Holland Elementary School
Preschoolers learning social skills through play.
Students are making Ooblick.
Illustrating a story during Literacy Week.
Team work is common at Holland.
HES students joined Derby students at Siskins for a day of winter activities.
Students making snow forts.
Maddox Lakin climbing the rock wall at Siskins
- Below please see the letter that is in this year's Holland Town Report.
A Letter from the Principal
Recently a Holland School parent shared with me something her daughter told her. She said, “I am so glad I go to Holland School; I just love the connection we all have.” The student went on to say that she was proud of the school, feels at home there, and is glad she doesn’t see bullying happen.
One of my greatest goals as the principal at Holland has been to create a sense of community within the school for our children — a place where they feel safe, connected, and valued. The staff at Holland emphasizes this sense of community-building in all we do. From the organization of our classrooms into younger and older communities, to the structure of our teaching, students continuously hear that they both are part of a community and have a responsibility to it.
We use a Responsive Classroom approach which is a way of teaching that emphasizes social and emotional growth, as well as academic growth, while emphasizing a safe school community. Structures such as morning meeting and closing circle act as bookends to the day, providing time for students to prepare for the day’s learning and reflect on the day’s events with guidance and support from adults in the classroom.
At Holland, we believe it is very important to teach social and emotional skills, which happens in many ways over the course of the day. While there are always teachable moments that allow adults to help students problem solve, we proactively teach skills and habits such as cooperation, responsibility, empathy, and perseverance. Academic structures help teach students social and emotional skills alongside their academics. These structures include, but are not limited to — student choice in what and how they learn, problem-based assignments and projects, cooperative learning, group conversations, and independent and guided practice.
In addition, connecting the community to the school is always at the forefront as teachers plan their units of study. Project-based learning provides a structure that supports this. Through this approach, students identify a world or community issue. Then through research and the aid of experts — often in the form of local community members — students develop solutions and products. All students at Holland Elementary School have been engaged in PBL units the past three years, many of which have involved the Holland community. Students have researched and written a book on Holland’s history, as well as interviewed community members and written their biographies. They have hosted a public forum on recycling, invited in local experts to share their knowledge, and hosted many celebrations at which they have demonstrated their learning to the public. We greatly value this partnership that the staff and students share with the community.
In making decisions about the future of Holland Elementary School and its students, I think hard each day about the expectations we hold for our students – both academically and socially. In creating a budget, and a plan for educating your children, I attempt to put in place what is needed to help students meet those expectations. As we look to fiscal year 2019, the school budget being proposed to the townspeople is one that reflects student needs and programming. There are no significant areas of increase and staffing is anticipated to remain the same, including the principal’s position at 80 percent.
I am incredibly proud of the education Holland’s staff is providing students. The children are challenged and engaged in rigorous learning that is relevant and authentic. Daily, wonderful things are happening at school. Students are taking pride in their work, using their social learning to be positive role models for each other, taking on the responsibility of caring for the school, and sharing their learning with each other and the community. Students are growing into reflective and conscientious learners, embodying our supervisory union’s commitment to character, competence, creativity, and community.
Thank you for the continued opportunity to serve as Holland’s principal and for your ongoing support and commitment to all that the school’s staff and I do.
Kelli Dean, Principal
Holland Elementary School operates on the belief that all students have the right to learn in a caring, safe, and orderly environment. To promote this belief, home, school, and community will work together to enable all students to become responsible, respectful, lifelong learners.
Holland Elementary School (HES) provides educational opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital/civil union status, or any other characteristic protected by Federal or State law. HES provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.
For questions regarding this policy please contact: Leanne Desjardins 802-334-5847 ext. 2022 or Richard Smith 802-334-5847 ext. 2028