• Heard it at School: Student's creation is now on the menu for schools
    By Josh O'Gorman
    Staff Writer | September 30,2013
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    Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo

    Marty Irion, left, of Sodexo Food Service, presents Reese Shattuck with prizes won for his Thanksgiving salad recipe. The recipe also won the Northeast District competition and is now being used in several school systems. Besides a couple cookbooks, Shattuck received a new multi-speed juice fountain machine.
    Six months ago, I covered the third annual Future Chefs: Healthy Snack Challenge, an Iron Chef-style cooking competition among fourth- and fifth-graders at Rutland Intermediate School.

    The competition challenged students to come up with a healthy salad, and when the smoke had cleared and the salad greens had settled, fifth-grader Reese Shattuck took the top honors for his “Thanksgiving salad,” which included dried cranberries, slices of Granny Smith apples, fried onions and turkey. At the time of his victory, Shattuck won a collection of cooking utensils and a $50 gift card to iTunes.

    Near the end of the event, I asked Marty Irion — food service director for Rutland City Schools — if Reese's dish will ever end up on a school dining tray.

    “Absolutely,” Irion said at the time, “especially with these kinds of salads. They could end up on the menu.”

    Well, this past Tuesday, Reese received an additional award because his recipe was picked up by Sodexo, the company that provides food service for Rutland City Schools. Students in other schools with Sodexo services are now dining on Thanksgiving salad, most likely without any notion the recipe came from a fellow student.

    Take a bow, Reese.

    Are fourth-graders really falling behind?

    I wrote a story that ran Thursday with the following lead: “Fourth-graders are falling behind in science, according to a report released Thursday by the state Agency of Education.”

    The story was based upon test results from this past May, and the results showed a 6 percent drop in the number of fourth-graders who were rated “proficient or better,” meaning they scored a three or higher on a test scored on a scale of one to four.

    When I spoke of students falling behind, I looked at how our state's fourth-graders are doing over time, not how our students are doing in comparison to fourth-graders across the United States. I've received some comments asserting the only way to measure how our students are doing — and whether they are falling behind or not — is to compare them to students from other states.

    If we are going to look at education as a competition, we should look at the competition as being not with peers across states, but across time. Are students learning more complex topics at an earlier age than children did in generations past?

    The test scores from Thursday came from the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, and according to the state Agency of Education, fourth-graders in Vermont's fellow NECAP states — New Hampshire and Rhode Island — also saw their scores drop compared to 2012. Let's have a brief look at this test, shall we?

    The 2013 science section poses a hypothetical scenario in which a fourth-grade class is growing strawberries, both inside the classroom and outside in a garden. The students quickly notice the plants outside are flowering, while the plants inside are not, and realize the outside plants are being pollinated by bees. The student taking the test is given the task of collecting data to determine the best way to pollinate the flowers inside.

    In 2012, fourth-graders were given a collection of materials — from paper to tin foil — and a light bulb. They were then tasked with determining which materials were conductors and which were insulators. I can only assume this task was safer than it sounds.

    I don't know about you, but I wasn't collecting and analyzing data in the fourth grade. Fourth grade was all about rote memorization — states and capitals, presidents — and unraveling the mysteries of the fraction. I would submit that today's fourth-graders have a more rigorous course of science study than previous generations, and in that sense, the lead of my story was incorrect. If you measure education across generations, today's fourth-graders are not falling behind at all.

    Be like Neil Sedaka

    He loved, he loved his calendar girl, at least according to his 1961 song. The community can show its love for the Benson Village School by purchasing a community calendar. Calendar sales will support the eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C.

    Calendars are $8 apiece, which includes five calendar listings. Advertising space for businesses is also available, with ads ranging from $35 to $50. Calendars can be purchased either at the school or from an eighth-grader, if you happen to know one. Questions? Call the school at 537-2491 or send email to Miss Moyer at emoyer@arsu.org.

    “And as the seasons roll by

    No matter how hard I try

    Summer will end and the leaves will turn again.”

    — Maroon 5

    The leaves are certainly doing what they should be doing right now, but hopefully they'll hold out long enough for Wells Village School's fall foliage 5K run-walk. The event is happening Oct. 19 — with a rain date for the following day — and all proceeds will benefit the Wells PTO. Registration is $10 for adults, $5 for students a maximum of $40 for a family.

    For more information, email Christine Scarlotta at tine_vt@hotmail.com.

    Good times.


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