Greetings! We celebrated our 100th day of school this month. Preschoolers brought in snack items and students counted out 10 pieces of 10 different snacks to total 100 snacks. Kindergarteners practiced counting by fives and by 10s to reach 100. First graders did several counting and estimating games. Second graders had an ice cube race.

The Farm to School program is a wonderful benefit to our school. This is a national program which involves bringing fresh, locally grown foods from farms into the school with the goal of increasing both students' interest in healthy foods and their support for local farming. Each month Farm to School volunteers and local farmers team with different classes to offer taste testing experiences for students, introducing them to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Crazy carroty muffins and rutabaga fries have been favorites so far. This letter from the preschoolers to a local farmer reflects the success of the program. The students wrote:

"We had fun hearing about the many unusual colors of vegetables that you can grow at your farm. We were surprised to learn that you could grow purple or red carrots, purple broccoli, and tomatoes have green stripes of purple smudges!

We are going to order some seed catalogues so we can look more closely at some of our favorite vegetables and colors. This spring, we will plant some seeds in our classroom, maybe beans and marigolds. Later in the spring, we would like to take a field trip and visit your farm.

We like these vegetables and think you should grow them at your farm: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, lettuce, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, snap peas, spinach, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips, and zucchini. We also like fruits, such as apples, blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon. We like flowers of all colors, too!

We are glad that you are our farmer friend this year."

Now that's positive thinking!

We are very proud to be hosting community art shows. Exemplary art work from all grades is currently being displayed at the St. Johnsbury Welcome Center. In March student art work will be shown at the Athenaeum, and in April, at the hospital.

We recently held the second Coffee Shop, a venue for student musicians to perform. Many, many people turned out, and the students' singing and dancing electrified the air. I was so impressed with the students' courage to perform in front of an audience and with their talent. Students are already planning what they will do for the third Coffee Shop.

I have been meeting with middle school students in their advisories, and I congratulate them for their courtesy, respect, and valuable ideas. In identifying strengths of our school, they have described its welcoming spirit, the awards assemblies and morning announcements that celebrate student success, our ticket system that promotes a positive climate, and teachers who care.

We take pride in our school, our students, and our accomplishments. In one of the class newsletters recently, a teacher wrote, "I'm excited that the students are showing tremendous progress, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year!" There is excitement, passion and energy as adults and students work together and gain strength as a learning community. Best wishes for February!

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