Colchester Elementary School
Colchester Elementary School (CES), designed for Colchester’s youngest citizens in preschool through grade two, opened its doors in September 2006. CES is home to the Colchester Early Childhood Program for students ages 3 to 5. In addition, there is a Head Start program and an Early Head Start program housed at CES and the district’s School Readiness Coordinator’s office is on site. CES serves approximately 608 students in our fully inclusive school. This year, we have six half day kindergarten sessions, two full day kindergarten, nine grade one classes and ten grade two classes. Class size ranges, on the average, from 18 – 22 students.
The staff of CES is composed of 52 certified staff members, 35 classified staff members, 2 Child Development Associates, 2 Occupational Therapists, 1 Physical Therapist, 1 Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant, one Principal and one Assistant Principal. 95.3% of our certified staff have Master's Degrees or above and average 18.2 years of experience in Colchester or beyond. All our paraprofessionals have either an Associate’s Degree, accumulated 60 college credits or have passed the ParaPro exam.
Teaching reading, math and social skills is essential to the instruction at a primary school. Reading is taught using the Scott Foresman Reading Street in Grade 2, SRA Open Court in Grades K and 1 and a Scott Foresman Early Reading Intervention program in Kindergarten.. In addition to program assessments, DIBELS Next (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) is a universal assessment administered three times a year to all students K-2 by a team of educators. STAR Reading Enterprise assessment in Grade 2 to align with JJIS and WJJMS. The data generated is used to drive instructional decisions and to identify students in need of intervention. Grade two students take the DRP (Degree of Reading Power) twice a year to measure reading comprehension. Students identified for reading support may receive assistance both in classrooms as well as through a pull-out model. Read Naturally software edition is used in the classroom to work on oral reading rate, accuracy, and comprehension.
Math is instructed using the Every Day Math 3 program. AIMSweb (Achievement Improvement Monitoring System) serves as our universal assessment for math skill development, administered to all students K-2 three times a year. Students in need of math support receive interventions in classrooms. Students in first and second grade receive a minimum of 60 minutes of whole group reading and math instruction daily. Kindergarten children receive a 40-minute whole group reading and math instruction each day. In addition to whole group instruction in math and reading, all students participate in a daily 40-minute workshop focusing on small group instruction and skill development for reading and math. Grade one and two students are instructed in narrative writing and their progress is measured using writing prompts three times a year. Students in grades K-2 study various topics in social studies and science.
At CES, students in grades K-2 have five specials each week, including art, music, media, and physical education (2x/week), which includes ten lessons per year of health instruction. Technology education is integrated into weekly library media instruction. All CES classrooms are technologically complete with SmartBoards and up to four computers.
At the core of all instruction are three school rules infused into the curriculum and throughout the school day: Take care of yourself; Take care of each other; Take care of our school. These three simple rules are posted throughout our building, on the playground and on school buses to help guide student behavior and serve as the cornerstone of our mission to help young children develop and learn. As a State of Connecticut Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) elementary school, a safe and supportive climate for student learning is provided. We recognize that behavior and academics must be integrated in order for children to be successful. We focus on C.A.R.E.S. character traits of Cooperation, Assertion, Respect/Responsibility, Empathy and Self-Control (C.A.R.E.S.). Students are recognized for exemplary behavior with Caring Cardinal Coupons. “CC,” our school mascot, encourages children as they Soar to Success at CES, a school that C.A.R.E.S.
The Colchester Early Childhood Program (CEC) helps preschoolers grow in many areas including language, social interaction, pre-literacy and numeracy, fine and gross motor, and cognitive skills. The Preschool Assessment Framework, developed by the State Department of Education, is used as a basis for the curriculum and progress reporting. Children participate in the program both as role models and as students identified with special education needs.
At CES, we are committed to supporting the family's role in the education of children. Each year we offer one fall and one optional spring parent conference. The conference serves to enhance the home/school connection. Report cards are sent home on a trimester basis. Each year, prior to the start of school, we host a Meet and Greet, providing students and families the opportunity to meet the teachers and see the classrooms as well as reconnect with friends. We host a fall Open House, where the children serve as guides for their families and teachers share information about grade level curricula. Story Time is held five times a year, designed to help transition those children eligible for kindergarten in the upcoming year and to educate families about the registration process, curriculum, and school adjustment.
Communication is encouraged in a variety of ways as we partner with families. Each preschool classroom writes a communication to parents daily. Kindergarten teachers write weekly newsletters; teachers in grades one and two write monthly or a quarterly newsletter. In addition, a school newsletter, The Principal of the Matter is published each month to keep students’ families informed of events and activities at CES. Our district makes available weekly communications to parents that may contain the monthly newsletter or other happenings, available via both electronically, called the Digital Backpack, or in paper form. Our district also supports and maintains a secure parent portal (PowerSchool) that allows all parents access to their child’s attendance record, homework assignments (posted daily) and data (posted weekly). Universal screening/benchmark assessment results in reading and math are also posted three times a year.
Student safety is critical at CES. All students travel the halls with a buddy. All staff members wear picture identification tags and all visitors must show a picture ID.
CES has an incredibly active PTO, which is instrumental in providing experiences for our students. School-wide activities, grade level programming and family activities are paid for through fund raising efforts. A magazine drive, two book fairs, and a science night are just four of the many activities sponsored by the PTO. The PTO has an informative website that can be viewed at cespto.org.
Each year, we start our school year with an all-school assembly, designed to focus on students’ personal goals and school wide expectations. At an end of year assembly, we celebrate our accomplishments complete with a powerpoint presentation of the year in pictures. We partner with our community as we celebrate Veterans Day, Jump Rope for Heart, Dr. Seuss' Birthday/ Read Across America and Older American Month. Students who participate in our summer reading program, held in conjunction with support from the Cragin (Public) Library, earn an opportunity to read with a therapy dog as we “Paws to Read.”
We invite you to contact us if we may answer any question or address any issue. We thank parents and community members for their support as we build on our partnerships to strengthen our "Community of Enthusiastic Learners."
Additional information about our school can be found on our Strategic School Profile.