Gertrude Chamberlin School

Family Newsletter October 1, 2021 Volume 16 Issue 8


Friday, October 8th - 12:30 Dismissal for Staff Professional Learning

Monday, October 11th - No School, Indigenous Peoples Day

Tuesday, October 12th - 6:00 PM, PTO Meeting

October 20th and 21st Zoom Open House

Wednesday, October 20th - Classrooms, Guidance, Special Education 5:30-7:00 PM

Thursday, October 21st - Integrated Arts 5:30-7:30 PM

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Circus Success!!!

Thank you for supporting our circus residency by coming to the performance last night! How wonderful it was to gather as a school community and celebrate our wonderful children! We had to make adjustments from our regular format due to Covid, but students were thrilled to learn circus skills from Troy Wunderle for the past two weeks. You may also have seen the clip on the NBC news on Wednesday night, featuring some of our kindergarteners! It's linked below if you missed it! We had a wonderful time showing off some of our skills and acts outside on the turf field...and how about those talented staff members??? On Friday, Troy performed his circus tricks at mini assemblies for each grade level. Troy is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He is a former international performer with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. We want to thank the Polly Cain Fund that was set up when beloved Chamberlin teacher Polly Cain passed away, the VT Arts Council and the PTO for their generous support of our Artist in Residency program. You can still use the QRI code that was sent out in an email yesterday to donate to our Artist in Residency program! Above and below is artwork created by students with our art teacher, Mrs. Goodrich for our circus performance.
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Open House Information

Since we are not able to have our traditional, in person Open House this year, due to Covid 19, we will have a virtual format on Zoom! Families can join zoom times to get information about your child's learning, see their classroom and meet their teachers! We will have two evenings, one for classroom teachers and one for integrated arts classes. Our special educators, reading teachers and guidance teacher will be popping in to the classroom zooms to say hello. Here is the format for the two evenings. Please mark your calendars and we will send out Zoom links when the time gets closer! We will also send home curriculum overviews for each grade level and integrated arts area on Friday, October October 22nd.

Wednesday, October 20th

5:30-6:00 PM - Kindergarten and First Grades

6:00-6:30 PM - 2nd and 3rd Grades

6:30-7:00 PM - 4th and 5th Grades

Thursday, October 21st

5:30-6:00 PM Art

6:00-6:30 PM Music

6:30-7:00 PM Physical Education

7:00-7:30 PM Library Media

Books For Our Kindergarteners from Officer Bri!

This week, our School Resource Officer from the South Burlington Police Department visited each kindergarten classroom and helped each student pick out a book to bring home! This is just one of the many ways that Officer Bri connects with our students and families. She is a familiar face at our school and enjoys fostering reading with our young learners every year by giving them a book.

Gertrude Chamberlin School Student/Family Directory

Make sure your student is included!

FOR YOUR STUDENT'S INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED, you MUST fill out the registration form and provide your contact information. Due to privacy concerns, you must opt in - your information will not appear unless you provide your contact information using the link.

Here is the link for the form:

By including your contact information, you make it easy to connect with other Chamberlin families and help create a strong Chamberlin Community! The Directory is being created and provided by the PTO. Please fill out the form no later than Friday, October 1st to have your information included.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer Doig, PTO president, anytime at

School Nurse Notes


Due to the more transmissibility of the Delta variant, as well as a portion of the population who are unvaccinated, the health department continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings.

  • How to clean: a reminder to wash masks at least daily (or when they get dirty). Wash by hand or washing machine, using regular detergent. Throw away disposable masks after daily use. Cleanse your hands following mask removal. Please send extra masks to school with your student.

  • Mask Use and Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Wearing a mask does not increase CO2 levels in the air you breath. CO2 molecules are small enough to easily pass through mask material. In contrast, the respiratory droplets that carry the virus that causes COVID-19 are much larger than CO2, so they cannot pass as easily through a properly designed and properly worn mask. *source: CDC

Keep in mind all of these prevention steps:

  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine:
    • best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19
  • Stay home when sick:
    • keep illness from spreading to others
  • Hand hygiene:
    • wash hands or sanitize to rinse off or kill germs
  • Take care when getting together:
    • protect unvaccinated children and those who are unable to be vaccinated
  • Wear a mask:
    • protect you and others from getting and spreading COVID-19
  • Consider your travel plans:
    • delay travel until fully vaccinated; follow international travel rules

Illness Symptoms:

It is difficult to tell if symptoms are COVID or due to a respiratory virus (or seasonal allergies). Obtain a COVID test if your student has symptoms that last over 24 hours (even a runny nose!).

Please Refer to these Return to School guidelines and notify the school nurse of test results.

COVID-19 Testing Options
A PCR test may be obtained by scheduling on the testing site on the VT Department of Health's website or through your student's health care provider. Antigen tests are not accepted tests at this time.

Booster Shots

On Friday, October 1, registration will open for everyone who is now eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot, including:

  • if you received your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine six months ago or more
  • 65 years of age and older
  • people with certain medical conditions
  • people who are at higher risk due to their work

For more information, click on the links below:

Be well,

Nurse Kerry Farrell

Zoom Chat with Superintendent Young

Superintendent David Young will be having his next Zoom chat for families October 5th from 6-7 pm. Violet Nichols, Director of Learning will be on at the start to give an update/overview of ESSER, but then we're going to dive right into COVID information and Q and A regarding vaccines for children and the test to stay program among other items. We will have at least one special guest, Dr. Rebecca Bell, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Larner College of Medicine at UVM Pediatric Critical Care at UVM Children's Hospital, and President of the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Welcome Back, Kaymen!

Kaymen is a 12 year old Labrador Retriever who "works" at GCS! He is owned by Al Thompson, our School's Out District Program Administrator. Al and Kaymen are a certified therapy dog team through Vermont Therapy Dogs. They work together with Katie Wessels, our school based Howard Center clinician as a helper for students. He enjoys being read to, being brushed and he's a great listener! When Kaymen has his green bandana on, students know that they can say hello to Kaymen if they see him in the hallway and ask Al if it's an OK time for a touch or a hug. Kaymen couldn't come to school last year because of Covid, so we are excited to have him back at school!

Click on the video to see the fun learning opportunities in 2nd Grade!


Every classroom at Chamberlin begins the day with a morning routine. Morning Meeting and check-in routines help students build a classroom community. This is also a time when the schedule and important skills are introduced that will be built upon throughout the day. For a student to be a successful learner, they need to be in class by 8:10 am daily. Students arriving after 8:10 are marked tardy. The South Burlington School District partners with other Chittenden County Schools regarding our attendance/truancy policy. If a student is absent or tardy 5, 10, 15 or 20 days, we will send a letter home notifying parents of the missed school. If this happens, we ask that you please set up a time to meet regarding your child’s attendance. If a student is absent for 20 days, we are required to report to our School Resource Officer (SRO), who then takes steps to file a report with the State Attorney’s office. We also understand that students may be missing more school this year because they have symptoms, need to get tested and/or may need to quarantine. If your child is ill with any of the following symptoms; fever >100.4, cough, shortness of breath, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or body aches, headache, sore throat, has a loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea please keep them home and contact the school at 652-7400. Also, please be sure you share this information on the health screening app. The school nurse will contact you to determine when they can return to school. If your child has an appointment or needs to miss school for some other reason, please be sure to call the office at 652-7400. If we don’t receive a phone call and your child is not in school, we will spend time making phone calls, to parents and emergency contacts, to ensure that your child is safe. If we can’t get in touch with you or your contacts, we will ask our School Resource Officer to visit your home to do a child safety check. We appreciate your help in getting your child to school on time and calling when they are unable to come to school or are sick. By working together, we can all support our children to be the best learners that they can be!

School Safety

Safety continues to be a focus in our school district, as well as our state. We are asked to adhere to emergency drills, however there have been modifications due to Covid 19. Earlier this month, we had an all school "Evacuate the Building" drill using our fire alarm. On Monday, we had a "Secure the Building" (lockdown) drill, which was in the form of a classroom discussion. This discussion started with the teacher explaining what a lockdown is and under what circumstances a lockdown might be used. Our district has a developmentally appropriate script that we use to explain this emergency situation using appropriate language. A lockdown would be used in situations when there is a serious threat inside the school building. Discussion points could include that a lockdown means locking classroom doors and other access points to keep students safe, moving everyone to a location in the classroom that is out of the line of sight of windows and doorways, and having everyone remain silent. The discussion may also include modeling or practicing as part of the process. Both of these crisis drills are required to be done within the first 30 days of school. After this month, we will have evacuation drills every other month and another "Secure the Building" discussion in the spring.

September 30th Update from Superintendent Young

September 30, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

One of my favorite things about having students and staff back in school full time is randomly bumping into people and having spontaneous conversations. This happened to me this week when I ran into Khaddouj Baaja on what happened to be her last day with the District after 17 years of service as a night shift custodian! Khaddouj’s supervisor Alexis Seraus said, “Khaddouj was a hard worker, dependable and finished her job on time. It was a pleasure to work with her.” I am so thankful for her and our entire team who have gone above and beyond during these times of additional cleaning procedures due to COVID-19.

In other news, tonight at 6:30 pm at the SBHS turf field Gertrude Chamberlin students will be showing off the circus skills they learned during the artist in residence program that they have been engaged with for the past couple of weeks with Troy Wunderle and his Big Top Adventures. Check out this segment MyNBC5 did giving a preview of the fun!

See updates on my next Zoom chat, surveillance testing, and more below.

COVID Update in SBSD

We have not had any new COVID-19 cases in our District this week! Thank you for continuing to practice mitigation strategies in and outside of school including staying home when sick, hand washing, and physical distancing in addition to masking and taking extra precautions when gathering indoors. We continue to carefully monitor the VT COVID dashboard, the current VT PreK-12 COVID data, and guidance around travel and quarantine.

My Next Zoom for Families this Tuesday!

Please join me and special guests for my next Zoom pop-in chat for families this coming Tuesday, October 5, from 6-7 pm (Meeting ID: 840 3096 3269 Passcode: 121872). Our Director of Learning, Violet Nichols will join me at the beginning to give an overview of ESSER funds. These are one-time funds for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) provided for by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

Afterward, we will move on to COVID-19 related topics including vaccines for children and recent testing options including “test to stay.” I will be joined by Rebecca Bell, MD, MPH, FAAP, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Larner College of Medicine, UVM Pediatric Critical Care at UVM Children's Hospital, and President, Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Please bring your comments, questions, and concerns or just listen!

Transportation Kudos and Reminder

We are so appreciative of the patience of our families and dedication of our staff as we have navigated transportation this year. We understand that inconsistencies impact daily schedules and are inconvenient. The transportation team cares about your students and is doing their best every day to support them. Our Director of Operations and Finance Gary Marckres recently reiterated that this group plays a “huge and often underappreciated role in enabling access to education and co-curricular activities for the majority of our students. They have consistently stepped up to deliver meals and supplies during the pandemic and are an incredible resource to the South Burlington community.”

Want to join this amazing crew? WE ARE HIRING! The bus garage phone number is 802-652-7498. Feel free to call if you’re interested in joining our team! South Burlington is looking for four additional drivers to decrease the pressure on our current driving staff. Transportation monitors are also a critical component of our staff and we could use at least two additions. Finally, a quick note to families, please have conversations with your student(s), if you can, about staying masked while on the bus and helping the driver by following bus safety rules.

School Safety Tip Line

We were recently made aware of and wanted to share this resource: the VT AOE School Safety tip line. The purpose of this tip line is to enhance school safety and security by providing students, faculty, staff as well as members of the community with a tool to report concerning behaviors that may have a negative impact on our schools. These tips will assist law enforcement, human service providers and school administrators in identifying school threats and coordinating assistance to students and families for services not needing an immediate response. Any student, parent/guardian, educator or member of the community can utilize this tip line at no cost. All tips are anonymous.

COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters

Next week, on Thursday, October 7, SBHS will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic from 9-5 for those aged 12 and above. To be clear, this pop-up site is NOT for those seeking a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine. However, we wanted to make staff and families aware that On Friday, October 1st, registration will open for those who are eligible for a booster. This includes certain age groups, those with underlying health conditions, and those who work in high risk, public facing professions including education. Eligible individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months ago will be able to make an online appointment through the health department here. Important notes:

  • You must wait 6 months before registering.
  • You can get the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same time or close together (i.e flu and booster).
  • Bring your COVID-19 vaccine card to the appointment.

Booster shots are only available, at this time, to those who received the Pfizer vaccine. To determine which vaccine you received (and the dates), look at your vaccine card. Lost it? See these directions for replacement. You can find a full list of FAQs about the booster shot from the VT Department of Health here.

Surveillance Testing Update

As many of you know, we have been planning to roll out a voluntary Covid-19 Surveillance Testing Program for students and staff beginning in mid-October. At the Governor’s September 28 press conference, Secretary of Education Dan French discussed several other testing strategies to help schools reduce the time they spend contact tracing and to keep students in school via a “Test to Stay'' program which would use rapid antigen tests for asymptomatic and unvaccinated students who have been deemed close contacts. An antigen test would be conducted each day for 7 days after the last possible exposure. We are considering this as well as our surveillance testing program and are awaiting further information from the Vermont Agency of Education prior to deciding how to proceed with these testing methods. The test to stay method is supported by the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and has been used widely in Massachusetts with success. Our goal is always to keep students and staff safely in school. Testing is one of the best ways we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19. More information to come.

School Board Updates

Thanks to all who applied to fill the remaining 5 months of Rebecca Day’s term on the school board! We anticipate conducting interviews at our next regular school board meeting Wednesday, October 6 beginning at 7 pm. You can participate in person, via Zoom, or watch the meeting streamed by the Media Factory. The agenda and Zoom link will be posted to the District website tomorrow afternoon.

In addition, you can connect with board members via Zoom. Join Board Chair Bridget Burkhardt or board member Brian Minier this coming Monday from noon-1 pm and 5-6 pm respectively. Find the participation information here. Join us!

School Happenings

SBHS’ Journalism Club will Host (Virtually) VTDigger’s Ben Heintz

This Friday when the SBHS journalism club meets, they will virtually welcome VTDigger’s Ben Heintz who will discuss the Underground Workshop which “empowers young Vermonters to engage in the public sphere as journalists, reporting and publishing for a statewide audience. The Workshop is a collaborative community, led by a team of student editors from ten of Vermont’s high schools and colleges. Any student is welcome to attend, to pitch ideas for stories, to submit drafts for feedback, or just to listen in. Students can submit work at any time, and in a range of formats, from feature stories to news briefs and Q&A's, and they're always seeking photographs and videos for their instagram page.” While SB students have yet to participate, this meeting could be the springboard for involvement!

FHTMS’ Fusion! Head to Philo!

It’s officially fall and a great time to explore Vermont’s natural areas. The Fusion! team at FHTMS will be taking advantage of the weather tomorrow as they explore Mt. Philo. English teacher Lori Centerbar wrote, “We plan to divide the students and take a variety of trails to get to the top. Once there, we will continue to build and strengthen our Fusion! Community by having a few team-building activities and also by simply sharing some time getting to know each other in an effort to foster strong relationships for our next two years together.” Sounds perfect.

Gertrude Chamberlin School Students Fill their Hive

Chamberlin students have been doing a great job following the 3 B’s (Be respectful, Be responsible, Be safe) and have filled their hive with honey cells. Classes have cashed in their bee bucks for honey cells which means tomorrow will be an all school celebration! Students can wear their favorite T-shirt and mismatched or colorful socks! Way to go!

Rick Marcotte Central Students Learned about Apples in Farm to School This Week

Lauren Jones, Farm to School Educator for Common Roots has returned to SB’s elementary schools with Farm to School lessons and this week, Central students had the chance to learn about apples and engage in the hands-on activity of making apple butter. The apple butter that was made in class was donated to the Common Roots Farmstand and the SB Food Shelf. Yum!

Orchard Reading to Raise Anit-Racists enters year two

The second year of Orchard's school wide initiative titled "Reading to Raise Anti-Racists" is underway! During this year-long project, every class will be using picture books as a springboard for meaningful, transformative conversations to help gain an understanding of people whose racial, cultural or gender identity may be different from their own. In addition to rich classroom discussions, each grade level team will share something about the month's book during a whole school Morning Meeting Zoom. September's book was Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and October's book is A Journey Towards Hope by Victor Hinojosa & Coert Voorhees.

Thanks for reading and have a great Friday and weekend,


Emergency Broadband Benefit Available for Students Qualifying for Free and Reduced Price Meals

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is available to any students who qualify for free and reduced price school meals, including all students attending Community Eligibility Provision Schools. The benefit provides up to a $50/month discount on internet service, and a one-time discount on a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. Households can provide their Free and Reduced Meals approval letter from School Year 19-20, 20-21, or 21-22 to qualify for this benefit. Households may continue to submit free and reduced meal applications to their schools to become eligible for this benefit throughout this school year. If you believe you qualify and need a letter for eligibility, please contact Mrs. Baechle at 652-7403.
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Does Your Child Need Milk for Their Home Lunch?

Milk is NOT free for students who need a milk for their home lunch. The cost of a milk is 50 cents and parents/caregivers can send in a check, made out to South Burlington Nutritional Services, to credit their child's account or have money taken directly from an account to credit to your child's account. or use our online payment option through MySchoolBucks.

If you have any questions, please contact Rhonda Ketner

This school year ALL STUDENTS can have FREE Breakfast and Lunch! We would still ask everyone to fill out the Free and Reduced Lunch form. See the links below for the form and the breakfast and lunch menus.