EMS Newsletter

May 15, 2020

Dear EMS Families,

I want to start this week by introducing James Kiefer, Edmunds’ new Principal, and ask you to join me in welcoming him so he can quickly see, as I have already told him, what a truly remarkable community Edmunds is. Please find his bio below:

I have been a public school educator for 30 years. I spent 22 years as a 7-12 math teacher and 8 years as a principal. In my last 20 years in Owatonna, MN, I was a teacher for 11 years, the principal of a 6th grade eSTEM building for 5 years, and the principal of the ALC for 3 years.

My wife and I are excited for our move to Vermont. We are looking forward to becoming a part of the community as we build relationships with students, staff, families and community organizations. We have four children who are all in their 20s, and we have twin 7-year old grandchildren. Our kids live in Alaska, Minnesota, California. and North Carolina.

Laura and I were drawn to Burlington due to the vibrant, diverse community. I believe that there is strength in diversity. I have as much passion and drive for being an educator as I did in my first year of teaching. I absolutely love my profession, and I am looking forward to getting to know the individuals and culture that make Burlington an amazing place to learn, live and grow.

Jim has already begun his transition, and his commitment to the EMS community is evidenced by his eagerness to connect with faculty, students and families. As I have begun getting to know Jim, his thoughtfulness, people-centered approach, and listening stance have been immediately evident. Please join me in welcoming him to Edmunds Middle School

As we continue to work to meet the needs of all our students and families during COVID 19, we are eager for your feedback to inform next steps and plan for future instances of remote learning. Please take the survey today to help us do just that.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the reality that we are all eager for more concrete directions and decisions regarding the end of this school year and plans for next year. Please be assured that as we know more and plans are articulated, we will continue to update you.

Thank you for your continued patience, flexibility and partnership.

All the best,


Friendly Reminders

  • You should be receiving a weekly email from your child’s team with details of the week’s assignments and reminders of when google hangouts are scheduled.

  • Students are expected to engage in their learning for 2-3 hours a day. This includes 2 hours of core class time and 1 hour of exploratory time. Most students have 3 exploratory classes and should expect 1-1.5 hours of work for each exploratory class per week. Our expectation is that students spend 15 hours per week on their school work. If they choose to spend more than that they are welcome to, but 15 hours of work time per week is the expectation. Here's what this might look like: Monday through Friday - 2 hours per day on core classes/ 1 hour per day on an exploratory class. Total = 15 hours.

  • Curriculum during the Continuity of Learning will continue to be posted on the EMS website

  • In addition to emails from your child/ren’s team and the curriculum being posted on the EMS website, students can find their assignments in their Unified Classroom accounts.

  • Family Powerschool and Unified Classroom Help Sheet

    • If you need assistance setting up a family or guardian Powerschool account, please email jstein@bsdvt.org.

  • To access Google Meets, your child will be using an Access Code. Follow directions below to join a google Meet.

Community Announcements

  • The South End Community Food Pickup is this Saturday, May 16, from 9-11 a.m. in the parking lot at Champlain Elementary School. Food staples in reusable grocery bags, grocery gift cards, masks made by many volunteers and coordinated by the City of Burlington Resource and Recovery Center, and books for all ages from the Fletcher Free Library will be offered.
  • Digital Safety and Wellbeing: Tackling Difficult Conversations in the Digital Age How do I help them focus? Children and youth today spend an average of 53 hours a week with entertainment media, more than any other activity but sleeping – and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s no surprise, then, that young people today are navigating the ups and downs of learning, relationships, kindness, and cruelty in both offline and online spaces. In this interactive and energizing webinar, Erin Walsh will explain how technology is changing the ways that children and youth grow up, socialize, and make decisions. She will cut through conflicting messages and walk through the latest evidence on topics like cyberbullying, online cruelty and how to cultivate focus amidst a sea of online distractions. Participants will leave with practical tools and strategies for tackling difficult conversations, building trust, and being the media mentor that kids desperately need to make better decisions online. Participants will explore questions like:
    • How can parents help prevent, address, and respond to cyberbullying?

    • What do parents need to know about the latest apps?

    • Should I be monitoring my child online?

    • What can I do at home to nurture my child’s digital wellbeing?

    • Can kids really multitask?

  • May 21st, 6:30-8:00 PM: Presentation and Q&A focused on grades K-5. (Attend Via Zoom or visit our YouTube page during the presentation.)
  • May 28th, 6:30-8:00 PM: Presentation and Q&A focused on grades 6-12. (Attend Via Zoom or visit our YouTube page during the presentation.)

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Food Benefits Coming Your Way!

P-EBT is a temporary food benefit approved by the federal government to help households affected by COVID-19 related school closures. Under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) EMS is a Provision 2 school and able to offer free meals to all students regardless of income. What this means is that all families with children at EMS and other Provision 2 schools should receive $387.60 per child in the form of a P-EBT card. If a family already receives SNAP benefits, the funds will automatically be transferred to their cards by May 27th. Families who do not currently receive SNAP benefits should receive a letter and a card in the mail by May 27th. If you do not receive a letter or card by this date call 800-479-6151. Participation is voluntary and benefits will expire in 12 months if not used. Here is the link to the FAQ page for more info. https://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/CVD19/DCF-AOE-PEBT-FAQS.pdf
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Guidance has some new offerings! Join on Google Meets with Nickname "EMSMeet".

Hello from the Health Office!

It seems from the data we’ve been collecting that a lot of students are using their chromebooks at night into the early hours of the morning. Getting the proper amount of sleep and having a regular sleep pattern is important to your overall health and how well your body functions and how well your mind reacts or learns. Please review this slide show with your loved ones and create a positive sleep pattern for yourselves! The Importance of Sleep
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Request for Input Re: DCF Award Renaming

Dear Parents, Teachers and Guardians,

The State of Vermont Libraries, along with the AOE, are collaborating to change the name of the Vermont State Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award program due to controversy around Fisher's association with Vermont's eugenics program.

Jonathan Clarke, the State Librarian, is asking for student input for a new title for the award. Parent involvement is required on the form, but all student and parent names will remain private.

The Vermont State Library asks that the webform not be published on websites or in social media platforms so that only Vermont students in grades 4 - 8 participate. They recommend that the form is included in an email or a closed internal platform and suggest parental or teacher guidance. The deadline for all submissions is May 26th.

We encourage participation from EMS readers for the new state name of this award. Every summer and throughout the school year, Edmunds Middle School students are encouraged to read the outstanding book nominees from our middle level state reading program.

The participation criteria and expectations are included in the links below if you are interested in getting involved.

Submission Guidelines.pdf

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8KN7N5H (This is the survey)

Thank you very much,

Carole Renca, EMS Librarian