The Core

October 2, 2020, Volume 11, Issue 4

Principal's Notes

Dear Parents & Guardians,

I would like to call your attention to the change in the school calendar next week and the following week. School is closed next Friday, October 9 and Monday, October 12 (it's a four-day weekend with Indigenous Peoples Day on the Monday end) Because of this, we will have two Blue Pack Days, October 5 & 6 and the two Gray Pack Days, October 7 & 8. There will not be a Wednesday online day. See the calendar below and make sure you read through the Superintendent's Friday emails for any other important updates.

As our school slowly moves toward fully opening, the staff at Orchard School is continuously working to make our building safe. At our last staff meeting, we met with a Contact Tracing Supervisor for the state of Vermont. There was a lot to take in but those conversations are helping our own planning.

One key to understanding contact tracing is to look at all the individuals who are within a six-foot proximity for 15 minutes. It does not matter if the individual is inside or outside, or with or without a mask - the key is the 15 minute/6-foot proximity.

I am explaining this because we are occasionally getting emails concerned with students outside without wearing a mask. We are working to have students at recess play without their masks. If the students stay close together, we are requiring them to put their masks on. This week we have been double-downing on this effort. Recess is key for active learning so we are making this time a priority. Of course this will be reviewed as we continue to move forward.

Special thanks to our PTO for providing us with canopy tents. They are coming in handy on the rainy days! Stay safe, stay well, and take some time to read with your child.

Mark Trifilio

Quote of the Week:

"The greatest glory in living lies, not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail."

~Nelson Mandela

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A School-Wide Project to Raise Anti-Racists

There is a yearlong initiative beginning at Orchard School titled "Reading to Raise Anti-Racists." Thanks to last spring's fundraising efforts by Orchard parents, there are multiple copies of selected picture books that every class will be reading during each month of the school year - one title per month. We'll be starting with Julius Lester's Let’s Talk About Race, followed in late October by Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein. Be watching The Core for the titles of books selected for future months.

Here is our rationale for the project:

Children’s sensibilities and attitudes about race start forming at a very early age. If we want to change racialized systems, then we have to deliberately engage kids in dialogue about the complexities of race early on in their development. A recent article from Teaching Tolerance illuminates the ever-increasing need to take an activist approach and go beyond teaching kindness towards teaching justice [Teaching Kindness Isn't Enough].

During this year-long project, we plan to use picture books as a springboard for meaningful, transformative, conversations about race because when we “read race” we are helping children develop the skills to see the world through a critical race lens. These books were specifically chosen for the following reasons: they feature Black, Indigenous People, and People of Color (BIPOC) as the main character, they avoid stereotypical portrayals of BIPOC, and they are written by authors/illustrators who share an identity with the characters in the book. Some are stories of racism and oppression, but others introduce, explore, and celebrate human differences and show BIPOC children in everyday situations because we don’t want to send the message that struggle alone defines the BIPOC experience. Our hope is that as a result of engaging in this school-wide reading and conversation, students will be inspired to become active anti-racists and ask questions like “What can we do?” or “How can we change that?”, as they fight for racial justice.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team


When your student is sick or staying home:

Please continue to fill out the Ruvna App and call the school's attendance line to report your student's absence. If you are emailing your student's teacher about an absence, please also phone in the absence.

School nurses are trying to reach out to parents/guardians when a student stays home due to illness, to assist with the next steps; if you are unsure if your student should be attending school, please contact the school nurse.

Vermont Department of Health: What families can expect when a student is sick

Health Screening Questions:

If you are not receiving the health screening questions, on the days your student attends school, please call the front office.

Please fill out the health screening questions prior to your student entering the school.

Help Us Keep Our Schools Open!

What you do and how you behave in our community may impact if our schools can remain open. Please follow the Health Department's guidance by avoiding large gatherings and non-essential out of state travel. Please visit here for more Vermont Cross State Travel information.

Remember the 4 W's:

Wear Your Mask

Watch Your Distance

Wash Your Hands

When Sick, Stay Home

CDC Video: Roll Up Your Sleeve for Your Annual Flu Vaccine

Be well,

Kara & Darcy

Orchard School Nurses

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Thank you PTO, the four canopy tents are really helpful this week!

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PTO Updates


Student Directory! Every family will receive a directory booklet, and for your student's information to be included, you MUST go to this link and provide your contact information.

Here is the link:

By including your contact information, you make it easy to connect with other Orchard families and help create a strong Orchard Community!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sue Hebeler, PTO member, anytime at or 802/777-6700.


This year is going to look very different for the Orchard PTO and for kids as far as activities go! We will do our best to be creative and to continue supporting families and kids in our community.


Since we will not be having our fun run this year, you can make a direct contribution:

Funds will be used to continue the good work we are doing to support our Orchard community.

Volunteer! We can use all the hands we can get (and right now we don't have very many!). We need a social media maven, a co-treasurer, and a book keeper. Any time you can offer will be valued - and it doesn't have to be time at school - in fact, this year we can't be in the building, so your volunteer time will be at home, and will require a zoom meeting once in a while.

If you are interested in volunteering please email

STUDENT DIRECTORY: Make sure your student is in the Directory! This year, the PTO is putting together a Student Directory booklet! Every family will receive one, but to be included, you MUST go to this link and provide your contact information.

Here is the link:

By including your contact information, you make it easy to connect with other Orchard families and help create a strong Orchard Community!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sue Hebeler, PTO member, anytime at or 802/777-6700.