October 28, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the annual conference conducted by the Rowland Foundation. It was so nice to gather with inspirational professionals from around the state who are committed to doing the important work of caring for our students in a thoughtful and equitable way. The keynote speaker was Dr. Carla Shalaby and her theme was Teaching Love and Learning Freedom: Practicing Community in the Classroom. The conference was developed knowing that schools and districts throughout Vermont have been working to implement their Educational Recovery Plans, therefore, they offered workshops on racial equity, restorative practice, and school redesign. I listened, connected, and was so proud when I had the opportunity to hear from SBHS students and staff presenting during the day. Check out the Rowland Foundation on Twitter for photos!
This Tuesday, November 2 will be an inservice day for District staff (no school for students) where I’m looking forward to announcing a variety of annual awards including the Dominick Marabella Support Staff Award and the Ted Manazir School Board Award. The inservice will be facilitated by Pacific Education Group Facilitators: Kehaulani Haupu, Courtney Cauldwell and Janae Townsend. See further updates below.
Test to Stay and Virtual Town Hall Tonight!
Our district is planning to participate in the voluntary antigen Test to Stay (TTS) program. The TTS program is activated when an unvaccinated student or student(s) are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19. The intention of the TTS program is to allow students that would otherwise be required to quarantine to remain in school. A detailed description of this program can be found on the Agency of Education Test to Stay website. More details on what testing day will look like, parental consent, and registration will be coming in a separate correspondence soon.
Test to Stay is only for unvaccinated students, who are asymptomatic and who are close contacts of a positive case that they encountered at school. It replaces the need to quarantine and miss school days, but students are still expected to quarantine when at home, including on the weekends.
Questions? Check out this CVSD sponsored Virtual Town Hall with medical professionals to talk about Test-to-Stay. It is open for all across Chittenden County and is happening tonight, Thursday, October 28 at 7:00 pm. Vermont health professionals and representation from the Agency of Education will explain the process, the science, and answer parent/guardian questions about the test-to-stay program. This will be recorded for later viewing. You can submit questions in advance using this link.
COVID in SBSD
While we have been doing very well at mitigating COVID-19 however we can, this week, we had one positive case of COVID-19 come up at the high school on Tuesday and contact tracing is now complete. Today, at FHTMS we were notified of one positive case. We are currently developing the close contact tracing list, checking for vaccinations, and are in the process of contacting parents/guardians.
Thank You For Attending my Q and A!
After a brief technological issue, I was thankful to have such great attendance at my last Q and A session this past Monday. As usual, the attendance and questions were fantastic and I am incredibly grateful to our community and our special guests who generously volunteered their time to be on the call. If you missed it, Donna Lemay, LICSW Howard Center School Services Clinician for Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School and Alice Scannell, LICSW, Howard Center School Services Clinical Supervisor gave a presentation on the importance of caring for mental health. They shared a few ideas on how to think about family well-being in these times, with specific considerations to the mental health of students and ways caregivers can strengthen awareness of and communication around any concerns.
Thanks also to our local medical professionals Dr. Breena Holmes, Dr. Ben Lee, and Dr. Becca Bell who fielded questions related to COVID; mostly regarding vaccines for children aged 5-11, as well as changes to contact tracing guidance and test to stay. This week, the FDA heard Pfizer’s request to roll out vaccines for the 5-11 year old age group. A panel of the Food and Drug Administration's outside vaccine advisers voted by a majority to back Pfizer's request. Next, the CDC must weigh in before the vaccines can be rolled out officially. The state is ready to pop up vaccine clinics, including at schools as soon as this becomes authorized.
Enrollment and Budget
Rising enrollment at Rick Marcotte Central School and Orchard School has become a concern. I discussed this at the last school board meeting, at my Q and A Monday night, and at the steering committee meeting with the city council last night so I can be sure we are keeping the lines of communication open. I am currently mapping out a menu of potential solutions with their respective pros and cons to present to the board at their next meeting. I will be looking for representation on a committee to include a school board member, a parent from each elementary school, teachers, and community members. If you would be interested in volunteering your time, please contact Delina Gilroy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FY’23 budget timeline was presented by Business Manager Krista Chadwick at last week’s school board meeting. This is, of course, subject to change, but provides a solid framework for our process. At the November 3 school board meeting (agenda will be posted on the District website tomorrow afternoon), the board will review Executive Limitations Policy Monitoring Report 2.5, financial planning and budgeting. The administration will then receive general guidance from the board on the FY23 budget. The administration will present their FY’23 budget recommendations at the November 17 meeting and this will be followed by the first community budget forum of the season, November 21 from 6-7:30 pm. More information on the virtual session to follow, but in the meantime, we encourage your participation in other ways. Please send us your thoughts and feedback via our school board meetings, through phone, or email. You are crucial to this process!
SBHS Art for Healing Club
The Art for Healing Club has been developed and launched during SBHS’ Activity Block by Senior Sage Bennett. The mission is to provide a sense of comfort, inspiration and healing for patients in hospitals and their loved ones. Bennett noted, “It’s to fill the blank, empty walls of their rooms with a bit of life and color. At the moment, this club is made up of 10 or so students. Along with my club, the school's current art class is making an additional 20 pieces thanks to the support of our teacher, Mrs. Kimberly Kimball. The paintings in the class have a nature theme (florals and animals) while the club is specifically landscape.” Keep your eyes open for works in progress and final pieces on the website!
FHTMS Create-a-Skate is Back!
Create-A-Skate is back at Tuttle for its 7th year! And it's their biggest group yet. 24 Students in 6th-8th grades started creating and designing artwork on their very own skateboards this week. Led by art teacher Alison Treston, students look at artists who design and illustrate skateboards as a profession. They also discuss the science that goes behind geographical location and harvesting the right type of wood to make a quality board. Students get to use a variety of art supplies to decorate and illustrate their boards including spray paint, paint pens, acrylic paint, wood stain, and marker. For more info, you can check out Create-A-Skate's website. Do you have any supplies kicking around you’d like to donate to this endeavor? Think: acrylic paints, spray paint, wood stain, sandpaper, and general art supplies? They are always welcome and you can drop them off at the FHTMS vestibule.
Gertrude Chamberlin School Garden Gets an Official Sign!
For over six weeks, two of Mrs. Goodrich's art groups have been working to create a colorful and vibrant sign for the Gertrude Chamberlin Garden. Last week, they worked with Ryan Roberge, GCS’ parent volunteer for the garden, to install the sign. Students had the opportunity to use a power drill to attach the sign to the posts and helped fill and tamp the dirt around the posts. Lastly, like true artists, they signed their names on the back. Next time you walk by the garden, keep an eye out for the newest creative addition to the GCS garden! You can also check out pics on Principal Rouelle’s Twitter.
Rick Marcotte Central 2nd graders Thank School Bus Drivers
National School Bus Safety Week takes place each year during the third week of October. Did you know that school buses are considered to be the safest motor vehicles on the road? Second graders colored pictures and cards to surprise bus drivers and thank them for keeping students safe. RMCS’ second grade said, “We are grateful for our dedicated, caring bus drivers (Jim, Ray, Paul, Deb, Mark, Richard, and Bryce)!” This is a great reminder for everyone to follow school bus safety guidelines (including mask wearing) to keep all students safe.
Orchard School Students Stand Up to Bullying
Recently, students in Mr. Schmidt’s class wore orange shirts and hats as part of Unity Day 2021 which occurred October 20. The idea is to wear orange to show unity for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion and to send a visible message that no child should ever experience bullying. Way to go!
These are busy times for us all, but I hope you are able to take some time during the final weekend of October to enjoy some late fall adventures.
Thanks and have a great Friday and weekend,