Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ripton resident to join Shumlin administration

Riptonite Lawrence Miller was named to a state government post in the new Shumlin administration.

Shumlin on Monday named Ripton resident and Otter Creek Brewing founder Lawrence Miller to serve as his secretary of commerce and community development at the forefront of what he called his “job creation team.” That came a week after Shumlin selected Ferrisburgh resident Beth Robinson to serve as his general counsel.

Shumlin told the Associated Press that in choosing the top leadership for his administration he is looking for “competence, vision and the ability to get tough things done.

“The decisions we’re making in the next two weeks will determine how successful we are over the next two years,” he added.

Miller, 44, currently CEO for Middlebury-based Danforth Pewter, said he is looking forward to his new job.

“Wrestling through it was tough, but as I thought my way through it, it became easy,” he said during an interview with the Addison Independent. “There are very few opportunities to ‘return the favor’ that come along in this way. I have benefited from the support of a great many people in developing Otter Creek and in the other businesses I have worked on … and when I thought about where that has brought me, I could not refuse.”

Congratulations, Lawrence!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Riptonite Andrea Chesman's holiday recipe

Riptonite Andrea Chesman has two Thanksgiving recipes featured in the Burlington Free Pree. They are cider-braised sweet potatoes with apples and crunchy roasted Brussels sprouts. Read on and enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ripton Community Thanksgiving Tuesday Nov.29 @ noon

The Friends of Ripton School (F.O.R.S.) is sponsoring a Community Thanksgiving Meal at the Ripton Community House on Tuesday November 29th at 12 noon. If you would like to help with the event, donate a food item, or if you know someone who might need a meal delivery, contact Lisa Durante 388-1062, or Connie Trudeau 388-0860.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Riptonite seeks Vermont House position

Ripton resident and representative Willem Jewett is aiming for the Vermont House majority whip position, according to the Addison Independent.

It’s a leadership role in which Jewett, 47, would be charged with two main tasks: Gathering key information from House committee rooms and communicating it to other lawmakers and citizens; and counting votes likely to be cast by party faithful prior to major referenda being decided on the House floor.

In his own words,

“When it comes down to it (lawmaking) is about people; it’s about relationships,” said Jewett, who would have to limit his work on the House Judiciary Committee in order to fulfill his majority whip assignments. “Those relationships are what make us successful, not the specifics of any particular policy, but how we communicate with each other.”

Go Willem!

Monday, November 1, 2010

School Board meeting tonight:

Rough notes on tonight's School Board meeting:

(This post describes a long discussion about recent events in the school, concerning the decision not to have Halloween celebrations, and a student petition about that holiday. Several corrections have been added.)

Asked to describe "the full story", principal Marta Beede described a petition for having holiday celebrations, concerning multiple holidays wrapped together. A meeting was held, discussing Christmas and Hanukah holidays, not around Halloween.
An all-school meeting was held, discussing laws around holidays. Celebrations had to include an educational purpose, and had to include more than one holiday. Overall, this issue can become a teachable moment, exploring multiple traditions.
Marta expressed excitement that students were adding their ideas, through all-school meetings and other venues. It's a continuing process. She doesn't want to get rid of holidays, but to broaden students' horizons. Students can even create their own traditions.
Re: opinions of Halloween, Marta heard several sides: some students were (too) scared, while others valued it.

Discussion: parents reported that two students started a petition, but were told to tear it up. The principal denied having ordered this, and expressed surprise.

A former student read from the Bill of Rights, arguing that "saying the petition is wrong goes against the Constitution".

The ACSU superintendant (administrator) supported the principal.

One parent wanted the students to be involved.

In answer to a question, the principal explained the Halloween celebrations were banned for several reasons, including:

  • an unspeficied law
  • problems in integrating the holiday with educational missions
  • following the drift of other schools, which apparently have toned down or canceled their own celebrations
  • the logistical issues of integrating celebrations into the flow of the school day
  • equity problems of children without costumes.

A former student challenges the religious challenge to the holiday. Principal responded that there were different issues involved.

A parent challenges the timing issue, saying that festivities are scheduled in activity time.

Another parent mentions the importance of respect, and letting people not participate if they choose not to.

One parent saw the petition as central to the story, and needed to be researched.
Another thought her children were worried that the petition would get them in trouble.

Communication w/parents was asked about: the mechanism was teachers talking to students.
Another parent mentioned that this broke down, leading to misinformation.

One parent mentioned that her child had a great experience. Principal reminded us of the diversity of opinions involved.

A general discussion explored the different ways Ripton celebrated Halloween over time.

Solutions aired and discussed:

  1. A petition night, involving students.
  2. A Board member proposed a collaborating writing exercise, involving the principle, the 5/6 teacher and students.
  3. Bring back Halloween in 2011.
  4. Request for an apology.

Conclusion: a process is beginning, involving students and parents.

These notes are a best attempt at summarizing a rich, fast, and intense discussion. Please add corrections and amendments in comments!

No Ripton school Halloween this year

The Ripton school did not have a Halloween celebration this year, for the first time in a long while. There was no parade, no hay ride, no scary stories, nor any haunted house, apparently (and please correct if this is wrong).

What do you think, Riptonites and friends? As a community, have we decided as a whole to separate the public school from the Halloween holiday?

-Bryan Alexander, one of the Riptonites team, and a parent