• June 5, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    As we enter the final two weeks of the school year, culminating activities are well underway. SBHS held their music gala concert outside this week, academic awards night took place, and senior car painting will occur this weekend! Other events, including the 8th grade celebration and 5th grade recognitions are being creatively organized and set to take place as these students transition to the next level of their education. These moments are so exciting and I am glad to be a part of as many of them as I can. Please see more updates below.

    COVID-19 School Guidance: Keep up the Masking!  

    At last Friday’s press conference with Governor Scott, Secretary of Education Dan French announced the release of a joint memo from he and Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine regarding COVID-19 prevention recommendations for the end of the year. The department has recommended that schools continue to follow current prevention strategies outlined in the Strong and Healthy Year Guidance for the remainder of the school year because students will not be fully vaccinated by mid-June. This means we will continue to require all students and staff to wear masks at school/work through the end of this school year. The CDC has also recommended this masking policy

    COVID Vaccine Clinics: Statewide Resources

    If you or someone you know is looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine, clinics and drop in sites are popping up in multiple locations from the Burlington Waterfront to The Edge Sports and Fitness. You can find an evolving list of vaccination sites and how to register here. Vermont residents 12 and older can access vaccination walk-in clinics, but individuals in that age group should look for clinics that offer the Pfizer vaccine and bring a parent or guardian with them. Vaccine informational videos in multiple languages have also been generously created by the Vermont Multilingual Coronavirus Task Force.

    VTVLC Update

    This year, due to COVID-19, we offered all K-12 families a completely remote learning option through VTVLC (Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative). We had 9 of our teachers participate in this program as well. At the Governor’s May 28 press conference, Secretary of Education Dan French released guidance on instructional operations for the fall of 2021. This presumes that we will be back to full time, in-person instruction in the fall, therefore, we will not be offering VTVLC as an option as we did this school year. We look forward to welcoming all students back to school in person. However, the high school will continue their decades-old partnership with the collaborative and thus students interested in VTVLC courses should connect with their school counselor.  

    Summer School

    To address the impact of the pandemic over the past year, summer school will have a slightly different focus this year. This year’s summer school will be designed to meet the needs of students who struggled to navigate hybrid and remote learning with special attention paid to social belonging, learner engagement, and key skills in math and literacy. Participating students will be given priority on the basis of need in these areas. 

    Educational Recovery 

    Over the next three school years, the South Burlington School District will receive federal funds for educational recovery in order to build back from the pandemic. These are one-time funds for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) provided for by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. The ESSER allocation received by each district is determined in part by the number of families living in poverty within the district. The anticipated allocations for the South Burlington School District are $1,382,740 ESSER II and $3,103,484 for the American Rescue Plan (ARP)/ESSER III, to be used over the next three school years, ending in the fall of 2024.

    The District has submitted an Educational Recovery Plan to the Vermont Agency of Education. This initial plan, which was developed by a working group of eleven staff and community partners in time for a June 1st deadline, allows the District to access ARP/ESSER funds and is based on an initial needs assessment which relied on performance, perception, and participation data from students, staff and parents. 

    It is important to note that the Educational Recovery Plan will be updated over the next school years in order to leverage ARP/ESSER funds to respond to our students’ and families’ ongoing needs. In the next months, the District will be creating opportunities for meaningful consultation with all stakeholders, with special attention to those representing the interests of children with disabilities, English learners, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, migratory students, children who are incarcerated, and other underserved students or historically marginalized groups.  

    Executive Director of Equity to be Hired

    I am excited to announce that for the 2021-2022 school year we will be hiring for a new position in our District: an Executive Director of Equity. I feel that this role will be key as we continue our District wide work of developing an antiracist community that welcomes and celebrates differences. As some of you may know,  I never filled the Safe and Healthy Schools Coordinator position that was vacated prior to the pandemic.This new position will be a District leadership position; expanding upon that role and a job description is currently under development.

    In terms of next steps, when the description has been solidified, we will begin advertising for the position with the hope of having this person join our team as soon as possible. A hiring committee will be developed and be comprised of staff, a board member, students, and community members.

    I also want to acknowledge, as we move forward on this path, all of the great work in these areas that has and continues to occur in our schools though the BARWE (Building Antiracist White Educators) group, SOAR (Students Organizing Against Racism), the SJU (Student Justice Union), the QSA (Queer Straight Alliance), ​Safe and Healthy Schools Committees, Courageous Conversations and more. I am looking forward to the collaboration and leadership this position will bring to this important work as we strive to ensure that all of our students, staff, and community feel welcome and heard. More updates to come!

    Nutrition Services Update: FREE Summer Meals

    Thanks to the efforts of our incredible nutrition services team, meals will continue to be available FREE of charge to students and community members under the age of 18 from Monday June 21st- Thursday August 19th, 2021. Daily household deliveries within South Burlington will occur between 9:30-11:00 Monday through Thursday with Thursday’s delivery containing meals for Friday-Sunday as well. Pickup time at the FHTMS main lobby will be from 9:00-10:00 AM, Monday-Thursday with Thursday’s pickup containing meals for Friday-Sunday as well.  Meals must be ordered weekly by Thursday at 1:00 pm via our online meal ordering system. Please do not order meals for days you will be away.

    Connecting with the School Board: Upcoming Opportunities

    Thanks to all of the community members who have been joining the board for their regular meetings and Zoom chats! Next week, Chair Bridget Burkhardt will be holding her Monday morning Zoom June 7 from 9:00-11:00 am, join Rebecca Day Tuesday, June 8 from 10:00-11:00 am and Brian Minier Tuesday, June 8 from 6:00-7:00 pm. Check out the School Board's Facebook Page and the District website for the latest dates and links! 

    If you missed this past Wednesday’s regular school board meeting, you can watch it on the Media Factory website. The board recognized senior student school board representative Delaney Rosner with a certificate of appreciation. Delaney will be graduating June 12 and plans to study psychology at UVM in the fall. Thank you Delaney! The next regular school board meeting will take place June 16.You can find all of the board’s meeting minutes, agendas, and backup information on the District website

    Big Picture Student Minelle Sarfo-Adu Featured on VPR

    Big Picture student Minelle Sarfo-Adu was recently featured in an interview on VPR! Minelle discussed her thesis project on racial discrimination in housing which she completed for the Big Pciture program. Minelle recently gave a presentation of her work as part of CVOEO’s Fair Housing Project as well as a subsequent presentation to the South Burlington City Council at their May 17 meeting. Minelle has completed her work with Big Picture and plans on attending early college at CCV where she will focus on classes toward a business major. Well done! 

    SBHS Graduation June 12 at the Essex Fairgrounds 

    Graduation is on and there are many ways to experience this incredible event! Thanks to the generosity of The Media Factory, graduation will be livestreamed. The finished recording will also be available on that page for future enjoyment. SBHS graduation will air on the LEARN channel (Comcast 1094) at the following dates and times: June 16 at 8:00 PM, June 17 at 12:30 PM, and June 19 at 8:00 PM. Additional details specific to seniors and their families can be found here.

    School Happenings

    SBHS One Acts This Weekend!  

    SBHS drama is back with 2 in-person performances in the auditorium this weekend beginning at 7:00 pm. The first occurred last night both in-person and via a livestream and tonight you can be wowed in-person by 3 Senior-Directed One Act plays: Jacob Davis, with The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon by Don Zolidis; Mollie Allen and Jade McGahey, with Beauty, Brains, and Personality by Emmet Loverde; Elsa Althoff, with One and All by Alan Haehnel. Come support a total cast of over 20 actors! There are 100 tickets available (Reserve your FREE tickets here)  to fully vaccinated audience members, and 30 tickets for unvaccinated audience members.. All audience members will be required to wear a mask while in the school.

    FHTMS Art Students Featured in KidsVT

    Self portraits created by students in Alison Treston’s art class were recently featured on page 26 of this issue of KidsVT. They were inspired by renaissance artist Guiseppe Arcinboldo. In some of the portraits, students used images of food to create faces and in others they used color to express various emotions. 

    Rick Marcotte Central School Chess Champion 

    Congratulations to Noah Hollander, a 3rd grader at RMCS who received first place in last weekend’s VT State Scholastic Chess Championship. According to his family, he began playing chess about 2 years ago. His family, teacher Mrs. Bailey, and Principal Kilbourne are all incredibly proud!

    Gertrude Chamberlin School Kindergarten Costume Parade

    The end of a school year is the perfect time to think about what one wants to be when they grow up (for all of us!). According to Kindergarten teacher Tina Brown, Kindergarteners were busy this week creating costumes depicting what they want to be when they grow up. A parade was held Friday afternoon around the perimeter of the building. Music added to the festivities! Photos and video to come!

    Orchard Pre-K Students Explore STEM

    PreK teachers Carrie Premsagar and Jessica Jablonski reported that students have been exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) activities over the past few weeks. “Using experiential learning, problem solving, and inquiry, we worked in small groups experimenting with chemical reactions to blow up balloons.  We used Mentos and soda; baking soda and vinegar; and yeast, sugar and water in containers and attached the balloon on top.  We observed that some chemical reactions happened slowly and some, more quickly.  Our students concluded that the Mentos and soda combination resulted in the balloon blowing up bigger and faster, while the yeast combination resulted in a slower reaction.“ Fun!

    Thanks for reading and stay cool this weekend!

    David