How to talk with our children about the Boston Marathon explosions
“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” – Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston marathon in 1967.
Just a reminder that April vacation is next week: April 22nd - 26th.
Be safe in your travels and see you back in school on April 29th.
Safe Routes to School - North Avenue
The City of Burlington was awarded a grant for the planning, design and construction of improvements on three intersections along North Avenue (North Avenue and Plattsburgh, North Avenue and Heineberg Road, North Avenue at Ethan Allen Shopping Center) to make conditions better for students who will be walking or bicycling to school. Construction is expected during the 2013 construction season.
We would like to invite you to review and discuss the design of these improvements with city staff on Wednesday evening, May 1 at 7:00 pm at the Lyman C. Hunt Middle School Library (1364 North Avenue – Burlington, VT 05408)If you have any questions about this project, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guillermo GomezPublic Works Engineer - City of Burlington, VT
MIDDLE SCHOOL SORRY! GAME May 18th!
Hey middle-schoolers! Register today to play the 1st annual middle school life-size "Sorry!" board game at University Mall. All you need is a team of 4 middle school friends (grades 5-8) and one parent captain.
The 4 players of the winning team will each win a $100 gift card to any store in the Mall! Teams are chosen on a first come-first serve basis so hurry and download your application at www.umallVT.com. Submit your application to Customer Service at University Mall immediately! For information, please call (802) 863-1066 x11.
A BHS summer course, perfect for rising 9th graders!
For the first time ever, BHS is offering a credit-bearing course over the summer. The course runs for 6 weeks, and is focused on food: "Champlain Valley Food History and Production" will be a hands-on course where students will grow and cook local food. Multiple site-visits to local landscapes and farms will be included--as will engaging work at the BHS gardens. The course will be co-taught by Farm-to-School Coordinator, Sarah Heusner, and International Foods teacher Laura Allyn.
The course offers some other benefits:
- A 1/2-year elective credit towards graduation--freeing a student up to take another elective later, or to take an internship, etc. later in their BHS career
- An introduction to BHS in a comfortable, small-scale group
- An opportunity to do something innovative and fun! For more information, students can contact their Guidance Counselor, or BHS Guidance. The application form can be found HERE.
Hoping to see you this summer!
The sun is trying to be out and the marsh is muddy—we are officially in mud season, with spring near! In this season, the Board reorganizes. We have three new members (Liz Curry, Miriam Stoll and Greg Jenkins) and a new chair (Alan Matson). Board committee assignments will be out shortly and the Board is working to realign its work with District goals. Stay tuned for more on this.
A topic that has captured the ears of many is the Vision Calendar, which is being considered by the Champlain Valley Superintendents Association (CVSA). CVSA is responsible each year for setting a common regional 175 day calendar that aligns with the two technical centers in our region. The Vision Calendar takes those same 175 days and reformats it so that school is chunked into six to seven-week learning periods, with a time of reflection between each chunk. That one to two-week break could be used for timely student intervention through a Title 1 Program, faculty professional development, vacation and reflection, coursework for faculty, etc. Just as our December-June stretch does now, it allows everyone to pause and take a breath as the learning continues. It is intentional and focused on student achievement.
As mentioned above, the number of days does not change for students or staff. The school year would likely start one week earlier in August and end one week later in June. The summer is still quite lengthy for summer jobs, professional development and camps. Opportunities for vacations for families at off times is an added bonus. CVSA is talking with child care providers about camps and child care during the intersession weeks.
The discussion is just beginning. CVSA would need to decide by January 2014 if it were to take place in the 2014-15 school year. Share your thoughts and questions with me—I will bring them to CVSA. I will also post a sample Vision Calendar to my blog (http://collinsj.wordpress.com) when I receive it.
Think differently—how might this benefit both students and staff?
Sample Vision Calendar and Interssession Overview
Discussion is circulating about one of the options the school district is examining for increasing student achievement, a possible early release on Wednesdays. In addition to its ongoing efforts, the district is following up on Agency of Education recommendations, and conducting a restructuring analysis. A significant part of this is to find how best to create dedicated teacher time to review student data and adjust instruction accordingly. To do so may include expanding to the entire district the kind of change in the end of the school day that has already been in place at Hunt and the Sustainability Academy, and mornings at BHS.
Many people have contacted us about this, concerned that it will be implemented without public input. Rest assured this is not the case.
Here’s where things stand right now. This proposal – it may be more accurate to call it a pre-proposal – is still being vetted by the district’s administration. That process includes careful study of any district wide rollout, including identifying barriers to implementation, such as child and after school care, and CCTA’s ability to accommodate any changes.
It is important to understand that this is why the concept has not yet been widely circulated. The work to flesh the proposal out, and get answers to the important questions parents will have, is not finished.
Once that step is complete, the proposal will be brought forward to families and the public at large for input and a full discussion. How this proposal impacts family schedules and student learning time are important issues and will be a part of that discussion.
For an idea of what is being considered, here is an excerpt from a brief overview Superintendent Collins provided to School Board members:
“We are looking at all options of when this work (dedicated teacher time) can occur, and have piloted an early release with child care option at Hunt Middle and Sustainability Academy with success. For example, at SA the student day is extended by 15 minutes four days a week, and students are dismissed one hour early on Wednesdays with child care options for that hour in the school. In this way, there is no net loss of instructional time and children are still supervised during the early release, if parents wish. Teachers then have a 2-hour uninterrupted block of time to work in teams and review student data, instructional methods and adjust and align instruction. We are exploring if this option can benefit the district and looking at barriers such as child care and after school programming if we are able to do this, so that students would continue to have full days. “
Early release has been reviewed in committee, and any final proposal will be studied carefully by the Board and follow procedure to arrive at a decision that will be in the best interest of our students.
More information will be available once any proposal is ready for public input and comment. We recommend everyone visit the district website http://bsdvt.org to see committee and full board meeting and agenda information. Typically, our meetings are held on Tuesday, and all board members welcome input.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us about this and other matters.
Ben Truman and Bernie O'Rourke
Ward 4 School Commissioners
Ben Truman ❘ Ward 4 School Commissioner
172 Staniford Rd. ❘ Burlington, VT 05408
Save the Date...