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Barre Unified Union School District Newsletter

October 2019

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

Technology  |  Curriculum  |  Communications  |  PATH

Superintendent's Report

John Pandolfo - Superintendent; Tina Gilbert - Executive Assistant

Attendance and Swipe in/Swipe Out Procedure:

When questions came up a few years ago regarding the swipe-card readers at each building and consistent expectations across buildings around employee attendance and card swiping, the Associations and the Administration worked together to develop a consistent procedure dealing with attendance/tardiness. While this procedure has been in place since the start of the last school year, it has likely not been shared with all employees before now. Please see the procedure below and feel free to contact your supervisor, administrator, or association if you have any questions.

Expectation: Every staff member arrives and leaves consistent with the requirements of their contract day.

If concerns arises that a staff member is not meeting this expectation, whether a
pattern over time (multiple pay periods), or numerous times in 1 pay period:

1st Time - The administrator and staff member have a face to face conversation (does not need to be a special meeting).

  • The expectation is clearly articulated.
  • The administrator states that staff member does not appear to be meeting the expectation.
  • The staff member has an opportunity to respond to that statement.
  • The administrator follows up with an email to the staff member documenting the conversation.

2nd Time (If the issue continues) - The administrator sets up a meeting with the staff member.

  • Union representation is not required because no disciplinary action will result.
  • The expectation is again clearly articulated.
  • The administrator states that staff member still does not appear to be meeting the expectation.
  • The staff member has an opportunity to respond to that statement.
  • The administrator follows up with an email (verbal warning per template) to the staff member documenting the conversation and stating that further instances will result in disciplinary action.

3rd Time (If the issue continues) - The administrator sets up a meeting with the staff member and union representation (if staff member is in a bargaining unit).

  • Formal letter goes into personnel file, including directive to swipe in and out as detailed below.
  • Staff member is required to swipe in and out until further notice (typically for the remainder of the school year, or if the letter is issued in Q4 then also for Q1 of the following year).

4.  Any further instances involve Superintendent, as suspension may result.

Winter is Coming!

Even though we still have beautiful foliage outside, we all know that winter weather is approaching us rapidly. It is time again to prepare for school cancellation and delay decisions. The information below provides an outline of the process we follow for making school cancellation/delay decisions for weather events.

1. Prior to a “weather event” and early in the morning of an event, we gather information from a variety of sources:

  • We look at forecasts from a variety of sources well in advance.
  • We receive consultation and advice from NOAA (The National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration), including several briefs and even conference calls prior to any major storms. We also contract with Roger Hill to provide regular updates and consultation, both prior to and on the morning of events.
  • We communicate, as appropriate, with the road crews and/or police departments for both Barre Town and Barre City, as well as our contracted transportation company and our own staff who are on the roads early.
  • We communicate with other school superintendents in the region to coordinate closing/delay decisions when it makes sense, realizing localized conditions and other factors may necessitate different decisions for different supervisory unions and districts.

2. Our goal is to have a decision made by 5:30am.

  • This is not always possible, as there are many things happening quickly.
  • Most often, NOAA and/or Roger Hill make a recommendation and we follow it, as they get automatic input from many sources and have expertise that we do not. They consider what has happened, what is happening currently and what is most likely to happen as the day goes on. It is rare that our own information does not align with their recommendation.
  • If the recommendations have not come out by 5:30am, we might wait a little longer.
  • If we feel like we have information and circumstances that requires a different decision than the experts’ recommendations, we review everything again carefully before making that decision.

3. Once a decision is made to delay or close, we communicate in the following ways:

  • We initiate a “Call Em All” through the phone system.
  • We contact the media.
  • We send out an email to all staff.
  • We post on Facebook, Twitter, web pages, and phone greetings.
  • We contact the police and road crews.
  • We contact our transportation and food contractors.

The decision to delay or cancel is extremely important for everyone’s safety. We take it very seriously. There is no guarantee that we can make the correct decision every time, but we do our absolute best. Please help us by being patient and understanding, and providing appropriate and constructive feedback.

While the entries above deal with the procedural end of our work, I want to finish by acknowledging the fantastic work that you all do under difficult circumstances. Every day seems to bring new challenges, but we serve great students and families and a great community. Thank you for what you do to make good things happen.

Course Reimbursement Reminders:

  • Please use the new version posted on our website, Course Approval Form.
  • Form must have your administrator’s signature or it will be returned.
  • A printout of information about the course needs to be attached to your form.
  • If you receive an invoice please send it to the central office right away.
  • If a course is cancelled after submitting request please let Tina Gilbert know.
  • Please turn in grades reports once your course is complete.

Thank you for your help in making this process work!!

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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)

Mudgett Jennett & Krogh-Wisner, P.C. started the FY19 audit. Audit presentations are on target for the December board meeting.

Budget development is underway with a budget survey out to parents and community members, results to be shared soon. Administrators and directors are reviewing FY19 budgets, monitoring FY20 budgets and thinking strategically about their FY21 budget development plans. Health insurance premiums are expected to increase by double digits again next year. We will be presenting a draft expense budget at the November board meeting.

The State of Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation launched an electric bus pilot program. BUUSD in collaboration with STA has submitted a proposal in response to their RFP. If awarded these funds, we will have the first electric buses on routes in central Vermont.

Retirement is a looming goal throughout our lives, yet most of us don’t want to think about it until it’s later in the game. In hindsight, we wish we had. One of your benefits at BUUSD is free access to an Edward Jones financial advisor. If you are interested in opening or changing your 403B account, please visit our BUUSD website/Human Resources page.  Under the Retirement tab, please click on the Edward Jones Employee Portal. You can find a financial advisor by entering your zip code. You can contact them directly to set up an appointment for an individualized financial retirement plan and to discuss this important and exciting transition in your future.

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Human Resources

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

FAMILY SICK TIME

Your sick time can either be used for your illness or when you are out because you are caring for a family member who is ill. The definition of a “Family Member” can vary according to the employment group to which you belong. For instance, the teachers’ master agreement defines Family Members as “immediate family members as defined in FMLA/VPFLA”*. The para-educator master agreement defines Family Member as an “individual residing in the immediate household or a member of a family as defined in the FMLA”. …..and then there are the non-contracted folks, and the members of AFSCME (facilities staff) and the administrators.

Confusing right?

We have put together a quick summary of who is covered for different groups. This summary is available on the district website here: Family Sick Time

If you would like more detailed information, each master agreement and non-contracted employment handbook goes into much more detail about the expectation of how sick time can be used. All master agreement/handbooks can be found on the BUUSD website on the human Resources page under the heading: HR Resources.

*FMLA is the national Family Medical Leave Act. VPFLA is the state of Vermont’s version of this. We have included who is covered under each act on the summary.

OPEN ENROLLMENT

Open enrollment will take place from October 28 - November 8. All changes during this time will be effective January 1, 2020. You will receive a packet of information in your school mailbox. Emails will follow with directions and reminders.

Please remember that you can make changes to your benefits only one time per year, and this is it. Once the open enrollment period is over, you cannot change them until January 2021 (unless you have a qualifying event - marriage, baby, etc.).

We look forward to spending time in the schools during open enrollment and will have a calendar of those times and places out to you soon.

DID YOU KNOW?

Each school in the district has a school based AESOP coordinator to work directly with you when you have questions or a problem. Leslie Babic is the District AESOP administrator, and works in partnership with all of the building contacts. Your building contact/coordinator will be able to answer most questions and solve most issues, and if not, they will forward the issue or question to Leslie.

There are times during the year when an employee’s schedule changes. These changes can be made only through your administrator who will authorize Leslie to make the change.

Your Building AESOP contacts are:

BCEMS - Wanda Trepanier
BTMES – Betsy Pearce and Kim Benson
SHS - Lora Gaudreault
CVCC - Sarah Capron

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Special Education

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

At our BUUSD Admin summer retreat, our full Admin Team discussed and agreed on Roles and Responsibilities with regards to special education given our move from a building-based special education administration model to a centralized model. Here is a link to the BUUSD Special Education Roles and Responsibilities flowchart.

We have rolled this out to special education staff in each building at our September special education staff meetings. We are working to share with all BUUSD regular education staff in the first faculty meetings of the year and will share this information with support staff during the October 11th staff development day. In addition, we will present this to the BUUSD School Board at the October 10th Board Meeting.

Stacy Anderson, Annette Rhoades and John Pandolfo attended the Vermont Agency of Education Work Day on Act 173 on September 25th at the Vermont Granite Museum. The Workday topics included Who’s Who at the AOE, outline of the new AOE monitoring system, an
introduction to The New draft MTSS Field Guide, and a discussion of the role of Educational Support Teams across the state.

October 11th is one of five staff development dates for BUUSD Para-educators and Behavior
Interventionists. We have worked to create a menu of topics that support staff can choose to attend including: Helping Students Learn to Reach Out Instead of Act Out with Ben Newman-LICSW; Reading Strategies forStruggling Readers with Linda Hunter M.Ed.; Supportive
Employment with New Heights Employment Services; Understanding and Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders with Christy Hoffman of Green Mountain Behavioral Consulting; and Medicaid billing training with Kathy Couture, BUUSD Medicaid Clerk.

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Early Education

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

Our in-house preschool programs are off to a great start. Both schools hosted Open House events, with families stopping by to see their child’s classroom, connect with staff and say hello to fellow classmates.

A new swing set was installed over the summer on the Barre City Preschool Program’s playground. This was purchased with remaining funds from the Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) grant. The Barre Town preschool program is evaluating current needs for their playground and will allocate the remaining funds in their STARS account accordingly.

Act 166 - BUUSD is currently partnering with eight (8) community programs through Act 166. In
addition to the two hundred and ten (210) registered in the school based Barre City and Barre Town programs this represents an additional forty (40) children.

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Facilities

Jamie Evans - Director of Facilities

BCEMS has another section of roofing completed on the south end of the building. Eight classrooms have been freshly painted along with new floor tile. The gymnasium floor has updated painted lines, as well as a new coat of floor finish. Additional security cameras were installed on the exterior of the building.

At SHS/CVCC, we completed renovations to the library. The updated look includes new paint, carpeting, furniture and a new design layout. A new window was installed adjoining the library with the hallway. New floor tile was installed in room 208, and several classrooms received new paint. The new LED message board on the front lawn entrance of SHS will soon be operating!

At BTMES we installed new floor tiles and carpeting in several areas throughout the school. New paint was added to many hallways as well as some classrooms. Additional security cameras were installed both interior and exterior of the building.

A portion of the basement at the BUUSD building was remodeled to create office space. New floor tiles, paint, furniture and wiring were installed to accommodate the offices. We should have the back parking area work at the Central Office Building completed in the next month. We are also working on safety upgrades on the building, and making plans for some office location changes for staff. If you notice signs of work in front of the building, this is from fixing a wastewater pipe that was sorely in need of repair.

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Technology News

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

Classroom Instructional Technology Tools Survey:

Thank you to everyone who responded to our classroom instructional technology tools survey.
The apps and web-based services/tools you shared with us will help us support and grow the use of instructional technology in the classrooms. The Technology Integrationists are currently
looking at the data as they plan their different training materials. Reach out to them with any questions or concerns.

Districts Apps Subscriptions:

  • Wevideo: Used by millions of students in every grade and subject area, WeVideo empowers every learner to discover their voice and make an impact in their world. It promotes deeper learning while making it fun and easy for students to express their ideas with creativity and authenticity. WeVideo provides students a safe place to search, create, and share videos. If you have not used it and are interested, click the link to join the Barre Education Account. Here is the Educator’s Guide to Wevideo.
  • GoEnnounce: Currently used by our schools to promote eportfolio and personal learning plans for students.
  • VoiceThread: This is a learning tool for enhancing student engagement and online presence. With VoiceThread, instructors and/or students can create, share, and comment on images, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, videos, audio files, documents, and PDFs, using a microphone, webcam, text, phone, and audio-file upload.
  • Book Creator: A simple tool for creating awesome digital books. Create your own teaching resources or have your students take the reins. Combine text, images, audio and video to create: Interactive stories, digital portfolio, research journal, poetry book, science report, ‘about me’ books, comic adventures and many more.

Firewall and Internet Content Filter Software:

This year we implemented a new firewall and also a new internet content filter software that will help optimize the online experience of both staff and students. These systems help to protect our computer networks and devices from harmful sites. As we continue to configure these systems, we see instances where some educational tools that teachers and students use in the classroom are inadvertently blocked. If you run into this, please let us know by submitting a Zendesk request.

Middle School 1:1 Chromebooks Program:

With a successful implementation of 1:1 Chromebooks program for all the Spaulding High School students, we have begun exploring ideas on how to extend this program to our middle school students. In the coming months, we will continue this conversation with our different middle school stakeholders. If all goes well, we might consider implementing an in-school 1:1 Chromebooks program for all our middle school students. More about this to come in the
future.

Email Phishing Quiz:

Can you spot when you are being phished? Google has a free and engaging phishing quiz to test your knowledge and phish-spotting skills. Trust us -- it is trickier than you think!

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Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

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

PK-8 PLG Leaders:  Please take advantage of time with Jean Haeger during her days with us October 21-23. Follow this link to sign up for time with her. The time can be one-on-one, with a group of colleagues, and about anything that supports your collaborative work. You are doing incredible work as PLGs and keeping momentum is important. Jean also helps synthesis your input and supports leaders to better implement PLGs, so your conversations with her are helpful to our whole system on so many levels.

Student-Centered Coaching:  Our first meeting of the Curriculum Coordinators and Instructional Coaches began with drafting a plan to help everyone understand what student-centered instructional coaching is, what to expect from a coaching cycle, and clarify the role of a coach as well as how to access a coach. Student-centered coaching stays focused on what goals the teacher has for student outcomes which allows the teacher and coach to partner in
their learning about what instructional strategies will be most effective to reach those goals. Coaching is never a "gotcha" but a collaborative partnership to ever-improve student learning. As a group we will present to all staff in an upcoming faculty meeting to make sure everyone understands our instructional coaching model and has a chance to ask questions.

Integrated Field Review:  As Integrated Field Review (IFR) Team Lead, a good amount of recent effort has gone into preparing for our IFR visit on October 29. We wouldn’t be in the great place we are for the visit without the incredible team of administrators and teachers who have been helping to finalize the visit schedule, compile artifacts, and support the process along the way. A huge thank you to our IFR team for their time and effort preparing us: Kirsten Evans (Barre City Teacher), Jennifer Farnsworth (Barre Town Special Educator), Scott
Griggs (CVCC Assistant Director), Chris Hennessy (Barre City Middle School Principal), Steve McKinstry (CVCC Instructor), Don McMahon (Co-Director of Special Services), John Pandolfo (Superintendent), Tim Sanborn (Barre Town Teacher), Mya Violette (Spaulding High School Teacher), and Brenda Waterhouse (Spaulding High School Principal).

Curriculum Committee:  The Board Curriculum Committee met on September 24th to review our draft annual work plan. I received a lot of valuable feedback to finalize the plan and prepare for our ongoing work this year.

The work plan includes many presentations that invite collaboration between leaders, teacher leaders, and others who enact the curriculum every day, so we can learn directly from you about current curricula and student achievement. Stay tuned for the final draft of the annual work plan.

Classroom and School Visits:  Amidst the many things that come across the Curriculum Office, I’m still prioritizing spending concerted time learning about our district and each school’s context while getting to know everyone I serve! Thank you so much for welcoming me into your schools and classrooms in this first month of school. I try to prioritize time in schools and working with your building leaders as much as I can. Many thanks to principals and coordinators for taking quality time out of their busy days to show me around and help introduce me to everyone. I look forward to more time in classrooms with you and our students in the coming month!

Self-Care:  October can often find us wondering where that boost of summer energy went. We take such good care of our students even at their most challenging, yet please remember to take good care of yourself too. Even a quick walk, making five minutes to sit with a warm cup of tea or coffee, or a moment to pause and check in with a colleague you haven’t seen lately can
make a world of difference. Here is a short TED Talk on self-care for teachers. Here’s a 10 minute “Yoga for the Classroom” video for yourself and/or to do with students. Be well!

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Communications

We are excited to announce that Josh Allen will be filling this position, with an official start date of October 15. Look for Josh’s first report in November.

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PATH

The VEHI / PATH Healthy Life Survey is Now Open!!!

DON'T FORGET....

  • You’ll earn 60 PATHpoints when your survey is completed during the month of October!!
  • You’ll earn 50 PATHpoints when your survey is completed between November 2019 and March 2020.
  • What a great start to the points year and earning your L.L. Bean gift card*!
  • The Healthy Life Survey is available to complete between October 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

*200 or more points are required by June 30, 2020 to receive a $100 L.L. Bean gift card in September 2020.

Facials and Foot Baths, Oh My! with Marie Frohlich, Health Coach and Herbalist (FREE)
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 4:00-5:30 p.m. BTMES, room 200 (upstairs health room)

Sun-kissed and tan this summer? Now is a good time to nourish your skin for the winter yo-yo of cold and heat. Come learn how to do your own facial with natural ingredients and sooth the entire body with a foot bath this winter. Everyone will take home a sample and handouts.

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

Building Coordinators:

BC: Diana Flood, Jessica Maurais, Ian Thomas

SHS: Beth Bicknell, Jesse Carpenter, Sarah Chap

CVCC: Wendy Clark, Cheryl Zanleoni

BT: Laura Thygesen, Jessie Casavant, Amy Robertson

BUUSD: Ashley Dunlea

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