EMS Newsletter

February 1, 2019

Dear EMS Families,

Over the last few weeks, I met with students to discuss the harassment that has been the subject of much discussion in our community. I challenged each student to think of a time when they had chosen to be hurtful over empathetic and consider “why”. Students’ reflections often focused on

  • feeling annoyed and frustrated

  • feeling disrespected by someone else’s actions or words

  • needing to defend themselves out of fear of what someone else started

I challenged students to consider what it takes to respond differently - to instead choose kindness in the face of stressful situations.

Over the last few weeks two students have had their social media accounts compromised and used to communicate hateful and hurtful messages. Sadly, social media is too frequently used for such purposes. What starts outside the school often finds its way into the school community as students struggle to manage the hurt. As such, it is our charge as families and educators to collaborate to address these acts of hatred.

This is yet again another area where the partnership of home and school is imperative. Unlike our reality growing up, our children live in a world where they are unable to get a break from their peers. This article Middle School Misfortunes Then and Now: One Teacher’s Take powerfully captures the challenges students face as a result of social media today.

So, what can we do as educators and parents?

I would encourage you to spend 15 minutes with this resource from Common Sense Media and identify at least one suggestion that resonates with you for how you can address the misuse of social media with your child

Additionally, I would encourage you to remind your child that

  • anyone can see their online presence - it’s not just seen by friends but can be seen by you, their family, teachers and potential employers.

  • once something has been posted it can always be found again.

For all of us it’s important to remember to think carefully about password security so our accounts are less likely to be compromised.

  • Use different passwords for different accounts.

  • Keep your passwords private.

  • Ensure you are always signed out completely after using a public device.

  • Create passwords that are unique.

As a school community, we expect personal devices to be put away upon entering the building. While we know that devices are being confiscated every day, we also know there are many devices being used when staff aren’t looking, but it’s important to continue to

  • limit time on devices when in school

  • educate students about why this expectation is in place and

  • consistently uphold this policy

When I met with each team and students, I ended by asking students to consider a single act of kindness that they could initiate that day. Ultimately, we have the ability to create a safer community where all feel seen, heard and respected. It starts by choosing kindness, compassion and empathy first.

With gratitude for your partnership,


Friendly Reminders

  • 2/7 - The BHS Guidance team will be meeting with 8th graders to introduce them to 9th grade and discuss the course selection process

    • The only classes rising 9th graders can choose are elective classes. Core classes will be populated by BHS faculty and math classes will be identified by student’s 8th grade math teachers

  • 2/04 and 2/08 - YRBS survey to all EMS students (this is a change)

  • 2/08 - Sixth Grade Celebration of Learning - 2:00.

  • 2/11 - NAEP testing for 8th graders

  • 2/15 - EMS Dance 6 - 8 p.m.

  • 2/20 - EMS PTO 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

  • 2/25 - 3/05 - No school - February vacation

Community Announcements

  • School Dance Details

    • Tickets sold before and after school next week in the lobby of the school for $4.

    • Location - EMS gym. Entrance through side door by the gym driveway.

    • Dance doors will be closed at 6:30

    • Snacks and drinks for sale (range in price from $.25 - $1) throughout the dance

    • Games offered in addition to dancing.

    • Students must stay at the dance until 8 after entering.

    • Suggested drop off and pick up location - South Union St.

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Library/Makerspace Creates Opportunities for Learning

The library /maker space is being utilized in new and exciting ways! Recently, students on the Nia/Journey team created maker material symbols for MLK day and students have been recording voice and music in the new green rooms. Learning in the new space is both fun and educational!

Thank you to the EMS community for supporting our school and the new library/maker space.

Congratulations to Our MLK, Jr. Poster-Essay Contest Winner!

From the Vermont Bar Association BLAWG:

"The Vermont Bar Association, in partnership with its Diversity Section and Young Lawyers Division, sponsored a Martin Luther King, Jr. Poster-Essay Contest to celebrate the life and message of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle school students were asked to create a poster and write a short essay interpreting what Dr. King’s quote “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” means to them. One winner and two runners-up were selected by the committee from the many creative and thoughtful entries received from all over the state.

Governor Phil Scott presented awards to the winning students at the Statehouse on January 23, 2019. Elizabeth Cunningham, from Edmunds Middle School in Burlington, was presented with the first-place plaque and traveling trophy for her school.... Contest winner Elizabeth Cunningham, age 11, described in detail how the puzzle pieces are small and dark at the onset, and included words like segregation, as Dr. King’s message was abstract and not resonating or taking hold with enough people at first, but how they grew larger, brighter and more connected through action, as they joined the words 'justice, community, peace and integrity'.”

See below for Elizabeth's poster, along with some other photos from the Awards Ceremony. Here is also a link to her essay.

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Prevention Conferences this Fall

Read about students taking the lead on making a difference. We are super proud!

Vermont Kids Against Tobacco (VKAT) Conference

Students from Edmunds Be Above group joined other students from across the state to support Prevention. Balkisa,a former student at Edmunds, was the Keynote Speaker.

The “Getting to Y” Conference

Three of our Edmunds students joined students from Hunt,along with other students from Vermont, to learn how they can share out the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) Results with the Burlington Community. Details to come.

On February 4th and 8th, Edmunds students will be taking the 2019 YRBS Survey. We are very appreciative of student participation as the results from this survey help to support Prevention and Wellness efforts across the Burlington School District. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Angela Halsted, Edmunds Middle School SAP Counselor, Prevention Coordinator, #864-8486 x1010, ahalsted@bsdvt.org.

Hello from the Health Office

EMS Expectations When Students Are Sick At School

1. Students should visit the nurse first and foremost when not feeling well at school. There are many reasons we want students to come to the nurse first when they are feeling sick. We collect data on what is going around school (colds, stomach bugs, fever, etc.) and give you information about your child (e.g. if they have a fever or if they can stay in school).

2. Cell phones should be away (per school rules) and should not be used to text parents when a student is feeling sick. It also creates confusion in parent/school/student communication around sickness and often times the student could stay in school.

3. If you as a parent receive an email or text from your child, please direct them to the nurse’s office to be assessed properly to determine if they can stay in school or have to be sent home. Although it will be your natural instinct as a parent, please DO NOT MAKE ANY PROMISES to pick your child up from school. This could lead to conflicting messages about staying in school vs. going home.

4. If a student doesn’t feel well and has tried a few different interventions to feel better, or has a fever, has vomited or has bouts of diarrhea at school, we (the student and the nurse) will call parents from the nurse’s office.

5. Please call the nurse’s office back, and do not text your child for information. (Again, phones should be away). When you text your child and have not called the nurse’s office it makes communication confusing, especially if more than one parent has been contacted by the school nurse.

Please know that these expectations not only help us collect data, keep students in school, reduce interruptions in student learning as well as in your work day, they also teach students to follow protocols and procedures (a life skill that we all have to do in the working world). Middle school is where self/body awareness starts to kick in and when a student gets a stuffy nose, a sore throat, or a headache unlike they have ever experienced before they will make it out to be the worst case scenario. These are discomforts and not reasons to be sent home from school.

EMS Health Guidelines: Also in our Family Handbook

If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​unsure​ ​if​ ​your​ ​child ​should​ ​come​ ​to​ ​school​ ​or​ ​stay​ ​home,​ ​follow​ ​the​ ​Center​ ​for​ ​Disease Control​ ​guidelines that those who have flu-like symptoms should stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or any flu-like symptoms. Those who have emergency warning signs such as a high fever should get immediate medical care. It’s better for the general public’s health to keep a child home with flu-like symptoms than to send them to school and spread the illness.

Health Matters: What is the “flu?”

Influenza, commonly called “the flu” or seasonal flu, is caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. The flu usually spreads through the air from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Unlike the common cold, the flu can cause serious illness and can be life-threatening. Symptoms include a fever lasting several days, severe aches & pains, fatigue, dry cough and headaches. While nearly everyone will benefit from a flu shot, for some people the flu can lead to serious medical complications.

The Vermont Department of Health and the CDC encourage all Vermonters to get vaccinated. Did you know that it takes about 2 weeks after getting the flu shot for it to be fully effective? Get your children and yourselves vaccinated now so that you will all be protected and remain at work or school! The flu vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, doctor's visits, missed work and school days, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths in children. For more information, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm

Take steps to prevent spread of illness:

● Cover coughs and sneezes

● Wash hands often with soap and water

● Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs

Stay home if you are ill

● Avoid close contact with people who are sick

The Vermont Department of Health has this wonderful guideline to offer when trying to decide how to care for our sick family members: What to do about the Flu: Guidelines for deciding about care

A Cold vs. The Flu

Colds are caused by viruses, which are extremely small infectious organisms (much smaller than bacteria). There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold and symptoms can last up to 2 weeks. Cold season runs from September until March or April, so we usually catch most cold viruses during these months.

Cold symptoms-usually last 7-10 days

· Runny nose (first, a clear discharge; later, a thicker, often colored one)

· Sneezing

· Mild fever (101–102 degrees Fahrenheit [38.3–38.9 degrees Celsius]), particularly in the evening

· Decreased appetite

· Sore throat and, perhaps, difficulty swallowing

· Cough

· On-and-off irritability

· Slightly swollen glands

· Pus on the tonsils, especially in children three years and older, may indicate a strep infection.

Flu is the short term for influenza. It is an illness caused by a respiratory virus. The infection can spread rapidly through communities as the virus is passed from person to person.

Flu Symptoms-all flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more.

· A sudden fever (usually above 101°F or 38.3°C)

· Chills and body shakes

· Headache, body aches, and being a lot more tired than usual

· Sore throat

· Dry, hacking cough

· Stuffy, runny nose

There are similarities between the common cold and the flu, but the flu tends to be more severe. A cold has potential for complications such as ear infection but the flu has the potential for serious complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. It is important to talk to your doctor’s office if you suspect you or your child has the flu for advice.

info from healthykids.org

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