Principal's Blog

My name is Catrina DiNapoli and this is my fourth year as the Principal at BES.  I grew up in Shelburne, VT and always knew I wanted to be a teacher.  I was a classroom assistant working with and brailling for students with visual impairments for 3 years, taught third, fourth and fifth grade for 9 years, directed the school musical and ran the Summer School Program all at the Shelburne Community School.  I transitioned down the road to the Charlotte Central School where I was the Assistant Principal for 5 years before joining the team at BES.  I live in Monkton with my husband,  daughter and son.  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, hiking, gardening, reading, biking, walking and music.  My Hopes and Dreams for this year include staying healthy, balancing work with family time and supporting learners of all ages!

Fall is Here! October Updates

posted Oct 5, 2012, 12:44 PM by Catrina Dinapoli

5/6 Chorus performs a fun number at the September assembly!

 Thank you to the many families who came to Open House last night!  We had an incredible turnout with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles – I even saw a puppy!  It was great to see so many BES graduates come back to say hello, too!  I’ve been chatting with folks in the BES Family Connection (formerly the “Parent Advisory Group”), staff and people from other school communities about our Open House format and am convinced that this informal showcase with the kids as tour guides is such a positive experience!  The enthusiasm they have leading their guests around the room, the school, from corner to corner is just so great to watch.  

Thanks again for coming!  


With the first 6 weeks of school firmly under our feet, programs are beginning to get into full swing.  Our older students have been practicing for the NECAP assessment which will start next week and are being encouraged to take the activity seriously by being rested, on time for school and well nourished - key ingredients to effective test preparation.  We try to keep the experience light, provide snacks and breaks with a “show what you know” attitude. 

 Points of Pride:

 ·        Speaking of NECAPS, our Science NECAP scores from the spring of 2012 show incredible growth!  These are percentages of 4th grade students who met or exceeded the standard overtime:

'08 = 33%

'09 = 39%

'10 = 58%

'11 = 55%

'12 = 66%!!!!

Hooray for our young scientists and congratulations to our teachers!

 ·         Thank you to Moira Garrity for working as a guest teacher for the first part of Michaela Wisell’s maternity leave!  Teaching health class to grades K-6 and Kindergarten PE, Moira has been a wonderful addition to our staff and we always appreciate her energy and commitment!  We know she’ll still be around, but we’ll miss her!


 Upcoming Events:


10/8:  Bristol School Board meeting, 5:30 in the library

10/9-10/18:  NECAP testing window for grades 3-6

10/11:  PICTURE DAY!

10/19:  ANESU In-service Day for Faculty and Staff – no school for students

10/26:  Celebration of Learning Assembly, 8:30 in the gym

10/20-11/9:  Parent Conference window

11/2:  Support Staff In-service and Parent Conferences – no school for students

11/9:  PTO Sponsored Coffee with the Principal, 8:30 in the Art Room

Welcome Back!!!

posted Sep 7, 2012, 10:52 AM by Catrina Dinapoli   [ updated Sep 7, 2012, 12:51 PM ]

September Updates

What an exciting first 7 days of school we’ve had!  The faculty and staff put a lot of thought, time and energy into planning for a positive, safe and supported start!  We made changes that enabled more adults to be on hand in classrooms for practicing routines, reinforcing expectations and encouraging students all day long! Feedback from staff, students and parents has been affirming that this “First 7 Day Focus” has pulled us all together, has helped the students feel connected to their classroom community and really modeled for kids the collaborative teaming emphasis that we’re working on!  As more of our academic programming and schedules start to fall into place, we are confident that we can keep this focus on relationships strong by building upon the foundation that has been established.  What a great way to start!



 Food!  Glorious Food! 

           Serving free breakfast in the classroom for all students who want it has been working beautifully!  With every change in a system comes logistical challenges, of course, but most of the kinks were worked out within the first couple of days!  Seeing kids eating together in a casual, relaxed atmosphere in the classroom, knowing that they’ve all had a chance to “fuel up” for their day ahead is huge! 

            We have been awarded a Fruits and Vegetable grant for the second year in a row!  We hope to start our free snacks program as a school next week! This is a wonderful opportunity to reinforce healthy eating throughout the day and to introduce foods that may not otherwise be available to all kids all year long!  Thank you to Kathy Alexander and Kristen Andrews for continuing their efforts to acquire this funding for us!

            If you haven’t seen the new ANESU Food Cooperative website yet, take a look: ANESU Food Service Coop

There is so much happening and so much coming!  If you haven’t had a chance to join us for lunch, please do!!

 Curriculum Work:

           We continue to work as a school to explore effective practices that provide positive learning experiences for our students.  Our teaching teams are working together to offer flexible grouping models so that students “get what they need”. This can mean a multi-age social community with peers working together to solve problems, it may mean a single grade math group that will focus on mastering a specific skill, it may also mean carving out time in the day or week for kids with a similar interest in science fiction to be in a book group together.  The options are endless and it takes a lot of thinking and rethinking to convince ourselves that time and schedules need to be the variables and can’t limit what we can offer for our learners. 


 Speaking of Extended Programming…

             The 5-year 21st Century Learning Grant that we were awarded is entering its third year at BES and we’re excited to announce that three schools in our Supervisory Union are working together to design and implement an even more effective program!  With the Robinson and Beeman Elementary Schools, we’re excited to announce that Mandy Chessley will be our Program Director!  Overseeing all three after school and summer programs, Mandy will combine her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with her exemplary leadership and organizational skills to get things off the ground for us this fall!  Next, BES will be looking for a Site Director to pick up where Kate Gagner left off!  You’ll hear more soon! Stay tuned!


Points of Pride:

 ·         Thank you to Pam Laurent and Kris Kouwenhoven who continue to be our PTO chair people!  They brought us a wonderful kick off to this year’s all-school fund raiser this week!  The new company we will be working with is Genevieve’s and they offer a wide range of items including gift wrap with proceeds going to our Artist-in-Residence Program.  This year’s residency will be all about Circus Arts!  Can’t wait!

  •                      Congratulations to BES for earning the Healthier School Challenge Award from the USDA!  We received $1,000 for this second place award being recognized for our leadership, team work and commitment to healthy nutrition and lifestyles!  Hooray for us!



Upcoming Events:

9/10:  Bristol School Board meeting, 5:30 in the library

9/28:  Celebration of Learning Assembly, 8:30 a.m. in the gym

10/4:  School-wide Open House, 6:30 p.m. 

January Updates

posted Jan 6, 2012, 1:26 PM by Catrina Dinapoli   [ updated Jan 6, 2012, 1:29 PM ]

Happy New Year, Everyone!  I wish you all health and happiness for 2012! 


Curriculum Work:

Later this month, teachers will participate in an in-service day that is “All About Writing”.  Well-known experts in the field of literacy curriculum, Joey Hawkins and Sue Biggam, will be our keynote speakers followed by a series of workshops designed to provide teachers with new ideas, strategies, planning support and resources.  Teachers will also become familiar with some of the changes that the nation-wide move towards “Common Core” standards will bring to their work in English Language Arts.  It should be an incredibly rewarding day for our educators.

Positive Learning Environment:

I often share about the intentional and intensive work that we do using Responsive Classroom practices and PBIS strategies to support our students to make good choices about their behavior and increase their engagement in their own learning.  Classroom practices are often referred to as “Tier I” supports (Morning Meeting, Social Conferencing, Take a Break, Buddy Room) and additional strategies that could include small group time, extra practice with a skill, behavior plans, incentive programs, etc… are referred to as “Tier II”.  I haven’t talked much about “Tier III” supports.  Often in schools, there is a very small percent of the student population that requires a program that is very individualized in order for that child to make educational progress.  We have incredible staff with the experience and skill to implement those types of programs and access to professionals to help us improve our support system.  I can’t emphasize enough how inspiring it is to work in this school community where the well-being of each and every student is what we value most.

Points of Pride:

·         The 1/2 team did an amazing job with their cultural celebration the week before break!  The costumes were wonderful and the students were so proud to share their learning!  Well done!

·         Our school-wide activity celebrating our working hard towards a positive learning environment was a great success.  Students worked with their Big/Little Partners to create bird feeders!  Thank you for all of the donations!

Oh!  and did you see us in our ugly sweaters the day before vacation!?  

Upcoming Events:

1/10:  Community Forum for the search for a new superintendent, 6:30 p.m. at Mt. Abe

1/13:  Coffee with the Principal, 8:30 a.m. at BES

1/23:  In-service – no school for students

1/27:  Celebration of Learning, 8:20 a.m. at BES in the gym

2/9:  PTO meeting, 6:30 at BES in the library


December Updates

posted Dec 9, 2011, 8:26 AM by Catrina DiNapoli

December Updates:

 This is that super busy time between Thanksgiving Break and the December school vacation!  With much going on, lots to celebrate and the weather changing, we are working on keeping up with it as I’m sure you all are as well.  Remember to take some time for yourselves, try to stay in the moment and be healthy! 


Curriculum Work:

Teachers continue to work together planning units, looking at assessments and designing instruction.  We used grant money to support release days for teachers to meet with Sharon Wight, our Curriculum Coach this month.  Here’s a link to a brief slideshow that describes our work with curriculum mapping since early last year.

 ..\..\ANESU\Admin Meetings\1112\Why Curriculum Mapping.pptx

 Supporting a Positive Learning Environment:

I’ve shared work using the Responsive Classroom curriculum, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports framework and our discipline practices and procedures several times over the years.  From the perspective of the “state”, we are currently focusing on “Tier II” interventions, or “how to support the children who are not consistently responding to our universal strategies”.  Universal strategies are things like “Bling”, “Take a Break – Buddy Room – Planning Room”, in-class check in supports with the teacher, simple behavior plans, parent conferencing, consulting with other professionals, etc…  The state goal is that 80% of our students respond to these measures and behavior problems are minimal.  Happily, at BES, we tend to see that approximately 90% of our kids are successful with that level of support.  So, now we are working intentionally to provide stronger systems for supporting kiddos who are not finding that level of success.  We’ve convened a “Tier II Behavior Intervention Team” consisting of administrators, counselors and our RC trainers to design this system with the help of our state PBIS coach from UVM, Richard Boltax. We’ll keep you posted on our work.  In the meantime, we are looking forward to the school-wide celebration next week to highlight the overall positive culture and progress at BES!



Points of Pride:

What an unbelievable concert this week!  A huge thanks goes out to San Gordon, Sandy Dahl, Carol Spaid-Bergeron and Karen Amirault for their tireless work with our talented students!  Much appreciation to the entire staff and school community for their support of the arts and this ambitious program!  Congratulations to all!

Our annual Collection Convention was another huge success!  Many students in grades 4-6 brought in their collections to share with us.  There were over 40 collections on display in the cafeteria and the collectors were very proud to talk about their hobby as students and staff walked through the gallery.  Thank you to the student council, Andrea Murnane and Bridget Nardiello for keeping this tradition going!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


      Congratulations to Eva Ginalski and Emma LaRose who auditioned for the Green Mountain Music District Festival!  Eva and Emma were selected to perform with the Middle School Symphonic Band.  Eva placed 2nd out of 5 bass clarinetists and Emma placed 5th out of 24 clarinetists!  Emma also auditioned for and was selected to participate in the Green Mountain Music District Festival Middle School Chorus!  These are wonderful accomplishments and we look forward to seeing the performances in March.


Upcoming Events

12/13:  Parent Advisory Group, 6:30

12/15:  School-wide PBIS Celebration, 8:45-10:00

12/16:  Celebration of Learning, 8:20

12/23-1/2:  School Vacation

From the Principal's Office

posted Nov 11, 2011, 7:35 AM by Catrina Dinapoli   [ updated Nov 11, 2011, 7:51 AM ]

Each month I provide a "Principal's Report" to the School Board with updates about happenings in and around the school community.  I've decided to start posting those "Reports" here instead so the information can be available to all.  You'll start to notice that the format is always the same where I highlight Projects that I'm working on, a few Points of Pride for B.E.S. and Upcoming Dates.  Enjoy and, as always, contact me with any questions or comments!

November Updates:



Effective Communication: 

I spent a great deal of time over the last six weeks thinking about, talking about and analyzing our communication practices both internally and out to the school community.  Every group that I’ve worked with around this topic (faculty, staff, parents) has recognized that direct, face-to-face communication is the most effective.  Being a listener is as important as being a talker, asking questions to gain clarity and perspective before passing judgment or making assumptions is key and understanding the needs of your audience will help pave the way for an effective exchange of information.  Those are just a few of the many thoughts that have come out of the conversations I’ve been having with folks and in a time when electronic communication is convenient, efficient and in some ways, essential, we need to remind ourselves about how important personal connections are to the work that we do at B.E.S. With parent-teacher conferences in full swing, now is a perfect time to hone our skills and to learn from each other. I’m encouraged by the high percentage of families who take the opportunity to communicate with staff at this level and will continue to collect feedback about these and other practices in the hopes of constantly strengthening our efforts. 


Curriculum Work:


In addition to a focus on Communication practices, I’ve been working with the faculty on setting goals for professional growth and supporting the progress toward those goals in lots of different ways.  As part of our newly refined ANESU Supervision & Evaluation system, our teachers have set goals, met with me individually, worked with a “coach” and a small group of colleagues from around the building to develop a plan for reaching their goal and I am conducting observations and reflecting with staff regularly.  With a constant eye on improving student performance, some folks have chosen goals around using formative assessments more effectively in the classroom, differentiating learning opportunities for students using flexible groups, connecting with the community as a way for students to transfer (or share) their learning in a variety of settings, etc…  We’ve been using In-service time, Collaboration/Release time and faculty meetings to continue this challenging and important work


Points of Pride:


  • Celebration of Learning Assemblies continue to be a wonderful place to showcase amazing efforts by kids in a variety of ways! I encourage anyone to visit a C.O.L.!
  • Lots happening in the area of Food Service!  Our new breakfast menu and sandwich options are in full swing and healthy snacks for all of our kiddos are made available in the classroom daily! Thanks to so many for all of your hard work!
  • Congratulations to Louisa Funk, Dominique Cruz and Bridger Counter. Their Fire Safety posters will be included in the 2012 Fire Safety Calendar created by the Vermont Division of Fire Safety. These three winners went to Montpelier with Mrs. Rickner last Friday for a special ceremony where they met Sparky the Dog and Governor Shumlin, who gave them each a teddy bear. Congratulations also to Marley Keith and Destiny Gero, whose posters were runners-up and will be included in the back of the calendar! 


Upcoming Events:


11/15:  Parent Advisory Group Meeting

11/16:  Author Doug Wilhelm (The Revealers) visits the 5/6 team

11/17:  Annual Staff and Student Thanksgiving Lunch (thank you to all of the wonderful parent and community volunteers who help with this amazing meal!)

11/18:  Celebration of Learning Assembly, 8:20 in the gym

11/23-11/25:  Thanksgiving Break

12/2:  Report Cards sent home

12/8:  B.E.S. Concert

A New Year

posted Sep 12, 2011, 9:45 AM by Catrina Dinapoli

I think it's time to try this again!  Blogging feels like a one-sided conversation to me and as much as I love to talk, it still feels a bit awkward! I just had to share how inspired and proud I am to work (and live) in this community!  This is the start of my third year at BES and the dynamic in and around our school has been positive and hopeful!  I want to wish everyone a wonderful year, continue to encourage you to be as involved in your school as you possibly can and keep visiting this website!  We are all making an even stronger effort to communicate and celebrate using this platform.   


Bobcat's Bristol Adventure - PBIS

posted Aug 20, 2010, 7:35 AM by Catrina Dinapoli

I shared a brochure in the August letter to parents describing our new ideas for accentuating the PAWsitive behavior of our students.  A team of BES educators participated in training opportunities last year and attended an institute in June to learn about and design a program using Positive Behavior Interventions and Support strategies (  PBIS complements the extensive work that the BES community has done using Responsive Classroom ( and we've put a lot of thought into how to weave both approaches together to design a strong "Positive Learning Environment".  Although it's early into our process, our work has already gained attention and our PBIS team has been asked to present at a state conference in October. 
Students will be excited to learn at our first assembly in September about Bobcat's involvement in this effort!  They will have opportunities to earn "Bobcat Bling" when they demonstrate positive behavior which will be added to a school-wide collection.  500 bling = 1 paw print.  You will see on our website a new link to a web page called "Bobcat Map".  Our first destination is the Lawrence Memorial Library.  It will take 10 paw prints to get there and when we virtually "arrive" we will celebrate! 
Watch for signs of Bobcat during the first couple weeks of school all around the building!  The adventure begins on September 13th!

B.A.S.K. in the 21st Century

posted Aug 12, 2010, 11:15 AM by Catrina Dinapoli

Okay, maybe this blogging thing isn't going to be as difficult as I thought.
As you know, BES was the recipient of a 21st Century Learning grant to enhance our Bristol After-School/Summer Kids program.  Partnering with the Mary Johnson's Children Center, the program will continue to offer after school care in addition to workshop opportunities designed to support, enrich and inspire student learning.  I came across this piece on the 21st Century School ( website:

"After School Matters

Lest anyone doubt the reach of America's after-school woes -- more than 14 million K-12 students, including 40,000 kindergartners and almost 4 million middle school students, take care of themselves after school -- it appears even the economy is suffering: A new study by Catalyst and the Women's Studies Research Center, at Brandeis University, shows that the workplace productivity of U.S. parents suffers when they are worried about what their kids are doing after school. 2

We need more after school programs.  We need after school programs that meet the needs of the 21st century student.  What are those needs?  What possibilities exist for designing such programs?  How can we create programs that are fun, motivational and educational?

"No one believes that when the bell rings at the end of the school day, children stop learning.  Curiosity bubbles inside the minds of children from the moment they wake in the morning to when they go to bed at night."

Our challenge is to encourage, connect, and foster learning throughout a child’s day.  How do we help children make sense of all the information and experiences in their lives?  How do we ensure that all children have opportunities to reach their full potential in a competitive world where thinking skills are the most important asset of a society?"


Our first goal is to recognize ALL kids as BASK kids for the '10-'11 school year!  Watch for more information in the upcoming weeks and at your Parents-as-Partners meetings!




posted Jul 29, 2010, 6:54 AM by Catrina Dinapoli   [ updated Nov 11, 2011, 6:51 AM ]

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