A Message From Superintendent Tracy Wrend

It has been wonderful having all of our schools back open for in-person instruction this week. While our remote learning systems are functioning well, it is hard to compete with face-to-face learning.

In order to be able to keep our doors open and our children learning in-person, it is of the utmost importance that everyone continues to abide by the State’s health and safety guidelines. This is especially important during the holiday season when it is tempting to travel and get together with family and others in separate households. We understand that it is hard, but ask that you follow the Governor’s Order to both avoid travel and multi-household interactions.

If you do choose to travel or see others from a separate household, please keep your children home from school for 14 days or for seven days with a negative PCR test. Following these guidelines will help ensure that we can again open our doors for our students on January 4.

The well-being of our faculty and staff, our children, and the entire community has been our number one priority this year. Our children adjusted quickly and well to the new health and safety protocols. And these protocols have paid off – the systems we put in place worked. By and large our community has remained safe and healthy and our school doors have remained open.

Let’s keep up the good work into 2021.

Best,
Tracy

Lamoille South Unified Union Board Brief
December 15, 2020

Middle School Updates: Matt Young, PAML Principal, and Dan Morrison, SMS Principal, updated us on happenings at PAML and SMS.  Highlights included:

PAML

  • Offering daily opportunities to connect remotely for all students – 120 attendees at the December 9 community meeting
  • Utilizing negotiated curriculum instruction – inviting students to co-construct their learning in an identified target area
  • School climate is impressive with office discipline referrals drastically reduced
  • Unbound program offering both in-person and remote after school activities

SMS

  • Fully pivoted to remote learning last week – over 120 participants in community meetings
  • Pilot of literacy intervention ongoing – reporting high levels of engagement and growth
  • SMHS school counseling team offered parent workshop on how to support students with hybrid learning
  • Helen Day Art Center collaboration with SMS art focused on Dona Ann McAdams photography

School Climate Survey: The board reviewed results of the Fall, 2020 School Climate survey which includes feedback from students about key indicators that correlate to student achievement.  The board found that, while there are areas for improvement, overall the data was extremely positive.  Some highlights include:

  • Over 90% of students at each school report that they are treated fairly by adults at school;
  • 93-99% of students at each school say they have a friend at school; and
  • 97-100% of students report feeling physically safe at school.

The faculty, staff and administration are commended for their excellent work to maintain positive school environments. 

FY22 Budget: We reviewed a second draft of the FY22 budget.  The district has received the recommended property and income yields from the tax commissioner, which are $10,763 and $12,825, respectively.  Both have decreased from the prior year, which has a negative impact on the estimated homestead tax rate and increases the rate approximately 3.5 cents.  The statewide non-homestead tax rate is $1.73, an increase of 10.2 cents from the prior year.

We are waiting on equalized pupil values and the CLA’s for each town and will continue FY22 budget discussions on January 5.

LSUU Annual Meeting: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Vermont Legislature passed Act 162, which allows school districts that normally vote from the floor at their annual meeting to instead use Australian ballot.  The temporary legislation allows any or all school district meetings to be conducted via Australian ballot in the year 2021.  The board determined that LSUU will hold a virtual budget informational meeting in advance of Town Meeting Day, but will have all annual meeting business decided by Australian ballot.

We will be working with our Town Clerks to finalize this process and will continue to provide updates.

Subscribe: LSUU’s E-Newsletter, including Board Briefs will be posted the Thursday following each board meeting at https://lsuu.org/category/news-announcements/. You can read it there, or receive it directly by email by subscribing at https://lsuu.org/subscribe/. More detailed information regarding Lamoille South Unified Union School Board meetings can be found in our board minutes: https://lsuu.org/board/#minutes-agendas-etc.

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