Emergency 3SquaresVT Information


With the recent winter storm leaving many Vermonters without power for various amounts of time, it is important to remember that 3SquaresVT households may be eligible for replacement benefits if food they bought with their benefits spoils due to loss of electricity for four hours or more.

If you hear from Vermonters in this situation, please let them know they must request replacement benefits within 10 days of the loss, either orally (by calling 1-800-479-6151 or visiting the local district office) or in writing to the local district office.

More information about replacement benefits can be found here: http://vermontfoodhelp.com/more-resources/replacement-benefits.  Please contact me at asmith-dieng@hungerfreevt.org with any additional questions you may have.

Thank you for sharing this message with those in your network and for all you do to help 3SquaresVT participants!

Veteran’s Day November 11, 2014

Tomorrow there is no school so that we may observe Veteran’s Day.  The school is abuzz with talk of this day and the meaning behind it.  Here is what our second grade teachers had to say:

Second grade students have also been learning about the significance of Veteran’s Day.  Some of the learning activities we have done and will do next week include: reading several stories to deepen our understanding of Veteran’s Day, watching a brief video clip, completing a writing piece, making poppies (a symbol to honor our fallen soldiers) and designing postage stamps to honor those who have served our country.  Samples of their work will be on display in our hallway next to the “handprint” flag.

Please take a moment to check out the student work to honor our Veterans.



Sept Friday Notes

Get your copy here of the Sept Friday Notes

Teacher of the Year

UVM – WNESU Elementary Teacher of the Year
Westminster Schools
Jennie Perry

Great teachers are learners- they work hard at their craft. The notion a teacher being a “naturally born teacher” is outdated. The work of being an effective teacher is hard. It takes time, effort, and lots of work. However, if anyone was born to be a teacher – it is Westminster’s own Jennie Perry. She says she always knew she wanted to be a teacher. Her life has been dedicated to being the best teacher she can be. When she graduated from UVM in 2001 and got her first job in Westminster, her dream became a reality.

Mrs. Perry begins each year forging strong relationships with her students. While setting high expectations for herself and her students, she creates a safe environment for learning. Jennie holds her students accountable and consistently models and reinforces clear academic and social expectations. Students in Jennie’s room know the importance of celebrating each other’s accomplishments and you can hear them encouraging their peers to do their best work. Every student feels important and has a strong sense of belonging in the classroom.

But Jennie is more than a great classroom teacher – she has a view of the larger picture. She takes on a teacher leader role in the school. She is on the School Leadership Team, works with parents as part of T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) and is the heart of the school’s Sunshine Committee. She works closely with children and colleagues as well as with parents and families. Jennie believes in celebrating success and letting others know they are appreciated. She is an inspiration – a model of excellence. Her colleagues at the Westminster Schools want her to know how much we appreciate her and want to celebrate with her.

Jennie Perry will be recognized at UVM in October as a UVM Teacher of the Year representing WNESU and Westminster Schools.

New Staff at the Westminster Schools

New Staff at the Westminster Schools

Emily Clark is our new first grade teacher and will be at the West School this year. She previously worked with us as a kindergarten paraprofessional and before that she worked for Brattleboro Town School District – Early Education Services. She is a graduate of Keene State College with a Bachelor’s Degree. She was a dual major: Early Childhood and English. Emily lives in Keene with her husband and two children.

Patrick Cafferky joins our school community as our fourth grade teacher. Mr. Cafferky is a graduate of the University of Vermont – majoring in Elementary Education. He brings many interests and skills to our school. He has experience teaching for the Laraway Youth and Family Services. Mr. Cafferky has also worked in “alternative transportation” for Virginia Tech and is an experienced bicycle mechanic. During college Mr. Cafferky was a Wilderness Orientation Leader in the Trek Program. In this position he took first year students on bike and/or canoe trips. You will be hearing from Mr. Cafferky as he gets settled in the area.

Maria Harlow is our new school nurse. Mrs. Harlow is a graduate of the Thompson School of Nursing, part of the Vermont Technical College. Previously, she graduated from Nizhny Novgorod State University (Russia) with a BA in Journalism. She has interest in children’s health by creating a welcoming, comfortable environment where children know they will receive care and support. She stated on her application, “I am a strong follower of a children first philosophy, as I believe that when we put the children first everything else follows.” She has recently moved to the area with her husband and daughter.

Joseph Smith is our new school counselor. Mr. Smith joins us from the Monadnock Regional School District in Swanzey, NH, where he worked as a guidance counselor at the high school and served as the a principal at the high school and at the elementary school. He received his Masters in Counseling from Keene State College in 1988 and his Advanced Certificate in Education Leadership from Keene State College in 2003. Mr. Smith will be working with all students and classrooms throughout the year.

Trish Adams is our new Administrative Assistant – moving over from the Afterschool Program Director position. Trish is a graduate of Bellows Falls High School and has her Associates Degree from the Community College of VT. She brings a wealth of community knowledge with her – having strong connections with students, staff and many parents. Trish will be the voice you hear when you call the school with questions, and be the one to greet you when you arrive at the Center School. We are so fortunate to have her and encourage you to welcome her to her new position.

Shirley Bishop joins us as a special education teacher moving over from Central Elementary School in Bellows Falls. Shirley brings great experience and a thoughtful caring approach to her work with children. A graduate of Granite Sate College with a BS, she went on to Plymouth State University Graduate School to get her MEds. in Special Education and a CAGS in Leadership. We look forward to Shirley beginning her work in Westminster.

Heidi Lauracelli joins us as our new Afterschool Program Director. Heidi previously worked as the afterschool coordinator for the Main Street Arts Afterschool Program in Saxtons River. She is a certified biology teacher and has worked in Springfield, VT.

John Donaldson joins us as a paraprofessionals working at the West School. John is a former Westminster teacher – having taught kindergarten and multiage classrooms in the 1990s. He recently returned from Thailand where he spent time helping people learn English.

Cagney Brigham will work with 4th grade and the upper team at the Center School. Cagney is a graduate of Johnson State College with a BA. Cagney has worked as a behavior interventionist in northern Vermont. Cagney has been a baseball coach at various levels – from youth camps to high school. (He played semi-pro ball in Linz, Australia.)

Chelsea Burke is a graduate of Keene State College and joins us as a one-to-one paraprofessional. She has a background in early education and has worked as a camp counselor.

Lynn Latulippe is a graduate of Union Institute with a BA. She previously worked in the Monadnock Regional School District in Swanzey, NH. She spent six years in the Monadnock schools in various positions; she was a pre-school teacher, Title One Literacy Specialist, Director of READY! and as a speech language pathologist assistant.

Melissa Haskell is rejoining us for special education support of students in our primary classrooms. Melissa is a graduate of American Intercontinental University with her Associates Degree. She left Westminster Schools to start her family and now that her youngest is in school we were fortunate enough to get her to come back! Melissa ran an in-home daycare for the past 8 years.

We look forward to having all of these people on our staff.

Parent and community information

  For Parents
 The Westminster Schools send home announcements and communication to parents in written form on the first Friday of each month. Classrooms, Programs, School Board, and all school announcements are included in the newsletter known as Friday Notes.  We send the notes electronically to those who have email, post on our website, and send paper copies home with students.  Hopefully, this electronic notification reduces paper and printing – and still meet the community communication needs. Westminster teachers also send home bi-weekly classroom notes. We will check in with parents to see if we are still meeting needs – and of course we can always have special editions!  Please let us know if you have ideas of how we can improve our communication.


For Visitors
Westminster is in southeastern Vermont, the third largest town in Windham County, with 3,210 people (2000 Census) and about 400 students enrolled in school. The town schools have 184 students in K-6th grade in two schools. Westminster has no public 7-8 grades, so students attend local public and private schools, many of the students attend the Bellows Falls Middle School (the closest public school and part of WNESU) and Compass School, which is located on Route 5 in Westminster.  Seventh and eighth graders also attend Kurn Hattin Homes (as day students), Dummerston School, Putney Central School, Putney Grammar School, and Hilltop Montessori.

The local public high school is Bellows Falls Union High School.