•  Latest South Burlington School District Updates:


    July 31, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    How are you? I wanted to let you know I’ve been thinking about you all and hoping that you have been able to take some moments to recharge this summer. I know the weather has been a little different than our typical Julys, but in between those rain showers, maybe you’ve been out to explore one of South Burlington’s parks, the bike path, or SoBuNight Out! Here in the District, things have been as busy as ever. With projects and summer school and of course, preparing for next school year, I wanted to provide you with some brief updates below. 

    Back to School COVID Protocols: Awaiting Guidance 

    I’m sure you are all wondering what school will look like in the fall. I wanted to let you know that while unknowns remain about whether masks will be required for some or all students and staff, we do know we are planning for full time, full day, in-person learning for all students beginning August 23 for 6th, 9th and new high school students and August 24 for all other students with the exception of Gertrude Chamberlin School students who will begin classes August 30 (See more on that below as well as our 2021-2022 school calendar). Families will receive specific information from individual schools in early August.

    I, along with my fellow Champlain Valley Superintendents are closely watching recommendations and data around COVID-19 including the CDC guidance released July 9 for prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in schools which recommends masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors regardless of vaccination status. As well as the updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals released July 27. We are also monitoring community transmission, state vaccination rates, and awaiting further guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education which we have heard is forthcoming. 

    Currently, the Vermont Department of Health is still recommending that unvaccinated people over the age of two wear masks indoors. It also recommends other ways to remain safe, even though Vermont does not have state COVID-19 restrictions or requirements for Vermonters or visitors to follow at the moment. You can keep up with Vermont’s current COVID19 activity here and tune into the Governor’s weekly press briefings which take place Tuesdays at noon and are broadcast live on local news stations. Please know that the safety of our students, families, and staff is a top priority. I will be in touch when guidance from the state is solidified.  

    Transportation Survey and Annual Student Update Forms

    The SBSD Transportation Department is in the process of planning for the upcoming school year and would like to know if your student (s) will be riding the bus. Please respond to this one question 2021-2022 transportation survey by logging into the SBSD PowerSchool Parent Portal and clicking Forms by Tuesday August 3. If you haven't filled out your annual student update forms yet, you'll also have the option to do so once you submit the survey. Thank you!

    Nutrition Services Providing Meals All Summer! 

    Our incredible nutrition services team has been providing meals to our community members all summer! The program has been averaging 800 meals per day! The last day for the summer program deliveries is August 19th, but the team will continue to offer meals to community members via pickup only at the middle school. Pre Ordering online is still required via the meal order forms on the District website. In additional exciting news, the USDA has extended free meals to all children under 18 yrs old until the end of the 2021-22 school year. Stay tuned for more information on this and what our meal program will look like in the coming school year. 

    Next Board Meeting August 4

    The next school board meeting will take place this coming Wednesday, August 4 at 7:00 pm. You can join via Zoom, by telephone, or in-person. You can also livestream the meeting on the Media Factory website and on their Facebook page. In addition, Board Chair Bridget Burkhardt has continued offering Monday morning pop-in chats via Zoom this summer! Have a question, thought, or concern? Join her Monday, August 2 from 9:00-10:00 am.

    SB Students Active in the Arts

    This August, you likely have a lot of options in terms of checking out outdoor music and festivals, but what about a musical inspired, written and performed by Vermont teens? Enter the Listen Up Project  which begins touring in early August. Bonus: rising SBHS freshman Avery Cutroni is a member of the cast. According to the website, “the musical is based on eight months of interviews, workshops, conversations and listening sessions with more than 800 teens across Vermont. “Learn more about the Listen Up Project and find tickets here

    Also, if you enjoy poetry, check out “Lost Opportunities” by SB student Eva Corbett. This poem was featured in the Young Writers Project  late June edition. Well done!

    FHTMS Summer Wolfpack Experience 

    Librarian and FHTMS summer school coordinator Amy Blauvelt reported that the FHTMS Summer Wolfpack Experience began July 6th and will run through August 6th. “Over forty-five students participated in this experience. Students attended field trips to Echo Aquarium, Mt. Philo, Sparetime, and North Beach playing, hiking, and learning. The district's food service provided both breakfast and lunch for our students.The transportation department worked diligently to get students to and from school and field trips in a timely manner. Three teachers and a paraeducator worked to create fun learning experiences in math and literacy for the students, as well as opportunities to play and socialize with their peers. Incoming sixth graders were given the opportunity to meet the teachers and get acclimated to the building, trying their lockers and getting their schedules for next year. FHTMS Wolfpack Summer Experience has been a great success!” Thank you to Amy Blauvelt, Elizabeth Stockbridge, Hailey Reilly, and Paula McMackin for making the experience fun and educational for all the students. 

    FHTMS Summer Library Going Great!

    For the first time, this summer, students have had a chance to enjoy the library at FHTMS on Friday afternoons and the response has been fantastic! SBSD employee Janette Hasenecz runs the program (as well as Orchard School’s summer library with Orchard Librarian Donna Sullivan-MacDonald). Janette said, “People are loving this. We are getting such gushing gratitude from parents and happy middle school faces. Our email this week reached new 6th graders coming into the school for the first time! Parents were appreciative to have the opportunity to get their students familiar with the new school/space.” The library is open Friday mornings through August 31 from 10 am-12 pm to check out books and socialize with friends. For questions about either program, contact Janette at jhasenecz@sbschools.net.

    Rick Marcotte Central School Students Help with New Market Street Sculpture

    The grand opening of our city’s new library, senior center, and city hall occurred July 23 with a festive lineup of speakers, a bounce house, and other events along Market Street. If you haven’t had a chance to tour the new space, I hope you will take a moment to do so and pause to appreciate the pencil sculpture near the front of the building! It is the work of resident Katie O’Brien Barritt, the creative mastermind of the painted utility box project! Five Central School students Sage, Cora, Anita, Emil, and Phillip helped paint the sculpture and now have their names on it as well! 

    Chamberlin School Noise Insulation Project Update 

    The FAA funded Chamberlin School noise mitigation project is well underway. The project is designed to eliminate the exterior penetrations that were required to bring in outside air with the original heating system. Closing these and installing a new heating and cooling system will allow windows to remain closed and remove the exterior vents to reduce noise inside the building. This is a BIG project to complete in one 6-week summer break construction period and the District has been proactive with project managers and contractors to do everything possible to remain on schedule. We will use all available resources to make sure that GEC is ready, clean and welcoming for the August 30th start date. Also, it will be climate controlled and cool on those hot September days! School’s Out is working to provide a camp experience for children due to this delayed start. 

    Orchard Summer Library Busier than Ever! 

    Exploring new books, gathering with friends for a round of global Twister, and Olympic Games themed BINGO are just a few of the reasons Orchard’s summer library program continues to be a huge success! According to Donna Sullivan-MacDonald, “In the six weeks of being open for just three hours each week, we've checked out 852 books! Since there are two more weeks of Summer Library, could our summer total of books checked out reach 1000? With an average of 142 books checked out each week, it's a real possibility.” 

    Just how many visitors do they have weekly? While it varies, the average is about 70, although one day there were so many visitors, they actually lost count! You still have two weeks to visit on Wednesdays from 9:00 am-noon! Check out Orchard School's Instagram for the latest photos! 

    Thank you all for your continued support and for being a part of our amazing school community. 

    Have a great weekend!

    Sincerely,

    David


    June 18, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    We made it! And we did it together. There are not enough words to convey my gratitude for our students, staff, families, and community for the collaboration, resilience, and sheer grit it has taken to get through this school year. I know it has been hard on all of us and I hope individually and as a district we will have time over the summer to reflect upon lessons learned and on new ways to move forward in our changed world. I know we will face challenges as we return to school in the fall, but how wonderful it will be to have everyone together once again. 

    Speaking of taking a break, while I have enjoyed providing you all with these weekly updates as another form of connection, I wanted to let you know, I’ll be adjusting the frequency over the summer. Look for a couple shorter updates from me and of course, another Zoom chat! There are a lot of exciting things happening in our District over the summer from the move of many of our offices to 575 Dorset Street to the noise mitigation project underway at Gertrude Chamberlin School. I’ll also closely be watching the COVID-19 vaccine trials in children under 12 and will be in touch as we solidify our plans for a return to school in person for all of our students! Please see some end of year highlights below. 

    First, a big shout-out to the SBHS Girls Lacrosse D1 state champions . What a way to end the season and year! 

    Graduations happened at all of our schools over the past week beginning with SBHS June 12 at the Essex Fairgrounds followed by the elementary and middle school graduations which were held yesterday. Congrats to all!

    Director of Equity Search Update

    I announced two weeks ago that I am excited that for the 2021-2022 school year we will be hiring for a new position in our District: an Executive Director of Equity. In terms of next steps, we have developed a request for proposals RFP for a consultant to help design and lead a recruitment and selection process to hire for this position. More details to come! 

    Don’t Wait until August! Annual Student Update Forms Are Open for the 2021-2022 School Year

    Get started today! Please register your student for the 2021-2022 School Year by completing the Annual Student Update forms before August 17th.  These forms help families verify and share important health and contact information as well as allow for permissions to be set for school technology devices. To start, click this link: Getting Started: Register a Returning Student. If you have questions or need assistance with this process, please contact your school directly.

    Nutrition Services Update: FREE Summer Meals

    Thanks to the efforts of our incredible nutrition services team, meals will continue to be available FREE of charge to students and community members under the age of 18 from Monday June 21st- Thursday August 19th, 2021. Daily household deliveries within South Burlington will occur between 9:30-11:00 Monday through Thursday with Thursday’s delivery containing meals for Friday-Sunday as well. Pickup time at the FHTMS main lobby will be from 9:00-10:00 AM, Monday-Thursday with Thursday’s pickup containing meals for Friday-Sunday as well.  Meals must be ordered weekly by Thursday at 1:00 pm via our online meal ordering system. Please do not order meals for days you will be away.

    Connecting with the School Board: Upcoming Opportunities

    Thanks to all of the community members who have been joining the board for their regular meetings and Zoom chats! In July, they will only have one short meeting on July 7. Next week, Chair Bridget Burkhardt will be holding her Monday morning Zoom June 21 from 9:00-11:00 am, join Rebecca Day Tuesday, June 22 from 10:00-11:00 am and Brian Minier Tuesday, June 22 from 6:00-7:00 pm. In July, several board members plan to continue these chats. Be sure to check the District website over the summer for the latest dates and links. If you missed this past Wednesday’s regular school board meeting, you can watch it on the Media Factory website.

    School Happenings

    Highlights from SB Music

    Vocal Music Educator Aimee Bushey wanted to recognize the tremendous work and creativity of the SB music staff and students this year! “To the SBSD Music staff- thank you for continuing to work diligently to inspire and engage students during the last year and half!  To the students- THANK YOU for your resiliency, your dedication to the arts, your creativity, and your flexibility!  You have inspired your teachers so much!”

    Bushey also shared that SBHS Graduate (Class of 2021!) Taryn Turner received the VT All State Music Performance Scholarship for the second year in a row. You can watch her performance HERE along with all of the other scholarship recipients.

    For next year, Bushey wanted to remind families that it’s never too late to sign your child(ren) up for a music class at FHTMS or SBHS!  Students can expect to see vocal and instrumental ensembles in their daily class schedule next year. 

    FHTMS Summer Library

    Thinking of starting a book club?  Want to actually do the suggested reading from your teacher’s list?  The FHTMS library and Janette Hasenecz are happy to announce that the library will be open Friday mornings July 2-August 31 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. to check out books and socialize with friends.  

    In addition, Orchard School summer library will also be in full swing on Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. beginning June 23 and running through August 11. SBSD employee and former Orchard School parent, Janette Hasenecz, will be running this program as well!  For questions about either program, contact Janette at jhasenecz@sbschools.net

    Rick Marcotte Central Student Writes Letter to Johnson & Johnson and Gets Response! 

    In March of this year, rising 3rd grader Tucker Sutherland, a student in Stephanie Hockenbury’s class, wrote an opinion piece regarding a need for a COVID-19 vaccine for children. The piece was sent to Johnson & Johnson and a personal response letter to Tucker arrived today! Hockenbury wrote, “Their response was a supportive, positive end to our school year with encouraging words and hope of a vaccine and more normalcy for school in the fall.” Well done!  

    Gertrude Chamberlin Nifty Fifty Parade

    The weather has been fantastic for all sorts of outdoor activities from lunches to parades! Last week Kindergarten students at Chamberlin participated in a parade where they dressed in attire showing what they want to be when they grow up and this week, 4th graders held a nifty fifty parade where they showed off their creations celebrating fifty states. 

    *Please note that last week, a student who also served on the PBIS committee, Nour, was inadvertently omitted from the highlight of this great initiative. This has been corrected on the letter posted on the District website

    Orchard Students Create Civil War Presentations

    Students at Orchard School were busy recently, learning about and creating presentations on the Civil War. There were posters that explored the underground railroad, the Battle of Gettysburg, and women of the Civil War. You can see some of them on the Orchard School’s Instagram. The work that went into these presentations was noted by many 5th graders as one of their greatest accomplishments this year during the 5th grade celebration. These 5th graders were also treated to a live magic show  from Tom Verner through Magicians Without Borders. Other classes joined the fun via Zoom. 

    I hope you all have the chance to relax over the coming months and enjoy time with friends and family. We couldn’t have made it through this year without each one of you.

    Thank you!

    David


     

    June 12, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    Graduation day has officially arrived! Today, we will continue a tradition that began last year during our drive-in graduation ceremony: a car parade to the fairgrounds! (more on that below). In addition to high school graduation, next week our elementary grades and middle school will hold their celebrations for 5th graders, 8th graders, and really, everyone for making it through this school year. With so many events having occurred this past week (including the all sports awards) and coming up next, it is an exciting time. Below are just a few of the highlights. 

    Students Shine at Jazz Fest

    The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival was back this year and it always provides a fantastic opportunity for our students to perform live for a wider audience. Check out this video of some of our talented students playing on Church Street this week as well as this video and photos from VT Digger featuring our very own Dave Grippo!

    SBHS Second Ever “Parade of Graduates”  and Graduation Info

    The second year of this incredible parade is happening today! The Class of 2021 will be assembling at the High School on Dorset Street at 12:00 pm Saturday, June 12th. Students will remain in their cars and participate in the "Parade of Graduates!" The cars will be leaving SBHS at 12:00 pm and proceed down Kennedy Drive, crossing Williston Road, past the Airport, heading out Airport Parkway and on to Route 15.

    Graduation is only open to students and guests so it would be great to see community members, elementary and middle School students (physically distant as needed) as well as friends and neighbors along the parade route to support the Class of 2021. The parade will have about 200-250 (decorated) cars as well as a SB School Bus. You can check out the parade route here.

    Thanks to the generosity of The Media Factory, graduation will be livestreamed. The finished recording will also be available on that page for future enjoyment. SBHS graduation will air on the LEARN channel (Comcast 1094) at the following dates and times: June 16 at 8:00 PM, June 17 at 12:30 PM, and June 19 at 8:00 PM. 

    Zoom Chat  for Families with me Next Tuesday!

    Join me for my next Zoom Pop-In Zoom chat next Tuesday, June 15 from 6:00-7:00 pm. Come to share your thoughts, questions, concerns or simply listen in as we conclude the 2020-2021 school year and prepare for the next. I would love to hear from you!

    Reminder: We’re Still Masking at School

    We are inching ever closer to the state’s goal of having 80 percent of Vermonters vaccinated; the point at which the state of emergency and many pandemic restrictions will be lifted. I wanted to note, however, that if this occurs before the end of the school year, June 18, we will still be following the AOE’s prevention recommendations for the end of the year. This means we will continue to require all students and staff to wear masks at school/work through the end of this school year. The CDC has also recommended this masking policy

    IT Needs Your Devices! 

    For Staff: Remember that every staff member has to return their device (chromebook or laptop) to IT. Staff are welcome to begin bringing their devices to the Help Desk now, but Please make an appointment to do so by calling 652-7050. Please be sure to back up all of your files and folders as IT will be updating all of the software on all devices. This will wipe out everything on the device and anything on the device will be permanently lost and cannot be restored during this process. Staff who do not need their device over the summer, or are not returning for the 21-22 School Year should return their device to the District IT Help Desk on or before the last day of school. Reminder: Please do not leave your laptops at school without returning them directly to an IT staff member at the Help Desk. This helps them make sure they can be inventoried properly and aren’t categorized as lost or stolen. If you need your device over the summer, IT can reimage and update and get your device back to you. This will be a quicker process if you return it earlier before the last day of school.

    For Students: Someone from the IT Help Desk will be on stage in the Auditorium next week for collection of laptops from high school students. Walk-Ins should be directed to the Auditorium, Monday 6/14 through Friday 6/18 from 8:30 am to 3 pm.

    Nutrition Services Update: FREE Summer Meals

    Thanks to the efforts of our incredible nutrition services team, meals will continue to be available FREE of charge to students and community members under the age of 18 from Monday June 21st- Thursday August 19th, 2021. Daily household deliveries within South Burlington will occur between 9:30-11:00 Monday through Thursday with Thursday’s delivery containing meals for Friday-Sunday as well. Pickup time at the FHTMS main lobby will be from 9:00-10:00 AM, Monday-Thursday with Thursday’s pickup containing meals for Friday-Sunday as well.  Meals must be ordered weekly by Thursday at 1:00 pm via our online meal ordering system. Please do not order meals for days you will be away.

    Connecting with the School Board: Upcoming Opportunities

    Thanks to all of the community members who have been joining the board for their regular meetings and Zoom chats! Next week, Chair Bridget Burkhardt will be holding her Monday morning Zoom June 14 from 9:00-11:00 am, join Rebecca Day Tuesday, June 15 from 10:00-11:00 am and Brian Minier Tuesday, June 15 from 6:00-7:00 pm.

    The next regular school board meeting will take place June 16 at 7:00 pm. You can also watch the livestream on the Media Factory website. Find all of the board’s meeting minutes, agendas, and backup information on the District website

    VTVLC Teacher Edith Ainsley Launches Playwriting Program for her Students

    This year, FHTMS teacher Edith Ainsley taught 6th and 7th grade students remotely through the VTVLC program and petitioned them to allow her to offer an 8 week playwriting group for her students. One of them, a Winooski student, received an honorable mention recognition in the Dorset Theatre Festival’s Young Playwright’s Program. Very exciting! 

    School Happenings

    SBHS Student Created Yearbook Cover Wows  

    Have you seen the awesome cover for this year’s high school yearbook? It was created by rising senior Jasmyn Ikeda who was inspired by the idea of smaller individual geometric shapes working together to create a bigger picture, in this case, a wolf face mosaic. Ikeda, who this year was a student in Philip Galiga’s graphic design class, used Adobe Illustrator to make the shapes and create the layout of the design. We love it!

    FHTMS 8th Grade Celebration

    Moving on to high school! 8th graders at FHTMS will be celebrated as they make the transition from middle school to high school Thursday, June 17 at 2:00 pm at the SB stadium. Parents and guests will sit in the bleachers and chairs for students will be set up on the track. All parents and guardians are welcome to invite other guests such as siblings or relatives. The guidelines for indoor and outdoor gatherings have changed significantly. It is still recommended for individuals to wear masks and maintain a safe physical distance if they are not vaccinated. This event will be livestreamed! The link will be available early next week and will be posted on the District website.There will be a short gathering underneath the tent by the stadium after the ceremony for light refreshments.

    RMCS 5th Graders Complete DARE

    The DARE program, which takes place in all three of our elementary schools, was recently completed by RMCS 5th graders. According to School Resource Officer Brianne Williamson, “DARE is a ten-week program taught to 5th graders to help them resist pressures which may influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The program also assists them in problem solving, personal responsibility, and helping make good decisions. By working with students in the fifth grade it is our goal to provide them with the education and tools on how to handle these situations before they actually start to occur in their young lives.” Essay winners were featured in Principal Kilbourne’s newsletter for families last week. 

    Gertrude Chamberlin Students Contribute to PBIS Committee 

    Principal Holly Rouelle reported that this year, student representation was added to their Positive Behavior Intervention Support system universal team! Rouelle writes, “Sidali, Tanis, and Nour joined us once a month after school, choosing to give up time from their afternoon School's Out program. The PBiS Universal Team looks at our monthly behavior referrals and makes plans to target specific areas in our school. This might be locations in the school, times of the day when students are struggling, or specific behaviors that we need to decrease with positive encouragement. Our student representatives gave us feedback on the data from their perspective, as well as input on our school celebrations. It was a great year and our behavior referrals decreased dramatically compared to last year! Our student representatives also helped us create our action plan for next year. Other staff team members include Ms. Finlayson (coordinator), Mr. Diamond, Ms. Balk, Ms. French, Ms. Rouelle, Ms. Ladieu, Mrs. Rogers and Al Monniere. Community member Noor Bulle also joined us as we examined some of our PBiS practices to make sure they are culturally responsive to our students and families.” Well done!

    Orchard Students Create Obstacle Courses in PE

    At Orchard, PE teacher Tommy Hamlin reported that students have been exploring the numerous ways they can remain active over the summer without the daily routine provided by the school setting. The students’ favorite? Creating their own obstacle courses! Hamlin wrote that, “Students were given a variety of mismatched equipment such as hula hoops, gymnastics mats, jump ropes, scooter boards, hurdles, cones, and balance beams, then worked as a team to arrange them in a way that they thought would be fun and challenging to maneuver under, over, around, and through. They come up with really creative ideas and love trying to outdo themselves the next day. Lots of kids come back and tell me about obstacle courses they made at home.” What a perfect warm weather activity.

    This weekend should be another great one for getting outdoors. You can be like the 4th graders at Chamberlin who hiked Mt. Philo this week by taking advantage of FREE access to Vermont State Parks and historical sites during Vermont Days June 12-13. There will be free fishing and the COVID-19 vaccine will also be available at multiple locations. Win win! 

    Thanks for reading and congrats to all of our graduates! We’re so proud of you!

    David