ACSD Newsletter November 2022
Salisbury students play soccer against the foliage in their secret soccer field.
Dear ACSD Community,
As we move into the Thanksgiving holiday, I am especially grateful to our ACSD staff, students, and families who are working to strengthen our school communities each day. This winter we are launching several new efforts to support our school communities and family engagement:
Our next Strategic Plan: You can read more about the process to-date here which includes the work to date from the Advisory Committee for Equity and the ACSD School Board. When we return from break, please look for an invitation from the Board to attend in-person events (December 6th and 7th, times/locations TBD) where they will share their Strategic Planning Goals. We will also launch an invitation for community members to apply to be on the Action Team. This Team will design our next strategic plan which sets the vision for the years ahead in ACSD.
A New Website for Spring ‘23! We are excited to share that we will be getting a new website! We know our current website is a challenge for families and we hope that the new website will improve the experience for everyone and help you find what you need and keep you engaged with our schools. We invite you to fill out this survey to inform the content we share on the final design.
Special Education Parent Advocacy Council. Our schools shared information about this new effort. You can complete this form to get involved.
In this issue we hear directly from some of our students, put a spotlight on literacy efforts in our primary grades, and share additional highlights and ways to get involved.
I hope you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving break,
Peter Burrows, Superintendent
New clubs, work, and athletic experiences!
Paras Biancasino & Haven Brush ~ MUMS 7th Grade Students
Paras & Haven share about their experience joining the new Dungeons + Dragons club at MUMS:
Haven: Dungeons + Dragons is really fun because it's imaginative. It's a roll playing game and there are a bunch of books. You can create your own characters however you want.
Paras: I think Mr. Petrosino (MUMS, Language and Literature teacher) was interested in creating a Dungeons + Dragons club and then he heard me say I wanted to create one and he offered to help!
Haven: There are lots of students who join and each group who plays together is called a campaign. Campaigns can last a few hours or even years. I've had one happening for over a year! The D+D club is great because I've made friends here because we discovered we both liked D+D.
Paras: And it's a great way to interact with your friends instead of video games because you're face to face!
Riley Disorda ~ MUHS Junior
I've been working with the custodians, helping out after school. It's a great job. I wish more students would get involved. I really like the flexibility. I work 20 hours most weeks after school, but I can come in any time and if you can only work a few days, that's fine too. It's pretty relaxed. There are a few perks, too. I can shoot hoops or work out in the gym after I'm finished and you get a lot of respect from teachers. I've changed over the last year too, my attitude is different. Last year, I was failing my science class and this year the same teacher saw me after school and said he was proud of me for helping out and I'm also doing really well in the class this year.
[Interested? Students make $13/hr, work with our great team of custodians, and can set their own after school hours around sports and activities. Students can check in with Principal Campbell for more information!]
🏐 A new sport for MUHS!
Our MUHS Volleyball is brand new and they won the JV state championship! Twenty-six MUHS students played this season and next year they’ll achieve varsity status. A new sport for MUHS, volleyball is the second most popular sport in the US for female athletes and is incredibly popular internationally. They have partnered with the Middlebury Collage team and they already have two international connections: One of our sophomores, Sara, is studying abroad in Singapore and made the varsity team there! And back home, they're joined by Fiamma, an exchange student from Italy, who brings 6 years of experience. The team is guided by coaches Bethany Morrissey (MUMS Math teacher and ACSD parent), and Amanda Young (ACSD parent), who bring enthusiasm, experience, and guidance to this new team!
Teaching + Learning Highlights
Literacy and the Primary Years
With the guidance of our Literacy Coordinator, Heather Gebo, and Joy Dobson, Primary Years Curriculum Coordinator, our K-2nd grade teachers have been aligning literacy standards with our existing International Baccalaureate units. Our district-wide focus on literacy allows us to move from a model of intervention to one of prevention. This serves more students, earlier and puts them on a path to literacy success which they can build upon. Grade level teams meet monthly to plan instruction and learning engagements for each of the units of inquiry, share classroom and student related resources, and support each other in the learning.
We’re now in the phase of building the foundational scope and skills for literacy across the district. Twenty-seven of our primary teachers met together this fall to strengthen our teaching of reading and writing. Teachers gained an overview of the important components of our new decodable reading series. Decodable texts are those used in beginning reading instruction that are carefully sequenced to incorporate words that are consistent with the letter–sound relationships that new readers are learning. By braiding literacy within our IB units, students strengthen and build their vocabulary and writing skills because they are learning, practicing, and reinforcing within a real world contexts. For example, first grade teachers are building a shared list of books to use with the class to demonstrate the skills needed to form and share opinions as part of their upcoming Who We Are unit. This unit focuses on role and responsibilities within a community and leadership. Students will be learning how to write an opinion piece.
If you have an older elementary student, you may hear the sounds of a new instrument in your home! Students from across the district have an opportunity to learn an instrument of their choice, practice with an ensemble of similar instruments, and join the full band! Band teachers Sonia, Sarah, and Kate lead these budding musicians and help them learn to read music, assemble and play their instruments properly, understand rhythm, and play full songs together!
Teacher + Staff Highlights
Congratulations to Megan Cheresnick, Heather Raabe, and Brandi Corbett who graduated last week from the Vermont School Leadership Project!
Effective public school leadership requires more than professional knowledge. It demands passion, the ability to articulate a vision and engage others in that vision, and the ability to facilitate organizational change. To strengthen these capabilities among Vermont educators, the Snelling Center developed the Vermont School Leadership Project (VSLP) in collaboration with prominent members of Vermont’s business and education communities. VSLP was launched in 1995 and has graduated 12 classes, creating a collegial leadership network of over 200 alumni. Through theoretical discussions, experiential activities, and personal reflection, VSLP Associates consider concepts related to education systems, organizational change and leadership.
Welcome (back) Fernanda Canales!
Welcome Fernanda Canales, our new Multilingual Liaison! Fernanda may be very familiar to you because she retired as the principal of Salisbury school last year. In her new role, Fernanda works closely with Kate and KC to support our multilingual families. If you have a student who needs multilingual support, Kate or KC will be their primary contact at school. If you need multilingual support as a parent or caregiver, Fernanda is your primary contact to help you engage with your students’ education. Fernanda can help:
With interpretation at school meetings, events, and conferences
Getting you translated information (report cards, progress notes, and other forms)
Signing your child up for after school activities
Filling out forms and sign up for sports, field trips, and activities
Connecting to your school on WhatsApp or Talking Points
Employment at ACSD!
Do you want to work with students and bring your talents to support our learning community? We have several open positions for the 2022-2023 school year. View all job listings here.
Not looking for a permanent position? One of the BEST ways to support our teachers and students is to substitute teach! We also have several coaching positions available. Find them with the job listings here.
An Updated Volunteer Process!
We've worked to streamline our volunteer process to make it easier for parents and caregivers to help while ensuring our practices keep students safe. We have waived the $12 criminal record check fee for everyone and, if you need to be fingerprinted, you can seek reimbursement for that cost from your school.
There are three primary levels of visitor/volunteer which will determine what level of background check you need:
- VISITORS (no background check),
- SUPERVISED VOLUNTEERS (Criminal Record Check), and
- UNSUPERVISED VOLUNTEERS (Criminal Record Check plus Fingerprinting).
We use our newsletter and social media to stay connected and give you a peek into our classrooms. For more regular connection and lots of photos, follow us: Insta: @acsdvtschools FB: @acsdvt TW: @acsdvtschools
Important December Dates
We keep an "ACSD Events" calendar, which you can find here and download to your personal calendar. It holds all school breaks, early release days, and other dates that are helpful to our broader ACSD community. Here are a couple of important dates for December:
- Wednesday December 7th Early Release day
- December 23-30th Winter Break
Quick connect to your school
Remember to send a note in advance or call if your child will be late, absent, needs to leave early, or has a change in their after-school plans. Here are the numbers to every front office:
- Bridport Central School 802-758-2331 | 3442 VT Route 22A Bridport, VT 05734
- Cornwall Elementary School 802-462-2463 | 112 School Road Cornwall, VT 05753
- Mary Hogan School 802-388-4421 | 201 Mary Hogan Drive Middlebury, VT 05753
- Middlebury Union High School 802-382-1500 | 73 Charles Avenue Middlebury, VT 05753
- Middlebury Union Middle School 802-382-1600 | 48 Deerfield Lane Middlebury, VT 05753
- Ripton Elementary School 802-388-2208 | PO Box 155, 753 Lincoln Road Ripton, VT 05766
- Salisbury Community School 802-352-4291 | 286 Kelly Cross Road Salisbury, VT 05769
- Shoreham Elementary School 802-897-7181 | 130 School Road Shoreham, VT 05770
- Weybridge Elementary School 802-545-2113 | 210 Quaker Village Road Weybridge, VT 05753
You can find board meetings, agendas, and the zoom link to watch every board meeting on this webpage. The School Board's quarterly updates are sent to all ACSD community members by email, and can be found on the website here.