March 20, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
We have had another busy week in the District! A number of our staff took advantage of the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at one of the state run clinics early in the week which is very exciting and gives us all hope that we are slowly but surely making our way out of this pandemic. In addition, equity was the focus of our staff’s professional development day this week as well as the primary theme of my CVSA (Champlain Valley Superintendents Association) two day training. Exploring how we can better serve all of our students is at the heart of these trainings and I am proud to have a staff so committed to taking on this crucial work.
Statement on AAPI Violence
In the wake of this week’s violent attack in Atlanta on the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, I wanted to take a moment to reaffirm what we in the South Burlington School District stand for: we strive to protect and celebrate the identity of all of our students, staff, and community members and work daily to ensure they have a safe space to learn, grow, and thrive. Our hearts are with our Asian American and Pacific Islander students and families. Please reach out if we can be of assistance to you at this time. Additionally, we shared the following resources with educators this week, but I wanted to pass them along to families as well as you potentially navigate difficult conversations with your child(ren). Please see the following for those looking for ways to affirm the experiences of Asian American Pacific Islanders:
Staff In-Service a Success
This week, as part of our important work around diversity, equity, and inclusion, our staff took part in our District wide in-service March 17 where they heard and were inspired by a keynote address from Dena Simmons. Afterward, staff split off into virtual Zooms by building to continue their learning. In addition, 60 staff members also participated in Virtual Courageous Conversations March 16 and 17. We are proud to be able to have our staff take part in these important training sessions that tie directly to our District mission.
A number of staff members in the SBSD participated in state run vaccination clinics March 15 and 16 at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center where individuals received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. These clinics filled quickly, but luckily a wait list was kept on hand and 55 staff were called off the list Monday and around 70-80 Tuesday. An additional clinic was held at CVU March 17 where staff who weren't able to secure a slot on Monday or Tuesday could go to receive a vaccine. Clinics also opened for staff at the Essex Fairgrounds Thursday and Friday. There will continue to be opportunities to receive the vaccine at state run sites as well as Walgreens and Kinney pharmacies in the weeks to come.
It was announced at the Governor’s press conference March 19 that Vermonters aged 60 plus will be able to register to receive a vaccine beginning March 25 with additional age bands opening swiftly thereafter. See the latest eligibility timeline here.
Although more people are becoming vaccinated every day, the virus continues to circulate. Last week, 4 classes at Orchard School needed to quarantine due to positive cases and the SBHS hockey team had to quarantine due to a positive case. I want to stress that we as a District have been doing very well overall in managing COVID-19 and that is in large part to all of you. I urge you to continue to follow all of the guidelines. I know it has been a challenging year, but we have come this far, let’s keep it up!
COVID-19 Staff Surveillance Testing
The South Burlington School District will participate in our fifth round of COVID-19 surveillance testing March 30. We have had an average of between 200 and 300 staff members participate in this voluntary testing since it began. It is one of several tools the state and District has to monitor the spread of the virus. As more staff become vaccinated, we are unsure of how often this testing will take place, but will continue our participation as long as the state warrants it useful. You can read more about school staff surveillance testing here.
SBHS Competitions this Weekend
This weekend will be a busy one for many SBHS students as the state cheerleading and dance competitions are held as well as bowling, girls hockey and boys basketball. Find more information about the events and streaming information on the sbwolves website. In addition, the Vermont-NEA Scholars’ Bowl will hold their state finals tomorrow and SB will have two teams competing. Good luck to all!
FHTMS 7th Graders Learn about the Human Body
Amelia Lutz, science teacher for the Why Not? Team at FHTMS reported that 7th graders have been learning about human body systems, how they work together, and how to identify the body’s response to a stimulus in order to maintain homeostasis. Part of this learning activity involved building a body as a class. The final projects are on display in the hallway!
Gertrude Chamberlin School Students Try to Trap a Leprechaun
Chamberlin 5th graders got into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day by working on a STEM project based on the book, “How to Catch a Leprechaun” by Adam Wallace. According to Library Media Specialist Allison Balk, students were asked to think like engineers to design and build a trap that would catch a leprechaun for them! They could work alone or work with a partner. They had to think about what would attract a leprechaun and how their contraption would trap the leprechaun once it was drawn into their creation. Math and science were the STEM subjects utilized as students calculated the size of the materials they wanted to use and determine how they would work together to create an effective trap!
Rick Marcotte Central School 4th Graders Crack the Code!
Recently, all three 4th grade classes at Central School worked to crack a code to open a lock box by solving math problems. According to teacher Lizzy Appleby, students used strategies for addition and subtraction they had been working on to unlock all 8 locks. All three 4th grade classes were able to solve all the problems to unlock the box. Well done!
Orchard’s Reimagined Poetry Slam
In lieu of the annual fifth grade poetry slam that is held each year at Orchard School, Mr. Wright’s 5th grade class developed a flipgrid of his students reading poems that parents could view from home. After learning about 8 common types of poems, students made their own poetry books which included 8 class poems, 8 of their own poems, and 8 poems from other well-known poets. They then recorded themselves in a flipgrid reading two poems they had written.
The temperatures are going to warm up over the weekend, I hope you all get out to enjoy a bit of Vermont spring!