April 7, 2022
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
If yesterday’s 60 degree temperatures and today’s rain are any indication, I think it may have finally arrived: spring! Sports practices are underway on our fields and last night our girls lacrosse team won their first match of the season! Concerts, plays, and the 40th annual district wide arts festival are just a few of the events I’m looking forward to both before and after our spring break, which is right around the corner April 18-22.
April also brings Autism acceptance month and a number of our schools have been celebrating. On Magnificent Mind Monday, students and staff wore fun hats, for Neurodiversity Tuesday, rainbow or tie-dye items made an appearance. What’s your Passion Wednesday, Autism Acceptance Day (wearing red or gold), and Sensory Friendly Friday (dressing in comfy clothes and sunglasses) rounded out the week. Thank you to all who organized and participated in this spirit week!
Dates of Note:
April 7, 6 and 7 pm, Meet the candidates for the Executive Director of Equity position over Zoom (link below)
April 8 and 9, at 6:30 pm and 4 pm respectively, Orchard School Drama and Very Merry Theatre Present Moana Jr. at Very Merry Theatre, 20 Allen Street, Burlington
April 10, 2-4 pm SBHS Choral Concert at the SBHS Auditorium and via livestream
April 12 and 13 Kindergarten registration at all ES as well as April 14 at RMCS
April 13, District Wide Arts Festival, 5:30 pm at SBHS
April 18-22, Spring Break - No School
Although we have seen a small uptick in COVID in our schools, we continue to do well overall. With the mask optional change, there have also come colds and other viruses among students and staff alike. Please continue to wash your hands and stay home when sick, even if the symptoms are mild. You can access antigen tests upon request here in the district or pick one up for free at a number of state run testing sites. There, you can also get a PCR or LAMP test. We continue to keep our eye on the Ba.2 subvariant through the latest (April 5) data from the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation and the Vermont Department of Health. I wanted to remind everyone that our dashboard will continue to be updated. We have recently added School’s Out to the dashboard as well as a tally on each school’s tab of the total number of cases in each class.Please check the dashboard often to help make personal decisions around testing, masking and attendance at work or school.
FHTMS Principal Search: Welcome Scott Sivo!
After a thoughtful search and interview process conducted by our dedicated search committee and facilitated by retired SBSD administrator Pat Philips, the position of FHTMS principal was offered to Scott Sivo and he has accepted the position. Scott has 13 years of experience as a school leader and has spent 19 years in public schools. Scott will be joining us from Shelburne where, for the past five years he has served as the lead principal at the Shelburne Community School with a focus on the 5-8 grade level. Scott holds a Bachelor's degree in government with a minor in education from Colby College and a Masters in Education from Endicott College. He began his career in education through the Teach for America Program in 2003 where he was a social studies teacher. He continued teaching after that at Hull High School in Massachusetts before transitioning to an assistant principal role. Prior to working in Shelburne, Scott served as the assistant principal at Middlebury Union Middle School. We are excited to welcome Scott to our community on July 1!
Scott shared the following, “Entering schools as a new principal is always a bit strange, because the students are what really makes the place go and what gives you that palpable energy. So, because new principals almost always start on July 1st (during summer break), it can all just feel a bit empty and anticlimactic in those early days. I guess I just really look forward to that first day that I am together with the whole school community. I am interested in doing a lot of listening so that I can better understand the culture and values of the school community and of South Burlington as a whole. Building authentic and trusting relationships, with as many stakeholders as possible, is really where I want to begin. I am really looking forward to this transition and cannot wait to get started.” We can’t wait either!
Elementary School Assistant Principal Search: Zooms Held April 4
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Zoom Q and A’s early this week to hear from our three finalists for the elementary school assistant principal positions, Stephanie Sumner, Chris Shackett, and Olivia Kane. I am currently reviewing the feedback from the surveys and will be making an announcement regarding who has been selected very soon! Thanks also to our wonderful search committee members and facilitator Pat Philips.
Executive Director for Equity Position: Meet the Candidates over Zoom Tonight!
We are very excited to be able to offer a Zoom listening session with two candidates for the Executive Director for Equity position for families, staff, and community members over Zoom! RMCS Principal Kathleen Kilbourne will be facilitating this session and has a set list of questions which will be asked of each candidate. You can learn more about De-Dee Loftin-Davis at 6 pm and Nikki Ellis at 7 pm. Join us via this Zoom Link (Passcode: 201371 Webinar ID: 897 6772 2865). There will be a short Google survey available for staff, families, and community members to fill out afterward and these results will be sent to me. I’ll provide updates once I have had a chance to review the results. Hope to see many of you later!
Superintendent Search Update
During its April 6th board meeting, the school board discussed two approaches for a Superintendent search that were designed to balance the competing needs for urgency and for thoughtful and purposeful action. The first option included hiring for both interim and long-term Superintendents. The second option focused on attempting to conduct the full national search process this school year.
Acknowledging that a complete national search process was likely not possible in the short time remaining this school year, the board elected to pursue an accelerated local search for an interim Superintendent to serve a one-year term, and a complete search for a long-term Superintendent. In the coming weeks, the board will be seeking volunteers from all stakeholder groups to serve on a search committee that will be involved in both the interim and long-term search processes.
You can watch the board’s presentation and discussion on this item at the Media Factory website.
SBSD District Arts Festival: It’s Back!
I am thrilled to announce that the 40th annual South Burlington School District Arts Festival will take place next week, Wednesday, April 13 beginning at 5:30 pm when the art studios will open so families can see the fabulous exhibits. Musical performances begin at 6:30 pm. There will be vocal, instrumental and jazz selections performed in the lobby, auditorium and Jazz room (225). Stay tuned for a performance schedule!
SBHS Career Expo a Success!
Huge shout out to career development coordinator Nikki St. Mary for organizing and executing this year’s career expo along with a small group of dedicated students. She began planning this in November and it all came to fruition last week! St. Mary noted that it was great to be able to offer this in-person networking opportunity for students and our community partners. The expo had 70 community partners presenting in panel discussions with careers ranging from aviation to veterinary science and everything in between totaling 27 different panel discussions! Students selected 3, 30-minute sessions to rotate through and student ambassadors acted as moderators of the sessions. About 400 students participated and those that attended were eligible for some great raffle prizes including a Dell Latitude laptop, a Burton backpack, Wolves-wear, and gift cards for Apple, Starbucks, and Leonardo's Pizza!
FHTMS Students Honored in Manie Musicale Art Competition
Seventh and eighth grade French students from Fiona Connors’ class have been participating in an international music competition called "Manie Musicale." Manie Musicale 2022 includes participation from 3395 schools from all 50 states and sixteen countries. Its goal is to increase student engagement in the French language and Francophone culture through modern French songs from all over the world.
This year Manie Musicale had its first international art competition. Two FHTMS students, Maisie Minier and Aroha Wilde, were recognized in this competition. Maisie Minier won the art competition for the 12 to 14-year-old age demographic. Maisie’s artwork was inspired by the song "Fly" by Aya Nakamura. Aroha received an honorable mention for her artwork inspired by the song “Nos plus belles années” by Grand Corps Malade and Kimberose. If you see these students, make sure to say “félicitations!”
All Elementary Schools Represented at the 29th Annual Kindergarten Conference
Gertude Chamberlin Principal Holly Rouelle shared that, last Friday, the District had wonderful representation at the 29th Annual VT Kindergarten Conference, "It’s Time to Play! Nurturing Each and Every Child’s Curiosity, Learning, and Well-Being." The conference began with a Keynote Panel of three schools telling their stories on how they have incorporated play into kindergarten. Holly spoke about how we are doing districtwide work in our planning and TLC time with our preschool and kindergarten teams - learning how to foster play into our programs with Robin Ploof from Champlain College. GCS kindergarten teacher Tina Brown then shared how our K teams have taken "sparks” from their students to "go all the way with dramatic play" when they created three restaurants, The Friendly Slice, Fun Day Sundae Shop and Bahrenburg's Bakery. Brigid Kulhowvick shared how the RMCS kindergarten team is having an additional STEAM choice time at the end of their day, offering a variety of stations such as marble runs, woodworking, coding with Bee Bots, magnets and dramatic play.
After the keynote, a variety of workshops were offered. Raechel Barone, K teacher at Orchard and Donna Sullivan-Macdonald, librarian at Orchard shared their "Reading to Raise Anti-Racists" program that is in its second year. They are members of the DEI committee that picks the books, discussion topics and activities for all grade levels at Orchard. Our South Burlington educators were so inspiring to other educators across the state! I’m one proud Superintendent!
RMCS Students Learn about Coral Reefs
Kindergarten teacher Lauren Dvorak, shared that her students have been learning about Australia and she recently decided to teach her students about the Great Barrier Reef. They talked about what a coral reef is, where it is in Australia, and the marine life that lives there. Students then picked their favorite fish out of the ones they learned about and began their projects.They also talked specifically about the Butterfly Fish and if there are a lot of them at a coral reef then they know that the reef is healthy because they feed off of the coral. How to be good stewards of the earth with future plans to discuss what people can do to help protect the coral reefs and oceans will be a topic that continues to be touched upon as well.
GCS Students Explore the Earth’s Subsystems
Fifth graders in Ms. Zuchman’s science class recently learned about the interactions between Earth’s four spheres: the geosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere. In their culminating project, they created dioramas and posters to showcase their understanding by modeling one interaction. Once the models were created, they took a “gallery walk” of all the models and analyzed and evaluated their classmates’ work.
Orchard National Poetry month
Since April is National Poetry Month, students in the library will be hearing and reading many different types of poems. This week, first and second graders had some fun with Japanese haiku after hearing Andrew Clements book DOGKU. Older students heard poems from Kristine O'Connell's FOLD ME A POEM and created origami bookmarks. They’re looking forward to celebrating "Poem in Your Pocket Day" on April 29th! Families, be sure to check pockets later this month!
Thanks for reading and have a great Friday and weekend!