EMS Newsletter

November 8, 2019

Dear EMS Families,

This morning our Community Time groups ran circles to reflect on events from this week. The empathy and deep care expressed during this time is a reflection of the importance of collective efforts of the EMS community in partnering to ensure the safety and connectedness of all.

This week the EMS community has faced some difficult situations. The common theme in all of these situations is the need for support and care of each other.

This coming Tuesday, November 12th, Engage EMS will be hosting a presentation on suicide prevention facilitated by one of our guidance counselors, Pat Hulbert, and health teacher Lindsay McQueen.

Over the next several months, lessons and discussions regarding resources and prevention, including self care, will take place at EMS, because as a community we seek to foster awareness and provide knowledge of how to help ourselves or support each other when depressed or struggling with thoughts of self-harm.

Sadly, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 19% of middle school students in BSD identified as feeling sad at some point in the two weeks around the time the survey was given.

This, along with with the reality that members of our student body have publicly identified a desire to self harm, leaves us responsible for collaborating in our efforts to educate and prevent.

While we seek to prevent, we also recognize that reports of self harm or suicidal inclinations must be met with swift response. How we respond to such situations is summarized here in the BSD threat assessment process.

Please join us on Tuesday at 5:30 pm. in the Library/MakerSpace for this difficult but important presentation and discussion.

In partnership,


Friendly Reminders

  • 11/11 - Basketball sign up - 3:00 p.m. in EMS gym

  • 11/18 - Basketball try outs - EMS gym

  • 11/25 - 11/29 - No School

  • 11/25 - 11/26 - Parent Teacher Conferences

Community Announcements

  • Action required - In order to ensure you receive calls from EMS, please check that your contact information in Powerschool reflects the phone number you wish to be reached at in case of an urgent update. If you have not completed the Annual Student Update (listed as Ecollect), this could explain any missed contact. Please be sure to update any needed information so we can better contact all of our community.

  • Please remember to sign up for Parent/Teacher Conferences on November 25th and 26th. The link is here.

  • As we all know too well, adolescents are still working to foster their executive functioning skills, and thus many items are forgotten at home and dropped at the front office throughout the day. In order to help us get these items to your children, please email them to let them know when you drop it off. Thank you for your help with this communication.

With construction on Maple Street and the EMS complex now complete, I wanted to remind and update families of Drop off and Pick up expectations. Please see below:

Drop off and Pick up expectations

  • Students can enter the EMS building from South Union St. from 7:20 - 7:55 each morning.

  • Students will also be able to use the South Union door for dismissal from 2:50 - 3:15 each afternoon.

  • For the safety of our community, all students and visitors will enter using the new entrance off Main Street except for the times identified above.


  • Students are asked to walk their bikes on campus and to lock them up in the bike rack outside the gym.

  • Buses drop off and pick up students on South Union Street.

  • Students who aren’t accessing homework help or breakfast are expected to remain outside on the front lawn until the 7:50 bell.

  • Students should NOT use the driveway behind the school.

  • If students are walking or biking to school they should either use the sidewalk path off Maple Street to the front of Edmunds Elementary school and along Main Street to South Union or bike down either Maple St., King St. or across Main St. directly to South Union.

  • Parents doing car drop off or pick up are also asked NOT to use the driveway behind the school. Instead, please designate a pick up location on either Maple or South Union St.

Host Families Needed

CIEE, a non-profit agency that coordinates foreign exchange students, is looking for a little help. We have a need for one host family now and two in January for students who would attend Burlington High School.

We currently have a student here in Vermont who needs to move from his current placement. Fabrizio is a 16 year old boy from Mexico who likes soccer, basketball, drawing, and photography. He says, “I want to go to study in the United States to meet more people and friends, know their customs and what they do on important days and holidays. I know it will be a great experience that will help me grow as a person and expand my general knowledge starting with the language I want to perfect.” Fabrizio is attending a small rural school and has not been able to find his “place”; a larger community will be perfect for him. His current host family loves him and reports no negative behaviors. He is here until June 2020.

Also arriving in January we have 140 Brazilian students and would love to have 2 of them placed in Burlington. These students have been chosen by their government to study in the USA for one semester (Jan – June 2020). All of them come from the Northern part of Brazil and most are from humble means. This is the 3rd year CIEE has been chosen as the placement partner for these students and they have always been incredible kids.

If you have ever considered hosting a high school exchange student, now would be a terrific time to come forward. All of our students have the appropriate visa and medical insurance and pay for all their own expenses, with the exception of food and utilities.

We accept all kinds of families - kids, no kids, empty nesters, single parents, and so on. The main requirement is kindness and a willingness to learn about a foreign culture.

You can start a host family application online at https://ciee.org/hostapply or contact me to talk more about our program.

Kind regards,

Susan Kuegel, Local Coordinator, CIEE


Engage EMS - EMS Music Benefit

Save the date! On Tuesday, November 19th from 5 to 11:30 p.m., American Flatbread in Burlington will donate a portion of sales of all flatbreads (dine in or take out) to the EMS music program.
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Black Lives Matter Flag Raising at EMS

Edmunds Middle School Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) Collective feels strongly that Edmunds Middle School should stand in solidarity with Burlington High School, South Burlington High School, Montpelier High School, and other schools committed to raising the Black Lives Matter (BLM) flag. Students of color make up 28% of the Edmunds Middle School (EMS) community. Flying the BLM flag not only recognizes students of color, but also helps highlight the fact Edmunds Middle School is committed to addressing and educating our students on the racial issues present in our school and our community. Accordingly, on November 12th, the EMS YPAR collective will bring forward a proposal to the Burlington School Board asking for approval to raise and fly the BLM flag at EMS for the remainder of the school year and then every year after that from February to the end of the academic year.

This proposal is supported by our scientific research efforts which were supported by UVM researchers. Data that we collected as 6th graders from the 2017/2018 school year found that 36% of students agree that EMS students engage in racial discrimination. White and Black students equally agreed on this question. We also found that 47% of Black students agree that students are discriminating against other students based on race. Furthermore, we found that roughly 1/3 of White students and 1/3 of Black students agree that EMS teachers engage in racial discrimination. These data present a serious need for actions around making sure that students of color can feel welcome, safe, and valued within the EMS community. Although there are many changes that need to take place in order to achieve such a goal, the YPAR collective feels that raising the BLM flag is one major step in the right direction. By raising the BLM flag we would be validating the difficult barriers and the hostility that students of color and their allies experience at EMS and schools all across the nation.

The EMS YPAR Team would like to invite the greater EMS community to come show support at Burlington High School at 6:00 pm on November 12th. Any support would be highly appreciated.

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Winter/Holiday Support

Dear EMS Families,

The winter months can be especially difficult financially due to increased utility bills, holidays, winter clothing for growing students, etc. It has been wonderful to see all the different ways that families in our community have stepped up to support one another and our school: chaperoning, transporting, and making baked goods for events; cheering for our students at sporting events or performances; walking other students to school; donating clothing, food, and gifts, as well as many other forms of support. Our wish is for all in our community to feel safe and valued, and we can't thank you all enough for doing your part to support this goal!

This winter, we are organizing a winter/holiday support system and are looking to gather names of families who are REQUESTING support as well as families who would like to OFFER support. This system will be totally anonymous (only guidance staff will have access to names). We will do our very best to fulfill all requests, but our ability to do so will depend on donations received. Below is a link to our Winter/Holiday Support survey. Please fill this out if your family could use some support during the winter months, or if you are able to donate. Every donation, no matter the size, will be much appreciated by a family in our EMS community!

2019 EMS Winter/Holiday Support Survey

If you would prefer to fill out a paper form, they are available in the Guidance office. Thank you!