Williston Schools /September 30, 2020

A Message From The Administration

by Lead Principal Greg Marino

I will readily admit that I have been struggling to compose this week’s note for The Bell. The more I thought about how to approach the opportunity this week to message out from administration, the more I found myself feeling a bit down. Along with that “down” feeling, I was beginning to feel some anger and frustration both with myself and with the world, about all the things that were causing this sadness, and the realization that I could not just shut the feelings off. My regular disposition, to a fault, is to look on the bright side of things no matter what the challenge, and to spread that optimism in whatever way I can in support of encouraging others and encouraging positive forward motion. I reached into that proverbial tool bag for just the right strategy or widget to do the trick, and realized it was not there this time. This tool kit has never failed me before - always so reliable, so deep, sometimes overflowing with amazing tools. In the last 24 hours or so, I have been grappling with the frustration of not having the fix for what I was feeling and what others appeared to need around me. Then I felt it - the realization that this was exhausting. I was tired and I was sad. I think that is OK.

We lost one of our students this week. A young boy who was part of our learning family is no longer with us. I am no expert in grief, but I do believe that each of us will need to grieve this loss as individuals, while our interconnected community grieves and heals together. These two processes are interdependent and yet infinitely varied and messy. This profound loss comes in the context of other weighty losses we are all living through - as individuals, as families, and as a community: the fear and stress associated with the pandemic, the social injustices and cultural discord we are witnessing in our country, and perhaps most difficult for many of us, the loss of control and mastery over so many basic routines and functions that previously took up almost none of our headspace (see Sarah Crum’s note last week).

I bumped into a parent outside the school building the other day who thoughtfully asked how I was doing. I gave the standard polite reply indicating that I was doing OK and feeling grateful for the team and the community that we have. Those things were true. This caring person then reminded me that it was OK not to be “OK”. Again, a polite reply from me acknowledging that I knew that and that my wife has usually got a close eye on me with regard to self-care. My day went on without any further thought about this friendly and caring exchange. I wasn’t able to acknowledge yet that I wasn’t quite OK. Today, I am even more grateful for that kind encounter than I was when it happened.

Today, in this moment. I think I know just a little better where I am at - I am sad and tired, but I am also hopeful. And I am realizing that it’s OK to be sad and tired, and it is OK to tell people I care about that I am sad and tired. That learning seemed to not come as easily as it perhaps should have at my stage in life. Just another reminder that I’m still learning things about myself every day. As most of you know, I am the father of four children, ranging in age from 12 - 22. Tonight when I’m home checking on my two youngest who are still in the house, and ask.”How are you doing?”, I’ll make extra certain to let them know that they can take a minute to think about it, and that it’s OK not to be OK. Then I think I will tell them that I’m a little sad and a little tired, but I know I’ll be feeling better soon. I think that modeling this vulnerability and hopefulness for them feels like a productive action I can take. Tangible actions are helpful. Other things that help me include physical exercise - taking a walk or bike ride, watching a favorite movie with family, calling or video-chatting a loved one I haven’t spoken to or seen for a while, or doing yard work. I encourage you to take a few minutes to think of a few things that help you when you are feeling low.

I hope and plan to maintain the dispositions of holding gratitude in my heart and keeping dominant my optimistic view of the world. I offer the reminder though that it is OK to be sad. I offer that it is OK to be tired. And, I offer that it is important to let the people we care about know that we are having these feelings. I encourage you to check in with your children with these things in mind, and also with the reassurance that we / they will not feel this way forever. Be hopeful. We will be OK. We have each other.

CVSD Guidance

We hope you find time to review the wealth of information available on our Champlain Valley School District website .

Superintendent's Update (Sept. 25)

CVSD Reporting Dashboard

CVSD COVID-19 Symptomatic and Positive Cases Guide. This can also be found on the Health page of our updated Reopening Site. The guide includes information on when to keep your child home from school, when a test may be needed, what happens when there's a positive test in school, and much more.

What to Expect about Schools Reopening

The guidelines support school programs to stay open and provide a safe, healthy, and fun place for your children to grow, learn, and play. Information for parents can be found at the Health Department's website.

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Kindergarten Transition to 4 days of In-Person Instruction

Now that we have successfully opened schools in the hybrid model, our hope is to incrementally transition elementary students to more in-person school days. The current plan is to begin this transition on October 5 with Kindergarten students transitioning to fully in-person schooling for 4 days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) and maintaining remote instruction on Wednesdays each week.

School Board Meeting October 6

Please find links below to the school board agendas for Tuesday night's meetings (October 6th).

The regular board meeting will take place via Zoom beginning at 6:10pm.

Zoom link Meeting ID: 947 8972 4030 Password: g6Q@31

Dial by Phone: 1-646-876-9923 Password: 545757


*The night will begin with a closed executive session from 6-6:10pm.

*The regular portion of the board meeting will run from 6:10-7pm.

*The board Finance Committee, Human Resources Committee, and Indicators Committee meetings will run from 7-8pm.

This is the link to the agenda in Google and on the school board website (and attached).

This is the link to the full agenda packet available on the school board website.

Dry Clothing Physical Education

Do you like wet feet? I know I don’t. We all know this is a different kind of year. Currently we cannot move actively in the gymnasium due to Covid 19 precautions. That means that Physical Education must be held outdoors in order for the children to be physically active. Often in the morning the grassy areas are wet. Once the ground firms up there won’t be as much worry about wetness from dew or frost, but right now that is an issue. I would like to maximize movement and mask breaks for the children which means we will be going outside. This includes days that are chilly.

If it is raining, we have the use of the tent. On days it is not raining we will be on open field space. This means wet feet (shoes and socks). If your child has a dry pair of socks and shoes to change into they will be much more comfortable for the remainder of the day. As the weather gets colder we will see where we are with Covid 19 precautions. Thanks for helping your child to stay active and comfortable. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Lyn Porter – Allen Brook Physical Education

Allen Brook School Student Attendance

Kindergarten families should contact Laura Gigliotti (, Jodi Blaine ( and your classroom teacher to report absences. We appreciate hearing from you before 8:30.

Grade 1 and 2 student absences should be emailed to,, and the classroom teacher.

For VLA students, please email your teacher and

The ABS office phone is 802-871-6200.

Williston Drama Program

Hello all you Drama Folks! We are still here! We know it's been an unusual year

but WHEN WE CAN we plan on being back- with FROZEN/TAKE TWO. So watch the Bell

for any announcements and stay safe.

Thank you so much,

Sean Moran

Drama Williston Central School

WCS Library News

Enter to win a book by Vermont middle grades author Lindsey Stoddard!

Vermont author Lindsey Stoddard has written several well-reviewed books for middle grades. Her book Just Like Jackie, was on last year's Vermont Middle Grades Book Award list.

Her recent book, Right as Rain, is a Vermont 2020 Book Festival Great Read and Kirkus Best Book of 2019. Vermont students can enter to win one of five signed copies of this book by watching this video interview with author Lindsey Stoddard, and then completing this form:

The survey form will close on October 16.

This book is available to check out on our digital library Sora.

Welcome to CVSD IT Help Desk Portal

Please use this ticket process for technical support. As tickets come in, one of our technicians will be assigned to work that ticket and will reach out to you within 24 hours either by telephone or email.

Virtual Learning Academy Website

click here to access the VLA site

VLA Tips and contacts

Troubleshooting your Device:

When questions arise about the device you are using (won't start, camera doesn't work, etc.), please fill out this Helpdesk Form and someone will be in touch with you soon. Please do NOT directly email anyone in IT to request help as the department all works together and uses the Helpdesk system to respond to requests and needs.

Troubleshooting Digital Tools & Resources:

When questions arise with the accounts you are using (Google, IXL, Seesaw, and others), please reach out by email to Tim O'Leary, Virtual Learning Academy's Digital Learning Leader:

Williston Families As Partners (FAP)

Williston Families As Partners (FAP), Williston’s “PTA” organization, provides a forum for parents, teachers, administrators, and community members to actively discuss activities, events, and programs in the Williston schools. The participation of teachers and administration differentiates our FAP from a typical PTO/PTA and helps further promote our children’s health, well-being, and educational success.


FAP Rep duties vary from house to house, but here are some of the most common activities and functions (an FAP Rep won’t necessarily do all of the things listed);

Liaison between the teaching staff and parents

Inviting interested parents to attend monthly FAPAC meetings

Serving on various FAPAC sub-committees


FAP Advisory Council Monthly Meeting, held remotely

Communicating with House parents and teachers (approximately 1 hr/month)

Four Winds

Dear Teachers, Families, and Students,

We would like to continue the Four Winds partnership and encourage scientific learning and hands-on, outdoor exploration whether you are learning in the classroom or remotely.

The theme for the year is Structure and Function. Our focus for the month of September is Spiders. The embedded links will take you to the resources provided by the Four Winds Nature Institute.

While volunteers are not able to join you in a classroom this year, we have put together an amazing Google Slides Spider Presentation for you. In it, you will find everything that we would typically share in a Four Winds lesson. This includes fun facts, diagrams, photos, activities, and even a video of the beloved puppet show!

Thank you for continuing this positive school, parent, and community partnership with Four Winds. We would love to hear from you! Feel free to email, visit our website, or share your findings and photos on our Padlet.

Have a great school year!

Deb & Amanda

Your Four Winds Williston Coordinators

Link to Spider Presentation

Link to Padlet for Uploading Photos



What Families can Expect When a Student is Sick

Symptoms such as cough, runny nose, and upset stomach can be caused by many different germs or health conditions. This fact sheet from the VT Dept. of Health can help you prepare in case your child gets sick.


Parents will be asked to certify that each day they will take their child’s temperature, monitor their health, and NOT send them to school if any of these are true.

All students will have their temperature taken prior to boarding the bus or entering the building.

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ABS Arrival and Dismissal Time

Students being driven to ABS in the mornings can now arrive between 8:00 to 8:15 am (all grades). Walkers are welcome as early as 7:40, when the buses are arriving. Click here for full document.

School Meals

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.

October Menu

If you feel you may be eligible for meal benefits, please fill out this online form and submit it to the school. You will be notified if you qualify for free or reduced priced meals. Even though meals are currently free for all, this is likely to change later in the fall. Also, this information is used to determine the amount of federal assistance the school receives each year to support learning. If your situation changes you can apply at any time.

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.

Remote Learning Days Meals

Our distribution days for meals for remote learning days will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. On Monday each child will receive 2 breakfast meals and 2 lunch meals. (4 Meals)

On Wednesday each child will receive 1 breakfast meal and 1 lunch meal (2 Meals)
On Thursday each child will receive 2 breakfast meals and 2 lunch meals. (4 Meals)

Williston Remote Meals:

Please only sign up on these forms for the days your students will need meals at home. You can come to your school to pick up meals between 10-10:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can also request delivery of meals on the form and we will deliver meals to your home. By requesting this option, you are giving us permission to deliver meals to your home. Please place a cooler near your front door for us to place the meals in to keep them safe and cold. Some items will need to be reheated at home. The instructions will be on the labels.

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Access to School Buildings

Access to the school buildings this year is by appointment only for contract tracing reasons, please contact the person you would like to meet with to schedule an appointment.
Student and Family Emotional Support

School Counselors offer tips and suggestions to help maintain emotional well being.

School Handbook

The school handbook has been updated for 2019-2020