Washington Central Story

WCUUSD Community Newsletter - February 3, 2023

Winter is Here

As I send this newsletter, we are experiencing our first extra cold days and nights of the season. I'm always surprised how quickly I forget that feeling! I hope you all are able to stay warm and cozy in these next few weeks. We have received a few questions about how we handle extreme cold in terms of school closure. Know that we have the safety of our students and staff at the forefront, as with all closure decisions. We work with our transportation and facilities teams to make sure our buses can start and have heat, and that our buildings are warm.

I am sure that many of you, like me, have been alarmed and saddened by the recent news stories in Vermont about fan and athlete behavior at sporting events. It is a reality that shows us just how much work we still have to do to ensure a welcoming environment for all. In contrast, though, I wanted to take a moment to re-share a celebration about youth leadership and sportsmanship between our U-32 girls basketball team and the Spaulding girls basketball team, who came together in late January to raise money and awareness for a family in need. I'm proud of our student athletes for their collective focus on caring and what really matters. Check out this highlight from BUUSD Superintendent, Chris Hennessey:

"Over the past two weeks we've had our Nights of Hope games at SHS, which raised thousands of dollars both for cancer research and for a BUUSD teacher and their family....It's been a joy to see all of the support from our community, coming out to these games, and cheering on our kids! The sportsmanship we witnessed from Tide Nation and our opponents was top-notch. Kudos to everyone involved in this effort! I also have to mention the incredible generosity shown by families from U-32, CVU, Hazen and other opponents/neighbors these last few weeks. Thank you!"

February is a short month on the calendar and with our winter break from February 27th - March March 7th (back to school on Wednesday, March 8th), but we have plenty to share with you!

- Meagan Roy, Superintendent

In this issue...

  1. Humanity & Justice: What's in a Month? Guest Post from our Equity Scholar in Residence
  2. Some Resources from our Seeking Social Justice students
  3. Celebrating our School Board
  4. Courtesy Posting: Bus Drivers Wanted!
  5. Board Community Forum Recap: An Evening with our Legislators
  6. A note from our Board: The 23-24 Budget
  7. Upcoming Board meeting information

What's in a Month?

Guest Post from Shelley Vermilya, WCUUSD Equity Scholar in Residence

Our Superintendent, Meagan Roy, in her January newsletter asked, “How can we honor and acknowledge someone (Martin Luther King Jr.) while still understanding that the real work comes from continuing the legacy on all days, not just his birthday?” This question is also relevant for thinking about how best to honor, celebrate and learn when it comes to all of the "months" across the year.

Here we are at the very beginning of Black History Month with Women’s History, Sexual

Assault Awareness, Asian American & Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+ Pride, Disability, Latinx

Heritage, Native American and International Day of Persons with Disabilities to follow (check out this resource from the Harvard University's Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging).

These monthly designations offer us a minute to stop and listen to the stories of our history; its promises, disappointments, and hope for the future. People are always emerging, asking new questions and developing awareness. This is American history in the making.

James Baldwin said, “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” To realize how people are “unconsciously controlled” by the forces of history sheds light on the present. A more just and harmonious world will take a lot of hard work. Knowing our history, our whole history with everyone in it, will strengthen our communities to work together for our kids, who are our future. Join me in using these "months" (and every day) to learn about our past and inform our present.

From Our Seeking Social Justice (SSJ) Students:

The State of Vermont Office of Racial Equity and the Vermont Human Rights Commission are excited to announce a 28-day series to commemorate Black History Month (see here for more information). Every day in February, they will share one event, quote, resource, fact, or activity that spotlights the greatness of the Black community, and you can win some raffle prizes along the way!

Are you in? It takes 1 minute to sign up using this form

Thank you to the Office of Racial Equity and the Vermont Human Rights Commission for putting together this powerful learning opportunity.

And: Here is the link to the SSJ Resource Page shared in the last newsletter; check out what the SSJ created for supporting LGBTQ+ Youth!

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Thank a Board Member This Month!

Speaking of months...February is School Board Recognition month. It is a time when I hope you can take a moment to thank our hard-working Board members, who take time away from their busy lives and families to advocate for and support our great schools.

The members of your local school board are a critical part of the "village" who help direct the course of our public schools. If you are able, please take a moment and show your gratitude for school board members’ time, dedication and effort year-round. Thank them for advocating on behalf of our collective interest, and most importantly, for making the success of our children their priority.

We appreciate:

Flor Diaz Smith, Chair (East Montpelier)

Kari Bradley, Vice Chair (Calais)

Jonas Eno-Van Fleet, Clerk (Worcester)

Eric Anderson (East Montpelier)

Natasha Eckart Baning (Worcester)

Vera Frazier (Berlin)

Jonathan Goddard (Berlin)

Lindy Johnson (East Montpelier)

Daniel Keeney (Calais)

McKalyn Leclerc (Worcester)

Chris McVeigh (Middlesex)

Diane Nichols-Fleming (Berlin)

Joshua Sevits (Middlesex)

Ursula Stanley (Middlesex)

Maggie Weiss (Calais)

Courtesy Posting: Bus Drivers Wanted!

From time to time we have highlighted some of the vacancies that persist in our system - and with our tricky winter weather, now feels like the right time to highlight that we need bus drivers! First Student, our contracted transportation provider, is experiencing a driver shortage. They are hiring two route drivers and three standby drivers for the Washington Central district. No experience required, and First Student will pay you as you get your CDL training. And, First Student offers paid holidays, benefits, the ability to take on extra hours, and they even have a child ride along program for children as young as 12 months old, which means your child can ride the bus with you. The starting wage is $20.66 with signing bonuses.

If you or someone you know has interest in supporting our schools, consider driving our students to and from schools and activities.

Apply here!

An Evening with our Legislators

This week's Board Community Forum featured an opportunity to talk with a number of our local Senators and Representatives. Our Board and audience had a chance to learn a bit about each of our legislators, including what issues they believe are of particular importance to our schools and communities.

I am continually reminded how fortunate we are in Vermont to have such easy and meaningful access to our lawmakers. Our dialogue was rich, and I know that our legislators will take our feedback with them when they return to the statehouse to finish their work.

I would like to thank Senators Anne Cummings, Andrew Perchlick, and Anne Watson and Representatives Ela Chapin and Anne Donahue for joining us!

A Note From the School Board

We would like to express our gratitude for our Superintendent and the Leadership Team for all their work in helping us prepare a budget for our community. We also want to thank our community members for participating through a challenging budgeting year.

The budget adopted by the Board is a level-program budget, one that provides the same programming we are providing this year. This represents a 9.98% net expense increase, and our per pupil spending would be $23,022. We believe this budget will meet our kids where they are and allows us to remain committed to our work in academic excellence, safe and healthy schools and humanity and justice.

We know that our district is entering a difficult period of time given our declining enrollment, the sunset of our ESSER funds, inflation, labor scarcity, future negotiations commitments and the economic slowdown. We are committed to working with our communities to develop a long-term plan that is fair to all stakeholders and will work for our students. We are committed to continuing our budget work year-round, and are hoping to kick off our visioning and strategic planning work as soon as possible. Our goal is to fully engage our communities and our students, identifying the opportunities we have together as a District and intentionally focusing on student outcomes, community engagement and long-term planning. We want to lay the groundwork for collaboration and trust for years to come as we continue to best serve all our students.

Please join us on February 15th at 6:15pm for a virtual budget presentation (link here).

Don't forget to vote in March!

Thank you for your support,

Ursula, Lindy, Jonas, Mckalyn, Maggie, Jonathan, Vera, Eric, Diane, Natasha, Chris, Daniel, Joshua, Kari and Flor

WCUUSD Regular Board Meeting

Wednesday, Feb. 15th, 6:15pm

This is an online event.

Please join us for the next regular Board meeting and have a chance to view the final budget presentation!

Check out our website for more information and for the link to join virtually: https://www.wcsu32.org/domain/272