John Pandolfo - Superintendent; Tina Gilbert - Executive Assistant
With the passing of our FY2020 budget on May 14, we are now over all major hurdles to become operational as the Barre Unified Union School District on July 1, 2019. With that said, there are still a lot of meetings between now and then, and a lot of work for our central office staff to make the transition a reality.
As we continue with the transition through this summer and beyond, we greatly appreciate your patience, your help, your questions and suggestions, and your positive attitude. To access the meeting calendar for all board and committee meetings, please go to our home page at bsuvt.org
We are in the midst of what has been one of our busiest hiring seasons in some time. This is a result of some retirements and resignations, but also a significant number of new positions (funded both locally and through our grants), as well as a lot of movement between positions and schools, which keeps the musical chairs going. We are impressed with the caliber of the new talent we are welcoming into our system, with a good mix of solid experience and fresh out of college energy. Please be welcoming and supportive of all new staff joining our team and all current staff transitioning to new positions, and remember that we all had our first day as a Barre school employee at some point.
For all of those staff who are moving on to new adventures, we want to thank you for all you have done for our students, families, and school system.
With the (last minute) passage of the school lead testing bill in the general assembly this year, all Vermont schools will need to complete testing by the end of 2020. Because we participated in the 2018 pilot testing at Barre City School, we were selected along with four other Vermont school systems to complete testing in all of our schools before the end of this school year. Based on this requirement, test samples were drawn at Spaulding High School the weekend of June 1-2 and at Barre Town School the weekend of June 8-9. Letters went out to families explaining the testing, and when results are received a second letter will go out providing the results along with more explanation.
Lastly, I want to share some of what I said when I received the Frederick H. Tuttle Service Award on May 16, not because I like to or want to talk about myself (I do not) but because it is about you. I did not prepare anything in writing for that evening, but this is my recollection of some of what I said:
I may be receiving this award, but no leader earns an award like this alone. There are 600 people who earned and deserve this award. That includes our school boards, of which the four chairs are here tonight, because they have guided and supported me for four years, and I could not ask for better support. It also includes our administrative team of 20 strong, who work day in and day out to support our staff and students through thick and thin. It includes 280 teachers and as many support staff in a variety of capacities who work their butts off every day with a passion and dedication that is humbling to witness. These people pour their hearts and souls into their jobs as they serve 2700 students and their families, some with seemingly insurmountable odds, to make our community a better place every day. I accept this award on behalf of every one of those people.
Lisa Perreault - Business Manage; Ashley Young - Senior Accountant, Amy Renaud (Accountant BSU); Kris Gilbar (Accountant SHS/CVCC & BTMES Payroll); Ann Baker (Accountant BCEMS & BTMES Accts. Payable); Kathy Couture (Medicaid Clerk)
This school year is swiftly winding down! Where does the time go? Our team continues to prepare for the merger by putting the finishing touches on the new BUUSD database. Employee demographic, earnings codes, deduction codes, etc (to be ready for payroll at the start of the new FY20 year!) are being entered along with user permission updates and report writing. We’re also reaching out to all vendors/service providers to inform them of the changes in our new consolidated District.
Our work thus far on the budget detail was shared with the BUUSD Finance Committee on May 7th. Members of the committee commented that the consolidated budget looks less complicated and more transparent.
The FY19 preliminary audit field work is scheduled for the last week in June. Additional weeks have been scheduled in September and October. This year, due to the merger, we have reached out to the building administration and directors to let them know that the budgets and grants are frozen. Only critical purchases will be approved. This will assist us in a more efficient and timely close of the fiscal year books.
In an effort to streamline and consolidate the administration of the food service free and reduced school meals applications and claiming we have entered into a new contract with Mealtime. Mealtime is a food service Point of Sale (POS) system which will interface with our Student Information System (SIS), Infinite Campus. We’ll be sharing information which will be helpful in communication with parents regarding the new school lunch payment portal. We are waiting to hear if we will be awarded an equipment grant from the Agency of Education ($3,500) which will be applied toward this purchase.
As always, we appreciate all that you do and please reach out to us if you need anything or have questions. Enjoy the last days of the FY19 school year.
Carol Marold - Director, HR; Leslie Babic - HR Specialist
For all employees leaving the district, we wish you the very best of luck. You will be receiving an exit interview questionnaire via email in early June. This can either be done on-line through the questionnaire or directly with HR. If you would like to meet with us for an in-person exit interview, please contact Carol Marold at extension 1001. We thank you in advance for taking the time to share your information.
Please make sure you are auditing your paid time off balances. Your AESOP balance and the balance shown on your payroll check advice/check stub are the two numbers to look at. These are the balances that will be rolled into the new year (if applicable) and it’s important to fix any discrepancies now. If you need help getting AESOP information, please see your sub coordinator for a report.
There have been a number of people that have transferred within the district. Exciting changes and a great game of dominoes. This has extended our normal hiring season, and we still have over 20 positions posted. Make sure you keep your eye on the bsuvt.org employment page
Linda Papineau – Receptionist
Our Onboarding/Orientation sessions for 19/20 school year will officially start late June. We have set aside days in June and July to accommodate our new hires (to date) to complete all their necessary paperwork for employment. We will continue to add more dates as needed. We encourage early hiring for as many support people as possible.
When new paras or BIs need to be added into the system it takes considerable time to make sure all the necessary forms are completed and the new employees have completed all their background checks, fingerprints and onboarding. Our Sheriff Departments are extremely busy during hiring season. A new ad for 19/20 Paras has been added into School Spring.
Don McMahon – Co-Director of Special Services; Stacy Anderson - Co-Director of Special Services; Michelle Leeman - Administrative Assistant
The Vermont Alternate Assessment window has opened and our students who qualify for this assessment are currently being assessed.
Plans for Extended School Year Services (ESY) are well underway. We are asking special educators to be sure to have all amendments (include service page wording) completed and turned in to Bridgett or Robin by June 5th. We anticipate having Staff MOUs out for signatures by June 7th. Please contact Robin, Bridgett, Stacy or Don with any questions.
Pam Wark retired on May 17th after serving our district for 31 years! We thank Pam for all of the hard work that she has done over the years and wish her happy retirement! We have hired Michelle Leeman to replace Pam filling the role as BUUSD Special Services Administrative Assistant to the Co-Directors.
Annette Rhoades has been hired as our Assistant Director of Special Education; we are excited to have Annette on board. Jason Derner has also been hired to take on the role of Alternative Program Director at our SHS Alternative Programs at the Wall Street complex. We are equally excited to have Jason on board!
Sandra Cameron - Early Ed. Director/Act 166 Coordinator; Lauren May - Early Ed. Coordinator; Michelle Leeman - Administrative Assistant
Since September, the Public School Regulation Revision Committee has worked alongside the Child Development Division to recommend revision to the current child care licensing regulations as they impact public school preschool programs. The goal was to identify areas of duplicity and tailor specific regulations to the unique needs of the public school environment. The CDD is looking forward to starting a promulgation process to make the recommended revisions law within the next 8-9 months. Once this process has finished, the revised regulatory guidance will be released to the public in the form of updated licensing regulation books and online access to the new rules. Our preschool programs will stay up to date with the new regulations as they are made public.
The last day of preschool for the 2018-2019 school year will be Thursday, June 20th. Preschool teams in both schools have begun planning for their annual end of year family events. It’s always an exciting time for families and teachers to come together to celebrate how much our students have grown!
On Friday, June 21st preschool teachers and staff will have an opportunity in the morning to work on teaming and collaboration; reflecting on the past year’s programming and systems while structuring plans for the year ahead.
Sandra Cameron will be leaving BSU after serving our district for 13 years. She will be transitioning to the Stern Center for Language and Learning as the Early Education and Professional Learning Director. The Winooski Valley Superintendents Association is currently recruiting to fill the vacancy of Regional Act 166 Coordinator.
Ben Merrill – Communications Specialist
With the budget vote and accompanying budget support materials now behind us, we can begin to turn our focus to other communications needs. One of the first projects will be to start bringing some of the outlying websites associated with the BUUSD under our own website. We’ll be starting with the SHS Health Office, which currently maintains its own site. We will also be looking at updating our site to reflect our transition from the BSU to the BUUSD, and making the appropriate changes where needed, as well as updating faculty and staff directories, program pages, and etc.
The Times Argus continues to be incredibly supportive of our schools, and has offered us another full page spread. We will be using this page to highlight the work SHS’s SPARK team, which just returned from a trip to Stanford University where they represented Vermont and New England at Project Invent.
We are working with various Central Office departments on an ongoing basis to synthesize and produce reports for various boards and committees, as well as the website.
Work is ongoing with VSAC and SHS creating a communications plan for the “Aspirations” project, which seeks to create a culture of “college and career ready” at Spaulding. Most of the work in this regard will come to fruition during the 2019-20 school year.
The Spring issue of the BCEMS newsletter is complete and posted online. You can find it here: https://www.bcemsvt.org/for-students-and-parents/bulldog-bulletin-newsletter
And finally, we will be using the coming weeks to begin developing a communications plan as a means of improving communications between schools, parents, boards, committees, and other stakeholders.
Jamie Evans - Director of Facilities
Various projects were completed over April break at all of the school buildings. A small privacy wall was constructed by in-house staff at BTMES. The wall was installed near a classroom that borders a highly traveled corridor. SHS/CVCC staff electrician worked with fire alarm system contractor to correct fire alarm wiring issue. BCEMS performed preventative maintenance on kitchen equipment during the vacation break.
All school buildings have begun the annual cleanup from the harsh winter weather. Winter equipment is being serviced and stored away for the season. Cleanup of curbings and parking lots, repairs to grassy areas and preparing the sports fields for play.
All of the wood chip boilers have been shut down for the season and annual cleaning/servicing has begun.
Jackie Tolman - Director of CIA; Ashley Dunlea - Administrative Assistant
We are just two weeks before the Smarter Balanced (SB) assessment ends on June 14. The Science Assessment (VTSA) and Physical Education Assessment (VTPEA) windows close on Friday May 31st. Fortunately, one of the options available in TIDE, under the “Monitoring Test Progress” tab, allows us to generate several reports that will help to determine if all of our students are finished. These reports include students who have completed testing, students who have started but have not completed an assessment, and students who are listed in our TIDE account who have not started testing. I will be running this test for the Supervisory Union soon, while there is still time to catch up with the students if need be.
As the District Administrator, I will also complete and submit the “DA Certification Form.” This form will allow the Agency of Education to certify our results knowing that the assessments were administered by trained individuals, following the standard rules and procedures, and without any breaches in security or student confidentiality. This is a new form for me to fill out, but this is very important information for the AoE to have on file and is a new federal requirement that we need to follow. Many thanks to Kim Benson, Emily Laughlin, Ben Matthews, Ry Hoffman, Jodi Bushway, Karen Heath, Jason Woodard and Lindy Johnson who took the lead in individual building level support and coordination and did a great job supporting everyone through the testing sessions.
The reporting embargo on Smarter Balanced results will be lifted as of June 14th, at which time we can send home Individual Student Reports and begin creating group level reports using the Online Reporting System. We typically do this at the end of June. Release of results for the new science and alternate assessment will be delayed this year until standard setting is completed. The AoE anticipates having those results available in early September.
Our very own Dawn Poitras has been recognized by the Vermont Department of Health and The Agency of Education for being the 2019 Outstanding Our Voices Xposed (OVX) Advisor of the Year. Dawn was chosen based on her exceptional leadership, mentorship of youth advocates, demonstration of passion and knowledge about prevention. Congratulations, Dawn!
We have many summer opportunities available for learning that will be led by our teacher leaders. Here is the most up to date calendar . I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who have helped to lead in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment this year. I often say that leadership is not a solo act, and we would not have been able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time without a great team. There is always so much to do, but this is a great time to reflect on all that has been accomplished. A special thanks to Karen Heath, who is moving on to another position after 20 years in our SU. Karen’s expertise was invaluable to me as a principal and now curriculum director. Thank you, Karen, and to so many others who are moving on to other opportunities.
Emmanuel Ajanma - Director of Technology; Megan Gonyaw - Administrative Assistant
We recently surveyed all BSU employees to determine their preferences for email format as we transition to the new district. The results of our survey were overwhelmingly in favor of keeping things as close as possible to how they are currently. To that end:
Effective July 1, your new email address will be your first initial, followed by the first 4 letters of your last name, followed by your location (just as it is now). After the @ sign, the new domain will be “buusd.org”
So if your name is John Smith, your new email address will be:
a. If you work at Barre Town School = email@example.com
b. If you work at Barre City School = firstname.lastname@example.org
c. If you work at Spaulding HS = email@example.com
d. If you work at CVCC = firstname.lastname@example.org
e. If you work in the Central Office = email@example.com
All emails sent to you at your former (U61.net) email address will continue to be delivered to your mailbox, but we encourage you to let people with whom you correspond regularly (outside of the district) know of the change. You should also update email addresses on websites which have your old u61.net email address information.
Also effective July first, our website will transition from bsuvt.org to buusd.org. The Barre Town, Barre City, and CVCC website domains will remain as they are. The SHS domain will be changed to spauldinghs.org.
We are working on a plan to provide every child at Spaulding High School with a Chromebook for use at school and at home starting in the fall. I sent out a survey to gather input from parents regarding Wi-Fi availability at homes capable of supporting a school-provided Chromebook and the general use of technology for teaching and learning. So far, I have received overwhelming support for the idea for so many different reasons. Stay tuned for more on this!
DID YOU KNOW!??
Outdoor Family Weekend on September 6-8 at Stillwater State Park is a UVM Extension sponsored event.
Your whole family will have fun learning such outdoor skills as canoeing, fishing, archery, wildlife identification, bushwhacking, and camping, wilderness and survival skills. In addition to Outdoor Family Weekend workshops, you’ll have free time to enjoy other recreational activities including boating, swimming, and hiking.
More information and the link to register can be found at: UVM Extension
And our Facebook Page can be followed here: Facebook
Registration for Outdoor Family Weekend is now open! A weekend of hands-on outdoor skills and experiences for the entire family.