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Thursday, December 02, 2021



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RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2021-22

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - November 19, 2021

Dear Families,Nov19morningdance

We are enjoying a warm Friday! It’s been very nice day and week. The day started off with the traditional  Friday dancing at recess (see picture) and later we gathered for a community meeting led by the 3rd grade students. The forest classrooms were busy with activity throughout the day. Music was in the air, with Mr. Bolles teaching some classes outdoors. There is an attached letter because K-5th grades will be having guest presenters starting next week teaching positive social skills for healthy relationships.

Students are working very hard everyday and are continuously being challenged to grow and learn. I encourage you all to appreciate the effort it takes to do the job of school and to let your child know you expect them to work hard every day. The teachers and staff at Westshire believe that all students can and will learn with quality instruction, and caring support. Thanks for being part of this encouragement and support with us!

Upcoming Events: 

  • November 24th - 26th : Thanksgiving Break No School
  • December 23rd-31st Holiday Break No School

Community Announcements:

  • Vershire Ice Rink Build – November 20th 9:00 AM (See attachment)
  • Rivendell Rec Basketball 2021
    Registration for grades Pre - K - 6 is open Register online at https://www.rivendellrec.com
    Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.
    Today, 11/19/21 is the LAST day to register, Late registrations will not be accepted.



Message from Melissa Zoerheide - November 12, 2021

Dear Families,
I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is two weeks away. This school year is flying by! I hope you were able to meet with your child’s teacher this week and learned more about their successes thus far.

Vaccination Clinic on November 19th 11:00am-1:00pm
We will be hosting Upper Valley Pediatric clinics at Westshire, all students ages 5-11 years old can receive the COVID19 Vaccine with the completed parent/guardian consent form. Consent forms are going home in backpacks and are included in this newsletter.

Please send your student(s) with back up masks (2) in their backpacks. We do our best to wash and reuse any cloth masks that might end up dirty or lost outside but we are running low on our supply of disposable masks that the school has on hand.

Holiday Supports
The holiday seasons are coming up quickly! We have two wonderful community programs that can support families during these times and with Covid-19 we know that it has only made it harder.

The Angel Tree
The Angel Tree has been running for 6 years helping Westshire families. Applications went home in your student(s) folders this week. Please know that these are kept in the highest confidence, and we hope that you will fill them out for items that your student(s) needs! Applications are due by November 22nd.

Operation for Santa
Operation Santa Claus marks its 43rd year of giving to children in the communities of Bradford, Piermont, Fairlee, West Fairlee, Corinth, Orford, Topsham, Vershire and Newbury. Volunteers plan, shop, select and pack gifts for approximately 180 children each year. Giving gifts of warm clothing, safe, non-violent toys/games, arts & crafts, child friendly food, stockings of personal items and books. Applications are attached to the newsletter email. Applications are due by November 19th!

Have a great weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide, Principal

 Upcoming Events

  • November 19th : Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic
  • November 24th - 26th : Thanksgiving Break No School
  • December 23rd-31st Holiday Break No School


Message from Melissa Zoerheide - November 5, 2021

Dear Families,
It’s a beautiful time of year to be outdoors, as long as you’ve got enough layers on! The preschoolers were breaking the layers of ice that formed in the trucks in the sandbox this morning!
I want to send out a huge thank you to the entire Westshire team for providing a consistent and positive week for kids. I’m very thankful for the work ethic and kindness we have at Westshire and always putting our kids first.
Reminder we will not have school on Thursday November 11th. Don’t forget to sign up for conference times if you haven’t already for Thursday November 11th using this link https://www.ptcfast.com/schools/Westshire. Please let us know if you have any issues with sign up.

We will have a vaccination clinic available for 5-11 years old on November 19th 11:30am-1:30pm. Please see link with informational zoom session regarding vaccination information and more details on the vaccination clinic.

The “After the Bell” program will begin on Monday November 22nd for Monday- Wednesday evenings. Please see the flyer for more information.

Thank you and have a great weekend!
Melissa Zoerheide

Upcoming Events

  • November 11th- No School (Veterans Day/ Conferences)
  • November 19th 11:30 - 1:30 - Vaccination Clinic for 5-11 year olds
  • November 24th - 26th Thanksgiving Break no school


Message from Melissa Zoerheide - October 30, 2021

Dear Families,
We’ve had rain, sun, clouds, warmth, cold this week. Get those jackets and hats on! We’ll keep having outdoor recess and forest classroom time unless it is rainy or super cold. Let Karen Ward This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. know if getting these cold weather items is a financial hardship and she will reach out to the local community resources to make sure everyone is warm.

Many students are excited about Halloween. This year Halloween falls on a Sunday. If you and your family decide to go trick-or-treating on Sunday, I urge you to go on the earlier side of the evening to make sure a good night’s sleep can happen, and your child(ren) can be rested for school on Monday. The Rivendell Trails Association is organizing a Jack O’ Lantern Walk right here at school on Saturday. Oct. 30th 5 – 6:30 pm, if you are looking for a fun alternative to going trick-or-treating.

Parent-teacher conferences are being scheduled. Please use this link to sign up https://www.ptcfast.com/schools/Westshire. The Westshire conference are done with the student present. Your child will share work and update you about learning this year. The conferences are a great chance to ask questions and to get to know how your child is doing in school, both academically and socially. This year there will be 2 conferences and 2 report cards. The first report card of the year will be in January and the second will be in June. Our conferences this year are November and March.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe weekend!
Melissa Zoerheide

Upcoming Events

  • November 3rd- Picture Retake Day
  • November 11th- No School (Veterans Day/ Conferences)
  • November 24th - 26th Thanksgiving Break no school

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - October 22, 2021

Dear Families,
We are really getting into the swing of things going into our 8th week of school. With the change of the season the colder weather is upon us so please make sure that your student has warmer jackets and footwear for being outside. As the weather is getting colder, we have begun on some days having students come inside to eat.

We are so excited to have filled our Title 1 Math Interventionist and Title 1 Reading Interventionist (long term sub for Mrs. Griffin while she is covering the 4th grade classroom) positions. Title 1 is a federally funded program that supports students that are close to meeting the academic standard but need a little extra support to get there. Leda Rodis (Math) and Charlene Leonard (Reading) have been able to help our teachers complete the fall student assessments these last few weeks and will begin working with some students next week. If your student is in need of some additional support in math and or reading, you will be receiving paperwork home for you to review and sign so they may meet with them on a regular basis. All the assessment information is helpful for teachers to target their lessons.
Our conferences are on November 11th, and we will have the conference sign up form going out next week.

With these strange times of supply shortages, there may be impacts to our school lunch menu from time to time as we are not always able to get the supplies we order. There may be days where we may have to change the lunch menu on short notice. We will to the best of our ability let you know in advance of menu changes. However, please understand it is not always possible.
Thank you and have a great weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide

Upcoming Events

  • October 25th-27th Dental Van
  • November 3rd- Picture Retake Day
  • November 11th- No School (Veterans Day/ Conferences)
  • November 24th - 26th Thanksgiving Break no school

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - October 15, 2021

Dear Families,
This Friday message is a way to highlight some of the many things that are happening at Westshire.
This week we had picture day! Next week we will have the Scholastic book fair on Wednesday and Thursday (see the attached form, which will go home in backpacks on Monday).

The 5th graders go every other week to Hulbert Outdoor Center to utilize the outdoor facilities and have started out focusing on teamwork. Hulbert staff work with school groups throughout the year, and we are very fortunate to have this opportunity for our students. One highlight the 5th graders shared was the low and high ropes course.

Our forest classrooms, local streams, and bridges have been put to good use as students learned and played outdoors this week. I smell the apple sauce that the 2nd grade has cooking!

Upcoming Events:

  • October 20th - 21st - Book Fair
  • October 25th-27th Dental Van
  • November 3rd- Picture Retake Day
  • November 11th- No School (Veterans Day/ Conferences)

Have a great weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - October 8, 2021

Dear Families,
It’s Friday again. After six weeks into the school year, I’m happy to report our student attendance is very good. Thank you for making it a priority to get your student to school. Also, thank you for keeping your child home when sick and following the recommendations for Covid-19 to reduce the chance of spreading viruses in the school building.

Next Wednesday is picture day. Look in your child’s backpack for the information on this.
I hope your family has a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather today!

Upcoming Events

  • October 11th- No School (Teacher In-Service)
  • October 13th-Picture Day
  • October 25th-27th Dental Van
  • November 11th- No School (Veterans Day/ Conferences)

Have a great weekend!
Melissa Zoerheide, Principal

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - October 1, 2021

Dear Families,
It was wonderful to see families here in the classrooms for out “Bring your family to school night” on Wednesday. It was the highlight of my week to see students sharing with their families how they spend their time at school including challenging them to math puzzles and reading and estimation! I hope that if you were able to visit you gained a glimpse into the school world of your child.

The rain brought us in for recess this week and I saw the first winter coats of the school year on just a couple of very warm looking people. Most kids were prepared for the chilly air with sweatshirts and long sleeves. I observed the academic times of all the grades this week and saw students writing letters, reading books, sharing reflections on science and the outdoor world. I also noticed that students are focused and have confidence with most routines.

We are welcoming two new staff members to the Westshire team this week. Leda Rodis just started as our Math Interventionist. She is excited to take on a new role in math instruction and brings with her energy and motivation to support the growth of all students. She started this week working in classrooms during math time and assessing students’ math skills in 1st and 2nd grades.
Jillian Hatch is our new Learning Coach. Jillian is joining us with great energy and enthusiasm for the Westshire Community. She has started in the 3rd grade by forming positive relationships and supporting students.

Parent conferences for Westshire families will be on November 11th . The conference date has changed (from October 8th) in order to make the best use of this important meeting time with parents/guardians. There will be no school on October 8th we will use the pre-scheduled Veteran’s Day holiday to conduct conferences. We began this school year without two critical positions. Our math and reading specialists staff assist our classroom teachers in completing the lengthy math and reading assessments for each individual student. Thankfully these open positions are being filled. However, we will not have the assessment information ready in time for the conferences next week. We hope this is not inconvenient for families and that you will benefit from meeting with teachers that have more information about your child in November. It also allows us time to have more learning and work examples to share. If you would like to meet with your child’s teacher sooner, you can at any time request a meeting.

Have a great weekend!
Melissa Zoerheide, Principal

Upcoming Events

  • October 5th- Flu Shot Clinic
  • October 8th- No School
  • October 11th- No School (Teacher In-Service)
  • October 13th-Picture Day
  • October 25th-27th Dental Van
  • November 11th- No School (Veterans Day/ Conferences)

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - September 17, 2021


Dear Families,
We are sending a Friday newsletter by email each week. In addition, just this week we have printed the newsletter to send home with students. If you are not getting this newsletter in your email contact Ashley Gadapee so that she can get you on the list.

We are having a great week with time for building academic skills and for building relationships during our 1st Ever Westshire Fair! A special thanks to – Eric and Nancy Senecal and Nate Pero for making the special day complete with animals, hayrides, and cotton candy. Take a look at the pictures, it could not have been a more ideal day.

This year teachers are working extra hard on the reading instruction. Kindergarten to 5th grade all have 90-minute literacy blocks, which gives time for whole group instruction, independent reading, and small group work. Additionally, the reading time always end with sharing out of the learning and take away knowledge of the day.

Thank you parents and families for supporting Westshire students by reading together at home as much as possible. Have a great weekend!

Upcoming Events

  • September 23rd- No School Teacher Inservice
  • September 29th -Open House
  • October 5th - Flu Shot Clinic
  • October 13th - Picture Day
  • October 25th-27th - Dental Van

Have a great weekend!

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - September 10, 2021

September 10, 2021 Newsletter

Dear Families,
It has been a busy four-day week! The difficult bus situation has impacted so many parents and caregivers here at Westshire. I want to extend my empathy regarding this complicated and frustrating situation. Currently, we do have a way to get all students home by van. I am working with the district and the bus company to get transportation for all our students both morning and afternoon.

Currently, routines and expectations are being established in all our classrooms. Our goal at Westshire Elementary is to provide a positive caring place for students to experience the excitement and joy of learning. Learning new skills is challenging and hard work, however it is attainable for all students within a supportive environment. During the first six weeks of schoolteachers prioritize building this culture of respect and kindness.

We are looking forward to next week at Westshire because we are having our own fair at the school on Thursday! We will have students rotating 8 stations that range from games, to farm animals, to cotton candy... We had a generous donation of local beef that we will use for a special taco and nacho lunch. The fair day will conclude with a circus performance. Students should dress for being outdoors all-day next Thursday. If it rains, we will have to reschedule for another day.

Upcoming Events

  • September 16th - Westshire's own Fair Day
  • September 23rd- No School Teacher Inservice
  • September 29th -Open House
  • October 5th - Flu Shot Clinic
  • October 13th - Picture Day
  • October 25th-27th - Dental Van

 Have a great weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - September 3, 2021

September 3, 2021 Newsletter

Dear Families,
We have had a successful start to the year! Today is ‘day-eight’ of having students back at school. We are excited, happy, exhausted, and hopeful. It has been beautiful weather for eating outside and being outside! The forest classrooms are being utilized and we will continue our efforts in providing regular outdoor education.

I greatly appreciate the building, grounds, and custodial staff who cleans and improves our physical spaces. We have recently replaced an outdoor storage shed that had fallen apart and now we have a dry space to store preschool bikes, tricycles and other outdoor items. We will continue to work on our indoor and outdoor spaces to maintain and improve them. Thank you in advance to parent/community volunteers who are willing to come in and work on the gardens and landscaping. If you want to join in this effort, let me know.

Upcoming Events

  • Sept 6th Labor Day- No School
  • Sept 8th - Soccer Registration deadline
  • September 16th - Westshire's own Fair Day
  • September 23rd- No School Teacher Inservice
  • September 29th -Open House
  • We were planning on going to our favorite Tunbridge Fair. Sadly, we just found out we are not able to attend this year.

I wish you a happy Friday and a wonderful three-day weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary


Message from Melissa Zoerheide - August 27, 2021

August 27, 2021 Newsletter

Dear Families,
This year you’ll be getting a Friday Newsletter most weeks, with calendar items, special announcements and a little message from me. We started our first week of school with lots of excitement and some of the warmest temperatures of the year! Students will be ready for a restful weekend after learning new routines and being really active at recess. Connecting with parents, families, caregivers is essential to our mission within elementary education. We want to get to know you and share what is happening at school with you.

There are two focus area for our whole school this year, outdoor education and literacy instruction. All our classes will be spending regular time in their outdoor classrooms again this year. Outdoor education at Westshire is a time where we get curious about the outdoor world, have opportunities to discover and play in the forest and learn academic skills and concepts by utilizing nature. I’m excited to share examples about this throughout the year. In the area of literacy, our district is taking on a process of establishing a literacy framework to guide and support teachers and better link each students learning grade to grade as we will have common, shared practices and more collaboration. I can’t wait to share more about this as well.

Upcoming Events

  • Sept 6th Labor Day- No School
  • Sept 8th - Soccer Registration deadline
  • September 23rd- No School Teacher Inservice
  • September 29th -Open House
  • We were planning on going to our favorite Tunbridge Fair. Sadly, we just found out we are not able to attend this year.

Have a great weekend!
Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - August 21, 2021

Dear Families,IMG 4141 webTomorrow, Wednesday is the first day of school. Let us know if you have any questions about the first day logistics.

8:15 AM – The school day begins with our Traditional First Day Parade – Yes, we’ve decided to do this special tradition again this year.

WHAT IS THE PARADE? After the students are dropped off, they will gather behind the school on the pavement, then students will line up behind their teacher and walk with their classmates around the school and enter their classroom.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? The walk around the school will take approximately five minutes.

ARE FAMILIES/PARENTS invited to watch? Yes. We would request that you to drop off your student in front of the school before 8:15 AM, then park your vehicle and gather on the sidewalk to watch the students walk by. We will ask the parents to stay in the designated area to view the parade.

ARE PETS/DOG invited to watch? No, we do not allow pets at the school during the school day.


  • 3:15 PM – Students will be waiting with their teachers and as each vehicle in the line comes close to where the students are waiting we will release them directly into your vehicle. Let us know if there is someone picking up your child other than their primary caregiver (parent).

Have a great day!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

(802) 333-4668; 4105
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Message from Melissa Zoerheide - August 21, 2021

Dear Families,

The first day of school is next Wednesday! We are so excited to see how all the students have grown over the summer!
I wanted to share with you some important information pertaining to the start of our school year.

Classroom Walk-through: Monday August 23rd (Optional)
You and your student are invited to come for a walk through of the student’s classroom on August 23rd at 2:30pm. Masks are required (even if you are vaccinated) during new this optional classroom walk-through. This is just a brief visit for any students or families to see the classroom and say “Hi” to the classroom teacher. This is not required and we did have a step up day last school year, so no need to worry if you can’t make it.

First Day
Our first day of school will be Wednesday August 25th beginning at 8:15. Students should not arrive earlier then 7:30am. Pick up will be at 3:15pm.

Drop Off: Families will stay in their cars, form a line, and drop off in front of the school. We will not be doing health screenings. For new families we will have staff out in the school driveway to direct traffic on the first couple of days.

Pick Up: Family pick up will be at 3:15PM. On Thursdays pick up is at 2:00PM. Parents will stay and cars and form a line behind the busses and students will be waiting with their teachers. As we get to know the new faces, we will ask for names of who you are to be sure we send students with someone that is designated on the paperwork to pick up the student. Make sure we have all the names of who is allowed to pick up your child.

Second Day of School 2:00 PM Pick up (and the same every Thursday)
Please remember that the second day of school is a Thursday and students will be released at 2:00pm.

Free and Reduced Lunches Forms (was sent in the mailing)
We will be providing free lunches to all students again this year. You should have received in the mail a form to fill out for free and reduced lunches. We ask that you please still fill this out even though there will be free lunches for all students, as it will help our school funding. Let Ashley know if you need another copy to fill out.

After- School Program -After the Bell 
Our after-school program will run Monday- Friday for K-5th grade. Program hours will be 3:30-5:30pm with a cost of $12 per student. The tentative start date is the middle of September with the possibility of early October. Please contact Director, Hope Cataldo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. should you have further questions.

Our Elementary students, faculty and staff will continue to be masked while inside. Masks are also required to be worn by all passengers on a bus per federal regulations regardless of age and vaccination status. Masks are not required for anyone while outside. We plan on being in our outdoor classrooms and eating outside as much as possible.

Our district will return to our pre-COVID hours of operation and bus schedule with some minor adjustments to the routes to accommodate the move of the 6th grade to academy.
In addition to regular handwashing, we will continue to ask students and staff to stay home when sick.

Overall there are fewer restrictions and recommendations for COVID-19 this school year. However, the areas of focus will be very important to strictly adhere to and this is likely to be challenging at times, as students and staff will need to remain home and get negative PCR COVID-19 tests before returning to the school. We are not offering the option of remote learning this year as in-person instruction has been deemed the best practice for elementary schools.

All students and staff should stay home if they:

  • Have a fever (temperature greater than 100)
  • Show any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Have been in close contact with an individual(s) who had tested positive for COVID-19

If symptoms begin at school the person will be isolated and sent home as soon as possible.

Bus Schedule 
Attached is the bus schedule and you will want to look for the stop that is closest to your home and then look at the time. On the first day go out early to gain the knowledge of the time that the bus will be arriving at your exact location. The bus drivers will be looking for kids and they will stop at every place they see someone waiting.

Elementary Handbook 
Please review the Westshire Elementary Family and Student Handbook that is attached to this email. Please let us know if you have any questions or need any clarification.

New Staff 

  • Ms. Ashley Gadapee has replaced Mrs. Karen Ward as the Administrative Assistant. Ms. Gadapee will now be your first point of contact if you are calling the school or for any needs that may arise.
  • Mrs. Karen Ward will now be our Student Family Support Specialist
  • Mr. Ryan Vanderbeek is a long-term substitute for Social Emotional Learning Coach
  • Mr. Dylan Bolles is our new Music teacher
  • Ms. Julie McNally is new to our preschool team
  • Ms. Jill Buffum is the new Special Educator for SME and WES Preschools

Hope to see you next week!
Have a great weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

(802) 333-4668; 4105
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Message from Melissa Zoerheide - August 12, 2012

2021 2022 Welcome Back LetterAugust 12, 2021 Newsletter

RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2020-21

Message from Mrs. Gould, School Nurse - May 26, 2021

Dear Families,
As a state expectation for schools, we will be conducting hearing and vision screenings for our students pre-k through 6th grade in both WES and SME over the next couple of weeks.
Schools have been conducting these screenings for years because some vision and hearing issues are not obvious and when undiagnosed, can profoundly impact a child’s learning.
This year some states have waived these screening due to restrictions related to COVID19. We now have the opportunity to safely conduct these screening before the end of the school year.
These screenings are non-invasive, and take less than 30 seconds per student.

Just to give you an idea of what are used for the screening tools and what it looks like during screening:

Vision: The student looks at a small camera type device so a photo can be taken of the students’ eyes.
This usually takes 15 seconds or less.
A trained member of the Lion’s club and Nancy Hall, RA guidance counselor, coordinate the vision screenings and utilize their trained Leos, (2 students from our high school), to assist during the screening day. I will also be present during the screenings.

Hearing: Student puts on headset faces away from person screening. Several quiet tones are given, the student is directed to raise the hand correlated with the side in which they hear the tone.
This takes about 30 seconds or less. (Head set is sanitized between students.)
Meg and I will be working together to conduct the hearing screenings for the grade schools.

** If either screening identifies a possible concern, we will send you the results and may recommend that you follow up with your provider, at your discretion.
These are not full comprehensive exams. These are initial screenings that can be helpful tools to identify abnormalities in hearing and/or vision, or eye disorders. Results from these screenings may prompt you to seek further action with your provider to obtain a more comprehensive exam to be performed by a specialist.

While schools are required to conduct these screenings, they are not mandatory for your student.
You may decline on behalf of your student, and/or your student may decline. We will encourage, but will do force anyone to participate.
If you do not want your student to be included in the screening, please email Jessica Gould by Tuesday 6/1, and your student’s name will be removed from the list.

Please contact me if you have any questions about the screenings.


Jessica Gould, RN
School Nurse

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - May 12, 2021

Dear Families,

It’s spring! Learning and growth are all around us at Westshire!
Thank you to Friends of Rivendell for the teacher appreciation last week. Our teachers and staff continue to amaze me as they teach and inspire each day. Many creative things are happening in the mix of honing math, reading, and writing skills. Thank you Westshire teachers!

Thank you Westshire parents and guardians! Here are some items for you to look over.

  • Thursday May 20th - Kindergarten Screening 2:00 PM
    This is for students who will be in Kindergarten next year. Contact Emily Waterman
  • Thursday May 20th - Title 1 Parent Meeting 5:30 PM

Title 1 meetings via Zoom.

1. The Annual Title 1 Parent meeting will be held on May 20 via Zoom from 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. All parents are invited and are encouraged to attend this meeting. The purpose of the annual Title 1 meeting is to provide information about the schools Title 1 program, the schools requirements under title 1, and parent’s rights to be involved in their children’s education.

RISD Summer Camp
The school district is offering summer camp weekly from July 5 – August 6. Please return your completed packet to school soon since space is limited. The Academy is also running a free summer program for the upper grades and I strongly encourage families to take advantage of these opportunities. Both programs will be free of charge this summer to all students. For more information on all school camps, please contact Charlotte Holt.

Preschool Screening Monday May 24 This is for new preschoolers who are planning on joining us next school year. Contact Heidi Nichols

  • Monday May 31st - Memorial Day – No school
  • Friday June 4th -End of the year Field Day for K-5 students in the afternoon.
  • Thursday June 10th -5th grade graduation ceremony
  • June 14th- Last day of school

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - April 2, 2021

Dear Families,

It’s been a great week at school full of extremes in the weather! The temperatures have ranged from 20 -70 degrees depending on the day. Wow!
I put away the sleds and now the ground is covered with snow again. So thank you for continuing to have students bring all winter gear every day.

For all students in Grades 3-5, the Federal Department of Education is requiring state standardized competency testing, the SBAC. SBAC testing will start with 5th grade next week and the 3rd and 4th graders will start after April break. Your teachers will be reaching out with more information for both in-person and remote students. We encourage parents to support students in doing their very best on these tests by having a good night of sleep and eating well. We provide extra snacks and movement breaks during these times to help support students.

No school – April 19 - 23

Have a great weekend!

Contact me with any questions,

Melissa Zoerheide


Message from Melissa Zoerheide - March 8, 2021

Dear Families,

Parent conferences will occur all day on Friday, March 19, and the afternoon of Thursday, March 18. This year all our conferences will be held through Zoom or by phone if you prefer. Conferences are an opportunity to hear about your child’s learning and successes. I encourage you to sign up right away. Let us know if you have any questions.

The online sign-up for conferences is now open. Our school is using PTCFast.com to make conference signups as convenient as possible this year. Please enter the following web address into your browser window and follow the prompts to sign up for your conference for your child: https://www.ptcfast.com/schools/Westshire

This year all our conferences will be held through Zoom or by phone if you prefer. Conferences are an opportunity to hear about your child’s learning and successes. I encourage you to sign up right away. Let us know if you have any questions.

If you are unable to schedule conferences online, please contact Karen Ward via phone at WES 802 333-4668 and she will assist you.

Have a wonderful week!

Message from Melissa Zoerheide  - February 7, 2021

Hi Families,

We will celebrate the 100th day of school tomorrow. Counting to 100 is a great way for our younger students to learn about numbers as they think and discover all the ways 100 can be divided and counted up. We are always looking for reasons to combine celebration and learning. In school we will meet in the morning (over Zoom). Each classroom will lead us all in doing 10 of some movement, with 7 classrooms and 3 helpful staff volunteers we will accomplish 100 movements together. This was a tradition last year when we could all gather in the gym and we’re happy to continue it with the modification in order to stay distanced.

With all that we have been through this year, it is great to be able to report that we are documenting student growth in our latest academic assessments. I’m also glad to say as a school everything we go through has built resilience and that the teachers and staff are still smiling and working hard. It’s easier than every with the cold, the winter, the pandemic to feel down or low. What I hear over and over is that the joy of teaching kids brings a light and often humor to these hard days. I encourage you to read to your child or have them read to you as an antidote to the stress of the world.

Cooking and eating is a way my family and I find health and wellness. Everybody Eats is a meals program in which restaurants make single serving meals for families that would benefit. We will be sending home these meals once a week to interested families. (The West Fairlee Food Shelf drops the meals at school Tuesday afternoons.) Please email school counselor Ann O’Hearn to sign up for this program. Meals are available on Tuesdays for drive-through pick up at school. If your child is a bus rider, we can give them a bag with meals to carry on the bus. Please also tell Mrs. O’Hearn the number of people in your family.
Contact: Ann O'Hearn 

Take care,

Melissa Zoerheide


Message from Melissa Zoreheide - January 31, 2021

Dear Families,

For many of our classes, there is only one day of “Blizzard packets” at home now, which can be used Monday, February 1st. We know snow is predicted for Tuesday, February 2nd and we want to be prepared, so we are going to deliver the additional packet of materials tomorrow to your home. The packets will be delivered or left for you unless you notify This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. that you would prefer to pick them up at school. Kindergarteners are the only class that might not have any materials going home. The fantastic team of delivery helpers (Barb, Amy, Karen, and Emily W.) will head out to deliver at noon tomorrow and be done by 3:00.

Note: For the students with Beth McGee and Kelsey Moore-Quinn as teachers, this does not change your normal remote learning schedule.

Take care and reach out if you need anything,

Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoreheide - January 31, 2021

Dear Families,

First, I want to share that the Westshire community has been extraordinarily generous and caring in light of the news of a positive COVID case in our school. Over and over, I’ve heard families extending their best wishes for health for everyone in our community. I echo those thoughts and words with the hope that this is an isolated event, as many Vermont schools have been through similar events and it has not had any ongoing impact as the quarantined individuals stop all possible spread.

During this time, it is important to check your email because you would have been contacted if your child is required to quarantine.

Your classroom teacher will be in contact with a message about the school day tomorrow and the use of the packets for remote work (Blizzard packets).

I look forward to better days ahead. Contact me with any questions or concerns.


Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoreheide - January 8, 2021

Hi Families,

We are looking forward to having in-person students back to the school building on Monday.
As you prepare for the week ahead here a few reminders.

Pack for school
1. Chromebooks/Ipads AND the powercord’s that were borrowed from the school
2. Completed work from remote learning
3. Snowpants, boots, mittens/gloves, hat, coat,
4. Extra masks (2-3 backup masks for switching out when necessary)
5. A sled (optional)

Upcoming Dates
Thursday January 14th - Early Release at 12:15
Monday January 18th – No school – MLK Day

Important – Quarantine requirements

  • Before returning to school, if your student has traveled to a restricted area over break they must complete a 14 day quarantine, or receive a negative COVID test 7 days from return to home.
  • If your household has hosted anyone from a restricted area, we will also expect that a student completes a 14 day quarantine or completes a COVID test, no sooner that 7 days from their last contact with the individual(s) visiting before returning to school.
  • https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19

EXCEPTION: If you spent time with someone who lives alone, or with 1 other trusted household over the break, then quarantine is suggested but not required by VT Health Dept guidelines.
By adhering to these guidelines and expectations you are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. We are finding that many cases don’t show symptoms, so please be responsible for the safety of our children, families, staff and community.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Have a nice weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - January 5, 2021

Welcome back Westshire Families and Students,

We are back “at school” virtually and I hope it is going smoothly for your family. We are here to support and encourage you during this time.

We will be here when your day is great and when it is not. I’m happy to see that teaching and learning is possible remotely, and still, I know it is often not ideal. The top priority is for everyone to do their best and stay in communication with teachers. We are off to a great start to the week!

There is no doubt that caretakers/parents must take on more responsibility to support children during this time. Thank you for the time and effort you are putting into supporting students. Learning to read, to write, to use numbers, to investigate and discover is serious work and provides training for future learning and lifelong success.

Wishing you a happy new year with much health and happiness!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from Melissa Zoerheide - December 18, 2020

Happy Friday Westshire Families,

Here is some information for you.

Report Cards
Report cards are going home today with students that are in school and in the mail for students that are remote. Sign that you have read the report card and send the envelope back to us at school.

Light Night
Drive by today after school 4:30-5:30

Winter and Sledding
If your child has a plastic sled they can keep at school, send it in!
Reminder to pack all winter gear including boots, snow pants, hats, mittens/gloves.

December Break
No school December 24- January 3

Remote Week * Remote students will have no change in schedule or teachers
In-person students are remote January 4- January 8

Pick up Chromebooks (or Devices) for the Remote week
December 22 and 23 we will be distributing the chromebooks/ devices at pick up time and ask that parents of bus riders come by the school to get the device. We will provide these devices to all families that signed up that it is needed.

Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - December 17, 2020

Dear Families,

It’s a snow day! It’s a school day at home again!
For remote only students it is a regular Thursday.

Along with all the fun of a snow day, we have provided packets with school work to do today. These are packets of school work that can be done without a computer and they are also called Blizzard bags. I encourage you to have your child complete the one day packet of school work and return it when we are back at school to be counted as attending school. In some case these packets were handed out long ago, I hope that it will not be too difficult to find them. If you have any questions, email your classroom teacher.

I encourage outdoor play, reading, and practicing math facts throughout the day.

Have fun and take care,

Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - December 12, 2020

Dear Westshire Families,

As we head into the last few weeks of the year, the energy of Westshire students is on full throttle. This season is full of traditions, excitement, and often exhaustion and stress. We know that the mixture of feelings can leave adults and children with highs and lows and everything in-between. At school, we add in an extra focus on kindness and patience for each other to stay ahead of this reality. This year has required all of us to do so many things differently, this adds to our work, wearing us down even more. I appreciate you more than ever. Parenting is a hard job and it’s only gotten more challenging. Keep us in mind here at school as a resource and support, we’re here.

I am writing to give you more information about upcoming events happening at school in the coming month.

As cold weather is here, please send your children to school daily with winter jackets, boots, hats and mittens, and, when appropriate, snow pants. Also, please remind your children that to keep their coats zipped and hats and mittens on when it is cold out. It’s best if children are warm when they are outside playing. If you need assistance with outerwear for your child, please let Karen Ward know.

Teachers have sent home packets of work to be used if we have a snow day or if we need to quickly pivot to a remote learning situation. Keep these in a place that easy to find in case they are needed.

As you know, from Superintendent Barrett Williams’ letter of December 4, the week of January 4 will be a week of remote learning. Your child’s classroom teacher will be in contact with you regarding the remote learning schedule for the week. If your child is already doing remote learning, nothing changes - they will continue with their normal schedule.

We will distribute Chromebooks for students who will need them before we go on break. Next week we will ask on the daily health screening if your child needs a device for learning remotely. Chromebooks will be available for parent pick-up on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 22 and 23. If you are unable to pick up your child’s Chromebook on these days, please contact Karen Ward to see what alternatives can be made. Please note that the school building will be closed the week of January 4.

Just a reminder that progress reports will be going home on Friday December 18. For students in Kindergarten to Grade 5, the envelope containing the progress report has a signature line on it for you to acknowledge receipt of your student’s report. Please sign the envelope and return it to school before the holiday break.

I hope you have a restful weekend.


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

Message from Melissa Zoerheide  - November 29, 2020

Dear Families,

Our pre-school thru 4th grade returns to school Monday, November 30th. As a result of staffing shortages, the 5th grade continues remotely until December 7th.

This return to the building has a new quality after the abrupt closure of the buildings this month, and the increase of positive COVID-19 cases in Orange County over the last 2 weeks. I am acutely aware of the concerns of parents, students, and staff, as at first glance it appears like a double standard that schools haven’t been shut when Governor Scott recently mandated no multi-household family or social gatherings. If your family has gathered with anyone outside your single household, then you are required to quarantine for 14 days (or 7 days and get a negative test).

Again, your children are not to attend school in-person Monday if they have been part of any social gatherings on or after November 25. Alert me if this is the case for your child. My understanding is that this new VT mandate is because 71% of recent COVID-19 cases are connected with private parties or social gatherings. The thinking is that the high rate of cases from these settings are because people don’t tend to consistently follow the 3Ws at home that we use at school.

At school we focus on the 3Ws:

  • Wearing a cloth mask over your nose and mouth.
  • Watching your distance (6 feet apart & avoiding close contact).
  • Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer.


  • We have a school ventilation system with an outside air exchange.

Additionally, Parents/Guardians have been following guidelines for keeping children with illness home and thus preventing the spread of infection.

We hope that by following Governor Scott’s recent mandates we may slow the spread of COVID-19 infections, and ultimately be able to keep the school buildings open.

Remember to fill out the daily health screening before 7:30 AM. As usual, you can check in with our school nurse with any questions on health symptoms or recent travel. Thanks for staying connected to the school and reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - November 19, 2020

Dear Westshire Families,

As you heard in the communication from the district office, we are going to be remote from now until November 30th. This is a difficult time for our community as we process this new information.

By closing the school building to students until November 30th we hope that this helps stop the spread of COVID19. You can help our community by only traveling for essential reasons, not having gatherings, wearing masks, and social distancing, as the state has urged us to do.

Here is what you need to know about the four school days ahead.
Remote Students: Nothing will change for remote students who work with Ms. Beth.

November 20th Friday – No students will be in the building.
Pre School-4th grade will do a day of work that has already been sent home for this situation. These packets went home last week and have at least one day of work for your student.
5th Grade all have Chromebooks should visit google classroom to get assignments.
We will be doing a materials drop-off beginning at 11 AM to all homes with chromebooks if you need them and other materials.

November 23-25 Monday – Wednesday
Look for an email message from your classroom teacher for instructions and schedule.

Let Karen Ward know if you would like to pick up breakfast and lunch during these school days.

Take care,
Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - November 18, 2020

Dear Families,

We enjoyed the warm weather last week and are still so very happy to have students present at school and in our remote school. Now that it is cold again send in snow pants and winter boots, hats, mittens along with the usual jackets every day.

I’m sure you have questions about what will happen for your kids' school as cases of COVID19 increase in Vermont and the state has restricted people from different households gathering in public or private and restrictions on travel. Superintendent Williams’ letter shared my thoughts exactly where it says that we hope to keep the in-person school operating safely for as long as possible. We all have the increased burden and responsibility of keeping ourselves and those with who we share our space safe. Students and staff at school are wearing masks inside and outside unless we are eating or drinking. We practice social distancing even though students still need reminders at times to move further away from each other. We are requiring regular handwashing. I urge you to follow the VT health guidelines for travel and for gatherings to further support the health and safety of our school community.

We have had increased staff shortages due to the current lack of substitutes and the increase of reasons and duration that staff may be home if they are sick. The additional strain of having to hire a new 5th-grade teacher has made the last two weeks a time where everyone is doing more. Someone said today that we are getting to know even better what it means to be a team, as we make this work. I want to acknowledge that some of the repercussions of this are that we don’t always have someone at the phone when you call, or out front when you drop off a student later in the day. Due to a staffing shortage – the 5th grade is going to have 3 days of remote learning next week- ONLY 5th Grade. Additionally, I have not been in as regular communication as I would like. I appreciate your understanding.

We are looking at some improvements after Thanksgiving break, as we are welcoming a new 5th-grade teacher, LeeAnn Senecal to our school. I’m also hearing there is some new interest from substitutes. I want to thank all the staff and teachers for the energy they give to not only showing up but also investing in each student’s growth. I’ve asked more than ever from those who are working at Westshire this year and they have risen to the challenge while maintaining quality teaching and caring about the students' social/emotional needs.

I will let you know any updates or changes in our school calendar if they arise. Thursday, November 26, and Friday, November 27 there is no school.

Stay safe and healthy,

Melissa Zoerheide

Message from Melissa Zoerheide - November 11, 2020

All Westshire families can get new and used winter items (like boots, socks, mittens and more) for kids from a community effort.

VerShare has had such a great response to this that the Vershire Town Center will be open by appointment again this Friday, Nov. 13.
We have lots of new and used items still available.

If you would like to come by to "shop" you can make an appointment by filling out the following form:

Message from Nurse Jessica about travel and returning to school after illness - October 23, 2020

Dear SME & WES families,

Here are the most current guidelines that we are following as a district for safe practices surrounding COVID19.

We recommend that before traveling out of State you reference the Vermont Health Dept. travel map. If you travel to an area that requires quarantine, you will not be permitted to attend school until your quarantine period has been completed. Non-essential travel to a red or yellow area or anywhere outside of New England requires a 14day quarantine, or a 7 day quarantine with a COVID test on or after day 7 can return after a negative COVID test. As a school district, we are required to follow the rules around quarantine and school attendance. Vermont Health Dept. travel map is updated every Tuesday.

Also please refer to the COVID-19 Information: Return to school Following Illness.

Please remember to fill out the online screening before each school day for each student. If they answer yes to any of the symptoms, and do not have an alternative diagnosis or it is not their baseline, please keep them home. Should your student come to school with a symptom, or develop a symptom at school, we will call to have your student picked up. Often the student will report having had the symptom since they woke up that morning. We understand it is not convenient, we don’t want to have to send students home either. It is our hope that by consistently following these guidelines we will be able to maintain in school learning with overall optimal health and low incidence rate of COVID19 in our schools and community.

Stay safe and be well!
Best Regards,
Jessica Gould, RN
School Nurse WES & SME


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: October 11, 2020

Good Evening Westshire Families,

I hope it has been an enjoyable weekend for you.
I encourage you to take a look at the following information.

No school

After our first 5 days with the new arrival and departure times, new outdoor and indoor classroom arrangements, with new handwashing systems, new mask-wearing, and new social distancing procedures, we found out that the most important stuff is the same –we still love teaching your kids (our students). It is a great privilege to do this work and we can’t wait to see the students again on Tuesday. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the simple social interactions that we have always taken for granted until now. Also, thank you for coming on time to drop-off and pick-up your kids, it would not have been such a great week without you all working with us.

Remote Students:
We did miss seeing our remote learners and we will be working to find ways to connect classmates virtually a few times throughout the year. As is the case with most elementary level VT schools, our students that stay with remote learning will have a different teacher and be in a virtual school. We understand and support each families’ decision for remote learning, as we know even the best practices intended to lower the risk of passing the coronavirus still fall short of eliminating all risk inherent in being with larger groups of people. A big appreciation to staff, students, and parents for the understanding and patience that has been asked for as we make it through these 2 weeks before the new virtual school starts.

COVID-19 Agreement Form:
We will be sending home a form in backpacks to be signed, it was included in Barrett William’s Oct. 2nd letter to families.
Please review this document and sign and return it to school.


Symptoms and Illness:
We know that children will have typical viral respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses this year. However, COVID-19 starts with these same common viral symptoms, which is why the health department mandates students to stay home and sometimes encourages getting COVID testing so we don’t miss cases of COVID-19, and thus unknowingly be spread this contagious virus in public schools. You will notice that when your children become ill even with the mildest symptoms, they may need to stay home. I know this is a huge inconvenience for working parents. Believe me, I want your child to be in school too. And we all want our school to stay open in-person and free from any positive cases, it is a frustrating situation. I encourage you to make a plan for childcare for the event that your child becomes ill, whether it means making arrangements with family or friends, or notifying your employer that you’ll possibly need to miss work to take care of your sick child. I know having to keep your child home can be incredibly stressful in already difficult times.

As always, let me know your questions or concerns.


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: October 5, 2020

Good Evening Families,

I hope you get a chance to view the video posted on the Westshire Facebook page with pictures of the day today.

It was a really great day!
Things that will help us make Tuesday go even smoother.

  1. Complete the Online Health screening survey before 7:30AM. This is necessary for all students to complete every day. If you don’t do it before students arrive we have to do it on site which holds up the line. All students that ride the bus need to have the online form completed before getting on the bus every day.
  2. You sign up for lunch on the online form. We will ask your child when they arrive if they want breakfast. All breakfasts and lunches are free through December.
  3. Getting the busses ready to leave took longer on day 1 and we anticipate it will go faster in the future. Keep coming at 2:15PM. Thank you.

Have a good night!

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: October 2, 2020

Hi Westshire Families,

A few details for you. Also, read the message from Barrett Williams that will arrive by email today.

  1. School starts at 8:30 am on Monday and the earliest you can drop off in the morning is 7:45. You will stay in your car and each child will get a temperature check before they get out of the car.
  2. Before you leave home, you will receive an online health survey. This needs to be completed before you can drop off your child. The link for this will come into your email on Monday morning. Here it is – you can save or bookmark it for easy access Westshire Daily Health Check If there is a problem we will help you on the first day to solve it.
  3. Pick up from school is at 2:15 pm. Your children will be out waiting for you to pick them up or be getting on the bus at 2:15. We urge you to plan accordingly because we are not set up to have students stay late.
  4. Remember we need all paperwork in before your child starts in person. If your forms were not complete, bring them with you on Monday.
  5. Traveling to some areas requires a 14-day quarantine before your child can come back into school, so it is best to check first before you travel.
  6. If your child has seasonal allergies, talk to your pediatrician about treating these is recommended. We have to take all symptoms seriously and it helps to rule out allergies.
  7. Pack warm clothes, rain coats and an extra change of clothes. We will be outdoors every day.

On Sunday you should receive this information on the phone alert system. If you do not receive a phone message, let us know.

Have a great weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: September 26, 2020

Hi Families,

Happy Fall! The leaves are in full color at the school and we are busy preparing for students to arrive wes 092720 2in-person on Monday, October 5th the school day will be 8:30-2:15. (Preschool schedule is different. See information from Preschool teachers.)

Next Week:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are Half Days, ending at 12:00
  • Tuesday Tours will continue this week, same routes, 10-2. Let us know if you are not going to be home and you can stop by the school to drop off or receive your child’s work.
  • Return your borrowed Chromebook so that we can get them ready for in-person school.
    Drop the Chromebook off at the school between 8-3:00 Thursday or Friday.
  • Thursday and Friday -- No School.
  • A note on travel – We are following the VT guidelines for quarantine if you travel to certain places.Blue and green are restriction-free, all others will require you to quarantine. See this map for updated information. https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/restart/cross-state-travel
  • On Wednesday, September 30th at both 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM, I will host optional Frequently Asked Questions meetings over Zoom for families.
    This will be the same meeting content repeated at 2 different times for your convenience, so you would only plan to attend one time. I will be providing the information in written form in advance, and you are not required to attend either meeting. We will review the new expectations for school, (like masks, social distancing, hand-hygiene), and go over the arrival and departure plans, and take your questions.

Also, you can expect to hear from me early next week, as we finalize the details of being in-person and more information for those who are might stay remote.

Thanks again for everything you are doing to make this first month of school the best it can be.

wes 092720

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide September 18, 2020

Dear Families,wes 01 web

We have completed the third week of school! It is a group effort every single day with parents/caregivers, students, and educators all working on the same mission. Congratulations on making it through week 3, and thank you for everything you have done to support and help thus far. Day by day and hour by hour we are doing this work for the benefit of student growth and learning.

It’s Tunbridge Fair time and this brings many memories of years past. Westshire staff joined with parents and students last year and we remember fondly forming new connections with kids while watching animals, smelling fair food, listening to the clang and bang of machines during reenactments of history. Fresh cider, blacksmithing, cows, horses, maple cotton candy, crowds of people, waiting in lines… such a full experience.

However, what I remember most about the fair last year, is how many parents volunteered to join us. As the day started, the gym seemed full of adults willing and happy to be with the kids for the adventure. The fair field trip was a treat for me because I started to get to know so many of you and discover how warm and friendly families that live in Vershire and West Fairlee are.

Back to the present moment and, yet again the commitment you have made to your kid(s) endures. We know fatigue is normal with online formats over time and your continued support is noticed and appreciated. The school team is here to help you and address any challenges you face, each and every school day. Above all else keep up the communication with us. It matters what you have to say and we welcome your thoughts, ideas, and critique. We know this situation is far from perfect and we take the job very seriously to provide a quality education for your child.

NEWSwes 02 web

Tuesday Tours will continue this week, same routes, 10-2. Let us know if you are not going to be home and you can stop by the school to drop off or receive your child’s work.

Attendance is important. Let us know if your child is not able to attend part of the day or all of the school day, so that we can support the continued learning and record the information accurately. I urge you to do your very best to have your student in remote classes and completing the remote assignments. The teaching and learning that is happening now will build on itself over the year.

In-person Opening
Superintendent Williams sent an email letter on Friday outlining the re-opening of in-person school to start on
Monday, October 5th.

  • The school day will be 8:30-2:15.
  • September 28th, 29th, 30th Monday -Wednesday are ½ days, remote learning days that will end at noon.
  • No school on Thursday and Friday, October 1st and 2nd
  • Contact me if you are considering staying remote past October 5th. I will be providing to those who are considering (or have decided on) the remote learning more information about what to expect. If I don’t hear from you, I will expect your child (or children) will be at school in-person.
  • On Wednesday September 30th at both 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM I will host optional Frequently Asked Questions meetings over Zoom for families. This will be the same meeting content repeated at 2 different times for your convenience, so you would only plan to attend one time. I will be providing the information in written form in advance, and you are not required to attend either meeting. We will review the new expectations for school, (like masks, social distancing, hand-hygiene), and go over the arrival and departure plans, and take your questions.
  • You can expect to hear from me regularly, as we finalize the details of being in-person I will be in regular communication with families.

Thanks again parents and caregivers, we appreciate you!

wes 03 web


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - September 9, 2020

Dear Westshire Families,

It’s Friday and I don’t know about you but I learned a lot this week!

First off, I’m so grateful for the work of caregivers and parents in getting your children connected and participating. The commitment to your children shows as you supervise and support the teaching day after day. This is an important time of the year. We get back on a school schedule, assess where students are at with math and literacy so we can target our instruction, we set the expectations, and we get to know each other.

Wow, I’m impressed by the staff at Westshire! I have seen the staff take the care they have for students and a commitment to quality of work and persevere during this unprecedented time. It takes some real grit to create an entirely new plan at short notice, or being flexible and patient with internet issues, or just following up with every student and family ready to solve any problem that arises. I use grit to describe the passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement, with no particular concern for rewards or recognition along the way.

Westshire parents, caregivers, teachers, and staff are all showing up with some true grit. We have to ability to push on with high expectations for all students in the midst of our current COVID-19 challenges and this is something to cherish. Thank you all.

Here are some important updates and details:

“Tuesday Tours” (formally known as Tuesday drop-off and pick-up) will continue next week 10-2. Again, some teachers will send home materials and you can send completed work back to school. Any school paperwork packets need to be returned immediately.
Note: If your student (or their sibling) is at the school at all during the week we won’t stop at your house. If you won’t be home, send us a note so we can make other arrangements.

All school-age children are required by law to attend school, remote, hybrid, or in-person.   You need to alert us if your child will not be able to participate in remote learning let us know why he or she is not participating.  Obstacles to participation can be best addressed if we work together and communicate. We know these are unusual circumstances and we will do everything we can to help.   We are expecting students to be active participants in learning throughout the week. We know that there will be moments for all families that make it difficult to attend every class, however we ask that you do your best to support your child in attending school.

In-Person School Re- Opening
Many people are wondering when we will make announcements about in-person school opening. As of today, we have no reason to change the plan of starting in-person in October. I will let you know right away if anything changes on this front. We will be communicating more specifics about the plans (both for remote and in-person) for October, soon.

Thank you again for your continued efforts.


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - September 4, 2020

Hello Westshire Families,

Thank you parents and caregivers for being incredible. We notice that this takes a lot of effort on your part. The understanding and communication we have received from you, has kept us happy to do our jobs. Here at Westshire, we love teaching kids and the added challenges of remote learning have made us more determined and creative. It’s been a very full week for teachers and staff at the school as we have visited your driveways, met you at the school for introductions, and Zoomed many times. We have only just begun. What remains constant is the joy we feel when we see the familiar faces of the students. We treasure time together, in all forms this takes.

I encourage you to reach out and call or write if you need any support. We are here to support you, we want to help! We only succeed together and those of you with your children during the school day have our utmost care, respect, and support. This is not easy for anyone. There are bound to be times for everyone during the next few weeks that reaching out to the school will make a difference. I encourage you to do this. Lean on us. We are here for you.

Monday is Holiday – NO SCHOOL.

Tuesday drop off and pick up – 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM It’s the same route as this week, but it will go faster without taking pictures.
We need to get the paperwork back. It takes time to complete but then your child is officially registered for the year. We have to get all paperwork completed next week. Fill it out and have it ready for the pick-up on Tuesday. Let us know if your child won’t be home! If you won’t be home you can drop paperwork off at the school (there is a box out front). Some teachers will be sending more materials home too. If you are not going to be home and your student has materials ready, we will arrange this to ensure your student gets the necessary materials.

I’m staying determined and hopeful about this school year. So far, so good!
Have a great weekend!


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - August 31, 2020

Dear Westshire Students and Families,

Happy First Day of School! Hopefully a once in a lifetime first-day experience!

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We ask for your patience and understanding as we do 

Here’s the plan:something new today. We know that we will keep learning and improving. Share with me your feedback to help us serve your needs.

1. We’re going out to you to take student pictures! This is a fun Westshire tradition!

2. We have some paperwork that needs to be complete for pick up next Tuesday.
3. All students have school materials (and some students have Chromebooks) that we will drop off.

Karen Ward, Barb Griffin, Amy Kosakowski, and Emily Waterman are heading out to the roads of Vershire and West Fairlee to invite students to come up when they see the decorated CAR or VAN at your driveway. Wear masks and come out to get materials and have a first-day picture taken with the special picture frame.

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Many of you have contacted so we know you won’t be home and that you will pick the materials up at the school at a later time. If we miss you for some reason, maybe you don’t see us outside in time, that’s okay! You can pick up at the school or work out a plan for drop off.

*A note on Chromebooks. You will need to sign an agreement to receive one. We will have that form ready for you to sign. If you expected a Chromebook and did not receive one, let us know. We want all our students to be successful at accessing school and will get you what is necessary to do that. The Chromebooks are in short supply, so only ask if you need one.

SCHOOL LUNCHES: Meals will begin again on Monday, August 31, 2020. They will be available for pick up every day at 10:30am at your choice of school. Lunches will be charged to Mealtime accounts as we did last fall when we were in school. Meals will also be offered at school for those students in attendance.
Fill out the free and reduced application (in your paperwork packets), even if you don’t think you apply. Filling this out helps your and our school and we appreciate it. This application covers additional benefits, not just meals. Applications need to be filled out yearly as circumstances do change. The components for meals that will be sent home will be the same that was provided in the spring and summer.
Please e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to receive daily meals. If you will not need meals on a specific day or period of time, please let me know and I will make sure a meal is not made for you and doesn’t get charged to your account.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - August 28, 2020

Our First Day is Monday, August 31st

On this day Karen Ward and Amy Kosakowski and two other staff will be going to your driveways between 10 AM and 1 PM to take a First Day Picture (with the special picture frame), and drop off registration paperwork and other school materials. The paperwork will need to be completed and returned. We will pick up the paperwork on the following Tuesday or you can send it to us.

What to expect the first day. This will not be a typical Monday and our normal schedule will not begin. Classroom teachers will be reaching out to families on Monday and will have a simple activity for kids. Take this day to review the schedule, try going on any of the sites that teachers have sent a login and password information for and set up a free Zoom account if you don’t have one on your computer or device.

Chromebooks will be delivered to students who need them. If we have you on our list of who need a Chromebook you will be getting a separate email with the agreement that needs to be signed before we can give you the device. We made the list based on the technology survey and the needs from last year. If you don’t get an email this week and need a device, contact me.

Not home? Contact me to make other arrangements if you do not plan on being home for the delivery. I have received a few messages on this already. You can stop by the school on Tuesday to pick up the items.



Dear  Westshire Families,

I am writing to share the structure and expectations for remote learning during the first five weeks of school.  This remote learning structure will look different than what you and your child experienced in the spring.  All faculty and staff will be in the building during this remote learning time to plan and provide synchronous and asynchronous instruction to students.

Synchronous learning refers to all types of learning in which learner(s) and instructor(s) are in the same place at the same time in order for learning to take place.  This includes in person classes, live online meetings when the whole class or smaller groups get together.

Asynchronous learning are forms of digital and online learning in which students learn from instruction – such as pre-recorded video lessons or games-based learning tasks that students complete on their own – that is not being delivered in person or in real time.

The attached document explains the structure of each school day.  Classroom teachers will be providing you with more details about their individual schedules in the coming days on what asynchronous and synchronous learning will look like at that grade level. The expectation is that your child will attend their designated times with their classroom teacher. Each morning, teachers will take attendance during their Morning Meeting.  We also expect that your child will attend any scheduled classes and small group instruction with their designated Specials (Art, Music, PE) teacher and any other faculty and staff (e.g., Special Educator, Title 1 Reading Teacher, and Learning Coaches).  Student progress and work samples will be assessed during this temporary period of remote learning.  We’re very hopeful that we will have all students in the building regularly after October 2.

For students with no Internet access at home, we have designated 8:30 am to 11:30 am as a time for students to access the school’s Internet broadband on days synchronous learning is required. I will be reaching out to those families to make arrangements based on the RISD Tech Survey that was sent out recently.  Their classroom teacher will be in a separate location to provide synchronous instruction and office hours.  Students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be contacted by the Special Educator who is their case manager for what their services will look like during this remote learning period.  Transportation will be provided to students in these two categories who need it. We strongly encourage families to provide their own transportation to school because of safety considerations.

Normally, the first week of school is when teachers build relationships with their students and instruct them on the routines and procedures of the classroom.  During the first week of school while in remote learning, faculty and staff will be building relationships and instructing students on how to use the platforms for remote learning. There will be little emphasis on academics from August 31-September 4. We are working on an orientation schedule for your child. More details will be coming soon.

Our first day we will be celebrating by coming to each families driveway and offering to take a picture with our special first day picture frame. We will also drop off Chromebooks, paper materials and get any paperwork you have completed for us. Let me know if your child will not be home and we will make other arrangements.

Please contact me if you have any questions. I know that this has been a complex and challenging time for all of us.  I’m grateful for your support as we navigate this remote learning environment together.


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

(802) 333-4668; 4105
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Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - August 18, 2020

Hi Families,

Start day: School starts on August 31st using remote learning.
Preschool will start on September 8th and have a portion of time on-site daily.

Getting Set up for Learning: K-5th graders will be invited to come to the school in small groups for orientations with their classroom teachers during the first two weeks of school. A schedule for this will be provided the week before school starts. Parents still have the option to keep kids home and do the orientation remotely as well. Teachers and staff will be at the school full time and we will be readily available. We will be providing Chromebooks for students who need them and for all 3-5 graders.

Information: I will send a weekly email on Thursdays with updates. A Zoom meeting will be offered for families to ask questions about school this year before school starts. Also, we will be providing parents and caregivers regular times to ask questions and get specific coaching on remote learning.

Questions: Many of you have or will have questions about internet access, special education services, and if there are options to help essential workers with their children. I’m working to get these answered as quickly as possible. A survey is going out to all families in the district gathering more information about internet access and needs for bussing when we start in-person learning, fill this out.

  • The Westshire classroom teachers:
  • Preschool: Caitlin Leonard and Heidi Nichols
  • Kindergarten: Emily Waterman
  • First: Emily Lloyd
  • Second: Noah Pierpont
  • Third: Kaitlyn Townsend
  • Fourth: Rachael Weber
  • Fifth: Kelsey Moore-Quinn


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

(802) 333-4668; 4105
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


RISD Elementary Family Newsletters 2019-20

Westshire Summer Math and Reading Challenge

Students can have some fun with learning and challenge themselves to doing some reading and math during the summer. There are two challenges each will be rewarded with something special in September.

Challenge A – Complete 7 math and 7 reading squares
Challenge B – Complete all of the math and all of the reading challenges


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - June 12, 2020

 Dear Families,

I hope this message finds you well. Here is some information regarding the summer and next year.

I want to say a final thank you to all the Westshire staff and to families for all that you did to help students grow and learn this school year.

Narrative Reports
You will be receiving by mail narrative reports, these will be sent on Monday. These reports will overview the last few months of remote learning and provide recommendations for areas of future learning.

Westshire Summer Math and Reading Challenge
Students can have some fun with learning and challenge themselves to doing some reading and math during the summer. There is a choice board that will come in the mail with the narrative reports. You can also find them on the website. There are two challenges each will be rewarded with something special in September.

Challenge A – Complete 7 math and 7 reading squares
Challenge B – Complete all of the math and all of the reading challenges

What is school going to be like? What will be different?
The Rivendell District Re-Entry Committee will be working on planning for next school year and keeping you updated with any new information.

Budget Outcomes/ Visions Afterschool program
The school budget did not pass and another budget will be voted on. One of the decisions that the board made was to eliminate the afterschool program for the elementary schools. We are looking into offering a program limited to Thursdays from 1:45-3:00.

Our school is adding 5th grade. Our classrooms will all be self-contained, meaning that each class will have one classroom teacher who teaches all the subjects for that grade level.

I’m excited to introduce our new 5th-grade teacher Kelsey Moore Quinn. She has a wealth of experience teaching 5-8th grade. She is looking forward to connecting classroom learning to the everyday life of students Westshire. She has with her students constructed a ten-hole miniature golf course, worked with local farmers to develop a school CSA, testing scientific hypotheses on the trail, and much more. Welcome to Westshire!

Special Educator
Welcome to Westshire Sam Bonasera! We look forward to having you on our staff.

Music Teacher
Welcome to Westshire Madeline Hally! We look forward to having you with us and Samuel Morey.

Thank You
To our Behavior Coach, Katie Tolbert has served Westshire for over 5 years with a whole-hearted investment in students. She has supported student growth through caretaking relationships. I’ve enjoyed working with Katie and highly value her work with Westshire kids. Katie has provided so much care and creativity with her focus on being kind. I will miss having Katie as our behavior coach next year, as I’m sure will all of the staff and students.

To our Learning Coaches, James Fein, and Kayla Meier thank you for all you have provided for our students this past year. With the current financial situation and staffing needs we know we may not be able to have you with us at Westshire next year. I greatly appreciate all that you have given in kindness, caring, and supportive student instruction. Thank you!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - May 29, 2020

Dear Families,

We got this! Keep working hard! Last week is almost here.
I hope this warm weather is enjoyable and everyone is staying cool. Exploring and enjoying the outdoors is a wonderful way to spend time and it’s more challenging to stay on track with school work for some students. The last couple of weeks of school tend to make students into more distracted learners as they start to check out, knowing the end is in sight. When we’re in the school building teachers plan for this by keeping high expectations, sticking to the regular routines, and structuring the plans to celebrate (by taking an outdoor break or doing an extra fun activity) after kids have been working hard. I encourage you to keep to the routines that have been established and continue to engage in school right up until June 5th. Reach out to us for ideas or just encouragement, we have plenty of both.

On Friday, June 5th we will have a Reverse Parade from 5:00-6:00 at the school. You are invited to come to the school and drive around the loop to wave at the staff. You can decorate your car and a sign that says the kid's names is wonderful so the staff knows who they are waving at. At this time your teacher may have items for pick up. You can return library books and chrome books. We will be handing out popsicles.

The budget was voted down. The School Board will meet on June 4th to discuss the next steps to getting a budget passed. Reducing the budget means difficult choices and changes. We have been and will continue to take steps to reduce spending given our current situation. As we work on doing what has to be done to move ahead, my goal for Westshire is to maintain a positive caring culture and provide quality academic instruction to all students.

Next Year
Much is still in flux and will be clearer in time. This will be a very busy summer as planning goes. The 5th grade is still going to be added to Westshire, so the current 4th graders will continue at WES.
We will have to make some changes to keep everyone safe when we go back to school. The CDC has released guidelines and the VT AOE is expected to release its requirements within this coming week.

We are in a position to grow and find opportunities for positive change within the biggest global crisis we ever known. Westshire is unique and well-loved and has capable, smart, creative, dedicated adults who will be there for the students. Fortunately, we are ready and able to adapt and support families and students and teach the children of Vershire and West Fairlee.

Have a good weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - May 22, 2020

Dear Families,

It’s warm and we are heading into Memorial Day weekend!

School Budget Vote:
If you have not sent in a ballot, you can still vote in person on Tuesday at the Rivendell Academy. If you have questions, here are answers. There has been some inaccurate information circulating. https://www.rivendellschool.org/images/stories/districtinfo/annual_meeting_docs/2020/The-Power-of-Your-Ballot.pdf
Here is the document that shows examples of what the actual increase will be to taxes in each town.

School Meals:
For those who are accessing our school meals please note that we will NOT be serving food on Memorial Day. We are in the process of figuring out possible meal service for the summer. A survey will be sent on Tuesday asking if you would be interested in summer meals to determine the needs.

Summer Program:
Due to the safety considerations for children and staff the school is not providing a summer program this year. I know that this is a huge loss of a highly anticipated annual tradition and a real hardship for families that rely on it for childcare.

Last Day of School:
June 5th is the last day of school. Chromebooks, library books and other school materials are to be returned the following week on June 12th. Any personal belongings and student work from the year will be ready to pick up also on June 12th .

Report Cards:
Teachers and staff continue to work tirelessly to create online lessons and to connect with students. You will receive by mail after school ends an end of the year description of the last trimester of school and recommendations for your child’s future academic growth.

Next Year:
Questions about next school year are on our minds. There are a lot of unknowns. We are monitoring the guidelines that we will need to follow from the CDC, AOE, and the Vermont State Health Department. I will be working with the other administrators in the district, nurses, and custodians over the summer to plan for a safe and welcoming back to school in the fall. As details emerge I will keep you updated.

Staying Motivated:
With the warming weather and the prospect that some of our businesses will open up, allowing parents to go back to work, it may become increasingly harder for students to stay engaged with school. I encourage you to think about how to keep your child participating in school. Much can be learned in these last two weeks. Parents should consider checking in with their child’s teacher more frequently to check on the status of their engagement.

Memorial Day:
During your time this weekend, take a moment to remember someone, perhaps a loved one in your family that lost their life while serving or talk to your children about why we take the last Monday in May, every year, to commemorate this holiday.

Please reach out with any questions, concerns, or comments that you may have.

Enjoy what is shaping up to be a sunny and warm weekend.
Stay healthy and stay safe.


Melissa Zoerheide
Principal, Westshire Elementary School

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - May 1, 2020

 Hi Families,

I miss seeing you and your kids at school! Every time I talk to a parent or see students in a zoom meeting my world gets brighter. I have two kids (in Kindergarten and fourth grade) and as a parent speaking, doing school from home has been tough! So tough! In fact, we feel like each week involves more learning of what does not work, than what does. And this week we still haven’t really figured it out. I’m regularly struggling with how to keep a routine, keep up with dishes, laundry, understand all the new online materials and to get assignments in. My kids seem to want to watch YouTube and not much else. They do not want to do school work and they are very stubborn! We are juggling multiple needs for computers, internet issues and frustration in trying to get set up with the latest reading group or math program. I know firsthand that schools are asking a ton from families.

My message earlier this week was a reflection of my hope for us all to keep trying (to step up and stay in the game). I need this mindset to stay focused and engaged, however my message was not clear enough. To be honest, some days getting my children to do school work feels impossible. We have to find the energy to reset and keep trying. This energy might come from multiple places. I call my friends who are parents and I’ve sent my fair share of “Help!” messages to my children’s teachers. My hope for all of us is to remember, that we can do this and we will. As your principal, I’m sharing my personal experience because I want you to know that I have the utmost respect for you.

I know you are doing your best! And I’m so impressed with the work I see from the kids right now. I know you take it seriously and I love that about this school. I also know that encouragement comes in many forms and we have very high expectations for the students at Westshire, we have incredible kids!


Food: My number one concern is having basic needs met. The school offers breakfast and lunch. This is available free of charge for all students. It’s simple to sign up by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The community also has other options to help with weekly groceries contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a more information.

Stay in contact: Above all else let us know you’re there. We care and even a simple “Hi, we’re good.” matters a great deal. In fact, keeping in touch matters much more than completing assignments. I have complete faith in that you are making sound decisions of what is right for your family during this difficult time. We are all learning in everything we do with our kids, be it a walk in the woods, a family game, a meal together. In an effort to stay connected and offer the most support possible, you should be receiving calls or emails. This is to provide help in any ways we can. The entire purpose is to support you and do everything we can to make this easier. Let us know if you want more or less contact.

Chromebooks: Across SME and WES we have 72 students borrowing devices. If this option would help make it possible for your child to do the school work, let us know.

Recommendations of time: We recognize that continuous learning opportunities are important but place a greater value on the social-emotional needs and the overall health of our students and families.

  • Pre-k: 30-45 minutes
  • K-1: 45-60 minutes
  • Grades 2-3: 60-75 minutes
  • Grades 4-6: 90-105 minutes
  • Take movement breaks every 30 minutes.

Keep up the good work!
Stay connected!

Don’t give up, if you have a hard day or challenging week! I’m here with tons of understanding and so are all the amazing teachers and staff.

Sending my very best wishes,

Melissa Zoerheide


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - April 10, 2020

 Dear Families,

My message for students is simple. As we begin the last 7 weeks of school, it is time to step up, give it your all and be fully in the game!

Look over the new remote learning website and review the expectations. 

Having kids at home all day every day is our new reality. At it’s best, this Covid-19 situation is not ideal. However, you and your child (or children) are absolutely expected to keep engaging with us. Your willingness to share how it’s going will help us both get better at this.

Keeping stepping up, step into this new world, even if you don’t want to. It’s required. We have to do it. The parenting job description has expanded. The school is for you. We hope to be a consistent, responsive, and supportive team ready to serve.

We’re expecting your child to do school work and to learn. We know it is very much in the hands of parents to facilitate this. Factors like employment situations, number of children at home, reliability of internet can all be obstacles in the already challenging situation. I’ve asked all staff to be available to help and support the academic learning for students. I’m asking parents and students to do there very best work for the remainder of the year. This time will be well spent in assuring the continuation of learning and prepare students for their future.

Thank you!

Melissa Zoerheide



Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide - April 10, 2020

Dear Families,

We’ve ended another week. My sincere hope is that your lives have gained some stability and peace within these difficult circumstances. I know each of our situations are unique and the effects of the school building closing and stay at home orders are at minimum disorienting. The staff at Westshire is keeping your family in their hearts and minds. We are dedicated to being there for you. Keep communicating with us about what works and how it’s going. THANK YOU for all that you are doing as parents and caregivers! We know it is a lot!!!

Remote Learning Plan: If you haven’t taken a look at the letter from the district office sent yesterday, it gave an overview of a Remote learning Plan. The main idea is that we have more clarity on what the rest of the year will look like. Over the next week, teachers and staff at Westshire will be planning and preparing for how we approach learning for the next few months. This looks differently for each class next week. All students will continue to have work to do each day.

  • Preschool is gathering feedback about the morning meetings and will continue to invite students to join in.
  • For Kindergarten, a plan is already established and will continue as is.
  • For 1st grade, on Monday Miss Nancy will cover questions, while Ms. Lloyd plans.
  • For 2nd grade Mr. Pierpont is carving out parts of each day for planning and won’t be having any significant adjustments.
  • For 3rd and 4th grade, schoolwork will not include any new lessons or extra class meetings, on Thursday and Friday questions will be covered by support staff so that Mrs. Rachael and Ms. Townsend can work on the curriculum for the upcoming months. As usual, you will hear directly from the classroom teachers. I ask for your understanding and patience as we do our very best to set up remote learning.

Attendance: In order to count our remote learning as school we are required to take a daily attendance and establish contact with students regularly. On Monday morning you will receive an email that will connect you to the daily attendance form. It will take 30 seconds to fill out for the day. A new email message will be sent to you each morning. If you do not have wifi access, you can call the school at 802-333-4668 and leave a message. Please tell us your name, the date, and the student or students you are calling in attendance for. We will follow up with the families of students we do not hear from. We are expecting students to be active participants in learning throughout the week. The staff and teachers will be providing structures and supports for this to happen. Reach out to us with any questions.

Screen time: This is an incredibly stressful time for many people. We are juggling our jobs, family life and teaching our children. For many of us this means more time online than your family has been accustomed to. We would like to share a two resources that might be helpful. Your family might consider a clear agreement with your child/children about the safe and healthy use of devices. Safekids.com has a model Family Agreement for Online Safety The Common Sense Media foundation has a longer, more flexible one. Both sites provide lots of information about safe online resources and Online Safety.

April Break: I know everyone is wondering about this. The district office will send a message next week.

Have a great weekend!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from Melissa Zoerheide: April 3, 2020

Dear Families,

IMPORTANT: On Monday, PICK UP a new packet of materials for each of your children

Location: The packets will be arranged by grade on the far side of the front of the elementary school building. If you are looking at the front door, go right and walk towards the big fields. You will see an area with a porch style roof that runs along the front of the building on the far side. It is the same area that we had put the packets the first time.

Personal Safety:

  • All the packets will sit over the weekend and on Monday only be touched with clean gloves by only one person. The packets will be spread out as much as possible, only touch your own child’s materials.
  • Do not linger and give distance to others to maintain the full precautions of distance between people. To be as safe as possible, wait to another 24 hours to open and touch the materials and disinfect anything that can be disinfected. We have been very careful in preparing them and we would rather stay on the side of extra caution during this time.
  • If you can’t pick up on Monday or you need a delivery of materials to your home or you have other questions or concerns, contact Karen Ward (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Melissa Zoerheide (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Over the next couple weeks, we are continuing our efforts to make it work well for your family to continue the student learning in your home over the rest of the school year. Large scale remote education for young children has never been done before. Each child will have differences in his or her adjustment to this new experience. Sadly, we can’t replicate many of the things that are offered when we are in person. We are doing our very best to get the benefits of all the things we can do. We are providing plans, materials and suggestion that we hope will be flexible enough to meet the needs of a range of students. Let us know what works and what doesn’t.

We are working on providing a simple overview for each grade level, in one place. We understand that all the changes over the last few weeks can be confusing and overwhelming at times. We are aiming for increasingly clear and simple formats. It is important to both honor the continuation of learning while being realistic day to day with all the factors at play.

Above all else, keep in touch (even if you have not been able to keep up with the work). The teachers and staff at Westshire will be supportive and understanding. Just a note that tells us that you have seen or read some of the emails is worth sending. We saw your kids 5 days a week for months and they are super important to us, we want to stay connected. Staying connected is the priority for us right now!

Take care and best wishes,

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from Melissa Zoerheide: March 16, 2020

Hi Westshire Families,

You are on our minds and in our thoughts. We already missing seeing students and hope very much that this does not last too long.

I just wanted to let you know that the teachers and staff have been working very hard today to put together materials and plans for your children to use at home. We will be providing details throughout the week and arranging pick up (or drop off) of the materials.

Expect to get a phone call from a teacher or staff member tomorrow. We are gathering information on your internet access, so that we know what materials will be most useful.

All parent conferences are canceled. We are currently working on report cards which we plan on sending out next week.

Much more information to come in the next couple of days.

Stay well and take care!

Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School

(802) 333-4668; 4105
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Message from Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: February 25, 2020

Dear Families,

We hope you had a restful and enjoyable February break!

We wanted to remind families that there will be no school

  • Monday - March 9th
  • Friday - March 20th
  • I love to read week- March 4th Dress up like your favorite book character

Parent-teacher conferences sign up now! Student/Parent/Teacher conferences are coming up in March. Our school is using PTCFast.com to make conference signups as convenient as possible this year. Please remember that there is no school on Friday March 20th, but students are expected to attend their conference.

To sign up for conferences please enter the following web address into your browser window:

If you are unable to schedule conferences online, please contact Karen Ward via phone Westshire 802 333 4668

Sign up now open for Preschool registration for the fall.
Contact Heidi This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 333-4668 to get more information.


Message from Barrett Williams, Superintendent: February 14, 2020

Message from Principal, Melissa Zoerheide: January 24, 2020


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide January 13, 2020

Dear Westshire Families,

It’s great to be back into the regular weekly routine after the break from school. Despite the dramatic highs and lows in the weather over the last couple weeks we have still been outdoors most days for recess. Remember to send in dry winter clothes, boots, hats, gloves/mittens every day. Hopefully the soft snow will return soon because, the most popular way to spend recess is sledding!

See information about the upcoming budget forums below. Now is the time to get involved what’s being considered for the budget and plan for next school year.

In addition, we would like to hear your thoughts. Fill out the RISD Strategic Planning Survey so your voice is heard in creating the next strategic plan.
The Rivendell Interstate School District is approaching the end of its current strategic plan that was developed in 2015. With a new administrative team in place I am excited for the opportunity to build upon the current foundation to create positive school climates and enriching academic experiences for our children in the future. Fill out the survey for the website https://www.rivendellschool.org/

Upcoming Events
*For all information related to School Board meetings and the upcoming budget go to https://www.rivendellschool.org/
FYI - These discussions may address Westshire elementary adding a 5th grade and the preschool program structure.

  • Community Budget Forum – District Office Tuesday January 14th at 6:30PM
  • No School – Monday January 20th
  • Community Budget Forum – Westshire Elementary School Tuesday January 21st at 6:30PM
  • February Break – Feb. 17-21st


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide December 16, 2019

It was really wonderful to have the gym filled with so many friendly faces at the Westshire Winter Concert concert! Thanks to everyone who could join us for the performance. Enjoy the video of the concert.


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide December 9, 2019

Concert - Upcoming break - Differences day - Report cards

Dear Families,

It was really wonderful to have the gym filled with so many friendly faces at the concert last week! Thanks to everyone who could make it to the performance.

We have two weeks of school before the break and we plan on keeping students focused and productive in school. Keeping routines, and taking care to eat and sleep well is extra important as we head into this busy time of year.

Again this year, we will have a Differences Day, which is an event where students have a short experience that brings more awareness to disabilities and differences. “The goal is to help each child recognize his or her uniqueness and challenges and, in doing so, to promote a deeper understanding, respect, and acceptance of all people.” -from the program Ann O’Hearn has been teaching in Guidance class, called Changing Perspectives. https://changingperspectivesnow.org/ Ask your child about this experience on Tuesday.

You will be getting the first trimester report cards on Monday. The report cards are Standards-based. This means that you’ll see a list of what teachers expect your child will master by the end of the school year and numbers between 1-4 that indicate progress made so far.


  • December 9th Monday – Report cards go home in backpacks
  • December 10th Tuesday – Differences Day
  • December 23 - January 1st - No School
  • January 2 – School begins again


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide November, 24 2019

Dear Families,

We’ll host our first Games with Grandparents hour this Wednesday at 12:00, right before the early release at 1:00. We are looking forward to welcoming and sharing grandparents while playing board games throughout the school. Connecting and appreciating our families and the larger community is a joy and responsibility for the faculty at Westshire. We are thankful to the Friends of Rivendell for providing cookies and coffee/tea. We are thankful for all the people that support our school at the District Office (food service, operations, technology, accounting, payroll, human resources, administration). I am thankful for our teachers, staff, and students who are taking on the work of learning and education.

Thank You ALL!

Morning Drop Off Information:
All students should arrive dressed for the weather and go directly to outdoor recess before school starts in the morning.
Soon there will be a sign at the front of the school that will say -Indoor- on days that it is too rainy or cold to be outdoors.
All backpacks are to stay outside near the back doors (we are working on getting hooks and a tarp). Students that eat breakfast go in at 7:45. When school starts at 8:00 students will go into their classrooms. *Remember to send in winter clothes every day.

Upcoming calendar events:

  • November 27th Games with Grandparents 12-1 pm
  • November 27th Early Release 1:00 pm
  • November 28-29th NO SCHOOL Thanksgiving Break
  • December 3rd School Board Meeting 6:30 pm
  • December 5th Winter Concert 6:30 pm (doors open at 6:00)
  • December 6th Pajama Day – Wear PJ’s to school
  • December 9th Report Cards go home in backpacks
  • December 23 - January 1st NO SCHOOL Holiday Break


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide November 17, 2019

November 2019

Dear Families,

It’s been a wonderful time at Westshire Elementary with students and staff alike set into the weekly routines. Knowing what to expect day to day is a great place to be and I’ve found so much to enjoy and appreciate in this new season. The few inches of snow have given us new ways to enjoy recess with sledding, fort building and imaginative games that involve animals that enjoy the winter.

Most of our parent-student conferences have happened and I hope this provided ample information about this years’ learning. If you have not had a conference, contact your child’s teacher.

I’m working on more frequent newsletters so keep a lookout for more emails to come!
Upcoming calendar events:

  • November 21st Picture Retakes - let us know if needed
  • November 27th Games with Grandparents 12-1 pm - Invitations are going home with students. Cookies and tea.
  • November 27th Early Release 1:00 pm
  • November 28-29th Thanksgiving Break
  • December 3rd School Board Meeting 6:30 pm
  • December 5th Winter Concert 6:30 pm
  • December 6th Pajama Day
  • December 23 - January 1st No School


Melissa Zoerheide
Westshire Elementary School


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide October 27, 2019

Dear Familes,
We are having a fun Friday this week. We plan on having a great day with our regular academic learning and some extra fun. Students are invited to wear pajamas to school on Friday.

No Halloween costumes during school this week. We decided to keep the focus on learning and not risk wearing out costumes before trick or treating.

Reminder: Dress warmly, the weather changes fast. Pack warm clothes every day!
Kids should bring a warm jacket, hat, mittens/gloves, and wear long pants to school every day. Winter boots and snow pants will be needed soon.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Pajama Day Friday 11-1-19
  • No School/Parent Conferences Friday 11-8-19
  • No School/Veterans Day Monday 11-11-19
  • Early Dismissal 1:00 Wednesday 11-27-19
  • No School/Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday 11-28-19 and 11-29-19
  • Picture Retakes 11-21-19
  • Winter Concert 12-5-19


Every Monday the Westshire community meeting brings students in grades K – 4 together for a morning of singing, announcements,activities, appreciations and recognition of birthdays.

Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide October 18, 2019

Dear Parents and Families,

We have been in school 36 days now and it is starting to feel like we know each other. I’m working on setting up a regular weekly newsletter to highlight what’s happening at Westshire day-to-day and to provide dates on upcoming events. The newsletter will begin in the next couple weeks. I’m very excited to get this up and running because there are many great happenings to share.

Teachers have started to dive into more of the content of the curriculum, as setting the positive tone and culture of the classroom is now set. This week, all teachers met with educator instructors from the Montshire Museum to look deeply at this years’ science units. On Monday, we increased our collaboration with the educators at Rivendell Academy and Samuel Morey by meeting together and finding connections and resources in our district. Teachers left with new connections to strengthen what we do together. I’ll be sure to highlight more specifics (like the 1st grade forest exploration unit). New and experienced teachers are regularly meeting for mentorship to build both the friendly excitement for learning and the rigorous pursuit of high-quality teaching.

We are happy to be outside for the morning and mid-day recess unless it is pouring rain or very cold. We have just put in an order for more recess equipment as these items have begun to dwindle (like balls, jump ropes). In addition, I’m hoping to add a Ga Ga ball structure to the playground. Ga gab ball is a safe and pro-social ball game that can be played in a large group. The set up will require some communities volunteers to help put together, let me know if you are interested in helping. More details on this to come. A reminder that the weather is changing and kids need warm clothes, boots, hats, mittens for school.

Thanks for being the dedicated caregivers of the students at Westshire. I’m impressed daily by our families because I’ve heard from you and see you in the hallways. You are focused on your child’s education by working together in a caring way to address questions, hopes, and concerns. Thank you for saying hi when you’re in school and communicating with teachers when the need arises. Westshire is a great place, thanks for welcoming me into your world.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the sunshine!


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide October 9, 2019

Happy Fall Parents,

Colder temperatures are here. We will still be outside (except in pouring rain and extreme cold).
Kids should bring a jacket, hat, mittens/gloves, and long pants to school every day. Winter boots will be needed soon.

Stay warm,


*If winter clothing is a financial hardship this year, please contact me or Ann O’Hearn, the school counselor.


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide October 8, 2019

Dear Westshire families,
Happy October! The leaves are changing and the temperatures are dropping quickly. Thank you to everyone who was able to make our open house, we enjoyed seeing familiar faces as well as meeting some new! We also wanted to recognize the chaperones who joined us on our all school hike. We had a beautiful day hiking up Flag Pole Mountain in Vershire, Vermont. We appreciate all of the chaperones, staff and students for creating a fun day spent outdoors as an entire school!

Picture day is fast approaching! Westshire Elementary picture day will be THIS Friday, October 11th. Picture forms have been sent home in backpack mail. If you are needing a new form, please let Mrs. Ward know at the front desk and a new form will be sent home with your child.

Upcoming important dates:

  • Friday, October 11- PICTURE DAY
  • Monday, October 14- NO SCHOOL- TEACHER IN SERVICE


Message from the Principal, Melissa Zoerheide October 1, 2019

It could not have been a better day to be hiking last Friday. What a beautiful day! Kids worked together, followed directions and school expectations while playing, hiking and getting lots of fresh air. We got to know our local area and the cross-rivendell trail. Thank you to all the parent chaperones, it was great to have you join us!


September 30, 2019

Open House

A special thanks to all families that participated in the Open house last week!
Teachers and staff enjoy welcoming parents into their classrooms and sharing the work that has begun this year.
Many classrooms had a scavenger hunt and in that was a visit to the student’s ‘hopes and dreams’ for this year. My hope is that we take these things seriously and work hard to fulfill them.
Parents had a chance to contribute a wish for their child and for the school as a whole.

Here are some of the wishes.

‘I wish for my child to grow up to be kind.’
‘I wish for my child to do his best and make friends’
‘I wish for teachers to be paid well and the school to have all the resources needed.’

‘I wish that Westshire will teach to the whole brain of the children.’
‘I wish for a happy, safe, and productive year for all staff and students.’


September 19, 2019

Dear Families,

We are off to a great start! I welcome communication and I’m happy to set up a time to meet if you’re ever interested in talking about our school and education. I suggest that you seek out your child’s classroom teacher first. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.

  • September 26 6:00-6:45 PM Open House for Families
    Tour your child’s classroom, talk to teachers, sign up for classroom blogs and more.
  • September 27 10:00-2:00 PM All School Hike (ASH) See permission slip.
  • October 11 School Picture Day

Best Wishes,

Melissa Zoerheide, Principal
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(802) 333-4668 x4105

 September 14, 2019

Our First Community Meeting of the Year

We had our first community meeting which brings K – 4 grades together for a Monday morning singing, announcements, appreciations and recognition of birthdays. Thanks for our Music Teacher Elizabeth Duvall for her role in providing structure and playing the guitar!

Learning and Fun at the Tunbridge Fair!

The fair was a tremendous success, full of fun and learning. We discovering how tools were used in the past with reenactments of stores and schoolhouse, blacksmithing and farming. We used our senses spending time with goats, pigs, chickens, cows, oxen, horses and more animals. We were impressed with the beauty and size of vegetables, fruit and flowers. We were inspired by contest entries of fine craftsmanship, in sewing, quilting, woodworking, art, lego creations and more. What a day! Thanks to all the parents who attended.


 RISD Elementary Parent Newsletters 2018-19


All newsletters are in PDF format.