• July 31, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    How are you? I wanted to let you know I’ve been thinking about you all and hoping that you have been able to take some moments to recharge this summer. I know the weather has been a little different than our typical Julys, but in between those rain showers, maybe you’ve been out to explore one of South Burlington’s parks, the bike path, or SoBuNight Out! Here in the District, things have been as busy as ever. With projects and summer school and of course, preparing for next school year, I wanted to provide you with some brief updates below. 

    Back to School COVID Protocols: Awaiting Guidance 

    I’m sure you are all wondering what school will look like in the fall. I wanted to let you know that while unknowns remain about whether masks will be required for some or all students and staff, we do know we are planning for full time, full day, in-person learning for all students beginning August 23 for 6th, 9th and new high school students and August 24 for all other students with the exception of Gertrude Chamberlin School students who will begin classes August 30 (See more on that below as well as our 2021-2022 school calendar). Families will receive specific information from individual schools in early August.

    I, along with my fellow Champlain Valley Superintendents are closely watching recommendations and data around COVID-19 including the CDC guidance released July 9 for prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in schools which recommends masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors regardless of vaccination status. As well as the updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals released July 27. We are also monitoring community transmission, state vaccination rates, and awaiting further guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education which we have heard is forthcoming. 

    Currently, the Vermont Department of Health is still recommending that unvaccinated people over the age of two wear masks indoors. It also recommends other ways to remain safe, even though Vermont does not have state COVID-19 restrictions or requirements for Vermonters or visitors to follow at the moment. You can keep up with Vermont’s current COVID19 activity here and tune into the Governor’s weekly press briefings which take place Tuesdays at noon and are broadcast live on local news stations. Please know that the safety of our students, families, and staff is a top priority. I will be in touch when guidance from the state is solidified.  

    Transportation Survey and Annual Student Update Forms

    The SBSD Transportation Department is in the process of planning for the upcoming school year and would like to know if your student (s) will be riding the bus. Please respond to this one question 2021-2022 transportation survey by logging into the SBSD PowerSchool Parent Portal and clicking Forms by Tuesday August 3. If you haven't filled out your annual student update forms yet, you'll also have the option to do so once you submit the survey. Thank you!

    Nutrition Services Providing Meals All Summer! 

    Our incredible nutrition services team has been providing meals to our community members all summer! The program has been averaging 800 meals per day! The last day for the summer program deliveries is August 19th, but the team will continue to offer meals to community members via pickup only at the middle school. Pre Ordering online is still required via the meal order forms on the District website. In additional exciting news, the USDA has extended free meals to all children under 18 yrs old until the end of the 2021-22 school year. Stay tuned for more information on this and what our meal program will look like in the coming school year. 

    Next Board Meeting August 4

    The next school board meeting will take place this coming Wednesday, August 4 at 7:00 pm. You can join via Zoom, by telephone, or in-person. You can also livestream the meeting on the Media Factory website and on their Facebook page. In addition, Board Chair Bridget Burkhardt has continued offering Monday morning pop-in chats via Zoom this summer! Have a question, thought, or concern? Join her Monday, August 2 from 9:00-10:00 am.

    SB Students Active in the Arts

    This August, you likely have a lot of options in terms of checking out outdoor music and festivals, but what about a musical inspired, written and performed by Vermont teens? Enter the Listen Up Project  which begins touring in early August. Bonus: rising SBHS freshman Avery Cutroni is a member of the cast. According to the website, “the musical is based on eight months of interviews, workshops, conversations and listening sessions with more than 800 teens across Vermont. “Learn more about the Listen Up Project and find tickets here

    Also, if you enjoy poetry, check out “Lost Opportunities” by SB student Eva Corbett. This poem was featured in the Young Writers Project  late June edition. Well done!

    FHTMS Summer Wolfpack Experience 

    Librarian and FHTMS summer school coordinator Amy Blauvelt reported that the FHTMS Summer Wolfpack Experience began July 6th and will run through August 6th. “Over forty-five students participated in this experience. Students attended field trips to Echo Aquarium, Mt. Philo, Sparetime, and North Beach playing, hiking, and learning. The district's food service provided both breakfast and lunch for our students.The transportation department worked diligently to get students to and from school and field trips in a timely manner. Three teachers and a paraeducator worked to create fun learning experiences in math and literacy for the students, as well as opportunities to play and socialize with their peers. Incoming sixth graders were given the opportunity to meet the teachers and get acclimated to the building, trying their lockers and getting their schedules for next year. FHTMS Wolfpack Summer Experience has been a great success!” Thank you to Amy Blauvelt, Elizabeth Stockbridge, Hailey Reilly, and Paula McMackin for making the experience fun and educational for all the students. 

    FHTMS Summer Library Going Great!

    For the first time, this summer, students have had a chance to enjoy the library at FHTMS on Friday afternoons and the response has been fantastic! SBSD employee Janette Hasenecz runs the program (as well as Orchard School’s summer library with Orchard Librarian Donna Sullivan-MacDonald). Janette said, “People are loving this. We are getting such gushing gratitude from parents and happy middle school faces. Our email this week reached new 6th graders coming into the school for the first time! Parents were appreciative to have the opportunity to get their students familiar with the new school/space.” The library is open Friday mornings through August 31 from 10 am-12 pm to check out books and socialize with friends. For questions about either program, contact Janette at jhasenecz@sbschools.net.

    Rick Marcotte Central School Students Help with New Market Street Sculpture

    The grand opening of our city’s new library, senior center, and city hall occurred July 23 with a festive lineup of speakers, a bounce house, and other events along Market Street. If you haven’t had a chance to tour the new space, I hope you will take a moment to do so and pause to appreciate the pencil sculpture near the front of the building! It is the work of resident Katie O’Brien Barritt, the creative mastermind of the painted utility box project! Five Central School students Sage, Cora, Anita, Emil, and Phillip helped paint the sculpture and now have their names on it as well! 

    Chamberlin School Noise Insulation Project Update 

    The FAA funded Chamberlin School noise mitigation project is well underway. The project is designed to eliminate the exterior penetrations that were required to bring in outside air with the original heating system. Closing these and installing a new heating and cooling system will allow windows to remain closed and remove the exterior vents to reduce noise inside the building. This is a BIG project to complete in one 6-week summer break construction period and the District has been proactive with project managers and contractors to do everything possible to remain on schedule. We will use all available resources to make sure that GEC is ready, clean and welcoming for the August 30th start date. Also, it will be climate controlled and cool on those hot September days! School’s Out is working to provide a camp experience for children due to this delayed start. 

    Orchard Summer Library Busier than Ever! 

    Exploring new books, gathering with friends for a round of global Twister, and Olympic Games themed BINGO are just a few of the reasons Orchard’s summer library program continues to be a huge success! According to Donna Sullivan-MacDonald, “In the six weeks of being open for just three hours each week, we've checked out 852 books! Since there are two more weeks of Summer Library, could our summer total of books checked out reach 1000? With an average of 142 books checked out each week, it's a real possibility.” 

    Just how many visitors do they have weekly? While it varies, the average is about 70, although one day there were so many visitors, they actually lost count! You still have two weeks to visit on Wednesdays from 9:00 am-noon! Check out Orchard School's Instagram for the latest photos! 

    Thank you all for your continued support and for being a part of our amazing school community. 

    Have a great weekend!

    Sincerely,

    David