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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, we house Head Start and an Early Head Start program at CES and the district’s School Readiness Coordinator’s office is on site. CES serves approximately 485 students in our fully inclusive school.
The staff of CES is composed of 52 certified staff members, 30 classified staff members, four Child Development Associates, two Occupational Therapists, one Physical Therapist,, one Principal and one Assistant Principal. 95.3% of our certified staff have a Masters Degree 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 are essential to the instruction at a primary school.
Students at CES are explicitly taught specific reading skills and strategies that build early foundational skills and strategies to become proficient readers. Instruction is delivered to whole-class and flexible small-groups to meet individual learning needs and allows time for independent reading time for students to practice their skills. Students read high-interest complex texts daily during Reader’s Workshop and get opportunities to read and talk about texts with partners. Our kindergarteners receive at least 60 minutes of reading instruction and our 1st & 2nd graders receive 90 minutes of reading instruction.
Eureka Math allows for hands-on learning of mathematics and enhances students' understanding of numeracy. Students in need of math support receive interventions in classrooms or virtually depending on need. 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 (one for math and one for reading) focusing on small group instruction and skill development.
Teachers College Reading and Writing Program (TCRWP) has enhanced student writing in all grades. Additionally, students read and write about various topics in social studies and science.
Typically at CES, students in grades PK-2 have five specials each week, including art, music, media, and physical education (2x/week), which includes ten lessons per year of health instruction. During the 2020-2021 school year to support the cohort model during COVID-19, students will participate in one specials class every day for a two week period before switching to a different specials class for the next two week period. Technology education is integrated daily. All CES classrooms include display boards and computers. All students in grades pre-k through grade 1 will be issued an iPad. All students in second grade will be issued a Chromebook.
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.). “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.
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. Our district makes available weekly communications to parents that may contain the monthly newsletter or other happenings, available electronically, called the Digital Backpack. Our district also supports and maintains a secure parent portal (PowerSchool) that allows all parents access to their child’s attendance records and they can update information such as phone numbers, address, emergency contacts, transportation, and more.
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 supported through fundraising efforts. Two book fairs, Family Game Night, and a science night are just a few of the many activities sponsored by the PTO. The PTO has a tab under Colchester Elementary School on our website.
Each year, we start our school year with an all-school assembly, designed to focus on students’ personal goals and school wide expectations. This year we will hold this assembly virtually. 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, to name a few. Depending on the status of the pandemic, these events may have to be held virtually.
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."