Bristol Elementary School


A CLASSROOM INCIDENT involving a student at Bristol Elementary School last week resulted in extensive damage to school and other property, including this laptop computer. On Tuesday night, BES teachers pleaded with the MAUSD board to take immediate steps to ensure student and staff safety at the school. Photo courtesy of the Mount Abraham Education Association
BRISTOL — A Bristol Elementary School teacher broke down in tears during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Mount Abraham Unified School District board as she tried to describe an incident she and her students had experienced the previous Thursday, Oct. 7. “I’m sorry,” she said. “This is just heartbreaking.” A couple of her BES colleagues got up and stood beside her, offering support, and she continued. “Around 2 p.m. (that day), we had to evacuate the classroom as a student entered the classroom in an aggressive manner and was throwing objects at adults and in the classroom,” the teacher said....
BRISTOL — After teachers at Bristol Elementary School raised school safety concerns in a public statement at Tuesday night's Mount Abraham Unified School District board meeting, Mount Abraham Education Association co-vice president Sarah Mangini followed with a statement cataloguing some of the damage and dangers experienced or observed at the school. Mangini described an atmosphere in which students and teachers have feared for their safety, property has been damaged, and learning has often being interrupted. Some of the concerns expressed Tuesday night echoed those that have been shared in...

A BRISTOL ELEMENTARY School classroom that recently suffered damage after an incident at the school.
BRISTOL — A group of Bristol Elementary School teachers banded together to raise concerns about safety issues at the school during Tuesday night's MAUSD board meeting in Bristol. Teachers spoke of incidents in recent days and weeks when "children were hiding and crying in fear and staff members were injured. Hallways were cleared and students and staff remained in the learning space they were in with the doors locked." They referred to the school as a "place of unrest" where "a general sense of helplessness and fear has permeated our school." The full statement, which was shared with the...
BRISTOL — In July a new face will be roaming the halls of Bristol Elementary School. David Wells, who is currently the superintendent of the Barre Unified Union School District, has been hired as interim principal at the school, following the resignation of Principal Tom Buzzell, who will leave BES June 30. “I am honored to have been chosen to lead Bristol Elementary School this coming fall,” Wells said in a May 13 statement released on social media by the Mount Abraham Unified School District. “In my over 22 years of school leadership, I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting the students,...

THE URBAN FAMILY spent a sweltering day this summer installing the new pollinator garden at Bristol Elementary School. Photo/Christopher Pepe
BRISTOL — Bristol Elementary School (BES) now boasts a pollinator garden on its campus. It took a village to create a natural space for Bristol children to explore. Parents, inspired by the joy their children experienced during the school’s Forest Days, wanted to build on it. Thus the pollinator garden idea was born. Parents and school administration began meeting to remove hurdles to students being outdoors. The focus of the effort became: •  Outdoor classroom space to facilitate classroom-based learning outdoors •  Natural playscape to encourage engaging with and observing the natural world...
Deb Rickner
For 27 years Bristol Elementary art teacher Deb Rickner has helped each of her sixth-grade students paint one cinderblock of the school's walls. This spring, because of the pandemic, she found a way for students to participate in the project from home. Independent photo/Christopher Ross.
BRISTOL — For nearly three decades, under the guidance of art teacher Deb Rickner, each graduating sixth-grader at Bristol Elementary School (BES) has created a personal design and painted it onto one cinderblock of the building’s interior. “The project must be about the kids, personally, like putting their stamp on the school,” Rickner told the Independent in a recent interview. Rickner’s students’ first canvas was the school cafeteria, where over the years successive classes of sixth-graders filled up every block that was safe to paint. In 2002 the project shifted to the hallways of the 5/6...

TOM BUZZELL
BRISTOL — Bristol Elementary School Interim Principal Thomas Buzzell has been selected as the school’s next permanent principal, Mount Abraham Unified School District Superintendent Patrick Reen confirmed this week. Reen said the search committee’s weeks-long process concluded on Friday, Feb. 14, the day after Buzzell and the other finalist, Addison Central School principal and BES alum Kathleen Kilbourne, spent the day visiting the school and meeting with parents and community members in the evening. Reen said the news that Buzzell had accepted a contract was welcomed at a school-wide...

SINGER-SONGWRITERS Matthew Witten and John Hadden, performing as the Swing Peepers, are teaching Bristol Elementary students how to write songs. There will be a performance at the BES gym this Friday afternoon. Courtesy Jeff Clarke Photography
BRISTOL — Bristol Elementary School is having a month long artist in residency with the Swing Peepers. Each class is spending five hours with the singer/songwriters John Hadden and Matthew Witten creating and performing a song. Hadden and Witten are accomplished musicians who have worked with school children in Vermont and elsewhere for years. The two area residents have been writing original songs since they were teenagers and play several instruments. They perform as a duo, as solo artists and also as members of the Swing Peepers. Swing Peepers is a vocal harmony and multi-instrument duo...

Tom Buzzell and Kathleen Kilbourne
Editor's note: Due to inclement weather, the BES Principal Finalists meet and greet with the community scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, was postponed. The event was rescheduled for this Thursday, Feb. 13, 5:30-7 p.m. at Bristol Elementary School, between the music room and the library. Light snacks will be provided. BRISTOL — Two candidates with ties to Bristol Elementary School and more than a decade each of experience as a principal are the finalists to be the school’s next principal. One is the current BES interim principal, Tom Buzzell, and the other is now the principal of Addison Central...

TOM BUZZELL, LEFT, and Kathleen Kilbourne are finalists to become the next principal of Bristol Elementary School.
UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, the BES Principal Finalists meet and greet with the community scheduled for today, Thursday, Feb. 6, will be rescheduled. More information as it becomes available.  Click here to see the new day and time. BRISTOL — Two candidates with strong ties to Bristol Elementary School and more than a decade each of experience as a principal are the finalists to be the school’s next principal. One is the current BES interim principal, Tom Buzzell, and the other is now the principal of Addison Central School, Kathleen Kilbourne. Mount Abraham Unified School District...

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Addison County Independent