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Barre Unified Union School District Newsletter

December 2020

Business | CurriculumHuman Resources | Special Ed | Early Education

Facilities | Technology | Communications

Superintendent's Report

David Wells - Superintendent; Tina Gilbert - Executive Assistant

I am thankful for the hard work of BUUSD employees as we have pivoted to remote instruction. The main focus of my work over this period has been to refine and improve remote instruction while monitoring the safety of our students and staff. Teachers from across our district have been sharing engaging ideas with their colleagues and their administrators.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Mary Ellen Simmons has articulated a framework for this instruction which she will be sharing with the School Board. Our nurses and administrators deserve thanks for their work in supporting staff members, students and families who are facing COVID-19 concerns. I am also thankful for the work of our maintenance staff who have turned their attention to projects that needed their attention in all of our buildings. Last but not least, I am thankful for our food service program and our transportation company who have worked with our Central Office staff to see that meals continue to be delivered to our students during this time.

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Business Office

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

Administrators and Directors continue to work on the FY22 Budget and will be presenting DRAFT 2 to the finance committee on December 15th and to the board on December 17th.

Auditors will be presenting the FY20 Draft Audit at the board meeting on December 17th.

Payroll: Due to the upcoming holiday schedule, for pay period December 13th-26th, please submit your timesheets by Tuesday, December 22nd by 12:00 noon to your school's payroll liaison. This will allow for sufficient time to process. Also, note that the timesheet procedure has been updated to include: In the event that work is remote or off campus during a payroll cycle, electronic timesheets will be accepted and authorizing signatures may be obtained at a later date. Reconciliation and adjustments will be processed in the next payroll cycle.

Accounts Payable: Approved invoices need to be sent/delivered to the BUUSD Business Office weekly by 4:00 pm on Friday so that they can be paid the following week. Warrants and invoices are available weekly, at the BUUSD Business Office, Thursday P.M., for review by designated board member.

Food Service: Feeding children/students in the Barre School District has been going well! Families have settled into the delivery routines. It is important for staff and families to know that the bus meal delivery routes will not be operating on non-student days like vacation and holidays. Please let us know if this will cause a hardship to your family and we will do our best to locate resources for you. We are also encouraging families to continue to fill out free/reduced meal applications even though all students are currently eating for free. This data can greatly impact some of our federal funding and we want our students to be eligible for any and all resources available through state and federal organizations.

Medicaid: Please submit your Medicaid paperwork before you leave for the holiday break.

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Curriculum Instruction & Assessment

Mary Ellen Simmons - Assistant Superintendent of Instruction; Jess Adam - Administrative Assistant

Things have been moving steadily along as I have gotten into my first few weeks of the new position. Here are some of the highlights that I have been working on.

  • The Equity, Racial Justice and Inclusion Task Force was created; David and I met with two fourth-year Vermont Law School students Jameson Davis and Arielle King to start the conversations around creating a district-level policy with procedures, followed by professional development for teachers. The first step is to meet with the policy committee to start the process.
  • In collaboration with the administrative team, a document outlining what Extended Remote Learning would look like was created with common expectations for all grade levels, PK - graduation.
  • The curriculum leaders will be starting an Improving Student Learning Team (ISL) to address curriculum and professional development needs. Representation from administration, curriculum leaders, and teachers will be brought together to start this important process.
  • The grant work from FY 2020 - 2021 has been addressed with all of the Continuous Improvement Plans for each building approved by the Agency of Education.
  • In collaboration with the curriculum leaders, the data results from the October assessments have been reviewed and compiled. A district-wide assessment plan is in the works.

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Human Resources

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

The holidays are typically a great source of stress. This year, it will be increased and ever more important that you take care of yourself.

Remember that because you are a BUUSD employee, you have the ability to access the Invest EAP information and support. The main Invest EAP site can be reached by visiting their main website. If you have not yet made a personal account, you can do so on this site using. Your school is Barre Unified SD and the password is VSBIT.

In addition, Invest EAP also hosts The Center for Wellness website. You will find Education in the time of COVID that offers a variety of resources including a page for educators and parents. This is a quick access page, and you will not need a password to check out their resources.  https://www.investeapcovid19.org/vermontschoolemployees

 

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Special Services

Stacy Anderson - Director of Special Services;
Annette Rhoades - Assistant Director of Special Services; Jon Strazza - Assistant Director of Special Services;
Jason Derner - SEA Administrator; Sue Cioffi - Administrative Assistant

During this period of extended remote learning, special education staff are implementing Contingency Plans for students on IEPs. These plans were agreed to and written in August and September, or have been revisited and written since then by IEP teams.  Contingency plans specify the remote services that will be provided to students on IEPs during remote learning periods.

I have joined a statewide, interagency group working on reform of Vermont’s Success Beyond Six (SB6) programming.  SB6 services are those that are accessed in partnership with local mental health designated agencies (DAs).  The group will meet monthly to work on recommendations for delivery system and payment reform of the SB6 behavior intervention services with targeted timeline for final model submission to CMS of October 2021.

Planning for January Professional Development Day is underway.  We anticipate bringing Jennifer Patenaude back to work with our special education staff on Progress Monitoring in Special Education  In addition, our special education PLGs continue this work in their weekly and monthly meetings.   

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Early Education

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

The Barre City and Barre Town Prekindergarten programs have implemented remote learning plans since the first week of November and have found many families engaging in remote work. Remote learning is new at the PreK level (this year), since the required 10 hours of instruction has previously been met on the two in person days each week. Prior to the transition to remote instruction, teachers had been offering weekly remote "practice" opportunities for families, so that children had exposure to what online learning could look like. Teachers are using See Saw, Google Meets, email, and social media platforms to keep our youngest learners and their families connected while they are apart.

Progress Monitoring in PreK: Teachers continue to add documentation and observations into the Teaching Strategies assessment system. Data is collected on 5 developmental domains (cognitive, motor, literacy, language, math and social emotional domains) to monitor student progress over time. Checkpoints are due to the state on December 15th.

Act 166: Our partnering community preschools continue to offer preschool in a variety of formats. Some have moved to remote preschool while others have remained in person.

 

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Facilities

Jamie Evans - Director of Facilities

Work continues in all buildings to clean and sanitize on an everyday basis. During periods of fully remote learning, maintenance and custodial staff uses the time to clean and maintain areas of the building that aren't accessible when occupied. Cleaning of walls, light fixture lenses, cafeteria equipment, stairwells, painting, servicing of ventilation equipment and other areas are examples of what is being done during these times.

Buildings are prepared for the onset of winter conditions. Snow plows and snow blowers are ready to go, buckets of ice melting salt are stocked up and heating plants are running smoothly.

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Technology

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

Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13, 2020) This is an annual event that aims to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and other stakeholders in the computer science field. Bring Computer Science Education to your students by joining the hour of code. 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!

Using Google Single Sign-On (SSO) for Infinite Campus Login: Lauren, Mike, and Dan are working to simplify logins for Infinite Campus, which you can get to by clicking here. When completed, staff and students would be able to login to IC with a single click. Instead of having to enter a username and password, click on the button for "Google Single Sign-On (SSO)" shown below. Please Note: This SSO is ready for use for only the High School and Middle School students. We are currently working on setting it up for Staff members and the Elementary School students as well.

Edpuzzule Resources: Whether you are a beginner or an advanced Edpuzzle user, you will find useful resources on this Google Doc created for BUUSD educators.

Technology Resources for Teachers: Visit the BUUSD teacher tech resources webpage to find videos, tutorials, and quick tips put together by our very own Technology Integrationists.

Phishing Quiz: Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, it often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website, the look and feel of which are identical to the legitimate site. Can you spot when you are being phished? Find out by taking the Phishing quiz. Click the following link to get started: https://phishingquiz.withgoogle.com/

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Communications

Josh Allen - Communications Specialist

Budget Communications: Work around budget promotion is beginning to ramp up. I have begun writing and gathering content for the BUUSD Annual Report and have been working on getting quotes from vendors to make sure the project falls within budget. My other main tool of budget promotion is a series of videos that I have collaborated with the Central Vermont Career Center's Digital Media Arts II class on. We had filming dates scheduled for November 23 & 24, but COVID didn't want to be so kind to us so we are going to need to reschedule and adjust our plan.

COVID Communications: Speaking of COVID, communication around this topic is still taking up the majority of my time. From sending out community/staff updates or contacting staff and families about potential close-contact exposure, there is a never-ending need for communication around this subject. I am hoping this extended remote period will allow for some of this to slow down so I can begin to focus my energy on greater projects ahead.

Upcoming Strategic Planning Podcast: BUUSD School Board member Alice Farrell recently sat down with Winton Goodrich, Leadership Development Consultant from the Vermont School Boards Association to discuss the need for a Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan in our newly merged district and the large multi-step process that goes into creating such a plan. This will be shared out to the community in the near future, so keep an eye out for that!

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