EMS Newsletter

April 9, 2021

Dear EMS Families,

Happy Friday to all of our EMS families. I hope that you have been enjoying this beautiful weather.

I would like to address three topics in this newsletter: 3rd quarter report cards, updated Vermont covid guidance, and the potential for having all hybrid students become 4-day students.

We have begun the 4th quarter. Third quarter grades may be viewed online. In addition, you will receive a printed copy of the report cards in the mail. If your child received a grade of "Incomplete," please realize that the teacher has given this as a grade with the hope and intent that the student will finish any missing work. After three weeks, incomplete grades will either be replaced with the new grade earned or, in the absence of additional completed work, default to a grade of "F." If you see a grade of "Incomplete," please contact the teacher immediately to learn more about what needs to be done to resolve it.

Yesterday, Vermont released updated guidance for A Strong and Healthy Year. We are in the process of going through the guidance in order to ensure that we meet all the most current mitigation guidelines.

At the time of this newsletter, it has not been announced that all hybrid students will be transitioning to 4-day students. However, it is a possibility that we have been anticipating, and we have been preparing for the potential transition. Our amazing building services staff have moved furniture back into the classrooms. Our exceptional food service staff have made plans for increasing capacity. Our diligent teachers have been preparing for instructional shifts. One such example regards the classes that were previously only offered in a remote capacity; those teachers have met numerous times in order to identify ways in which their schedules can be integrated with the on-site schedule in order to give students as much access as possible. I will place their work below. When a concrete announcement is made, we will send an EMS-specific follow-up.

Please remain diligent about using mitigation strategies. Please take your child's temperature every morning. Also, if your child is ill, please keep your child at home. Throughout the pandemic, we have used the mitigation strategies to keep all students, families, and staff safe. We will continue to keep this at the forefront of our planning.

Thank you for your patience, your support, and the privilege of working with your child.


James Kiefer

This is an example of how remote exploratory classes could be offered if the instructional model changes from hybrid to 4-day on-site:

Formerly Remote Exploratory Schedule

Explanatory Notes:

  • Spanish and French will be added as elective options for students during their exploratory blocks, running on an A/B schedule to increase access.

  • Band and Orchestra will meet for lessons 1-2 times per week.

  • Students currently participating in multiple music and language remote electives currently may not be able to maintain enrollment in all of them after Spring Break.

  • Students who elect to participate in these new in-person exploratory classes will need to opt out of a portion of their classroom pod’s exploratory class. For example, a student may choose to take Spanish on A days during their pod exploratory class rather than taking art; on B days, they could participate in art, or potentially enroll in a different elective, like a band lesson.

See more below.

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Burlington School District Budget Survey

Last month voters approved the District’s budget for school year 2021-2022. BSD's leadership would like to take the opportunity to reflect on what went well during this budget development cycle and how we can continue to better distribute resources and information to the students and families who need them most. We hope you will take 5-10 minutes to complete a brief Equitable Budgeting Community Survey by Monday, April 26. If you need support completing this survey in a language other than English, please call Nijaza Semic at 802-288-6048 and we will be happy to assist you.

Health Happenings

Below is information about the new travel guidance from the ACCD website:

Travel: As part of Vermont's phased reopening plan, there is new travel guidance, effective April 9, 2021.

  • Unvaccinated Vermonters who have traveled outside the state must be tested within 3 days of returning to Vermont. Learn more.
  • Unvaccinated people planning to visit Vermont must have a COVID-19 test within 3 days before arriving in Vermont. Learn more.

  • Rules for international travel are different. Learn more.

  • Masks are required in public spaces in Vermont.

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Penguin Plunge!

The EMS Penguin Plunge is happening a little later than normal this year, but we are well on our way to reaching our fundraising goal! This year’s team was unable to jump into the lake in February because of Covid safety concerns, so we had a dedicated group of volunteers build a homemade Dunk Tank!

We will be having our final celebration and dunking of teachers and students on April 17th from 10am-12pm on the South Union side of Edmunds Middle School. All are welcome to come join and watch. If you would like to toss a ball to try to soak a teacher or friend, bring a dollar to donate!

If you cannot make it to our event but would like to donate to the cause, please visit our team page and help us reach our goal! The team page can be found here https://give.specialolympicsvermont.org/team/341704

Design/Tech Challenge

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

I wanted to thank all of you for sharing your 6th graders with me this quarter. The students' challenge was to design and build an electric vehicle in 18 days. During that time each student laser cut a chassis, 3d printed wheels, wired and soldered a circuit that controlled the vehicle's motor and LED lights, and installed a gear driven transmission. The code name for the project was the Speed Demon Design Challenge and the students each produced their own custom designed Electric Vehicle. I was very proud of the time and effort that they put into this project. I pushed them hard and they delivered some impressive results. See samples of their work below.

Eric Schoembs

Design and Technology


The EMS MathCounts program provides students with problem solving challenges as well as the opportunity to explore unusual math topics. Two weeks ago, sixth grader William Cunningham took part in the State MathCounts competition. To reach this level, William had to qualify by taking two other exams over the past six weeks. Congratulations to William, as only 25 students qualified for the State competition. Our thanks go to community member and former EMS parent Alan Matson for his ongoing coaching and support of the team.
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Girls Tech!

We are thrilled to announce that Vermont Works for Women and Burlington Technical Center (BTC) are partnering to host Girls Tech again this year!

Girls Tech! will be held in a live, virtual setting on Wednesday, May 5, from 10:00 – 11:00am.

The event will include:

  • A live, virtual event on Google Meet on May 5 from 10 – 11am. During this call, Vermont Works for Women will lead an opening activity, after which students will be split into breakout rooms to meet BTC teachers and complete a hands-on activity related to one of the tech center’s programs.
  • In advance of May 5, students are invited to peruse a multimedia, interactive online gallery of exemplary female and non-binary industry professionals and role models in the career fields highlighted during Girls Tech. These role models will motivate students to think about their own career paths. In addition, the online gallery will include brief overviews of each of BTC’s non-traditional programs.

Girls Tech! is a free career exploration event for middle school girls and gender non-conforming youth in grades 7-8 from BTC’s sending region. Girls Tech exposes students to careers that are non-traditional for women, to help them make more informed decisions about high school course selection and career pathways.

This event is open to all girls and gender non-conforming youth in BTC's sending area, not just those interested in going to BTC!

The following BTC programs are participating in this year’s Girls Tech event:

  • Auto Body Repair and Auto Technology
  • Design Tech Foundational/Pre-Tech
  • Culinary Arts
  • Design & Illustration
  • Advanced Manufacturing & Welding
  • Criminal Justice

Student registration is now open!
Please have students complete this registration form. No parent/guardian signature is needed this year, since all activities will be low-risk in a virtual setting. Then, please register them online at this link by Wednesday, April 28.

When registering, students will be asked to rank their program preferences. VWW will use students’ preferences to create the breakout groups for the live virtual event on May 5. Though each student may not receive their first choice, we will do our best to place each student in a program that they want.

Please note that we can accommodate up to 90 total students for Girls Tech! We recommend that schools bring no more than 15 students each, in the interest of allowing students from a variety of schools to attend Girls Tech. Student registration is processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and we will not hold spots in reserve for any students this year. Schools may bring one chaperone each to the virtual event, unless a student attending requires a one-on-one assistant or interpreter.

Registration is open until Wednesday, April 28, 2021 OR until our maximum capacity is reached, whichever comes first. We will notify you by email if we reach capacity before 4/28.

For questions, or if you have more than 15 interested students, please contact VWW's Youth Program Coordinator Melissa Nelson at mnelson@vtworksforwomen.org


Summer Camp Opportunity

Camp Kesem is a Summer Camp opportunity for children who have a loved one who has or has had cancer. The following links provide more information about this heartwarming opportunity. If you would like to connect with someone from Edmunds first, please feel free to reach out. I am happy to answer any questions or find out more information for you.

Take Special Care,

Angela Halsted, SAP Counselor, Edmunds Middle School, ahalsted@bsdvt.org.

Website Link: https://www.campkesem.org/find-a-camp/camp-kesem-at-university-of-vermont (if you search Camp Kesem at UVM it's the first thing to show up)

Facebook Name: Camp Kesem at the University of Vermont

Instagram Name: Camp Kesem at UVM or @campkesemuvm

Contact Emails: vermont.outreach@.campkesem.org or vermont@campkesem.org

Phone Number: 802-489-6063
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BSD Announces Finalists for BHS Principal Search

Candidates to Attend Virtual Community and Staff Forum on April 15

The Burlington High School Principal Hiring Committee has announced three finalists for the BHS principalship. The candidates are Steve Berbeco, who most recently served as Deputy Commissioner for the Child Development Division of Vermont’s Department for Children and Families; Gregory Kirkland, an assistant principal at Clayton County Public Schools in Georgia; and Lauren McBride, the current interim principal at Burlington High School.

All candidates will participate in a virtual Community and Staff Forum on April 15 from 6 to 7:30 PM. Stakeholders will have the chance to hear candidates answer questions about their qualifications and their hopes for the future of education and BHS. The forum will be live via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/94271708131 and will also be streamed to the District’s YouTube channel.

“I am excited that our search has identified three qualified candidates to move forward in this process,” said Superintendent Tom Flanagan. “And I am happy that our community will have a chance to hear from each of the candidates about their vision to support the high school and move our students forward on their educational journey.”

“We are grateful to our volunteer hiring committee who has worked so hard to help us find the right fit for our students, school, and community with this important hire,” said Executive Director of Human Resources Susan “Zé” Anderson-Brown, who has been helping facilitate the search. Anderson-Brown noted that the 11-member hiring committee included teachers, staff, a parent, a community member, and a student who conducted eight first-round interviews together after receiving 18 applications for the position. The committee used a ranking matrix during the interviews and advanced the top candidates to the next step in the process.

Following the Community and Staff Forum on April 15, the committee will reconvene to submit a recommendation to Superintendent Flanagan, who will also meet with the candidates individually. Candidate bios and photos can be found on the BSD website, along with candidate responses to a question from the written application process