Hi! I’m glad you’ve found your way to the Principal’s Page of our website. My name is Todd Rohlen (Pronounced row-LEEN). I am in my second year here as the principal at Coventry and I love it. It’s such a great school, with a wonderful community. Before this, I was a middle school science teacher for many years, teaching both in Winooski and in Enosburg Falls. I have also been an Outward-Bound instructor over in Maine, an EMT on a couple different ambulances, a ski patroller, and a trainer for Vermont Afterschool. Clearly, I like to keep busy! However, I am loving putting all my energy into one spot now, Coventry. I think there is such an opportunity to help kids grow and develop in a small school when we can get to know each student over the course of many years.
It might be hard to believe, but we are underway for another school year here at Coventry and I am sure it will be a great one! The Coventry staff worked very hard last spring and throughout the summer to initiate some exciting changes here. One of them involves changes to our behavior systems, both in encouraging positive behavior and reacting consistently and effectively in the cases of misbehavior. We continue to be a PBIS school (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), so encouraging positive behavior is a cornerstone of our school. We are building on that by implementing Responsive Classroom across the school. This is an approach that focuses on building community and social-emotional skills within an academic setting. A big focus of Responsive Classroom is encouraging positive behavior through direct instruction, modeling and more. We have revised our Handbook to make behavior expectations explicit, as we believe knowing this can help kids be successful. All that said, we know that folks struggle at times, so we have re-worked our systems to reacting to misbehavior, as well. In the Handbook, there is a series of pages called Coventry Village School Behavior Rubrics (pages 11-15). If a student has a behavior that should not be managed within the classroom, the behavior rubrics are referred to. The rubrics guide our decision making. Each row is for a different infraction, and then the columns list the consequences, based on the number of incidents. We are hoping this clarity and consistency can help everyone be successful. If you have thoughts or questions, be sure to be in touch.
Another big change is in our instructional model for students. We are using the NCSU Continuum of Instruction (COI) framework to design literacy instruction with multi-tiers of support so every student gets what they need. We will use formative assessment and ongoing progress monitoring in order to determine what instruction is best for students. For grades K-5, each class has a 30-45 min period each day called their FIT block, or Focused Instructional Time. During the FIT block, there will be a classroom teacher, a literacy interventionist or 2, and a special educator all providing instruction, as well as an enrichment specialist three days per week. These teachers will use formative data regularly in order to make the best instructional decisions for students. We will be meeting all students at all levels. This time is in addition to their core instruction time. This is a dynamic and demanding model, but we truly believe it can help all students make significant gains in their literacy skills. Our focus on literacy is not to the exclusion or detriment of other subjects. In fact, we are actively trying to grow our math instructional program. We hope to do a FIT block for math at some point in the future, but we want to establish our literacy focus first.
Lastly, we have some physical changes around the building. Did you know the school has grown by over 50% in just six years?!? That is dramatic growth! With such growth, we are having space issues across the school. The school board and I are looking into permanent solutions to the space issue. In the meantime, we have added two modular classrooms. These house middle school math and middle school humanities. There have been some hiccups in the set-up of the modular, so you will see it relocated on our school grounds. However, the addition of these two classrooms has allowed for some much-needed changes within the school. We have moved the preschool to a large classroom, giving them more space and allowing them to grow their numbers. Special education teachers no longer have to work in the library, but instead have moved to their own space. Third grade was also able to move closer to the fourth and fifth grades, which has enabled them to change to a “departmentalization” model. While temporary, the change in our physical space has made a difference across the school.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with your child’s teacher, myself or anyone else at the school. Call, email, stop on in, whatever works for you. Frequent communication makes for good teamwork with the home and school. Be sure to mark our various events for the year and plan to come on in for concerts, the Celebration of Learning, family lunches, and more! We have such a passionate and talented group of adults working with your wonderful and skilled kids, it’s just a recipe for success!