Monday, October 31, 2016

Hunt Middle School Blog - October 30, 2016

Hunt Middle School Blog - October 30, 2016

October PTO meeting minutes, 10/27/2016


President’s Report – Paula Henry

Harvest Dinner that was to be held this evening has been cancelled, due to lack of available staffing resources.  All acknowledged that this is a terrible disappointment and a loss to the school community.

Three to five volunteers are needed to help fill out our school’s Principal Profile form, distributed to all schools from the Superintendent’s office.  Any parent interested in working on this should contact the PTO at

The PTO is still looking for a 6th grade parent to step forward as a Treasurer “apprentice”. We will need a new Treasurer in place by next September.  Paula is currently filling this role (as well as President) but this is not a good idea, and she is an 8th grade parent.  Any parent interested in finding out about the PTO Treasurer role should contact the PTO at  Jen L’ecuyer has offered to communicate with 6th grade teams, to see if any of those parents are interested.

Treasurer’s Report – Paula Henry

Very little financial activity since last month.  Our checking account balance, as of September 30th  is $8,370.  Of this, $4,524 is unrestricted funds.  The 2016-17 budget was reviewed.  There are many fundraising opportunities, which we need parent volunteers to step forward and take on. 

The PTO agreed that the holiday wreath fundraiser is a community favorite but the vendor we use each year results in a very labor-intensive project.  Len found another local vendor who delivers finished wreaths directly to customers.  Paula will check into this to see if this is something we can take on.

New Business

At this time, our primary fundraiser is the HMS t-shirt sales.  The pre-orders were delivered to students earlier today, and we are preparing to sell more shirts at school shortly, once the school store is set-up and manned by the new Student Council.  Contact the PTO if you can’t wait and want to buy your shirt now!

Fall gardening is mostly done by Property Services.  Paula will clean out the planters.  Bella can help as needed.  All agreed that the students really appreciate the work done on the gardens in front of the school.

More fundraising opportunities

We are still looking for a team of volunteers to head up an online fundraiser which would allow parents to donate by credit card.  With the holidays approaching, we will repost information to families about our Shutterfly account.  Jen will give us an update next month.  We can also consider partnering with a local restaurant for a percentage of sales on a given night. 

The issue of Idling was raised again at this meeting.  A study was done by an outside group, and HMS was found to have very low emissions, due primarily to our lack of busing. However, we can still do better.  Increased signage and student/parent education was discussed.  Student produced videos could be linked to our website and shared as part of our Digital storytelling.  Bella will work with Len on this initiative.

Principal’s Report – Len Phelan

Mr. Phelan was sad to report the need to cancel the popular HMS Harvest dinner.  Unfortunately, the school schedule was such that the dinner could not be held this year.  We hope to be able to host this positive event in the future. 

He also mentioned that it is important for the community to support the Burlington School District in the upcoming months as the school district budget for the next school year is created.  Our district in intent on providing the most beneficial educational programming possible for the students of Burlington.

New $20,000 Grant, through the Verizon Charitable foundation, has been awarded to HMS!  A special thanks to Victor Prussak & Val Lodish for writing the grant.  The funds will be used to create a Makerspace in the library.  There will also be 9 STEM-themed carts that teachers can roll into their classrooms for hands-on learning!  Stay tuned for more exciting info on our future Makerspace!

This Friday, 11/4, marks the end of the first term, with Report Cards going home next Friday 11/11.  The school has changed the way it does Progress Reports, due to the CANVAS student grading system. All parents have access, real time, to their child’s assignments and grades.  If any parents are having trouble getting onto Canvas, please do not delay in contacting the school.  This is important information. 

Paper copies of Progress Reports will continue to go out if a student has a grade lower than a C in any subject.  Progress Reports are still available UPON REQUEST by any parent.  Please contact the school if you would like to receive a Progress Report.  Students look at their grades in CANVAS every Monday in homeroom, so ask your student how s/he is doing!

Parent-Teacher conferences will be held ALL Day MONDAY 11/21, and in the MORNING TUESDAY 11/22.  There is no school that entire week of Thanksgiving.  Please note: IF YOU WANT a P-T conference, please call or email the school’s Guidance office and let them know.  They will send you a link to schedule your conference online.  THE GUIDANCE OFFICE IS NOT CALLING ALL PARENTS TO SCHEDULE CONFERENCES.  YOU NEED TO CALL THE SCHOOL.  Scheduling has already started.  Conferences last 30 minutes and are with all of the teachers on your child’s team, all together at the table.  Unified Arts and Language conferences are separate.  A Connect5 robocall will go out soon, to let parents know.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hunt Middle School Blog - October 23, 2016

Hunt Blog - October 23, 2016


 Good News


We're happy to report that a contract was agreed upon, the strike was avoided and all teachers are back to school! 



Fall Harvest Dinner Cancelled



Unfortunately the Hunt Middle School Harvest Dinner is cancelled for this year.


A series of unforeseen circumstances have rendered us unable to host this event this year.


We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.




Principal Notes



Dear Hunt Middle School Parent or Guardian:


Please be advised that we are changing our way of issuing progress reports due to our acquisition of the Canvas learning management system. Canvas is an online platform from which you can monitor your HMS student’s assignments and grades on an ongoing basis. In order to see your HMS student’s assignments and grades you will need to establish your own Canvas account. This may be easily accomplished by visiting the Hunt Middle School Website and filling out a brief online form. You will also need to have your HMS student’s log-in information. I have included instructions for setting up your Canvas account and linking it to your HMS student on the reverse side of this page.



Because grading information is now available on Canvas in real time, from this point forward we will not be issuing formal progress reports to all students. We will only be issuing formal progress reports to students who are receiving a grade of D or F in one or more classes. These reports are being mailed to students’ homes. We are very pleased to be providing this opportunity for parents and guardians to examine their student’s academic progress online at any time and are hopeful that the convenience and real-time availability of this information improves your family’s ability to partner with our school and teachers to support your HMS student’s academic success. Please feel free to contact our guidance office at (802) 864-8470 if you need any assistance in getting your Canvas account established. Thank you.

Very truly yours,


Len Phelan

Hunt Middle School Principal





                                        Office Notices

Conferences are to be scheduled during the Thanksgiving Week on Monday and Tuesday the 21st and 22nd.


We want to remind parents that they can have conferences with their child's teachers anytime, not just on Conference days. 


Please call the Guidance Office at 802-864-8470 to arrange a conference with their child's team teachers.



Reminder for Parents



We have many disabled children who need to come and go during the day. 

Parking in these spots without the proper placard is illegal and will be reported by the school.



           Updated PTO meeting



This Thursday night, October 27th, at 6:30 is our next PTO meeting to be held in the Hunt Library.


All Hunt parents are welcome to attend.


We really could a treasurer! If you would like to help, please let us know.


Everyone, please come and share your ideas with other HMS parents, and learn what is going on at the school and in the district.


We hope to see you there.



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hunt Blog - October 16, 2016

Hunt Blog - October 16, 2016
On October 13, the teachers union met at Burlington High School and voted to strike on October 20th if no agreement can be reached between the teachers and the school board.
The two sides plan to meet on Wednesday, October 19th to have a final negotiating session.
In the event of a strike, a communication letter will be sent out later this week from Burlington School District Superintendent, Yaw Obeng.

PTO News
The PTO really needs a Treasurer.

If interested in helping, please email us at:


The Fall Harvest Dinner is Coming!
It's going to be held on Thursday October 27th!

The kids will be working hard on this with great food and wonderful music.

If you haven't attended before, you are going to love this event.
We could use some help setting up, serving meals, & handing out ice cream.
This would be a great way to meet the teachers in a casual setting along with parents of your students.
We hope you'll join us. Put it on your calendar now!

New Hunt T-Shirts 
The t-shirts have arrived! 

Pre-orders will be delivered to school this week. The first school-wide sale will take place at the Harvest Dinner next week.

T-shirts are $13 each. Show your school spirit! 
PTO meeting
This Thursday night at 6:30 is our next PTO meeting to be held in the Hunt Library.
All Hunt parents are welcome to attend.
Share ideas with other HMS parents, and learn what is going on at the school and in the district.
Now is an especially critical time. Please plan to attend.

Drama Club Presents:
WILLY WONKA & The Chocolate Factory

Production Meeting: This Wednesday

October 19th at 6:30pm in the Hunt Middle School library.

We welcome all parents who are interested in helping to support the production. 
At the fall meeting, we will be recruiting volunteers and
setting fundraising goals.
Hunt Monthly Newsletter
A little late on this notice, but in case you didn't know, Hunt School has a monthly newsletter. All kinds of good information can be obtained from reading this.
It can be seen here:



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hunt Middle School Blog - October 9, 2016

Hunt Blog - October 9, 2016
Burlington School District Strategic Planning Update

Due to a scheduling conflict with School Board Meetings, the Strategic Planning event scheduled for Thursday, October 13th has been postponed. Please stay tuned for a future date and details. Thank you.

The following update was submitted to the PTO by the BSD School Board on October 5
Burlington School Board Update
During the past two weeks, Burlington School Board members have talked with many parents and community members informally and during evening informational sessions. We have appreciated the opportunity to share our thinking, hear people’s views, and to directly answer questions. During these discussions, we have repeatedly been asked to clarify the parameters of the Board’s recent employment action.  It is important to address the misinformation and inaccurate information that people have heard by beginning with the facts.
  • Fact:  Negotiations Were Rigorous but Unsuccessful. For 14 months, the Board met with the BEA. Requests by the Board for collaborative approaches to bargaining were rejected by the BEA and counter-proposals on many issues brought up by the Board were not considered.  After the Board’s last and best offer was rejected it was necessary for the Board to move forward unilaterally because without a new contract in place status quo provisions in VT law exposed the District to the potential for an additional $430,000 in costs for this school year.  The Board has agreed to meet again with the BEA to further discuss this year’s contract if invited to do so by Ira Lobel, the mutually appointed mediator. 
  • Fact:  The Salary Settlement Exceeds Inflation. The Board’s final salary offer reflects an overall increase in salaries of 2.75%. This represents a raise approaching three times the cost of living according to data from the Vermont Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  • Fact:  Every Teacher Will Receive a Significant Raise. The Board’s final salary offer provides every full-time teacher with an average salary increase of over $1,900 for the current school year. This represents a raise that is higher than compensation settlements for other School and City employees this year and exceeds the increases in compensation of many people who live and/or work in Burlington.
  • Fact:  The Board’s Offer Reflects Full Use of Available Funds. The Board’s final offer to the teachers exceeded the money it had budgeted for salary increases. Any further expense to meet the union’s compensation demands would result in either deficit spending, or additional cuts to programs or staff during this school year, neither of which the Board is willing to do.
  • Fact: The New Teacher Salary Grid Improves Regional Competitiveness. The Board’s final offer maintains a regionally competitive salary grid for teachers, and improves the District’s competitiveness relative to surrounding school districts at many of the benchmarks agreed upon by the Board and union. In comparison with the 9 Chittenden County Districts, Burlington teacher compensation now ranks above the midpoint for new and mid-career teachers, and at the midpoint for senior teachers.
  • Fact:  Teachers Will Pay a Modest Increase in Their Health Insurance Contribution. Despite a 7.9% increase in health insurance costs this school year, the Board’s final offer absorbed 90% of the increase by accepting the union’s proposal to increase the teachers’ share of premiums from 15% to 16% starting January 1, 2017. 
  • Fact:  Teachers Will Continue to Have Multiple Opportunities for Professional Development. In addition to providing $80,000 for graduate course reimbursement, the Board’s final offer continues to provide additional salary increases beyond step movement for teachers who successfully complete graduate credits, and the District will continue to offer many professional development activities that teachers can use to meet licensure requirements.
We ask all of you – community members, parents, teachers, students, and taxpayers – to please consider the facts because facts matter. And the facts show that this contract fairly compensates teachers both in salary and benefits, and is sensitive to the financial realities that many in our community face. The Board also is cognizant of the fact that now is the time to start focusing on the longer term, and to that end the Board has invited the BEA to immediately begin negotiations for the next contract year.  This is a critical time for the District and we need to pull together to move forward. That is a fact that is undisputable.
(This post was adapted from a Burlington Free Press MyTurn editorial written by board member Miriam Stoll) 


This is the 2nd letter from the PTO leaders to both the BSD school board and the BEA.

October 5, 2016
Dear BSD and BEA,
It looks from this perspective, that, in order to avoid continued fiscal crises and likely more cuts to the BSD budget, this community needs to accomplish several things;
1) We seek and support a swift and fair teacher contract settlement. We are confident that the BSD and the BEA can work together to restart ‘16-’17 negotiations without preconditions. The two parties are no longer far apart on money issues, and the non-monetary items provide both sides with something to give. Given the fact that this is for a one year contract, some of the issues can be revisited in the upcoming contract negotiations.
2) We believe in harnessing broad community support to lobby Montpelier for improvement to situations that make it difficult to properly fund this school district. These include: changes to the pupil equalization formula; the return of PILOT funds to the school district from the city; protecting BSD from the possible effects of Act 46 which may shift funds from schools that “failed” to consolidate to schools that did; and the support of legislation that may shift the burden of funding the schools from property taxes to income tax.
Number two, which is vital to the health and maintenance of this district cannot be accomplished until number one is complete.
If the negativity and divisiveness caused by this protracted contract negotiation continues, the broad support needed for the other causes will be nearly impossible to garner.
Every day that this continues diminishes the community that you both serve.
What it takes for this school district to remain a healthy and a vital system, begins with you.
We are aware that there may be motivations at play that go beyond the immediate fiscal and social well being of this school district. We ask you all to reflect on those motivations and how they may or may not contribute to a community partnership that rebuilds our battle-worn district and helps us to create success together.
Both the BSD and the BEA need to be willing to cooperate. We, Burlington’s PTO leaders, support you both in this endeavor and pledge our future support to keeping this district strong. We will continue to advocate for an agreement between the BSD and BEA until one is reached.
We are counting on you. Please do not let us down.
Thank you,
PTO LEADERS representing The Burlington School District
Paula Henry, HMS PTO
Karen Ruben and Sue Chayer, CP Smith PTO
Clare Wool, EMS PTO and BHS Boosters
Kate Lasko and Susan Munkres, IAA PTO
Tyler Doggett and Teal Doggett, IAA PTO
Susan Cline Lucey, Christina Erickson, Tiffany Tillman, SA PTO
Sarah Kenney and David Lines, SA PTO
Leigh Fisher, Hollie Foley, Rachel Shelley, EES PTO
Christine and Nicole Thomas-Demerritt, Flynn PTO
Mike Fisher, on behalf of the Champlain PTO board
This is a letter from Burlington Friends and Supporters of Education
Dear Burlington Friends and Supporters of Education, 
We have waited to send out a September update in hopes of successful contract resolution.
As parents, guardians, friends and supporters of our public schools here in Burlington we advocate for ALL students. 
Currently the climate in our district is one of uncertainty and one that we feel is not healthy for our students, their families, our teachers and our city.
Please take a moment to review the correspondence below from our unified PTO’S sent to our school board, teachers union and school district administrators. 
Additionally attached are the links to both BEA and BSD where you can read their current communication regarding the contract. 
Special Negotiations 
Monday, Oct 10th
Central Office 
150 Colchester Ave 
Thursday, Oct 13th 
(Vote for Job Action Motion)
Thursday, Oct 13th 
Central Office 
150 Colchester Ave 

The PTO really needs a Treasurer.

If you have the desire to help out, you could make a difference!

Email us at


Our Annual Fall Harvest Dinner Approaches!
Did you know about the Harvest Festival coming up soon at our school?   

Thursday October 27th!

This has always been a great community event with parents and students welcome. Great food, wonderful music and everyone being involved. If you haven't attended before, you are going to love this event. If you're new to the school and would like to meet some new people & help out, let us know via email.
We need help setting up, serving meals, & handing out ice cream.
This would be a great way to meet the teachers in a casual setting along with parents of your students.
The food is wonderful and the kids put a lot of work decorating for this night each year.
We hope you'll join us. Put it on your calendar now!

Hunt T-Shirts 
Thanks to everyone who ordered a shirt through the pre-order forms.
We received over 50 newly designed, eye-catching Hunt Middle School t-shirt orders! 
We also ordered 50 more, which will be here in approximately 2 weeks. 
At that time, everyone will have an opportunity to purchase one. 
Watch for more details! 
We will be selling them at the Oct 27 Harvest dinner.

This is a good opportunity to support Hunt Middle School and show some school spirit.
Drama Club Presents:
WILLY WONKA & The Chocolate Factory

Save the date for an upcoming Hunt Drama Program Production Meeting!
Are you interested in learning more about Hunt Drama Program's spring production of "Willy Wonka"?  

Please come to our fall production meeting on Wednesday, October 19th at 6:30pm in the Hunt Middle School library.

Planning for the annual musical begins months in advance and we welcome all parents who are interested in helping to support the production. 
At the fall meeting, we will be recruiting volunteers and
setting fundraising goals.