• May 28, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    It’s hard to believe how quickly Memorial Day weekend has arrived! We have had yet another busy week of activities and learning in the District. From our vaccine clinic Tuesday, to launching text messaging, to planning for end of year celebrations. This is always an exciting time for students, staff, and families alike as one school year ends and we begin to look hopefully to the next; especially this year. I continue to be so proud of each of you. It is amazing how we have persevered through these times together. Please see more updates below.

    SBHS Hosted Vaccine Clinic A Success

    SBHS hosted a vaccine clinic for all Vermonters aged 12 and over May 25 from 11-6. According to nurse Caryl Davidson, “The vaccine clinic went very smoothly. They vaccinated approximately 125 people. People seemed very appreciative that the clinic was so convenient.” The second dose clinic will be held Tuesday, June 15.  Only those who were vaccinated at the clinic Tuesday will be allowed to attend.

    Missed the clinic? Not to worry, you can find an evolving list of vaccination sites and how to register here. Vermont residents 12 and older can also 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.

    Agency of Education (AOE) School Guidance Updates 

    At the Governor’s press conference today, Secretary of Education Dan French announced the release of a joint memo from he and Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine regarding prevention recommendations for the end of the year. It notes that when the state of emergency ends, much of the COVID-19 guidance for schools will no longer be enforced since its underlying authority is derived from the Governor’s Emergency Order.This includes the Strong and Healthy Year guidance. However, the department recommends that schools continue to follow current prevention strategies outlined in the guidance for the remainder of the school year because students will not be fully vaccinated by mid-June. This falls in line with my note last week that masks will continue to be required of all students and staff through the end of this school year. 

    Today, the AOE also 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 and notes that distancing requirements for students and staff will no longer be necessary.  We will be working through this update and providing details on what school will look like for our district as our planning process continues. 

    Texting is Now Live!

    If you have a mobile number on file with the District, you should have received a one-time text notification from the number 67587 May 25 asking if you would like to opt-in to receive pertinent messages from the District via text. If you haven’t already and would like to opt-in, simply send a text to the number 67587 with the letter "Y" or the word “Yes.”

    Annual Student Update Forms Are Open for the 2021-2022 School Year

    Get started today! Please register your student for the 2021-2022 School Year by completing the Annual Student Update forms before August 17th.  These forms help families verify and share important health and contact information as well as allow for permissions to be set for school technology devices. To start, click this link: Getting Started: Register a Returning Student. If you have questions or need assistance with this process, please contact your school directly.

    Last Chance to Participate in the Art Scavenger Hunt

    This would be the perfect activity for families and staff to participate in this weekend, the last few days of National Bike Month. No doubt, if you have traveled around South Burlington by car, foot, or bike, you have noticed the colorful utility boxes that have been brightening our city streets over the last couple of years thanks to the coordinated efforts of South Burlington resident Katie O’Brien Barritt. A number of South Burlington residents, including students of all ages have contributed their talents to make South Burlington pop with creativity. To celebrate National Bike Month, an art scavenger hunt is underway (there are prizes!). 

    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 not be holding her usual Monday Zoom due to the Memorial Days holiday, but please feel free to join Rebecca Day Tuesday, June 1 from 10:00-11:00 am and Brian Minier Tuesday, June 1 from 6:00-7:00 pm. Check out the School Board's Facebook Page and the District website for the latest dates and links! 

    Next week, the board will also have their regular school board meeting Wednesday, June 2 beginning at 7:00 pm. Join via Zoom or catch the livestream on the Media Factory website. You can find all of the board’s meeting minutes, agendas, and backup information on the District website

    School Happenings

    SBHS Students Inducted into Japanese Honor Society

    On May 19th, five seniors at South Burlington High School celebrated their induction into the Japanese National Honor Society Pre-College Chapter (JNHS). This organization “recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence in Japanese study by working with teachers and administrators to develop and maintain high standards of Japanese language education and promoting cultural activities.” This year’s inductees were Marjorie Candreva, Jaden Cypes, Avery Houston, Taylor Magnant, and Taryn Turner.

    “Even though the TIE Japan exchange program was cancelled last year,” noted Ms. Sinyoung Ra Evans, SBHS Japanese Language Instructor, “the determination to learn Japanese kept flourishing as strong as ever for these students. Starting from learning hiragana (one of the Japanese alphabets) to the level of real-life communication in Japanese or even creatively writing scripts for Japanese skits, learning a non-western language for a native speaker of English takes patience and perseverance.”

    FHTMS Students and Educators Gather to Hear from Author Angie Thomas

    The Vermont Humanities Council offered a free Zoom event this week as part of Vermont Reads 2020 which featured  Angie Thomas, who is the author of five acclaimed books, including The Hate U Give. Social Studies teacher and SOAR advisor Christie Nold wrote that “45 students and educators gathered (physically distanced) in the library to hear from Thomas. Angie spoke about her childhood, the writing process, and her struggles with mental health. She named that, "the way you perceive the world is the way you lead the world" and encouraged our students to recognize their power and all that they are capable of right now to make a difference in the world.”

    This event also marked the first time this school year that SOAR members were able to meet in person! Christie wrote, “We are so thankful to the hard, dedicated work of the South Burlington community to keep our students safe which is now allowing us to come together in person.”

    Also, shout out to the FHTMS Why Not? Students who held a successful battery drive May 25! 83.3 pounds of batteries were collected to recycle! Well done everyone!

    Rick Marcotte Central Students Learn How to use Google Slides 

    Teacher Stephanie Hockenbury noted that recently, all three second grade classes worked with Kristen Courcelle, the SBSD K-5 Technology Educator, to learn skills related to creating Google slides. Each class had their own Zoom session with Kristen where she introduced and modeled features to use. This Zoom session also included time to practice and ask questions. Students will be using these skills as they create projects about their literacy work in the coming weeks.

    Gertrude Chamberlin School Students Garden and Dance!

    In music classes at Chamberlin School this week, 3rd graders learned about Malaysian music and two students recognized one of the dances as the national dance of the Philippines.

    In addition to dancing, these classes also planted a Three Sisters garden with parent Ryan Roberge, who generously maintains the beautiful school gardens! Prior to planting, students learned about the importance of the  three sisters crops, corn, beans, and squash and how they, when planted together, help each other to thrive. Keep your eyes on Principal Rouelle’s Twitter and weekly newsletter as well as the District website for photos!

    Orchard School: It’s Starting to Feel like Summer at the Library

    Looking for ways to keep your children reading this summer? Come to Orchard School's library! SBSD employee and former Orchard School parent, Janette Hasenecz, will once again be running the Summer Library program at Orchard School. Thanks to the generosity of the PTO, the library will be open for eight weeks on Wednesday mornings from 9-12, beginning June 23rd and ending August 11th. The summer theme is "Go for the Gold." Every student who comes to Summer Library will receive a special prize that just might have an Olympic game connection. Families may come in each week for a different surprise. While at Summer Library, Orchard School students may play a game of checkers, build with LEGOs, and, of course, check out some books. 

    Can't make it on Wednesday mornings? Check out Orchard’s "Little Free Library" located in front of the school. It’s always open and is a place where students can give and take donated books.  Please feel free to clean out your bookshelves for donations, as well as stop by to pick up a couple of "new to you" books over the summer.

    Thanks for reading and have a relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

    Sincerely,

    David