THE SCHOOL BELL

Williston Schools /December 2, 2020

A Message from the Administration

The Power of the Shelf

by Williston Schools Lead Principal Greg Marino


No, this is not a picture of the Marino household pantry. (I’m not sure I am brave enough to post that publicly, even on it’s best day) This picture is a reminder of a helpful workshop I attended a few weeks ago entitled, Compassion Resilience, presented by Vermont Psychologist, Joelle VanLent. I found this workshop so helpful and wanted to share just a few pieces with you today.


One of the most helpful things about this particular workshop was the presenter’s emphasis on simple and practical things we can do as individuals to help our brains and bodies deal with chronic stressors, like many of us are experiencing during this pandemic. One such example was her reminder of the importance of acknowledging that it is predictable that chronic stress will impact our brain and body function. She provided the example of standing in front of an open pantry or walking into a room and then having that very unsettling experience of forgetting what you needed in that space or room. She reminded us how important it is to acknowledge that this is an understandable brain-glitch that is bound to happen with greater frequency when our brains and bodies are experiencing increased stress. She encouraged self-compassion in this moment, and suggested that we acknowledge this compromised function as a result of our brains and bodies being over-taxed and that we consider employing strategies, tricks, or new habits, to provide our brains just a little help. One such strategy is to write things down. When we have tasks or problems on our mind that we know we need to take care of, our brain helpfully continues to bring these things up so that we remember they still need doing. Over time, however, as these things stack up and begin to swirl around in our headspace, these nudges can be quite stress-inducing. As simple as this strategy is, Dr. VanLent reminded us that when we take a moment to write something down in the form of a task list, and get in the habit of referring back to this list, our brains begin to learn that it does not have to keep bringing these thoughts / reminders back up. Over time, this creates more “brain space” for us to use for higher cognitive functioning and being more present in the moment. I realize this strategy has been around since perhaps the beginning of written language but having it presented this way was particularly helpful at this time.


I found another analogy quite powerful from this workshop, which is the real reason for the picture above. Imagine all the responsibilities you manage on a daily basis as a bunch of different objects. These objects are different in shape, size, weight, texture, and value. Some are heavy and slippery. Some are light but extremely fragile. Some are big and clunky and awkward to carry but not very valuable or important. The current state of things and increased levels of stress have impacted our ability to manage all of these things. If we try to pick all of these items up in our arms and awkwardly carry them around, we will inevitably drop some things along the way. The trick is that the things we drop might not be the things we would choose not to do if we did our own prioritizing. In fact, as we try to manage this clunky collection of things we find that we are not really taking good care of any of them, and any could drop, and potentially break, at any time. Sometimes this can result in feelings of guilt for not attending to certain things the way we would like to. The suggested fix is to acknowledge that the pile is just too big to carry at once and that certain things will need to be placed on a shelf for the time being. In other words, we make intentional decisions about what we will not do right now so that we can better attend to the things that we believe are most important. This was a powerful reminder to acknowledge that some things have to go up on that shelf and a reassurance that we can always take them back down. The schools have taken this advice by streamlining our curricular foci with our greatest emphasis being placed on social, emotional, and physical wellbeing of students, Literacy, and Mathematics, especially in the elementary grades.


I encourage you to take a few moments this week to consider what you might be able to place on the shelf for a little while. Practice some self-compassion and choose an action to help make some space for your brain and body to tend to what you have identified as most important. As always, I am grateful for our partnership in supporting the health and learning of our children. Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions or concerns.


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PCR Testing Sites

There are quarantine requirements in order for your student to return to in-person learning if you travel out of state.

Only PCR testing can be used to test out of quarantine, rapid testing results will not be accepted. Please see below for a list of available testing sites.


  • Your local Kinney Drugs:

    • Shelburne: 802-985-0008

    • Hinesurg: 802-482-4886

    • Burlington: 802-864-8154

    • Essex Junction: 802-878-5351


  • ClearChoiceMD South Burlington: 802-448-8205

  • UVM Drive thru at Fanny Allen: 802-847-5440

  • Your student’s Pediatrician’s office can be contacted for further advice


If you have further questions or would like more information regarding travel/quarantine requirements, please call the Vermont Department of Health: 802-863-7240. You can also contact your child’s school nurse. Thank you for your help in keeping our schools open and our school communities safe and healthy.


Williston Central School Health Office

802-871-6170


Allen Brook School Health Office

802-871-6248

Allen Brook Library News

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Physical Education Weather Reminder

As the weather changes and gets colder, we want to remind families that the Physical Education staff is planning to be outside with PE classes as a first priority. PLEASE DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR THE TEMPERATURE AND CONDITIONS... (jackets, hats, gloves, etc).


We recommend bringing in or keeping a few extra pairs of socks, gloves, or mittens in a cubby or backpack. Additional layers (snow pants or boots) would be acceptable for PE if needed. If younger students need snow pants for recess, they should wear snow pants to PE. Fresh air and movement is good for us all; let's be safe and prepared for the weather!


- Cathy Kohlasch, Lynn McClintock, Dustin King, Lyn Porter

Four Winds

We would encourage you to take a look at the amazing Four Winds presentations and try some of the hands-on activities whether you are at school or at home!


Click on the links below! You will find fun facts, diagrams, photos, activities, and even the videos of the beloved puppet show!


The theme for the year is Structure and Function.

Our first unit explores Spiders.

The second unit investigates Tremendous Trees.

This time we are comparing Predators and Prey!


**Because of the new restrictions in place, we are cancelling our December 9th Four Winds socially-distant in-person lesson.
We will also offer an outdoor, socially-distant (but in-person!) lesson, including the puppet show and related activities, at ABS once a month on a Wednesday at 10:30am.


See the dates below if you are interested in joining us!

1/27 - Skulls

2/17 - Birds of a Feather

3/17 - Calling All Owls

4/21 - Defenses

5/19 - Bees


Feel free to email, visit our website, or share your findings and photos on our Padlet.

Be curious!

Deb & Amanda, Your Four Winds Williston Coordinators

Visit the Williston Four Winds Blog

What to Know About Potential Hill Road Closings for Buses Due to Road Conditions

On the occasions it is determined a Williston school bus will not be driving on a hill* road during the morning pick up, we hope to be able to contact families early enough for you to get students to a stop at the start of the hill to catch the bus. When the hills are closed in the morning, it includes hills on the preschool bus routes.Alternatively, during the afternoon bus runs, we will contact families to advise you that the bus will need to drop children off at the start of the hill, and you can meet the bus there if necessary. If no one arrives to meet younger students, they will be brought back to school until arrangements are made for them to be picked up. Please talk with your bus drivers to let them know if you are comfortable letting your child walk home from the drop off location.

We will use the Connect 5 automated calling system to send a voice message to families on the hill roads.


*These are the hill roads: Butternut, Highlands, Porterwood, Oak Knoll, Rabbits Run, Evergreen, Fortier, Douglas, Yantz Hill, lower River Cove, Meadow Ridge, Ledgewood, Bayberry, Terrace, Jasmine, Wild Ginger, French Hill**, Sunrise Drive, Sunset, Lincoln, Chaloux, and Walker Hill.

**Students who live on or off Rt. 2 (Williston Rd) east of the 4-way intersection at the Federated Church should be picked up from school, as the bus will not drive toward French Hill in bad weather.

Virtual Learning Academy Website

click here to access the VLA site

Hybrid Learning Website

Hybrid Learning Schedules, Tech Support info and more

Upcoming Events


Dec. 15 - Budget Meeting

Dec 23-Jan 1 - No School / Early Winter Break

Jan 5 - Budget Meeting

Jan 18 - No School/Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Feb 22-26 - No School / Winter Break

Child Find Notice

Champlain Valley School District (CVSD) is required by federal law to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities. The process of locating, identifying and evaluating children with disabilities is known as child find.


CVSD schools conduct Kindergarten screening each spring, but parents may call to make an appointment to discuss their concerns at any time. As the school district of residence, CVSD has the responsibility to identify and provide services to any child with special needs who may require special education and related services in order to access and benefit from public education.


If you have, or know of any CVSD resident who has a child with a disability under the age of 21 or a child who attends a private school located in Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George or Williston, Vermont, we would like to hear from you. Sometimes parents are unaware that special education services are available to their children.


Please contact the School Principal, (Williston Central/Allen Brook Schools – 878-2762) or the Director of Student Support Services, Meagan Roy at 383-1234 or mroy@cvsdvt.org.

ABS Arrival and Dismissal Time

Students being driven to ABS in the mornings can now arrive between 7:50 to 8:10 am (all grades). Walkers are welcome as early as 7:40, when the buses are arriving. Click here for full document.

School Meals

Please visit the Food Service website for the remote learning days order form and more information.


We are excited to be able to serve your children hot food at school once again as well as continue to offer grab and go and delivery of meals for those students who are learning remotely. CVSD will be able to continue to offer free meals for all children 18 years of age and younger as we start school.


If your student has special dietary requirements please let us know. We will be happy to make reasonable accommodations (prepare a vegetarian version, substitute gluten free grain, bread or crust, soy milk or offer an alternate meal) to make sure they can have something nutritious and delicious to eat.

December Menu

School Handbook

The school handbook for 20-21 is under construction.