Latest South Burlington School District Updates
July 14, 2022
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
I hope that you are having a great summer so far! Back in March, these warm sunny days seemed so far away and yet, here we are - mid-July already and so many more days to savor all Vermont has to offer like South Burlington’s parks, the bike path, or SoBuNite Out! I know I for one have been enjoying time in my own garden and time with my family on the lake.
I want to take this opportunity to virtually introduce myself to you. I am incredibly honored to, as of July 1, be serving as your Interim Superintendent. Prior to this role, I have been working with the District as part of the executive team as your Executive Director of Learning and at times, serving as acting Superintendent. In that role, I regularly engaged with local and regional partners like the Agency of Education. In my first weeks on the job I have jumped right in, working to get our ZEMs (Zero Energy Modulars) project started (see more on that below), overseeing a school board meeting, and beginning the hiring process for key positions within the district.
During this time of transition, I know how important consistency is for families, staff, and students alike, and I wanted to let you know, I’m here to ensure this takes place. I have a leg up on this new role as I have been involved in much of the District’s important work, and have had the opportunity to work closely with Superintendent Young and our incredible educators and staff throughout the year to support our students. These partnerships are important to me and crucial to a healthy District. I look forward to continuing to build upon these relationships this year in the capacity of Interim Superintendent and, if given the opportunity, for years to come.
Welcome New Staff Members!
Hiring is in full swing in the District and I am excited to begin welcoming new staff at convocation in August. In the meantime, I wanted to take a moment to recognize key members of our team who began their new roles in July. Executive Director of Equity De-Dee Loftin-Davis, FHTMS Principal Scott Sivo, and Elementary School Assistant Principals Stephanie Sumner and Olivia Kane. We’re also excited to welcome long-time SBHS Assistant Principal Lissa McDonald to RMCS as Interim Principal for the upcoming school year. I’m sure you’ll have a chance to get to know these wonderful staff members more as the school year gets underway, but until that time comes, I thought it would be fun ask them all:
What’s your favorite ice cream spot and/or flavor? I even got in on this one. My favorite spot to grab a cone is Shelburne Sugarworks.
De-Dee: “I recently tried Vermont's Maple softee and it's now my favorite, although I will always remain faithful to chocolate. My husband and I have gone to Cookie Love, Otter Creek and Rocky's in Essex Junction.”
Lissa: “My favorite place to grab a summer treat is at Bailey's Ice Cream in Scarborough, Maine. The best flavor is Triple Chocolate Fudge with Chocolate Truffle ice cream.”
Scott: “I grew up in Rhode Island and was programmed, as a youth, to love coffee ice cream. But, after 8 years in VT, I have been fully converted to the maple creemee, and I rarely end up going with anything different. "The Scoop" in Shelburne is my family's local go-to ice cream shop.”
Stephanie: “My favorite ice cream spot is actually in Manchester - Wilcox’s Ice Cream Stand. We used to live down there and I loved taking our kids for local, VT farm ice cream!” Her favorite flavor? Mocha Mud Pie.
Olivia: I didn’t hear from Olivia by the deadline, but I’m sure we’ll have a chance to find out her favorite ice cream flavor soon. Maybe at the event below?
Interim and Ice Cream August 8!
Come meet me in August! I want to get to know as many of you as I can while enjoying the beautiful weather on our school grounds. On Monday, August 8 from 4-6 pm, drop by 500 Dorset Street (exact location details to come) for conversation and ice cream (dairy free options too!) from Lake Champlain Chocolates. I hope to see you there!
Summer school is well underway. Sally Zimmer, who runs our elementary program, said that students have been busy reinforcing academic concepts such as phonics, spelling, reading, writing and math instruction. Along with guided and independent practice, students have also been engaged in cooperative games and puzzles.
Amy Blauvelt oversees the middle school summer school program which runs July 5th through August 4th, Monday through Thursday. Students focus on basic literacy and math skills as well as social emotional learning with some fun thrown in for good measure. Blauvelt shared that students are enjoying the time with friends and staying in the routine of school. They are currently reading the book Alone by Megan Freeman.The math teacher is also using cooking to work on basic math skills like fractions and multiplication.
Elementary Enrollment Update
As many of you may know, the District has been working hard to determine the best way to address the growing enrollment pressures at two of our elementary schools, Rick Marcotte Central School and Orchard School, both short and long term. In late June, 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. In the short term, the draft proposal recommends ZEMs (zero energy modulars) be installed 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, but we are planning on installing 4 at each school.
The school board unanimously voted to approve the ZEM classrooms for the 2022-2023 school year with the intention of the district moving forward on ordering them and informing the school board with the most cost-efficient option. We are currently exploring our financing options and I will be providing an update to the board at their next regular meeting in August. While initially we thought the ZEMs would be able to be installed in November of 2022, the current manufacturing timeline has pushed this out tentatively to January 2023. In the meantime, the trailers currently on site at both schools will remain. Stay tuned!
Next Board Meeting August 3
The next school board meeting will take place Wednesday, August 3 at 7 pm. This will be a completely virtual meeting, but you can join via Zoom, by telephone, or livestream the meeting on the Media Factory website and on their Facebook page.
Early Voting is Open for the August Primary
The August primary is coming right up on August 9. You can vote early by visiting the Clerk’s office Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 4:30 or by requesting an absentee ballot be mailed to you. You can find out more about early voting options here.
Early voting ends at noon on August 8 and voted ballots may be mailed or brought back to City Hall. There is an after hours drop box outside the front doors of city hall as well as one in the back of city hall near the senior entrance. If you decide to vote in person, please note that there are new voting districts effective July 1, 2022. You can find information on the new district maps here.
City ARPA Survey
The city of South Burlington would like your input! The City has received about $5.6 million in federal economic relief funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. These funds were awarded to: Fight the pandemic and support families and businesses struggling with the impacts, maintain public services, and build a strong, resilient, and equitable recovery.
To date, the city has allocated about $2.6 million of these funds for capital needs in public safety, improving cyber security, investing in affordable housing development, and returning the City’s workforce. With a deadline to allocate the remaining $3 million by the end of 2024 and spend by 2026, the City is seeking your input on how best to use these dollars. Check out their survey here!
Orchard Summer Library Going Strong!
Where might you find children counting random items in an empty aquarium; building structures with straws, Kiva planks, and Clix blocks; playing a game of Giant Sorry or Uno; designing a marble run on a LEGO wall; enjoying time with new and old friends AND checking out an average of over 120 books EACH WEEK? It's Orchard School's Summer Library program!! Every Wednesday morning, between 9 AM and noon, an average of 70 people have been gathering for a fun time in the library. Be sure to take a look at Orchard's Instagram for pictures of the many weekly activities. Big thanks to Orchard librarian Donna Sullivan MacDonald and Cara Johnson for overseeing the program as well as the PTO for their sponsorship!
Thanks for reading this first update and I look for more to come in August!