September 9, 2021
Personalizing the September 11th Remembrance on the 20th Anniversary
Hello CVSD families and community,
I wanted to acknowledge the upcoming 20th anniversary of September 11th. Like the Kennedy assassination, the Moon Landing, the Challenger Explosion before the events of September 11, people will always be able to recall where they were and what they were doing on that fateful morning. Along the way, we think about how 9/11 changed us, our families, and our country.
I’ll share my instance in time with you. I was a college counselor at a high school at the time. That morning, I delivered my college visit and scholarship deadline reminders to the students who hosted our television announcements. When I walked into our studio, on a small monitor near the entrance to our news program set, the first Tower was emitting smoke. The students in the studio and I tried to make sense of what was going on the monitor. At first glance, it seemed like movie footage, but then we realized it was daytime news anchors covering the story.
I then headed to one of the senior English teachers’ classrooms to deliver some passes for college visits that day. He was there with some early arriving students watching the news on a small television that Channel One had provided to the school. The second plane then struck the other Twin Tower. We both knew that the college visits and any other lessons that day were no longer going to occur.
We did not know the extent of the attack, so we spent the rest of the day glued to the television. The internet was still a somewhat new venue to learn information about the world. Still, we knew that two more planes had crashed -- one into the Pentagon and one in Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- so we didn’t know if there was more to come. We used the day to comfort one another and check in on family and former students. Finally, we finished the day and headed home to our loved ones.
When I was a principal, I worked with my band director each year to honor those who passed away on September 11, as well as those service members and first responders who passed away subsequently. First, a student would read a brief synopsis of what transpired, then I would ask teachers to open their doors. Next, the band director placed trumpet players around the building, and they would begin playing Taps. The trumpeters would start at different times, several measures apart, so the music would get louder as it got closer to the students’ rooms. Then, when one trumpet player would finish, classrooms could still hear the music echoing through the halls until the last trumpet player finished. Even though I heard it many times, this annual performance gave me goosebumps.
Thank you for letting me share that with you. There are so many tangents that I could have started down to recount what 9/11 has meant to me. However, I am sure that once you begin that journey, it will be challenging to only think about where you were that day before you start venturing through thoughts about events then and since.
CVSD's Symptomatic and Positive Cases Guide has been updated for this school year.
Partners in this effort
We have experienced the return of COVID in our schools and appreciate the support that families have provided. Please remember, we are partners in this endeavor and must work together to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.
Families: Please help keep COVID out of our schools by keeping kids home when they are sick, calling your family doctor, and communicating with your school's health office. Think carefully about choices your family makes at this time to minimize possible exposure or spread of the virus.
Here's a paragraph from the letter that went out to Williston families last night. We hope that everyone can help to do their part.
"We would like to stress that the battle against the spread of this virus must be a community effort. We share in the belief that full-time school is absolutely essential to the welfare of our children, our families, and our community. The school will continue to do whatever it can to slow the spread of the virus and is reviewing its mitigation strategies for possible adjustments. Your efforts as a family are critical as well. Unfortunately, it seems we are back in a time and place in which we once again must scrutinize the decisions we make at home and do our very best to avoid scenarios that increase our risk to our family members of contracting or spreading the virus. This could include skipping a planned concert or event - even if it is outdoors, rethinking that sleepover your child is asking you for, wearing a mask indoors when in public, postponing hosting or attending the birthday party for friends until virus activity substantially decreases, and making sure that all members of your household stay home when they are sick. Here are some additional tips from the VT DOH for reducing the risk of contracting Covid-19. We are in this together and need your help."
In our schools: We will continue to emphasize mitigation efforts to prevent and control the spread in schools. We are wearing masks, washing hands, and staying in our class cohorts. We are looking at enhancements to our efforts, including increasing the spacing between tables in the cafeterias, keeping students in class groups at those tables with assigned seats, and checking on and reviewing bus protocols.
Masking requirement update
On Wednesday, during Governor Scott’s weekly press conference, Secretary of Education Dan French announced that the masking requirement in schools should be in place at least until October 4th. CVSD will assess where we are with positive cases and close contacts around that date and will then determine possible next steps.
Surveillance testing and student vaccination data
To better monitor the path of COVID infections amongst our students, CVSD will participate in Vermont’s surveillance testing program. Our staff is in the process of getting trained, and the state’s surveillance testing contractor, CIC Health, is creating the infrastructure for the delivery of tools and picking up completed tests. To find out some the FAQs regarding Vermont’s surveillance testing program, visit the AOE surveillance testing webpage.
CVSD will begin collecting student vaccination cards and parent-signed attestations within the next few weeks. This is from the School Advisory Memo from August 19, 2021, titled Calculating a School’s Vaccination Rate:
"School district officials are permitted by law to request that parents voluntarily disclose their students’ vaccination status to assist with the implementation of pandemic precautions during the school year. Parents may opt to not disclose this information. If a parent declines to provide vaccination status, their students should be counted as not-vaccinated for purposes of this memo." (Link)
When we have set up our process for collecting this information, we will communicate it with you via school newsletters, social media, and on our website.
Announcement: DEI Director
This month has been full of wonderful beginnings. It is good to have our students back and welcome so many new educators to our district. Yet, with beginnings also come endings. We are sad to inform you that Liliana Rodriguez has resigned from her position as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, effective this week. She writes, “COVID continues to change the lives of many across the globe and I am sad to say that my family is no exception. I need to focus on unexpected health concerns and family needs right now.”
We were all just getting to know Lili. Superintendent Sanchez and she have discussed how best to keep the momentum going while we seek a new director. As Lili shared: “I was honored to be chosen for this position, felt so welcomed, and I am sad to leave so abruptly. I wish you all the best as you choose equity and inclusion every day…these words are verbs, requiring action from all of us.”
During Lili’s tenure, her work has guided CVSD to have three main efforts:
Conduct an equity audit and look to operationalize recommendations
Centralize Bias Incident Reporting and Protocols: building off of the last year’s work of CVU students and DEI coach Bageshree Blasius
Implement Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices in our recruiting and retention efforts across the district
In addition to the three main efforts, Superintendent Sanchez states it is the day-to-day recognition that diversity, equity, and inclusion flow through every aspect of a school district. Ranging from curriculum and instruction, budget planning, transportation, facilities, communications, and many other systems, equity must permeate every decision, action, and outcome. So it is critical to build on the momentum started by DEI coaches, the students, the administration, and Lili moving forward.
CVSD will begin the process of searching for a new director as soon as possible. CVSD hopes to have a new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in place by January.
The Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application is about more than school lunch!
With school breakfast and lunch free for all students this year you may be wondering why you should bother to apply to the Free and Reduced Meal Program. Here are three really important reasons why.
- The amount of federal funds we receive to support early literacy and math intervention services is based on the percentage of students receiving Free and Reduced Meals. If you don’t enroll, these programs will disappear.
- The USDA is implementing a P-EBT (Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer) card program for families whose children are not in school due to school closure or quarantine. The details are being rolled out later in September, but we know that in order to be eligible, your student must be approved for Free or Reduced Meals.
- Later this fall we will be announcing a federal program to provide broadband assistance to CVSD families. This program will help with paying for internet access, provide a new internet hookup, or provide hotspots if necessary. Again, your student must be approved within the Free and Reduced Meal program to be eligible.
The application is short and easy. An online or printable application is available on the CVSD website under “Food Service” or contact your school directly.
Over 40,000 meals were prepared and served by our food service team this summer!
Powerschool - Creating Parent Accounts AND Updating Forms
- Some folks created their account, but didn't fill out the forms yet. Log in and look on the left for the Forms link. Please fill out all of the forms! It doesn't take long; you know the information needed about your child(ren).
- If you haven't created your portal account yet, please do and then complete the forms.
- Our goal is to have everyone complete these forms by the end of September. SCS set a deadline for this Monday. We'll be watching to see which school will reach 100% first!
It is very important that we have the most current and up-to-date information to support your child and reach you. Thank you for your help. Reach out to your school if you need assistance.
Fall/Winter Access Courses Now Enrolling
Powerschool and Emergency Contacts
We have found in reviewing and approving submitted data that when a parent/caregiver checks themselves as the emergency contact for their student(s) they are removed from the primary communications list. Please DO NOT indicate yourself as the emergency contact for your student(s). Emergency contacts are those we might reach out to if a parent/caregiver is not available.
Check Out the CVSD Story
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Fall/Winter Access Courses Now Enrolling
Powerschool and Emergency Contacts
Check Out the CVSD Story
Feedback Invited: Budget Development Process
- Through an online input form or Thoughtexchange
- Hosting community forums, in-person or virtual
- Inviting all members of the community to engage in the budget development process by attending budget-related board meetings. (Remember, all board meetings are open to the public.)
What other suggestions might you have to get folks involved in this process? Please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org We'll be getting underway soon and welcome your suggestions.
We are especially in need of para-professionals, but there are additional positions listed here too.