The Core

December 17, 2021, Volume 13, Issue 18

Notes from the Principal

Hello Orchard Families,

Yay, we're just about there! Everyone is looking forward to the well-deserved vacation for both students and staff.

Wednesday, Dec. 22nd is our last school day, and we open our doors back up bright and early on Monday, January 3rd, 2022!

FIfth-grade parents - check out the survey below if your child is interested in performing in a play this year.

Congratulations to our Core Project (PBIS) Team for their hard work in supporting the development of pro-social systems at Orchard School. Check out the letter (attached below) from the Vermont Secretary of Education, Dan French. This focused work continues to contribute to the school climate of our awesome school.

Parents - thank you so much for your consistent support and dedication. This year we have faced many challenges, but we have worked through them together. Our students come to school each day working to do their best - congratulations everyone! Many students are so proud they got their second vaccination! My hope is that the break will be a time of rest and renewal. We look forward to a positive and energetic 2022!!

Happy Holidays Everyone, take some time to read with your child!

Mark Trifilio

Quote of the Week:

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.”

~ Jesse Jackson

Community Input for ESSR Funds

The South Burlington District Team is in charge of handling the ESSR (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) Funds. One major component of ESSR regulations is that parent feedback is solicited. To get parent and community feedback, a webpage was created to answer questions and explain the updated plans. You can see them here:

There is also a survey to get your feedback. The survey link is on the webpage but you can also go to it right here:

I hope you will provide feedback about what you think priorities should be for ESSR funds.

Week of Coding

What 2nd Graders are Saying

Dear Mr. Trifilio,

I love Orchard School because,

  • the staff members are so nice. (C)
  • I love learning. (T)
  • the Core values are good. (S)
  • the lunch here is good, I mean it. (E)
  • I get to learn new things. (B)
  • There are 100 apple celebrations. (L)
  • I love my friends and meeting new people! (K)
  • I love the teachers here. (G)
  • I love learning there and it's so fun! (L)
  • At recess I get to play with my friends. (C)
  • I love making new friends. (A)
  • you are the best principal. (B) sorry, I couldn't resist!
  • it is my favorite school ever. (A)
  • the staff members are amazing! (H)
  • it is so fun. (B)

School Nurse Notes

Is your student fully vaccinated for COVID-19?

As of 12/16/21, over 91% of children in Chittenden County have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Along with the benefits of being less likely to be infected, to become seriously ill and hospitalized, and to spread the virus...being FULLY vaccinated means that a student DOES NOT need to stay home and quarantine or participate in Test to Stay, if they are determined to be a close contact, and feel well.

If your student has received two doses, please email us a copy of the vaccination card, or contact us, so we may update their health record. Email to:

Kids and the American Academy of Pediatrics President talk vaccines:
Watch the fun, short video HERIE.

Be well,

Kara Cassani, RN & Darcy Mazlish, RN

Orchard School Nurses
SBSD Elementary Health Services
p. (802) 652-7303
f. (802) 652-7354

Giving Tree Final Updates

Orchard Families Came Through AGAIN! Thank you so much to this Orchard community for the INCREDIBLE generosity you showed through your donations of funds and gift cards for this year's Thankful Giving program. Having multiple ways to donate seemed to work well, so we will aim to continue the new systems we used this year. Feedback is always appreciated.

While many recipients will use these funds to purchase items right away, the needs in our school continue year-round. There were enough donations made that we were able to set some funds set aside to help families with emergency needs when they arise at other times of the year. What a relief and blessing it is to have that!

Thank you all so much. It really does "take a village", and Orchard is indeed a very kind village!

Melissa McConnell, LICSW

Howard Center/Orchard School

School Services Clinician

(802) 652-7338

The Most Beautiful Thing

This month's Reading to Raise Anti-Racists book is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING by Kao Kalia Yang. It's a story of a family of Hmong refugees. The book has inspired a schoolwide giving project! Each class will be donating a book to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in Colchester, possibly supporting new Afghan refugees in Vermont. Classes have signed the front of their book with a simple message like, "Welcome to Vermont" and each student's first name. There have been some fine discussions about refugees as students take action at this giving time of year.

Photos of Students Signing Books for New Families, "Welcome to Vermont"

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A Possible 5th Grade Play?

Hello 5th grade families & caregivers!

We are beginning some conversations about reviving the Orchard Play this year so that our 5th graders can have the opportunity for this important activity. We know that we'll need to be flexible and make many modifications but our hope is that we can make something happen for them. Early planning conversations have begun; while there is much to discuss, we do know that we are aiming for a later Spring performance so that we can be further into vaccinations and (hopefully) some pandemic relief.

An important first step is for us to gather some information about how many 5th graders may be interested in participating in either cast or crew. This will help us make some decisions about the choice of play as well as scope and space. Please fill out the following VERY brief survey with your child's interest. This isn't a formal registration and you aren't obligated to participate (we know things change) - it's just some early information to help us get started.

A Few More Game Day Photos

Bolton Ski & Ride Program

Bolton Ski and Ride After School Program - we will be heading back to Bolton Valley this year, four Thursdays Feb 17, March 3, 10, and 17, 2022. The program offers rentals, lessons, and lift tickets for 4 weeks of evening skiing and snowboarding.

Please look for additional information on Konstella, Bolton Ski and Ride Program (preferred), or email

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Reminders from the PTO

Still not on Konstella? Konstella is a parent portal for people to connect with one another (e.g., to set up playdates), for community event reminders, and for committee sign-ups. Add your child to their classroom today!

Questions or Comments for the PTO? Please email