THE SCHOOL BELL
Williston Schools / February 10, 2021
A Message from the Administration
by Williston Schools Lead Principal Greg Marino
This week I would like to use this space to highlight two key elements from CVSD Superintendent Elaine Pinckney’s latest newsletter to families. There has been enough buzz about both of these topics to reemphasize them here and add a few local notes.
Return of 7-8th Grade?
From Superintendent Pinckney: “After the February break, Charlotte Central School will welcome back their 7th and 8th graders to four days per week of in-person instruction. Charlotte is able to do this because of their size and because they have the space and staffing to make it happen. This decision comes as a result of weeks of discussions, problem-solving, and planning on the part of the CCS faculty and administration, and in collaboration with all CVSD Middle-Level principals. If the social distancing guidance were to change for this grade level group, or other means of achieving 6 feet social distancing for this age group were to present themselves, we would immediately start planning to bring more students back to our other K-8 schools.”
I would like to emphasize that though we are extremely pleased and proud of the hybrid instruction that is occurring across our WCS teams, we would very much like to have 7th and 8th graders return to school in-person, 4 days per week. Living with a WCS 7th grader in my house, I can relate first hand to those of you who are experiencing the ups and downs of the current hybrid model. I cannot stress enough the care that WCS teams are taking each and every week to wrap around our 7th and 8th grade learners in a way that assures all of them feel connected and cared-for at school. I encourage parents and care-givers to stay connected with your child’s teachers and not to hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns, or wonderings. The decision to maintain the current hybrid model in Williston will hold unless there is a change in the guidelines from the VT DOH and AOE, which currently require 6’ minimum distancing for students in these grades. I hope you will agree that adhering to these guidelines from our State’s medical and public safety experts have served us well so far.
Keeping Schools Open for In-person Learning:
From Superintendent Pinckney: “Our ability to keep any of our students in school hinges on the general health and safety of our greater community. While we did see an upswing in cases after the holiday break, the numbers were low enough and spread out enough to negate the need for widespread school closure. We know this is because our families and our staff followed the safety guidance. We are grateful. Today I ask you again to be vigilant. I know that we’re all wishing and yearning for the family and friend vacation away, but the time is not right. If you do travel during the upcoming vacation, please quarantine upon return. Send your students back to school only after you’ve received a negative test or have quarantined for fourteen days without COVID symptoms. I thank you in advance for your adherence to the VT Department of Health and Agency of Education guidance.”
There is no question that we are all experiencing real and significant fatigue from the restrictions brought on by this pandemic. There is also no question that there is a direct link between our behavior and the spread of the virus in our community. Our school faculty and staff continue to make extraordinary efforts to create and maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for our children. Just like us, they have made significant sacrifices in order to make this possible. We are so grateful that our schools are opened for in-person instruction and we are asking again for your help to continue in these efforts. Please see these important reminders from our Health Office about gatherings and travel. Also, if you have not already done so, I encourage you to read this letter from local Physician, Dr. Leah Costello, which appeared in last week’s Bell and CVSD newsletter.
As always, I am grateful for the privilege of sharing in this partnership with our families in the support of your child(ren)’s growth and development. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
New Food Benefit Program for Families
We are excited to share a new food benefit program with families. An email went out about this on Monday, 2/8. We wanted to reach out in school newsletters as well to help inform families about this opportunity.
- There is no change to the current free breakfast and lunch for everyone 18 and younger. No action is necessary to continue to get free meals.
- Every enrolled student who qualifies for free/reduced meals is also entitled to an additional $60 - $100 per child per month - retroactive to September.
- Many families who did not qualify for free and reduced meals last year may qualify this year due to a change in family circumstances. Because meals are free for everyone, you may not have completed the application. In order to get this additional benefit, you will need to apply now.
- Families who were qualified last year are automatically enrolled. You do not need to do anything but are being asked to check the 'head of household" name and address so the electronic-benefit-card gets delivered to the right person/house.
8th Grade Student & Parent Night
CHAMPLAIN VALLEY UNION HIGH SCHOOL
To 8th Grade Parents and Students of the Class of 2025
Join us virtually for
8th Grade Student & Parent Night
Champlain Valley Union High School
Online Thursday, February 11, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Hosted by Principal Adam Bunting
and the CVU Student Council
This evening will provide you and your child an introduction to the academic and elective programs they will experience in the 9th grade.
We’ll be live at: https://youtu.be/-4lw-svyyA0
Part 2 February Break Camp
Part 2 will be open for February Vacation Camp from February 22nd-February 26th at Allen Brook School (Williston), Hinesburg Community School, and Richmond Elementary School. Camp will run from 7:30AM - 4:00 PM. School-aged children can sign up for any of the locations listed above for $60/day, and Early Years students can register at RES for $65/day. All Part 2 students are eligible to participate in our vacation camp and you can choose which site works best for your family.
In order to run all of the sites listed above, we need to have at least 15 students sign up for each site. Based on December vacation camp attendance we are fairly certain we will exceed this threshold, but wanted you to be aware if enrollment is low, we will need to do a further consolidation of sites we are able to offer.
Registration is open NOW and will be closing on Friday, February 12th at 8:00 PM. After Feb. 12th, your tuition will be non-refundable. Sign-ups after registration closes on the 12th will be based on availability and there will be an additional cost.
During these times of uncertainty, it remains our goal to provide high-quality child care that also gives a space for your children to have FUN! Each site will be going on one field trip during vacation camp, and as always we will be following all state guidelines so we can do so safely. Information about any field trips happening during vacation camp can be found when registering your child on Campbrain, as well as in your child's Part 2 newsletter coming on February 1st.
Click HERE FOR THE LINK to sign up for both school-aged and early years. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try to provide some options for necessary child care. As always please feel free to reach out with any and all questions!
School Budget Vote
Dear CVSD Community Members and Voters,
FY22 budget season is upon us. While many voters may cast early ballots, for those who prefer to vote in person, TUESDAY, MARCH 2, 2021, is your chance to vote on the FY22 Proposed CVSD Budget and school-related Articles. (Articles and Ballot Questions refer to the same thing.)
As Finance Committee Chair, I am pleased to report that your District Administration and School Board are optimistic and future-focused. We developed the FY22 budget with a goal to return this August to the familiar in-person 5-day per week instruction.
There are NINE ARTICLES for voter approval this year. This letter will be the first in a series of communications to highlight the FY22 Budget Articles to help you prepare for voting. Read more at this link and find further information on the CVSD website: www.cvsdvt.org/budget.
Penguin Plunge 2021
This year’s Penguin Plunge is going to look a little different. We invite all students, parents, guardians, and staff members to join our efforts by either taking the icy challenge or making a donation to support our brave plungers.
Last year, our 46 fearless plungers raised over $17,000 – placing us second amongst other schools across the state. Ironically, CVU took first! Our goal this year is to raise $25,000.
The Penguin Plunge is a Special Olympics event that supports sports training and competitions, health screenings, and leadership opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
These fundraising efforts also support our very own Unified Sports Teams. Last year our Unified Bowling Team proudly represented Williston, bringing home two bronze medals, four silver medals, and three gold medals from the Champion Schools Bowling tournament in Barre.
If you’re interested in taking the challenge or making a donation, please click here https://give.specialolympicsvermont.org/team/336563. Questions can be directed to Ashley Sutton – firstname.lastname@example.org. Ashley is a Special Educator at WCS and co-coaches our Unified Sports team.
Do you have a child who will be 5 years old by September 1, 2021?
Kindergarten Registration for Fall, 2021 is underway at Allen Brook School.
Questions? Email email@example.com or
Allen Brook School
497 Talcott Road, Williston, VT
Updated Health Screening Questions
In order to be in compliance with state regulations and to keep our teachers, staff, and students safe, all families with children participating in in-person learning agreed with and signed a certification at the beginning of the school year that they would attest to 4 questions about their child's health before sending students to school. As a result of the Governor's current Executive Order, we have updated the required questions. Please review the questions in the image below with your family before sending students to school.
PARKING LOT SAFE DRIVING REMINDER
We are reminding all parents and caregivers who drop off or pick up students to be extra mindful about your driving in the school parking lots. We are asking that all drivers please drive with extreme caution, courtesy, and at slow speeds. We have noticed some dangerous situations pop up as a result of distracted driving or elevated driving speeds. We thank you for your help in keeping all students, staff, and drivers safe.
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.
Extra Masks, Winter Clothing
With the colder weather, having the right clothes for recess and outdoor learning is necessary. Please ensure your children come to school with jackets, gloves, hats, snow pants and boots .
A big reminder to parents to send in an extra mask because masks are getting wet at recess.
In addition, we hope families can ensure all students have a spare set of clean, dry clothes at school, as we are not able to share clothing safely this year.
Hello Curious Scientists!
How are you doing? We would love to hear how Four Winds presentations are going this year. Please take a quick moment to fill out our Mid-Year Check-in Survey.
We may have a couple more weeks of winter, but there is still a lot to do outside!
If you are looking for something to do over the February staycation, try some of these amazing units! Click on the links below to find fun facts, photos, hands-on activities, games, read alouds, science episodes, and even the videos of the beloved puppet show! Enjoy!
Unit 1: Spiders
Unit 2: Tremendous Trees.
Unit 3: Predators and Prey
Unit 4: Skulls and Teeth
Unit 5: Birds of a Feather
Bonus: Winter Exploration Ideas
The theme for the year is Structure and Function.
Deb & Amanda, Your Four Winds Williston Coordinators
Here are three different visual timelines to the contact tracing that show important dates for cases and close contacts:
test positive but do not have symptoms
close contacts with someone who has tested positive
Social Gathering Q&A from the Health Office
Feb 1-12 - Kindergarten Registration (registration paperwork)
Feb 11 - CVU 8th Grade Student/Parent Night 6:30-7:30 (https://youtu.be/-4lw-svyyA0)
Feb 22-26 - No School / Winter Break
March 1 - CVSD School Meeting, 5 pm zoom Details: https://cvsdvt-org.zoom.us/i/98936025245 Meeting ID: 989 3602 5245 Phone Participation: 1-646-876-9923 Passcode: 528121
March 2 - School Budget Vote
Apr 19-23 - No School / Spring Break
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.
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.
Monthly Fitness Fun
School Nutrition Program
Monthly Fitness Fun
CVSD School Board
COVID-19 CVSD Links
CVSD School Board
Recreation & Parks Offerings