May 23, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, and Community Members,
Spring has really arrived this week and seeing the flowers and trees blooming feels like a hopeful sign after our long Vermont winter. As Memorial Day approaches this coming Monday, I hope you will have a chance to get outside and be reminded that, even in times of challenge, nature can give us that boost of well-being.
Continuity of Learning
Throughout the COVID-19 Crisis our staff have been working hard to stay connected with families and engage students through remote learning. We would like to hear from you about how things are going for your family. Thank you for taking a few minutes to complete the survey that follows. We will carefully review your responses and comments in order to better serve our school community. This survey will close on Monday, May 25th.
Please note - If you have more than one child attending South Burlington schools, please complete this survey multiple times - once for each child. Thanks for helping us out by marking the correct grade and school each time.
Link to the survey here: https://bit.ly/2zCQPky
The school board held their public hearing on the revised FY21 budget, as required by law, May 20. Voting on the revised proposed FY21 budget remains on track to occur May 28. Please see the latest information in a note from City Clerk Donna Kinville here. Even though our regular polling locations are planning to be open with safety protocols in place, we are strongly encouraging absentee ballots be requested through the My Voter page on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website. The City is required to send all ballots out up until election day (even if they know there is not enough time to get them delivered and back). Therefore, any ballot request made up until 4:00 pm on May 27th will be mailed. If you do vote in person, please note that masks will be required in all buildings. You can find more information about the revised proposed FY21 budget here.
Notes of Appreciation
As always, I continue to be impressed by the numerous displays of connection and care being made throughout our District. Here are a few shout-outs. Chamberlin students received a special gift along with their learning materials last week thanks to a donation from their school lunch fairy! Bags were filled with self-regulation tools for students to create their own peace corners at home. Much appreciated during these stressful times.
Bus Driver Appreciation Day was May 18. Our dedicated Transportation Staff team has truly been going above and beyond during this time, delivering materials and 1,480 meals per day to our students. In place of an in-person luncheon (given current physical distancing requirements), the PTOs collaborated to give gift cards to the drivers to treat themselves to lunch! The security team has also been crucial to the meal distribution effort. They take the meals, pack them for the buses, and make sure the buses get loaded. Ron and staff, Tony, Stephanie, and Josh are amazing individuals, and these deliveries couldn’t be completed without them.
Orchard School recently held their 2nd All School Morning Meeting: “At Home Edition: Four Corners.” You can check it out here and try the opening spin move! Thanks to the Orchard arts team, Ms. Abby, and Mr. Hamlin, for putting this together.
Rick Marcotte Central School held their science fair once again this year, but in a digital format. Students created their entries at home and submitted them for inclusion. The fair opened May 13 and you can check out their impressive experiments here.
Over 40 members of the FHTMS staff (with special thanks to Kevin Murakami and Kelly Tivnan for their production skills) collaborated to make this video as a way to let students and the community know they are thinking of them during this time of remote connection. FHTMS staff are also planning the 8th-grade celebration, which will be virtual this year and accessible on Thursday, June 11, at 2:00 pm. Staff intend to replicate some aspects of the traditional celebration in a virtual format to make it meaningful. Creative solutions are also being brainstormed for other end-of-year celebrations. Stay tuned.
SBHS is finding numerous ways to celebrate their students as final projects and competitions continue remotely. First, the varsity Scholars’ Bowl team won the state championship May 21. Congratulations! Also, prepare to be awed by the artwork of students in drawing, advanced art, and pottery classes through this virtual art show. Speaking of the arts, just a reminder that SBHS’s Big Picture Program is accepting submissions of artwork from students in grades K-12 in A Collection of Capturings, designed to capture the experience of COVID-19 from a student perspective. The deadline for submissions is May 27.
The administrative team has engaged in thoughtful planning on how best to safely and equitably honor our SBHS seniors. Principal Patrick Burke informed the senior class today that the graduation ceremony will take place at the Champlain Valley Exposition Fairgrounds in Essex in partnership with Action Sound, Higher Ground, and the Expo. CVU, Essex High School, and SBHS will all have separate ceremonies at the facility on June 12 or 13. A large screen and stage will be set up to allow for up to 500 cars to be assembled (6’ apart) so everyone can see the screen. (To maintain safety guidelines, students will not get out of cars to receive their diplomas.) We are excited that all students will be able to be present. The event will be live-streamed for friends and families who cannot make it.
Celebrating SBHS Seniors
One aspect of the SBHS graduation celebration began this week as signs with SBHS senior students’ yearbook pictures on them were delivered to their homes by our admin team. The deliveries will continue weekly right up until the end of the school year. Many thanks to the administrators, Beltrami Studios (that took many of the yearbook photos on the signs), and community volunteers for making this happen. If you are a community member who wants to display a lawn sign to express your support for our seniors, you can purchase one here.
Be safe, stay in touch, and please know how much we appreciate the sacrifices you all have been making during this time.