2015-2016 Back to School Parent/Guardian Letter
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We are pleased that your child(ren) will be among the nearly 4000 students in grades Pre-K-12 who are enrolled in our schools for the 2015-16 school year. Burlington is home to the largest, most diverse school district in the state of Vermont. As such, we offer our students a unique opportunity to learn how to become productive citizens in a truly global society. We have award winning students, state champion athletes, and a highly accomplished faculty and staff, including the current Vermont State Teacher of the Year and the reigning “Vermonter of the Year.”
Students at all grade levels will have much to look forward to as they get ready for opening day.
Click here to read the full letter.
Burlington School District Announcements
2014-2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment Results Released
September 1, 2015
Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe recently announced statewide results for the 2014-15 SBAC. This new, computer-adaptive assessment provides the first test results aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The purpose of the SBAC test is to provide teachers and parents with a more reliable and accurate snapshot of how their kids are performing in English Language Arts and Mathematics as compared to other students in the United States. While no single test provides a complete picture of achievement, annual assessments can provide important information about student progress and areas for improvement, especially when combined with student grades and teacher reports.
The SBAC scores establish a new baseline aligned with the Common Core and should not be compared to previous statewide test scores (NECAP).
Click here to review how the SBAC differs from the NECAP.
Parents may notice that fewer students scored as proficient on the Smarter Balanced test than did on the NECAP tests. The reason for this is that the SBAC is a more challenging test, and the Smarter Balanced Consortium deliberately set a proficiency threshold that it knew many students would not meet.
Click here to review the District results and for more information.
Individual student reports will be sent home soon from the schools. Questions about the results should be directed to your child's school.
Burlington Schools Superintendent Granted Visa
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2015
Chair, Burlington Board of School Commissioners
Burlington Schools Superintendent Granted Visa
Burlington, Vermont — Incoming Superintendent of the Burlington School District Yaw Obeng has been granted an H-1B Visa and is expected to begin work in the District in the next few weeks.
Burlington School Board Chair Mark Porter announced that the sought-after clearance was obtained when a faculty position at the University of Vermont became available that matched Obeng’s credentials.
“We have been working with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service ever since the board selected Yaw to be our next superintendent,” said Porter. “This is great news for the District and for our students.”
Click here to read the full release.
Back-to-School Message from 2015 Vermont Teacher of the Year Rebecca Haslam
August 18, 2015
Where Every Student Has a Voice
By Rebecca Haslam, 2015 Vermont Teacher of the Year
As I prepare to enter my 12th year as a classroom teacher, I am still struck by feelings of newness, excitement, and anticipation. Every August I am reminded that I have the best job in the world. I get to spend my days with young people all eager to learn, grow, create, explore together, and have fun.
I feel reenergized by the challenge of teaching my first grade students to have a growth mindset: to celebrate mistakes as opportunities to learn, to engage in productive struggle, to persevere and take academic risks, to explain their reasoning to peers, learn from each other’s’ strategies, and to recognize that ‘stretching our brains’ is an accomplishment in itself.
Click here to read the full message.
In Memory of Ben Wood-Lewis
August 12, 2015
(Originally posted August 11 to Front Porch Forum by Alan Matson, former BSD Board Chair)
"Having served the Burlington community, I saw first hand the positive energy that Ben Wood-Lewis brought to everyone he touched in the Burlington Schools. Yet Ben's legacy in the schools will go well beyond those he met, learned with, played with, learned from and taught. Ben (and the entire Wood-Lewis family) helped change the way that the Burlington School District approaches accessibility and inclusion in its facilities and in its curriculum. This changed approach has informed not just Champlain and Edmunds, but is also at the core of rethinking the Burlington High School campus. Ben's presence in the Burlington School District will live on through the generations."
North Avenue News - August Superintendent's Column
August 11, 2015
We look forward to welcoming back teachers for Inservice Days on August 20, 21, 24 and 25 and students on the first day of school - August 26. Until then, soak up the remains of summer! Some updates from our summer work:
AREAS OF EQUITY-ORIENTED FOCUS FOR 2015-16
Burlington School Commissioners have held two successful retreats already this summer. District and building administrators presented proposed areas of focus for the coming school year at the first session (link to presentation here.) Commissioners reviewed these proposals at their second session and worked on aligning the goals of their standing committees with the administrative goals.
The list of goals is ambitious and has been designed to capitalize on the positive, forward-looking momentum that gained traction throughout the School District as the 2014-15 school year progressed. Commissioners and school administrators are optimistic and enthusiastic about what can be accomplished in a number of important areas during the year ahead in the District's ongoing pursuit of excellence and equity.
Read the full column here.
Parent Focus Group: The Future of Education in Vermont
August 6, 2015
Shelburne Farms and the Bay and Paul Foundations invite you to a parent focus group on the future of education in Vermont.
Please join us on Wednesday, August 19 from 5:30-7PM at Fletcher Free Library (in the Fletcher Room). Scott Spann from Innate Strategies will lead us through an exploration of what matters most in education to you and your family. Your input is critical and will be integrated with that of students, teachers, and key leaders in Vermont from business, society, and education as we seek to understand the opportunities to create a learning system that supports all students and the health of our communities.
RSVP to Jen Cirillo at Shelburne Farms: (802) 985-0315 or email@example.com. Please indicate if you will need translation services or childcare and for what age child(ren). Refreshments and a snack will be provided.
How Integrating Arts Into Other Subjects Makes Learning Come Alive
August 5, 2015
"Art has long been recognized as an important part of a well-rounded education — but when it comes down to setting budget priorities, the arts rarely rise to the top. Many public schools saw their visual, performing and musical arts programs cut completely during the last recession, despite the many studies showing that exposure to the arts can help with academics too. A few schools are taking the research to heart, weaving the arts into everything they do and finding that the approach not only boosts academic achievement but also promotes creativity, self-confidence and school pride.
The arts integration experiment at Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler (IAA) in Burlington, Vermont, started six years ago as an effort to break up socioeconomic imbalances in the district. Both the elementary schools in Burlington’s North End were failing and both had high levels of poverty (95 percent of IAA students qualified for free and reduced-price lunch), a large refugee population and lots of English-language learners. District leaders began having conversations with community members about turning Wheeler into a magnet school focused on both art and academics."
Click here to read more from this MindShift Blog post.