A Message from Superintendent Haas
From Superintendent Haas
January updates within WNESU
Dear WNESU families,
We have moved through the Fall and our December Break and are heading into the busy winter months. I've really loved seeing the sports highlights from the high school and middle school, the photos from the winter programs of skiing, skating and hiking, the musical events in both the elementary schools and high school, and all of the incredible learning that is happening in classrooms throughout WNESU.
Below are a few pieces of information that I wanted to share that are important to concentrate on this winter, across the district, as well as some announcements for some activities that are also happening at the schools.
The Importance of Attendance
The district is re-examining attendance as a focus moving forward through this academic year.
We've shifted to a post-emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic and have been working with school leadership as we re-visit our district attendance procedures. If coming to school is a challenge for some students, we as a school district want to develop a plan for the student to create patterns of consistent attendance versus a pattern of absenteeism. Research shows that strong attendance at the elementary school level creates consistent patterns of attendance at the middle school and high school level.
Some possible resources that may be used to support the student and to figure out the barriers or resistance to attendance may include: a meeting with your student's school team, receiving services from Home to School Liaisons , and/or coordination with community agencies. We want to work together to identify the causes of these absences, review the impact of these absences on the student and to develop a plan to best meet the student's social, emotional and academic needs.
We've aligned our attendance procedures with the Windham County Best Attendance Practices document to ensure consistent application of attendance policies in our region. We will continue establishing protocols for student welfare checks and collaborations with community agencies/partners to inform our support of WNESU students.
You should expect documentation of absences with uniform attendance codes, an attendance letter that is filed at the school and sent to WNESU households as needed, and monthly attendance reports from each school that will be reviewed internally as part of our multi-tiered support system. If you are unsure of the procedure to notify the school of your child's absence, the school handbooks are another good resource.
Our school staff work every day to ensure that your student has amazing academic opportunities, while they also create activities to address social and emotional wellbeing and we want all WNESU students to benefit.
Please note some of the additional resources below to see how can you learn more about the goings-on in our WNESU schools that can benefit your student, and know that there is a team behind your student to support strong attendance.
Where Can I Find Information?
Much of our work this fall has been creating consistent places to find information about our school activities, from sporting events, to classroom activities, and important dates for households to remember. While classroom teachers use a few different ways to communicate with families such as ClassDojo or the Remind app, there are a few communication tools that are used across the district that are great for learning about the big picture of school and district activities :
Facebook : Each school and the WNESU has a Facebook page. We often post snapshots of students' daily activities, as well as reminders, and announcements about school schedule changes ( like snow days!) . I even pop on every now and then for a video message to our WNESU community! Facebook is a quick way to get a glimpse into the students' life at school. We also link to area organizations and publications who are capturing some of the great things that are happening in our schools.
Newsletters: Each school is producing a newsletter that is sent digitally to schools' households, some each week, bi-weekly, or monthly. Please reach out to the school if you are not receiving the newsletters. I also send out newsletters to households every month or two to check in with announcements and information that connects to the whole district and our efforts and initiatives.
School Board meetings: Broadcast on Fact TV and available on Youtube. We are heading into budget season and I encourage everyone to become informed about the topics that arise during town meetings! The district annual report will soon be published and posted on the WNESU website so that you can learn more.
Website: Our websites are being edited this winter so that each school has accurate information, beginning with contact information in the school directories and cleaning up any inaccuracies. The website is where you can find the 'backbone'' of our district- policies, directories, support resources, calendars, school-specific programming, handbooks, and school board contact information. We also post 'news' and last minute announcements on our school home pages. https://www.wnesu.org/
Some January/February Events Across the District
Some Events and Program Across the District
Saxtons River Elementary School: 1/31, Winter Sports
Westminster Center School: 1/25-1/27 Mrs. Lisai's Class to Studio Y, the interactive multi-disciplinary, art-and-theater- based program for students.
Bellows Falls Middle School: The second session of BFMS After School Program begins the week of 1/24. Offerings include Rockingham Free Public Library field trip and board games, baking, and 'Student Choice' club.
Bellows Falls Union High School: 2/17, Winter Carnival, and Vermont Symphony Orchestra performing pieces from the BFUHS Student Composers.