Waitsfield Elementary School currently serves over 130 students from preschool through 6th grade. While we are a small school, students attending Waitsfield Elementary School have a rich learning experience.
While there are forests, mountains and beautiful wilderness around us, a majority of our students live within 2 miles of the school. Our school is small enough that we know all students, and their families, by name; it is truly a community school.
Students in 1st – 6th grade receive over an hour of math instruction and an hour and a half of literacy instruction daily. Science and social studies instruction is woven through the curriculum. Our students also participate in weekly classes in Art, Music, Library, French, Guidance and Health. In addition to a variety of physical activity opportunities organized by classroom teachers, students receive physical education 2 times a week.
Waitsfield Elementary School values and supports the whole child. Our drama program includes several 2nd – 4th grade plays and an in-depth musical or play for 5th-6th graders. We have a participation rate of almost 90% in our instrumental music program provided in addition to regular music classes for all children. All students receive health and guidance instruction designed to support students in building life-long wellness skills. In addition to oue regular programs, the PTA sponsors a program where students ski or board ten Wednesday afternoons during the winter months. Annually, all students attend shows at Burlington’s Flynn theater, as well as participate in an extended artist residency, deepening students’ exposure to the arts as well as their cultural experiences.
While Waitsfield children consistently score well on standardized tests, we work to assure that each student makes growth and experiences success in school. Our staff includes two special educators, one with expertise in early childhood education, a speech therapist, a school counselor, and a nurse, all of whom collaborate with classroom teachers to insure that we are supporting all students in learning.
Applying our learning within our community is a vital part of our approach to learning. Students practice scientific inquiry and ecosystems through collecting data about the Mad River. Mapping skills were practiced by our 2nd grade as they documented plantings in our town orchard. Videographies of local farms, produced by 4th and 5th graders, document local economics and history. Children get their hands dirty understanding the soil to table production of food from our productive school garden. Learning is most meaningful when we can apply it to real world settings, and we look to do so whenever possible.
Additionally, the community contributes in many ways to the life of our school. We have a reading mentoring program that matches students with local community members to read and eat lunch once a week. In addition to a variety of in-class support, a Lego league and chess club were run by parents this past year. We have a strong afterschool program based at the Waitsfield School but serving Fayston and Waitsfield; this program is overseen by an active and involved community board. From art to hip-hop dance classes, a variety of organizations offer supplemental learning opportunities within the school building beyond the school day; our school building serves as a community hub.
Experienced, talented teachers and a supportive community have contributed to the success of our students. The school, located in the center of town, serves as a gathering place in the community. We look forward to not only continuing to support strong graduates ringing our school bell each spring, but serving as a strong asset for the entire community.