March 10, 2022
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
Our first full week back has been a success as we have returned to our school and work rhythms after the winter break. I really enjoyed the spring preview we’ve been experiencing recently and despite the snowstorm coming our way, the clocks going ahead this Sunday morning are a sure sign brighter days are ahead! I have a number of updates below regarding our shift to a mask optional work and school environment, but do take note of all of the upcoming school events including the students vs. staff basketball game tonight at 6:00pm! Admission to the game is $4 for adults and $2 for students and seniors. This admission cost will be part of the donation to the Penguin Plunge. Admission is open to the public and masks are required. And there’s a raffle! See you there!
Dates of Note:
Tonight! March 10, 6 pm at Burleigh Court SBHS Student and Staff Unified Sports Game
March 11, 10-11 am Big Picture Virtual Open House for prospective students
March 12, SB Artmix 2022 at Higher Ground
March 14, masks become optional for all staff and students except on school buses
March 16, 7 pm School Board Meeting
March 17-19 Talent Night at SBHS
Now through March 21, Spring sports registration is open for FHTMS and SBHS
The South Burlington School board held a special meeting last night (vieweable on the Media Factory Facebook page) where they accepted the administration’s recommendation to make masks optional for all students PreK-12 as well as staff effective Monday, March 14. However, they made an amendment to this recommendation to continue to require masks on our school buses through the end of the school year, June 10. This means that while masks will be optional in our schools beginning Monday, they will still be required on our school buses. To prepare for this shift, to a mask optional environment in our schools, our staff have been gradually removing some of the mitigation measures we had put in place such as dividers in the cafeterias and most importantly, stressing respect and kindness for individuals who continue to wear masks for a variety of reasons.
In addition, I held a Zoom Q and A March 7 with local doctors, Becca Bell, Breena Holmes, and Ben Lee to help shed light on where we are in the pandemic and how far we have come. I also wanted to share a couple of resources that could be helpful when having conversations with our younger learners around the option to wear masks. Right here at Rick Marcotte Central School, teachers Ashley Wilson and Meaghan Rice created a script for their 5th grade students in this video to help their school community understand reasons why some people might still choose to wear a mask.
One student from each classroom participated and Ms. Wilson shared that they were excited to be able to create something for the younger members of the community. In the end, they even requested making more! Looking for more? This link provides a slide deck created by the Shelburne Community School that can be shared widely.
COVID Protocol Update
When one of our South Burlington schools learns of a positive case, the school will continue to notify families of students as well as staff who are determined to be a presumptive contact (classmates are considered "presumptive contacts") by sending a letter of notification. We do however expect that this may change next week as we continue to come out of the pandemic and into an endemic. We will keep you posted.
This dashboard will also be updated when the school learns about a positive case, in order for staff, parents, and students to view where the possible exposures were in the district. This dashboard will serve as a tool to assist families and staff in making their own decisions around attendance at school and work as well as whether to mask if they so choose.
RUVNA has been a valuable tool for symptom monitoring and reporting throughout the pandemic. As we shift to the more endemic phase, we will be turning off RUVNA for grades Pre-K-8 effective Monday March 14, but it will remain on for the remainder of the school year for both staff and high school students. It remains important, with or without RUVNA, that staff and students stay home when they feel sick.
Superintendent Search Process
I wanted to let you know that the position of District Superintendent has been posted internally as well as on Schoolspring (externally). The timeline and plan for moving forward will be reviewed by our HR Director in collaboration with our school board chair next week.
The District’s enrollment committee met again this week and worked further on a decision matrix regarding mid and long term solutions to the growing enrollment pressures on Rick Marcotte Central School and Orchard School. They heard a presentation from Dore and Whittier architects on the structural, mechanical, electrical, and hazardous materials evaluation of all three elementary schools and this presentation will also be made at the school board meeting next week on March 16. Our short term solution has now been implemented which involves 4 trailers each at Rick Marcotte and Orchard Schools which are intended for staff use in order to free up spaces in each school for learning. Tomorrow, Orchard’s trailers will be connected to electricity and Rick Marcotte’s will follow next week. The next meeting of this committee will take place March 22.
SBHS Scholar Bowl Takes the Win (Again!)
Coach Jim Shields shared that last weekend at Spaulding High School, the SBHS Scholars Bowl teams competed against 8 other schools, 7 from Vermont and one from New Hampshire and for the second consecutive year, SBHS won the Vermont NAQT Championship. The A-Team (Captain Matthew Vigneau, Sriram Sethuraman, Zach Klugo and Finn Zuccareno) won all 7 of their matches, defeating runner up CVU by a score of 375-225 in the tournament final. This win qualifies them to represent Vermont in the NAQT National Tournament in Atlanta on Memorial Day weekend. Congratulations!
FHTMS Drama: Shrek the Musical Jr. is Coming!
Paraprofessional and play Director Madeleine Olson has been busy over the past month overseeing auditions and pulling together an incredible cast of 40 students for Shrek the Musical Jr. coming to you live May 6 and 7! Dave Bailey is building the set and chorus teacher Talan Bryant is working on the music! Even the Lego Robotics team will be a part of the creation! This is a whole school affair!
Want to support FHTMS Drama? The club is selling water bottles to raise money for Shrek the Musical! You can find the water bottles at trifectacreationsvt.com and then look for "School Fundraisers.” There, you’ll find stainless steel double walled water bottles and tumblers with the wolf and SB logo on them and a (free) option to personalize them. Keep your eyes open for ticket info coming a few weeks before the show!
RMCS Kindergarteners Learn about Hibernation
Spring may be coming, but hibernation is still well underway for many in the animal kingdom as Kindergarteners at RMCS recently learned. Teacher Deb Alberghini on behalf of the Kindergarten team shared that students wore pajamas and brought in their stuffed animals for Hibernation Day. “We had fun learning about some animals that hibernate (or are dormant) in the winter. In the morning we read a sweet story called, Hibernation Station. This book introduced the kindergarteners to different types of hibernating animals. After reading this book, the kindergarteners made their own hibernation station filled with the animals in the story. In the afternoon, the kindergarteners had a chance to make some hibernating animals.”
Gertrude Chamberlin Students Keyboard and Play the Ukulele
GCS music teacher, Lisa Finlayson let me know that her students have been having a great time playing the ukulele and learning keyboarding. During the pandemic, Ms. Finlayson raised money through Donors Choose to purchase a class set of ukuleles and used her budget and PTO money to purchase keyboards for her students.”This year the students are back in the music room and the fourth and fifth grade students are working on an instrumental unit. Students had the choice of playing the uke or the piano and are accessing different curriculums that are provided to them on their Google Music Classroom. All activities are differentiated to meet the needs of beginners and advanced instrumentalists and students can work at their own pace,” Finalyson said. I hope to hear some of their creations soon.
Orchard Students Engage with Starbase Program
Once again, this year, Orchard students have had the opportunity to become involved with the Starbase program. Monica Petzold let me know that this was the second week of Starbase and 5th graders have begun building their rockets. They also had the chance to program some robots to do some really fun things and visited the Boneyard to see retired Air Force planes. Petzold shared that they ended their day by practicing a flight simulator, first with a modern cessna, and then with the Wright brother's original design. Can I join in?
Thanks for reading and here’s to springing ahead,