• May 5, 2022

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    Maybe I say this every week, or at least it feels that way, but there is so much activity taking place in our District! Since it is now May, concerts, sporting events, and fun runs are well underway. I have our dedicated families, students, and staff to thank for bringing these crucial experiences back for our students after pandemic restrictions largely put them on pause just a year ago! 

    As some of you may know, this week is teacher and staff appreciation week and I wanted to take a moment to recognize these amazing members of our learning community. Over my years working in this district, I have continued to be impressed with the dedication these individuals bring to their professions and to serving our students. They keep our District running at such a perfect pace, even when faced with curve balls like a pandemic. Kudos to the PTOs and individual schools who have been taking time to acknowledge our teachers and staff this week. From notes of appreciation, to special breakfasts and lunches, to an actual candy bar (see GCS Principal Holly Rouelle’s Twitter for photos). I am ever grateful.  

    I did want to remind everyone too, that FHTMS will be presenting Shrek the Musical Jr. tomorrow and Saturday! Grab your tickets at the link below and come out for what’s sure to be a great production! 

    Dates of Note:

    May 6, 10-noon, Big Picture Program Open House in-person

    May 6, SBHS Freshmen Community Service Day

    May 6 & 7, FHTMS Drama Presents Shrek the Musical Jr, Find tickets here

    May 7, Green Up Day in South Burlington and Statewide

    World Language Teacher Lori Dow-Moore Honored with 2022 VFLA Distinguished Teacher Award

    At a ceremony at Castleton University April 8, long time world language teacher Lori Dow-Moore was recognized by the Vermont Foreign Language Association with the 2022 VFLA Distinguished teacher award. Lori has been a World Language teacher of French and Spanish since 1980. She started her teaching career in New Jersey, her home state, teaching both languages, and after seven years, moved to Vermont, where she began working as a Spanish teacher in the South Burlington School District. She taught Spanish only until about 2011, when she went back to her roots as a teacher of both French and Spanish. 

    Over the course of her career, she has taught every level of both languages and has participated in the TIE Exchange programs with Salamanca, Spain and Périgueux, France. This year marks Lori’s 42nd year of teaching and her retirement year as well. Congratulations! 

    Superintendent Search Update

    Thanks to all 36 individuals who applied to be on the Superintendent search committee! Last night, the school board made committee member selections. Including board members, there will be a group of 18. The selection was randomized by stakeholder group and includes representation from administrators, business owners, community members at large,

    parents/guardians, students, support staff, teachers, and the SBEA. The committee’s first two meetings will be held on May 11th and June 1. The Committee will identify the candidates that will advance to the interview stage during the June 1 meeting, and interviews will take place immediately thereafter. The board still needs to determine how many candidates it would like to have in the interview process. More updates to come. 

    COVID Update

    While our local COVID cases continue their upward trend (see the latest data from the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation and the Department of Health), we continue to do well overall in the District. I wanted to remind everyone if you or your student(s) have any illness symptoms, please stay home and use two antigen tests, at least 24 hours apart. If the first antigen test is negative, use the second at least 24 hours later. If they are both negative, and you still have concerns, get a LAMP or a PCR test. Or, use one LAMP test instead of antigen tests. FREE LAMP, antigen, and PCR tests are available from the Health Department at a number of state run testing sites. 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 often to help make personal decisions around testing, masking and attendance at work or school.

    Congrats to FHTMS Girl and Boys Track!

    Big congrats to the girls and boys track team that both secured 1st place victories at last Frday's 6-team event. They also won the "Combined Team Score" Title for the track meet!! At Monday night's MMU meet, the boys placed first and girls a strong second. Way to go!

    Know Someone who is Looking for a Prom Dress? SBHS has a Free Shop Open!

    The SBHS prom will take place May 14 this year. If you know someone who would like a dress for this event, send them to the SBx office where a free pop-up shop is open for business!  Community members have donated a number of dresses along with some accessories and a couple suit jackets to this shop. Nikki St. Mary and Julian Barritt have been coordinating this effort. Drop by and shop until May 13!

    School Happenings

    SBHS Freshmen to Participate in Community Service Day May 6!

    It’s back! Freshmen Community Service day has returned after a COVID hiatus! Tomorrow, 9th grade students in their Slam groups are headed out to the community to participate in community service. The sites groups will be visiting include: Sand Bar State Park, Knight Point State Park, Cochran's, Camp Abenaki, the SBHS Garden, Grand Isle State Park, Gertrude Chamberlin School, Rick Marcotte Central School, Shelburne Farms, Shelburne Museum, Common Roots Farm, Folsom Elementary and Middle School, and Camp Common Ground.

    Freshmen Community Service Day has been a tradition at South Burlington High School for several years. Every 9th grader is in an advisory group of about 12-15 students, with a teacher and 2-3 junior and senior Peer Leaders (These advisory groups are called 'SLAMs', which stands for Student Leadership Advisory Meetings).

    Slams meet twice a week for 25 minutes at a time. Peer Leaders plan communication, decision making, and team building activities for their groups as well as being a role model in the high school.  The senior peer leaders are accepted into the program by application. They meet in a Peer Leadership class every other day taught by Hannah Dransfield and Erin Randall. Stay tuned to our website for photos of tomorrow’s activities!

    FHTMS Students Collaborate to Create Sculpture at SB Public Library

    FHTMS art teachers Alison Treston and Beth Coleman let me know that their students along with community member and artist Katie O’Brien Barritt have been collaborating to create an art installation at the SB Public Library. The sculpture was created by 60 (!) 6th-8th graders and was inspired by the work of hot glass artist Dale Chihuly. Students used plastic water bottles that were donated by community members to create two colorful chandeliers. Want to check it out? A drop in reception will take place for students and families May 18 in the Marabella Kidspace at the SB Public Library from 5:00-6:45 pm. See you there! 

    RMCS Second Graders take a Field Trip to ECHO 

    On Monday, RMCS second graders took a field trip to ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain as an experiential way to support their life science unit. Students participated in a STEAM class titled, Launch, Fling, Fly and learned about the animals and landforms in and around our Lake Champlain Basin Region. 

    Gertrude Chamberlin Students Skype with a Scientist

    Last week, Chamberlin students had the opportunity to Skype with a Scientist! Students Skyped with Manu (Emmanuel) Schaan who is an astrophysicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His work consists of studying the Universe on the largest observable scales to learn about its history (from the Big Bang to today and beyond) and its composition (including the mysterious dark matter and dark energy). He analyzes data from large telescopes which look at visible light and microwave light. 

    He talked about day and night, the movement of the planets, and answered the students’ fantastic questions such as, How did the moon get into the sky? Have you seen the milky way or the black hole? And how hot is the sun? Luckily, he came prepared to share his screen to show actual pictures of the milky way he has taken as well as visuals that helped students better understand black holes and how scientists find them. He also modeled why we see sunlight at different times than those across the world and shared some fun tips and tricks like a wonderful app that shows where planets and stars are and how one can look at a solar eclipse without hurting one’s eyes. What a great way to foster a love of science and curiosity in our students.

    Orchard School Gardens: Getting Ready to Welcome Butterflies

    There is an effort underway to transform some of the flower beds at Orchard School into butterfly gardens! Creating habitats to attract these beautiful insects is not only fun to watch, but great for the environment. Like bees, butterflies are important pollinators that benefit nature and need to be conserved. They are looking for perennials to add to their garden such as Lupine, Lavender, Aster, or coneflower to name a few. If you happen to have any extra butterfly-friendly plants/flowers that can be transplanted or if you would like to donate from a local nursery, please contact Kasey Skidmore at kasey.m.skidmore@gmail.com.

    Thanks for reading and enjoy these upcoming sunny days. I think we’re all ready for them!

    David