Washington Central Story

WCUUSD Community Newsletter - May 5, 2023

May Flowers

May is one of those months in schools that is so chock-full and busy that our schools feel a bit like they are careening through till the end the year. It is fun, with so many activities and celebrations - but it can also be stressful. It is also Faculty and Staff appreciation month. I want to take a moment to extend so much gratitude to our amazing faculty and staff. We are so grateful for all they do for our students and families every day. So if you have not already: please take a moment to thank our amazing school community members!

Not long ago I was reading an article about our energy during certain times of year, and I came across a quote that I really liked:

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive."

-Howard Thurman

I thought that was lovely for this time of year, because it reminds us that for many educators, working with our young people is exactly what makes us come alive - and it also reminds us that sometimes the way to manage a stressful time is to find all those other things that make us come alive.

There are many things to share this month - updates, celebrations and upcoming events. Happy Spring!

- Meagan Roy, Superintendent

In this issue...

  1. Safe & Healthy Schools - A Guest Post about Social Emotional Learning in WCUUSD
  2. Academic Achievement - VT's new statewide assessment
  3. Humanity & Justice - May celebrations
  4. Strategic Planning - Our first Community Conversation
  5. Important bus updates for the remainder of the year
  6. Celebrations & Updates
  7. Upcoming Board meeting information

Safe & Healthy Schools

Social Emotional Learning at WCUUSD: What it looks like & why it matters

A guest post from Kerra Holden, WCUUSD Special Services Director

What is SEL?

You have likely heard about schools’ emphasis on social and emotional learning (SEL) in recent years. In addition to traditional academics, research continually points to the importance of SEL for all students. We can all relate to this research, because we know that relationships and emotional wellness contribute to a fulfilling life just as much as traditional academics. WCUUSD centers SEL in our schools and continues to develop our SEL curriculum and practice across grade levels.

Social and emotional learning includes thinking about the ways we interact with others (social) and the ways we are able to identify and manage our own emotions (emotional). The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) offers excellent resources and information for those interested in learning more about SEL. CASEL defines SEL as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”


WCUUSD recognizes that how students feel at school impacts their learning experience and academic performance. Therefore, relationships and positive school cultures serve as the foundation for our social and emotional learning. Frameworks such as restorative practices, positive behavioral interventions and supports, trauma-informed teaching and diversity, equity and inclusion support positive school experiences for all students. As is the case for academics, some students demonstrate a need for additional opportunities for social and emotional learning. Examples of additional supports include check-ins with a school counselor, sensory breaks with an occupational therapist and extra teaching in specific areas of SEL development such as taking turns or asking for help.

Supportive relationships and communication with the adults and caregivers important to each student are a cornerstone of SEL in schools. As social and emotional needs arise, parents and caregivers are crucial team members in identifying and addressing student needs. Other community organizations serve as important resources for students, as well. These include Washington County Mental Health Services and Green Mountain Behavioral Consultants, and individual mental health providers, who provide more specialized care for students with more significant social and emotional needs.

In the coming months, members of the WCUUSD community will continue to evaluate and strengthen social and emotional learning opportunities for students across our layers of support. This means we are thinking about our classroom level supports all the way through our more targeted supports for students with challenges in managing strong emotions. Be on the lookout for more information as we dive into continued SEL work at WCUUSD.

Academic Achievement

Vermont Comprehensive Assessment Program (VTCAP)

Your child may have already spent time this week taking Vermont's new statewide assessment (and if not this week - it will begin shortly!). The VTCAP is Vermont's new testing platform and serves as the required academic testing for students in grades 3-9 and 11. All students in grades 3 through 9 will be assessed in English Language Arts and Mathematics, and our 5th, 8th and 11th graders will complete the Science assessment as well.

As you may have learned, the change to the new assessment platform came later than the Vermont Agency of Education was anticipating. This means that the "normal" challenges we would expect during testing have been somewhat exacerbated, and accessing the computer based assessments has had some hiccups. Our faculty and staff (especially our tech team) have been working tirelessly to reconcile things as quickly as they can. We are appreciative of their work, and the patience of our students!

Humanity & Justice

May Celebrations

In February, Shelley Vermilya, our Equity Scholar in Residence, reminded us that "These monthly designations offer us a minute to stop and listen to the stories of our history, its promises, disappointments, and hope for the future." I love that frame, as it nudges us to think about what we learn when we take the time to acknowledge. In that spirit of learning, then, here are some things to think about this May:

(to reread Shelley's post, check out our February newsletter)

Big picture

Our First Community Conversation

I was thrilled to be a part of our first Community Conversation this past Wednesday at U-32. We gathered in the cafeteria with a wonderful group of community members (we had just over 40 people participate). The goal of these initial conversations is to listen to community members to identify their core values. These values will then, in turn, serve as a compass or north star to guide board decisions, budget allocations, and decision making at the district level and at individual schools.

Participants came together in rotating groups and had table discussions about four questions:

  1. What are the hopes and dreams that our community has for our young people?
  2. What are the core values that should guide the WCUUSD as we make important decisions?

  3. What skills and qualities are most important for our students?

  4. How will our young people know WCUUSD cares for and about them?

We are excited to continue engaging the community during this first phase, so that many more community members can help with defining our core values. We recognize that there are multiple ways to be engaged, and our Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been thoughtfully discussing many different ways to be present.

You can look for a Strategic Planning Table at several upcoming school-based events. There will be an opportunity to ask questions about the process, but also a chance to fill out a survey so you can respond to those same questions listed above. We hope to see you there!

  • May 11, Berlin Elementary Art & Music Show

  • May 16, Calais Elementary Art & Music Show

  • May 24, East Montpelier Elementary Celebration of learning

  • June TBD, Doty Reads Day

  • June 1, Rumney Memorial Fine Arts Night

  • June 2, U-32 Spring Art Show

We'll also be looking ahead at other, non-school opportunities to "drop in" and engage with our community. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, check out the slides from the event for an overview.

Want to participate, but you aren't sure you can make it to an event? Click here participate in the survey - and please share this widely with friends and family in your community!

And as always, for more information check out our Strategic Planning Community Conversation site, where you will soon find a recording from the event as well as a link to the slides and survey.

Big picture

Some Important Bus Updates

By now you've read several messages about the driver shortage in WCUUSD. Although we are very close to the end of the school year, we have reached the point where we've needed to make route reductions at every school, that will be in place for the rest of the school year. Families are already aware of these changes, and our hope is that these will be consistent through the close of school

Unfortunately, though: The shortage in drivers means we are very challenged when even a single driver is out for the day. This will result in route cancellations, and families should be prepared for this possibility. You can always find the most up-to-date bus route information in the Infinite Campus portal. If you don't have a portal account or are having difficulty accessing it, contact your child's school directly!

We certainly understand the challenge this creates for our families and caregivers, and we continue to be doing our very best to address the shortage. Thank you for your patience and grace.


National History Day Teacher of the Year Nominee!

Congratulations to U-32's Kara Rosenberg for being one of two nominees from Vermont for the National History Day Teacher of the Year! “This award recognizes the very best educators from across the nation and beyond,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “These educators are leaders and innovators in the teaching of history. They engage their students with hands-on, inquiry-based learning with primary sources. I congratulate them on their well-deserved nominations.”

The national winner will be selected by a committee of experienced teachers and historians, and announced on Thursday, June 15, 2023, at the National History Day National Contest Awards Ceremony in College Park, Maryland.

Congratulations, Kara!

Courtesy Post from the Agency of Education

Federal law requires that the State of Vermont report certain information on students whose parents or family members are serving in the United States military. The goal of this data collection is to support the students of military families in their learning. If you or a family member are currently serving in a military branch, please complete this form.


AOE uses this information to fulfill it's federal and public reporting requirements.

If your family is not currently affiliated with a military branch, no action is required.

Coming Soon!

From Mark Kline, Director of Technology

We're excited to announce that the websites for our Washington Central Schools are getting a bit of a makeover. Starting in mid-May visitors to our sites will notice a new look that is cleaner and more modern. It'll also work a little better with small screens, such as those on phones.

We'll also be updating the URL for our site to one that better reflects our status as a district rather than a supervisory union. You'll be able to go to http://wcuusd.org to access the district site (although the old http://wcsu32.org will still get you there as well). From the district site you can then go to individual school web pages.

Or, you’ll be able to go directly to a school's home page with one of these URLs:

  • U-32 MS/HS: u32.wcuusd.org
  • Berlin: bes.wcuusd.org
  • Calais: ces.wcuusd.org
  • Doty: dms.wcuusd.org
  • East Montpelier: emes.wcuusd.org
  • Rumney: rms.wcuusd.org

WCUUSD Board Meeting

Wednesday, May 24th, 6:15pm

930 Gallison Hill Road

Montpelier, VT

Check out our website for more information and for the link to join this virtual meeting: https://www.wcsu32.org/domain/272