• June 2, 2022

    Dear Parents/Guardian and Staff,

    I can never decide if this is my favorite time of the school year or the fall; both include endings and beginnings and are filled with so many moments to recognize students and staff for their hard work. This week, I had the chance to experience the joy of our students on stage at the  middle school choral concert. As I sat there, watching the excitement in our students’ faces, I felt so proud to be a part of our District. Especially after everything we have endured during these pandemic times, to see and hear this event in person filled me with gratitude. I plan on continuing to try to make it to even more celebrations in our schools as we enter our final week of the 2021-2022 school year.

    I wanted to give a shout out to the SBHS Scholars Bowl A-Team (Captain Matthew Vigneau, Sriram Sethuraman, Zach Klugo and Finn Zuccareno) that represented Vermont in the NAQT National Tournament in Atlanta on Memorial Day weekend. The team was 5-5 and finished 133rd out of a field of 288. Our students competed against the best teams in the country and their goal was to finish in the top half, which they did! Senior captain Matthew Vigneau finished in the top 50 among all individual scorers in a field of 1278 students, quite an achievement!

    Thanks also to our families for your patience as we navigated the bus driver shortage this week and for being so flexible with the delays and where possible, dropping off and picking up your student (s) from school. We’re almost at the finish line here, but in the meantime we could use some drivers! See more details on how to apply below. I’ll be sure to keep you posted this week if continued delays are anticipated. 

    Dates of Note:

    June 2, SBHS Academic Awards Night, 7-9pm, SBHS Auditorium

    June 3, Orchard School Grades 4/ 5 Concert 

    June 3 and 4, SBHS Senior car painting/decorating by volunteers!

    June 3, 6 and 7, RMCS Field Days

    June 6, SBHS Chorus, 7 pm at SBHS, but this will also be livestreamed!

    June 7, GCS Field Day

    June 8, FHTMS All Team Activity Day Field trips

    June 8, SBHS Jazz Band plays on Church St. as part of the Discover Jazz Fest, 2-3 pm

    June 9, GCS 5th grade celebration and 5th grade fun day

    June 10, SBHS Graduation at UVM’s Patrick Gym, 10 am

    June 10, Last day of school

    COVID Update

    Thanks to all of you for your continued efforts as we work to make it through the final week of the school year in person! Filling out the RUVNA app has been very helpful and I wanted to let you know that the final day this will be active for students and staff this year is June 10. Please continue exercising universal precautions so that our end of year celebrations can continue as planned.   

    We encourage all who are eligible to get the COVID19 vaccine and booster. On May 19, the CDC recommended a booster shot for 5- to 11- year olds who have completed their primary vaccine series at least five months ago. You can get a booster shot through your child’s health care provider, pharmacy, or one of the walk-in clinics listed at the Department of Health website. If you have questions, please reach out to your provider. Read more about the CDC's recommendation here.

    Need an antigen, PCR, or LAMP test? Antigen tests continue to be available upon request at all of our schools. PCR, antigen, and LAMP tests are available from the Health Department at a number of state run testing sites until the end of June. If you have symptoms within 90 days of being infected with COVID, you can still test with antigen tests (not LAMP or PCR). Please check the District’s COVID dashboard for regular updates as well as the state’s weekly COVID surveillance report. You can find the June 1 COVID surveillance report here. 

    Superintendent Search Update 

    At the June 1 school board meeting, board member Dr. Michelle Boyer announced that the search committee held their second meeting Wednesday and of the seven applicants for the interim superintendent position, it was determined that four candidates will advance to be interviewed by the search committee. The committee will then select two to advance to interviews with the administration, faculty, and the community (via forums). Subcommittees were identified to facilitate each of these interview processes. Currently, the committee is targeting June 7 for the search committee interviews and June 8 for the administration and faculty interviews.

    Community forums are also being planned in the very near future. Keep your eye on our District website and Front Porch Forum for details. Dr. Boyer noted that the committee was thoughtful and engaged in their candidate evaluations. Boyer wrote, “Each took great care to consider all application materials supplied by the candidates, weigh them against community needs, the special circumstances of choosing an interim superintendent, and our long-term vision as a community. Their focus and dedication to this very important effort is commendable.”

    Nutrition Services Update: Summer P-EBT Information for Vermont Households

    The State of Vermont will be issuing Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) cards to help with students’ food costs over the summer months. P-EBT benefits are funds provided on an electronic benefit transfer card that a household may use to purchase food items at grocery stores, convenience stores, online retailers and farmers markets where 3SquaresVT (SNAP) benefits are accepted. For households receiving 3SquaresVT, P-EBT benefits will be added to existing EBT cards. Households who have already received a P-EBT card this school year or last year will have the Summer P-EBT benefit added to their existing card. You can find more details about this on the Nutrition Services page of our District website.

    Enrollment Committee Update: Presentation to the School Board

    At last night’s South Burlington School Board Meeting, two members of our enrollment committee, Bettina Miguez and Ethan Bellavance presented the committee’s draft recommendations to address the urgent enrollment capacity issues at RMCS and Orchard Schools. The document outlined the committee’s hard work over 15 meetings (!), as well as their rationale and reasoning behind their short, medium, and long term recommendations. In the short term, the draft proposal recommends ZEMs (zero energy modulars) be installed in the fall of 2022 at Rick Marcotte and Orchard Schools without compromising other affected areas. The number of ZEMs will be determined based on the allowable land and other space needs within each building. I will be looking for board action on this item at their June 15 meeting as these would need to be ordered as soon as possible in order to arrive by November 2022. I also plan on holding one of my Zoom Q and As specifically on this item soon. 

    We’re Hiring!

    The SBSD is hiring for a number of positions both short and long term and we’d love to have you join us! At the moment, we urgently need subs and bus drivers!

    Bus Drivers: Must have CDL with School Bus endorsement. Starting wage: $21.87/hr. 

    Substitute Positions: Daily substitute positions in all departments and locations. HS Graduate, previous experience with school-age children preferred

    Interventionist/Paraeducator: Provides K-12 instructional and personal support to students. Associates degree or 60 college credits preferred.

    K-5 Lunchroom/Recess Monitors: Supervise and assist elementary students during lunch and/or recess. Helps maintain a safe and respectful environment. HS graduate or equivalent.

    For more details on open positions, visit www.schoolspring.com Keyword: South Burlington School District, or contact Elissa Galvez, HR Coordinator, at 652-7247 or egalvez@sbschools.net

    School Happenings

    SBHS Japanese Student Inducted into Japanese National Honor Society

    On May 16th, SBHS Senior Kailey Palmer celebrated her induction into the Japanese National Honor Society Pre-College Chapter (JNHS). This organization “recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence in Japanese study by working with teachers and administrators to develop and maintain high standards of Japanese language education and promoting cultural activities.” (quote from the American Association of Teachers of Japanese).

    Palmer began taking Japanese at SBHS and continued her study all the way to Japanese 4. “In spite of the challenges of language learning in the pandemic era, Kailey’s determination to learn Japanese flourished as strong as ever,” stated Ms. Sinyoung Ra Evans, SBHS Japanese Language Instructor. “Starting from learning hiragana (one of the Japanese alphabets) to the level of real-life communication in Japanese or even creatively writing scripts for Japanese video projects, learning a non-western language for a native speaker of English takes patience and perseverance.”

    Since 2017, SBHS has inducted a total of 17 students into JNHS. Ms. Evans commented, “I hope our SBHS Japanese program legacy will continue to grow and keep on helping our students to become global citizens in the 21st century.” Well done!

    SBHS Science Teacher Phil Surks Receives in Person recognition for Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST)! 

    In 2020, teacher Phil Surks received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and at the time, a Zoom ceremony was held to honor the awardees. Finally, on May 24-26, Surks had the opportunity to be recognized in person along with 3 other Vermont science and math teachers who were invited to and attended a recognition event in Washington DC for 2019 and 2020 recipients of the award.

    Surks learned about the award at a local conference and then received a nomination which was the invitation to apply. The application was arduous and included several writing prompts as well as a video of a lesson and letters of recommendation.  Surks said. You can read more on Phil Surk’s profile page on the PAEMST portal. Congrats! 

    FHTMS 8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony Coming Soon!

    Our 8th graders will soon be making the transition from middle to high school and to mark this milestone, they’ll participate in a moving up ceremony June 9 from 2-3PM in the SBHS gymnasium. Cookies and lemonade will be provided  in the lobby of Tuttle for parents and 8th graders immediately following the Move UP Ceremony. Then, afterward, the celebration continues with a free 8th grade social from 3:30-5:30! Congratulations and welcome to high school!

    RMCS  2nd Graders Take Field Trip to Common Roots

    Second graders visited Common Roots Farmstand last week to continue their hands-on learning about pollination and plants. Common Roots Land Educator, JoAnne Dennee, and her staff members Lauren and Morgan, led station work related to pollinator gardening, bee caretaking, and honey and herb healers. Students left the field trip in awe of honeybees and with a commitment to protect pollinators!

    Gertrude Chamberlin Students get a Visit from Lt. Governor Molly Gray!

    On Tuesday May 31, Lt. Governor Molly Gray had a visit with GCS students! Gray visited classrooms and read to students. Lt. Governor Gray wanted to spotlight the great work going on in schools, especially given the enormous stress of this school year. She has been visiting many Vermont schools this spring to reinforce the great efforts going on in Vermont schools.

    Orchard School’s DEI Initiative Reading to Raise Anti-racist Program Closes out Another Successful Year

    Librarian and DEI Committee member Donna Sullivan MacDonald offered that Orchard is excited to be wrapping up their second year of schoolwide monthly read alouds in their Reading to Raise Anti-Racist program. This year, Orchard sought to make their learning more visible as well as translate learning into action. Specific books inspired these four schoolwide projects: donating picture books to newly arrived Afghan families, creating and displaying paper footsteps that explained ideas students want to “stand up” for, designing classroom quilts based on traditions from the Black community in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and filling their lobby with paper doves that symbolize peace, love, and joy. Next year the program will take on a new name that captures the fullness of their learning- “Beginning with Books: Affirming Identities and Raising Voices”. Donna said, “We’re already looking forward to a fantastic group of books for Year Three!”

    Come Check out Orchard’s Free Sale Saturday!

    On Saturday, the Orchard PTO is helping the school clean out the stage and other storage areas. We are dividing the items as (1) to be saved (2) to be given away and (3) to be thrown out. All items for the giveaway will be free (donations appreciated). The gym doors will be open from 11:00-2:00.

    I hope you all have a great Friday and weekend and are getting excited for our final week of school!

    David