Family Friday Focus

Rick Marcotte Central School July 17,2020

Welcome and Introductions

Hello RMCS Families and Community,

I am delighted to be serving as your new Principal at RMCS as of July 1, 2020. Although I have been here only a couple of weeks, I am already meeting staff, planning with administrators, and learning so much about our fantastic school and community! People have been kind and welcoming. I am looking forward to getting to know all of you in the coming weeks and months.

Above I have included a picture of my two children and my dog, Duke! I am a mother (biological and adoptive), and have been a foster mom in the past. This means as we approach challenges at school and celebrate successes together, I have two lenses having been both the provider of services, but also as the consumer of school services as well. Raising my children, and working in the public school systems in VT for the past 26 years has provided me with many varied experiences, a deep appreciation for teams (that of course include families), and a love for life long learning!

I am exited to be taking this journey with you, even in these uncertain times.

South Burlington Reopening we know it right now.

We are working extensively on our school district plan for re-opening and will have more specific information for you in the first week of August. Just this week, we received more guidance from the Agency of Education on hybrid learning, so guidelines continue to shift. As a result, we have a variety of models being considering. This includes monitoring the COVID 19 data in our state and community to provide us with the safest plan for re-opening our schools. We know that the start of the year will not be a typical and traditional start, as we strive for the health and safety of students, families, and staff.

We also know that every student will need a cloth facemask (probably a few!). The Governor and Secretary of Education have been very clear that all students will need facemasks as much as possible. If your child does not have one, this is a good time to get one and start practicing wearing. Students in our Schools' Out Program and Extended School Year Summer School are doing a terrific job wearing masks! We know students have lots of energy so we encourage students to wear one and save one in backpacks.

Every student will also need a water bottle. Our fountains (as you can imagine) will not be available so each student will need a water bottle - preferably filled at home. Please remember to label your child's water bottle with their name. All personal items will need to be brought home daily and washed.

Please stay tuned as we continue to get updates from the Agency on Education and our Superintendent, David Young. We will share plans and procedures as soon as they have become finalized.

How to help children with MASKS:

While many questions remain about what school will look like in the fall, we wanted to reach out to inform you about one of the ways things will look differently. The State of Vermont has posted their Guidance for Reopening Schools, which indicates that “All staff and students are required to wear facial coverings while in the building, as well as outside where physical distancing cannot be maintained.” With this in mind, we know that it is very different to wear a face covering when visiting a store for a few minutes, than when your child has to wear a face covering for a full school day. This will take some getting used to, for all of us. Giving your child age-specific reasons for wearing a face covering/mask, meeting them at their level, and answering their questions can be very helpful in increasing their compliance in wearing a mask.

One idea of easing into the practice is by trying a strategy such as, “Mask wearing Monday,” where everyone in your family experiments with wearing the mask/face covering on Mondays for varying lengths of time. This gives children a chance to prepare for what a school day might feel like when we return to in-person learning. Consider encouraging teenagers to be role models for their younger siblings, by wearing their face coverings when appropriate, and helping younger children to understand the reasons for wearing a mask. Please also see, the tips below, from

How Can Parents/Guardians Help Kids Wear a Mask?

Cloth face coverings (or a face mask, if you have one) on adults and kids over 2 years old can help slow the spread of the virus. Here are some ways to help kids wear masks when you go out:

  • Help kids get used to masks. As much as you can, give kids time to practice wearing their masks before they might need to wear one outside of your home. Teach them how to put them on and take them off.

  • Encourage kids to decorate their mask. This might help them feel a sense of ownership and control over the situation. A personal touch can help make it more of a normal part of their routine, and make it more likely they'll want to wear their mask. Depending on the type of mask, kids can draw on it with markers or put stickers on it.

  • Make them together. If you make face coverings at home, let older kids help you. There are no-sew masks that are easy to make, often with materials you probably already have (T-shirts, bandannas, etc.). If you sew masks, maybe kids can select the fabric or patterns for the masks they'll wear.

  • Help make it fun. With younger kids, introduce a sense of play. Kids can pretend to be a doctor or nurse while wearing their masks. They might want to use a doctor kit and "take care" of a stuffed animal or doll.

  • Have a few masks handy while kids play. This lets them use their imagination about how to use them during playtime. It also helps make masks a more normal part of their everyday world. You can ask your child to put a mask on a stuffed animal, and then ask follow-up questions about why the stuffed animal is wearing the mask. Depending on your child's response, you can clear up any confusion and offer reassurance.

There are so many designs and types of cloth facial coverings; take some time to experiment with what might work for your child. It is recommended that the facial coverings are washed between each use, so having a good number of facial coverings on hand will also be important. Here is a tutorial, from the CDC, on how to make a cloth face covering: both sew and no-sew instructions as well as how to wear and take off a cloth face covering. If you need additional information about facial coverings, see the CDC website.



Budget Updates!

I am writing to encourage everyone to vote on August 11th. Besides being the primary voting day, it is also a third budget vote for the South Burlington School District. If you have not been following the school board budget discussions,

the current budget proposal is a 1.52% total increase with a 1.91% tax rate increase.

Please make sure you vote and make your voice heard!

Click here for more information on the school district budget:

Click here to learn more about absentee ballots:

The polls will be open in person on August 11th. However, if you would like to vote by mail, please go to and request your ballot for the school board budget vote. Please note that school budget and state primary ballots will be mailed separately and that the school ballot is not ready yet. The City Clerk needs to print the ballots now that the school board has approved the new budget. You can review the latest, proposed budget information here.



South Burlington School District's Nutritional Services Department is committed to continuing to offer healthy, nutritious meals, free of charge, to all children 18 years of under, until Sunday, August 16th. Beginning Wednesday, July 1st, all meal distribution will be by bus only, 3 days a week. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, multiple days' worth of meals will be delivered together. For those of you that are not on a regular bus route and your children normally walk to school, we will add your address to the bus routes for meal delivery only and notify you in advance of the expected delivery time. Please contact Rhonda Ketner at 652-7160 or if you would like to received meal delivery by bus.

COMMON ROOTS this summer


HI! My name is Kayli O’Donnell, I am the Farm to School Educator for your child as well as the Growing Gardens Educator/Gardener for Common Roots. If you have been to our Farm at South Village off Spear Street and walked around, you may have noticed the sweet 48 gardens tucked away near the yellow shed with children’s vibrant art. This is the educational heart of Common Roots Farm, Growing Gardens. It is a beautiful and fun place for children of all ages.

I am on-site from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm Monday through Friday and would be happy to show you and your family around the space in safe distance. We can make and enjoy some self-harvested sun tea!

Are you supporting your children’s learning with their teachers? If you are interested in getting your kiddo’s outside to learn about gardening, ecology, and nutrition, reach out to schedule a day for your children to play and learn with me at Growing Gardens. This will not be a group experience, instead your visit will be restricted to one family (siblings or housemates) per day so that we can all stay safe. The Garden is stocked with hand sanitizer, hand washing stations, and sanitation for tools.

Let’s make a plan! Email me at: Or Call: (603) 854-4411

New and fun features of the garden worth checking out:

· Human sized bird’s nest! Experience the shelter and home of a bird! Do some bird watching, we have lots of beautiful sky-friends here.

· Medicine Mound! Growing medicinal herbs in mounds is an old practice, one that Abenaki people who lived on the same land that the farm is now on once used! It is a sacred space for growth, like the belly of a pregnant mother. Come learn about herbal medicinal plants and take some home to try!

· Pole Bean Tee-Pee

· Clay making and shaping

· Observational nature art

I hope your child has enjoyed their Farm to School lessons!

Come visit our urban farm at 55 Allen Road East. Simply follow the signs. Oh yes, feel free to bring a few fruit and veggie scraps to feed the chickens next to the red barn.

The Common Roots Farmstand at South Village is NOW OPEN an additional 2 days a week - Wednesdays and Fridays.

So come on over today between 2:00 and 6:30pm! We are ready to serve you!!

Announcing Expanded Hours

Tuesday thru Saturday

2 – 6:30 pm

2 People may enter the Farmstand

Masks on

Hands washed

Convenient Online Ordering - Curbside pick-up available

Farmstand Team, Common Roots Farm at South Village