• November 4, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    We have had another great week of teaching and learning in our District. This past Tuesday, there was no school for students as our staff gathered, mostly virtually, for inservice. I welcomed everyone by playing the song “Lean on Me,” which I thought perfectly captured what we all (families, students, and staff!) have learned to do even more over the course of this pandemic. I am so thankful for the ways we have found to connect thoughtfully and creatively. Even with more events and even quick conversations taking place in person, I want to acknowledge that we are collectively still going through so much. Let’s keep leaning on each other as a school and South Burlington community. We've come this far by doing just that. 

    On the morning of November 2, prior to the fantastic training provided by Pacific Education Group and individual building sessions, we had the pleasure of recognizing staff by presenting a few annual awards. See below:

    Outstanding Teacher of the Year Recognitions:

    Elementary: RMCS Principal Kathleen Kilbourne presented the award to Instructional Coach Paula Jensvold

    Secondary: SBHS Principal Patrick Burke presented the award to nurse Caryl Davidson

    Ted Manazir School Board Award: 

    South Burlington School Board Chair Bridget Burkhardt presented this award to all of our school nurses! Caryl Davidson-RN, Erin Phelan-RN, Jillian Fitzgerald-LPN, Michelle Cannon-RN, Kara Cassani-RN, Darcy Mazlish-RN, Kerry Farrell-RN, and long term subs last year Karen Hudson-RN, Sarah Pineda-RN, and Deb Pullin-RN. 

    Note: Although not mentioned in the award, I wanted to be sure to also thank Kevin Adams AEMT who has also been of great assistance and Amanda Brown-RN who is now the SBHS nurse since Caryl Davidson retired.

    Dominick Marabella Support Staff Award: 

    RMCS Principal Kathleen Kilbourne presented this award to Administrative Assistant Sue Dattilio.

    Congratulations to all and shout out to Executive Director of Learning Violet Nichols for organizing a great inservice! I’m hopeful we’ll be able to participate in person next year!

    Looking for something to do this weekend? This Saturday is "Championship Saturday" for SBHS Wolves! Check out:

    - Boys soccer state championship game is Saturday at 10:00 AM @ Burlington High School vs Essex High School

    - Girls soccer state championship game is Saturday at 1:00 PM @ Burlington High School vs CVU

    - Field hockey state championship game is Saturday at 3:00 PM @ UVM vs Bellows Falls

    Tickets are $10.00 (adult) and $5.00 (student/senior). You can purchase tickets online Championship Tickets

    COVID19 Vaccinations for Children Aged 5-11!

    At his press conference Tuesday, Governor Scott announced that at 8 a.m. the morning after the CDC authorized the use of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine in children aged 5-11, vaccine appointments would be made available for that group. That happened Wednesday morning! Parents/guardians can learn more about registering for vaccine appointments here

    Any families without internet access or who would like assistance to make their appointment should contact the Health Department call center at (855) 722-7878, Mon - Fri 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Sat and Sun 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

    - To speak with someone in a language other than English, dial the call center, and then press 1.

    - People who are Deaf or hard of hearing can make a TTY call to this number by dialing 711 or 1-800-253-0195.

    Appointments at school-based clinics(including one at Gertude Chamberlin School) and pharmacies will continue to be posted on the Vermont Department of Health website and later, at a time to be determined, the vaccine will be made available through pediatrician offices. Please note that the November 23 clinic at GCS is currently full.

    American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter Town Halls on COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

    The AAP Vermont Chapter is inviting Vermont families to join them for a conversation about COVID-19 vaccines for children from 7:00- 8:00 p.m. via Zoom beginning November 8. Check the AAP website for updates (and Zoom links!) as additional dates are scheduled.

    COVID in SBSD

    This week (as of 4 pm November 4) we have identified three positive cases at Orchard School and two at Gertrude Chamberlin School. Contact tracing has been completed at Chamberlin School and is underway at Orchard. Thanks for your continued vigilance in following COVID safety protocols!

    Test-To-Stay Update

    Thank you all for your patience as we work out the logistics of getting the test-to-stay program up and running in our District. Families should have received a letter from me yesterday outlining some of the details on how to sign up your student(s) for this voluntary testing. If you have questions about test-to-stay, check out this October 28 recording of a virtual town hall with local medical professionals

    SBHS Indoor Sports Guidance: FHTMS Specific Guidance to Follow

    We are excited that registration is now open for winter sports at the sbwolves website through November 29! Last week, the Agency of Education released their indoor winter sports guidance. While every district has the opportunity to adjust the recommendations to their own specific circumstances, the 16 school districts covering Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties who are members of the Champlain Valley Superintendents Association (CVSA), have announced common agreements across the region for sports and extracurricular events during the winter season.  

    The CVSA strongly recommends that all eligible student-athletes get vaccinated. Vaccination is a proven mitigation strategy and will ultimately ensure athletes can stay in school and compete safely throughout the season. If an athlete is vaccinated, they will not be required to quarantine should an exposure occur. 

    While participation in the upcoming Test to Stay program will allow unvaccinated athletes to continue to participate in team-based practices during their quarantine, it will not enable involvement in interscholastic competition (i.e., games, meets or competitions).

    In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the following are requirements and updates for sports as well as extracurricular events in each of the CVSA districts:

    Masks

    Masks are required by all student-athletes, coaching staffs, referees, and spectators during indoor practices, competitions, and games, regardless of individual vaccination status. Exceptions to this are limited, but will include:

    - Athletes participating in indoor track events – both practice sessions and meets/competitions – so long as physical distancing is maintained between individuals using staggered starts or other means.  When not physically participating in running events,  masks will be worn. 

    - Athletes participating in wrestling, gymnastics, cheer and dance skills, and events that require inversion (i.e., wrestling, tumbling, vaulting, bars, etc.).  When not participating physically in the activity, masks will be worn. 

    Spectators

    - Spectators will be allowed this season. There is no limit on capacity as long as compliance with protocols are followed. If protocols are not followed, future games may need to have limited spectators or no spectators at all. 

    - Masks remain on at all times, unless eating in the designated eating area

    - There will be signs to identify sections for seating - spectators need to take note as to what section they are in for purposes of contact tracing if the need arises.  

    - Be respectful and leave space between your family and others

    Locker Rooms

    Locker rooms may be used by both visiting and home teams this winter season.

    If you have specific questions, please contact your school’s principal,  the SB Athletic Director Mike Jabour, or myself.

    Enrollment and Budget

    At Wednesday night’s school board meeting, I discussed my current thinking and considerations around how best to navigate the rising enrollment at Rick Marcotte Central School and Orchard School. The District will be putting together a committee to evaluate options. Thanks to the response we received from our call for participation last week, we now have great representation. Those who contacted us can expect to receive additional information about our first meeting, scheduled for November 16 from 6-7 pm, soon. 

    At the November 3 school board meeting I received general guidance from the board on the FY’23 budget. Given the impacts to many residents of the city wide reappraisal and the continuing pandemic, the board expressed a desire to keep any increase to a minimum. The administration will present their FY’23 budget recommendations at the November 17 meeting. We encourage your participation in this process through our meetings, either in-person or remote via Zoom, by email, phone, and our upcoming virtual community forums (links forthcoming!). 

    Upcoming Blood Drive in Memory of Kathy Buley

    The South Burlington School District continues to remember and celebrate the life of Kathy Buley. The Chamberlin School community began the tradition of holding an annual blood drive in her honor two years ago. Ms. Buley was very passionate and supportive of the American Red Cross organization after her emergency medical assistance in 2019. Ms. Buley lost her battle to pancreatic cancer but the Red Cross blood donations she received during her care were instrumental in extending and improving the quality of time she had left. Please join us and help others in her memory. The blood drive will take place Saturday, November 13 from 9:00-3:00 at the Chamberlin School gym. Click here to make an appointment

    Thank You South Burlington Rotary!

    A very special thank you to the South Burlington Rotary Club for their annual donation of a dictionary for every SB third grader. This particular dictionary also includes the alphabet in Sign Language too! 

    School Happenings

    SBHS Green Team Members Speak at City Planning Commission Meeting on Climate Crisis

    It was apt timing, that right before the start of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, three SBHS seniors, Sylvia Burkman, Brianna Jarvis, and Sarah Bartlett who are all part of the SBHS Green Team, spoke before the city’s Planning Commission to advocate for the protection of open natural areas as a way for South Burlington to fight climate change and protect biodiversity. Their words made an impact as a member of the Planning Commission reiterated their calls for action to the City Council Monday night. Well done! 

    FHTMS Staff Bring the Heat in First Ever Chili Cook Off!

    Staff participating in inservice at FHTMS Tuesday, were treated to a delicious lunch thanks to their culinary minded coworkers. At noon, the first FHTMS chili cook off took place! FHTMS had 12 chilis entered. Those who did not bring chili brought cornbread, salad, tortilla chips and other condiments. Administrative Assistant Margaret Pasqual arranged for three guest judges, Graeme Saphier, Spanish teacher at the high school, Sarah Beers, retired teacher from the middle school, and Ben Shungu, UVM basketball player and former Tuttle student. The winner was a bison chili made by Bonnie Sullivan. Second place went to Amy Blauvelt and third to Kathy deNatale. The first prize was a $20 Hannaford gift card and there were smaller prizes for the runners up. Art teacher Alison Treston even made pins for the winners to wear! Maybe this will become an annual tradition?

    Gertrude Chamberlin School Wolf Den Time: Focus on Emotion Management

    Last week, in Chamberlin’s Wolf Den time, which happens on Wednesdays, the focus was on emotion management and empathy. Grades 1, 2 and 3 will have lessons on emotion management in October and November, and Grades K, 4 and 5 will have similar lessons in December and January. In their schoolwide and class morning announcements, students will be prompted to notice their own feelings by paying attention to clues in their bodies and they will be reminded to use their Second Step skills to calm down. These skills help students calm down strong emotions when faced with learning and social challenges, which helps them succeed academically and get along well with others.

    Rick Marcotte Central School Harvest Festival

    Late last week, 5th grade teacher Lizzy Appleby reported that students participated in a sure sign of the season: harvest fest!  All fifth graders picked a category, brought in a pumpkin or gourd and were given material to decorate their pumpkin. There were some very creative pumpkins this year! The categories included: most like an animal, Disney character, most Mathematical, most like a fifth grade teacher (I need to see pics of this one!), sportiest, and most elegant.

    Orchard School 5th Graders Travel to Audubon Vermont

    From building fires to making shelters, students in Monica Petzold’s 5th grade class went on a fun and educational adventure to Audubon Vermont in Huntington this week. According to Petzold, they expanded their unit on the hydrosphere by learning about creatures in the water and information about watersheds. They also practiced some survival skills as a way to pre-teach some information that will be covered in their Westward Expansion unit! Keep your eyes open for photos!

    Thanks for reading and remember that clocks “fall back” an hour this Sunday at 2 am.

    David