• October 30, 2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians, 

    It’s hard to believe it is nearly November and we have been back to school for close to two months! I am incredibly proud of the dedication of our school teams, families, and students who have helped us sustain our reopening. Thank you all!

    Reopening Update

    This week, we welcomed back our Grades 3-5 students to four days per week of in-person learning. Many thanks to the outstanding staff, families, and students for being conscientious of safety measures so we can keep our youngest learners in school as much as possible. I also wanted to let you know that updates were made to the  Strong and Healthy Start Guidelines October 23. 

    You may have read the article in VT Digger regarding staffing shortages we are experiencing in the Champlain Valley. I joined my fellow superintendents in expressing concern around this challenge as it pertains to maintaining and potentially increasing our in-person learning days. This is the CVSA press release that went out last Friday.

    Emergency Notification System Test: Monday, November 2 at 6:00 pm

    The school district utilizes an emergency notification system to communicate with families by phone and/or email. Each fall, the District sends out a test notification by both phone and email to ensure all families are receiving the messages as expected. The majority of District notifications are sent out by email only, but select messages, such as emergencies, unscheduled early releases and/or school closures, are typically sent by both phone and email, due to their time sensitive nature. 

    Our annual test of the notification system is scheduled to take place Monday, November 2 at 6:00 pm. At that time, families/employees will receive a brief message from the system based upon contact information provided to the schools. The system will contact families via email and home/mobile phone numbers. 

    If you do not receive a message and you feel you should have, please contact the front office at your student’s school to confirm that your contact information is correct.


    November 3: In Service for Staff - No School for Students

    Next week, students will attend school on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with Tuesday off. Staff will have an in-service on diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a keynote by Dr. Dena Simmons on creating equitable environments through emotional intelligence and culturally relevant practices.

    Travel Guidance

    As holidays and vacations approach, families and staff may be considering traveling out of the area. This is a gentle reminder that the care and safety of our school community depends upon all of us following federal and state travel guidelines.Prior to traveling, be sure to check the cross state travel map from the State of Vermont which is updated every Tuesday. Areas that are in yellow and red require quarantines upon return to Vermont, so plan your getaways accordingly. You can find more detailed information about travel and quarantine at the Vermont Department of Health website.  In addition, the CDC recently released a helpful guide for safely celebrating upcoming holidays.

    All employees who plan to or who have traveled out of state are expected to fill out this FY21 Covid Travel Notification Form.

    Transportation 

    Please note that bus transportation routes have been updated effective October 30. 

    Nutritional Services: Meal Delivery During Thanksgiving Break

    Thanks to our outstanding nutritional services team, the district will be offering meals during Thanksgiving break and Christmas break. Families will need to order in advance and 5 days of meals will be delivered together to help families through the week. For Thanksgiving break the meals will be delivered Tuesday, November 24 via bus and pickup. 

    School Happenings

    SBHS French Teacher Receives Mini-Grant

    Congratulations to SBHS French teacher Karine Poulin who was recently honored as the recipient of a $500 Vermont NEA mini-grant for a special project submitted in August aimed at building a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) library for the French program at SBHS.   

    FHTMS Students Make Mask Donation to First Responders

    This past Wednesday, FHTMS students Sierra Rainey and Reese Gordon made a special delivery of tie dyed red, white, and blue face masks to the South Burlington Fire and Police Departments. The departments received 50 masks from these two enterprising students in appreciation of their service to the community. What began as a fun activity between two friends and soccer teammates has turned into the girls starting their own business: Simply Heart  Made.  The two now plan to sell their tie dye masks to raise money for their upcoming soccer club trip to Holland in the Spring of 2022. Check out the story on WCAX

    Gertrude Chamberlin School 5th Graders Put their Engineering Skills to the Test

    At GCS, 5th grade science students recently worked in teams under specific criteria and constraints to build the tallest free standing tower to support one marshmallow. Using an engineering design process, students practiced collaboration and patience as they developed and tested their spaghetti and marshmallow prototypes. Way to go! 

    Rick Marcotte Central School Kindergarteners Learn About Insects

    Today, Kindergarteners kicked off a new science unit on arachnids. The unit began  by having "Miss Spider's Tea Party". Next week, classes will read the Miss Spider books and discuss spiders. Then,  on Friday Kindergarten students will dress as "insects" (paper costumes they make) and teachers as Miss Spider. 

    Orchard School Mock All-School Morning Meetings 

    Since All-School Morning Meetings have been put on hiatus during COVID-19, Orchard School staff has been getting creative by trying out mock ones through their Friday message. Principal Mark Trifilio reports, “Lately, we've celebrated birthdays, included an optimistic message and shared jokes. I’m joined by guests, complete with sound effects, to start the day with some humor.” This week featured Halloween jokes and puns sent in from students! 

    Technology Resources for Elementary Students and Families

    Check out these amazing Technology resources for elementary students and families created by Elementary Information Technology Teacher Kristen Courcelle. This resource was developed to support students and families with technology at home (specifically, Seesaw, Google Classroom, Zoom, Google Meet, and general Chromebook tips). 

    Halloween Safety 

    I know that this weekend, some families may be celebrating Halloween. I wanted to provide you with these safety tips from the CDC that pertain to both celebrations and individuals who may be giving out treats at their homes. Please continue your precautions if you participate in any festivities; wear a mask and keep a 6 ft distance between yourself and others. 

    I also wanted to remind everyone to set your clocks back one hour Saturday night for daylight savings time.

    I hope you all have a safe and relaxing weekend!

    Sincerely,

    David