Branding

Utility Container

Mobile Menu Trigger (container)

Search Trigger (container)

Off Canvas Navigation Container

Barre Unified Union School District Newsletter

December 2019

Business  |  Human Resources  |  Special Ed  |  Early Education  |  Facilities  |

Technology  |  Curriculum  |  Communications  |  PATH

Superintendent's Report

John Pandolfo - Superintendent; Tina Gilbert - Executive Assistant

I am excited to announce that our district has been chosen as a Project Partner for the Electric School and Transit Bus Pilot Program sponsored by VEIC (Vermont Energy Investment Corporation). As part of this pilot, BCEMS and BTMES will each have one electric bus in their fleet starting next school year. The pilot program will help fund the buses and charging station, as well as gather and monitor data during the first year of operation. The charging station for both buses will be located at BTMES. Thanks to both STA and our Business and Facilities offices for their work in putting together a solid application for the pilot. 

Administrator feedback forms will be sent out at the beginning of December, with a deadline of the end of the month (which for many of us is December 20).  Please make sure to complete the forms you receive, as your feedback is important. You only need to provide feedback on questions you feel prepared and informed on, but even if you can only answer one question on a form your input is still helpful. Please keep written comments concise, professional and respectful. Your response is anonymous.

For teacher bargaining unit members, the deadline for providing notification of intent to move columns on the salary schedule is January 15.  Please do not miss this deadline.

The Barre Educator’s Association and the BUUSD Board have agreed to try a different approach to contract negotiations this year for both the Para-Educator and Teacher agreements. We will be using the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to work with us on a process referred to as "Interest-Based Bargaining" (or "Collaborative Bargaining"). We currently have meetings scheduled two times per month from December through May to negotiate the two agreements together using this approach. As part of the process we will send out a joint communication following each meeting with a brief update (similar to this message).  

  • For more information on FMCS you can go to  https://www.fmcs.gov/ 
  • For a quick primer on Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB), click here.

Please note this friendly reminder that staff cannot have their children at school during the workday; this includes student days (the obvious exception to this is if your child is a student in your school) as well as in-service days.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

As we head into the holiday season, please remember to take care of both yourselves and your families. While it can be a wonderful and joyous time, it can also be a challenging and lonely time for many. I appreciate how much you go above and beyond for our students and each other; please watch out for yourselves and your families as well.

 

<<top>>

Business Office

Lisa Perreault - Business Manager; Ashley Young - Senior Accountant, Michelle Leeman - Staff Accountant; Kris Gilbar - Staff Accountant;
Ann Baker - Staff Accountant; Kathy Couture - Medicaid Clerk; Jennifer Hart - Part-Time Medicaid Clerk

The Business Office Team welcomed two new members, Michelle Leeman, Staff Accountant and Jennifer Hart, part-time Medicaid Clerk. Michelle oversees the accounts payables and management of all BUUSD accounts.  Jennifer will be assisting Kathy Couture with Medicaid administrative work tasks.

Please be aware that scammers are finding more and more sophisticated ways of stealing from innocent people. We recently had a fraudster try to steal an administrator’s identity by attempting to change their direct deposit bank account information.

We will NOT make changes to your bank account direct deposit information unless you come to the central office or request one of us to come to you. Kristin Gilbar and Ann Baker, are happy to assist you, in person, with any of your banking and payroll needs.

Happy Holidays from your Business Office Team!

<<top>>

Human Resources

Carol Marold - Director of HR; Leslie Babic - HR Specialist

The 2019 benefits year ends on December 31, 2019.  Now is the time to review your flexible spending account (FSA) and dependent care accounts (DCA) and plan for the end of 2019 benefit year.  You can carry $500 or less FSA funds into the 2020 year.  Any dependent care balance DOES NOT CARRY OVER and must be used by December 31.

Services or purchases paid for through your FSA/DCA account(s) must take place on or before 12/31/19.  Any charges/purchases after that will not be covered through your 2019 FSA.  We do have a 90 day run out period which means that you have 90 days to get your paperwork (for 2019 year) in to Healthy Dollars by March 1, 2020.

These plans are covered by IRS regulations and there are NO EXCEPTIONS to the 12/31/19 or the 3/1/20 dates.  Please make sure you are spending the FSA and DCA and/or addressing any issues by December 31, 2019.

FSA and DCA information can be found on your Healthy Dollars account, or by calling them directly at (877) 900-6979.  https://healthydollarsinc.com/

 

<<top>>

Special Education

Don McMahon – Co-Director of Special Services; Stacy Anderson - Co-Director of Special Services;
Annette Rhoades - Assistant Director of Special Services; Sue Cioffi - Administrative Assistant

Michelle Leeman, BUUSD Special Services Admin Assistant, has accepted a position in the BUUSD Business Office and began in that role on November 18th. We have hired Sue Cioffi to fill Michelle's position. Sue’s first day was November 11th. She comes to us with many years of experience as an Administrative Assistant in the Washington Central School District and we feel lucky to have her.  Welcome aboard Sue! 

We have continued to discuss and evaluate our shared administrative roles and responsibilities with regards to special education. We have made significant gains in the move from a building based model of special services administration towards a central office based model.  BUUSD  involvement with District Management Group Cohort #2 has helped us greatly in this process.  In a recent BUUSD Admin meeting, our Admin team shared successes that we have observed with the shift.  Some of these are: more frequent communication between administrators, appreciation for the clarity of the flow charts created and rolled out in all buildings, a sense of shared responsibility for students with special needs and increased colleague to colleague conversations and sharing of expertise.  Next steps were also discussed to include providing further training for building based administrators on acting as the LEA and continuing to support each other in our collaborative efforts to meet the needs of all students.

Thank you to special education staff who facilitated afternoon collegial work sessions on the afternoon of November 11th.  We enjoyed the time we were able to spend with some of your groups!  Your work was collaborative, productive and relevant to improving your practice and student outcomes. 

We continue to work on alignment of our special education procedures across our schools.  We are working to finalize and share checklists to be used by our special education staff to ensure required steps are completed during the IEP and Evaluation Process.  

As some of you may have read in the Times Argus, Spaulding Educational Alternatives (SEA) is actively seeking to purchase a property to relocate our current program.  After looking at several properties, we are excited about the possibilities of an 8.7 acre lot at the top of Allen Street with a large barn that could be redesigned to create a dynamic learning environment.  We are hopeful that such a property would allow us to expand programming to reach more students and provide more opportunities for outdoor education.  Ultimately, the numbers indicate that we would spend the same or less per year for a bond payment than we are spending in rent for our current location.  We have the support of the Superintendent and the BUUSD Board to explore this opportunity further.  More to come...
 

<<top>>

Early Education

Lauren May - Director of Early Education; Rebecca Webb - Act 166 Coordinator; Megan Gonyaw - Administrative Assistant

Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year a cohort of public school representatives participated in a panel to advise the Child Development Division on Center Based Child Care and Preschool Program (CBCCPP) regulations. The goal of this work was to propose revisions to reduce duplication and/or adapt regulations for public school prekindergarten programs that fall under the supervision of both the AOE and the CDD. The revised regulations are currently undergoing a formal review and are expected to become effective on September 1, 2020.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is focusing on initiatives to expand the scope of the standards and competencies to be applied across the early childhood field, with the goal of elevating diversity and equity, responding to the critical competencies identified, and addressing gaps in current competencies.  For more information on these initiatives and to view the most recent draft of updates to the NAEYC Developmentally Appropriate Practice Position Statement, visit the NAEYC website at: https://www.naeyc.org/resources/position-statements/standards-professional-preparation

<<top>>

Facilities

Jamie Evans - Director of Facilities

Winter has arrived and the snow plowing/salting routine has begun. The district’s new snow plowing contractor is working well. New staff will begin working with us at SHS/CVCC and also BCEMS.

The position of Facility Lead Person for SHS/CVCC has been filled by William Pratt. This position had previously been held by long time employee Andre Dessureau, who retired with 44 years of service! BCEMS has hired a new employee Robert Benware to fill an opening for a custodian who transferred to BTMES. The position of Night Lead Custodian at BTMES had been open for some time, a position that is now filled by Deborah Washburn transferred employee from BCEMS.

Work is complete at the BUUSD building for additional parking. The new parking area is on the side of the building adjacent to the Allan Jones property. Work to install additional parking and drainage in the rear lot of the BUUSD property will be done in the early summer of 2020.

<<top>>

Technology

Emmanuel Ajanma - Director of Technology;  Megan Gonyaw - Administrative Assistant

Bring Computer Science to your classroom.  Start with an Hour of Code this December 9th to 15th:With technology changing every industry on the planet, computing knowledge has become part of a well-rounded skill set. Through participating in the Hour of Code, more students are discovering how accessible and fun computer science can be. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Learn more at http://HourOfCode.com, try an hour yourself, or host an Hour of Code event to introduce your students to the world of computing! This event takes place every year during the Computer Science Education Week, which is December 9-15 this year.

Technology Workshop for High School Staff.  Google Classroom Basics:
The SHS and CVCC Tech Integrationists will be offering technology workshops during AM Block from 7:40 am - 8:10 am. The location will alternate each month between the eClassroom at SHS and room 136 at CVCC. Participants are expected to bring a laptop or Chromebook. If you are interested in joining, complete the December Workshop Sign-Up Form. Reach out to Emily Loughlin (SHS) at elougshs@buusd.org or Jenn Luck-Hill (CVCC) at jluckcvcc@buusd.org if you have any questions.

Spoofed email to BUUSD staff:
Our staff members have continued to receive spoofed emails that pretend to be from our school Principals and administrators. Recently, these spoofed emails have started to come in with attachments on them. Please confirm that emails are from trusted senders before opening any attachments. Also, be cautious with opening emails Google sent to your spam folder and emails delivered to your inbox with a warning from Google. Notify the tech team of any questionable email you receive. Learn more about how to protect yourself from email phishing and spoofing.

G Suite November Updates:

  • Allow site viewers to provide feedback on your new Google Sites (Link)
  • Add different page numbers to different sections in Google Docs (Link)
  • Rollout update for adding audio to Google Slides presentation (Link)
  • Insert collapsible text boxes into new Google Sites (Link)

<<top>>

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Jessica Barewicz - Director of CIA; Ashley Dunlea - Administrative Assistant

Tuesday Meeting Rotation PK-8
Here is an at-a-glance for the PK-8 Tuesday meeting schedule for the year. There was strong feedback on the PK-8 PLG survey asking for more time for PLGs during Tuesday meetings by balancing more collaborative curriculum development time during inservice. The schedule has been revised and established for the year in response to your feedback. Whenever possible there will be two PK-8 PLG meetings per month. Unfortunately, we’re off to a rocky start with two opportunities for PLGs getting cancelled due to snow days!  Here’s to hoping bad weather chooses a new day of the week going forward.

Inservice Follow-Up Nov. 11, 2019
Here is the list of common values we identified at the end of the morning session. Questions from the exit tickets (that are answerable) are being typed up now. Be on the lookout for many follow-up items from that day (including how this process will broaden to include many more stakeholder groups). Attendance lists are being finalized for certificates. Grade-level values are being recorded. Lots of good work is cooking based on our work together that day.

January 20, 2019 Forecast:
The November 11 slides help give an overview of our ongoing process to develop shared mission, identify needs based on student data, and understand together possible root causes. From there focus areas will be identified with system-wide goals and grant investments to support achievement of those goals. We have such an incredible opportunity to collectively guide and grow our system! Thank you for your ongoing input and engagement that makes this process meaningful.

Curriculum Committee Update:
Math Curriculum and Teacher Leaders will be presenting on math curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices as well as math student achievement data on December 11, 2019 at Spaulding High School starting at 5:30 pm. All are welcome. This is the second of a series of presentations to educate the Committee on current practices throughout the district in all content and programmatic areas.

Teacher Wellbeing TED Talk:
Here is a good TED Talk by Sydney Jensen, 2019 Nebraska teacher of the year, professional development coach, and English teacher. Thanks to Becca Webb, our Act 166 Coordinator for passing this along.

<<top>>

Communications

Census
On November 14th, I attended a meeting with the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the best methods of communication and outreach for encouraging full participation in the April census count. The next 10 years of federal funding depends on complete participation from everyone living in Vermont. You will hear more from me regarding this as Census Day approaches on April 1st. Luckily, 2020 will be easier than ever as you'll be able to respond to the census online.

Annual Report
I have been drafting up a copy of the upcoming Annual Report that the district puts out each year to our community. I am gathering engaging content from each of our schools, compiling budget information to inform our voters, and designing a clean layout that makes sense for everyone.

ADA Compliance
On December 4th, I will be attending a meeting in Montpelier with other Communication Specialists in the state where I'll be helping conduct a training on making school websites compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Title III of the ADA is being interpreted to include websites as “places of public accommodation”.  Web content on school websites should be accessible to the blind, deaf, and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers, or other assistive technologies.

<<top>>

PATH

Beginning in January we will start our next PATH adventure called JoyRide!
Prior to January, you can register for the adventure online on the home page of your PATH account. With registration you are able to choose a gift ($10 value) if you choose a gift that exceeds the $10, you will be responsible for the difference. You may pay via credit card online, or cash/check with a printed registration form. If you need a printed registration form please reach out to your building coordinators.


Learn to eat your way through the holidays, guilt-free, feeling good about yourself and your choices!!
Sign up for "Food FaLaLaLaLa" presented by VEHI PATH in collaboration with Progress Coaching's Gail Johnston. In this FREE webinar, we'll help you work through the questions and pressures that come up around eating, celebrating, and overwhelmedness, all things that are particular to the holidays!

When? Saturday, December 7th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EST
How? Call in and listen/watch from your computer or smartphone, no direct participation required however there will be time for questions upon completion of the webinar.
Registration? You MUST pre-register to participate. THERE ARE ONLY 100 SPACES AVAILABLE.  Click the link below to sign up! https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1503579255461051139 
If you have problems with the link, copy/paste the link address into your web browser.   
What Next? After registering you will receive a confirmation email from GoToWebinar.

In addition, you will receive a reminder email the day before the webinar and another an hour before.
Do NOT delete the reminder emails as they contain a link to the webinar which you will need to access it.
If you do not receive a confirmation email within one day of registering, please notify VEHI PATH.

We encourage you to take advantage of this FREE webinar and we hope to offer others in the future. NO PATHpoints will be awarded for participating in this webinar.

Thank you!
VEHI PATH Team
(802) 223-5040

Building CoordinatorsBCEMS: Diana Flood, Jessica Maurais, Ian Thomas; SHS: Beth Bicknell, Jesse Carpenter, Sarah Chap; CVCC: Wendy Clark, Cheryl Zanleoni; BTMES: Laura Thygesen, Jessie Casavant, Amy Robertson; BUUSD: Ashley Dunlea

<<top>