EMS Newsletter

May 29, 2020

Dear EMS Families,

This week’s newsletter is jam packed with end of year details and logistics. Please find below:

  • Drop off of school-owned materials and pick up of personal items procedures for the end of our 2019-2020 school year

  • Celebration of Learning Plan

  • 7th Grade Transition Information and Step Up Meeting

  • Course Selection Process

And, while we are focused on celebrating and preparing for the end of the year, we are also working hard to ready for next year. With that in mind I wanted to introduce two new members of the EMS faculty for the 2020-2021 school year. Please see articles immediately following this one.

In partnership,


Drop off of school-owned materials and pick up of personal items

The purpose of coming to the school during this time is to:

  • pick up all personal items: retrieve belongings in locker, clean out gym locker, and pick up instrument (if applicable)

  • drop off any school-owned materials - chromebooks, chromebook chargers, iPads, books, school instruments, Ellis music rental instruments, uniforms & algebra textbooks

  • pick up any medications that were stored in our nurse’s office

When you come to school MAKE SURE YOU HAVE the following:

  • Mask

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Library books

  • Rental instruments - from Ellis or EMS

  • Algebra book

  • Uniforms

Time Slot Sign Up

Please sign up for a 20 minute period to pick up your personal items and drop off. We have created a pick-up schedule to best support the need to keep physical distancing . For this reason we have days assigned to specific teams to continuously provide distancing based on teams' locations in the school and number of students.

Wednesday, June 10th → Team Infinity, Team Voyager, and Team Quest

Thursday, June 11th → Team Evolution, Team Nia, and Team Vista

Friday, June 12th → Team Phoenix, Team Discovery, and Team Endeavor

Edmunds is utilizing the same resource we use for Parent-Teacher conferences to make signups as convenient as possible for this end-of-year process. In this resource it references this time as “conference,” and we want to be clear that the time you sign up for is the time you are supposed to be at the school to check-in. Please enter the following web address into your browser window: https://ptcfast.com/schools/Edmunds_Middle Once you follow this link you will be directed to select your child's team and then fill out the needed information (student name and parent email). From there you can select the check-in time.

Please note:

  • If you are returning an Ellis rental instrument please add a note inside your instrument case with your child’s full name, phone, and address. Also inform Ellis Music of the return by following this link: Ellis Music Instrument Rental Return Form

  • Only one family member will be allowed into the building to collect personal items

  • You will have 10 minutes inside the school to gather materials

  • Please bring your own bag(s) to carry belongings out of the building

  • Please bring your own mask to wear

  • Prior to your arrival at school, please assess your family’s health.

    • Those people with COVID-19-like symptoms or family members with COVID-19-like symptoms must stay home. These symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea

  • Upon arriving on campus, please

    • Ensure you remain six feet apart from all others in the area

    • Approach the table set up by the gym lobby doors

    • There will be a one way circuit through the building

    • You will exit out the side door on the Main St. entrance

    • A faculty member will check you in upon entrance to the building

    • Once in the building you will be asked to go directly to your locker

      • In each hallway you will find trash, recycling, and an area to return books from your locker; please sort items accordingly

    • A faculty member will check you out as you exit the building

  • All personal items not retrieved from EMS by June 12th will be donated to GoodWill or discarded.

Measures to Control the Spread of COVID-19

  • Students or a parent may enter the school to pick up their belongings. A parent must be present if medications need to be picked up. Medications will be labeled and placed at the chromebook drop off for ease of parent pickup.

  • All individuals entering the building must wear cloth face coverings per CDC guidelines. Everyone entering the building is responsible for bringing their own mask.

  • Six foot distance is required between people at all times.

  • The number of people in an “area” of the building (e.g. grade level classrooms/lockers, cafeteria) should not exceed 10.

  • You must enter through the gym lobby door and use hand sanitizer (provided) upon entry.

  • Go directly to your destination and nowhere else in the building

  • No one may congregate inside or outside the building.

  • Do not use the drinking fountains.

  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeved arm. Throw away the tissue after you use it and wash your hands.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

  • Individuals must be excluded from the school site for the following reasons:

    • They are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for the disease: fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches.

    • They have been in contact with someone who is being treated as if they have COVID-19, with or without positive test verification, within the last 14 days.

    • They are at high risk: 65 years or older, pregnant, or have chronic health conditions.

Celebration of Learning

The 8th grade Celebration of Learning will have three parts this year!

  • Virtual celebration that will be shared with families and students electronically - details forthcoming

  • Faculty car parade - see route here. We have designed the route with the hopes of getting to the neighborhoods of all our students. Given a few traffic safety precautions, please note the following:

    • Those in the Grove/Patchen/Chase area, please come to UVM Green or Roosevelt Park to view the parade.

    • East Ave., please come to UVM Green.

    • South End and Hill Section, please come to Calahan or Oakledge Park to view the parade.

  • Collection of Certificates

    • In June, families and students will have the opportunity to collect personal items and turn in school-owned materials. At that time, students will receive their Certificates of Completion.

Seventh Grade Transition Information and Step Up Meeting

  • On June 8th, rising 7th graders will have the opportunity to meet with their new team teachers. These meetings will happen via google hangout.

  • In advance of these meetings families can expect to receive a letter home in the mail and an email sharing their team placement for next year. Please note: we anticipate mailing letters by June 4th.

  • Details regarding meeting links, codes, and times will be shared in the letters sent home and in the June 5th Newsletter.

Course Selection Process

  • During this time of year, admin and staff are preparing for the following school year and building schedules and class lists. Part of this process involves getting student feedback regarding select classes; this requires 6th and 7th grade students to fill out an Exploratory Choice survey indicating their class preferences. We wanted to make families aware that this survey is going to be presented to their children on team, and that parents/guardians should be ready to support and assist students in the process and discuss the choices.

  • Families and students alike need to be mindful that there are limitations to all schedules and that there may be a possibility that students will not get all of the classes they want. For this reason, we strongly suggest thinking over the class choices and trying only to select classes that fit within a student's capacity. We want to make informed decisions that help place students into classes they want and also classes that will best lead to overall success. This process can be done by considering what is a reasonable workload for students, interest in a class, and the needs of the student. If your decision leads you to drop a class, please email that teacher as well.

  • Please follow this link to see a detailed description of the classes offered at EMS: course descriptions

Community Announcements

  • 8th grade BHS transition support

    • 9th Grade Night is scheduled for the last week of August (exact date TBD).

    • Tentative 9th grade first day: August 25

  • 2020-2021 BSD Calendar

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A message from Katie Lobdell, our incoming EMS PE teacher!

This will be my first-year teaching at Edmunds Middle School and I am very excited to start in the fall. I’m originally from northern New York and so happy to be coming back to the east coast. I’ve had the opportunity for the past 9 years to teach K-12 PE and health in New York, Colorado and Washington state. For the last 5 years I’ve been working as a middle school health and PE teacher in Kent, WA. In my free time I enjoy being in the outdoors, spending time with family, coaching, and traveling. I feel passionate about teaching physical education and building relationships with students and their families. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and becoming a member of the Edmunds Middle School community!

A message from Emily Smith, incoming French and Spanish teacher!

I have taught French and Spanish to middle school students in East Montpelier and Duxbury, VT, as well as in Newburyport, MA. I love learning world languages and using them to communicate. Outside of school, I seek out opportunities for hiking, nordic skiing, and other excuses for being outdoors in all kinds of weather. I currently live in Middlesex with my husband and son.
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Guidance has some new offerings! Join on Google Meets with Nickname "EMSMeet".

Read the ELM online!

During remote learning, 7/8 language arts teacher Rich Boyers and a dedicated group of students continued to work remotely to produce the Edmunds Literary Magazine (ELM). According to Rich, "One of the positives of this challenging moment is that it motivated us to shepherd the ELM in a new direction. We collaborated with the Young Writers Project to produce a special ELM edition of their online magazine The Voice." Please take time to read and appreciate this shining example of student work!

Hello from the Health Office!

How many people are encouraged to roll their eyes? Usually this is considered a negative or rude act, but with everyone spending so many hours on their computers working from home and learning virtually, I am here to tell you please DO roll your eyes! According to University of Michigan Health Services’ article, “Computer Ergonomics: How to protect Yourself from Strain or Pain,, rolling your eyes is one of many exercises recommended to keep your body moving WHILE you sit at your computer. After reading their article, I’m here to suggest that you obey your MAMA while you work day in and out on your computers.

Modify your Body Mechanics

  • Sit Tall

  • Switch hands that use the mouse

  • Rest your Wrists

  • Type Lightly with Relaxed Muscles

Arrange your Workstations


  • Take breaks away from the computer

    • Stretch or walk around

    • 2-5 minutes after 30-60 minutes

    • 10-20 seconds after 10 minutes

  • Exercise at Your Computer (directly from cited article)

    • Neck and Shoulders:

      • Neck Rotation: Slowly rotate your head as far as comfortable to the right, then left.

      • Shoulder Rotation: Circle your shoulders, then reverse directions.

      • Head Side to Side: Bend your neck so left ear approaches left shoulder, then repeat for right. Add a little resistance by pressing your hand against the side of your head.

      • Chin Tuck: Slide your chin inward, without bending your neck up or down. This is easiest to practice initially against a wall. Tuck chin in, attempting to touch back of neck to the wall while also maintaining head contact. Don't jam your chin down to your chest.

      • Shoulder Blade Retraction: Pull your shoulders down and back.

      • Shrug: Slowly raise your shoulders toward ears and hold for a few seconds. Gradually bring shoulders down and relax.

    • Back:

      • Shoulder Squeeze: Raise your arms in front of body, with elbows bent and thumbs up. Pull elbows back, squeezing shoulder blades together. Hold for a few seconds then release.

      • Stretch Up: Sit up straight and imagine a cable attached to the top of your head. Gradually stretch to be as tall as possible, hold for a few seconds, then relax.

    • Arms:

      • Arm Relaxation: Drop your arms and hands to your sides. Gently shake them for a few seconds.

      • Arm Rotation: Raise your arms in front of your body. Rotate arms so palms face up, then rotate so backs of hands face each other.

    • Hands and Wrists:

      • Wrist Flex: With your elbows on desk, gently use left hand to bend right hand back toward forearm. Hold for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat on other side.

      • Finger Fan: Spread your fingers as far apart as possible, hold, then clench fists, then release.

    • Feet:

      • Toe Curl: Flex toes up, then curl toes under. Release.

      • Foot Rotation: Circle foot slowly from the ankle, then reverse.

    • Eyes:

      • Eye Rolls: Roll your eyes clockwise then counterclockwise briefly.

      • Palm Eyes: Without touching your eyes, cup hands lightly over eyes for 30 seconds to rest them from light.

      • Look Away: Exercise your eyes by periodically looking away from your computer to focus on distant objects.

Adjust your Work Patterns

  • Break work into smaller time frames when possible

  • Avoid extended periods of time on the computer when possible (I know you’re laughing at this one given the current situation, but seriously, if you can break it up so that you are NOT on the computer ALL day, that’s a plus).

So why is it so important to obey MAMA?

The Health Services folks at the University of Michigan cited a study that showed those who moved every 7 minutes while working at their computers suffered less pain and fewer computer-related injuries than those who did not move. You may not realize the strain you are putting on your body, but if you do not take breaks or stretch every now and then, you could end up with wrist, neck, back, or even foot pain. Over time, if not treated, these pains could turn into chronic problems that impact your health throughout your life.

University of Michigan’s Health Services reminds us, “Ergonomics is a field of study that attempts to reduce strain, fatigue, and injuries by improving product design and workspace arrangement. The goal is a comfortable, relaxed posture.”

So, relax and correct your posture. Sit so your ears, shoulders, and hips align and your head reaches toward the sky to make you taller. But don’t forget to move, and especially remember to roll your eyes once in a while; it’s for your own good, no matter what you’ve been told!

By Becca McCray, MSN, MA, RN, NCSN


OBEY YOUR MAMA UNISEX KIDS T SHIRT. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2020, from https://raxtin.com/products/obey-your-mama

University Health Service. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2020, from https://www.uhs.umich.edu/computerergonomics

New Story from J. K. Rowling!

Dear EMS Readers,

J K Rowling has written a new story that she refers to as a political fairytale. Instead of selling it only as a completed book, she is releasing it in short installments, a few chapters at a time, on her new website, The Ickabog.

In addition to the ongoing story, there is an art competition (age 7-12) asking readers for illustrations that may be included in the published edition due out at the end of the year. Why not submit an illustration? So many of you are truly amazing artists!

The first two chapters were published on Tuesday, May 26! Check out the Ickabog website and have fun reading!

From Mrs. Renca

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Help African Artists Affected by COVID-19

Dagbe Needs Your Help

Dear Friends,

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cultural tourism industry in Africa has been decimated. The Dagbe Cultural Institute & Arts Centre, which is ThisWorldMusic's longtime partner school in Ghana, has had all of its 2020 bookings cancelled. This devastating setback leaves Dagbe without the financial resources needed to pay its dedicated staff of musicians, dancers, artists, groundskeepers and cooks during what is usually the busiest time of the year. In addition, COVID-19 has spread to Ghana, hobbling the economy and making it virtually impossible for staff to find alternate sources of income.

To provide direct financial support to Dagbe's staff and their families during this difficult time, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Dagbe Institute USA, Inc. ("Dagbe USA"), the US-based non-profit we've established to handle donations. The money raised will be distributed directly to all 20 Dagbe staff members as a monthly stipend (May-December 2020).

To help with social distancing, each staff member will receive donated funds directly from Dagbe USA via Mobile Money, a popular technology in Ghana that allows people to safely and securely receive, store and spend money using a mobile phone (sometimes called a “mobile wallet”).


Please consider making a donation in any amount so that Dagbe's employees can continue to support their families without having to venture out during the pandemic to seek other work. Your support will not only help families in Kopeyia stay safe, but will ensure that Dagbe and the rich traditions of African music and dance it teaches can thrive for years to come.

Donations will be processed by GoFundMe on behalf of Dagbe USA. All donations are 100% tax-deductible. Any funds raised in excess of the amount needed will go toward salaries for 2021 (if necessary), as well as Dagbe's operating costs.



*Please note that this information is being shared with our community by Graham Lambert, EMS Music Director. The Burlington School District does not endorse or support this organization.