• Effective January 13, 2022, our weekly SBSD COVID Dashboard will be located in the sidebar to the left, but will not be included in the Thursday newsletter itself.

    SBSD COVID Update

    The cases below are from Thursday, January 6 at 4:30 pm-Thursday January 13 at 4:30 pm. Please note, we are only reporting cases that were infectious while in school.

    SBHS: 29

    FHTMS: 11

    GCS: 4

    RMCS: 39

    Orchard: 17

    January 13, 2022

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    What a week! Between the extreme cold and ever changing guidance around COVID protocols for schools, I understand and can appreciate that the start to 2022 has felt like a bit of a rollercoaster. I wanted to let you know I have been in regular contact with the AOE, my administrative team, and fellow Champlain Valley Superintendents this week and the common thread is that we are all working hard to take in the latest information and decide what is best and safest for our respective students, staff, and districts. I have been focusing on trying to help diminish stress and fears for all. The latest guidance around testing and contact tracing from the AOE (see more on that below) indicates many things we are expected to do and provide, however, to date we do not have the supplies needed to distribute antigen tests widely. More information will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, let's remember to be thoughtful and compassionate with ourselves and one another as we continue to navigate Covid.

    Upcoming Dates of Note:

    January 14 and 15: FHTMS Play Peter and the Starcatcher, SBHS Auditorium at 7 pm.Tickets ($10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors) may be purchased at the door or in advance here. Masks are required for all attendees. Here too is the Livestream for the Saturday show.

    January 17: No School - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

    January 19: Regular School Board Meeting

    January 20: SBHS COVID19 Pfizer Booster Clinic for students

    January 20: Channel 17 FY23 Budget presentation

    January 21: FHTMS COVID19 Pfizer Booster Clinic for students

    COVID19 Pfizer Booster Clinics for Students

    The SBSD, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health, will be holding FREE COVID19 Pfizer booster clinics for eligible students on January 20 during the school day at SBHS and January 21 during the school day at FHTMS. To find out more, check out  SBHS Information here and here for FHTMS specific Information. Pre Registration is required on the VT Dept of Health Event Portal. We are encouraging anyone who is eligible, to please get your booster or if you haven’t already, get vaccinated. You can find a list of vaccine clinics here

    A Note on Masks

    At this week’s press briefing from the Governor, Dr. Mark Levine mentioned the importance of ensuring that one wears a high quality mask (Kn95, etc.) in indoor spaces and when around others. At a minimum, layering a surgical mask over a cloth mask is recommended. We highly encourage staff and students to wear these types of masks to help bolster protection for oneself and others.

    FY23 Administration Proposed Budget Approved by Board

    Last night, our school board held a special meeting dedicated to the proposed FY23 budget. After a presentation by myself and members of my administrative team, the board unanimously approved the administration’s recommended budget

    You can watch the presentation at the Media Factory website and the slides are posted to our SBSD Budget webpage. Our next regular school board meeting is Wednesday, January 19 with our annual budget presentation at Channel 17 occurring January 20 at 5:30 pm. The city will hold their forum January 25 at 5:30 pm. Forums air live on Comcast channel 1087, online at www.ch17.tv, and will be live-streamed on Town Meeting TV's YouTube Channel. The public is invited to participate virtually and viewers are encouraged to call 802-862-3966 to ask their municipal officials, District staff, and board members questions.

    Run for the School Board: Petition Deadline Approaching

    We are going to have three openings on our school board in March and we’d love YOU to join us! We held a Zoom Q and A recently with current and former board members as well as City Clerk Donna Kinville to give people a feel for what it’s like to be a board member. Ready to run? Petitions for local office are due by 5:00 pm January 24. A petition requires at least 30 valid signatures of registered voters of South Burlington. We strongly encourage anyone who is considering running to please contact the City Clerk's office to get the appropriate forms and to get some guidance on filling out petitions and deadlines. You can find the forms here. You can also contact any current board member to learn more!

    Executive Director of Equity Hiring Committee: Deadline to Apply January 18

    Last week, I mentioned our excitement around our continued forward momentum in the hiring process for an Executive Director of Equity for SBSD. The District has engaged the services of Rhiannon Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP, Ed.D. Candidate, as educational consultant to coordinate the search process. This position will be crucial to the District as we continue to work to support all of our learners and the South Burlington District as a whole in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion and as such, we want YOU to be part of this process! 

    The involvement of the school community is important to the success of this selection process. Any staff member, student, family and/or community member who is actively interested in participating in the selection process for the Executive Director of Equity is encouraged to complete the Google Application form by Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

    School Happenings

    SBHS Student Projects Focus on Mental Health 

    Teacher Erin Randall shared that her students in Health class recently created infographics for a summative assignment to measure the skill of advocacy and the content area of mental health. One of these projects, created by student Katie Ford, is directed to parents/caregivers. Other images and guides created included information on exercising for mental health, suicide prevention, coping with anxiety, and how to be an advocate. Well done!

    FHTMS S.O.A.R. Blackout Day January 14

    Co-Advisors of S.O.A.R. (Students Organizing Against Racism) Gary Russell and Cam Basden reported that S.O.A.R. students will be sponsoring January's "Blackout Day" tomorrow heading into MLK Jr. Day. Students and staff are encouraged to support them in their efforts, as a show of community and solidarity and to display support for ending racism and denouncing prejudice.

    Gertrude Chamberlin Staff Strength Training Initiative

    You may recall from one of my previous updates that staff at GCS began an after school walking group this school year. Now that the temperatures have plummeted, they have found another way to offer fitness opportunities to their staff: strength and conditioning in the music room with our very own Al Thompson (Director of School’s Out who happens to be a personal trainer as well!)! GCS received a grant through VEHI to offer this program to staff. It was all set to begin this week, but due to the COLD closure, the start  was delayed until next week. Participants can expect to gain confidence, knowledge, strength, and have fun with coworkers while exercising!

    RMCS Students Learn about Instrument Families and Orchestras

    Music teacher Hilary Sales has been enjoying teaching her K-2 students about instrument families and orchestras. Sales recently read the book, "I Know a Shy Fellow who Swallowed a Cello" to her classes and used it as a jumping off place to begin her unit. In the coming days, students will be learning about the string, brasswind, woodwind and percussion families as well as the role of the conductor in the orchestra. Students will also be learning about world instruments. In a normal year, Sales noted, she would have an instrument “petting zoo” but in lieu of that, she is reaching out to local musicians who can share their passion with students via Zoom. 

    Orchard School to Honor MLK Day at All School Zoom

    An all school Zoom will take place tomorrow at Orchard School to honor MLK day.  There are a few components to the Zoom and one of them will be a brief launch of the Orchard Steps Up Project. This project will break from the monthly Share 0ut format of the Reading to Raise Antiraciststs book series because individuals will be connecting January’s book The Power of Her Pen about a Civil Rights Era journalist, with the following quote by Dr. King : “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Students will have the opportunity to show what they want to take a stand for.The idea is that standing up for a worthy cause, sometimes even in the face of adversity, can help bring about change and many times it starts with one small step. Classes will discuss what it means to stand up for one’s beliefs and each student will create footsteps to show the ways in which they are “taking a stand.”

    The temperatures are supposed to fall drastically again late Friday into Saturday, so please stay safe and warm!

    Thanks for reading,