September 23, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
The calendar may say that it’s fall, but it certainly feels like summer today! What a great opportunity to spend some time being active or just soaking up a little late September warmth. As always, there is a lot happening District wide. Of note, our elementary schools will have an early release day tomorrow, September 24 at 12:30 for staff professional development while the high school and middle school will have a late start at 10:35. Tonight is the SBHS’ virtual open house and this weekend, the annual Ski and Board Swap will take place September 25 from 9-3 (masks required). It may not feel like it, but winter is coming. In addition, you’ll find a few opportunities to get involved with our District below. Come join our team!
Hispanic American Heritage Month Sept 15-Oct 15
It is National Hispanic American Heritage Month. Our District joins many across Vermont and throughout the country in honoring the contributions of generations of Hispanic Americans who have and continue to enrich our country and communities. National Hispanic American Heritage month began September 15 to celebrate the anniversaries of national independence for many Latin American countries including Costa Rica and El Salvador. You can learn more at the link above.
MS/HS Situation Update
I want to thank you all once again for your patience, understanding, and for coming together as a school community during last week’s situation at the middle/high school. While we cannot reveal the identities of those involved due to privacy reasons, we did receive a report from the SBPD that when officers responded, they quickly learned that the incident in question involved a threat via virtual communications rather than in-person. The incident did involve students of the District who were all on campus. The reported threat involved weapons, specifically a gun and a knife. The nature of the threat combined with the fact that the involved parties were on campus lead to the lock down. Investigating officers, with the help and guidance of District officials, quickly located the three students who were reportedly involved in making the threat. At the time of the incident and during follow up investigation no weapons were found.
Going forward, I wanted to make you aware that should something similar occur in the future and a lockdown is needed, families and staff will receive a very brief text and email stating that fact with more information to follow. This will serve the dual purpose of alerting families/staff quickly that a situation has warranted we execute our established protocols while giving us time to check into the details and verify facts prior to sending a lengthier communication as we did last Thursday. After the initial lockdown message, please be aware that you will also receive a “lockdown lifted” notification as soon as possible after this has taken place.
These situations are not easy for any of us to respond to and grapple with, but please know our first priority is always ensuring the safety of our students and staff. We hope these adjustments to our communications strategy will be helpful should we need to use them.
COVID Update in SBSD
A member of the FHTMS learning community tested positive for COVID19 this week. We identified 34 students as close contacts and contacted those parents/guardians. Close contacts will be quarantined until Friday September 24 and upon receiving a negative Covid test, can return to school. Students will be doing work from home by accessing their learning management system (Schoology). We feel fortunate that so far this year, we have only had to have two classes quarantine. Thanks to all for continuing to wash your hands, watch your distance, and stay home when sick. We will continue to carefully monitor the VT COVID dashboard, the current VT PreK-12 COVID data, and guidance around travel and quarantine.
Surveillance Testing Update
Thank you for your continued support as we kick off the 2021-2022 school year. For the 2021-22 school year, we are adding to our COVID-19 mitigation efforts by enhancing our COVID-19 testing program. This program is free for students and staff and participation in the program is highly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status. Although students who are vaccinated are less likely to spread or contract the virus, unvaccinated individuals are still at risk of exposure, and it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.
South Burlington schools will be conducting biweekly testing on Mondays beginning in mid-October (exact date TBD) by way of a quick, non-invasive nasal swab, collected under the supervision of trained staff. Unlike many COVID-19 tests of the past, these are easy for students 5 years and older to perform themselves under supervision.
Students may only participate in the program with permission from a parent or guardian. To participate in the program, you must sign this consent form on behalf of your student. Staff members fill out the same form and students 18 and over can do the same. To learn more about our COVID-19 testing program, please visit the Agency of Education’s Covid-19 Surveillance Testing Program Overview.
We are currently exploring our staffing options in order to facilitate this program. If you are interested in assisting (these are paid positions!) you will need to attend training prior to joining us. Please email Delina Gilroy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Update from the School Board: Join Us!
The South Burlington School Board is seeking a candidate to fill a five-month vacancy on the School Board. The candidate appointed by the remaining board members would serve until March 1, 2022 when voters will choose someone to fill the remaining two years of the term. Interested citizens, who are legal voters of South Burlington, should submit 1) Board Vacancy Application 2021 and 2) a resume to Delina Gilroy at email@example.com no later than: Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 4:00 pm Candidate interviews may take place at the October 6 board meeting.
Potential applicants with questions about the role may contact any school board member(s) using their contact information found on this page or Zoom with Board Chair Bridget Burkhardt or board member Brian Minier this coming Monday from noon-1 pm and 5-6 pm respectively. Find the participation information here.
The Business Office is Hiring!
Are you (or someone you know) a whizz with numbers, have a keen eye for detail, and are passionate about organization? Do you pop your grocery list into an Excel spreadsheet? If so, we have a part time position available in our Business Office that may be perfect for you! We're looking for someone with formal training in accounting (ideally) since duties will include general ledger entries, financial tracking, state reporting, accounts payable backup, and employee leave balance tracking. Does this sound like you? Apply via SchoolSpring here. If you have any questions, please contact Krista Chadwick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recovery Planning: We want to Hear from You!
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. This fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Education describes the funds and the differences between each type.The ESSER allocation received by each district is determined in part by the number of families living in poverty within the district. We want your feedback on our recovery plan! Check it out and fill out the brief survey on our SBSD Recovery Planning and ESSER Funds website. Survey closes October 1.
SBHS Visual Arts Students Explore the Eye
High School students in Visual Arts teacher Lisa Divoll-Painter's Painting class have been observing photos of eyes and reproducing the images in pencil. According to Visual and Performing Arts CAS and Visual Arts teacher Kim Kimball, “They are striving for a full range of light to dark and paying close attention to reflections. Then they are translating their gray scale images into color scheme paintings. This is a lesson in observation, value drawing and the application of paint and color theory concepts.” Some of these beautiful images will be posted to the District website soon!
FHTMS’ Lego Robotics Team is Back in Action!
The Lego Robotics team will be back this school year! Coached by teachers Scott Carlons and Chris Johnstone, the team currently includes 3 8th graders and they are in the process of recruiting 6th and 7th graders. The application process is competitive and capped at 10 students. Last year, due to COVID, Lego Robotics did not take place, but SB did compete in 2019 and in 2018 at the FIRST Lego League Vermont State Championship held at Norwich University. In 2019 the South Burlington Team won the "Strategy and Innovation Award.”
Transferable skills? This team has them in spades. Clear and effective communication, self direction, creative and practical problem solving, and responsible and involved citizenship are all key on this team. One of the core values of FIRST Lego League is Inclusion and respecting and embracing each other's differences. If your student is interested in joining the team, they must apply by Thursday, October 7th at 3:25 pm. You can find applications hanging on boards throughout the school or you can get one from Mr. Carlson or Mr. Johnstone.
Gertrude Chamberlin School Students HoneTheir Circus Skills with Artist in Residence!
Beginning this week, Troy Wunderle and his Big Top Adventures were welcomed to GCS as their artist in residence and will remain at GCS through Friday, October 1st. This week, students worked with Troy to learn and practice a variety of circus skills such as: juggling, spinning plates, stilts, diablos, pogo sticks, unicycles, and rolling globes during their regular Physical Education classes. On Thursday, September 30th at 6:30pm on the turf field at South Burlington High School, each classroom and grade level will be performing their circus act. GCS will also be accepting donations that evening to help cover the cost of the residency which is also supported by the Chamberlin PTO, the VT Arts Council and the Polly Cain Fund.
Central Students Meet (and race a 50 yard dash!) with Olympic Rugby Player Ilona Mahr
Students who are part of Central’s 4th grade team received a very exciting outdoor visit this week from Olympic Rugby Player, Ilona Mahr! Mahr played for the USA team in Tokyo this past summer. According to Principal Kilbourne, Mahr read students a picture book and then held a Q and A session. She showed them how in rugby you pass backwards, shared that the men and women's rugby have the same rules and expectations, and talked about how much teamwork matters! At the end, the children who wanted to, got to race her in a 50 year dash!
Orchard Fun Run Returns!
Thanks to the Orchard PTO, on Friday, October 8th each Orchard student will experience the excitement of a run, walk or ride on a marked course around Orchard Elementary. Each student will receive race day swag. Families are more than welcome to join and cheer on their student(s)! Make a sign of encouragement or bring their own cow bell – the more noise the better as the students make their way around the course. This is the PTO's sole fundraiser for the year.
Thanks for reading and have a great Friday and weekend,