• December 2, 2021

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    I hope you were able to take some time to rest and restore over the recent break and are enjoying getting back into school and work routines (for the next three weeks anyway!). As Thanksgiving wrapped up in my household and I began to sort through boxes of holiday lights and decorations, it made me think of how short and often rushed this time of year can feel. It was a reminder to me to slow down and really enjoy this season.

    The City of South Burlington Recreation and Parks Department has the same idea. They are, once again, starting Spark in the Park beginning this Friday, December 3rd through early January. A lights display will shine at Veterans Memorial Park and will be turned on from 4:30-8:30 pm each night. The Department is also holding a holiday lights contest from November 24-December 13. The contest is free to enter and is open to residential homes in South Burlington. SBRP staff will travel around the city and judge all entries based on two categories: Traditional and Merry & Bright. You can learn more and register your home here.

    Of course, I have updates of my own too. See more below.

    COVID19 in SBSD

    Please note, these figures are for the week of November 29 (through Thursday December 2 at 4 pm) since there was no school the week of November 22 and we are only reporting cases that were infectious while in school.

    SBHS: 0

    FHTMS: 2

    GCS: 0

    RMCS: 0

    Orchard: 0

    Like many, we are keeping an eye on the daily statewide COVID cases and will closely watch for further developments with the new omicron variant. If you gathered with others during the recent holiday, I would encourage you to get tested. Getting vaccinated and boosted will also continue to be an important mitigation measure as we make our way through the winter. Now that we have all grown a little weary as this pandemic has continued, it could be helpful to review these tips to protect yourself and others. Are you a caregiver of a 5-11 year old and have questions about the vaccine for that age group? Drop into a Zoom info session with local pediatricians hosted by the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. See dates and zoom links here. Thanks for all you continue to do to keep one another and our students safe!


    The Test to Stay program continues to go well! Thanks to all of the families, students, staff, and volunteers who have helped to continue to make this a success. We have kept many students in school, learning with their teachers and peers as a result of this initiative. During the first two weeks of the program, we tested 259 students total! I won’t do the math here, but one can imagine the hundreds of hours of in-person learning that were recaptured as a result of this testing. We plan to keep this going as long as necessary. 

    FY23 Budget: Upcoming Engagement Opportunities

    Our budget development process has been continuing. At last night’s school board meeting, myself along with Director of Operations and Finance Gary Marckres and Business Manager Krista Chadwick discussed currently known factors impacting the budget and proposed additions. You can watch the presentation tomorrow afternoon on the Media Factory website and it will also be posted on our SBSD Budget webpage soon.

    Thanks to all who attended our first virtual community forum on the FY23 budget November 23! If you missed it, you can check out the video here. Our next Virtual Community Forum will take place December 7: Zoom link (Meeting ID: 878 7769 9289, Password: 771987. Please join us and bring your thoughts, questions, and ideas! Have a question you want addressed at the forum? Email budget@sbschools.net.

    ARP ESSER Funding: We Need your Feedback! 

    On a related note, we need your feedback on proposed uses for our ARP ESSER funding! In response to COVID-19 and its impact on student learning, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was signed into law by the federal government in March of 2021 and provides funds to support the Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund (ESSER). School districts across the State of Vermont have been asked by the Vermont Agency of Education to create Recovery Plans to outline how we will support our students using Federal ESSER funds.

    For the third phase of funding, SBSD will be awarded $3,103,484. Federal guidance requires that all funds must be spent to address the ongoing impact of the pandemic specifically targeting three pillars: Social-Emotional Learning, Student Engagement, and Academic Success. We are seeking community input on how best to meet the needs of SBSD learners in these areas.

    Please take a few minutes to provide us feedback on our proposed uses for these funds at our SBSD ESSER/Recovery website where the survey and further information can be found. 

    Heroes and Helpers Grant Applied for and Received

    The 2021 Heroes and Helpers Grant was applied for and received. On November 30, the South Burlington Police Department and the school district received gift cards from theTarget Foundation totaling $1,200. The gift cards will be used to support purchases for children in need. Check out our website for a pic of SBPD Officers Dennis Ward and Bri Williamson displaying the cards. 

    School Happenings

    SBHS (and FHTMS) Music Concerts are On! 

    Did you miss seeing and hearing musical ensembles last year? Well, you’re in luck! There are many upcoming opportunities to hear from our talented students this month! The South Burlington high school Jazz Ensemble will give its first winter concert in two years, Thursday December 16th, at 7pm in the SBHS Auditorium. Selections include those by Benny Golson, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley and Kenny Burrell, and Paul McCartney. Come hear a great band joined by three alumni saxophonists, Bryan Ford, Phillip Hampson, and Preston Grippo.

    The following concerts are also coming up:

    • SBHS Band Concert, Sunday, December 5 at 2:00 pm
    • FHTMS 7th and 8th Grade Band Concert, Monday, December 6 at 7:00pm
    • SBHS Chorus Concert, Sunday, December 12 at 2:00 pm
    • FHTMS 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Chorus Concert, Tuesday, December 14 at 7:00pm 

    All concerts take place in the SBHS Auditorium and masks are required for all participants and audience members. There is also an event sponsored by the VT Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association on Friday, Dec 10 on the Church Street Marketplace where 14 High School Chamber Choirs will be singing from 6:00pm until 6:30/7:00 pm including SB students! Literally, music to my ears!

    FHTMS Gaming Club 

    Gaming Club advisor Cam Basden, a social studies teacher on the Fusion team, kicked off the first meeting of the year of the gaming club this week. He reported that this year, “gaming club is going to be a safe place for FHTMS kids to come and hang, play some games, and we even have some 6th grade students who are going to work on coding and creating their own video game.”  I look forward to checking out that student developed game! 

    Barnes and Noble Book Fair to Benefit Rick Marcotte Central

    This Saturday, December 4, you can shop for friends, family, or yourself while helping raise funds for Central School! The Barnes and Noble Book Fair will take place from 9am-9pm and RMCS will get a percentage of the sales from that day from anyone who presents a RMCS Bookfair voucher or mentions RMCS book fair at checkout. A win all around! 

    Gertrude Chamberlin Scholastic Book Fair Underway!

    It’s that time of the year, the Scholastic Book Fair began November 29. This week, students visited the library to book shop the in person book fair and create wish lists that they brought home. Students can then bring in money if they would like to purchase in person, or order online. Grades 1-5 are participating in the in person book fair, but anyone can order books and they will be shipped directly to their home! Online shopping goes until December 12th and a portion of the sales benefits the purchase of books for the library as well as some of GCS’ online platforms like Bookflix. You can explore the GCS Scholastic Book Fair at this link.

    Orchard School Participates in Traveling Mural Project

    Orchard students are once again taking part in the global traveling mural project! There are about 150 schools participating and Orchard School is in Group 1. The other 9 members of their team are from Mississippi, Kansas, South Carolina, Illinois, Texas and even China! Orchard’s Art teacher, Susie Ely, created Orchard's mural with multiple classes of students from assorted grades. There are lots of smiling flowers, representing their school motto of "A Wonderful Place to Grow." Pieces of Orchard’s mural started being shipped out this week and the school is looking forward to seeing artwork from other participants arrive at the school. I am too. 

    Thanks for reading and have a great Friday and weekend,