• January 15, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardian and Staff,

    Thank you for another fantastic week of learning together. While we needed to pivot to remote learning for one class at Gertrude Chamberlin School as well as Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School due to positive COVID cases this week, I am so proud of how well our students and staff responded to the sudden shift. More on this below. I also wanted to remind everyone that there will be no school for students Monday, January 18 to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Therefore, there will be no remote learning day for students at any grade level next week.  

    Happy Birthday Dom Marabella!

    Long time District employee Dom Marabella, beloved by students and staff alike, celebrated his 90th birthday January 10. SBHS celebrated Mr. Marabella Friday, January 8 and Monday, January11 with birthday cake for all during lunches in the lobby. Even Governor Scott took notice and recognized Mr. Marabella in the first few minutes of his press conference today 

    Calendar Changes

    I wanted to let families know that we will be in school March 3,4, and 5. Elementary grades PreK-5 will be in on all three days. At the middle and high school, the 3rd will be a blue pack day and the 4th and 5th will be gray pack days. 

    COVID Cases

    This Monday, we were notified by the Vermont Department of Health that a member of both our Gertrude Chamberlin School and Frederick H. Tuttle learning communities had tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, at Chamberlin School, the SBSD Preschool Program am and pm sessions and Mrs. Brown’s kindergarten class were not in school through Friday, January 15. At FHTMS, students pivoted to remote learning Tuesday and the usual remote Wednesday, then returned to in person learning for the remainder of the week. Contact tracing was completed and the Vermont Department of Health indicated we were safe to reopen.

    Thank you for understanding that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individuals with COVID-19. Learn more about what happens when there is a case in a school at this link.

    Upcoming COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

    The South Burlington School District will be participating in our third round of COVID-19 surveillance testing January 19. Staff were notified early this week that, if interested in participating, they could sign up by noon today. During Phase 1, we had 270 participants and for Phase 2, 298 staff members took the PCR tests. We are optimistic that we will have a similar or greater level of participation in the third round. You can read more about school staff surveillance testing here.

    The Importance of  COVID Symptom Monitoring and Adhering to State Guidance

    In accordance with the Governor’s mandate, all Vermont residents have been advised to not spend time with anyone who lives outside their family unit’s home, apart from children in shared custody situations (which may involve a child traveling between two homes), and single adults living alone. Those who do not follow that mandate are required to quarantine for 14 days (or seven days followed by a negative COVID test result). For more details, please see this link on the health department’s FAQ site.

    We are seeing a surge in COVID-19 positive cases in Vermont and in the spirit of keeping everyone safe we ask that you maintain strict adherence to the guidance which will help to keep our students learning in person. Continue to monitor your own health each day and adhere to our district's guidelines of remaining home if ill. Before filling out the health screening app, please determine if the symptom you are experiencing is typical or atypical for you. If the symptom(s) are not new and they are related to a chronic health condition, please do not indicate this on the app (for example if you have a history of migraine headaches, do not press headache).. 

    If the symptom is NEW for you and you do not feel well, please indicate that on the app. This does not include examples such as: feeling tired from staying up late or having a drippy nose from being outside in the cold. By checking on a symptom on the app, you will be prompted to not attend work. Thank you all for your continued diligence!

    FY22 Budget

    There will be a special school board meeting held tomorrow, Saturday, January 16 at 1:00 pm to discuss the FY22 budget. This item is warned for action and we hope you can join us with your comments and questions! There will also be a city council and school board steering committee meeting held January 20 beginning at 6:00 pm, where both budgets will be presented. The next regular school board meeting is also scheduled for January 20, but will begin at 7:30 pm directly following the steering committee meeting.  

    Winter Sports Update

    In today's press conference, the Governor announced a modest expansion of winter sports. Listed below are the changes that will go into effect Monday, January 18. 

    • Allows teams to expand practices to include drills that include limited contact and intra-squad scrimmaging. 

    • School-based Nordic, Alpine, and Snowboarding teams may hold competitions where participants are from a single school or the total number of participants does not exceed 25. Competitions may involve multiple school teams or groupings of 25 throughout the day if the groups do not interact with each other. If competitions are held, the host school must maintain a list of participants in each grouping for 30 days to assist in contact tracing. 

    Please note that we still do not have a date for interscholastic games to begin. This issue will be looked at on a week-by-week basis. The gym schedule for Jan 25 - Jan 31 has been updated.

    Come Work with Us!

    There are multiple position openings in our District at the moment. We are looking for substitutes in the areas of classroom teacher (all subjects and all levels), paraeducator or interventionist, school nurse (RN) or nurse assistant (LPN) (Must have appropriate licensure and/or certifications), custodian, food preparation/cook, and bus drivers. All SBSD substitutes are required to undergo a criminal record check and be fingerprinted for a VT public school District.  

    We are also seeking candidates for the following positions:

    • Bus Driver (CDL, Class B with passenger, air brakes, and school bus endorsement preferred, training may be available to the right candidates)

    • On-call Second Shift Custodian

    • Interventionist  

    • Paraeducators  

    These positions will remain open until filled. For more details on open positions, visit Schoolspring Keyword: South Burlington School District or contact Karen Dantzscher, HR Director at 652-7256 or kdantzscher@sbschools.net.

    School Happenings

    SBHS Student Comic Anthology

    SBHS Design Technology Educator Philip Galiga teaches a class called Creating Graphic Novels and Comics and this year he put together an anthology of student work. The comics are a mix of assignments and student ideas. The Howling Herald highlighted it in its latest issue. You can also check out the anthology here. The class ran first term this year and had 7 students enrolled. It meets the Technology requirement, but can also be taken as an elective. It first ran last spring but was affected by COVID. Mr. Galiga is  trying to generate interest in the class because of the prevalence of graphic novels out there, but also because it's fun!

    FHTMS Students Get Inspired by Rokeby Museum Exhibit 

    In Beth Coleman’s art class, students recently checked out the virtual exhibit, Mending Fences: New Work by Carol MacDonald featured at Rokeby Museum. Then,  according to Coleman, “Students created a small pinch pot based on the Japanese art of mending pottery called Kintsugi, inspired by an art piece from the exhibit. This became a metaphor for how they can contribute to making a positive difference in the world.”

    Gertude Chamberlin School Students Explore their Similarities and Differences

    At Chamberlin’s latest Wolf Pack Time, student made self-portrait plates were used to play a game called "In and Out.”  According to Principal Holly Rouelle, “The past two Wolf Pack Times have focused on similarities and differences and how it feels to be included or excluded as part of a majority or minority group. We used an activity called In and Out to have students identify their feelings when they are part of the group (brown eyes, left handed, wearing red, etc.) and explore how we should treat each other in our community.” 

    Central School Students Get to Zoom with an Astronaut

    Students in Mr. Knepp’s 4th grade class had the chance to join a virtual conversation hosted by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Astronaut Zena Cardman in coordination with the Vermont Space Grant Consortium and NASA on Thursday, January 14. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about NASA’s exciting plans to go back to the moon and beyond as part of the Artemis Generation!

    Orchard School First Grade Identity Project

    Throughout the month of December, all first graders at Orchard worked on a special project titled "Mapping Our Identity."  They read books and wrote about all of the distinct parts of our identities. They created beautiful posters that illustrate various aspects of our identities such as race, language(s) spoken, where their ancestors came from, the meaning of their names or who they were named after, and their personalities. These posters are currently on display in the Orchard hallways, so that students can learn more about one another than what is visible from the outside.

    Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

    Sincerely,

    David