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Who's Wise Words

MCS Students Outside standing around on the tar

Welcome to Who's Wise Words. Here you will find the weekly newsletter as well as its archives. We encourage you to come back often to hear about the fun and exciting things happening around our school.


Most Recent Who's Wise Words

MCS Who's Wise Words, September 15, 2023

Important Dates

Monday, September 25 - Teacher In-Service, No School for Students
Friday, October 6 - Teacher In-Service, No School for Students
Monday, October 9 - Holiday, No School for Students
Friday, October 27 - Picture Day
Friday, October 20 - Conferences, No School for Students


Message from the Principal

Back to School Night was a huge success!  Thank you for making the time to come to MCS and learn about the school year.  It is important to all of us that you are partners in your childs’ education.  The more opportunities we can have to communicate and understand, the better the school experience will be for all involved.  This year we tried a new approach by splitting the evening into three sessions, allowing families to visit up to three classrooms.  Also, each of the specials teachers set up and shared about their time with kids.  Hopefully, you found this approach helpful. 

As you know, 30 minutes is not enough time to share about the entire school.  You are encouraged to become avid readers of the school and classroom newsletters.  Each classroom newsletter will have a section with suggested discussion questions.  Our hope is that these weekly prompts spark conversations at home about what is being learned.  Another great way to understand school is to be a volunteer.  I encourage you to reach out to your teacher to learn of ways you can be involved.  Finally, never hesitate to send a quick email to any of our staff inquiring about our program.

Thanks to those of you who filled out and dropped off the feedback form.  The feedback forms will go to the School Leadership Team and will be used to make this event even better in the future.  Here is some of the feedback we received:

Please rate this event.

Bar graph showing extremely valuable is largest

Was having three sessions valuable to my family?

pie chart showing yes at 80.6%
Positives (a sampling of responses):
  • We got  full presentations for each grade.
  • Great to have time to meet all the teachers.
  • Great to hear more/learn more about what to expect this year.
  • Better understanding of daily curriculum with tips on how to support our child at home.
  • Loved seeing the room and learning about their day.
  • Teachers are WONDERFUL, so thankful for them.
  • Concise with clear discussion of all the different subjects.  Very detailed and thorough.
  • 3 sessions offered flexibility for both my husband and I to both attend.
  • Presentation was well organized and thoughtfully presented.  All of our questions were answered.
Suggestions for next year:
  • Maybe shorter cycles for specials so you can quickly see a few.
  • Show more examples of student work.
  • Having the specials teachers in one place (multi) would make it easier to get to them all.
  • Feel like this format has limited time to hear other parents’ questions.
  • Possibly just two presents for classroom teachers with an open ½ hour to do specials and talk further with teachers.

Have a lovely weekend,

Student Services Update

What a fantastic Back to School Night at MCS last night!  Thank you to all the families for participating and engaging with us to support your student(s).  Please consider thanking your student’s teacher directly as they made the night happen.

Below you will find an overview I passed out at B2SN of specific student supports at MCS: 

Guidance - Marion Cross School employs a full-time, certified school counselor, Alisha Keel.  Ms. Keel teaches lessons to classes of students every week and also organizes small group and individual sessions to help students develop academically, personally, and socially.  Ms. Keel works closely with parents, teachers, and school administrators to provide students with the very best academic and social support.

EST (Education Support Team) - Grade level teams meet weekly to discuss and document strategies to support students academically, socially, and emotionally.  EST plans may be developed for any student attending MCS.  Homeroom teachers will communicate before, during, and after the EST process.  Families will know if their child is being discussed at an EST and have the option to attend the meeting.  Parents should talk with their student’s teachers if they have concerns so teachers can support them.

Interventions - Marion Cross School has a team of folks who can assist with supporting students with academics and behaviors.  Interventions may be taught by the classroom teachers or literacy and math specialists.  Families will know when their student is receiving an intervention.  

ELL (English Language Learners) - Marion Cross School employs an ELL teacher to  assist English Learners in attaining English language proficiency and developing high levels of academic achievement.  Family/Teacher Referral and Completion of the Home Language Survey helps our team identify those who may be entitled to these services.  If you have any questions about this support service, please contact Karen Vanderveen the Marion Cross School ELL teacher.

504 - Section 504 is a Civil Rights law that guarantees qualifying students particular accommodations through a 504 plan.  Students who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity may qualify.  Greg Bagnato is the 504 coordinator at MCS.

IEP (Individual Education Plan) - The Special Education Program at the Marion Cross School works to provide individualized education plans (IEPs) for students who need them according to Vermont's Act 230Services may include, but are not limited to, speech and language services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and academic support. All IEP plans are designed by the IEP Team (which includes families), and they are tailored to a student's specific individual needs.

Counselor's Corner

Hello MCS Community,

It was wonderful meeting all of you at Back to School Night. I am so excited to be a part of this community and am looking forward to working with all of your children this school year. If you need to contact me please feel free to email me.

This week during class counsel we have started the Committee for Children’s Second Step Program in grades K through 6.

If you would like to learn more about what your child is learning in PreK-5th grade go to to create an account. Once you’ve created your account, look for Family Access and click the Add Activation Key button. See reverse side for your child’s grade level activation key code. Once you’ve used your activation key, you can watch videos and get more information about what your child is learning. If you have children in multiple grades, enter all of their activation key codes to gain access to each grade level. Below are the following family codes to use for accessing online resources.

Pre-Kindergarten: SSPE FAMI LY68
Kindergarten: SSPK FAMI LY70
First: SSP1 FAMI LY71
Second: SSP2 FAMI LY72
Third: SSP3 FAMI LY73
Fourth: SSP4 FAMI LY74
Fifth: SSP5 FAMI LY75

For sixth grade parents, you can visit to learn more about hot-button topics for young teens and adults in their lives.

Ms. Keel

School News and Information

6th Grade Instrumental Music

Hello there!  I’m so excited to see (and hear) the 6th graders playing band instruments!  We will use this schedule for the next week’s 6th grade lessons.

Monday 9/18 at 7:45 - Horn

Tuesday 9/19 at 7:45 - Trumpet

Wednesday 9/20 at 7:45 - Percussion

Thursday 9/21 at 7:45 - Clarinet

Friday 9/22 at 7:45 - Flute


5th Grade Band News

5th graders are placing orders for instruments and getting everything lined up to join our band program during the week of September 25.  If you haven’t made arrangements yet for your 5th grader to join the band…

There is still time to go to and place a rental order, or

There are still some school instruments available to borrow.  I can’t promise you’ll get your first choice, but it’s not to late to sign up!

3rd and 4th Grade Music News

During the next week or two, third and fourth graders will begin their study of the recorder.  The school provides these instruments, so you don’t need to send anything in.


Interested in volunteering in our schools?
Want to know what volunteer opportunities are currently available?

If you answered 'yes' to either of the above questions, please take 2 minutes to fill out our Volunteer Opportunities form!  Our district Coordinator of Volunteers will use this database to reach out to interested individuals throughout the year.  Filling out this form allows us to tailor messages to activities you may be interested in assisting with. 

Thanks in advance!


What’s Happening Outside

Hello and welcome to a new year! I am truly delighted to be at MCS as the LEEEP coordinator!  LEEEP stands for Learning through Environmental and Experiential Education Projects and was started at MCS 25 years ago(!) by Lindsay Putnam.  Lindsay passionately devoted herself to building the program and, thanks to her efforts and the support of the community, it has become an important part of our school’s culture.  Generations of MCS students have a closer relationship to, and understanding of, the natural world as a result of this program and I feel honored to carry on this proud tradition and important work. 

I have been working with Lindsay and the grade level teams to learn what has been done in the past.  I plan to use my experience as a science teacher to build on this foundation and incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into outdoor and experiential learning in a way that inspires and empowers the next 25 years of MCS students.  I believe that students get the most out of their learning when it’s fun and engaging and the connections are clear and relevant.  I am looking forward to a great year of exploring science outside (and in the lab) with your kids!

It takes a village!  Please complete volunteer paperwork if you are interested in helping out in the forest, meadow, creek, river, on field trips etc.  Also, we have such a brilliant community! Feel free to reach out if you have a related area of expertise that you are interested in coming to share with a class. 

All my best,


Grade level highlights in LEEEP Weeks 1 & 2:

Kindergarten: Introduction to Forest Friday.  Exploring our forest with so much curiosity and wonder!

1st Grade: Learning to be naturalists.  Exploring the meadow with our senses, finding lots of crickets and a visit from a monarch butterfly expert, Elizabeth Howard.

2nd Grade: Introduction to plant adaptations and seed dispersal.  Fun and beautiful milkweed seed “race”.

3rd Grade: Ecological connections in the forest and intro to systems thinking.   Mycelial Network yoga exploration,  Web of life and Triangles games and exploring living and nonliving things in our forest ecosystem.  Finding and learning about the impact of “jumping worms”, an invasive species we found in our forest.

4th Grade: Introduction to Energy. How does energy get into our food?  Why do we need energy to live?  Harvesting veggies and eating salsa from the MCS garden and calculating the energy in the 7 pounds of tomatoes we picked!

5th Grade:  Introduction to scientific tools and measurement.  Using the metric system to measure tomato mass, pea volume and garden bed area.

6th Grade:  Intro to scientific method. Next week we will be out preparing garden beds for a fall planting and designing an experiment to test the effects of soil amendments on our lettuce, spinach, and radish crops.


Update on Cards/Letters for Ukraine

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to catch you all up on a heartwarming story that has been months in the making.

In November of 2022 our kindergarten and 5th grade classes wrote letters of support/hope/love/happiness and sent them off to Sophia, a kindergarten teacher in Kyiv, Ukraine. The plan was that they would receive them by year's end and the holiday season.

After 8 months, on August 6 our parcel finally arrived!

Below are some slideshows, correspondences from Sophia, and photo’s of their letters in Kyiv. Sophia’s words will speak volumes of the impact that all your children have had by sharing their support through words and pictures. And from myself, thank you to all of MCS for this support. You made a difference! You’ve warmed the hearts of more people than you’ll ever know.


Matt Buck


Slideshows shared with MCS students to prepare their letter writing:

Cards for Ukraine (K/1)

Letters to Ukraine (G5)


From Sophia:


Hello!))) Finally I received this long-awaited package)) Almost 8 months of waiting, but I believe that everything comes to us on time, when it is most needed((( By the way, that Sunday I met a guy who works for FedEx and he said that they don’t work in Ukraine now and said that the package will come through some other company. You just have to wait and then a miracle happens!

Mett, these drawings and letters are incredible!  They have so much attention and children's emotions! I thank you very much for doing such a great job on the translation of the letters, I have no words to convey all my gratitude and respect to you! Thank you to all your beautiful family and your students for your support and care! It has no price! I promise that my children and I will look at every card and picture and record a video!


When you receive a lot of love and support from your family, don’t you want to give even more? Now I have a wish to give even more, it is very important to me! Although I can’t thank you as much as I want, I want to share the emotions that surround me and everyone around me.


I want to share another pleasant story with you.

Today, my children and I held an exhibition of letters and drawings sent to us by the students of the Boston School in support of Ukrainian children due to the war.

Letters went to Ukraine for 8 months, because the postal shipment was lost. we have almost given up hope of seeing them, everything that is done is done for the better and we got the pictures at the time when we needed them the most.

We wanted to share these pictures and emotions with other Ukrainians!)) During the exhibition, we got to know different people, and even with those who have friends in Boston))). Matt, on behalf of my team, we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to the creation of letters and drawings, and we wish you a peaceful sky, prosperity and always live under your national flag!

PTO News


Thank you to everyone who came out for our first PTO meeting of the year! Our next meeting will be on Thursday, October 5 at 7pm in the MCS library. Hope to see you there!

Class Reps

We are still looking for PTO Room Reps for the following classes: PreK-Morrison, 2nd-Dean, 6th-Grace

Membership Drive Ends Sunday, Sept 24

Returning families, log into Membership toolkit or check your email to update your family information--be sure to change your child's homeroom teacher-- and to renew your membership!

New familiesplease register for the PTO Directory and consider becoming a dues paying member to support PTO programs. We also use the directory for PTO email communications. If you become a member, you will have access to the online and/or print directory to help you get in touch with other families. Even if you choose not to have your information displayed in the directory, please join to keep informed of PTO community events. Directions for joining the directory

Membership dues can be paid by cash or check payable to Norwich School District. Please include your child's name, and what directory access you'd like (print only, online only, or both). Drop off payments in the MCS Main Office or send your payment in with your student.