Dear MHS Community:  Happy Friday!  This is going to be a long one, so buckle up!

First, we must celebrate the 2nd Annual TA Selfie Competition.  Please email me your vote for the selfie that is most creative and displays the most TA Spirit.  Click on this link to see the selfies. Thank you, Mr. Tillotson, for organizing the slides.

Second, please join us for recess on Friday, April 17.  We are encouraging as many Solons as possible to run, walk, or roll a mile to support Newton Baker in his quest to raise awareness for fitness and childhood obesity.  Thus far Newton has run over 1500 miles as he makes his way across the United States!!!

Third, thank you to our juniors for your diligent work on SBACs this week.  Two more days to go!  Get your sleep and don’t forget that we have a modified schedule on Monday and Tuesday.

Fourth, I have decided to publish George Valentine’s response to the editorial about MHS Sports in the Times Argus.  Not only is this an example of the pride that our students feel, but it is evidence of powerful writing skill.  Well done, George:

Mr. Higgins,

As a Montpelier student and athlete, I was dismayed and disappointed by your April 7th portrayal of Montpelier's "slide into near sports oblivion." Your message is accusatory, narrow-minded, and inaccurate. The tone is unkind and your accusations are baseless. MHS's sports teams are not "complacent" and our athletes do not suffer from "defeatism."  As sources, Mr. Mears and Mr. Brooks hardly represent modern high school athletics. Had you taken the time to interview anyone currently at MHS, you would have heard something entirely different.

Here's what I've seen at Montpelier High School: enthusiasm, school spirit, initiative, support, and cooperation, not to mention outstanding athleticism and teamwork. What has the outcome been? In the past three years MHS has added four new varsity teams and won four state championships. Our girls' soccer, boys' soccer, cross country, girls' tennis, and ultimate frisbee teams have had winning records over that same time.  And, just because a team doesn't have a winning season, it doesn't at all mean that the athletes "don't care" or are "not showing up."  They may have played their hearts out, but still lost.

In calling the trends of MHS and Spaulding athletics "anti-democratic", your "democratic impulses" seem to have missed the fact that the idea of declining popularity in some sports and increasing popularity in others is decidedly democratic in nature.

You may be correct in stating that Montpelier is seeing declining participation in several traditional sports, but the reality is that this is a national trend. The January 31, 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal states:

"Combined participation in the four most-popular U.S. team sports—basketball, soccer, baseball and football—fell among boys and girls aged 6 through 17 by roughly 4% from 2008 to 2012, according to an examination of data from youth leagues, school-sports groups and industry associations." (source)


Some may think that if it isn't football, basketball and baseball, then it's not a sport. Most people would agree that if a student athlete wants to choose a less "traditional" sport, be it for their personal safety, a friendlier atmosphere, or perhaps to avoid the poor sportsmanship displayed by over-involved adults, they have every right to do so without having to weather the criticism that they "don't care."

The modern world of high school athletics is bigger than football, basketball and baseball. Mr. Higgins, please broaden your horizons and open your eyes to the spirit, vitality and success of athletics at Montpelier High School.


George Valentine, MHS Class of 2015


  • A big shout out to Molly Holt’s strong advocacy for MHS.  You rock, Molly.

  • Seamus Murphy, thanks for the birthday party.  Actually, it meant a lot to me:)

  • From Nancy Chase and Matt McLane:  Shout out to Max Shaw for not being afraid to step toward a challenge and not away from it.  It takes guts to tackle the hard things in life!!  You're a good role model.

  • Congratulations to Rachel Cummings for her nomination as Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year and for the accompanying scholarship. So cool!

  • From Myotte's Spanish two class:  Big shout out to Jack LaPera for doing an awesome presentation in Spanish as he showed us around his town.   


  • To all of our faculty and staff this week.  Thank you for flexibility and patience during our first SBAC launch.  


  • Winter.  We Salute you.  You have been the model of persistence, tenacity, and follow through.  

Solon Salutes

April 3, 2015

Dear MHS Community: Happy first (real) day of spring! Juniors, don't forget that you will have breakfast available on Monday and Tuesday in celebration of your willingness to rock the SBACs. Get here at 7:30 if you're hungry. Game on!


  • Thanks to James Dopp for returning lost money.  Your classmates appreciate your honesty!

  • To Maddie Naylor and Ryan Tran, congrats on rocking the Skills USA competition!

  • Congratulations to our Honor Choir and Women’s Chorus.  The Disney Show was fantastic!  My daughters were so inspired by the performance they sang the entire ride home. Check out the Pops during recess:

  • From Marijke Russo:  This weekend our talented MHS debate team travelled to Towanda, PA and competed in the district tournament confirming their consistent strong results: Lindsey Grutchfield and Aly Furber placed first in public forum debate qualifying for nationals and Leah Sagan -Dworsky placed first in congressional debate qualifying for nationals. George Huang and Omeed Fallahi were able to make it past the pre-eliminatory rounds and placed 5th. They all deserve a round of applause!

  • From Jerry Tillotson:  I want to send out a Solon Salute to Ben Ward for his excellent first person portrayal of Ira Allen this morning at Vermont History Day in the Performance Category.  You may or may not be aware that Ben has been spending his White Day Block 1 free period in my classroom preparing for this competition entirely on his own.  Actually my purpose was to offer advice and guidance, but he was so motivated very little of my help was needed.  I attended his performance at U32 and I found it so inspiring that I asked him to help me develop a similar assignment for my students beginning next year.  In addition, Ben won first place and is headed to Nationals!


From Sue Monmaney: Please give a salute to all the wonderful people who helped coordinate SBAC testing directly and indirectly: Jen Wall, Carrie Cook, Cindy Hooker, Adam Bunting, Val Belanger, Sue Abrams, Whitney Machnik, Lindsay Vanoli, Dan Miller-Arsenault, Stephanie DiLena, Bill Laidlaw, Brooke Pearson, and Matt McLane.


  • From Tom Sabo: To the great students and teachers from Burr and Burton's Mountain Campus who helped pick up styrofoam packing peanuts that were flying all over our campus.


Dear MHS Community:

In 2009, educational leaders from across the United States formed a coalition to develop national educational standards.  These national standards--now referred to as the Common Core State Standards or CCSS--are intended to provide modern, in-depth learning targets for all students.

This spring, Vermont is launching a new assessment system to measure all eleventh grade students against the Common Core State Standards.  The assessment is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or SBAC.  While we are accustomed to giving standardized tests to our students, we are less familiar with administering tests like the SBAC.  The SBAC is different for six reasons:

  1. It is administered online.

  2. The first two tests use adaptive technology and will adjust questions based on prior responses.

  3. There are classroom activities that all students must complete to prepare for the performance tasks.

  4. There are online performance tasks that all students must complete.

  5. Students may use a variety of computerized tools to assist them.

  6. It will require almost eight hours to complete.

We have created the schedules below (at the end of Salutes) to prepare for and administer the SBAC.  To prepare for the SBAC testing, practice tests will be administered during the regular school day on April 2 and 3. All juniors will be required to be at the practice and testing sessions as well as the classroom activities. If you recognize a conflict, please call or email Val Belanger as soon as possible.  We appreciate your support and patience as we embark on the SBAC experience for the first time!

  • A plug for Masque One Act Plays from Brooke Pearson:  I went tonight - and it was awesome!  Four interesting, fun, and  totally different plays - one written by Naomi Pitt, another directed by Isabel Tomasi, and another directed by Lilly Smith.  The acting was wonderful and the productions - in the round on the stage - were intimate and engaging.  MHS theater at its very best.  Please try to make one of the two remaining performances (Friday and Saturday at 7:30).  I promise you won't be disappointed!


  • From Jennifer Barlow: The RoboRaiders team (which includes MHS students Robert, Kirby, William J ) did very well at the FTC FIRST Tech Challenge on 3/14.  They finished 6th overall, and were the top finishing Vermont team. Good stuff!


  • A Salute to Bill Laidlaw and Matt Link for your work with the lacrosse team this week!

  • From Whitney Machnik:  My programming students and I would like to give a Solon Salute to Jason Miles who welcomed us into his classroom today for two 3D printer demonstrations. We thank him for his time, energy, and knowledge!!

  • To Grace O’Neil, thanks for joining the Solon Team!


  • From Anne Watson:  Big thanks to Bill Neuberger, renewable energy expert, for educating physics students on renewable energy calculations.  Also, thanks to Kasey Furness and her VSECU Team for your work to enhance our understanding of financial literacy.

Special Schedule for Friday,

  April 10, 2015


Student Support    7:30 -    7:55

Block 1    8:00 -    9:25

Block 2    9:30 -  10:55

Block 3 11:00 -    1:00

Lunch A 11:00 -  11:30

  Lunch B 11:35 -  12:05

Block 4    1:05 -    2:25

SBAC classroom activity  2:30 -    3:00 for 11th grade students/class meetings for students in grades 9, 10 and 12


Special Schedule for April 6, 7, 13, 14

SBAC Testing Schedule

  Schedule for 11th Grade Students

*11th Grade Breakfast  7:30 -   7:50 

SBAC Testing for 11th grade students 8:00 - 10:00

Testing Break 10:00 - 10:30

Class Schedule for All Students

Block 1 10:30 - 11:25

Block 3 11:30 -   1:00

Lunch A 11:30 -  12:00

Lunch B 12:05 -  12:35

Block 2  1:05 -    2:00

Block 4    2:05 -    3:00

* 11th grade students should arrive to school at 7:30 for a complimentary breakfast and SBAC testing followed by regular classes. The listening portion of the test requires earbuds or headphones.  We are asking students bring their own to use. We will provide headphones for those who don’t have them.  Students, in the event you finish testing before the end of the testing period, please bring something to read. No electronics are allowed in testing areas.   

Students in grades 9, 10 and 12 should arrive for classes starting at 10:30.  

© 2011 Montpelier Public Schools