Monday, June 4, 2012

Hunt PTO Update 6/4/12

Bella getting our new perennials in before the rain!  Many thanks!

We've got Plants...  You might have noticed some volunteers working hard out front planting lots of new perennial plants/bushes in our beautiful new beds.  More plants to come over the next few weeks and before school is back in session in August there will be granite benches out front as well as a spiral herb garden for the kitchen to use.  We will be looking for parents to take some watering shifts over the summer.  Might you and your kids want to help keep our plants in good condition this summer?  Interested?  Contact Susan Rutherford at

Haven't yet contacted your school board representatives to speak your mind about Jeanne Collins and her leadership of our school district?  Ward 7 Reps will be at the CP Smith PTO meeting Monday (tonight) at 7pm and Ward 4 Reps will be at the Flynn PTO meeting on Thursday at 7:15.   All are welcome - come speak to your reps in person.

Just released Diversity Plan for BSD. Click on the link below to view the 13 page document.

Miss Representation this Wednesday
Who: Hunt Parents and their middle school or high school children (grades 6 and above only)
What: Free dinner (5:30), movie screening (6-7:30) and facilitated discussion (7:30-8)
When: Wednesday, June 6th from 5:30-8pm
Where: Miller Center
Why: Media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader.

OP ED by Armando Villesesca, VT Comissioner of Education-- Speaks up on the diversity and equity issues in Burlington Schools- for unknown reasons, the Burlington Free Press has not run this...

Monday May 28, 2012
Vermont is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, bringing perspectives and benefits that strengthen our state. As an immigrant resettlement destination, we are home to many people from around the world, making Vermont finally reflect the diversity found across the country.

As a refugee from another country myself, I understand well the challenges that being a new American brings to families as well as to communities and schools. Learning a new language and adapting to the social and cultural differences can be daunting to new Americans who are also often struggling financially.

Having recently visited Winooski schools I was very impressed by the dedication and efforts being made to support and educate these students. My experiences with the Burlington School District (BSD) are similar. Having visited the Integrated Arts Academy and the Sustainability Academy, I am moved by the dedication and supports made available to all students.

However, BSD has faced criticism that it has not been supportive of our new American students, and that some of these new Americans have been treated badly by the school staff and fellow students. BSD has an Equity Coordinator that works directly with the district on these issues. I know that as much as the district does to support all students, including the many programs and systems they have in place to support new American students, there is always more work to be done.

One of the issues of concern is the federal requirement that English Language Learners (ELLs) must take annual standardized content assessments before they've had a chance to develop sufficient English language proficiency. Vermont has appealed to the U.S. Department of Education to change this requirement, but without success. Although these assessments may not accurately reflect everything these students know or can do, they do serve as one source of baseline information about students' current level of functioning in English in the core academic curriculum. In the long term, districts are held accountable through these annual assessments for showing that their instructional programs help ELLs as a group to make progress in content subjects and attain proficiency.

Federal civil rights and equal access laws, policies, and court decisions also require school districts to provide ELLs with specialized language and academic support services until they have attained the level of academic English proficiency necessary to participate meaningfully in their academic courses and on content assessments. While these support services should never replace students' participation in more academically rigorous grade-level classes, these programs seek to provide ELLs with greater access to content instruction in English while they are at the same time learning a new language.

Over the years, both the Burlington and Winooski School Districts and their communities have demonstrated steadily growing recognition, support, and resource allocation for creating the kinds of extra services needed to meet the educational needs of an increasingly diverse population of students and families. The schools have faculty and staff who are dedicated to supporting all students, and continue to work with staff on becoming more culturally and ethnically sensitive. The data shows that the group of students receiving ELL services during their Burlington High School career graduate and continue their education at virtually the same rate as their peers across the state.
At the same time, the district needs to be clear that harassment will not be tolerated. All schools need to address the challenges that students bring to schools in a way that is respectful and productive. I believe the statements made by the superintendent and the way the community has come together to address concerns and supports for students is a move in the right direction.
Armando Vilaseca, Commissioner of Education, lives in Westford.

Spiral still looking for Host Families - see letter at the end of this post...

Save the Date....

  • June 6 - Dinner, movie, discussion - MissRepresentation - FREE!
  • June 8 - Grade 6 School Track Meet in afternoon
  • June 8 - 8th grade trip to Great Escape
  • June 11 - 7/8 School Track Meet in the afternoon
  • June 12 - Hunt Picnic Day
  • June 13 - LAST DAY - Early Release at 11:30 for grades 6/7. 8th graders released at 10:30 and return at 12:30 for Graduation
  • June 13 - 8th Grade Graduation at 1pm
  • June 13 - 8th Grade Dance - 7-9pm
  • June 19 - Dine at American Flatbread - $4 from every pie goes to BSF (which then goes back to your child...)
  • July 25-Aug 6 - Spiral Students here from China - Can you host?

Dear Community Member,

I am writing to ask you if you would be willing to be a host family for 12 days this summer (July 25-August 6). We are anticipating the arrival of approximately 30 students (ages 14-17) from China here in the new north end community of Burlington. We count on families like yours to open your homes and hearts to the experience of becoming a Spiral host family.  While we understand that it is a commitment for your family, the feedback from other families is that it is very worthwhile. We are working hard to recruit families like yours, in hopes of making the summer stay for these students a valuable experience.

These students will live with host families, in pairs, and come daily to Hunt Middle School for camp during the weekdays. The goal of the summer camp is to create a full immersion program, affording the Chinese students an opportunity to build a higher level of comfort with our oral language. Local Burlington students will join them as peer leaders at the camp, allowing all students to socialize in an educational environment, so that both groups of students may experience a change in the way they view the world and themselves. In the evenings and weekends, your students would be with your family, enjoying summer activities and American family life, the way that it occurs here in beautiful Vermont.
This camp is sponsored by the Burlington-based educational organization, Spiral International. Spiral International is devoted to international cultural and academic exchange. Check out our website for more information ( Please contact us for further information and to take the next step toward being an international host family. Your commitment to this mission is tremendously appreciated!
 Susan Greenfield, Site Coordinator, Hunt Middle School: eves. – (802)-862 0773
 Michelle Virun, Admin. Assistant, Hunt Middle School: daytime - (802) 864-8469