A Message From Superintendent Tracy Wrend

While most college acceptances are not announced until March some college acceptance information for the PA and SHS classes of 2021 are in and reflect continued student success as they transition from high school to post-secondary learning.  At this early stage, students have been accepted to a number of nationally ranked universities, such as the University of Michigan, University of Virginia, UNC – Chapel Hill, Case Western Reserve, Northeastern, and Purdue. Closer to home, students have been accepted to UVM, NVU-Johnson, Castleton, St. Michael’s, and Norwich. We are delighted to see that, despite the challenges of COVID-19, our students’ aspirations remain ambitious and many doors are open for their next steps. Over the coming months, we will continue to support students as they pursue college and university pathways, technical colleges, the military, and careers.

As the pandemic continues to knock on our doors, we have had to make several decisions over the last few months around school closures and the temporary suspension of in-person instruction. We want people to understand that the decision making process around temporarily suspending in-person instruction occurs on a case-by-case basis and is made based upon the data we have at the time. In some instances, suspending in-person instruction gives us the time needed to review the situation and do any contact tracing necessary to understand if further action is needed. We put an immense value on in-person instruction and are maximizing it to the full extent possible under the current state guidelines. However, in some instances, when there is a positive COVID-19 case in our schools, the temporary suspension of in-person instruction is necessary in order to keep everyone in our community safe and healthy. Thank you for your understanding and support as we make these difficult decisions.

Finally, with February break approaching we want to reiterate the importance of following the state’s health and safety guidelines. Out of state travel requires quarantine upon return, and multi-household gatherings remain limited to the outdoors with masks and social distancing. I understand that everyone is feeling some level of pandemic fatigue, but please do not let your guard down. Continuing to adhere to these guidelines will allow us to keep up – and maybe even increase – our in-person instruction.

Best,
Tracy

Lamoille South Unified Union Board Brief
February 16, 2021

Racial Equity Alliance of Lamoille (REAL)
Representatives from REAL attended and shared information about their organization.  REAL is a community coalition, open to all who are invested in building a safe, equitable, antiracist community where all can thrive regardless of the color of their skin, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, or any other aspect of identity.  REAL envisions a community that embodies inclusion, equity, and justice as values central to identity and is committed to building a safe community where all people experience dignity and respect, and all are welcome with kindness and belonging.

Their school statement outlines: “We envision a shared school culture across Lamoille County in which the safety, dignity, humanity, and lived experience of every student and family are honored, protected, and celebrated equitably regardless of race, color, ethnicity, or any other aspect of identity.  We recognize and name that the safety, protection, and voices of the youth, families, and community members of Lamoille County are our primary priority and will be centered in all that we do.”

We will continue working hard to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within LSUU and encourage our community to learn more.  Additional information about REAL, including their meeting schedule, can be found here.

Review of Merged District Pros/Cons To Date
In November 2018, the State Board of Education mandated that the Elmore-Morristown Unified (EMUU), Stowe School District (SSD) and Lamoille South Supervisory Union (LSSU) merge and become one governing entity.  On July 1, 2019, EMUU, SSD and LSSU became Lamoille South Unified Union (LSUU).

There is concern among some board and community members that this forced merger has not improved student outcomes and offerings, but has instead detracted from each school’s ability to best serve its students and employees.  One suggestion on how to solve this issue has been the discussion of having town votes to see if the communities want to dissolve LSUU and once again become individual districts.

Board members reflected on influences that affected the newly-formed entity before the first full school year was even complete: COVID-19, remote learning, hybrid learning, health screenings, and more.  Some board members stated they felt they were elected to serve all students who reside in Elmore, Morristown, and Stowe, and that the determination of whether or not the district is working well is up to the individual towns.  Others felt it was too soon to make an accurate decision as to whether or not the district is providing positive outcomes since we haven’t had a full “normal” year to get data from.

Ultimately, the board did not take any action on this topic as we are not in a position to answer the question as to whether we better serve our communities as one LSUU or as individual districts.

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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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