November 18, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
We’re almost there! November family conferences and break! This week has brought with it a great sense of gratitude for you all as we continued our rollout of Test-to-Stay (more on that below). Thanks to incredibly dedicated staff and volunteers, we have been able to keep a number of students in school learning with their teachers and peers! While we hope to not need this strategy long term, for now, in the midst of a continued COVID surge, I am so thankful for it.
On a similar theme, World Kindness Day also took place November 13. Prevention Coordinator at SBHS Gar Smith, who is also the advisor to the Mental Health Club reported that students in the club came up with the idea of a “Wall of Kindness” to honor kindness and create a culture of love. It is in the Big Picture Hallway near the cafeteria and is there for students and faculty to add a quote, picture, or message on a big or little sticky note that inspires them. I’ll need to drop in for a visit and make my own contribution.
Upcoming Dates of Note:
Winter sports registration for SBHS and FHTMS closes November 29
Parent/Family Conferences November 22-23: No School
Thanksgiving Recess November 24-26: No School
Virtual Community Forum on the FY23 Budget November 23 via Zoom 6-7:30 pm (link below)
Test To Stay (TTS)
Test to Stay, a program designed for unvaccinated, asymptomatic students (ages 5 and up) and staff, who are identified as close contacts to an in-school COVID-19 exposure, are eligible to participate in TTS. The program is going very well and we couldn’t do it without our amazing workers and volunteers! Huge thanks to Ryan Burritt, Kara Cassani, Meg Collins, Karen Dantzscher, Bill Davidson, Caryl Davidson, Lawrence Francis, Delina Gilroy, Jeff Jarvis, Gary Marckres, Bart Miceli, Alice Mills, Violet Nichols, Deb Norotsky, Andrew Pearson, Jeremy Rushford, Jessica Russell, Jen Savas, and Sheramy Tsai. I am hearing a lot of great feedback all around. We will continue to have this in place at our central location, 577 Dorset Street, as long as it is needed. You can find registration and consent forms on the main page of our District website.
COVID in SBSD Thursday Nov. 11 @ 5 pm-Thursday November 18 @ 5 pm
For clarity, the following are cases that were deemed infectious while IN school:
Holiday Gathering Guidance
Celebrating Thanksgiving or just gathering with others? Here's how to do it safely:VT data indicates that gatherings are a source for COVID-19 spread. The Delta variant is very contagious, so let's all do our part to keep one-another safe. If you plan to gather, please:
Discuss ahead of time
Consider indoor mask wearing, when not eating, especially when gathering with those who are unvaccinated
Keep your gathering small
Larger groups mean a greater chance of someone having the virus and exposing others
Schedule a PCR test by 11/22/21 and consider rapid (antigen) testing, on Wednesday and Thursday, prior to your gathering
If you have symptoms, even mild ones, STAY HOME
It may be difficult, but it's the right choice
Test 5-7 days after your gathering
Even if fully vaccinated and without symptoms
Considering traveling? Please refer to this guidance regarding travel and quarantine.
The CDC recommends avoiding travel until you are fully vaccinated. If you choose to travel internationally, please be aware that Vermont (and SBSD) follows the CDC's recommendations:
ALL TRAVELERS: get PCR tested 3-5 days after travel.
NOT FULLY VACCINATED TRAVELERS: stay home and quarantine for 7 days after travel, even if the test is negative at day 3-5. If not tested, stay home and quarantine for 10 days.
Also, vacation is a perfect time to get vaccinated! Children ages 5-11 are newly eligible. You can find information and how to register here.
Any families without internet access or who other would like assistance to make their appointment should contact the Health Department call center at (855) 722-7878, Mon - Fri 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sat and Sun 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
To speak with someone in a language other than English, dial the call center, and then press 1.
People who are Deaf or hard of hearing can make a TTY call to this number by dialing 711 or 1-800-253-0195.
Questions? Check out these Zoom Conversations with local pediatricians hosted by the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. See dates and zoom links here.
Executive Director of Equity Update
Our phase 1 work with Curtiss Reed Jr. from the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, which focused on preparing our organization for recruiting, has concluded but we will continue to consult with him as necessary as we've enjoyed a successful partnership with his organization. Next, we will be bringing a consultant on board to facilitate the hiring process inclusive of developing a hiring committee. We will be announcing who this consultant will be in the weeks to come. Our goal is to have an Executive Director for Equity on board in February 2022.
Blood Drive in Memory of Kathy Buley: Thanks to All!
Thank you to everyone who supported the blood drive this past Saturday! What a wonderful event in memory of Kathy. Special thanks to Cindy Tan for working with the Red Cross to organize the blood drive. The Red Cross collected 59 units which will help over 175 patients in need! In case you missed it, here is the WCAX coverage of the drive.
At last night’s school board meeting myself and Director of Operations and Finance Gary Marckres gave an overview of preliminary budget figures and factors as we currently know them. If you missed the meeting, you can watch it via The Media Factory website, typically by Friday evening.
Also, please join us for our first of the season, virtual community forum on the budget! This coming Tuesday, November 23 from 6:00-7:30 pm via Zoom (Meeting ID: 817 2342 3010 Passcode: 843581). There will be a budget overview and plenty of time to share your thoughts, questions, and ideas! We’re all ears!
School Board News
It was announced at the November 17 board meeting that long time board members Bridget Burkhardt and Brian Minier will not be seeking reelection in March. We are so thankful for their service and dedication to the board! Their voices and institutional knowledge will be greatly missed. That means that there will be both a two and three year term open on the board. If you have been considering running, the best way to get an idea of what it’s like to be a board member, is to talk with one! You can contact current board members by phone and email here
You can also watch or attend a board meeting.
In terms of process, candidates’ petitions will be due near the end of January, but it is recommended that individuals wait until closer to that timeframe to begin gathering signatures since people who sign now may have moved in the time span between the time they get the petition and when they are turned in. See more information for candidates here.
SBHS Japanese Club Participates in Onigiri Action
During a recent Friday block activity, the Japanese club participated in the Onigiri Action and posted some of their pictures on their Facebook page showing how they contributed to this worldwide project.
Sinyoung Evans shared this information, “Onigiri Action is an annual social good campaign in autumn connecting the simple act of taking a photo with helping to feed school children in need. During the campaign, through the generosity of partner organizations, every Japanese rice-ball-related post on the global campaign website or social media with #OnigiriAction provides five school meals to children in need around the world.” Japanese program students (in Japanese-2-4) also participated in this project during their class time.
FHTMS QSA Takes Part in Outright Vermont Virtual Conference!
Fifty schools statewide, including FHTMS, participated in a virtual conference yesterday hosted by Outright Vermont. Students who are engaged with the FHTMS QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) along with their advisors Penny Pizer and Scott Carlson, gathered for lunch and spent time connecting. rebuilding, and leveling up for community care with Outright VT and fellow GSA/QSAs around the state. Next month the QSA is going back to the kitchen to create gingerbread houses. Penny noted, “We are excited we have grown to 25 students spanning 6th-8th grade!”
Gertrude Chamberlin All School Celebration...Game Time!
Over at GCS, students have filled their hive and earned an all school celebration! Their PBiS student representatives thought that a game time in each class would be a great way to celebrate! Students enjoyed playing games together with their classmates, some brought games from home, and many played their favorite games from the classroom. Congratulations to GCS students for being KIND, RESPONSIBLE and SAFE!
Rick Marcotte Central School: Maker Cart Celebration
Thanks to the PTO and hard working 3rd Graders, a makers space celebration took place in Mrs. Vincent’s 3rd grade. This is one of the students’ favorite choices so far this year! Thanks to the RMCS PTO for restocking the "Makers Cart" with so many creative supplies for our engineers and innovators!
Orchard School: Reading to Raise Anti Racists Year Two
Orchard school is in the second year of a "Reading to Raise Anti-Racists" project. Each month, every class reads and discusses the same picture book. The November book is Traci Sorell’s WE ARE STILL HERE. Students are learning so much! Mrs. Pecor’s third graders are finding out about Native people who are making a difference in the world today. Check out Orchard School's Instagram for a video message from Traci!
I wanted to let you know I’ll be taking a break from the Thursday newsletter on Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a chance to connect, rest, and restore. Thank you for reading and for your continued support,