EMS Newsletter

January 15, 2021

Dear EMS Families,

Welcome to 2021. :-) I would like to highlight some important dates:

Monday, January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. School will be released at 11:30am. Lunch will be provided. Buses will arrive between 11:30am and noon on that day.

Friday, January 22: The last day of 2nd quarter is January 22. Please check your child's academic progress in Parent PowerSchool Portal. Also, families have asked about switching from "fully remote" status to "hybrid" status. The switch to hybrid is only available at quarter breaks; please contact us immediately if you have decided that you would like your child to be back in the hybrid program. We are finding that most students are more engaged when they are in the hybrid model than if they are fully remote.

Tuesday, January 26: EMS will be remote on January 26. Burlington High School will be using Edmunds Middle School to conduct PSAT tests on that one day.

I am grateful for the deeply committed, passionate staff that we have at EMS. This staff absolutely wants to work with your child. If you check your child's academic progress, and you have any questions, please contact the teachers. The teachers want to engage with your child... the teachers want to facilitate the personal and academic growth of your child.

We continue to take the Covid mitigation strategies seriously. We have found that physical distancing, wearing masks, and frequent sanitation/hand washing has been extremely effective. We are thankful that families are not sending their children to school with any symptoms of illness. We feel that these measures are making it so that we can safely keep students in school.

We appreciate having the opportunity to work with your children. They bring joy, energy, and brilliance with them every day.

James Kiefer

Continuous Improvement Plan

Dear EMS Parents and Families,

Edmunds Middle School was identified by the Vermont Agency of Education as eligible for equity support as stated in Vermont’s Every Student Succeeds Act. Schools and districts eligible for equity support had a significant difference in student performance on the 2018-19 State Assessment between at least one historically marginalized student group and their historically privileged peers. Our school was identified due to the gap in performance for the following student subgroups:

  • Free and Reduced

  • Historically Marginalized

  • Individualized Education Program

  • African American

The district, along with guidance from the VT AOE, will be providing us technical assistance as we develop our Continuous Improvement Plan to address improving the outcomes for all students including the specific group(s). We will continue to address student needs as determined by the analysis of the data we collect. As part of that data, we look at parent survey results and other information from parents and the community. We thank you all for your feedback.

James Kiefer

Principal - Edmunds Middle School

Exploratory Classes Adopt Proficiency Based Grading for 7/8th Grade Classes

We are excited to share that, beginning with Quarter 2, several Exploratory classes (Art, Music, Design & Technical Education, Health, and Our Stories, Our Voices) will be utilizing proficiency-based grading to assess students in Grades 7 and 8. Proficiency-based grading means that teachers measure student progress in terms of the mastery of essential learning objectives. After piloting this approach with 6th grade Exploratory classes last year, this effort is being scaled up.

On the Quarter 2 report card, you can expect to see reports of your child's academic knowledge and skills, separate from their habits of work and learning (HoWL). The goal of these changes in assessing and reporting is to provide students, families, and future teachers more information about what each student knows and is able to do as they progress through school.

More information is to follow as we near the end of the quarter. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding proficiency-based teaching and assessment in your child's specific Exploratory class, please contact that teacher directly.

Social Justice Education

The sixth grade has partnered with UVM to develop a social justice education curriculum. We are starting by building vocabulary and teaching students about the difference between unjust and unfair. We are moving into talking about many of the -isms and how privilege and power affects the community that we live in, our country and our world.

Burlington School Food Project Needs Your Help!

Have you seen the awesome Meal Kits that are being distributed by the Burlington School Food Project? Each kit contains 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 snacks, and 7 suppers! These boxes include many fresh fruits and vegetables, and are designed to cover meals for remote days, weekends, holidays, & breaks. They can also help you to prepare your own meals to send to school with your child! These kits are available at no cost for ANY CHILD 18 and under. Each week, we are creating, packaging, and distributing over 700 of these kits. That’s nearly 20,000 meals and snacks per week!

Do you have a few hours a week to help us get these kits prepared for our community? We have many openings and are very flexible with days and hours. Please go to https://bsdvt.tedk12.com/hire/ViewJob.aspx?JobID=1552 to apply for this fun and rewarding opportunity! Positions start at $15.23/hour.

Reach out to Doug Davis, ddavis@bsdvt.org, with any questions!

Hildene: The Lincoln Family Home - Lincoln Essay Competition

The 8th grade Lincoln Essay Competition is underway at EMS. Twenty EMS students have enrolled and are attending classes through the library. The essays are due February 26th, 2021.

Playful Art - Assemblage

Play is the foundation of learning, creativity, self-expression, and constructive problem-solving. It’s how children wrestle with life to make it meaningful. Susan Linn

We are beginning a new unit in 6th grade art class - Assemblage. For those of you unfamiliar with this word, assemblage art can be described as a 3-dimensional collage. The artist takes a variety of disparate parts and puts them together in a new way to create an entirely new piece. Sixth graders were completely engaged as they first played with and next began a more organized kind of play when they set about creating their composition. Just as one might expect, the joy factor was high - always a byproduct of play. Using assorted wooden parts and pieces, students started their compositions. We took a look at artist Louise Nevelson first, paying particular attention to her assemblage art. Variety, unity, and repetition are the key principles of design that come into play with this particular project. Stay tuned as we work toward a collaborative installation piece using all of the work from the 6th grade artists.

EMS Gear Store

We have opened up another round of the EMS Gear Store. Here is the link to access the store:


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“Tie One On For Safety”

January 11th and 12th, 2021

A Caring Gift from Edmunds Middle Be Above

Happy New Year to All! Edmunds Be Above Prevention Group headed out to the Edmunds Campus parking lots to tie red ribbons on all of the staff’s cars.

This red ribbon is a friendly reminder to drive drug/alcohol free, buckle up, ride with drivers who are sober and to stay safe today, tomorrow and always. This “Tie One On for Safety” activity is a long-standing tradition at Edmunds.

Be Above reaches out to the Edmunds Community by engaging in projects that focus on Prevention, Wellness, Making Awesome Choices and Being Above the Influence. Students belonging to Be Above have their hearts set on Spreading Good Vibes! Interested in joining Be Above ?

Please reach out to:

Angela Halsted, SAP Counselor/Prevention Coordinator at ahalsted@bsdvt.org.

Here are some 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Statistics (YRBS) to share that reflect our Vermont Youth:

  • 17% of High Schoolers reported riding with a driver who was drinking alcohol within the past 30 days of taking this survey. 1% lower from statistics reported in the 2017 YRBS.
  • 23% of Vermont High Schoolers reported riding with a driver who had been smoking marijuana within the past 30 days of taking this survey, up 3% from the 2017 results.
  • 6% of Vermont High School Students reported driving under the influence of alcohol within the past 30 days of taking this survey, down 1% from the 2017 results.
  • 15% of Vermont High School Students drove after using Marijuana within the past 30 days of taking this survey, up 1% from the 2017 YRBS results.

To find out more detailed statistics reflecting our Vermont Youth, please check out the Vermont Department of Health 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Website. Local statistics are not available for release at this time.