School Information » Letter From the Principal

Letter From the Principal

Dear Highgate Hawk Families,

It is with incredible excitement that I am writing this welcome letter for the 2023 - 2024 school year! This is my fourth year working at Highgate Elementary School as your principal and I could not be more proud to be serving the staff, families, and students of Highgate! During my time, we have opened school during a pandemic, but luckily since that first year, we have been able to open school in the way we all remember it to be!

To get to know our school a little more, we serve around 285 students from PreSchool to grade 6, and have two classrooms per grade level. This means we average around 30 - 35 students per grade, although some grade levels have around 40 students. We are lucky to have a school that has instructional coaches to support teacher growth and development, we have math and literacy interventionists to support student needs, as well as many other staff and support staff to support our students. We are also a Title I school, which means we do receive funding from the Vermont AOE to support our staffing and resources to meet the needs of all of our students in our population.

Highgate Elementary is a PBIS school, which is focused on using a schoolwide system of support to help students follow expectations, of how to respond when students are not following those expectations, and we have a way of celebrating that success. For PBIS our main expectations that we build all of our behavior matrix systems on is known as CARES (Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control). Like many other schools in Vermont, we are a PBIS school.

Highgate Elementary is a school known for using Restorative Practices and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to support emotional needs beyond academics. We respond to behavior in a way to ask questions to understand what happened in a situation, to identify harmed parties, and to help repair any damage that has been done. There are basic tenets of Restorative Practices we use to help students and staff. We also focus on SEL competencies from MVSD schools to help our students succeed in a variety of social and emotional learning.

Highgate Elementary School is a part of Missisquoi Valley School District which serves the communities of Highgate, Swanton, and Franklin. Each of those elementary schools also filter into MVU Middle and High School. I am so glad to be a part of this learning community. If you need anything from me, please do not hesitate to reach out!

Yours in Education,

Mr. Yeshua Pastina, Principal


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