Gertrude Chamberlin School

Family Newsletter September 24, 2021 Volume 16 Issue 7


Friday, September 24th - 12:30 Dismissal for Staff Professional Learning

Thursday, September 30th 6:30 PM - GCS Circus Performance, South Burlington High School Turf Field

Children should arrive at 6:15 PM. See the information from your child's teacher about a color they can wear for their performance! There will also be some of the circus props that your child has used throughout the residency for sale at the performance. A portion of the proceeds will go to our PTO.

Friday, October 1st - All School Celebration, Wear Your Favorite T-shirt and mismatched or colorful socks!

Friday, October 8th - 12:30 Dismissal for Staff Professional Learning

Monday, October 11th - No School, Indigenous Peoples Day

Tuesday, October 12th - 6:00 PM, PTO Meeting

October 20th and 21st Zoom Open House

Wednesday, October 20th - Classrooms, Guidance, Special Education 5:30-7:00 PM

Thursday, October 21st - Integrated Arts 5:30-7:30 PM

Please remember that arrival time is 7:55. Students should not be arriving before 7:50. We've had a number of students walking, biking and getting dropped off as early as 7:30. There is no adult supervision before 7:50, so it becomes a safety issue.

Open House Information

Since we are not able to have our traditional, in person Open House this year, due to Covid 19, we will have a virtual format on Zoom! Families can join zoom times to get information about your child's learning, see their classroom and meet their teachers! We will have two evenings, one for classroom teachers and one for integrated arts classes. Our special educators, reading teachers and guidance teacher will be popping in to the classroom zooms to say hello. Here is the format for the two evenings. Please mark your calendars and we will send out Zoom links when the time gets closer! We will also send home curriculum overviews for each grade level and integrated arts area on Friday, October October 22nd.

Wednesday, October 20th

5:30-6:00 PM - Kindergarten and First Grades

6:00-6:30 PM - 2nd and 3rd Grades

6:30-7:00 PM - 4th and 5th Grades

Thursday, October 21st

5:30-6:00 PM Art

6:00-6:30 PM Music

6:30-7:00 PM Physical Education

7:00-7:30 PM Library Media

All School Celebration...We Filled the Hive!

We have done fantastic work following our expectations of being kind, responsible and safe! Classes have cashed in their bee bucks for honey cells, and we made it to the top of our hive! Next Friday, October 1st students can wear their favorite T-shirt and mismatched or colorful socks! Below is a kindergarten class learning about our hive and honey cells!
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New Health Block at GCS

This year, all students will have a 30 minute block, once a week that will focus on Health with Mrs. DeGuise, Digital Citizenship with Ms. Balk and Guidance with Mr. Melen. There will be a rotation every six weeks, so students will have the opportunity to have all three learning experiences a few times throughout the year.

Health and Physical Education News for September

Your Child Will Be A Circus Performer on Thursday, September 30th! Come and See the Show!

We will be having Troy Wunderle and his Big Top Adventures as our artist in residence from Monday, September 20th- Friday, October 1st. Students are working with Troy to learn and practice a variety of circus skills such as: juggling, hula hoops, stilts, diablos, pogo sticks, unicycles, and rolling globes during their regular Physical Education classes. On Thursday, September 30th at 6:30pm on the turf field at South Burlington High School, each classroom and grade level will be performing their circus act. Parents/caregivers will need to bring their student to the turf field AT 6:15 PM that evening so they can be part of the performance and show you the skills they have learned throughout the two weeks. A letter will be sent home from the classroom teacher about what color clothing your child can wear for the performance. We are excited for a wonderful residency, culminating with GCS students as circus performers on the 30th at 6:30 pm. We will also be accepting donations that evening to help cover the cost of the residency. There will also be circus props that the students used throughout the residency for sale if you would like to purchase them the night of the event. A portion of the proceeds will go to our PTO. This residency will also be supported by the Chamberlin PTO, the VT Arts Council and the Polly Cain Fund.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Results for 4th and 5th Grade Families

If you are the parent of a 4th or 5th grader, your child's results from our national spring SBAC assessments were mailed home on September 22nd. Along with the results, you will find a letter explaining the assessments, how they are used in the district and how to interpret your child's assessment information. If you have questions about your child's assessment, please call us at 652-7400.

Here is a video with some highlights from our 1st grade classrooms!

Gertrude Chamberlin School Student/Family Directory

Make sure your student is included!

FOR YOUR STUDENT'S INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED, you MUST fill out the registration form and provide your contact information. Due to privacy concerns, you must opt in - your information will not appear unless you provide your contact information using the link.

Here is the link for the form:

By including your contact information, you make it easy to connect with other Chamberlin families and help create a strong Chamberlin Community! The Directory is being created and provided by the PTO. Please fill out the form no later than Friday, October 1st to have your information included.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer Doig, PTO president, anytime at

Volunteer Layperson of the Year at GCS...Cathy Wisloski!

On behalf of the entire staff at Gertrude Chamberlin School and the South Burlington Educator’s Association, we congratulate Cathy Wisloski for being chosen for our 2021-2022 SBEA Layperson Volunteer Service Award!!! Congratulations!!! Cathy was chosen for her commitment to our PTO, including as the president and co-president for many years. We are grateful for all of the work Cathy does to support our school! Along with a gift, Cathy's name will be added to our volunteer plaque in the library. Ms. Zimmer, our SBEA representative, presented Cathy with a gift this week because the Wisloski family will be moving out of state next month. We decided to move up our typical process for this volunteer award to honor Cathy before she leaves, given all of the work she has done to support our students and families during her time with us at GCS. She has supported the Harvest Festival, classroom celebrations, fundraising, Movie Nights, Teacher Appreciation Week and numerous other events organized by our PTO. We wish Cathy and her family the best of luck with their move - they will be missed!
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Welcome to the PTO!

We are looking forward to a wonderful year together to support our children. If you have questions, you can contact the PTO presidents, Jennifer Doig -


PTO Meetings for the year are on the following dates:

10/12, 11/9, 1/11, 2/8, 3/8, 4/12, 5/10

Farm To School News

Hello GCS Families and Friends!

Farm to School is back in session and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with all grades this year! As we learn about different foods each month, we will be thinking a lot about these three questions: “How do we nourish ourselves?”, “How can we help our neighbors?”, and “How can we reduce food waste?”. This month we are celebrating the apple harvest while making some delicious apple butter. The apple butter that we make in class is then being donated to the Common Roots Farmstand and the SB Food Shelf. This week, we met will all classes at Chamberlin School outside near the gardens to learn about apples.

Another great way to enjoy the apple season is to visit your local orchard! Pick some apples, support our local farmers, and check out the wild ecosystems that surround an apple orchard. Humans aren’t the only ones that enjoy a good apple - deer, skunks, squirrels, birds, bees, and worms.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Apple Butter

Makes ~ 1 pint.

The recipe is very simple - just two ingredients! - we hope you give this one a try at home.


5 lbs of apples

2 tsp ground cinnamon


1. Combine apples and cinnamon in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.

2. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5 hours on high.

3. Set the lid ajar and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are almost broken down, about 2 hours more.

4. If desired, puree in a food processor until smooth.

Come visit our Farmstand at South Village - We have lots of pumpkins, winter squash, tomatoes, watermelon and more! We are open Monday - Saturday, 8am-6pm.

Till next month, Nourish to Flourish

Lauren Jones, Farm to School Educator for Common Roots

School Nurse Notes

We want to repeat our message to all of you, of our appreciation for your continued patience, cooperation and support. This continues to be a very fluid time with COVID-19 guidance from the state and we are constantly adjusting to new information. With continued diligence on everyone's part, to decrease your own exposure risk, we are optimistic that COVID-19 infections will drop in our community and that approval for the anticipated Pfizer vaccination for 5-12 year old children will become available soon.

Please fill out the Ruvna app each morning prior to your student entering school. If your student is not feeling well, consider contacting your student's health care provider. Even with the mild symptoms, a COVID PCR test may be needed, as symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, headache, or loss of taste or smell are commonly experienced by children testing positive for COVID-19 in Vermont. Refer to these guidelines and notify the school nurse of test results. Thank you.

Be well,

Nurse Kerry Farrell

Alphabet Tree in the Cafeteria

Mrs. Wells, our lunchroom monitor, changes our tree throughout the year using her scrapbooking skills. To start the year, she created an alphabet tree! Each student's name can be found on the letter that their name begins with. Students had fun this week looking for their name on the upper and lowercase letters! We are reminded of the children's book, Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. Thanks to Mimi for making the cafeteria a brighter place to eat lunch!

Lost and Found

Please be sure that you label your child's water bottles and lunch boxes. Here are a few from lost and found. Please call us at 652-7403 if one of these items belongs to your child and we will get it to them.

September 23rd District Update From Superintendent Young

September 23, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

The calendar may say that it’s fall, but it certainly feels like summer today! What a great opportunity to spend some time being active or just soaking up a little late September warmth. As always, there is a lot happening District wide. Of note, our elementary schools will have an early release day tomorrow, September 24 at 12:30 for staff professional development while the high school and middle school will have a late start at 10:35. Tonight is the SBHS’ virtual open house and this weekend, the annual Ski and Board Swap will take place September 25 from 9-3 (masks required). It may not feel like it, but winter is coming. In addition, you’ll find a few opportunities to get involved with our District below. Come join our team!

Hispanic American Heritage Month Sept 15-Oct 15

It is National Hispanic American Heritage Month. Our District joins many across Vermont and throughout the country in honoring the contributions of generations of Hispanic Americans who have and continue to enrich our country and communities. National Hispanic American Heritage month began September 15 to celebrate the anniversaries of national independence for many Latin American countries including Costa Rica and El Salvador. You can learn more at the link above.

MS/HS Situation Update

I want to thank you all once again for your patience, understanding, and for coming together as a school community during last week’s situation at the middle/high school. While we cannot reveal the identities of those involved due to privacy reasons, we did receive a report from the SBPD that when officers responded, they quickly learned that the incident in question involved a threat via virtual communications rather than in-person. The incident did involve students of the District who were all on campus. The reported threat involved weapons, specifically a gun and a knife. The nature of the threat combined with the fact that the involved parties were on campus lead to the lock down. Investigating officers, with the help and guidance of District officials, quickly located the three students who were reportedly involved in making the threat. At the time of the incident and during follow up investigation no weapons were found.

Going forward, I wanted to make you aware that should something similar occur in the future and a lockdown is needed, families and staff will receive a very brief text and email stating that fact with more information to follow. This will serve the dual purpose of alerting families/staff quickly that a situation has warranted we execute our established protocols while giving us time to check into the details and verify facts prior to sending a lengthier communication as we did last Thursday. After the initial lockdown message, please be aware that you will also receive a “lockdown lifted” notification as soon as possible after this has taken place.

These situations are not easy for any of us to respond to and grapple with, but please know our first priority is always ensuring the safety of our students and staff. We hope these adjustments to our communications strategy will be helpful should we need to use them.

COVID Update in SBSD

A member of the FHTMS learning community tested positive for COVID19 this week. We identified 34 students as close contacts and contacted those parents/guardians. Close contacts will be quarantined until Friday September 24 and upon receiving a negative Covid test, can return to school. Students will be doing work from home by accessing their learning management system (Schoology). We feel fortunate that so far this year, we have only had to have two classes quarantine. Thanks to all for continuing to wash your hands, watch your distance, and stay home when sick. We will continue to carefully monitor the VT COVID dashboard, the current VT PreK-12 COVID data, and guidance around travel and quarantine.

Surveillance Testing Update

Thank you for your continued support as we kick off the 2021-2022 school year. For the 2021-22 school year, we are adding to our COVID-19 mitigation efforts by enhancing our COVID-19 testing program. This program is free for students and staff and participation in the program is highly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status. Although students who are vaccinated are less likely to spread or contract the virus, unvaccinated individuals are still at risk of exposure, and it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

South Burlington schools will be conducting biweekly testing on Mondays beginning in mid-October (exact date TBD) by way of a quick, non-invasive nasal swab, collected under the supervision of trained staff. Unlike many COVID-19 tests of the past, these are easy for students 5 years and older to perform themselves under supervision.

Students may only participate in the program with permission from a parent or guardian. To participate in the program, you must sign this consent form on behalf of your student. Staff members fill out the same form and students 18 and over can do the same. To learn more about our COVID-19 testing program, please visit the Agency of Education’s Covid-19 Surveillance Testing Program Overview.

We are currently exploring our staffing options in order to facilitate this program. If you are interested in assisting (these are paid positions!) you will need to attend training prior to joining us. Please email Delina Gilroy at if you are interested.

Update from the School Board: Join Us!

The South Burlington School Board is seeking a candidate to fill a five-month vacancy on the School Board. The candidate appointed by the remaining board members would serve until March 1, 2022 when voters will choose someone to fill the remaining two years of the term. Interested citizens, who are legal voters of South Burlington, should submit 1) Board Vacancy Application 2021 and 2) a resume to Delina Gilroy at no later than: Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 4:00 pm Candidate interviews may take place at the October 6 board meeting.

Potential applicants with questions about the role may contact any school board member(s) using their contact information found on this page or Zoom with Board Chair Bridget Burkhardt or board member Brian Minier this coming Monday from noon-1 pm and 5-6 pm respectively. Find the participation information here.

The Business Office is Hiring!

Are you (or someone you know) a whizz with numbers, have a keen eye for detail, and are passionate about organization? Do you pop your grocery list into an Excel spreadsheet? If so, we have a part time position available in our Business Office that may be perfect for you! We're looking for someone with formal training in accounting (ideally) since duties will include general ledger entries, financial tracking, state reporting, accounts payable backup, and employee leave balance tracking. Does this sound like you? Apply via SchoolSpring here. If you have any questions, please contact Krista Chadwick at

Recovery Planning: We want to Hear from You!

Over the next three school years, the South Burlington School District will receive federal funds for educational recovery in order to build back from the pandemic. These are one-time funds for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) provided for by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. This fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Education describes the funds and the differences between each type.The ESSER allocation received by each district is determined in part by the number of families living in poverty within the district. We want your feedback on our recovery plan! Check it out and fill out the brief survey on our SBSD Recovery Planning and ESSER Funds website. Survey closes October 1.

School Happenings

SBHS Visual Arts Students Explore the Eye

High School students in Visual Arts teacher Lisa Divoll-Painter's Painting class have been observing photos of eyes and reproducing the images in pencil. According to Visual and Performing Arts CAS and Visual Arts teacher Kim Kimball, “They are striving for a full range of light to dark and paying close attention to reflections. Then they are translating their gray scale images into color scheme paintings. This is a lesson in observation, value drawing and the application of paint and color theory concepts.” Some of these beautiful images will be posted to the District website soon!

FHTMS’ Lego Robotics Team is Back in Action!

The Lego Robotics team will be back this school year! Coached by teachers Scott Carlons and Chris Johnstone, the team currently includes 3 8th graders and they are in the process of recruiting 6th and 7th graders. The application process is competitive and capped at 10 students. Last year, due to COVID, Lego Robotics did not take place, but SB did compete in 2019 and in 2018 at the FIRST Lego League Vermont State Championship held at Norwich University. In 2019 the South Burlington Team won the "Strategy and Innovation Award.”

Transferable skills? This team has them in spades. Clear and effective communication, self direction, creative and practical problem solving, and responsible and involved citizenship are all key on this team. One of the core values of FIRST Lego League is Inclusion and respecting and embracing each other's differences. If your student is interested in joining the team, they must apply by Thursday, October 7th at 3:25 pm. You can find applications hanging on boards throughout the school or you can get one from Mr. Carlson or Mr. Johnstone.

Gertrude Chamberlin School Students HoneTheir Circus Skills with Artist in Residence!

Beginning this week, Troy Wunderle and his Big Top Adventures were welcomed to GCS as their artist in residence and will remain at GCS through Friday, October 1st. This week, students worked with Troy to learn and practice a variety of circus skills such as: juggling, spinning plates, stilts, diablos, pogo sticks, unicycles, and rolling globes during their regular Physical Education classes. On Thursday, September 30th at 6:30pm on the turf field at South Burlington High School, each classroom and grade level will be performing their circus act. GCS will also be accepting donations that evening to help cover the cost of the residency which is also supported by the Chamberlin PTO, the VT Arts Council and the Polly Cain Fund.

Central Students Meet (and race a 50 yard dash!) with Olympic Rugby Player Ilona Mahr

Students who are part of Central’s 4th grade team received a very exciting outdoor visit this week from Olympic Rugby Player, Ilona Mahr! Mahr played for the USA team in Tokyo this past summer. According to Principal Kilbourne, Mahr read students a picture book and then held a Q and A session. She showed them how in rugby you pass backwards, shared that the men and women's rugby have the same rules and expectations, and talked about how much teamwork matters! At the end, the children who wanted to, got to race her in a 50 year dash!

Orchard Fun Run Returns!

Thanks to the Orchard PTO, on Friday, October 8th each Orchard student will experience the excitement of a run, walk or ride on a marked course around Orchard Elementary. Each student will receive race day swag. Families are more than welcome to join and cheer on their student(s)! Make a sign of encouragement or bring their own cow bell – the more noise the better as the students make their way around the course. This is the PTO's sole fundraiser for the year.

Thanks for reading and have a great Friday and weekend,


Emergency Broadband Benefit Available for Students Qualifying for Free and Reduced Price Meals

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is available to any students who qualify for free and reduced price school meals, including all students attending Community Eligibility Provision Schools. The benefit provides up to a $50/month discount on internet service, and a one-time discount on a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. Households can provide their Free and Reduced Meals approval letter from School Year 19-20, 20-21, or 21-22 to qualify for this benefit. Households may continue to submit free and reduced meal applications to their schools to become eligible for this benefit throughout this school year. If you believe you qualify and need a letter for eligibility, please contact Mrs. Baechle at 652-7403.

South Burlington Public Library Book Sale - September 24th and 25th

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Does Your Child Need Milk for Their Home Lunch?

Milk is NOT free for students who need a milk for their home lunch. The cost of a milk is 50 cents and parents/caregivers can send in a check, made out to South Burlington Nutritional Services, to credit their child's account or have money taken directly from an account to credit to your child's account. or use our online payment option through MySchoolBucks.

If you have any questions, please contact Rhonda Ketner

This school year ALL STUDENTS can have FREE Breakfast and Lunch! We would still ask everyone to fill out the Free and Reduced Lunch form. See the links below for the form and the breakfast and lunch menus.