Weekend Update - 9/10/21

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

A big shout out to all our school communities for a good opening given all of the protocols that we had to follow. In particular, the students were so cooperative and respectful of all we asked. We should be proud of our kids. I also want to thank our maintenance crew again for a fine job getting these buildings ready. Before we arrive and after we leave, they have a regiment of cleaning and air exchange that helps to keep us all safe. They also worked through the hottest summer on record in Vermont. Thank you! I have a few acknowledgements and updates that I want to share:

  1. We Remember: I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that tomorrow we honor the 20th anniversary of the assault on the Twin Towers in New York and the loss of over 3,000 lives during that dreadful event. We now have a generation of children that will have no memorable first-hand knowledge of that day. As adults, we remember where we were and what we were doing on that beautiful Tuesday morning that started like all others. The event, and our annual attention to it, reminds us of how vulnerable we can be to the evils and divisions of this world. We honor all the brave first responders who risked their lives trying to save others.  We especially remember those who lost their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

  2. Surveillance Testing: Surveillance testing will begin on October 7th. This is due in part because the agency that the AOE contracted to do these tests was simply overwhelmed. They are working with 10 other states. No student testing can be done without parental consent. You can find the consent form here. I want to thank Laurie Brown in the central office for getting all this set up.

  3. Student Vaccines: We are keeping data on the percentage of our students that are vaccinated. You should have already presented your child’s proof of vaccination to the respective school nurse by the end of this week. Please contact the school if you are having trouble documenting proof.  The percentage of persons vaccinated in a building will be one indicator as we consider changing some of our practices and protocols. If you want to access a vaccine, you can find all the information here. We appreciate your cooperation with this documentation.

  4. Transportation: As predicted, we had some glitches with our bus routes to start the year. We think we have worked out most of them. Please contact your individual buildings if you still have a concern.  Again, I want to thank BJ Esty, Linda Johnston, April Sykes, Kate Ryan, and our transportation coordinator, Mike Gaudette, for all the hard work. As stated last week, we can always use bus drivers. If you have any interest at all, please contact Mike Gaudette at mgaudette@ridesta.com

  5. Hiring: We are hiring support staff to work with students in classrooms within each of our buildings. Elementary, middle school, and high school opportunities are currently available. Flexible, parent-friendly hours are possible. Previous experience working with children, a willingness to learn new skills, and a team player approach are important attributes. Please contact Katie Ahern, Director of Student Support Services at katie.ahern@wsesu.net if you are interested.

  6. Anti-racism/Equity Work: This work continues to be a priority for our school boards and districts. A Task Force spent the last several months unpacking our policy and trying to understand the terms contained therein. The policy can be found here. Our facilitator was Dr. Melissa Crum who does this work all over the country. Her website is here. We can talk about institutional racism, but we need to understand both the historical and current perspectives. Dr. Crum was very helpful as we sorted this out. We have one final meeting with Dr. Crum next week and we will outline our next steps. We think that our next steps will include establishing a process for coordinating this work going forward and developing an Action Plan for our Supervisory Union. Right now our approach is slow and steady. This is complex work, but we want all of our schools to be safe and brave spaces for everyone. Stay tuned for more information.

I think that is it for now.  As I stated many times before, we have great kids, great staff, and great communities - can’t ask for more than that. Have a wonderful weekend. 

See you soon. Stay safe!

Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union