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Barre Unified Union School District Newsletter

September 2019

Superintendent's Report

John Pandolfo - Superintendent; Tina Gilbert - Executive Assistant

Welcome back.

 

It is my pleasure, honor and privilege to welcome you to the new school year, and to present our first newsletter from the Central Office of the new unified district.  As I said on August 20, I would like to acknowledge each and every one of you for the work you do.  All I can ask of each of you is that you strive for excellence in all that you do, and strive for equity and success for all of our students.  If we do that, and accept that things will never be perfect, we should be satisfied with what we accomplish every day, come back the next day, and do it all over again.  I cannot ask anything more!

 

As I also said on August 20, many people have worked extremely hard to get us to the point we are at as a successfully functioning newly merged district, and it is exciting to be moving forward.  We owe special thanks to our IT Department, our Business Department, our Human Resources Department, and many others for the relatively seamless transition.  Our new board will rotate their monthly board and Curriculum Committee meetings around our buildings on the schedule indicated below.  All other committee meetings will normally meet at the Central Office: 

 

Month

Location

July

BTMES Library

August

SHS Library

September

BCEMS Library

October

BTMES Library

November

SHS Library

December

BCEMS Library

January

BTMES Library

February

SHS Library

March

BCEMS Library

April

BTMES Library

May

SHS Library

June

BCEMS Library

 

As we do our work to support licensed educators, it is essential that all licensed educators have an up to date profile in the Agency of Education Online Licensing System (ALiS).  Your profile needs to indicate your current school so we have access to your information.  Detailed instructions are attached to the end of this newsletter or video instructions on how to update/register can be watched at this link: AOE: ALiS Register

Please remember to turn in a copy of your current license to the Central Office.

I will add to this a plug to please work with your Local Standards Board and the Agency of Education to complete all licensing and re-licensing requirements in a proactive and timely manner.  While those people are there to support you, it is your responsibility to do everything necessary to hold an appropriate license for your appointed position.

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Business Office

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)

WELCOME BACK TO THE BARRE UNIFIED UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT!  

PAYCHECKS: Teachers/School Year Salaried Employees will receive their first FY20 paycheck on August 29th.  Para-Educators/BIs/Other Hourly Employees will also receive a paycheck on August 29th provided you have submitted a timesheet for hours worked, before August 23rd.  Also for Employees paid hourly, your health and dental deduction will not begin until the first full pay period, September 12th.   REVIEW YOUR PAY STUB CAREFULLY AND NOTIFY KRISTIN, ext. 1005 or ANN, ext. 1024 IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS.

FOOD SERVICE:  Ashley Young, Senior Accountant/Food Service Supervisor, worked with Aladdin and the IT team (Rob & Lauren) to implement a new and consolidated POINT OF SALE (POS) System, called MEALTIME. Parents have been notified about this change via the summer mailings.  Information is also located on our website. 

  • If you are a returning staff member your account balance (if you had one) has been transferred over. 
  • To establish a MEALTIME online payment/debit account for purchases you will need your customer ID number which is located on Infinite Campus.  You may also contact Ashley Young, ext. 1010 or your cafeteria supervisor (listed below) to get your customer ID number and new PIN.
  • Please understand that MEALTIME accounts are debit accounts, not credit accounts, and you will not be allowed to carry a negative balance.

Nancy Brooks - SHS/CVCC - Nancy.brooks@aladdinfood.com EXT 1116

Angela Richardson - Barre City School - Angela.richardson@aladdinfood.com EXT 4195

Jackson Jacques - Barre Town School - Jackson.jacques@aladdinfood.com EXT 6146

AESOP and ADS:  Ann, Kris, and Leslie, collaborated on a project this summer to interface AESOP and ADS so that we are now utilizing one system for employees’ leave time.  For the past few years these systems have run in parallel with significant manual labor required to keep them aligned.  Thanks to these ladies we have implemented a more automated system which will result in more accurate and efficient reporting on your leave time/balances.

BUUSD and IRVING ENERGY have teamed up to offer you special employee pricing discounts on your home heating needs!  You may receive 10¢/gallon off heating oil and/or 15¢/gallon off propane.  If you are an existing Irving customer, simply call today at 1-888-310-1924 and mention code 8495.  If you are a new customer Irving will assist you in setting up a residential account and start saving!

We appreciate all you do for the children in the Barre community and we hope you have a wonderful rewarding year!

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 Human Resources

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

It’s been a busy summer.  We and your administrators have been working hard to bring top talent into the BUUSD.  By mid-August 65 people have gone through our onboarding process with more to come. We will welcome about 100 new employees this year. They are an impressive group.  Welcome and best of luck to all of our new employees.

Here are a couple of HR reminders to start out the year.

  • You will be able to make changes to your health and dental plans during open enrollment.  This will take place in October for a January 1, 2020 effective date.
  • For those of you who changed your name or address (or both) make sure you contact Leslie Babic so that you can update the necessary paperwork.
  • We still need qualified candidates for BI’s, Paras and more in all schools.  Employee referrals are the best form of recruitment.  Check out our employment page and spread the word. https://www.buusd.org/departments/human-resources
  • Master agreements (contracts) and the non-contracted employee handbook (as well as the substitute, coach and volunteer handbooks) can be found at the link above.  It’s a good time to review the document(s) that apply to you.

DON’T HESITATE TO CALL US WITH ANY QUESTIONS. IT's GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR!

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Receptionist Desk

Linda Papineau – Receptionist

The Central Office Front Desk has been extremely busy these past 3 months!  We have processed many new employees, held multiple onboarding sessions and are still working on processing our last dozen or so new employees.  We have Permanent Subs in all the buildings now with an active substitute list of 61 people available to sub.  We continue to process more substitute applications every day - we are currently working on reference checks for over a dozen new substitutes to add on to our list.  In addition to our everyday work we started a scanning project for archiving terminated employees files in June - this project will continue going forward.  

Happy New School Year to all!

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Special Education

Don McMahon – Co-Director of Special Services; Stacy Anderson - Co-Director of Special Services; Michelle Leeman - Administrative Assistant

We have had a productive summer working with our newly formed BUUSD Special Services Administrative Team.  We welcomed Annette Rhoades as Assistant Director of Special Services and Jason Derner as Director of Alternative Programs in July.  Both have caught on quickly and have been instrumental in much of the work we have done this summer including hiring, tracking progress and maintaining contact with student programs across the summer, continuing the work of defining our Roles and Responsibilities and aligning our practices across our Pre-K to 12+ system and beginning to set the stage for expansion of our alternative programs.   

Our Extended Year Services took place across the month of July and the first week of August with much success.  Some of the highlights included the opportunities for our staff and students to get to know and learn from each other, the high expectations that our special educators and support staff held to and the addition of an Adaptive Bike Unit to our Barre Buds program, thanks to Cindy Thompson, Rachel Van Vliet and Local Motion out of Burlington.  A BIG THANK YOU to all of the special educators, para-educators, behavioral interventionists, COTAs and speech language pathologists who contributed to the success of our 2019 ESY programs.

The Barre Unified Union School District has been in the process of redefining its special services department and has moved from a building based model to a more central office based approach.  The Co-Directors and the Assistant Director will have offices in the central office and will have the following responsibilities:  Stacy Anderson will have oversight of grades Pre-K-4; Annette Rhoades will have oversight of grades 5-8 and Don McMahon will have oversight of grades 9-12.  We will continue to discuss and define our roles as the year progresses, including how our roles and the roles of our building administrators may change.

The Best Interest Determination (“BID”) responsibilities have moved from the Curriculum Director’s office to the Co-Directors of Special Services office.  Stacy Anderson will be responsible for B.I.D. oversight for grades Pre-K through 8 and Don McMahon will have oversight for B.I.D grades 9-12.

The Homeless Liaison duties have also shifted from the Curriculum Director’s Office to Don McMahon.  Don will function as the Homeless Liaison for grades Pre-K through 12, with the continued support of Dawn Poitras.

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Early Education

Rebecca Webb - Early Ed. Director/Act 166 Coordinator; Lauren May - Early Ed. Coordinator; Michelle Leeman - Administrative Assistant

The prekindergarten programs at both Barre City and Barre Town Schools are welcoming fresh new faces this fall.  At Barre City we are welcoming Early Childhood Special Educator, Lisa Campbell, general education classroom para-educator, Ahlexus Dukette, and PreK Permanent Substitute, Colleen Kresco.  At Barre Town, we are welcoming two Speech Pathologists, Bonnie McIntosh and Maggie Fagan, in addition to para-educator, Amber Harrington, who will support our preschoolers with intensive special needs.  We are excited each of these individuals will be joining us and know they will make our prekindergarten programs richer with their dedication and experience.  

On August 22nd, prekindergarten staff and identified substitutes participated in CPR/1st Aid training.  Substitutes will also engage in an orientation to our programs in order to better support them in their complex roles while maintaining compliance with the Vermont Early Care Licensing Regulations.  

The annual prekindergarten Meet and Greet was held on Tuesday, August 27th, providing an opportunity for children and families to connect with others who will be in their class.  This often helps calm some first day fears while allowing families to ask any lingering questions before their child’s first day of school. 

Registrars at both schools have been working to fill routine openings that come up at this time of year as we learn of families moving or choosing other early education settings for their children.  Enrollment is offered on a first come, first served basis in order of the date of contact on our prekindergarten waiting lists.  While both schools will continue to have a waiting list for preschool enrollment, we are fortunate to be able to offer these openings to some of the families who have been waiting for them in time for the start of the school year.

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Communications

The following message was sent by former Communications Specialist Ben Merrill to the BUUSD Board in July:

It is with an equal amount of sadness and excitement that I write to inform you that I will be relocating to the Savannah, Georgia area at the end of July. Quite unexpectedly, my wife was offered a job there, and after a great deal of thought and consideration, we decided to take the leap…(the 2 inches of snow we got on May 14th made the decision a little easier). In my short time as your Communications Specialist, I have come to have a deep respect for the Barre Schools and the people who work in them. In my nearly 20 years of working with Vermont colleges and schools, I have never seen such dedication on the part of teachers, staff, board members, and administration to providing students with the means to pursue happy and successful lives.  The children of Barre City and Town are in extremely good hands.

The search process is underway for Ben’s replacement, with hopes that we have the position filled by October.

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Facilities

Jamie Evans - Director of Facilities

Final preparations are underway in all of the BUUSD school buildings getting them ready for the first day of school. Floors are clean and shiny, a fresh coat of paint has been applied in many classrooms and hallways, new flooring has been installed in many classrooms and general cleaning and repairs have been completed. A few projects have also been tackled in all of the school buildings. New floor tiles have been installed in 8 classrooms, new paint and floor finish applied in the gymnasium and another phase of roof replacement has been installed at BCEMS. New flooring has been installed in several classrooms and hallways, fresh paint in many hallways as well as the routine cleaning and maintenance throughout the building at BTMES.

Renovations to the library at SHS/CVCC are almost complete. New carpeting, freshly painted walls, a new display window installed and some new furniture will complete the refreshed look of the library. New flooring in a classroom as well as more painting has taken place in many other classrooms. 

Additional security cameras have been installed at both BCEMS and BTMES using state of Vermont safety grant monies. Bids have gone out to suppliers for fuel oil, wood chips and propane. Bids have also gone out for the upcoming snow plowing season. 

Buildings are ready for the upcoming season of learning!

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Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

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

I hope the first days of school have brought you much energy and many reminders of why we are in the greatest profession there is! Thank you for the warm welcome to BUUSD. If you see me around your school, please introduce yourself and say hi. I’m working hard to get to know everyone and learn my way around the schools with a goal of soon getting into classrooms to see incredible teaching and learning in action! Rather than assume I know what the needs of our district are, this is a big year of lots of learning, observing, and listening for me to best serve everyone in the long run. 

Relish this time of building strong relationships with students and colleagues that create learning environments where everyone feels safe and a sense of belonging to take healthy intellectual and social/emotional risks! As we briefly touched on at pre-service, our big picture priorities as connected to our Continuous Improvement Plans and professional learning plans for this year also include:

  • PK-12 aligned proficiency-based curriculum
  • Differentiated tier one classroom instruction with research-based methods
  • Comprehensive local assessment methods (screening, diagnostic, formative, and summative) providing rich feedback to students and data to inform instruction
  • Flexible grouping for timely, responsive, progress-monitored interventions
  • Collaborative approach to professional learning groups and designing high-quality instructional experiences

For me, this summer has brought a lot of time working through issues with our Consolidated Federal Programs (CFP) grants which are nearing resolution. It’s no easy task managing a grant that you did not originate but with a solid team approach from key people at central office and building principals, we are working through issues as best we can. I’m sorry for any disappointment brought by news that something you thought was in the grant did not make it in. There were far more requests than could’ve been accommodated with our allocation. For future years we will have a process that helps make the grant process and parameters for requests clearer for everyone. We’ll never be able to fund all of our hopes and dreams from CFP sources, but as I settle in more to my new position I’ll be looking for additional grant sources and creative budgeting to support the great work we all want to accomplish for our students.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Curriculum Admin. Assistant Ashley Dunlea, Curriculum Coordinators Venus and Lindy, or Instructional Coaches in your building if any of us can help support your work. While I love my new job here, as a former principal I am already missing the guarantee of seeing hundreds of students and teachers every single day. I look forward to getting to know everyone and collaborating on all things teaching and learning. 

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Technology News

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

SHS ONE-TO-ONE CHROMEBOOK PROGRAM: We are in the final phase of launching the one-to-one Chromebook program for Spaulding High School. New Chromebooks have been delivered, inventoried, enrolled in our domain, and ready to deploy to students. We started handing out Chromebooks to students on August 19th and will continue to do so until every student at Spaulding High School gets one. Data from the AOE's Annual Technology Survey show that more and more Vermont schools are adopting one-to-one programs in their middle and high grades. We are all excited about this new opportunity that we hope will increase student’s classroom engagement and lead to more creative learning in and outside the classrooms. 

DOMAIN CHANGE: Now that we have completed our transition from u61.net to buusd.org, please be reminded of the following:

  1. Remember to update your contact list 
  2. Pay attention while sending emails to individuals and groups in our domain (send to @buusd.org)
  3. Update your email account on all of your online subscriptions
  4. Update your email signature

EMAIL SCAM: We have continued to see several rounds of scam/spam messages from outsiders who impersonate the BUUSD administrative team members. The scammers typically use a name that looks like a personal Gmail account of a school administrator. They try to convince staff members to send them gift cards, etc. Please be vigilant when looking at emails. If an email has the name of a school administrator but does not contain the @buusd.org suffix, do not reply or give out any personal information. Avoid and report these phishing emails to Google and also notify the tech team so we can block them from our domain.

COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION: A team of educators from the University of Vermont and Vermont Agency of Education is collaborating to create licensure pathways for teachers interested in teaching Computer Science education. If you want to go beyond the "hour of code" and bring computer science curriculum to your students, then consider taking advantage of this opportunity. You do not need to have prior computer science experience. The curriculum aligns with Math, ELA, NGSS, and VT Transferable Skills. If you are interested, email me (eajanbsu@buusd.org) for more information. Below are a few reasons why you should consider teaching Computer Science:

  • It promotes 21st-century skills like creativity, collaboration, and communication.
  • Being involved in creating technologies can give confidence in dealing with complex, open-ended problems, and persistence in the face of challenges.
  • Being able to understand and make technologies give kids power and agency.
  • The more people we have that understand computer science, the more innovations and new knowledge we can produce as a society.

CYBERSECURITY FOR STUDENTS: As students return to school after the summer break, we are reminded of our collective duty to model the appropriate use of technology and internet resources. Although technology devices can help student’s complete schoolwork and stay in touch with family and friends, there are risks associated with using them. However, there are simple steps that can help students stay safe while using their internet-connected devices. I recommend we review the following resources for more information on cyber safety for students:

Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit.

Stay Safe Online. 

UPDATES FROM GOOGLE: 

  1. Better assessments with locked mode and question import in Google Forms: Educators can enable locked mode in Quizzes in Google Forms. This mode prevents students from navigating away from their assessments until they submit their answers, which helps them focus during quizzes and encourages academic integrity.
  2. The G Suite Certification for students is now available, a professional certification from Google that enables students to demonstrate mastery of G Suite applications such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the workplace.
  3. Check out the Chromebook App Hub, a resource for educators to share and discover apps for Chromebooks and corresponding lesson ideas and classroom inspiration.

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Messages From Building Administrators

Spaulding High School:  This coming year is filled with a great deal of excitement as we continue with our work supporting students around Proficiency Based Learning.  We have several staff assigned to “Tide Pool”, a space for all learners to receive academic as well as social-emotional support.  We will also be implementing mindfulness practices in support of self-regulation and emotional well-being. 

Three members of our school will be participating in the two-year Equity Practitioners Network, through the VPA, and working on equity within our school community with our staff.  We have implemented a 1:1 initiative where every SHS student will be assigned a Chromebook that they will have 24/7 access over their time at SHS.  We will be offering Engineering and Robotics for the first time, as well as a new Computer Science course, expanding our Work-Based Learning and Flexible Pathways offerings and continuing our work with Aspirations, a VSAC program, all to help our students become college and career ready. 

This year will also mark the first year of all students participating in community service, as part of their graduation requirements, in building community connections, giving back to our community and having our students recognized for the caring students that they are.   

Central VT Career Center:  CVCC has gotten off to a great start this year!  Some of our accomplishments from June 2019 that are being carried forward this year is our establishment of PLGs with three teams focusing on Instruction, Career Pathways, and Student Support.  This shift in professional learning is totally teacher and data-driven.  The instructional staff will also be primarily responsible for all professional development days and content as well as providing the leadership for all staff meetings.  

This is an exciting time for our students as well.  We are welcoming 180 students this year, this is an increase of 40 students from last year!   Our programs are all fully aligned with the VT Graduation Proficiencies and to that end, we have developed a comprehensive transcript that not only provides the proficiency outcomes but includes the other credentials students have earned such as Industry Recognized Credentials and Fast Forward College Credits.  Our Transcript is the foundation of our Electronic Portfolio which is being developed by one of the PLGs to launch with several programs this year!

We are planning our Open House for December 5th - please join us in celebrating our student work!  If you would like to tour the Center or bring a group of students for a local field trip, please call 476-6237, ext. 1156 as ask for Stefanie Seng. 

Have a wonderful year!

Barre Town Middle and Elementary School: BTMES is excited for the 2019-2020 school year and all that it will bring!  From the new chickens added to our coop, the abundance of goodies in our garden, to the multiple outdoor classrooms that support our ECO strategies, in addition to, the amazing hiking trails; we are so fortunate to have a wealth of outdoor learning experiences for our students, staff, families and community to be a part of. 

Our work with Great Schools Partnership will continue to foster our PLG work (professional learning groups) as we dive into using data to help drive and support decisions.  This continued work will help support our Tier 1 instruction (for all) supported by our proficiency based learning.

Our PBIS committee (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) continues to refine our Universal practices (for all) and is working on growing our Targeted practices (individual) to best support our elementary students. 

Use of Developmental Designs and Responsive Classroom mirror our PBIS practices as we work with the whole child---which includes the social/emotional development in addition to the academic needs.  Our days begin with each TA/Homeroom meeting as a community, and many are able to end each day in the same manner.  Though we are a large building with over 830 students, we strive to meet and reach each individual learner where they are at.

We are blessed to be working in such a great community that values education.  Our students show up each day and give the best that they have and in turn, our amazing staff  supports, guides, and facilitates learning in many ways creatively, using best practices that echo the current on-going professional development.

We welcome you to stop by for a visit or let us know if you have a special talent/craft that you would like to share with others.  We think you’ll find our learning community a pretty neat place to be.  Here’s to a great school year!

Barre City Elementary and Middle School:  Our staff and students have returned and school is in full swing. There have been many exciting things happening at BCEMS to start the year and students have been thrilled to meet the new members of our team. It is safe to say that all of our new folks hae started the year off extremely well and we are excited to begin our second year together as the leaders of BCEMS.

In the spring we said goodbye to many veteran faculty,including our longtime librarian Stephanie McMahon. Since then, the BCEMS library has undergone a full transformation as new Library Media Specialist Mary Alice Osborne and new Technology Integrationist Michael Martin settle into their new roles. We predice that this dynamic team will bring all kinds of innovative and creative ideas and practices to our community, and we are very excitd to have them on board.

Walk Run Fun!  The BCEMS PTO had its first meeting this week, and we have settled on October 18th as the date for our biggest fundraiser. Mark your calendars for this incredibly fun event. Last year, BCEMS students and families raised over $30,000 during the Walk Run Fun fundraiser, and these funds were used for field trips and a wide variety of other projects and initiatives to enhance the learning experince of our students.

Our goal is to bring such joy and happiness to the entire BCEMS community as we come together once again for a new school year. We invite you to stop by and see how we're doing!

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