My name is Melissa Eldred, and I am the middle school English language arts teacher. I am proud to say this is my 12th year of teaching at WRVS; I have a lot of Wildcat pride! I graduated from Saint Leo University in Florida with a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education with a specialization in English. To date, I have now accrued 15 graduate credits at Saint Michael’s College with a concentration in literacy. My favorite part about being an English teacher is seeing students come alive and get excited about what they’re reading or writing. I am a proud native Vermonter, but attended undergraduate college in Florida. I currently live locally with my husband, our 2 dogs, and our 2 cats. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, writing, and baking (pies are my specialty). I also love the great outdoors and enjoy hunting, snowshoeing, and kayaking.
English language arts is aligned with the Common Core State Standards. That said, my curriculum includes building skills in: reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as language. During each trimester students are exposed to at least one full novel study unit as well as various other texts ranging from poetry, fictional stories, dramas, and nonfiction texts to ensure their text variety as well as exposing them to varying text complexities. To add, students also compose various writing assignments throughout the year including: argumentative/opinion writing, informational writing, narrative writing, and creative writing. Students also engage in whole class discussions, peer or small-group discussions, as well as informal and formal presentations to address their speaking and listening skills. Furthermore, language (such as grammar, usage, and mechanics) are taught both directly and in context throughout the year.
My name is Chris Putney, and I am the middle school Social Studies teacher. This year is my first year teaching at WRVS, but is my 6th year teaching overall. I graduated from Norwich University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management. Once I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up, I later returned to school through the University of Florida to receive my teaching certification. To date, I have now accrued 30 graduate credits through Southern New Hampshire University towards my masters in education. My favorite part about teaching Social Studies is watching students make connections throughout history and around the world. I am a native Vermonter and have never lived anywhere else (I couldn't imagine it). As a local to the area, my 3 children also attend WRVS.
Before my teaching career had begun, I had spent the previous 8 school years working in the field of mental health and behavioral supports. In my spare time I enjoy hunting, fishing, snowshoeing, sugaring, and spending time with my children.
In Middle School Social Studies, our goal is to build competence and awareness in their civic knowledge, while making informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens.
This is my third year teaching at Waits River and my nineteenth overall. I've primarily taught middle school science, but have done some math as well as high school science. I have a B.A. geology from Alfred University and a M.S. in environmental science from Antioch New England Graduate School. Before teaching, I worked as a field biologist with VINS and with the National Audubon Society in Maine. I was also the naturalist at Groton State Park for several summers.
In middle school science, one of the main goals is for students to be able to analyze data and support their explanations with evidence. We cover most fields of science and this goal can be applied in many of them. In 6th grade, we study states of matter, weather, astronomy, physics and electricity. Seventh grade is devoted to life science, where we will look at insects, mushrooms, bacteria, cells, genetics, evolution, amphibians, birds and plants. In eighth grade, we study chemistry, climate, geology, light and sound. We also spend time on a sex education unit.
I learned to speak Spanish growing up in various countries of Latin America and Europe including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, France, Spain, and Honduras. (My father was an ambassador for the United States.) For me, language is the avenue through which we experience the world. It is how we describe and share what we know.
The way we learn language at Waits River Valley School is the same one that guided how we learned English – with engaging and immersive word experiences. We develop mastery of vocabulary so that we can talk about the things that interest us. Learning grammar is something that happens after we have acquired fluency in spoken language and proficiency in written language.
Before coming to WRVS, I taught Language Arts and Social Studies at Barre Town Middle and Elementary School for 20 years. Before discovering that I am supposed to be a teacher, I did a variety of jobs including public spokesperson, newspaper reporter, economic consultant, contractor, and mechanic.