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Barre Unified Union School District Newsletter

November 2019

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

Technology  |  Curriculum  |  Communications  |  PATH

Superintendent's Report

John Pandolfo - Superintendent; Tina Gilbert - Executive Assistant

We have now operated for one-quarter of the school year and one-third of the fiscal year as a merged supervisory district. In all aspects of my job, I am able to reflect on the progress we have made (over decades) in working as a unified system, while I can also honor and appreciate the unique aspects and cultures of each of our four schools. Many of you have attended one or more of our schools as a student, and worked in more than one of our schools as an adult, and thus can also appreciate both our schools’ individualities and commonalities. Our board is also making the adjustment to knowing multiple schools. Where before they only had one building on their radar they are now seeing a bigger picture, which can be both exciting and overwhelming. As I mentioned at our opening inservice in August, our board recognizes now as an opportune time to step back and consider how we want our new district to reflect our community, what collective outcomes we want for our students, and what specific steps we need to take to get there. In organizational language, this is a Vision, a Mission, and Strategic Goals. This is not something the board gives to the administration and staff, nor is it something the administration and staff gives to the board. This is something that is collectively defined by all stakeholders in the educational community, including students, parents, alumni, community, staff, administration, and board. While the process should not be quick, nor necessarily easy, if done well it should result in a system which better serves our children and community. All the work that we do every day should shape this process, and this process should shape the work that we do every day. Stay tuned as we delve further into this, including time at upcoming in-services.


On October 25, I sent information about the 2019 Vermont MTSS Field Guide Release, and made reference in that email to Act 173 of 2018, an act to enhance the effectiveness, availability, and equity of services provided to all students who require additional support in Vermont’s schools. The Agency of Education is in the process of issuing Technical Guidance documents to support the implementation of Act 173, and we looked forward to receiving all of these documents, as well as the additional supports necessary as we work to implement this law. I will re-emphasize that the law itself does not necessarily direct us to do anything different in how we support students, but attempts to provide cohesiveness to many of the things that we already do. I will also note that while this law impacts Vermont’s Special Education funding formula, it is not a Special Education law, it is a law that touches the systems we have in place for all Vermont educators to support all Vermont students. I am including below the links to Field Guide and technical guidance documents that have been issued to date, plus the titles of the documents we expect to see between now and January:

As you can see from the above, we have our work cut out for us. We come in and put our nose to the grindstone every day, and attend to the work of the day while thinking ahead about how to make our system better for the future. I greatly appreciate the effort you put in to do this.

Lastly, I was recently reflecting on my days of mentoring new teachers and the mental and emotional challenges this time of year can bring. I thing this applies not only to new teachers, but to everyone on the school year cycle. I also think being this far north and dealing with loss of daylight compounds the impact. As simply knowing and recognizing this can be helpful, I thought I would include the following link: https://newteachercenter.org/wp-content/uploads/NewTeacherDevelopmentEveryInning.pdf

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Business Office

Lisa Perreault - Business Manager; 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)

FY21 Budget Development is progressing well. On November 12th the finance committee will review the FY21 budget development work thus far with plans to present Draft 1 to the Board on November 14th. This presentation will include highlights summarizing administrative team initiatives and district-wide needs.

It’s that time of the year when the business office starts to prepare for calendar year IRS reporting of employer offered health benefits and W2s. The BUUSD’s consolidation on July 1, means that all employees were employed by two different entities in the calendar year. In mid-January you will receive at least two 1095 C forms and two W2s (you will want to explain this to your tax preparer). Contact Kris or Ann if you have any questions.

To all relevant staff, please complete (if you haven’t already) August, September, and October Medicaid logs and send them to Kathy at the Central Office. Thanks to all special education teachers, and support staff for your attention to this.

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Human Resources

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

Don’t forget, Open Enrollment for 2020 benefits ends on November 8, 2019. If you would like to make any changes to your healthcare for 2020, make them now. Unless you have a qualifying event (marriage, birth, etc.) you will not be able to change them again until next year (2021). Forms needed to change your plans are located at: https://www.buusd.org/departments/humanresources (Use the Open Enrollment tab). The Open Enrollment calendar in your packet includes our schedule for school visits and drop in hours at the central office. You are welcome to attend at any time, at any school. As always, by appointment, we are happy to meet with you outside of those hours for individual and/or confidential meetings.

Even if you are not changing anything, we still need you to complete the HRA/FSA (2 sided) and the Healthcare Declaration forms. These were in your open enrollment packet and say “MANDATORY”.

Leslie Babic will be visiting your schools during open enrollment and will be available for questions, help with paperwork, etc. Please see the calendar that was recently sent to you via email. Please email HR@buusd.org or see your building contact if you need information about the visits. Your building contacts are: CVCC - Sarah Capron, SHS - Beth Bicknell, BCEMS - Andra Holbrook and BTMES - Tina Lunt. (Thank you, ladies. You make all of our lives so much easier!!!)

Also, now is the time to evaluate your needs for an FSA (flexible spending account). This year you can save up to $2,700 and use this toward your first dollar expenses, dental expenses, eyeglasses, etc. Did you know that you can also contribute $5,000 for dependent care?

Remember you have the advantage of using pretax money. It’s like having a 20% coupon. Use this link for FAQ’s https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1541372589/bsu vtorg/xf1lbiyenz51hjkelzow/FSADCAFrequentlyAskedQuestions.pdf

AESOP/Attendance
The BUUSD.org website/HR has a quick link for AESOP under “Frontline (AESOP) System and Attendance” bar. Use this to get into AESOP. If you are ever creating an absence and are scratching your head wondering which absence reason to use, we have created a document that gives you definitions for all of the leave choices that may apply to you. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19pIQqnBxZt AJB9WDLEVyp4In2PEsal0CjbqeexhSWE/edit?ts=5db1b95b#gid=0

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Special Education

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

Special Education Time Schedules are required for all staff paid with special education funds. These schedules were completed for the week of October 21-October 25 for all BUUSD Special Education faculty and staff. Please remember to submit your time schedules to Robin Poulin by Friday November 1st.

Additionally, each year we must submit a Service Plan to the Agency of Education that outlines our anticipated service needs and the staffing to provide these services for the following fiscal year. This plan forms the foundation for budget development and helps the State determine the funding formula projections. We have completed and submitted our FY ‘21 Service Plan and our plan has received initial approval by the Agency of Education. Thank you to our special education staff, especially Michelle Leeman for their hard work to ensure that this plan was submitted in an accurate and timely manner.

One of the goals of our special education administrative team is to develop systems and procedures that will provide clarity to special education staff about their roles and to support the alignment of our work across grade levels and schools. Part of that initial work has been the development of procedural checklists for both the IEP and the evaluation process in order to assist special education team become more efficient and accurate in these processes. We look forward to continuing the work to develop systems and support alignment within our department.

We are excited to announce that the Spaulding High School alternative programs formerly known as Granite Academy and the ACT Program have merged to form one program under the umbrella of Spaulding Educational Alternatives (the SEA). This new program is providing experiential learning opportunities in a therapeutic environment to all enrolled students while providing small group instruction that is aligned with Spaulding’s proficiency model. This will allow more individual support tailored to student needs while utilizing staffing more efficiently. We are already seeing increased educational outcomes for some students and hope to be able to expand our program capacity as we move forward. The Crimson Tide Is Rolling at the SEA!

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Early Education

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

Both prekindergarten programs are up to full staff with our two most recent hires at Barre City Elementary & Middle School, Kassidy Swift and Monica Mathias. Kassidy is joining us as a classroom teaching assistant and Monica is our new PreK permanent substitute. Welcome!

On October 11th, prekindergarten staff participated in multiple professional development opportunities including CPR & First Aid and Developmental Design. The Barre Town team explored two program assessment tools that the Agency of Education is rolling out for the Early Childhood field. The Inclusive Classroom Profile (ICP) looks at how programs implement quality inclusive practices, while the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT) assesses how early childhood programs implement the Pyramid Model to support children’s social emotional development. Each of these tools is part of the state’s comprehensive early education assessment system. Teachers at both schools will have the opportunity to explore these tools and provide input on how best to incorporate them for coaching and self-assessment.

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Facilities

Jamie Evans - Director of Facilities

All of the BUUSD buildings are beginning the transition from autumn to “almost” winter mode. Heating systems have been fired up and are running well. The grounds are looking good along with early preparations for the onset of winter. Snow plows and sanding equipment are being installed on the trucks and snow blowers are being taken out of storage. Expansion of the parking lot at the BUUSD building will begin soon. The top soil will be dug out, drainage will be installed and crushed slate will be installed and compacted behind the building. Lighting has already been installed in this area in preparation for the parking lot.

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Technology

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

Vermont Fest 2019
Registration is open for Vermont Fest 2019. This year's conference will bring together technology and leadership teams representing PreK-12 education facilities from across the State of Vermont. With the theme "Mapping the future with intention," discussions will include robotics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, virtual reality, data privacy, gamification, digital citizenship, social media, digital media, design thinking, and global collaboration. Visit the online conference schedule for more details. We are excited to have a team from our district attending the conference scheduled for November 14-15, 2019.

Staff WiFi Network
The network team has continued to fix the staff wifi network to correct issues encountered by some staff members with connectivity. Please be sure to run an iOS or Android software update on your cell phones so you can connect more easily to the network. Also, note that we are expected to connect only our cell phones. If you want to connect any other type of device, please let us know.

E-Rate
We are working with our E-rate consultant to prepare our FY 21 E-rate application. With E-rate funding, we have continued to improve our technology infrastructure over the years strategically. We have completed the paperwork and submitted it to the consultant for review. We hope to fill the USAC 470 form as soon as we complete this preparation process.

Montpelier/Roxbury District Tech Team Visit
On Tuesday, November 5th, we will host the Montpelier/Roxbury school district's technology team. During the visit, we will share and learn from one another on several topics ranging from 1:1 Chromebooks program, technology hardware and software, etc. We are happy to collaborate and network with our neighboring school districts.

G Suite for Education in the Classroom

  • EDU in 90 Episodes - Catch up on the latest EDU in 90 episodes to learn more about apps for portfolios and presentations, ideas for Google Sites, and more updates.
  • The latest Future of the Classroom report from Google (Resource link)
  • 45 ways to use G Suite for Education in the classroom (Resource link)
  • Training videos delivered to your inbox for 8 weeks on Drive, Doc, Classroom, Forms, Slides, Sheets, Drawings and Gmail (Resource Link)

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Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

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

Appreciation
November is a month for especially expressing gratitude. Check out this neat article on teaching gratitude to students. And, thank you all for welcoming me to BUUSD. I’m incredibly grateful for a job I love working with educators passionate about their profession and student success. While I’ve worked more closely with some of you than others in these few months, it’s through an interconnected web of supports that we serve our students and each other well (sometimes without even explicitly knowing it). Thank you for all you do for and with our students, teachers, leaders, and community! I wish each of you a rejuvenating holiday

Integrated Field Review
Thanks again to the IFR team for all their hard work preparing for our Integrated Field Review. Also, a hearty thanks to everyone in all of our schools for being so welcoming, helping our schools to shine, and being open about areas in which we need to grow the most. In a few weeks we should have our IFR report that boils down all interviews, artifacts, and observations into a few commendations and recommendations

November Inservice
Stay tuned for details on exciting and engaging work for our November 11 inservice day. Teams of administrators, teachers, and curriculum leaders are working together to finalize the plan that balances big picture collaborative work, curriculum development, and PLGs/PLGs.

Instructional Coaching
Coordinators, coaches, and administrators will be making time to present about our (currently) PreK-8 Coaching Model and what to expect from a coaching cycle. Here is a very recent good coaching article, “Why Teacher Autonomy is Central to Coaching Success, from an instructional coaching guru, Jim Knight.

Tuesday Meeting Rotation PK-8
The PreK-8 Tuesday meeting rotation is also coming soon. Feedback seemed to have shifted over the course of September-October with many people reporting in meetings with Jean Haegar and Jess that they’d prefer two PLG meetings per month rather than two curriculum meetings per month going forward. Both focus areas are very important to our system. As you know we are making significant investments of time, money, effort, and leadership to create a strong culture of professional learning groups. If you feel strongly about the rotation one way or another, please feel welcome to send feedback to Jess (jbarebsu@buusd.org) ASAP. The first Tuesday of every month for PreK-8 is for faculty meeting.

Curriculum Committee Update
The Board Curriculum Committee met the evening of Tuesday, October 22. Presenters from CVCC gave us an overview of Career Center programming. A shout out to Penny Chamberlin, Tim Hammond, Clifton Long, and Steve McKinstry for their time and effort creating such an in-depth presentation! The Curriculum Committee is committed to hearing from a range of groups on the current state of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and student data in all content areas/programs PreK-12. Once some November and December meeting date changes are final, I look forward to sharing the Curriculum Committee Annual Work Plan with a proposed order of presentations and invitations for related administrators, teacher and curriculum leaders, coordinators, and teachers to collaboratively present. Here is a link to the guidelines for presentations that the committee has created to learn as much as possible.

SBAC Preparation
Annette Rhoades (Assistant Special Services Director) and I joined Jess Van Orman, Emily Loughlin, and Mike Martin (Technology Integrationists) at an AOE State Assessment training October 24, 2019. We will be working with a larger group to refine our BUUSD assessment administration process. State required assessments include the literacy and math assessments known as SBAC, the science assessment referred to as VTSA, the physical education assessment referred to as the VTPEA, and alternative assessments for each of those tests for students with significant cognitive impairment. Thanks to Annette, Emily, Jess, and Mike for making the time for this training and sharing their knowledge so we can continually improve our administration of state assessments. Stay tuned for more assessment updates coming soon to an inbox near you.

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Communications

Thank you all for the warm welcome into my new position as Communications Specialist! I've had a very busy first couple weeks meeting with most of our building and department administrators to see how I can support their various communication efforts. I will be working with the team from the Barre Area Development group to film a video about our schools to support their "Barre Rock Solid" marketing campaign.

If there's something great happening in your school or classroom and you think it's worth sharing with our community, please pass it on my way, jallebsu@buusd.org, so I can assist in making that happen. So many wonderful things happen every day in this district and they go unnoticed by others. I'm here to change that, so let's show our community what makes our schools so outstanding

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PATH

2020 PATH Adventure Joy Ride Registration is OPEN & FREE! Go to www.tomypath.com

  • Receive a FREE GIFT when you sign up! (trucker cap, athletic socks, or unisex short sleeve t-shirt)
  • Select other COOL GIFT items for a small fee! (unisex baseball shirt; women's v-neck short sleeve shirt; women's pullover hoodie; men's full zip hoodie)
  • Qualify for these great PRIZE drawings:
    • Grand Prize -- $2500!!
    • Second Place Prize -- Three winners receive a YETI Hopper Backpack Cooler!
    • Third Place Prize -- Three winners receive a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!

SPINNING with April Clark 4:15-5:00pm ($40)
Wednesdays October 23rd - December 4th (skips November 27th) @ Granite City Group Fitness in Barre

Stuffed Squash Cooking Workshop with Hailey Cohn of Satori Foods 5:00-6:30pm ($5)
Wednesday November 6 @ Spaulding High School, room 10

BSU Family Skate! (FREE)
January 11, 5:30-6:30 p.m. - BOR, Barre

PATH tab link: https://www.buusd.org/departments/human-resources

Complete Healthy Life Survey: Earn 50 PATHpoints between November 2019 and March 2020.

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

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