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students performing a song in front of classmates
students showing off a project
student building a model house
marching band and football team
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mural at barre city school

FY25 Budget Information Button

 

 

Latest News & Events

Thank You and Appreciation for BUUSD Faculty and Staff!

We have had a wonderful Teacher/Staff Appreciation week! Our school board has supported and sponsored Appreciation Breakfasts all week at each of our schools, and it was a terrific opportunity for many of our board members to connect with the people who work with our students every day. These breakfasts were well attended and greatly appreciated by all!

As I was enjoying breakfast on Wednesday morning at BTMES with a group of teachers, I got to join a wonderful conversation with 7th grade teacher Darby Heibert and some of her colleagues about Edgar Allen Poe and how she is introducing his works to her students.  BUUSD Director of Curriculum Karen Fredericks joined Darby and her students yesterday to see what's going on, and you can see here how incredibly engaging and fun this work has been after hearing from her and her students!

This work is typical of what is happening in all of our schools. We have much to be proud of!

With this pride in mind, I want to remind the community that our FY25 Budget Revote is next Tuesday, May 14. Everything you need to know about the budget, from the basics to deep details, can be found on our website here: BUUSD Budget Page

We think the link to Frequently Asked Questions is particularly helpful! Please remember to cast your ballot and spread the word to your friends and neighbors to remind them to do the same!

Have a great weekend, and Happy Spring!

SHS Interact Club Hosting Tree Plenish 2024!

I just visited the SHS Interact Club on this beautiful "spring" day, and Interact Club Advisor Margo Austin and her students have the latest update on the annual Tree Plenish project. From Margo:

The Interact Club is hosting Tree Plenish for the 3rd year in a row. Our goal is to offset Spaulding's annual carbon emissions by planting 1,000 trees. This year's options are: Red Maple, Eastern Redbud, and Yellow Poplar. Trees will be available for pickup or have them planted by students at your home on Sunday, May 5th. Order your trees by April 5th. We have 300 FREE trees remaining, after that saplings are just $5. Contact Margo Austin at maustshs@buusd.org with any questions! The link:

ORDER TREES!

Supporting the SHS Tree Plenish project is a terrific way to support our students as they try to reduce our school's carbon footprint, and it's free! Reach out to Margo at: maustshs@buusd.org if you have any questions.

100 Days Celebration at BCEMS!

We wanted to share a fun visit that Zero the Hero had with BCEMS kindergarteners this past Monday, the 100th day of school!  BCEMS Principal Brenda Waterhouse, BC Kindergarten teacher Allyson Healey, and the whole K team celebrated the 100th day with all of the students by working on their numeracy skills with a real superhero!  Check out the celebration.

This annual event is a fun and engaging way to make math connections for our students that the whole community looks forward to every year.  The kids absolutely loved it!

We also wanted to share this update:

Plans for April 8 Total Solar Eclipse

As most people are aware, central Vermont is going to be a popular part of the earth on April 8.  There will be a very rare total solar eclipse that day, and our part of the world will be a perfect place to see it!

Here is an excellent description of the event from UVM's Space Grant Consortium: 

Total Solar Eclipse

The timing for the event is not good for our school day unfortunately, with the prime time for viewing taking place right at dismissal.  Due to this timing, we will be joining most other districts in the region in holding an Early Release day for all students and staff on Monday, April 8.  A few other details for the BTMES and BCEMS communities:

* March 27 was a scheduled Early Release Day, but it will now be a regular day for all.

* April 11 will remain on the calendar for Parent/Teacher conferences.

Let's hope for a clear day for Vermont in early April so we can all experience this once in a lifetime event!

Class of 2024 Success Stories

One of the key goals of our FY25 budget is increased access to alternative programming for some of our most at risk K-8 students at BCEMS and BTMES.  Our Spaulding Educational Alternatives (SEA) program has provided a wonderful option for SHS students the last three years, and we are really in need of providing more options for our younger students too.  You are about to meet two soon-to-be graduates of the Class of 2024 who have benefited from their relationships with SEA Director Reed McCracken, the SEA staff, and all the program has to offer.

These two young men are huge success stories!  Many of our younger students could benefit from a similarly flexible and individualized learning environment that these students have enjoyed in their high school years - we believe this will make a huge different in many students' lives and the BCEMS and BTMES school communities.

If you have any questions about SEA, our plans for K-8 alternatives, or anything else, please reach out.

SHS Voting Expo

We have two updates for you this afternoon…

SHS Voting Expo!

The first is an exciting School Showcase focusing on the SHS Student Council and Interact Club that we covered this afternoon. We got to see SHS students engage in a Voting Expo where they had a chance to vote on eight different youth-led projects in order to decide which would get funding. The funding for this project is coming from a $40,000 grant by the Department of Education, Senator Sanders, and Vermont Afterschool. The SHS Student Council have taken the lead in surveying their peers, brainstorming solutions, and creating proposals and presentations. Now they get to use ranked choice voting and the democratic voting process to prioritize the projects. Again, very exciting! Please check out this brief video to see more.

Let's Learn About Education Finance and Taxes!

I'd also like to share these two brief but helpful slide presentations with you. These presentations will hopefully give everyone in the community a quick lesson on all of the education finance terms in Vermont and how all of this impacts our taxes. This was a collaborative effort of other districts in the region, and there has been a big effort here to simplify the very complex education finance system in Vermont. We would welcome your feedback. As we said last week, more details on the BUUSD FY25 budget will be coming in the weeks ahead, and understanding this information will be very helpful in keeping us all informed. Check the presentations out at buusd.org/budget and look for the following:

Let’s Learn About: Education Finance Terms
Let’s Learn About: Education Taxes

Finally, we will be conducting a Budget Information Night next Thursday, February 1 at 6:00 in the SHS library. There will be a virtual option for folks who can't make it in person. We look forward to summarizing all of the budget information shared so far, and answering your questions.

Enriching Wednesdays

For this week's showcase, we spent Wednesday afternoon with the students and staff at Spaulding High School experiencing and learning about Enriching Wednesdays.  New SHS Assistant Principal Becky Busker, SHS Instructional Coach Mya Violette, and many others have been hard at work this fall creating a new approach to building community and providing many different opportunities to support our students' success.  Take a look at some of the highlights of our visit.

It was a great experience listening to students share how well these Wednesday afternoons are working for them!  You will notice here that the goal of Enriching Wednesdays is to support students academically as well as emotionally.  One primary option is to provide a "call back" for students who need support in their classes; teachers can call back students, and students can also ask to be called back.  We saw both focused study groups and specific courses where students were getting small group or 1:1 support.

Those who are not called back can pick from a wide variety of enrichment options that are both student and staff generated based on mutual interest.  Everything is about building strong relationships, and I got to see students see their teachers (and each other) in a different, non-academic setting having great fun together.

This program is still at the beginning stages of development and the SHS team is working incredibly hard with the logistics, but I was very impressed to see how far things have come in just the first quarter of the year!  I think you'll be impressed too.

Thank you for reading, and we hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving break with your loved ones.

Farm to School Month

October is Farm to School Month and Shelburne Farms along with VT FEED and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont chose the SEA program to showcase the progress the staff and students have made so far this year with our school based farm to table efforts.  And they have accomplished so much!  Vermont officials including Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbets, Secretary of Education Heather Bouchey, VT FEED Director Betsy Rosenbluth, Barre City representative Jonathan Williams, and Barre City councilor Teddy Waszazak joined many others in a ceremony at SEA on Tuesday afternoon.  Students and staff planned this entire event, and BUUSD Manager of Food Programs Jen Hutchinson and SEA Student Support Specialist Alyssa Pratt joined me to share highlights

This summer, BUUSD staff attended the Farm to School Institute at Shelburne Farms to learn new ways to incorporate Farm to School lessons and practices into the school year curriculum. During this training they were able to network with other schools and programs from all over the country.  The results have been extraordinary, and yesterday visitors were able to enjoy a meal and activities prepared by our SEA students.  The kids have worked hard to improve garden spaces around the SEA grounds and learn about the joys of preparing fresh meals using locally sourced foods.  Congratulations to Jen, Alyssa, and the entire SEA community for this honor yesterday!

ECO at BTMES!

This week's School Showcase bring us into the woods with ECO at BTMES!  Our friends at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier have helped bring ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) to both BTMES and BCEMS for years, and we got to experience a wonderful hour in the woods with a group of BT 5th graders this week on a perfect autumn day.

After watching this video, you surely will have never seen a group of students more fascinated by fungus in your life!  BTMES teachers Kevin Rondeau and Luke Spencer bring their students out for ECO every Wednesday, and I was incredibly impressed with the whole lesson.  I learned more about mushrooms in that hour than I ever have!  North Branch teacher/naturalist Carrie Riker joined the team and also provided her expertise and fun, safe approach to learning about mushrooms.  The kids had such an engaging experience foraging for the diverse and wide variety of mushrooms to be found on the trail, and every single student was having a blast while experiencing that natural world.  The community can be proud that our schools provide opportunities like this for all of our students.

BTMES Town Hall

I recently joined the BTMES 7th grade team for their first Town Hall of the year, and it was a terrific and impressive experience!  7th grade teachers, BTMES principal Erica Pearson, and assistant principal Ted Mills led our students through an engaging session that focused on relationship building and social/emotional learning.  I found the presentation on Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying led by Mr. Mills to be particularly compelling, and our students had incredibly thoughtful questions to share with the group.  These Town Halls will be occurring across grades at BTMES all year; please reach out to the BTMES team if you'd like more information.  Check out our interview with the principals and some of our students.

Finally, we hope to see you at this weekend's Barre Heritage Festival!  The weather is looking great, and many of us from the BUUSD will be present for the fun on Saturday.  Check out this link with more information about the weekend.

Helping Hands

We are now in the middle of our second week of school, and I hope your students (and you!) are off to a great start! So much of the first four to six weeks of the school year are devoted to building community and strong relationships, as you may recall from our Welcome Back video a few weeks ago that our school district's focus for the year is to "support all learners' development through improving relationships and building a sense of belonging." Our community is stepping up to help our students feel welcome and successful right out of the gate.

I'd like to thank Barre's own Renita Marshall for leading a backpack and clothing drive last month for our students and families impacted by the summer floods. As many of you know, Renita leads the Renita Marshall Helping Hands Foundation and I was able to catch up with her at last week's Concert on Currier Park to listen to her share her story. Check out our brief conversation in this week's School Showcase.

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