• May 12, 2022

    Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

    I hope you have been able to get out and enjoy some of the very summer-like weather this week. May is a month that includes a number of days that recognize school staff and I wanted to give some shout-outs to crucial members of our SBSD team.

    Have you or your student (s) enjoyed a delicious meal at school recently? Or maybe even at home during hybrid learning? Our incredible nutrition services team has been hitting it out of the park, especially over these last couple of years. National School Lunch Hero Day was May 6 and even though this is belated, I wanted to give a big thank you to our amazing staff. Nutritional Services Director Rhonda Ketner added, “I would just like to thank all the staff for their hard work and dedication to the students, especially over the last 2 years with all the challenges presented by COVID. They are all superheroes!!!”

    In addition, yesterday was National School Nurses Day. Wow. Where would we be without our dedicated school nurses. On top of everything they do daily for our students and staff, adapting to constantly changing COVID guidance became the norm for a while and our nurses did so with incredible resilience. I am so grateful to you all!

    Dates of Note:

    May 13, GCS Fun Run

    May 13, 10-noon, Big Picture Program Open House in-person

    May 14, SBHS Prom at the Old Lantern

    May 17, 6:30 pm GCS 2nd and 4th grade concert

    May 18, 7:00 pm, School Board Meeting (in-person at 577 Dorset St. and online)

    May 19, 6:30 pm GCS 3rd and 5th grade concert

    May 20, 5:30-7:30 pm Orchard School Spring Fling

    COVID Update

    While our local COVID cases have continued their upward trend, our district has not been immune to this continued surge. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ranks Chittenden County's community level of COVID as high. The CDC recommends that individuals living in areas with high community levels take the following steps to protect themselves:

    - Wear a mask indoors in public

    - Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines

    - Get tested if you have symptoms

    - Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness

    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.

    If you would like to monitor further data, this week, it was announced that The Vermont Department of Health COVID Dashboard will cease having updates effective May 18 and instead, a weekly surveillance report will be provided. The first report was released yesterday. 

    Superintendent Search Update

    The Superintendent Search and Interview Committee held its first meeting on May 11th, welcoming 18 members. The Committee got straight to work establishing a list of desired qualifications and attributes, and an evaluation metric aligned with the Superintendent job description and District Global Ends Policies. The Committee also began work on a set of interview questions to be finalized at the next meeting. 

    The next meeting will be held on June 1st, at which time the Committee will use the protocols developed at the May 11th meeting to evaluate candidates and determine who will advance to the interview stage. Interviews and community forums will be held the week of June 6th.

    School Happenings

    Big Picture Program Students Engage in Service Learning on Watersheds

    Every year, Big Picture students put their independent projects and internships on hold and take on a group-based Service Learning project. Students work with community partners to study a specific topic in-depth. This year's topic is watersheds, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Some of the topics they are learning about and partners they are working with include: water quality monitoring on the Potash Brook (Dept of Environmental Conservation and the Watershed Alliance - part of UVM), restoration of riparian buffers (Friends of the Winooski and the Lewis Creek Association), and invasive species (Watershed Alliance and the Lake Champlain Basin Program). This week, students were engaged in a project at Potash Brook. Check the website soon for photos!

    SBHS Future Educators of America Club Book Drive Underway

    Have any new or gently used children’s books at home? Spring clean for a great cause! The Future Educators of America Club at South Burlington High School is hosting a book drive. The books collected will be donated to children at the King Street Center in Burlington at the end of the month. The King Street Center is specifically looking for books focused on BIPOC, but all books would be greatly appreciated! If you have books you’d like to donate, you can drop them off at the SBHS lobby. 

    FHTMS Students Participate in Teen Lit Mob Viewing Party

    Librarian Amy Blauvelt let me know that on Friday, May 6th, she, along with ELA teachers Liz Siddle and Hailey Reilly hosted a Teen Lit Mob viewing party in the FTHMS library. Teen Lit Mob works to support the Green Mountain Book Award as well as engage students in content creation and immerse them in reading underrepresented voices and identities. This year’s virtual program featured keynote speaker and National Book Award finalist Kekla Magoon, Chris Tebbetts, An Na, James Kochalka, Ann Davila Cardinal, and Vermont Book Award finalist Jo Knowles. Students were able to participate in workshops focusing on character writing, dialogue writing, and comic strip artistry. The students had an amazing time workshopping their own creative writing and sharing their love of reading. As an added bonus, Acting Principal, Dave Hyatt, purchased lunch for the students! 

    RMCS 4th Graders have Fun Learning about Lava 

    Students in Nicholle Eddy’s 4th grade class recently learned about the different forms of lava, thin and thick as well as the types of volcanoes from which these lavas come. They discovered that cone volcanoes produce thick lava which gives the volcano a mountain-like appearance whereas shield volcanoes produce thin lava giving the volcano a flatter appearance as the lava spreads out when the volcano explodes. You can see pics of their experiential learning in Principal Kilbourne's Weekly Family Focus.

    Gertrude Chamberlin Fun Run Takes Place Tomorrow! 

    Grab your running shoes and water bottle, after a COVID hiatus, the fun run is back tomorrow at GCS! Students in each grade level will have 30 minutes to walk/run as many laps as they can around the “kid-size” track set-up just for this event. There will be no minimum laps required. Every student will be celebrated for their effort and great attitude! GCS welcomes family and friends as fans to cheer on the students or as volunteers to help mark laps or keep students hydrated.

    Orchard Students Greeted by Ceiling of Doves when they Returned from Break

    Prior to the April break, I noted that Orchard students had engaged in a beautiful project for April's school-wide read-aloud IN MY MOSQUE,written by M.O. Yuksel and illustrated by Hatem Aly. After hearing the book, students were asked to use a media of the teacher's choosing to decorate a dove. Completed doves were added to the lobby display of doves swooping to the words PEACE, LOVE and JOY. When students returned to school, they entered the lobby to see quite a stunning and meaningful entrance to Orchard School. See photos of the doves on this site created by Librarian Donna Sullivan-Macdonald.

    If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, head up to Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday from 11-1 for their 2nd annual Chalk the Walk! Sidewalk chalk and music will be provided at this free event for all ages. Enjoy your Friday and weekend!

    David