February 19, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
Welcome to Friday and the official kick-off to our mid-winter break! I am thrilled to be able to report that we have made it this far with minimal closures to our schools due to COVID-19. Let’s keep it up! As many of us enjoy the upcoming respite, please remember to continue to take precautions: wash your hands, wear your mask, and watch your distance. Please see my updates and good news below including information on the Black Lives Matter flag raising at our elementary schools and of course, remember to vote!
Black Lives Matter Flag Raising at the Elementary Schools
After the success of the raising of the Black Lives Matter flag at FHTMS in early February, our elementary schools began doing so as well this past Thursday, February 18 beginning at Rick Marcotte Central School. The event was live streamed into classrooms with 5th graders participating outside. Keep your eyes open for photos to come! Gertrude Chamberlin School will hold their flag raising event after the return from break March 5 and Orchard School will follow March 12. Look to your principals’ newsletters for further details as the dates approach. In the meantime, enjoy this video of Mrs.Ransom’s 2nd grade class in Erika Rito’s music class that was played at the end of Central School’s BLM Flag Raising Ceremony.
As athletics have resumed in a modified form, the Governor and Secretary of Education Dan French have been trying to determine a way music programs could be conducted safely. This week, they released their state guidance on music. Our students and staff look forward to the opportunities this guidance will provide.
Although the Governor indicated today that there may be adjustments coming next week to the guidance on multi household gatherings, for the moment multi household gatherings are still being strongly discouraged in addition to non-essential travel, even within Vermont. PLEASE ALERT THE SCHOOL OF YOUR PLANS if you plan to travel outside of Vermont for leisure (whatever the mode: train, plane, car, bus or other transportation means). Quarantining is required for 14 days in Vermont when you return. This includes day trips. Your day of return will be considered DAY 0; the next day will be considered DAY 1. For more travel and quarantine information, click here.
We remain hopeful about the vaccination program that has rolled out in Vermont and is currently available to Vermonters age 70 and over. 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.
Update on Surveillance Testing
The South Burlington School District will participate in its fourth round of voluntary staff COVID-19 surveillance testing March 9. This was originally scheduled for February 16. You can read more about school staff surveillance testing here.
FY22 Budget : New Videos Added to Series!
Have questions about the budget? Check out our newly launched video series! More videos will be added in the days to come. You can always find detailed information 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.
Remember to Vote by Mail or In-Person!
This year, ballots were mailed to all registered voters. There is return postage affixed to the envelopes. The ballots can be brought to the polls, left in the City Hall night drop box before noon March 1, or received in the mail no later than 4:00 pm 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. If you plan on mailing the ballots back, do so no later than Wednesday, February 24 to make sure the ballots have time to be delivered by the post office.
Student Led Board and City Council Candidate Forums
Five candidates are on the ballot for two open school board seats. If you missed their debates February 15 on Channel 17, you can watch them via Channel 17's YouTube. Better yet, check out these candidate forums directed by SBHS students! Elsa Nygaard-Ostby covered the technical aspects of the recording, while Hanna Holm and Matt Vigneau interviewed the candidates. Retired St. Michael’s College professor Vince Bolduc moderated the forums as he has done in the past when the pre-town meeting day debates were able to be held in person. Watch the 2 year term candidates here and the 3 year term candidates here. A forum with the candidates for city council was recorded as well with interviews conducted by SBHS students Brooks Balkan and Jared Williams. Well done all!
Athletics: Live Streaming Update
Thanks to the generosity of Geri Reilly Real Estate, Play-It-Again Sports, and the South Burlington Business Association (SBBA), all regular-season home games taking place at the Burleigh Gym and Munson Field will be free to stream on the NFHS Network for the rest of the school year! Away and playoff games will still require a subscription to the network but will be streamed by host schools/facilities using a myriad of tech (YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, NSN Network). Hockey will be available via LiveBarn (paywall).See details and the latest game schedules at the SB Wolves website.
Career Expo Goes Virtual
On Wednesday, April 7th, SBHS students will have the chance to speak with over 50 different career professionals about their jobs. Due to the pandemic, last year’s event was cancelled, but this year, the student planned and led event is going virtual. The schedule for the day will include opening remarks from keynote speaker Dennis Littky. Littky was a cofounder of Big Picture Learning, an interest and internship based high school option with schools all over the world (including one within SBHS).
After the keynote address, students will have the opportunity to join three different 20 minute Zoom meetings based on their areas of career interest. After lunch, they can choose one 30 minute option that assists with planning their pathway. Examples include, planning a gap year, the cost-benefit analysis of going to college, and promising/in-demand jobs in Vermont. Some students will act as Expo Ambassadors (Zoom hosts). The Career Development Office is open to additional guests (email email@example.com). Please reach out if you are interested!
SBHS Students Crowned State Champions in Neuroscience Brain Bee!
Wow! We are so impressed with the skills of these SBHS students who competed and placed in Vermont’s Brain Bee last weekend. Congratulations to Katherine Hankes and Hiba Ali (who placed 2nd and 3rd respectively as individuals), Gwen Lybarger, Lilla Erdos, Deepika Muthuswamy, and Trey Michael. Read more about the Vermont Brain Bee here.
Tuttle Middle School Peer Leadership
This past fall, FHT Students were invited to take a survey about leadership. They were asked to identify characteristics of positive leaders and to name a peer in their teacher advisory who demonstrated these qualities. These identified students were then invited to join the Peer Leadership Program.
The FHTMS Peer Leadership Program is an opportunity for student leaders to learn about, strengthen, and practice leadership skills. Leaders share ideas and give student-voice to help shape and build the FHTMS School Community. Each teacher advisory has a Peer Leader Representative. School Counselors, Matt Guyette and Yvette Amblo, co-lead this program and are impressed with the level of natural leadership in our FHT Peer Leaders. They are looking forward to the work the group will do together throughout the second half of this school year.
Gertrude Chamberlin School Celebrate the 100th Day of School
Hear, Hear! Chamberlin School students and staff celebrated the 100th day of school today with their traditional kindergarten parade. Students carried and played instruments like the triangle and xylophone as they festively made their way down hallways. Even though the parade had to forgo singing and students couldn't enter classrooms, everyone had a great time nonetheless. Check out a video snippet of the parade via Principal Rouelle’s Twitter.
Rick Marcotte Central School Spread Love to the Community
Right before Valentine’s Day, RMCS fifth graders completed their annual "spread love to the community" project. Students assembled 95 snack bags for the Ronald McDonald House and Anew Place including pre-packaged food items and drinks. They also assembled 45 toiletry bags for Anew Place. Each bag contained an additional heart with an uplifting note of kindness handwritten by a fifth grader!
Orchard School Hosts Author Jason Chin (virtually) for I Love School Week
Students and staff at Orchard School had a great week engaging in activities to celebrate I Love School week. Author Jason Chin joined K-2 classes virtually to read his book, Pie is for Sharing, to kindergarteners and showed them how he creates his illustrations. Chin then read Your Place in the Universe to grades 1-2. See more photos from I love School week on Orchard School's Instagram.
Thanks as always for your patience, resilience, and for reading. Have a relaxing break!