers of female mathematics students.

-THERE IS STILL TIME TO SIGN UP FOR APRIL VACATION CAMPS AT NORTHERN STAGE!! We offer engaging one-week classes for students age 5 – 17. Join us April 13 – 17 for your Vacation Week. All classes focus on team work, self-confidence, and acting techniques.  Please visit or call 802-291-9009 for more information!

-Spring Break Camp "Mindfulness in Action"

April 13-17 for ages 10-15. Young people will have the chance to engage in movement and exploration, discover mindfulness, and learn how they can have an impact on their community and environment.  Activities will include movement (Yoga, Dance, Chi Kung), hiking, cooking class and a field trip to High Horses.  Cost: $350. For details and to register:


-Brand New Vermont Tech “Rosie’s Girls Overnight Leadership STEM/Trades Camp” this summer June 22-26 – Randolph Center Campus;  taking applications through the end of this month. If you have girls entering 9th or 10th grades in the fall and want a terrific, fun, experiential STEM/Trades experience with all girls – this is the camp for them!

-Montshire Friday Nights for Teen Tinkerers. Friday, March 27 6:308 p.m. Go to for more information.