Williston Schools /September 23, 2020

A Message From The Administration

Flexible Routines

by Sarah Crum, Director of Student Support Services

Have you ever jumped in the car or on your bike and arrived at your destination without recalling the trip? Even taken a walk to return home realizing you don’t actually remember what you saw? I’ve done this with my routine tasks: making dinner, folding clothes, weeding the garden, getting ready for work in the morning. When a task becomes routine and automatic, our brain takes over, performs the necessary sequence, and doesn’t bother to bring our attention to it. This is an important asset we have; it allows us to accomplish certain tasks and leave cognitive space for new learning. Our attentive brain, the one we notice, is developing new pathways, creatively solving problems, processing new information. And amazingly, dinner is made and a week’s worth of laundry is folded without me attending to the task at hand! I love my brain for that.

For most of us, the start of the school year is a known and somewhat automatic routine. Granted, after a summer away, the re-entry always takes a few reminders and some adjusting. For our youngest learners, this may be their first year practicing this routine of school. Pathways in the mind are developing about school just as all our mental models are formed: watching what is happening around us and having experiences to shape our understanding of the world. Over the years, this is solidified more permanently.

I don’t have to tell you how most of 2020 has taken much of what we know to be true and turned it upside down. It took all those tasks our brains had mastered and made us relearn them: masks, temperatures, arrivals, dismissals, waving and air hugging, 6 feet apart, hand washing and sanitizing, different desks, school supplies, meal delivery. All those things that our brains did with automaticity have become new learning again. What happens when our cognitive energy has to focus on learning the tasks it once did with ease? Exhaustion.

So, we are tired. Your children are tired, you are tired, your child’s teacher is tired, and your leaders are tired. It’s okay, we just need to know that it is true right now. My 7th grader came home after two days of in person instruction and said, “Mom, why am I so tired?” We are tired because our brains are working double time trying to relearn many of the tasks that were automatic as well as trying to devote energy to all the new and creative learning brains love to do. Brains are amazing and they will relearn these pathways and be all the more flexible in the long run.

In the meantime, there are a few things we can do to help our brains in this process.

  • Focus on a few routines you can count on
  • Eat the same breakfast a few days in a row or on the same day of the week
  • follow the same steps when you get home or get ready for bed
  • do school work in the same subject order on remote days
  • wake up at the same time each day

Think of all the routines you have; watching a TV show, household chores, walking the dog. Familiar routines require less attention and will give your brain a much deserved break. When you can, bring flexibility to that routine: change when you walk the dog; swap out chores; take a different route home. These adjustments will help you develop new automaticity and connected pathways in your brain. Flexible and Routine.

Give your brain a bit of a break. From the screen and from new learning. Your brain is working hard. If it feels like everything is taking longer than it should, it probably is. If it feels like you need more sleep than usual, you probably do. Even if it feels like your brain isn’t working at full capacity, I promise you it is. It is making pathways with new understandings which will make you stronger and better equipped to face the world tomorrow and the next day, no matter what it brings.

No School Monday September 28th - Yom Kippur

There will be no school this Monday September 28th in observance of Yom Kippur.

For next week, Group A will be in school on Tues./Wed. and group B will be in school on Thurs./Fri.

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ABS Arrival and Dismissal Time

Students being driven to ABS in the mornings can now arrive between 8:00 to 8:15 am (all grades). Walkers are welcome as early as 7:40, when the buses are arriving. Click here for full document.

Kindergarten Transition to 4 days of In-Person Instruction

As mentioned in the CVSD district newsletter on August 13, the Vermont Department of Health and Agency of Education relaxed their rule around social distancing. For students under the age of 10, the new guidance allows between 3 and 6 feet social-distancing.

Now that we have successfully opened schools in the hybrid model, our hope is to incrementally transition elementary students to more in-person school days. The current plan is to begin this transition on October 5 with Kindergarten students transitioning to fully in-person schooling for 4 days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) and maintaining remote instruction on Wednesdays each week.

We understand that for some families this information might lead you to consider a switch from hybrid to fully-remote or vice versa. Please indicate your preference for your child below to assist us with planning.

We ask that families that have responded yet do so by noon on Thursday September, 24

If you opted in for busing for the two in-person days, we will automatically extend that to four days. If you need to request busing, please fill out this form and we will contact you when a space becomes available.

Student Photo Days Sept. 25 and 29

Student pictures are scheduled to be taken on the following days:

Friday, September 25

Tuesday, September 29

VLA students are invited to come for pictures.

WCS: 11:45 to 12:45 both days

ABS: Friday; 8:45 - 9am, 12 noon - 12:40 pm and 1:25 - 2 pm

ABS Tuesday; 12 noon -12:40 pm, and 1:25 - 2 pm

Online ordering site for schools

Passwords are as follows:

WCS - wcs20

ABS - abs20

Dry Clothing Physical Education

Do you like wet feet? I know I don’t. We all know this is a different kind of year. Currently we cannot move actively in the gymnasium due to Covid 19 precautions. That means that Physical Education must be held outdoors in order for the children to be physically active. Often in the morning the grassy areas are wet. Once the ground firms up there won’t be as much worry about wetness from dew or frost, but right now that is an issue. I would like to maximize movement and mask breaks for the children which means we will be going outside. This includes days that are chilly.

If it is raining, we have the use of the tent. On days it is not raining we will be on open field space. This means wet feet (shoes and socks). If your child has a dry pair of socks and shoes to change into they will be much more comfortable for the remainder of the day. As the weather gets colder we will see where we are with Covid 19 precautions. Thanks for helping your child to stay active and comfortable. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Lyn Porter – Allen Brook Physical Education

Box Tops for Education


Between 9/21/20 and 9/27/20, earn 1 Bonus Box Top with every eligible receipt scan, up to 5 scans per person.

Offer ends 9/27/20. Offer valid while supplies last.

Still accepting Boxtops cut off of boxes and through scanning on the App. (find the app here)

Allen Brook School Student Attendance

Kindergarten families should contact Laura Gigliotti (, Jodi Blaine ( and your classroom teacher to report absences. We appreciate hearing from you before 8:30.

Grade 1 and 2 student absences should be emailed to,, and the classroom teacher.

For VLA students, please email your teacher and

The ABS office phone is 802-871-6200.

Welcome to CVSD IT Help Desk Portal

Please use this ticket process for technical support. As tickets come in, one of our technicians will be assigned to work that ticket and will reach out to you within 24 hours either by telephone or email.

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Virtual Learning Academy Website

click here to access the VLA site

VLA Tips and contacts

Troubleshooting your Device:

When questions arise about the device you are using (won't start, camera doesn't work, etc.), please fill out this Helpdesk Form and someone will be in touch with you soon. Please do NOT directly email anyone in IT to request help as the department all works together and uses the Helpdesk system to respond to requests and needs.

Troubleshooting Digital Tools & Resources:

When questions arise with the accounts you are using (Google, IXL, Seesaw, and others), please reach out by email to Tim O'Leary, Virtual Learning Academy's Digital Learning Leader:

Williston Families As Partners (FAP)

Williston Families As Partners (FAP), Williston’s “PTA” organization, provides a forum for parents, teachers, administrators, and community members to actively discuss activities, events, and programs in the Williston schools. The participation of teachers and administration differentiates our FAP from a typical PTO/PTA and helps further promote our children’s health, well-being, and educational success.


FAP Rep duties vary from house to house, but here are some of the most common activities and functions (an FAP Rep won’t necessarily do all of the things listed);

Liaison between the teaching staff and parents

Inviting interested parents to attend monthly FAPAC meetings

Serving on various FAPAC sub-committees


FAP Advisory Council Monthly Meeting, held remotely

Communicating with House parents and teachers (approximately 1 hr/month)

Four Winds

Dear Teachers, Families, and Students,

We would like to continue the Four Winds partnership and encourage scientific learning and hands-on, outdoor exploration whether you are learning in the classroom or remotely.

The theme for the year is Structure and Function. Our focus for the month of September is Spiders. The embedded links will take you to the resources provided by the Four Winds Nature Institute.

While volunteers are not able to join you in a classroom this year, we have put together an amazing Google Slides Spider Presentation for you. In it, you will find everything that we would typically share in a Four Winds lesson. This includes fun facts, diagrams, photos, activities, and even a video of the beloved puppet show!

Thank you for continuing this positive school, parent, and community partnership with Four Winds. We would love to hear from you! Feel free to email, visit our website, or share your findings and photos on our Padlet.

Have a great school year!

Deb & Amanda

Your Four Winds Williston Coordinators

Link to Spider Presentation

Link to Padlet for Uploading Photos




Parents will be asked to certify that each day they will take their child’s temperature, monitor their health, and NOT send them to school if any of these are true.

All students will have their temperature taken prior to boarding the bus or entering the building.

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What Families can Expect When a Student is Sick

Symptoms such as cough, runny nose, and upset stomach can be caused by many different germs or health conditions. This fact sheet from the VT Dept. of Health can help you prepare in case your child gets sick.

School Meals

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.

September menu

If you feel you may be eligible for meal benefits, please fill out this online form and submit it to the school. You will be notified if you qualify for free or reduced priced meals. Even though meals are currently free for all, this is likely to change later in the fall. Also, this information is used to determine the amount of federal assistance the school receives each year to support learning. If your situation changes you can apply at any time.

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.

Please contact your food service director if you have questions.

Thank you. We look forward to serving students again at school and to continuing to provide meals for the families in our communities.

Remote Learning Days Meals

Our distribution days for meals for remote learning days will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. On Monday each child will receive 2 breakfast meals and 2 lunch meals. (4 Meals)

On Wednesday each child will receive 1 breakfast meal and 1 lunch meal (2 Meals)
On Thursday each child will receive 2 breakfast meals and 2 lunch meals. (4 Meals)

Williston Remote Meals:

Please only sign up on these forms for the days your students will need meals at home. You can come to your school to pick up meals between 10-10:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can also request delivery of meals on the form and we will deliver meals to your home. By requesting this option, you are giving us permission to deliver meals to your home. Please place a cooler near your front door for us to place the meals in to keep them safe and cold. Some items will need to be reheated at home. The instructions will be on the labels.

WCS Band News

To start the year, the WCS band program will welcome all returning band students and students new to our school that have experience playing in band. Students will be offered 3 choices which are described in this newsletter.

We are gathering information in order to inform our scheduling.

If you have not already, please indicate your preference by filling out this form .

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Access to School Buildings

Access to the school buildings this year is by appointment only for contract tracing reasons, please contact the person you would like to meet with to schedule an appointment.
Student and Family Emotional Support

School Counselors offer tips and suggestions to help maintain emotional well being.

School Handbook

The school handbook has been updated for 2019-2020