The Core

December 18, 2020, Volume 11, Issue 14

Letter from the Principal

Dear Parents,

You are crazy ... "crazy generous". I am overwhelmed by our community's outpouring of care for those who need some help. I'm speaking specifically about donations of gift cards for food, department stores, and other miscellaneous needs. Thank you all for your donation, please know they will be well used and appreciated. We are saving some gift cards for later use in the winter as we continue to work through the pandemic.

Congratulations to our students for meeting our mini-milestone of 50 School Apples - remember each apple is equivalent to 100 classroom acknowledgments. And the good news is that we are all on our way to 100 School Apples!

Remember that the governor's rules on traveling or having other family members over are still in effect from Thanksgiving. We know this is tough but there are predictions that COVID cases will go up after our holiday vacation. As I continue to say - Orchard School is in a good place. We are learning from our mistakes and working extensively to keep everyone safe. Let's keep this rolling with four day week school weeks, let's all do our part to prevent closing school, let's all stay healthy and get through this! Here is a link to an article about how to accept family gatherings are cancelled:

Also: read the medical notes below - they are a new edition.

Special shout out to our PTO. They are continually working to support our staff!

And parents - keep up the great work at Drop Off & Pick up - you're doing an awesome job!

Happy New Year to all, let's all cheer in a new year with new hopes for an awesome 2021. Have a great vacation, take some time to read with your child.

Mark Trifilio

Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa to all who celebrate these holidays!

Quote of the week:

This month’s Reading to Raise Anti-Racists selection is from the book Saturday by Oge Mora. The quote is not from the book, but about the book from the author “finding the magic that is present in everyday life”, the book should inspire “reflection on the time we spend with those we love”, an important message to remember- especially at this time of year!

Big picture

Last Day? Hat Day!

Updates from our Medical Team

School Nurse Notes~

FLU and COVID-19 may both spread this winter:

Consider getting your flu vaccine over the break to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Visit the CDC to find out: Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19.

PCR Testing Sites:

  • If you/your student are sick, please contact your health care provider.
  • If you/your student are not sick but need a test, consider scheduling a test at a pop-up site on the Health Department's website: "Where to Get Tested" or call the Health Department @ 863-7240.

Health Department Resources: (click the links to learn more)
for people

Timeline for people who test positive and do not have symptoms.

Timeline for people who test positive and have symptoms.

Video: How to contact tracing works in Vermont.

Return to School Following Illness Guidelines.

Safe Community = Safe Schools:

Thank you for your awareness and adherence to the state's travel and multi-household guidance. If you decide to travel or if you decide to participate in a multi-household gathering, please follow the state guidelines and quarantine. Please also let the school know the dates your student will be out of school.

Vision and Hearing Screening:

Screenings are conducted in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade (per State of VT guidelines). We have started our screenings and will continue in those grades for the next several weeks. You will be contacted ONLY if we determine that your student requires further (out of school) assessment by their provider or specialist. Students can also be screened upon request. Please call if you have any questions.

Be Well,

Kara & Darcy

School Nurses

Winter Gear

We are seeking donations of winter coats, snow pants, and boots, especially in larger sizes (coats/pants age 8-14/ boots size 5-9). If families have any extra/hand-me-downs along these lines, please bring them to Orchard Office. Thank You!

PTO News


Square 1 Art update: Orders were expected yesterday, 12/17. If your child was not in school yesterday or today and you would like your items for the holidays, please contact Kristin at the PTO email to make other arrangements. Thank you to all who placed orders and supported our school!


We are still committed to making this unprecedented year a fun and productive one! We support teachers and the whole school in creating a strong community. To show appreciation for our teachers and staff, we provided pizza and holiday cookies last week, in lieu of our Annual Cookie Extravaganza. It is important to continue to show appreciation and support for our teachers, so we would like to periodically provide Covid-safe treats. Please help by making a donation to the PTO. A few dollars buys a couple of cookies or brownies. You may send a check to the Orchard PTO, c/o Suzanne Hebeler, 36 Cortland Avenue, South Burlington, VT 05403 or donate online:

Another use of fund is to create student Joy Bags! We would like to make bags with sensory supplies, books, and other boredom killers and happiness givers that teachers can have on hand to tuck into the backpacks of students who seem to need a pick-me-up during these times.

And we need you to join us! We need folks to coordinate cookie or brownie deliveries, make Joy Bags, and various other tasks. We also welcome new members! If you have a little room in your schedule, consider volunteering! Email Kristin at with thoughts, questions, and ideas.

Big picture

From Our Child Advocacy Team

Many in the Orchard Community have once again pitched in to make this winter season a little healthier and merrier for many Orchard families through the donation of gift cards to help meet food and other basic needs, some of which will last the whole year through. We are truly grateful for the generosity and compassion people have once again shown to each other by modeling our school community’s CORE value of BEING KIND to one another. THANK YOU! We are so blessed by every single family in this school that makes this such a special place to grow, each in their own special ways. Wishing you all this best as you hunker down together for this upcoming winter break.