EMS Newsletter

March 29, 2019

Dear EMS Families,

Having difficult conversations is, well, difficult. And yet, the need for difficult conversations - especially during adolescence when your children are in the midst of making sense and identifying who they are and how they fit into this world - is essential.

It is important for us - the adults in their lives - to challenge and ready ourselves for how to engage our children and students in these discussions. Topics such as how to address hurtful, and in some cases hateful, language and/or how to advocate for oneself, whether in person or online.

Knowing that there is a continued hunger from families for resources addressing these needs, we wanted to share with you that which has been provided for the EMS faculty by teachers and community partners over the last few weeks. Every Wednesday, the EMS faculty participate in two hours of professional development. Throughout this year, the time has been used with the explicit purpose of driving our EMS goals.

  • ALL EMS students and staff will feel connected to our school community - safe, respected, seen, heard, and valued.

  • All EMS students will find meaning in the work they are tasked with.

Below are three resources I’d encourage you to take 5 minutes to look at and consider how you could use them at the dinner table or when driving a carload of children to practice and overhear a concerning remark.

  • Lindsay McQueen, one of our health teachers, did a workshop called Teaching Students To Provide Critical Feedback,with the driving question being How can we use creative thinking to advocate for personal, family, and community health?

  • Annie O'Shaughnessy, outside consultant from True Nature Education and BSD Restorative Practice, did a workshop on the use of nonviolent communication skills that provided a simple protocol for having difficult conversations.

Active Listening Techniques (1).pdf


  • Kathy Gallagher, the Evolution LA teacher, did a workshop entitled Speak Up which highlighted resources from Teaching Tolerance and considered the following issues

    • how best to respond to those who use bias language

    • how to speak up when hurtful remarks are made

In November Kathy wrote a blog post reflecting on a morning meeting when she actively used these resources. It was a profound experience for all involved.

With gratitude and in partnership,


Friendly Reminders

  • 04/05 - Quarter 3 closes

  • 04/08 - Quarter 4 begins

  • 04/08-04/13 - ELA SBAC testing

  • 04/12 - Report cards mailed home

  • 04/12 - School Dance 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - EMS gym

  • 04/13 - Performance Music Cabaret - 6:30 - 8:30 - EMS gym

Community Announcements

  • Communication between home and school often grows more challenging as your children get older. At EMS we want to reiterate that you are always welcome. Please do not hesitate to reach out to schedule a time to meet with a teacher at any point. While our recent conference times were limited for 7th/8th grade we are always willing to find another time.

  • World Language update for 2019-2020: Currently Burlington’s two middle schools share one full time French teacher and one full time Spanish teacher. As a result of scheduling and contractual constraints, each teacher spends 1/2 the year at each school. The effect of this current programming means that:

    • there is no continuity in our language offerings at the MS level

    • thus, students are leaving MS without readiness for HS language

    In order to address this reality and move toward a language program that provides more continuity and greater readiness for high school, next year the Spanish teacher will spend the full year at EMS, while the French teacher works full time at Hunt. Our plan for 2020-2021 is to identify a long term option that addresses the deficits in the current programming and work toward a solution that would allow for:

    • 6th graders to have a true language exploratory opportunity

    • 7th/8th graders to opt into language

    • Rising 8th graders who took language during the Middle School years to arrive to HS prepared to enter HS level language classes.

  • School Dance details
    • Tickets sold before and after school next week in the lobby of the school for $4.

    • Location - EMS gym. Entrance through side door by the gym driveway.

    • Dance doors will be closed at 6:30

    • Snacks and drinks for sale (range in price from $.25 - $1) throughout the dance

    • Games offered in addition to dancing.

    • Students must stay in the dance until 8 after entering.

    • Suggested drop off and pick up location - South Union St.

Students last week at Girls Tech. which is sponsored by Vermont Works for Women!

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Final week of sign-ups for Burlington Youth Lacrosse for grades 2-8

With most of our teams at or near capacity, this will be our last week of sign-ups. We urge interested children (girls and boys grades 2-8) and their parents to go today to https://www.btvlax.com/ for more info or to sign up at https://secure.rec1.com/VT/burlington-vt/catalog.

We are committed to providing opportunities for all children and families. Any child who wishes to play and needs financial support will receive it; program fees will be waived and the child will be provided equipment to use free of charge.

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EMS math team had fun day Saturday February 16 at UVM in the regional MathCounts competition. Ten schools participated with over 75 students. Our team placed 4th! Congratulations!
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