January 29, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
Winter is here! Officially. After experiencing such mild temperatures so far this season, today’s wind chills are a bit of a shock. Be sure to layer up this weekend too. On the bright side, this shift means good news for our SBHS ice skating rink! Please remember that high school programming takes priority in terms of rink use and you can always see the status of whether it is open or closed on the high school website. Shout out to our facilities team and the city crew who has been helping to keep the ice in shape! Please see my weekly updates below.
Vaccination eligibility opened this week for Vermonters age 75 and older. Appointments to get a COVID-19 vaccine can be made by visiting the Vermont Department of Health website. If someone you know in this age group does not have access to online registration, they can make an appointment by calling 855-722-7878.
Black Lives Matter Flag Raising at FHTMS
The Black Lives Matter Flag will be raised at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School Wednesday morning, February 3. The event is scheduled to begin at 8:45 am and will last about 15 minutes. At 8:45 am, Principal Karsten Schlenter will be saying a few words followed by short student speeches (these speeches have all been pre-recorded to ensure good sound quality). Then, at 8:55 am, the actual raising of the flag in front of the school will take place followed by a final statement.Students and staff will attend virtually. There will only be a few adults and students attending the actual flag raising in person for safety reasons.Thanks to the IT Department for assisting with the technical logistics along with Chris Johnstone.
Plans to raise the Black Lives Matter Flag at the elementary schools are underway and more information will follow on those events once solidified.
Nutritional Services Update: Meal Delivery by Van Begins Next Week and P-EBT
Beginning Monday, February 1st the transportation department will begin using a white transit van to deliver meals on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On remote Wednesdays, they will continue to use regular buses as well as the transit van. The van was purchased specifically to transport/deliver meals for Nutritional Services through Federal coronavirus relief funds (CRF).
In addition, if the online meal order form is closed and your student has transitioned to remote learning due to quarantine and you need access to meal delivery, please contact Rhonda Ketner, Nutritional Services Director (email@example.com) to be added to the delivery list for the current week.
There is a new round of P-EBT (pandemic electronic benefits transfer) in the works, the State will be issuing guidance, FAQ's, and information for communicating with families.Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is part of the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through P-EBT, eligible school children receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cards that are used to purchase food.
This past week, I was joined by School Board Chair Bridget Burkhardt and school board member Brian Minier for a budget presentation on Channel 17. You can also review our proposed budget slide presentation as well as the annual warning on the budget section of the District website. Please note that this year, due to COVID restrictions, there will not be an in-person pre-town meeting day budget presentation, but rather a virtual meeting held via Zoom on March 1 at 7:00 pm. You can find the link to the virtual public hearing as well as the City’s annual meeting warning here. If you have questions about the budget or articles, please feel free to contact school board members or myself. The next school board meeting will take place next Wednesday, February 3 at 7:00 pm.
Ballots and Voting
This year, ballots will be mailed to all registered voters. According to City Clerk Donna Kinville, they should be in the mail February 10 and hopefully in mailboxes around February 12. There will be return postage affixed to the envelopes. The ballots can be brought to the polls, left in the City Hall night drop box before midnight March 1, or received in the mail no later than 4:00 pm on March 2. Residents can also vote in person at all regular polling locations from 7:00 am-7:00 pm Town Meeting Day March 2.
Update on Athletics
At the Governor’s press conference today, Secretary of Education Dan French said that the state has yet to make a decision on whether to allow high school sports competition this winter. French noted that not enough time had passed to have a good idea whether contact practices/scrimmages have an effect on COVID-19 spread. The restart committee will continue to review and analyze this weekly to ensure safety in a return to games.
Meanwhile, indoor track has been reimagined and was recently featured in the news during their first competition of the season. The team is split into 4 smaller teams that compete against each other and will culminate in the "School Championships" at the beginning of March. In collaboration with VASTA, the "meets" have 6 different events for teams to compete head-to-head. As an added element of fun, teams have the opportunity to include some of their teachers to earn extra points toward the overall School Champions that will be crowned at the beginning of March. Way to get creative and keep students active while staying safe!
SBHS Have You Checked out the Howling Herald?
Did you know SBHS has a student digital newspaper? You can check out the latest edition here to catch a student perspective on local, national, and international issues as well as book reviews, sports, and much more!
FHTMS Students Tackle Climate Change
Recently, students on the Why Not? Team finished a research and argument unit in ELA that focused on climate change. The essential question to be grappled with was: “How can I convince others to make changes that will impact our world?” Teacher Liz Siddle reported that, “After building background knowledge regarding climate change, students narrowed in on solutions that they found promising. They independently researched their solutions for two weeks and ended the unit by crafting strong, convincing arguments. Topics covered a broad range: living a zero waste lifestyle, promising renewable energy solutions, using kelp to help combat acidification, saving ecosystems, green cities, and sustainable farming. In the end, they created magazine articles that are now on display.” Well done!
Gertrude Chamberlin School 1st Graders Learn “How-To’s”
First graders in Jennifer Boudreau’s class have been learning how to sequence steps and write “How-To's” of their own. Students tested their how-to’s by writing out then following the steps needed to make sundaes, pizza, and lemonade at home as part of a remote learning lesson. Yum!
Rick Marcotte Central School Students Win a Day of Reading!
A day spent in PJ’s and sleeping bags with a good book? Sounds perfect for these chilly days and that’s precisely the reward students in Mr. Knepp's 4th grade class received this week. Students earned the read-a-thon by bringing in their reading logs tracking their at home work. According to Knepp, “Students had a ton of fun doing different reading activities such as comic book reading, partner reading, read aloud, instructional reading (where students read about and completed origami or science projects) and of course choice chapter book reading.”
And the read-a-thon will continue next Tuesday in Lizzy Appleby’s class since they have filled their reading jar with pompoms! Read-a-thon pompoms are added to a jar for minutes read at home. Way to go readers!
Orchard School 3rd Graders Study Forces in Motion
Alex Goff’s 3rd grade class recently completed a unit on Forces in Motion. Students began by exploring pushes and pulls with magnets. Then learned about friction and resistance through a variety of investigations. Students took what they learned from these investigations and made cars out of popsicle sticks, mints, cardboard, straws, tape, and hot glue. They tested their cars and made small changes to them. Goff said, “We raced them this past Monday and Minty, a blue rocket shaped car traveled the farthest!” Fun!
Thank you all for another great week of learning together!