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Marion Cross School 2019-2020 Handbook

*this page will be updated after the Norwich School Board August meeting when Handbook updates are approved. 

For a printable version of our Parent Handbook, please contact MCS Administration.

School Calendar

Wed. August 28 First Day of Classes Welcome Back!
Mon. September 2 Labor Day School Closed
Fri.  October 11 Teacher Inservice No School for Students
Mon. October 14 Indigenous People Day School Closed
Mon. November 11 Veterans Day (observed) School Closed
Fri. November 15 Parent/Teacher Conferences No School for Students
W - F Nov. 27 - 29 Thanksgiving Break School Closed
M - F Dec. 23 - Jan. 6 Holiday Break School Closed
Mon.  January 20 Martin Luther King Day School Closed
M - F Feb. 17-21 Winter Break School Closed
Fri. March 6 Parent/Teacher Conference No School for Students
Mon. March 9 Teacher Inservice School Closed
Fri. April 10 Teacher Inservice School Closed
M - F April 13-17 Spring Break School Closed
Mon. May 25 Memorial Day School Closed
Fri. June 18 (tentative) Summer Vacation Last Day (Noon Dismissal)


The Vermont Dept. of Ed. requires adding no fewer than five snow days to the 175 instructional-day calendar for schools. Adhering to this requirement, the last day of school is scheduled for June 18. It may be earlier, depending on the number of days lost to emergency closings, but no earlier than June 13.

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MCS School Administration, Faculty, and Staff


Marion Cross School Administration

School Phone:  (802) 649-1703


Marion Cross School Administration

Shawn Gonyaw - Principal - shawngonyaw@marioncross.org

Greg Bagnato Student - Services Coordinator - gregbagnato@marioncross.org


Marion Cross School Support Staff

Katie Cormier - School Counselor - katiecormier@marioncross.org

Jessica Liddy - Administrative Assistant - jessicaliddy@marioncross.org

Joy Smollin - Front Office - joysmollin@marioncross.org

Pamela Hausler - School Nurse - pamelahausler@marioncross.org

Tammy Severance -  Day Custodian

Donna Stearns - Evening Custodian, Foreman  - donnastearns@marioncross.org


SAU 70 Administration  (603) 643-6050

Jay Badams - Superintendent - jaybadams@sau70.org

Jamie Teague - Business Administrator - jamieteague@sau70.org

Tony Daigle - Director of Buildings & Grounds - tonydaigle@sau70.org

Joshua Malloy - Director of Technology - joshuamalloy@sau70.org

Rhett Darak - Director of Special Education - rhettdarak@sau70.org


Norwich School Board

The School Board meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Marion Cross library.


Tom Candon, Chair - 649-5292 - tom.candon@hnsb.org

Kelley Hersey - 649-2489 - kelley.hersey@hnsb.org

James Mackall - 457-4848 - james.mackall@hnsb.org

Neil Odell - 649-7287 - neil.odell@hnsb.org

Lauren Rhim - 649-7042 - lauren.rhim@hnsb.org

The Marion Cross School does not discriminate in educational programs, activities or employment practices on the basis of race, language, gender, age, or handicapping condition under Title VI of the Educational Amendments (1972), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973), and the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (1975).

Nothing in this handbook should be interpreted as modifying or superseding school district policies, regulations or procedures.  In the event of a conflict between this handbook and board policies, regulations or procedures, the latter shall prevail.


Marion Cross School Faculty and Staff



Ashley Morse


Caitlin Eastman


Jennifer Newberry


Allison Litten

Grade 1:

Ginny Moore


Minda Moskowitz


Karen Trombley


Joy Blongewicz

Grade 2:

Leslie Dustin


Travis Ramsey


Kevin Petrone


Rick Newton

Grade 3:

Lisa Holley


John Minelli


Rick Wilson

Learning Specialists:

Laurie Clark

Grade 4:

Becky French

Lynn Madore


Beth Haney


Catherine Malo

Grade 5:

Matt Buck


Anna Turner


Jonathan Fenton


Karen Woodward

Grade 6:

Marguerite Ames


Mary Coffey


Kara McKeever


Ania White



Educational Assistants

Stephanie Andrus

Elizabeth Morse

Katherine Babbott

Marissa Osgood

Anna Cook

Alan Palmer

Marilyn Cook

Hillary Roberts

Corinne Fenton

Sidney Seaton

Patty Fillian

Melissa Smith

Janet Gerety

Reigan Thomas

Doug Jenisch

Bethany Thompson

SiJ Lacy

Gail Whitney

Veronica Markwood

Fran Walz

Maghniya Matmour



Non-faculty Service Providers


Linday Putnam

Occupational Therapy:

Lisa Golden-Morse

Physical Therapist:

Francie Prosser-Riessen


Dotti Unkles


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Marion Cross School encourages open and frequent communication with parents. If you have a complaint or concern, you are asked to meet with the staff member who is closest to the problem.  If your problem cannot be resolved at this first level, you are invited to speak with Mr. Goyaw He will do everything possible to bring people together and find a solution or compromise. 

Below is a list of people who can help you with general problems.

Whom Do I Contact If….

…. I have general concerns about Marion Cross School?

Shawn Gonyaw, Principal


…. I have general questions or concerns about how my child is doing?

YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER (In grades 5 and 6, your child’s homeroom teacher.)


…. I would like information about my child’s schedule?

YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER (In grades 5 and 6, your child’s homeroom teacher.)


… I would like to set up a meeting with one or all of my child’s teachers?

YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER (In grades 5 and 6, your child’s homeroom teacher.) or KATIE CORMIER, School Counselor 


… I would like more information about Special Education?



PreK, plus individuals Catherine Malo

K – 2nd: Laurie Clark

3rd & 6th Grade: Lynn Madore

4th & 5th  Grade: Anna Turner


… I have concerns about a particular faculty member?



…. I have general concerns about student behavior or policy?



… I have general concerns related to the building and its maintenance?



… I have concerns about school policy or school finance?



… I have concerns about special education?



… I would like to reserve a room in the building for an event?

The SAU Facilities Department. Visit their website for more information; https://www.sau70.org/departments/facilities


… I would like to serve as a school substitute?

SAU HR Office; Visit their website for more information http://www.sau70.org/faculty-staff/employment


… I would like to volunteer at Marion Cross School?

JOY SMOLLIN in the Main Office for opportunities. Some opportunities require a state background check, but ALL volunteers should register with the SAU HR Department. Visit their website for more information; 



… I remain concerned about an issue that has already been handled by someone listed above?



The school phone number is (802) 649-1703. Each teacher has an extension and voicemail.  In most cases, the school employee’s email address is firstnamelastname@marioncross.org.


Other Questions About Communication

...How do I contact my child’s teacher?

The school telephone is answered between 7:30 AM and 3:30 PM each day. Messages for teachers may be left in their voicemail accounts. 


...How do I contact my child during the school day?

Messages for students should be left with the office because many teachers are unable to check their messages until after school.  In order to limit interruptions of classroom teaching, please do not walk into a classroom unannounced or contact your child by phone. Students are not allowed to use cell phones during the school day.  If you need to get a message to your child immediately, please go directly to the main office. The office will deliver such items as lunches, clothing, books, or forgotten homework.


...How does my child get in touch with me during the school day?

Again, students may not use cell phones during the school day.  They may use the office phone, but only if they have permission from their teacher.  The office is open after school until 4:00 PM. With permission from the office receptionist, they may use the phone until then.  After 4:00 PM, the office is closed and the phone is no longer available.


...How often does my child’s teacher get in touch with me?

Written notices to parents are typically sent home on Mondays and/or Fridays.  However, teachers or the office may need to send information at other times. Please check your child’s backpack on a daily basis for school communication.  Information is also sent via email, in the PTO Notes, and by teachers and classroom PTO reps. Please read all of these communications carefully.


...Can I get in touch with my child’s teacher by email?

Email is an expected means of communication at MCS. The following are the email guidelines that teachers at Marion Cross School have been given by the school administration. We hope this helps parents understand why our emails are the way they are.

1. Keep emails short.

2. Be specific with your subject line.

3. Get right to the point in your first sentence.

4. If you want a response, put that in your message.

5. If a response is requested, reply within 24 hours, even just to say you will get back in touch later.

6. Use emails to set up meetings, arrange schedules, share information and confirm details.

7.  Avoid the use of email to discuss major issues.

8. Avoid the use of email to discuss students.

9. Avoid the use of students’ names or initials.

10. If you have an urgent message or need an immediate response, call or meet face to face.

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The Marion Cross School Day

The Marion Cross School Day


7:30-8:10 AM

Before school supervision of playground

8:10 AM

Students enter school and go to classrooms

8:15 AM

School day begins


Dismissal (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday/Wednesday)

*All doors of the school, except the main entrance, will be locked at 8:15. If your child(ren) arrives at school after 8:15, they are tardy and must report to the main office before going to class.​


Students are expected to be in their homerooms by 8:15 when attendance is taken. Failure to appear by 8:15 means that a student is tardy and must check in at the office before going to their classroom.

If your child is absent from school, or you know they will be tardy, please call Joy in the school office. Her number is (802) 649-1703.  Her office has voicemail. Messages can be left during non-operating hours or when the line is busy. Unless a definite length of absence has been determined by a physician and has been communicated to Joy, parents are expected to call the office every morning during the course of their child’s illness. If no call is received, and the student has not arrived at school, Joy will attempt to reach the parent at home or work. If students need to be absent for other reasons for more than 2 consecutive days, please call or email Joy with dates and details.

Parents are asked to try to schedule doctor, dentist, orthodontist, and other appointments at times outside of school hours.  When circumstances require absence from school for these appointments, parents must send a written note to the office for the student’s file.


Family trips and vacations

The School publishes a calendar for the year well in advance. It is also in this handbook. Families are asked to consult this calendar before scheduling family trips and vacations. If a student misses classes when school is in session for family trips and vacations, they are expected to make up any work that they have missed.

Morning Arrival

Outside supervision begins at 7:30 AM.  Please do not drop your child off at school before that time.  Also, please be sure your child is dressed appropriately, especially in cold weather.  In rainy, snowy, or extremely cold weather, morning care will take place in the gymnasium.  

If you plan to park and enter the school building, please park on the Church Street side of the school in the visitor parking. If these spaces are taken, please park at the town hall or in the Main Street parking spaces. All other parking spaces around the school building are for the exclusive use of the staff.  Please do not park in any of these spaces or in the handicapped parking unless you have this designation on your car. It is very stressful for faculty or disabled visitors when they arrive at school to find their assigned spaces occupied by a visitor.  

When arriving at school in the morning, please drop students off on the Church Street side of the building.  Please pull up as far as possible. Please do not use the Episcopal Church parking lots or the Congregational Church driveway for morning drop off or afternoon pick up.  Also, please do not enter the school driveway on the Episcopal Church side of the school during bus drop-off and pick-up time. 

Once children are dropped off at school in the morning, they may not leave school grounds to go to Dan and Whit’s, a friend’s house, or any other off-grounds location.

If your child will be absent or will be arriving late, please call the school office before 8:15 AM. The school number is 649-1703. If you know the night before that your child will be absent, you may leave a message on the school answering machine after hours. Please state the reason for your child’s absence.  Please do not send your child to school until they have been afebrile for 24 hours.


School Cancellation or Emergency Closing

If weather conditions are unusually severe, buses will not run and school will be closed.  When school is delayed or cancelled, you will receive a computerized phone alert.  The District operates an automatic call and email system (school messenger) that will notify parents on days when there are school cancellations and delays. This automatic call/email will normally be initiated by 6:00 a.m., or shortly thereafter. If you are not receiving these calls (emails), or if you would like to receive them at a different phone number (email address), or you would like NOT to receive those phone calls (emails), please contact your school’s secretary.

You may also check the WMUR or WCAX website or local radio stations for cancellations.

Once the school day has begun, school will remain open all day, even if a storm intensifies. There are no early dismissals. 


Delayed Opening 

The Superintendent of Schools may decide whether or not to open school after 8:15 AM. The time scheduled for delayed openings will be 10:00 AM. Bus routes will run 2 hours later than their normal times. The same before-school care will be available at 9:30 AM. Please do not drop your child off at school prior to 9:30 AM. 

A delay may turn into a cancellation.  Please check before sending children to school.


Lunch and Snack

Lunch takes place in the classroom and is supervised by teachers or ed assistants in the classrooms.  Students may order lunch through the order form on the school website https://marioncross.schoollunchchoice.com or bring their lunch. In either case, students should bring a snack to school each day.  Please do not send any candy, soda, or food in glass containers. Milk is available for purchase in advance. Some teachers have chosen to have a refrigerator or microwave in their classroom, but this is not guaranteed by the school.  Since you cannot assume that these will be available to your child, you will need to plan your child’s lunch and snack accordingly.

Free lunches are provided for families who meet federal guidelines. Please contact the school counselor for more information. 



Recess is a very important part of the daily program at Marion Cross School.  Because it provides children with the opportunity for socialization, fresh air, and exercise, all children are required to take part. Children who are not well enough to partake must be kept at home unless they have received special permission from the Principal. 

Please refer to a subsequent page for Playground Rules.


Early Sign-out

The Marion Cross School Day ends at 3:10 on all days except Wednesday, when it ends at 2:10.  Please do not remove your child from school before that time unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must, please park in the visitor parking on the Church Street side of the school.  When entering the building, please go directly to the front office. Do not go to your child’s classroom. The school receptionist will call your child’s teacher to have your child sent to the office to meet you. You must then sign your child out so we have a record of the fact that they left school early.


After-School Dismissal

The safety of our students at dismissal time is of great concern to the faculty in light of the congestion created by buses, carpools, and Norwich traffic. When driving, we ask that you use the Church Street side of the school. If you plan to get out of your car in order to meet your child on the playground, we ask that you follow the parking guidelines outlined on pages 11 and 12. Students who are not picked up at 3:10 are the responsibility of their parents.


Extended Day

The school day ends promptly at 3:10, except on Wednesdays when it ends at 2:10. If students do not ride the bus, parents are required to pick them up or make arrangements for other transportation home. During non­-school hours use of the playground is permitted but no school supervision is onsite. Please follow the rules of the playground and play at your own risk.

There is also an extended-day program that is run by the Norwich Child Care Center.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this program, please call 802-649-1403.


After-school activities

After-school activities are offered by the Norwich Recreation Council during fall, 

winter, and spring. These programs are open to children on a sign-up basis.  Information about programs is distributed at the school and is available at the Recreation Office in Tracy Hall. 



All Norwich students who live more than two miles from school are eligible to ride the school bus.  Norwich students who are enrolled in the Dresden District grades 7 and 12 are eligible for round-trip transportation from Marion Cross School to Hanover.

Walkers and Riders

Children may be required to walk up to one-and-one-half miles to a school bus stop.  Students who live fewer than two miles from the elementary school can be transported at their parents’ request if, in the opinion of the Superintendent of Schools, the walking route is hazardous.

There are racks in the front of the building for children who wish to ride their bicycles to school. They may ride them only to and from school at appropriate hours. They may not ride their bicycles during the school day.

Bus Transportation

Bus Riders. Norwich, Hanover and Dresden schools share buses, and schedules are coordinated. Bus routes and schedules are published on the SAU website (www.sau70.org/departments/transportation) in late August. For additional information about schedules, call the SAU Business Administrator (603-643-­6050).

The school bus may arrive at your stop as much as five minutes early. Children should be at the stop at least five minutes before the scheduled time. The school is to be notified by the bus company if a bus will be more than 15 minutes behind schedule and/or if a bus stop is missed. If there will be a delay of more than 30 minutes, parents will be notified through the SAU’s automated system.

Parents may not accompany children on the school bus. A parent may wish to drive to school in the morning to briefly meet a young child taking the bus for the first time. If so, please do not follow directly behind the bus, and please park in the parking lot before meeting the child.

Bus riders will be expected to ride their regular bus and get off at the regular stop. Changes from normal expectations can be very confusing to children and a challenge to our already complex dismissal and bus ­loading system.
Parents must provide a signed note if:

●  The child must take a bus other than his/her regular one.

●  The child is to be picked up at school rather than riding the bus.

●  The child will walk or bike to another’s house after school instead of riding the bus.

●  The child is to be picked up at school by someone other than the parent or guardian.

Bus drivers may by-­pass roads when they are unsafe. Parents in areas so affected should make alternate plans for both morning and afternoon runs.

School Bus Rider Responsibilities

For requested changes in service, please refer to the website mentioned above and utilize the forms available on that page.

  • Riders and drivers will treat others with courtesy and respect at all times.

●  The use of profanity, vulgar, obscene, or abusive language will not be tolerated.

●  Fighting, shoving, or bullying others on the bus, or while waiting for the bus, will not be tolerated.

●  Throwing anything on the bus is prohibited.

●  Talking should be carried on in conversational tones.

● Smoking, or other use of tobacco, is prohibited on the bus at all times.

● Students must comply immediately with any request or suggestion from the driver pertaining to safe pupil transportation.

● Defacement of or destruction to the bus will not be tolerated. Any vandalism of the bus or bus seats

● Aisles are to be left free of books, lunch boxes, coats, and other objects at all times. Students should sit in their seats, and not put their arms, legs, etc., into the aisles, except when inadequate space makes this impossible.

● Students must remain seated at all times when the bus is moving; arms and heads must be inside at all times. All of the contracted buses are equipped with seat belts for use by students.  Although seat belt use on buses is not presently required by NH, VT, or federal mandate, many agree the best practice is to fasten the seat belts while the bus is in motion.

● Students may be required to walk up to one and one half miles to a bus stop, or two miles to school.

● Students must be ready to board the bus at least five minutes prior to its scheduled stop. In order to keep all of the students on time, drivers are not to wait for pupils who are not present at the they should line up and enter the bus in an orderly fashion when it arrives. Middle and high school students boarding buses in front of the Richmond School in the afternoon should stand behind the white line until the buses have come to a complete stop at the curb.

● Students must board the bus in an orderly and courteous manner, go immediately to a seat, sit down, and secure their personal belongings. The driver may assign seats.

● Students loading and departing from the bus will do so from the front door of the bus. If the road must be crossed, students will wait for the drivers signal. 

  • For Norwich students only - when the bus reaches the Marion Cross School in the afternoon, all middle and high school students will fill in the seats from the back of the bus forward, unless a seat has been assigned. The younger children will fill in the front of the bus back.

• Students loading and departing from the bus will do so from the front door of the bus. If the road must be crossed, students will wait for the driver’s signal and then (using caution) will cross at least 10 feet in FRONT of the bus.

● All school rules are in effect on the school bus for transportation to and from school or any school event.

Carry­ Ons

Bulky, unusual, or dangerous equipment may not be carried on the school bus. Sports equipment for use after school must be stored during the day in areas designated by the classroom teacher. Sports equipment for use at recess must be approved by faculty. Animals may not be transported on the school bus, even for special projects such as ''show and tell.'' (Prior permission for animals in school must be received from the classroom teacher and school nurse.)

Problem Solving

Day­ to­ day issues concerning discipline, behavior and unusual daily circumstances such as late or early buses, missed stops, etc., should be referred to the school principal. For disciplinary issues, the principal may take action in accordance with the seriousness of the offense, such as assigning seats, or temporary or permanent suspension from the bus.

Crossing Guards

There are crossing guards at the crosswalk on Church Street and by Tracy Hall on Main Street.  We expect all students to obey their instructions.

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Academic Life

Marion Cross School offers an intensive course of study in a supportive environment.  It has been developed to reach students with varied learning styles by balancing traditional approaches with innovative teaching techniques.  Our teachers encourage students to develop their full potential by understanding their strengths and overcoming any limitations.

At Marion Cross School, we believe all students can learn, any subject, any amount.


Mission Statement:

The school’s mission statement is the following:

Marion Cross School is a public kindergarten-through-sixth-grade public school that promotes educational excellence and fosters a lifelong love of learning.

Marion Cross School is a nurturing community that empowers all students to realize their intellectual, physical, emotional, creative, and social potential.

Marion Cross School partners with families and the community to develop responsible local and global citizens who can adapt to a changing world.

In order to fulfill this mission, the following policies have been established:

1. Students are expected to be at school each of the 175 days that school is open.  

2. All academic work (in class, at home, on assignments, tests, and examinations) must be done individually by the student except when teachers structure cooperative assignments.

3. We ask that parents plan family vacations and trips during times that school is not in session.  If students go on trips or vacations during times other than those listed for vacation on the school’s calendar, students will be expected to make up the work they missed upon their return.  It may not be possible to repeat field trips or lab activities.


Reports and Conferences

Three times during the school year, parents will receive written reports from teachers regarding their child’s achievement.  Each fall and spring, teachers will also be available for conferences with parents. Additional parent/teacher conferences may be requested at any time by parents or teachers.  The following are the dates for this year’s parent/teacher conferences:

Fall Friday, November 15th  

Spring Friday, March 6th



Homework at MCS is an extension of our children’s learning experience. It is designed to increase achievement by supplementing, reinforcing, and enriching the school’s daily instructional program. It also encourages independence, responsibility, and the development of positive work habits. 

We encourage you to support your child’s learning in the following ways: 

1. Read to and with your children every day.

2. Inquire about homework and support your children’s efforts to complete it.

3. Provide a quiet space for your child to work. 

4. Encourage your child to do homework in the afternoon or early evening and at regularly scheduled times. 

5. Make sure your child takes responsibility for doing his or her own work.


Since Marion Cross School is committed to academic excellence, students should expect homework several nights every week.  If a student is absent, they should get in contact with the student’s teacher to determine what was covered in class and to obtain any homework assignments. Unless extremely ill, students are expected to return to school with work completed and ready to hand in. 




Three or four times a year, students are assessed internally in math and language arts using Track My Progress. This is an online, adaptive test: each student gets a different set of questions. In the spring of each year, all students in grades 3 – 6 are assessed in language arts and mathematics with SBAC testing. In May of each year, fourth graders are assessed in science.

Letters will be sent home detailing the testing schedule for each grade level.  It is very important that students be present at school during this testing period.


Annual Notification of Rights Concerning Access to Student Records

The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 USC s1232g) and regulations adopted by the US Department of Education (34 CFR Part 99) provide parents or guardians with the right to inspect and review any material in their child’s cumulative record folder.  Please call the main office if you are interested in seeing your child’s cumulative record.  

The same federal legislation prohibits the school from releasing information, oral or written, about a student to an individual or agency without written consent from the student’s parent or guardian. If access to a student’s records is granted by subpoena or court order, the parents and student must be notified in advance of compliance with the subpoena or court order.

In the event that a student transfers to another school, Marion Cross School will forward official school records including an official transcript to the new school at the request of the parent. This request must be in writing. These records will be mailed directly to the new school’s office.


Special Education

The special education program at the Marion Cross School works with classroom teachers to provide individualized direct support services for students who need them according to PL 94-142 and Vermont's Act 230.  A range of services is available including, but not limited to, speech and language services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and academic tutoring. All service plans are designed by the Pupil Services Team, and they are tailored to a student's specific individual needs.

Special education staff members may also assist the regular classroom teachers. Marion Cross School has on its faculty learning specialists, a school counselor, a speech-and-language teacher, a reading teacher, and a nurse. We also employ non-faculty service providers who work under the direction of the special education case managers. They include a psychologist, a physical therapist, and an occupational therapist. All special education staff work with classroom teachers to provide the most appropriate education for each student identified as needing special services.  

Parents with questions about support services for their child should consult their child’s classroom teacher.



Marion Cross School employs a full-time, certified school counselor who works with students to help them develop academically, personally, and socially.  She also works closely with parents, teachers, and school administrators to provide students with the very best academic and social support.


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Student Expectations

“Climate of Respect”

Marion Cross School works to build a school climate that motivates children to care about one another and to be responsible members of the school community.  We expect our students to:

*behave in a calm and orderly manner,

*speak courteously to others,

*act in a physically safe manner,

*treat people and property with respect.

For our motto, we say Marion Cross School R-R-O-C-K-S! (R-R-O-C-K-S stands for Respect, Responsibility, Ownership, Cooperation, Kindness, and Safety.)


Students at Marion Cross are taught to take responsibility for their actions and to behave appropriately.  When they do not treat one another, their teachers, or school property with respect, they may be sent to the Principal.

If your child is sent to the Principal, depending upon the circumstances, you may receive a phone call from Shawn Gonyaw.  If your child is sent to him more than once, again depending upon the circumstances, your child may be asked to do service to the community.  If your child continues to behave inappropriately, parents and teachers and the principal may need to convene to develop a more detailed plan to change behavior.  A comprehensive explanation of appropriate school behavior is available at the office.  

If a teacher or staff member witnesses student misbehavior, the adult will report the incident to Shawn Gonyaw, who will:

1. Speak with the student and the teacher and any other appropriate people to determine the charge.

2. Assign appropriate consequences. 

3. Place a note in the student’s file indicating that the incident has occurred.

4. Notify the parents verbally and in writing if it is a major incident.

5. If any parent remains concerned after this process, Mr. Gonyaw will invite the  parent to meet with him and the superintendent. 


Academic Dishonesty

Administrators, faculty, students, and parents understand the pressures that result from competition and the importance of high performance.  Nevertheless, because we clearly believe our students must be honest, we all need to work together to reduce the stress that could result in academic dishonesty.  Therefore, during the opening days of school, teachers will instruct students about what constitutes academic dishonesty and how to avoid it.


Playground Rules  

Because we teach care and respect at Marion Cross School, and we emphasize the importance of community, we work with students to achieve peaceful resolution of conflict.  The following are the school’s playground rules:

1. Always follow the instructions of the adults in charge of the playground.

2. Play safely, so you are free from injury. Play within boundaries.

3. Look out for the safety of others.

4. Respect the feelings of others:

•Include everyone in activities.

•Do not be mean, name-call, tease, or bully.

•No rough play, pushing, hitting, kicking, or holding.

•Take turns on equipment.

•Follow rules of games.

5. Take care of school and town property.

•Do not climb on trees or play behind bushes.

•Return balls and play equipment to where they belong.

6. Follow the playground equipment rules.

Swings: Take turns. No standing or kneeling. Don’t run under the swing or throw it over the top bar.

Tire Swing: Be sure everyone stands clear when in motion. No pushing the tire swing.

Structures: No jumping off.  No touching, pushing, holding, or running. No standing or sitting on railing.

Slides: One person at a time going up the ladder.  One person at a time going down the slide. No blocking others going up or coming down.  No going down head first. 

Balls: No hard balls are allowed during recess times.  These include baseballs, softballs, lacrosse or golf balls.

Lacrosse: Lacrosse sticks are to be used for catch practice only.  Only one student at a time can chase a ball. No stick hitting.

Ice Rink: Only students wearing ice skates, full hats (not headbands) and mittens and gloves are allowed to use the rink.

7. Follow winter playground rules.

Students must wear the outdoor clothing that they wore to school except when weather conditions change significantly.

For K-2 students, coats must be zipped and mittens on hands.

Snow sculptures built by others must not be destroyed.

Do not crawl under snow sculptures, forts, or houses.

No snowball throwing.

No playing outside of the fence that surrounds the Green.



Norwich School Board and Marion Cross School Policies

The following policies can be found on the SAU website:

Bullying and Harassment (Policy JICK)

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (Policy JCDAC) 

Administering Medication in School (Policy JLCD)  

Immunizations (Policy JLCB)


The following are Marion Cross School Policies:

Dress Code

The following is the Marion Cross School Dress Code:

1. All student dress must be neat, clean, in good repair, and in good taste.

2. Hats may not be worn in the school building.

3. Shoes must be worn at all times.  Bare feet are not allowed.

4. Students may not wear winter boots in the school building during the school day. Please be sure they have an extra pair of shoes at school.


Students may be asked to go the nurse to find clothing from the lost and found that will cover extremely revealing fashions or that will keep a child warm when going outside. If you are in doubt about the suitability of your child’s clothing or appearance on a particular day, please call Katie Cormier, the school counselor, or Pam Hausler, the school nurse, for guidance.



Except for when medically necessary, there is no gum chewing allowed at Marion Cross School. Therefore, gum is not allowed on school property.



The school elevator is available for use only by the physically disabled, those who are temporarily injured, or adults who have heavy loads. For the safety of all students, no student is permitted to use the elevator without specific permission from the front office. 

Illness at School

Parents will be called when their children are ill and unable to participate in classroom activities. If you receive a call, we ask that you arrange to pick your child up promptly. Please do not leave your child at school even if a call comes at an inconvenient time.



Since the health and safety of our students and employees are a top priority, students wishing to bring an animal into school for a special project or show-and-tell must receive prior permission from the Principal. The animal must be removed from the building once the purpose for its visit has been accomplished. Animals without up-to-date rabies protection are not allowed in school.


Safety Drills

Fire and other safety drills are held once a month and are practiced for a variety of situations. Once or twice each year we evacuate the whole school to Tracy Hall. Parents are not notified of these dates.

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Other Important Information for Parents

Change in Residence or Other Personal Information 

Please inform the school of any change in residence, mailing address, email addresses, telephone numbers, or family status.


Birthday Celebrations

If your child has a birthday and would like to celebrate by bringing a birthday treat to school, please take into consideration any student allergies and make sure that there is enough to share with everyone.  Also, please coordinate this event with your child’s teacher well in advance of the date. If your child plans to invite friends to an after-school party, please do not distribute invitations at school, even if there is one for each member of the class.


Checks to Norwich School District

When making checks out for Marion Cross School milk, field trips, or other school expenses, please make them payable to: Norwich School District, not Marion Cross School.


Class Pictures

Individual student and class pictures are taken at school each fall. Parents will be notified of the exact date and time well in advance. These photos will be available for purchase. 


Library Books 

Students are allowed to have two books checked out at any one time, plus any books that relate to classroom assignments.  These books may be checked out for a period of two weeks. If a student has an overdue book, only one more book may be checked out until the overdue book has been returned.  If two books are overdue, no more books may be checked out until the overdue books have been returned. The exception is for books that are needed for classroom assignments.

If a student loses or damages a book, it must be replaced or paid for at the replacement cost. Please take care of this promptly so that your child can continue to check out books.


Local Action Plan

Vermont Act 60 requires schools throughout Vermont to write and implement a Local Action Plan.  This plan is designed to improve the performance of all students in the school. It is written by a team of administrators, faculty, parents, community members and members of the school board. 


Lost and Found 

The Lost and Found is located near the elevator across from the library.  Unidentifiable student belongings are placed there. Valuable items are kept in the office.  Students and parents are encouraged to look in either place if they have lost something. At the end of each trimester, unclaimed items are donated to local non-profit organizations. 

To cut down on the amount of items that accumulate in the lost and found, please mark all of your child’s property (including clothing, lunch boxes, back packs, notebooks, and bikes) with his or her name.     


Parent-Teacher Organization 

The Marion Cross PTO was formed in the spring of 1993.  This organization brings teachers and parents together to enrich the education of our students.  It provides meaningful programs and events for parents, students, and teachers, and it engages in special projects that will support the school mission and community spirit.  

All parents and staff are automatically members of the PTO.  The success and vitality of the PTO depends upon the involvement of as many parents and teachers as possible. Meetings are held every other month. The PTO communicates regularly with the school community by means of its monthly newsletter, the “PTO Notes.”

If you have any questions please call the school office.  The front-office personnel will put you in contact with our current officers.  


School Board Meetings

School Board Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month in the school library at 6:30p.m.  The community is invited to the open sessions of each meeting. The Dresden School Board meets on the fourth Tuesday in Hanover.  Minutes are posted on the SAU 70 website (www.sau70.org), and videos of meetings are available at the Norwich Public Library.


Student Appearance in Local News 

From time to time, student activities are photographed by news organizations or video taped by the school or local television stations. Students are never individually identified without prior permission from a parent. 


Visits to School by Parents, Friends or Relatives

Parents are welcome to visit their child’s classes by appointment only. Please call ahead to your child’s teacher to make arrangements. If you are interested in sharing something special with a group of children, please let the classroom teacher know. Before visiting any class, all visitors must check in at the main office when entering the school building.

If your child has a friend or relative visiting from out of town, please do not send that person to school with your child.  This can be very disruptive to the school day and very difficult for the teacher to manage.

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How Can Parents Help?


General Volunteering:  Classroom, art room, library, field trips, science projects, long-range plan goal groups, etc.

The Marion Cross School has a long tradition of active volunteerism.  If you would like to volunteer in a classroom, help with field trips, or take part in a special activity on a regular basis, please contact your child’s teacher.  Also, each time you enter the school building to volunteer, please sign the Volunteer Notebook in the office.


Become active in the PTO


Become a substitute teacher

We always have a great need for more high-quality substitute teachers.


Give feedback on the school program or student work


Serve on the school board or school board committees

Attend events at the school: plays, Curriculum Night, Open House, the Norwich Community Picnic, Mayfest, among many other events.


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Parent Teacher Organization (PTO)

Who We Are

The Marion Cross PTO was formed in the spring of 1993. This organization brings teachers, parents, and caregivers together to enrich the education of our students. The success and vitality of the PTO depends upon the involvement of as many families and teachers as possible. We consider all MCS parents, caregivers, teachers and staff to be PTO members, and also encourage all to become dues-paying members to help support our programs and grants. 

Co-chairs:     Emily Bradley, Amy Staggs, and Alexa Manning, marioncrosspto@gmail.com

Treasurer:   Megan Anderson, megmeg3409@gmail.com

Secretary:   Hillary Campfield, hillarycampfield@gmail.com


What We Do

The PTO organizes programs and events for parents, caregivers, students and teachers and engages in special projects that will support the school mission and community spirit. We work to connect and communicate with the school community by providing the MCS directory, monthly newsletters, and having a PTO representative from each classroom. The PTO organizes over 30 programs and special events including family support programs, community outreach and social activities, educational enrichment programs, and staff support. The PTO is also dedicated to fundraising to support the school staff and enhance the educational experiences of MCS students.  Twice a year we offer an opportunity for teachers, staff, and families to apply for grants to help augment the MCS curriculum and programs. The majority of our funding comes from donations from our members. As an added “thank you,” dues-paying members receive an annual directory.


2019-20 Meeting Dates

All MCS parents, caregivers, teachers and staff are welcome and encouraged to come learn more about our events and programs and share your ideas.  

September 6th (Friday): PTO Meeting, 8:15am, Tracy Hall

October 3rd  (Thursday) Evening PTO meeting 7pm Norwich Inn

November 1st (Friday): PTO Meeting, 8:15am, Tracy Hall

January 10th (Friday): PTO Meeting 8:15 am Tracy Hall

February 6th (Thursday) PTO Meeting, 7pm Norwich Inn,

March 13th (Friday): PTO meeting, 8:15am, Tracy Hall

May 7th (Thursday): PTO Meeting, 7pm Norwich Inn, Volunteer Recognition Night



MCS Directory — Jessica Eakin

The school directory is created by the PTO every fall and contains class and family contact information.  It is available in both print and online formats and, as our way of saying “thank you!” is provided to dues-paying members. For membership dues of $25, families can choose to receive either a printed directory or access to the directory online ($15 for staff). For membership dues of $35 or more, families will receive both a print directory and access to the online version ($20 for staff). Additional printed copies are available for $10 each. 


PTO News – Liz Gemignani

The PTO News is a monthly newsletter for the school community.  It provides valuable information regarding upcoming school and community events, interviews with MCS staff and local businesses, as well as recaps of recent events.


PTO Website — Emma Cottage & Liz Gemignani

Join us to keep up-t0-date with PTO news, events and last minute changes.  The PTO is always there to keep you informed. Find us via the MCS website or directly at http://marioncrosspto.weebly.com.  


Facebook Page — Emily Bradley, Amy Staggs, and Emma Cottage

Search for “Marion Cross PTO” to find us on Facebook and to check out the latest reminders of upcoming events and other useful MCS information.  


PTO Class Reps — Emily Bradley and Amy Staggs

A representative from each class serves as a communication liaison between the teacher and class parents and helps to share information about both PTO and class events. 


Family Support Programs

Welcome Back to School Breakfast — Gina Des Cognets& Lauren Adams

Held on the first day of school just after the morning bell rings, parents and caregivers are invited opportunity to socialize and reconnect while enjoying coffee and breakfast treats.


New Parent Night — Molly Gentine and Katherine Navins

In September, all new MCS parents are invited to come learn about the school, meet the principal, staff members, PTO officers and other new families. 


Supplemental Food Project — Katie Loughman

Volunteers stock MCS with healthy food for children who have mishaps with their lunches or snacks or are still hungry after eating the food they’ve been provided.  This is different from the federally funded program that provides breakfasts/lunches for families that meet certain financial requirements. 


MCS Lost & Found — Melanie Michel

Student volunteers perform weekly round-ups of items left on the MCS playground and help organize the bins and racks of the Lost & Found.  Unclaimed items are used during the school year by students in need. At the end of the school year, all unclaimed items are donated to Vermont’s Department of Children and Family Services.


Social Activities and School Spirit 

Bike-to-School Days — Rebecca Reed

Held in the fall and spring, Main Street is closed off while students bike to school from Huntley Meadows, the Norwich Public Library or from home.


Tea Towels — Caitlin Eastman and Ashley Clapp

Each student draws a self-portrait in art class and all of them are silk-screened onto cotton tea (dish) towels with the MCS logo and school year in the center.  They are terrific mementos and make great holiday gifts!


Book Buzz — Lisa Christie, Joy Blongewicz, Becky French, Ania White

Based on the popular Pages in the Pub event for adults, Book Buzz allows kids to be the experts and present their favorite books.  Students in grades 4-6 review books they recommend for preschool and elementary aged kids to read or receive for the holidays. Books can be ordered at the end of the event from the Norwich Bookstore with the added benefit that 20% of the proceeds go to the MCS PTO.


Gift-Making Festival — 

This community-wide event, held in early December, involves gift making and a lot of holiday spirit!  Children, with the supervision of volunteers, craft hand-made gifts for their families and friends. 


Family Skating Party — Kristin Fauci 

The PTO partners with the Norwich Recreation Department to provide an afternoon of ice-skating, hot chocolate and fun on the Norwich Green’s ice skating rink.


Bingo Night — Katie Crouch

A family-friendly night in the winter or spring for kids and adults to play BINGO and win prizes. 


Mud Stomp — Melanie Michel

A rousing contradance for the whole family led by professional caller David Millstone & his band.  Held in March.  


Big Hoot Variety Show — Katie Kitchel, Jenn Langhus & Katie Bucci

A magical talent night held in the spring, filled with music, entertainment, and joy starring MCS students from all grades.


MCS SpiritWear Store — Nicole Torres & Alexa Manning

A shop for activewear and accessories to show your MCS spirit.


Educational Enrichment

Visiting Author Program — Joy Blongewicz, Susan Simmers & Emma Cottage

The Visiting Author Program arranges and funds to have authors come to the school for the day to share their work and meet with students.


Visiting Artists & Musicians — Caitlin Eastman, Travis Ramsey, Susan Simmers & Emma Cottage

The Visiting Artists program provides grants and arranges for local artists and illustrators to come and share their talents with MCS students.


Celebration Books — Lisa Christie, Justine Fahey & Stephanie McCaull

Librarian-approved books are purchased for the MCS Library by parents and caregivers in honor of students and teachers. Since the program’s inception in March 1994, over 1200 books have been added to the collection.


MCS Book Sale — Joy Blongewicz, Nicole Butters & Sasha Cahoon

A biannual event that raises funds for the MCS library by selling donated children’s books from the MCS community.  


Staff & School Support 

PTO Grants and Finance Committee — Emma Cottage, Megan Anderson, Hillary Campfield, Ashley Clapp, Emily Bradley, Amy Staggs, and Brooke Trottier

Every fall and spring, the PTO accepts grant requests from teachers and staff, parents and caregivers for the purpose of MCS student enrichment. The Finance Committee reviews and allocates funds for these requests.  Almost $6800 in grants were awarded during the 2016-17 school year.


The Giving Tree — Erin DeSilva

During the holiday season, teachers and staff submit requests for class materials, games, books, etc.  This resource allows families and classes to purchase needed or suggested gifts for the classroom or school. 


Sunshine Committee — Emily Bradley and Amy Staggs

Organizes celebrations within the school, such as retirements and concert flowers.


Fall Feast — Emily Bradley and Amy Staggs

A scrumptious lunch is provided by K-3 parent volunteers for the entire staff at MCS in appreciation of all their work and dedication to MCS. 

Valentine’s Day Breakfast —  Emily Bradley and Amy Staggs

A breakfast feast is provided by parent volunteers from grades 4-6 for the entire staff at MCS as a way to recognize all they do for our students and school.


Pie Day —  Corin Benedict & Tamar Schreibman

Held in May to coincide with Teacher Appreciation Day, parent volunteers bake pies for each staff member of MCS.


Community Outreach

Food Drives — Melanie Michele

Collections of food and other needed items are held throughout the school year benefitting various non-profit organizations in the Upper Valley.


Community Gardens — 

Maintain and manage the flower gardens around the school.


Vegetable Garden — Molly Riordan & Lindsay Putnam

Maintain and manage the school vegetable garden and organize various events to share produce from the garden with students, including Harvest Day in the fall and Salad Day in the spring.


Halloween Candy Collection & Distribution — Molly Gentine and Katherine Navins

Halloween candy is collected from out-of-village Norwich families and distributed to the in-village families to be handed out to the 500+ children who come trick-or-treating on Halloween.


Norwich Public Library Display — Kathryn Kelly

A public relations program that displays MCS students’ work in the front entrance of the Norwich Public Library.


Fundraising Programs

Membership Dues

Membership dues provide the majority of the funding in the PTO budget, and allow us to offer all the programs listed here, including the bi-annual grants given to the MCS community.  The membership dues drive takes place in the fall, in conjunction with the production of the MCS directory (each dues-paying member receives a directory as our way of saying “thank you!”).  For membership dues of $25, families can choose to receive either a printed directory or access to the directory online ($15 for staff). For membership dues of $35 or more, families will receive both a print directory and access to the online version ($20 for staff). 


Box Tops for Education — Fiona Palm

Funds are used to purchase items to enrich students’ MCS experience. In the past several challenges were held throughout the year for classrooms to compete to collect the most box tops. 


Local Business Partners — Hayley DeLugach

Local businesses make a contribution in support of PTO programs, and in return the PTO educates the MCS community about these businesses via the PTO website, on PTO banners, and PTO news.


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All School Activities and Special Events


REP, short for “repertoire,” is an all-school sharing time held on Thursdays from 2:15 PM to 3:00 PM.  In this informal performance setting, children and adults present instrumental and vocal music, poetry, stories, plays, skits, dance routines, magic tricks, and gymnastic demonstrations.  Much of the shared work is organized and rehearsed by the students. It is a valued time in the life of the school community and parents are invited to attend. 



LEEEP stands for “Learning about the Environment through Experiential Education Program,” and it is currently under the direction of LEEEP coordinator Lindsay Putnam who teaches environmental education and encourages stewardship of the environment by working with the students during class time, on Green-up Days, and with other community-service projects.


Mayfest is an annual celebration in which each class performs traditional folk songs and dances. Parents, families, and community members are invited. 


Field Day

Field Day is a special event for all grades that is held in the late spring.  All students participate in non-competitive activities out on the green. (This is an event that parents are not expected to attend.)


Sixth-Grade Celebration

At the end of each year, Marion Cross School celebrates the accomplishments of its sixth graders and their movement to the Richmond Middle School.  This event includes a short ceremony, a picnic, and a dance the same night. If you are a sixth-grade parent and would like to work with Shawn Gonyaw to plan this event, please contact Joy.


*This list does not include school-wide events sponsored by the PTO.  Please refer to PTO section of this publication for a complete list.


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