OSSD Safe and Healthy Schools
Dear OSSD Community,
As most of you know, the Randolph Union High School and Randolph Technical Career Center have been closed for the past week due to a breakdown of the fuel oil heating system. RTCC will resume instruction on Monday, November 21 for most programs. All programs will resume fully on Monday, November 28 after the Thanksgiving break. RTCC is fortunate to be in a newer building with better insulation and a significant amount of electric heat in place. Randolph Union High School is planned to reopen fully on Monday, December 5th once the fuel oil heating system is fully repaired.
At the board meeting last night, the school board appointed a new member and also approved the use of reserve funds to pay for the heating repair at the high school and for the update to the locker rooms. More details on that below.
We had a wonderful Community Forum on Thursday night. Thank you to all those in the community who came. We had a wonderful turn out. The brainstorming sessions for ways to improve our schools led to meaningful conversations. We also spent time with faculty and staff in professional learning earlier this month. Details and some images of the brainstorming from both sessions are below. We look forward to continuing this work and making our schools even better. It is a community effort and we all want the best schools possible for our children.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving,
Reserve Funds Approved for heating repair and locker room renovations
At a special meeting of the School Board on Friday night, the board voted unanimously to approve the use of reserve funds for the repair of the heating system at Randolph Union High School. The approved up to $300,000 from the reserve fund for this purpose.
In addition, they also unanimously approved $34,060. of reserve funds for a Lajeunesse Construction proposal to install private changing areas in the locker rooms. This work is described in the Lajeunesse proposal includes:
2 Locker Rooms in High School, 2 Locker Rooms in Middle School
- Remove existing lockers as necessary
- Frame changing areas on existing floor with 2x4 spruce to be 7" high (open ceiling)
- Install drywall finish taped and painted
- Install vinyl base trim
- Install fabric curtain at access to opening
- Install bench and wall hooks in each area
Sam Hooper appointed to the School Board
There was a special meeting of the School Board on November 18, 2022. After interviewing two candidates, the current members of the School Board voted to appoint Sam Hopper to the open Brookfield seat. Sam replaces Scott Clouatre who recently resigned his seat.
Here is Sam's introductionletter to the board:
Dear School Board Members,
I have always been passionate about the importance of community engagement and civic duty. With an open seat, I feel compelled to serve our community as a resident of Brookfield.
Born and raised in Brookfield I have had the opportunity to learn what makes this community
great. My family is rooted here and I have two nephews in the school system. In my business,
Vermont Glove, I employ 12 members of the community many of whom have kids in the school
system. I pride myself on being a fair-minded problem solver and a hard-working team player. I strive to understand the perspectives of all my neighbors, while staying committed to thoughtful well-
informed decision making.
I believe that all children deserve a safe and supportive school environment. I’m deeply committed to fostering a public education system rooted in a culture of continuous improvement and that is equitable, inclusive and accessible to all members of our community. I value critical thinking and the importance of a strong curriculum that acknowledges history and promotes progress and innovation. I care deeply about the people in this community and I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the school board.
Sharing Food with Families
A huge thank you to Sarah Natvig for providing meals for RUHS and RTCC last week even though those schools were closed. The state notified us that we could not use federal funds or food we had purchased with federal funds to serve meals to students during the unexpected closure. They let us do that during Covid, but that waiver had ended. So we were stuck with no food and no money to serve meals. Sarah got creative and using the food stored in the RTCC Culinary Kitchen, prepared meals for pick up on Tuesday through Friday last week. Meals were free for RUHS and RTCC students and families could buy additional meals for $9 each. Every additional meal that was purchased funded a free meal for a student. We are planning to continue meal distribution through the closure if possible. More information about that plan will be coming soon.
Colin Andrzejczyk, Jason Finley, and Cathy Ingalls provided bags of groceries to families through The Food for Thought program on Thursday, November 17, 2022. They plan to offer bags of groceries again on Monday, November 21, 2022.
Food Order Form for Monday 11/21 and Tuesday 11/22 for RUHS and RTCC students who are displaced from school.
Community Forum Steps for Moving Forward
On Thursday, November 17, Superintendent Layne Millington held a Community Forum at Randolph Elementary School to engage the community in three important questions.
- What additional Common Sense things can we implement within the district that will make everyone feel more safe and comfortable
- What can we do to build a stronger unity amongst all students?
- How can we affect change in our community to reduce the tribalism that is the root of what we have experiences?
The community forum was well attended and the responses included:
- Private changing areas
- Gender neutral bathrooms - single use
- More student leadership structures
- Brand new high school building with new values - a place of pride
Clear communication systems
A clear Portrait of a Graduate
Common mission, vision, values, to be more visible and held up and emphasize
Education about gender identity
Education on trauma
Educate adults of deescalation and diversity
Emphasize civil discourse and cultivate civil discourse skills
Education about trans people that humanizes them
Emphasis on we are all connected, one community
Training on restorative justice to build a stronger community
Equity embedded across the curriculum
- Community forum for students
- Advisory and grade level community meetings
- More whole school activities and assemblies
- More clubs, group projects to encourage building connections
Student created code of conduct
Continue the affinity spaces, safe spaces, and buddy benches
- Parent Teacher Organization
- Community dinners or get togethers
Celebrations of strengths and celebrations of learning
Bring the community into the school more often
Celebrate differences with cultural exchanges and events
More opportunities to have difficult conversations in less heated situations for both students and adults
Bring in speakers from different facets of the community
Hold community conversations that are respectful and open
We are grateful to everyone who came out and helped us brainstorm these ideas for school improvement. What great ideas everyone shared. We look forward to engaging students, staff, and the community in this work to improve our schools.
Staff Professional Development
On Thursday, November 10, School staff from across the district participated in a half day of training. Several hours were focused on curriculum, academics and mathematics instruction. Staff ended the day with professional development time dedicated to equity and inclusion with a focus on LGBTQ+ topics and questions. Several community members joined us to lead us in conversations.
The facilitators included:
Amanda Rohdenburg (she, her), Associate Director, Outright Vermont
V Pearson (they/them), Director of Organizing, Outright Vermont
Owen Daniel-McCarter (he/him), Bethel Equity & Inclusion Committee
Jae Basiliere (they, them), Chief Diversity Officer, Vermont State University.
Jack Michael (she/they), Instructional Designer + Teaching Artist, Jack Michael Studio
Teachers ended the day with sharing their thinking on next steps which included requests for more training on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
November 21 - RTCC reopens for some programs to participate in field trips/experiential learning
November 23-25 - Thanksgiving Holiday - no school
November 28 - RTCC reopens for all students
December 5 - Randolph Union High School reopens for all students
Here are some national months, weeks, and days:
- Native American Heritage Month - November
- Family Stories Month - November
- National Gratitude Month - November
Orange Southwest School District
2022-2023 District School Calendar
Location: 24 Center Street, Randolph, VT 05060