Weekend Update - April 1st, 2022

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Staff:

Hope you had a good week. I have really enjoyed putting these email blasts together. I want to continue on a bi-weekly basis. They started as weekly COVID updates, but we now include other information as well. There is so much that happens in our schools and I know that we have local newsletters that go home. As I review those newsletters, I will include interesting pieces that our entire SU family might be interested in. I am also exploring other technologies that will deliver this email in a more concise and readable manner. It seems like text messaging is becoming the new email. I know that I am much better about reading something that comes to my text inbox than my cluttered email system. Stay tuned.

We continue to see a slight rise in positive COVID cases since we made masking optional. I think it was to be expected. I also anticipate that we will get back to more cases of flu, strep throat, and other infections. The masks did have a residual effect on other contagions. This week we had a total of 30 students and 10 staff across the SU test positive for COVID. Hartland seems to be getting hit the hardest. Hats off to the school staff there for working out coverage and keeping the school open. Hopefully, all of this will subside. Our board continues to support optional masking and does not want to fluctuate back and forth based on transmission rates. I think this is the right choice. That said, we will keep our eyes open and if we detect a real emergency, we will convene a special SU Board meeting. That was the decision made at the last SU Board meeting.

Here are a couple of other items for today:

  1. Board Meetings: Public participation is always welcomed. It has been so good to see so many of our public attending our meetings. I hope it keeps up. It is the only way we all stay informed. We are now offering hybrid meetings in April. This means that we will have an in-person location and a Google Meet link. We like the fact that the virtual option has increased our participation so we do not want to move away from that option. The dates for upcoming meetings, locations and links can always be found on the WSESU website. Here are the locations and links for the remaining April meetings:

    Hartland School Board Meeting
    Tuesday, April 5, 2022 @ 6:00 p.m.
    Virtual Link:  https://meet.google.com/uee-cyxm-xjb
    In Person at Hartland Elementary School (97 Martinsville Road, Hartland)

    Weathersfield School Board Meeting
    Tuesday, April 5, 2022 @ 6:30 p.m.
    Virtual Link:  https://meet.google.com/nfo-qttm-bgg
    In Person at Weathersfield School (135 Schoolhouse Road, Ascutney)

    Mt. Ascutney School Board Meeting
    Monday, April 11, 2022 @ 6:30 p.m.
    Virtual Link:  https://meet.google.com/pxp-rzzy-ift
    In Person at Windsor School (Room 210, 19 Ascutney St, Windsor)

    WSESU School Board Meeting
    Monday, April 25, 2022 @ 6:30 p.m.
    Virtual Link:  https://meet.google.com/sin-qaws-xpc
    In Person at Windsor School (Room 210, 19 Ascutney St, Windsor)

  2. Last Day of School:  Sometimes it is difficult to keep track of snow days as we move through the winter. Just another reminder that our last day will be an early release day on Friday, June 17th. The supervisory union board approved quarterly noon release days for next year’s calendar. The administrative team will be placing those dates in the calendar and I will send that to you as soon as it is available. This year we had monthly noon release days. Understanding that these days can provide a challenge for childcare, we recommended the reduction to quarterly. We also hope to finalize the daily schedule soon. Parents can expect that school will start around the same time, but we may extend the instructional day some. Because we have unified employee contracts and shared service across buildings, we have to maintain a similar schedule in each district. It also helps with transportation. More information to follow.
  3. ESSER/ARP Funding: Just another reminder that the Supervisory Union has finished the draft of our ESSER Recovery Plan for Round #3. The full amount we hope to receive for Recovery efforts is $2,610,650. We did have a series of public input sessions and we did survey the public and staff on a couple of occasions. There is still time for feedback. You can email Angie Ladeau at aladeau@wsesu.net directly or use the comment form on the plan that is posted on the website. You can find the plan here
  4. Social Emotional Survey:  Attached please find a description of the Social Emotional Survey (Panorama Survey) that will be conducted in April with students in grades 3 - 12.  
  5. Athletics: Our numbers look good for athletics this spring. If we do not have enough players at the middle school level, then we will continue to partner with schools in the SU to offer a program. Keep in mind that if a school does not offer a sport, then the student has the right to participate at any school they choose. We just want to have a proximate and convenient offering with the SU.  
  6. Becoming a Foster Parent:  One more shout out for the  fostering information.  I know their need is great right now, so am glad to pass along the following:
    DCF is seeking caregivers for children in need of foster care.  This could look like an emergency placement, providing respite for a few hours or a weekend, short-term, or long-term foster care placement.  Have you ever wondered about fostering, and had a desire to provide safety and stability for a child?  Children of all ages within the Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union are in need of support now.  If you have a heart for children, are willing to learn the skills to improve a child’s quality of life, and can provide a loving home, please complete an inquiry form  using the link provided (https://dcf.vermont.gov/foster) or call the Foster Parent Recruitment and Support Specialist at 802-760-0702.  We are all here to create a better future for our children. Thank you for your time, interest, and devotion to this endeavor.  Let’s explore the possibility of fostering together.
  7. VPR Celebrities: I thought I would recognize one of our classes at Hartland. Ms. Feinberg’s 2nd grade class used their Friday letter writing assignment to reach out to Mitch Wertlieb, the VPR Morning Edition Host. They wanted him to refrain from using the word “and” in numbers exceeding 100. Mr. Wertlieb gave the class an on-air shout out last Thursday. He was quite impressed. You can find the shout-out at this link. This is a great example of practical real life learning. Well done!

I think that is it for now.  I think the weather looks very promising for tomorrow. As always, stay safe and be well.

Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union

April 2022 Panorama Survey Parent Letter.pdf