Water Sampling at GES

Dear parents, staff, and community members:

Grafton Elementary School recently participated in a pilot program initiated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to determine if per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are present in on-site drinking water supply wells at schools. This pilot test was part of a statewide effort to identify potential sources of PFAS throughout Vermont.

PFAS have been identified in various floor cleaning products, stripping chemicals, waxes, and polish that may be used at schools. If PFAS-containing wash water is disposed of on the ground surface or into an on-site septic system, these compounds have the potential to impact groundwater.

The DEC worked with the Agency of Education and the Department of Health to develop a voluntary pilot program, and requested participation from ten schools, including Grafton Elementary. These ten schools were selected for the pilot study following an evaluation of historic water quality monitoring data including levels of chloride, nitrate, and/or total coliform. Based on this data, these ten schools were prioritized because they were believed to be vulnerable to surface water impacts or septic system leachate. If PFAS-containing products were disposed of on the ground surface or into the school’s septic system, the potential pathway for these compounds to impact the drinking water source may exist.

The water supply well at Grafton Elementary School was sampled on July 12t​ h​ and July 26t​ h​. Both samples were consistent and had a combined PFAS concentration of 22 parts per trillion (ppt). These results are above the drinking water health advisory of 20 ppt.

As a result of the PFAS detections, bottled water is being supplied to anyone at the school until further notice. The water should not be used for drinking, cooking, or other consumptive use, but can be used for washing hands. Staff from the DEC sites management section and drinking water program are working to implement a short-term solution to install point-of-use treatment systems at locations such as drinking fountains and kitchen sinks that will remove the PFAS from the water. The Sites Management Section will also be working with their contractor to identify the source and extent of the contamination through additional testing. At this time, the source of the contamination has not been confirmed. This testing may need to be expanded to nearby drinking water sources in the future. Concurrently, DEC will evaluate long-term solutions including a point-of-entry treatment system or replacement of the drinking water source.

Questions regarding the testing at the Grafton Elementary School can be directed to Liz Harty at 802-843-2495 or elizabeth.harty@wnesu.com or Kimberly Caldwell of the Sites Management Section at 802-461-5857 or ​kimberly.caldwell@vermont.gov​.


Liz Harty Principal

Chris Pratt
WNESU, Superintendent of Schools

Dear GES Families

My name is Liz Harty and I am so excited to introduce myself as the new principal of Grafton Elementary School. I hope that this note finds you enjoying the rejuvenating days of summer and that you and your children are looking forward to beginning a wonderful school year together on August 29th. I am thrilled to be part of such a tight-knit, supportive community.

I arrive in Grafton as a seasoned elementary teacher and school leader. I have taught in both Lawrence, Massachusetts as well as Springfield, Vermont. I consider a large part of my job to be that of a child advocate, ensuring that your children receive a quality education. I will spend a lot of time with your children, getting to know their personalities, learning styles, and interests. I will celebrate their successes, small and large. I will encourage them every day and let them know they are valued and have a special place in our school community.

Not only am I excited to begin working with your children, but I look forward to the work we will do together. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, and I am excited to see your children through your eyes. I cannot wait to share with you the great things they do throughout their days here at GES. And of course I will be here to work with you should they need any help navigating any aspect of the school day.

While this will be my seventeenth year in education, my greatest achievement comes not professionally, but personally, as I am the mother of two beautiful children: Quinn (8), and Marlow (6). People often say I treat all children in my school as if they were my own. Please know I will work tirelessly to ensure all your children have the best possible experiences while at Grafton Elementary School.

Once again, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to bring all that I have experienced and learned with me to your wonderful community. I look forward to getting to know you and your children. I will be working most days this summer to ensure a smooth transition and opening in late August. Please stop by to say hello. We will also be having a Visitation Day at GES on August 28th from 2:00-3:00 pm.

I look forward to meeting you soon.

Warm Regards,

Liz Harty
GES Principal

Mother’s Day Flower Baskets on Sale Now

The PTG’s fabulous hanging baskets are on sale.  Stop by the school and pick up an order form.  All orders must be pre-paid and returned to the school by Wednesday, May 9th.  Flowers will be available for pick up on Friday, May 11th, just in time for Mother’s Day!

Read-a-thon Postponed

Our Read-a-thon has been postponed until Friday, April 6th.  Take advantage of the extra time to collect more sponsor donations for the PTG!

Winter Sports

Next Wednesday is out last winter sports day!  Thank you to Up your Alley in Springfield, Keene Ice in Keene, Grafton Trails here in Grafton, and Stratton Mountain for hosting our students.  We had a great season!

Thanksgiving Feast

Grafton’s annual Thanksgiving Feast will be held on Tuesday, November 21st at 11:30.  Our PTG coordinates community donors and volunteers for this.  The Feast is a community event and all are welcome to attend!

We will also be collecting food for our local food shelves, so feel free to drop off non-perishable food items while you’re here!

Community Night – Monday, 11/13, 4:00 – 5:00

Our little community is brimming with organizations and individuals with expertise and passion for a wide range of topics, and GES would like to take advantage of you!  Unfortunately, the teachers don’t know you or what you have to offer.   Do you have a potential field trip destination?   An unusual pond?  Historic building?  Geologic feature?  Farm animals?  Business?  Do you know a bit of Grafton’s history and maybe how it connects to national events of the time?  We’re going to be doing a school wide unit on the Olympics.  Were you an athlete that competed at a high level?  What’s your passion? Would you be willing to be a visiting “expert” and share it with our students?  We’re planning an informal community night for the teachers to meet and get to know you a little, to share, and to brainstorm ideas of how we might work together.  The teachers will be prepared with some general grade level expectations for the various subjects they teach.   Please contact Mary Beth Culver at the school, 843-2495, if you have any questions.  Hope to see you there!

School Safety Week October 15th-21st

With School Safety Week approaching, we wanted to share this document published by the Vermont School Safety Center for parents/guardians/loved ones during a school emergency. This also explains the terminology  and procedures we follow under certain urgent situations.

School Emergency Information Guide for Parents and Guardians

Consolidated Federal Program Assurance Letter

Grafton Elementary School (GES) is comprised of two local education agencies (LEA): Athens Town District and Grafton Town District. Both LEAs participate in the Consolidated Federal Grant (CFG) program and are required to communicate certain assurances to the parents and the community.
1. Parents whose children attend schools that receive Title 1 funds have the right to request the professional qualifications of their child’s classroom teacher, from the school. Additionally, parents can access this information on the Agency of Education (AOE)’s website in their database titled “Look Up An Educator”.
2. Statewide Academic assessments are given to students at GES in grades 3-6. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) measures students’ abilities in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics standards of Common Core. The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) in Science has typically been administered in the late spring of 4th grade. The Agency of Education (AOE) will be implementing a new science assessment this school year for a field test. This time, students in 5th grade will take the new science test.  Individual student results are distributed to parents/guardians when they have been released from embargo. Test results are also released to the public when allowed.
3. Students in grades 1-6 across the WNESU take a quarterly assessment called Track My Progress (TMP). This assesses students in their abilities for english language arts and mathematics. Students also are tracked in their reading growth through the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmarking System and this year GES will also be using the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reading Inventory for certain students.
4. The Student-Parent-School Compact is published in the GES Handbook, annually. The handbook is available on our school’s website to peruse. Families sign off that they have read and received the handbook as part of their beginning of school paperwork.
5. The School Report Card is published annually and made available at Town Meeting time.
If you have any questions about this letter of assurance, please contact Principal Cela Dorr

Parent-Teacher Conferences Tuesday, October 10th

Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled all day on Tuesday, October 10th, from 8AM-2:45PM . If you haven’t already made an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher, please contact the school and we will set you up with a time to meet.