Williston Schools / January 13, 2021

No School Monday, January 18 (in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday)

A Message from the Administration

The Pages Yet Unwritten

by Lead Principal Greg Marino

I hope this note finds you doing okay. I know that I am coming to grips with the reality that the turn of the calendar year doesn’t mean a sudden change in the world we live in. Though we have perhaps turned a page, we are still in the same book for sure. I am reminding myself this week that the end of the book is yet to be written and that all of us are responsible for what happens next in this story.

Given the upsetting and unprecedented events that unfolded last Wednesday in our nation’s capital, I wanted to share a little about how our schools and our staff respond in times like these. The most effective way to do this may be to provide a list or principles and truths by which we do our work in the Williston Schools and at CVSD. Though it is important not to take these principles for granted, we do consider most of them to be operating assumptions and not special tools for special circumstances. I am grateful for that. These principles and habits are what help to create our culture.

  • School is a safe place. No matter who you are, our first priority is for you to feel safe when you walk through our doors each and every morning (or login to a virtual meet).

  • Our adult presence matters more than we know. Each and every person in our school matters to the success of all students, no matter what our job is.

  • When we show students that we are fully present for them, it helps them feel safe. Students experience our energy. When we are calm and steady in rough times, it is reassuring.

  • We are ever-mindful of the developmental stages of our learners. A six year old needs something different than a 12 year old.

  • We persevere when things get tough and come to school to learn how to make sense of the world so that we can change it for the better.

  • We let students know that it is okay and understandable to have all kinds of emotions.

  • We create safe spaces for difficult and courageous conversations. This takes time and space in the school day, which we will provide based on what students need.

  • Questions are encouraged. Different opinions are expected and will be heard. Unkind, cruel, or hurtful talk will be called out and not permitted.

  • We do not have to have the right answers, but can guide productive discussion, model critical thinking and analysis in looking at content, and solicit reasoning and justification. This allows both facts and opinions to emerge in a way that we can tell which is which.

  • The adults talk to each other, collaborate, and share resources. We lean on each other for support. This work is too important for any of us to try to do it in isolation. We are smarter together.

In addition to these principles and habits, more specific resources were gathered and shared with teachers on the morning following the events at the Capital related to teaching and supporting kids in times of unrest. Though we know many teachers have shared resources with families already, here are a few resources that you may find helpful.

Explaining News to our Kids, Common Sense Media

Tips for Parents of Media Coverage from National Child Traumatic Stress Network

How to Talk to Kids About Violence, Crime and War - Common Sense Media

Talking to Kids About the Attack on the Capitol (NEA, for teachers, but likely helpful for parents too.)

As always, I am grateful for our partnership in supporting the health and learning of our children, and in helping to craft, along with our children, the pages of this book that are yet to be written. Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions or concerns.

Translation Available

You are now able to translate the School Bell into a variety of languages.

Click on "Translate Newsletter" in the Accessibility box at the top right of the newsletter, and select a language in the drop down list.

In addition, you have the option to increase font size and contrast.

Learn to Ski/Ride Program Announcement

The Williston Learn to Ski and Ride Program is now on!

The program will be offered January 27- March 10.

Registration is now open!

Register on the Town Department of Rec. website at-

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Updated Health Screening Questions

In order to be in compliance with state regulations and to keep our teachers, staff, and students safe, all families with children participating in in-person learning agreed with and signed a certification at the beginning of the school year that they would attest to 4 questions about their child's health before sending students to school. As a result of the Governor's current Executive Order, we have updated the required questions. Please review the questions in the image below with your family before sending students to school.

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We are reminding all parents and caregivers who drop off or pick up students to be extra mindful about your driving in the school parking lots. We are asking that all drivers please drive with extreme caution, courtesy, and at slow speeds. We have noticed some dangerous situations pop up as a result of distracted driving or elevated driving speeds. We thank you for your help in keeping all students, staff, and drivers safe.

What to Know About Potential Hill Road Closings for Buses Due to Road Conditions

On the occasions it is determined a Williston school bus will not be driving on a hill* road during the morning pick up, we hope to be able to contact families early enough for you to get students to a stop at the start of the hill to catch the bus. When the hills are closed in the morning, it includes hills on the preschool bus routes. Alternatively, during the afternoon bus runs, we will contact families to advise you that the bus will need to drop children off at the start of the hill, and you can meet the bus there if necessary. If no one arrives to meet younger students, they will be brought back to school until arrangements are made for them to be picked up. Please talk with your bus drivers to let them know if you are comfortable letting your child walk home from the drop off location.

Click here for a list of designated stops.

We will use the Connect 5 automated calling system to send a voice message to families on the hill roads.

*These are the hill roads: Butternut, Highlands, Porterwood, Oak Knoll, Rabbits Run, Evergreen, Fortier, Douglas, Yantz Hill, lower River Cove, Meadow Ridge, Ledgewood, Bayberry, Terrace, Jasmine, Wild Ginger, French Hill, Sunrise Drive, Sunset, Lincoln, Chaloux, and Walker Hill.

Being a teen can be tough.

Parenting teens isn’t exactly easy, either.

That’s why we created ParentIN – to empower parents and caregivers of Champlain Valley School District students with the support they need to help their children make healthy choices. Reported substance usage among CVSD students drastically increases each year from 6th to 12th grade. We want you, and your child, to be prepared for what’s to come. ParentIN offers evidence-informed educational tips and resources, community engagement events, and facilitated meet-ups aimed at helping our kids live substance free lives.

You know a lot about your child; we know a lot about preventing substance abuse.

We are IN this together.

And here is the video link:

CVSD Early Ed Preschool Lottery

Champlain Valley School District School-Based Early Education Programs Preschool Lottery is coming soon!

The CVSD School-based Early Education Programs are now accepting applications for a random preschool lottery drawing for the 2021-22 school year. Our part-time, partial days, preschool classrooms are 5 STARs, licensed early education programs that provide play-based, developmentally appropriate environments for all children in an inclusive setting. Our curriculum is based on the Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS) and Teaching Strategies Gold. We believe that a diverse classroom offers opportunities for adults and children to practice acceptance and compassion and also provides a broad range of learning experiences.

Our programs closely follow the CVSD school calendar. Students who will be age 3 or older by September 1, 2021, but not yet 5 years old, are eligible to enter the lottery for our programs.

All applications must be received by February 5, 2021. You can download an application here: Early Education Lottery Application. More information is available on our CVSD Early Education Website also. Students will be selected via a lottery and families notified in early March.

Sleds for Allen Brook

Allen Brook Physical Education is looking for sleds. I would like to add some team activities and outdoor activities with sleds in PE. I am looking for sleds that are large enough for a student or two to ride in and have a rope (or place to attach a rope) for pulling the sled. Ultimately I would love to have 12 or more sleds for my classes.

I am not looking for expensive sleds. If you have any you are not using or would like to donate to the PE Department please drop them off at ABS. Thanks so much for considering a donation.

ABS Library website

Reading is an Investment

From IT - Adobe Flash Comes to a Close

Adobe is no longer supporting Flash at the end of 2020. Some computer applications and websites may no longer work. FasttMath is one example. We are shutting it down and it will no longer be available after 12/22. We are reviewing other applications with our vendors to see what else may be impacted. This information may be helpful to know about sites that you and your children possibly use at home.

Extra Masks, Winter Clothing

With the colder weather, having the right clothes for recess and outdoor learning is necessary. Please ensure your children come to school with jackets, gloves, hats, snow pants and boots .

A big reminder to parents to send in an extra mask because masks are getting wet at recess.

In addition, we hope families can ensure all students have a spare set of clean, dry clothes at school, as we are not able to share clothing safely this year.

Four Winds

Four Winds

Happy New Year! We hope you and your families are well, enjoying the snow and the increased daylight! Here is a new collection of ideas to explore with your family, students or classes. Hopefully it will inspire everyone to put on winter gear and head outside to discover the beauty of nature in winter!

New! Four Winds Winter explorations

Click on the links below! You will find fun facts, diagrams, photos, activities, and even the videos of the beloved puppet show!

The theme for the year is Structure and Function.

Our first unit explores Spiders.

The second unit investigates Tremendous Trees.

This third unit compares Predators and Prey!

New! Winter explorations

We will also offer an outdoor, socially-distant (but in-person!) lesson, including the puppet show and related activities, at ABS once a month on a Wednesday at 10:30am.

See the dates below if you are interested in joining us!

1/27 - Skulls

2/17 - Birds of a Feather

3/17 - Calling All Owls

4/21 - Defenses

5/19 - Bees

Feel free to email, visit our website, or share your findings and photos on our Padlet.

Be curious!

Deb & Amanda, Your Four Winds Williston Coordinators

Visit the Williston Four Winds Blog

Four Winds Nature Program in Williston



Virtual Learning Academy Website

click here to access the VLA site

Hybrid Learning Website

Hybrid Learning Schedules, Tech Support info and more

Upcoming Events

Jan 18 - No School/Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Feb 22-26 - No School / Winter Break

Apr 19-23 - No School / Spring Break

Child Find Notice

Champlain Valley School District (CVSD) is required by federal law to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities. The process of locating, identifying and evaluating children with disabilities is known as child find.

CVSD schools conduct Kindergarten screening each spring, but parents may call to make an appointment to discuss their concerns at any time. As the school district of residence, CVSD has the responsibility to identify and provide services to any child with special needs who may require special education and related services in order to access and benefit from public education.

If you have, or know of any CVSD resident who has a child with a disability under the age of 21 or a child who attends a private school located in Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George or Williston, Vermont, we would like to hear from you. Sometimes parents are unaware that special education services are available to their children.

Please contact the School Principal, (Williston Central/Allen Brook Schools – 878-2762) or the Director of Student Support Services, Meagan Roy at 383-1234 or

ABS Arrival and Dismissal Time

Students being driven to ABS in the mornings can now arrive between 7:50 to 8:10 am (all grades). Walkers are welcome as early as 7:40, when the buses are arriving. Click here for full document.

School Meals

Please visit the Food Service website for the remote learning days order form and more information.

We are excited to be able to serve your children hot food at school once again as well as continue to offer grab and go and delivery of meals for those students who are learning remotely. CVSD will be able to continue to offer free meals for all children 18 years of age and younger as we start school.

If your student has special dietary requirements please let us know. We will be happy to make reasonable accommodations (prepare a vegetarian version, substitute gluten free grain, bread or crust, soy milk or offer an alternate meal) to make sure they can have something nutritious and delicious to eat.

January Menu