• November 11, 2021


    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,


    What a week it has been for mid-November! Abundant sunshine, sounds of the last fall leaves crunching and rustling, what a great time to get outside for a quick lunch break or steal a couple moments of appreciation on a walk. I wanted to recognize our student athletes who recently competed in the D-1 State championships: boys soccer and girls field hockey and soccer. The SBHS girls soccer and field hockey teams won the state championship. Congratulations! In addition, SB Tuttle boys soccer was also undefeated this season. It has been great to witness the teamwork and collaboration of our student athletes this fall. 


    I also wanted to thank, on this Veterans Day, all who have and are serving our country. Typically, we hold the Annual City/School Veterans Day Ceremony at SBHS, but given the circumstances, we had to cancel it this year. My hope is that we can see a return of this tradition next year. I did, however, want to mention that there is always the opportunity to visit the Pathway of Honor at Veterans Memorial Park for reflection.


    Food/Goods Drives Underway!


    As the temperatures drop and Thanksgiving recess nears, I am proud to say that our students and school communities have been coming together to support our South Burlington families in need of additional resources. Central and Chamberlin Schools are both in the midst of food drives to support the South Burlington Food Shelf. These will conclude November 19. Orchard School’s annual Thankful Giving initiative will run through November 29. FHTMS will be developing their Giving Tree soon and at the high school, the Key Club is currently holding a food drive. Also, the Coalition for Community Service at SBHS is collecting gift cards in any amount for grocery stores, retail stores, and gas stations. Gift cards can be dropped off in the CDC or the guidance office and will be distributed through counselors and social workers to support SB families. Thank you all!


    Test-to-Stay Update


    This week, the District began the Test-to-Stay program at Orchard School and we will gradually roll it out at our other schools as well. The voluntary 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


    Test to Stay is only for unvaccinated students, who are asymptomatic (do not have symptoms), 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. If you are interested in having your student participate if needed, please fill out BOTH the Consent Form and this registration link for the SimpleReport form (which is how results will be relayed) as soon as possible. Please Note: this self-registration link is not the same as giving consent. In order for your child to participate, you must complete both: the above Consent Form and the SimpleReport form.

    Questions? View this recorded Virtual Town Hall with a group of Vermont medical professionals and representation from the Agency of Education. If you have general questions about Test-to-Stay, please contact your school nurse directly.

    COVID in SBSD: November 4 at 5 pm-November 11 at noon


    SBHS: 0

    FHTMS: 2

    GCS: 3

    RMCS: 3

    Orchard: 8


    We have not been immune to the sustained uptick in COVID case numbers statewide and are doing our best to keep students and staff safe utilizing all of our tried and true methods. The Vermont Department of Health posts current COVID activity daily here along with vaccine rates if you are curious. Please continue to follow these tips on how to protect yourself and others. We have heard that at next week’s press briefing, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine will be unveiling holiday related safety guidance as well. We are encouraging all who are eligible to get vaccinated and get a booster. For parents/guardians of 5-11 year olds, you 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 and pharmacies will continue to be updated on the Vermont Department of Health website and soon, the vaccine will be made available through pediatrician offices.

    American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter Schedules Additional 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 p.m. to 8 p.m. via Zoom on the below dates. Check the AAP website for updates as additional dates are scheduled.

    Budget/Next Board Meeting

    The FY’23 budget development process is underway. The administration will be presenting their FY’23 budget recommendations at the November 17 school board meeting (agenda will be posted on the District website Friday afternoon) and this will be followed by the first community budget forum of the season, November 23 from 6-7:30 pm. More information on the virtual sessions to follow, but in the meantime, we encourage your participation in other ways. We welcome your thoughts and feedback via our school board meetings or through phone and/or email. You are crucial to this process!

    PBiS Equity Coach Dr. Payno-Simmons

    This year, all three of our South Burlington elementary schools are using Ruthie Payno-Simmons as our PBiS Equity Coach. Dr. Payno-Simmons supports educators and policymakers in addressing issues associated with race, culture, power, and privilege as they center educational equity in their systems. Dr. Payno-Simmons’ experiences as a parent, researcher, teacher, teacher educator, principal, and district administrator contribute to her broad depth of knowledge and expertise in multiple areas. These areas include equity-oriented policies, culturally sustaining practices, multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS), positive behavior supports (PBIS), and implementing sustainable educational systems. Her focus is on access, representation, meaningful participation and high outcomes. Dr. Payno-Simmons is working with our PBiS coordinators to support improvements in our PBiS systems.

    School Happenings


    SBHS Drama Presents Little Shop of Horrors!


    SBHS drama is alive and well and it’s time to get excited for their latest production. Little Shop of Horrors will be performed by the SBHS Drama Department (cast and crew of nearly 50!) on November 18, 19, and 20th at 7 pm in the SBHS Auditorium. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Masks are required to attend this event. You can find the  link to order tickets here  This is the first production directed by Julia DiFerdinando. Other key members of the production team include Brit Flynn (Assistant Director), Aimee Bushey (Music Director), and SBHS senior Kailey Palmer (Stage Manager). Hope to see you there! 


    Skateboard Club gets Underway For FHTMS (and SBHS) Students


    This week, the SB Skateboard Club held a free session at Talent Skatepark. The SB Skateboard Club is in its 18th year. This is a collaboration with Talent Skatepark which is now a non-profit organization. The program is one of the only school skateboard programs in VT and is open to all ability levels in the MS and HS. The group meets twice per month from November to May. Students can join at any time. Interested students can contact Matthew Guyette at mguyette@sbschools.net.


    It’s Dinovember at Gertrude Chamberlin School


    Playful dinosaurs have taken over GCS School based Clinician Katie Wessels’ windows!  Dinovember is inspired by the books “What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night” and “What the Dinosaurs Did at School” by Refe and Susan Tuma. In their books their dinosaurs often make huge messes, but at Chamberlin, Wessels’ Dinos seem to be following the three We’s: we are kind, we are responsible, we are safe. Wessel gets a creative helping hand from a couple of her students and added, “I work with such a small group of kids but having a very visible window (with a Dino decal that says “Ms. Katie’s room”) at the heart of the school helps demystify and de-stigmatize mental health services—at least that’s the goal!” See what these dinos have been up to via Principal Rouelle's Twitter. Toasting marshmallows sounds pretty good right now. 


    RMCS Original Artworks


    Students in Kelsey Lewis’ art class have been working hard in the art room to create masterpieces for the Original Works program. Student creations will come home soon along with order forms and catalogs of merchandise available to purchase. This is a program that has  been done for years at RMCS. Lewis works together with volunteers from the PTO, the sponsors of  the fundraiser to make this happen. Beautiful idea.


    Orchard Students Recreate The Barnabus Project Book Cover


    THE BARNABUS PROJECT is the first of ten picture books that are on this year's Red Clover Award list. All kindergarten through third grade classes heard the book last week and recreated the cover. This week, librarian Donna Sullivan-MacDonald is reading their second Red Clover book with them, HOW TO SOLVE A PROBLEM: THE RISE (AND FALLS) OF A ROCK-CLIMBING CHAMPION by teenage rock-climbing world champion Ashima Shiraishi. After viewing a couple of short videos showing Ashima's skills, students began a two-week project in the library makerspace for creating their own climbers. Stay tuned for Instagram posts next week to see how they're incorporating Abenaki words in the project!


    November is Native American Heritage Month 


    November is Native American Heritage month and our schools are honoring this month in a variety of ways. Over at the SBHS library, there is a display of books by Native American and First Nations authors. One of those authors is Joseph Bruchac who has published over 120 books for young people and is a Nulhegan Abenaki citizen. He will be joined by his son Jesse Bowman Bruchac in a virtual  program entitled We are the Land  November 17th. This will be followed by a program sharing the Abenaki Land Link Project on the 18th. Both events are free, but registration is required.


    Thank you families, students, and staff  for your continued and sustained efforts during these times. I know the ongoing challenges surrounding the pandemic are still with us, but I remain hopeful that we can emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.