Virtual Academy - 6, 7, 8 Team

  • jp

    Jennifer Parent - Science 

    Hi! I'm Jennifer Parent. I am a native Vermonter and have lived with my four daughters and my husband in Essex Junction for the past 22 years.

    I volunteered for 10 years in the EWSD school district with the Four WInds program.
    I went back to school in 2019 to get my teching certificate, and completed my student teaching in 6th grade at ADL and I have worked there for the past year as the 7th grade schence teacher.
    I am very excited to work with all of the students in the remote academy!

    Contact: My Email address 

    John Synnott Fishing Photo

    John Synnott - Humanities

    Hello students and families, here's a bit about me: This is my 26th year of teaching, Humanities at EMS since 2001 and Social Studies in Rutland prior to that. This year, I made a move from the classroom to the library and am now the EMS librarian. This is an exciting change for me but I have missed teaching so the RA opportunity is perfect.

    I live right here in the community, I look at EMS from my front door and my family is well connected to the EWSD community as well: Mrs. Synnott teaches Kindergarten at EES and my two sons are/were both EHS students. When I am not teaching, I do my best to be outdoors, fishing whenever possible, I was a fly fishing guide for 12 years, hiking, skiing, etc.... I think it's important that everyone get out in the fresh air each day and encourage you all to do so. I am also a big reader. I default to high fantasy reading but won't shy away from new genres because "variety is the spice of life". Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.


    Sandra Baker Profile Picture Sandra Baker - 7th Grade Humanities

    Sandra Baker was a Language Arts and Social Studies teacher on the Phoenix Team for 18 years at Essex Middle School before moving into her current role as Social-Emotional Coach. She has a bachelor's degree from St. Michael's College in English and a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from UVM. She is currently working on an administrative endorsement. Sandra is a strong believer and facilitator for Developmental Designs, which is a relationship-based approach to teaching that focuses on creating responsible independence and a strong community.


    Cara Crowther 6th Grade Math Photo Cara Crowther - Math

    My name is Cara Crowther and I am looking forward to teaching Math for the Remote Academy! I currently also teach 6th grade science at EMS and enjoy working with 6th graders. Last year I taught math and science to the 5th graders at Fleming School, and I look forward to getting to work with 6th graders from all of EWSD.

    I have an undergraduate degree in Botany from Humboldt State University in CA, and a Master’s in Education from Saint Michael’s College. I’ve been teaching 4th, 5th, or 6th graders in Vermont since 2004.

    When I’m not teaching, I enjoy reading, baking, walking, yoga, and especially travelling! I love to share stories of my adventures, including my family’s year abroad in Panama, with my students. I also love spending my days teaching and learning with students.

    I know that this year is different for all of us, and this change presents its own challenges and benefits. I commit to working with you and your child to make this new situation beneficial, engaging, and educational.


    Heather Lockwood

    Heather Lockwood - French (EMS)

    This is my sixth year teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade French at Essex Middle School. I previously taught at Williamstown Middle High School and People’s Academy Middle Level. I lived in Lyon, France from 2010-2011 and taught American English and Culture at Lycée du Parc High School. Outside of school I enjoy traveling whenever possible, cooking, and spending time with my fiancé Nick and our pets: a hedgehog named Benny & a rabbit named Ziggy.


    Jess Psaros Jess Psaros - Spanish (EMS)

    Hola! Hola! I am the Spanish teacher for EMS students! I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to continue having you as students during this virtual phase! That way, when you come back to me, we can hit the road running! This is going to be so fun! I did a conference this summer and learned a bunch of new tips and tricks for learning a language and I am so excited to get started! My background is that I learned Spanish through middle/high school and college (at St. Mike’s where I earned both my bachelor's and master's degrees), then studied abroad in Argentina in 2008 for six months and absolutely fell in love with the culture and language. Separate from Spanish, I love to spend time with my family (husband and two kids who are ages three and five). We go for walks in parks around the area, and we go to the ocean as much as possible. I can’t wait to hear about what YOU have been up to over the past few months and get to know you better through learning a second language! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments. 


    Claire Ryan Claire Ryan - French (Westford)

    Bonjour et bienvenue (hello and welcome)! My name is Claire Ryan, and I am thrilled to say that I will be your French teacher this year. I have been a Francophile for almost my whole life, since I first discovered the Madeleine TV shows and books as a little kid. I grew up in Chicago but spent the first four years of my career teaching middle and high school French in Saint Louis, Missouri. This is my second year in the EWSD, where I teach at both EHS and Westford Elementary. I am a graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis, where I studied French, education, and English. Outside of the classroom, I am an avid reader, an occasional baker, and an enthusiastic camper. Learning a language is a rich and rewarding endeavor, and I make it my goal to ensure that every student has a successful experience in my class. I can’t wait to get started on this new adventure, and I look forward to getting to know each of you as we navigate this year together. The best way to reach me is through email.


    Melanie Tupaj Melanie Tupaj - World Language (ADL)

    Madame Tupaj grew up in a home where individuals and families from all over the world came to visit and sometimes stay for a time. 

    In this way, she was exposed to other languages and cultures from her earliest days, including Mexican (Spanish), French, Vietnamese, and German.

    With a keen interest in other people and places, she lived with a host family and studied in Geneva, Switzerland during high school, and has since spent time volunteering in French summer family camps, traveling to Québec, and enjoying any and all opportunities to travel and interact with people from other backgrounds.  

    She loves geography, Mexican food, Swiss chocolate, and all things French.

    When not at school, Madame Tupaj enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, cooking, playing games, watching baseball, and reading.

    Contact: or by phone at 802-857-7892.


What to Expect

  • All students will have a synchronus lesson at a common time in the morning. Synchronus means students will engage in course activities at a specific date/time. This means everyone will be required to be online for this as it is a daily, scheduled event. Attendence is how we ensure participation and learning is taking place.

    Students will work primarily in Google Classroom. Guardians will not have access, but will be invited to receive a weekly summary of the work due in Classroom (which can be changed to daily).  Here is an example of what Guardians will receive. They can choose to receive this weekly, daily or not at all and here is a resource from Google that can help guardians make any changes.

Software We'll Be Using

  • All students in our classes will use Google Classroom to receive assignments, complete homework and turn it in, as well as for most teacher communication around assignments. 

    We will conduct asynchronus lessons on Google Classroom. Asynchronus means learners will engage in activities at any time, contributing at their own pace.

    Other software we may use for learning includes:

    • Amplify Science
    • Kahoot
    • Ck-12
    • Padlet
    • Brainpop
    • GEMS science
    • Open Up Resource: An Online Math Curriculum
    • Khan Academy
    • IXL

    If you click the link you will see login information for all Virtual Academy students or go to the site directly.