EMS Newsletter

January 24, 2020

Dear EMS Families,

This past Monday EMS faculty and students discussed and watched films to support our readiness for the raising of the Black Lives Matter flag on February 5th.

Students in our Youth Participatory Action Research class powerfully framed those watching The Hate U Give with the following:

"This movie highlights what started the Black Lives Matter Movement. Black Lives Matter is an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people. Police brutality is the main focus of this story.

"Though it may seem that these problems are far from Vermont, there have been multiple cases in the last five years of police brutality toward people of color in Burlington, Vermont. Jeremie Meli and Albin Meli were victims of racially biased treatment by Burlington Police, resulting in lasting brain damage affecting Jeremie’s future as a medical student, and torn ligaments in his brother Albin’s hand.

"Remember why we are watching this movie. Spreading awareness. Raising the flag is just the first step in supporting the black and brown students at our school. The first step will be working on projects in your community time classrooms that show and represent the messages you got from this movie and then prepare to present them in front of the whole school. Your projects can include skits, posters, videos, murals, timelines, etc.”

There has been a desire by some families to strengthen their own learning of the why behind the Black Lives Matter movement. With that in mind, I have included below an excerpt from the New York Times that describes the why behind Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter, in addition to some additional resources.

“Those in the Black Lives Matter movement say black people are in immediate danger and need immediate attention, like the broken bone or house on fire. Saying 'All Lives Matter' in response would suggest to them that all people are in equal danger, invalidating the specific concerns of black people. 'You’re watering the house that’s not burning, but you’re choosing to leave the house that’s burning unattended,' said Allen Kwabena Frimpong, an organizer for the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter. 'It’s irresponsible.'

'More to the point, it is a given that all lives matter,' said Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University. 'That has always been an assumption,' she said. 'The entire point of Black Lives Matter is to illustrate the extent to which black lives have not mattered in this country.”'"(https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/16/us/all-lives-matter-black-lives-matter.html)

Black Lives Matter Resources for Families to Explore Together

TED Talk interview with the founders of BLM (Transcript available in 17 languages)

Comic that explains the critical importance of BLM (in response to “all lives matter”)


Explore the BLM website together: https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

Learn about the BLM 13 guiding principles: https://www.dcareaeducators4socialjustice.org/black-lives-matter/13-guiding-principles

See what some other schools are doing to take action for Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatteratschool.com/media-2/

Find a way to take action and get involved: https://blacklivesmatteratschool.com/

Discussion Questions

  • What do you know about Black Lives Matter?

  • Why is Black Lives Matter important in our community?

  • What are you learning about Black Lives Matter that surprises you?

  • What are you learning about Black Lives Matter that inspires you?

  • What questions do you have? What would you like to talk about more together?

In partnership,


Friendly Reminders

  • 01/27 - Quarter 3/Semester 2 begins

  • 01/28 - 8th grade transition meeting at BHS

  • 01/31 - Quarter 2 report cards sent home

  • 2/11 - Engage EMS meeting - 5:30 - 7 p.m. EMS Library/Makerspace

  • 02/22 - 03/03 - No School - February vacation

Community Announcements

  • Students involved in the District III Music Festival will be attending the festival January 31-February 1. Students will be leaving school at 8:30 am on Friday. Teachers will be emailing families details and logistics. This year we have an awesome group of students attending! We are constantly amazed at their dedication and talent as they work on their above-grade-level district music.
  • The 8th grade transition process has officially begun. Burlington High School guidance counselors met with students on January 23rd to discuss the process. Please join the Parent Meeting at BHS on Tuesday January 28th from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. (See flyer below)

  • Rising 9th grade course selection process for BHS will begin for current 8th graders in March when we return from February vacation. To help facilitate this process, Pat Hulbert will provide office hours to support families with questions and wonders. Details will follow in the next newsletter.

  • EMS’ YPAR students put forth a proposal for a new dress code. Superintendent Obeng will be reviewing this proposal with BSD Sr. Directors on 2/4.

EMS MUSIC! brought 180 7th and 8th grade music students to the Flynn this week for the show We Shall Overcome. The show was a showcase of African American styles with an overarching theme of bringing to life the words and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights movement centered on love and freedom. The students were awesome and really enjoyed the show. Thank you to everyone who supported us with donations so that everyone could attend regardless of cost. EMS MUSIC! appreciates the EMS community. Thank you!

Big picture
Big picture

Dear EMS Parents and Fellow Community Members,

We would like to formally invite you to join us in a ceremony to raise the Black Lives Matter flag at Edmunds Middle School on Wednesday, February 5th from 1-2 pm. Our school community, with the full support from the BSD School Board, has agreed to raise the flag because of the systemic racial injustice that plagues American public schools. Our school is not entirely devoid of injustice, so we are making a change. The Black Lives Matter movement is an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people. We believe that raising this flag is a step toward equity in our school and community. This need for equity is based on recent research projects supported by UVM researchers involving surveys taken by EMS students that came back with worrying results. Over 36% of students believe that other students are being discriminated against because of their race. This number jumps to over 47% for students who identify as black. We need change, and we would like you to help us get there. With the community behind us, we will disrupt systemic racism in our school and community as well.

Please consider joining us on Wednesday, February 5th from 1-2 pm at the flagpole on the Main Street side of EMS.

In solidarity,

EMS YPAR Collective

Big picture

Unicorn Cafe in Business Again

Ann's Unicorn Cafe has re-opened for the 2020 school year. Did you know that fewer than 20% of persons with a disability(s) are employed in the workplace? The cafe here at EMS provides a great opportunity for our students to practice skills needed to join the workforce. Additionally, Ann's Cafe creates a great space for students and staff to interact in a relaxed and fun social atmosphere. Community partners and family members will be invited in the near future, so please stay tuned!
Big picture

Edmunds Campus Open House and Ribbon Cutting

Come see your tax dollars at work! As part of our voter-approved 10-year capital plan, the Edmunds Campus recently underwent renovations totaling more than $7 million. The work is done and we want to show off the results of your incredible support of BSD. Please join us Thursday, January 30th from 6-7:30 PM for a Ribbon Cutting and Open House at Edmunds. Attendees will have a chance to tour the new spaces, ask questions, and learn how the renovations are already having a positive impact on climate and culture, and student and staff wellbeing. https://www.bsdvt.org/2020/01/13/edmunds-ribbon-cutting-and-open-house/
Big picture

Free Intro to Coding Class at BTC

The Burlington Tech Center's Computer Science Program is offering a three-week "Dip Your Toe In Code" intro course, free, in February. Learn what programming is and how to create your first game in JavaScript. Learn more and sign up here: https://sites.google.com/bsdvt.org/progweb/dip-your-toe-in-code

The three week class is all online, and would require some independent work. The class is aimed at HS sophomores, but the teacher wanted to extend the invitation to interested MS students. If students really liked the course, they could potentially then take a longer, more in-depth course in April or later in their HS career.

Big picture

Awesome Opportunity for Anyone Interested in Acting, Singing, or Songwriting!

Friends of the Listen Up Project!

We are getting ready to audition kids for the show in March!

We are also looking for singer songwriters to help write the music for the show!

Please pass on this information to teenagers whom you know! Thanks so much!

submit on our website: www.listenupvt.org

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture