November 3, 2023
Dear BSD Community,
Through the past few weeks, we have experienced great pain in BSD and the world. Below you will find a few updates on some of these issues, as well as a number of other important updates from work happening around our District. Before we get there though, in these hard times, when it seems that the pain just doesn’t end, I find it helpful to remember all the good that goes on around us as well. Hopefully, you will find some resolve in the good news below as well.
First, I loved seeing this update from EMS about Dani and Melany who crushed it on the Speed Demon EV challenge! They had to build an Electric Vehicle in 10 days. To do this, they 3D printed the wheels, laser cut the chassis, installed axles with bearings, and wired a motor, two LED lights, and a switch. This is a great story of teaming between our EL teachers and Eric Schoembs, our Design Tech Teacher, that has resulted in a series of hands-on learning wins for these two students… great work team and kudos Dani and Melany!
Next, I hope you will join me in congratulating Brooks Deshaw on breaking the BHS Girls Soccer all-time scoring goal! On Friday, October 27, Brooks Deshaw scored two first-half goals (56 & 57) in a quarterfinal playoff matchup with Burr & Burton Academy to surpass the all-time district record for most career goals scored, regardless of gender. The previous record was held for 36 years by Shawntel Couture Burke (Class of 1988), who scored her 56th goal back in 1987. Brooks popped in one more during the semifinal round to finish her Seahorse career at 58. Congratulations, Brooks!
And last but not least, we celebrated big news last week! 5th Grade Teacher Aziza Malik from Champlain Elementary has been named Vermont’s 2024 Teacher of the Year! Aziza was recognized for her work to build partnerships and her focus on place-based learning that has revitalized Champlain’s campus and filled students with excitement for learning! Interim Education Secretary Heather Bouchey joined last month to announce the award in front of family, students, and staff. We are so lucky to have Aziza as part of our team. Congratulations again Aziza!
Again, I share these not as a way to ignore the serious issues happening in our and around our community, but to balance these difficult times with the good around us and remind us (and I hope help) to ground ourselves with moments of joy and positivity where possible. Thanks for reading, please reach out if you need anything.
BHS Student – This week I delivered tragic news about one of our students involved in a heartbreaking incident. I am aware that there was a statement given during public court proceedings that was picked up by local news outlets that said a student who has been charged with a very serious crime could return to school. I want you to know that we take student safety very seriously and we have been working closely with mental health providers and the family to ensure the student and our entire educational community is safe. Part of this work is to ensure the student is receiving the appropriate educational services and care, which we cannot offer safely at their former school at this time. With that in mind, we will continue to work closely with this student and family to ensure that we can continue to offer alternative educational services in the safest way possible.
BHS Leadership – At this time BHS Principal Deb Beaupre remains on paid administrative leave and we do not yet have a timeline for when we will know more. I want to thank Assistant Principal Sabrina Westdijk for stepping into the role of Acting Principal during this time. Principal Westdijk and the leadership team at BHS have already shown great strength and leadership through a difficult time and I am confident in their abilities to move our school forward. I will keep you as updated as I can as we move through this.
VTCAP Score Reports to Families – Score reports from last year’s Vermont Comprehensive Assessment Program (CTCAP) testing will be shared with families in conjunction with the report cards, meaning our distribution window for all grade levels will be between approximately Nov. 8 and Nov. 21. Keep your eyes peeled.
Championship Game Sunday! Congratulations to BHS Boys Volleyball for advancing to a 3rd consecutive championship round. The top-seeded Seahorses will host #2 South Burlington on Sunday, November 3 at 3pm at St. Michael’s College. BHS will look to dispatch its 3rd different opponent in 3 years to complete a three-peat. The game will be streamed live on NFHS Network (subscription site) for those unable to attend. Tickets are available in advance at gofan.co or at the door day of – $10/adults, $5/students and senior citizens. Seahorse Pride will once again sponsor tickets for students who show their student ID at the gate.
Breaking Bread & Building Bridges – Black Parent Advisory Group – The Office of Equity is hosting a dinner, presentation, and discussion with Black Parents on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at Contois Auditorium from 5:30-7:00 pm. Interested in attending? Please RSVP!
Next Equity Community Workshop Wednesday, November 15, 6-7:30 pm – Join us via Google Meet for Dismantling White Supremacy Culture in Schools. This virtual equity workshop will focus on learning about the characteristics of White Supremacy Culture and examining how they show up in ourselves, in our schools, and in our communities. We will hear from student panelists from the Racial Justice Academy and learn more about youth activism at BSD and how students are working towards antidotes and solutions.
Demo EnviroVantage continues to abate the soils and buildings further up the hill including excavation of contaminated soils around the perimeter of buildings E and F. They are also working on interior abatement of buildings E and F, and demo of building G superstructure is scheduled to begin this week.
Site Work Whiting-Turner (WT) continues to work on-site preparation and ledge blasting including the layout and installation of stormwater utilities, leveling the site and doing rehabilitation of the temporary stormwater retention area. This is all laying the groundwork for the foundations to be laid in a few months, so while it might not look like much from the outside of the fence, the work currently being done on the site is crucial to getting us to the more exciting parts of the project.
Value Management WT and the design team continue to evaluate additional value management (VM) changes and will bring these to the district for approval once pricing is obtained. We anticipate another round of recommended VM changes will be presented to the district for approval the week of 11/13.
Facilities Update –
Rock Point The Rock Point project is going well, we have applied for a Planning and Zoning Permit for the project, we had some exploratory holes dug to make sure we won’t hit ledge for the footings, completed the hazardous building materials inventor, and the lease is in the final review stage and the interior demo will start soon.
Track We have had two additional companies respond to the RFP for the new HS track and Field project and are working with Gale Engineering to put the project out to bid this month.
EMS HVAC The HVAC project in the Edmunds Middle School D building has received approval from the AOE and we will be ordering the equipment for the project soon!
HMS The Hunt auditorium seating project should start the installation phase this month.
Stormwater We are in the process of applying for the Green Schools Stormwater Grants and have much of the design work completed.
Windows in Schools We have ordered a few different designs of 4-inch room numbers that the Safety Committee will review so we can start the process of labeling our room windows and doors. This project is to help first responders identify rooms when approaching the schools in an emergency. We are also working with Gordon’s Window Decor to apply for a grant for Secure Shades for our buildings, a product is designed to automatically lower the shades during a lockdown.
HHB Workshop – Last month, the Office of Equity held its second Community Equity Workshop of the year. Students did an awesome job participating in the workshop which was focused on BSD’s work around Bullying, Hazing, and Harassment. You can watch the recording on our YouTube page.
BHS and Afterschool! BHS high school students are earning volunteer hours by volunteering at our elementary afterschool programs! This is being piloted at Sustainability Academy and truly a bright spot to see students of all ages connecting and sharing their passions in afterschool. In addition, J.J. Flynn’s afterschool program is again partnering again with UVM to run the Birding to Change the World programming. Students meet with their mentors each week to engage in birding expeditions and arts projects – culminating in an end-of-semester art show at Derway Natural Area featuring arts from all students involved.
Rain Garden News Event – We recently held a press event with our partners from Champlain College to recognize the opening C.P. Smith’s new Rain Garden. Smith parent and Champlain College professor Robin Collins worked tirelessly last year with fourth grade (current 5th grade) students and teachers Kim Brockway (now academic coach at SA), Sean Palmer, and Dominique Briar to develop an authentic and engaging unit of study by which students studied the challenge of managing the runoff from our parking lot and helped develop the plan for this beautiful addition to our school campus. Members of the local news media were on hand to get the scoop about the rain garden which serves to capture runoff from our parking lot and filter pollutants before the water seeps into the water table. NBC 5 was in attendance to help tell the story!
Winter Athletics – Winter sports registration is open! Head to burlingtonathletics.com and hit the Registration tab. Middle School tryouts for basketball will be held from November 13-17 with times to be posted on team pages. A Winter Sports player/parent meeting will now be held on Monday, November 6 at 3:15pm for Hunt Middle School, and on Tuesday, November 7 at 3:15pm for Edmunds Middle School in the gymnasiums. High School tryouts/practices for all sports will begin on November 27.
Congrats on a Great Season! Congratulations to BHS Girls Volleyball as they advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in program history with an upset win at #6 Hartford High School on Tuesday, October 24, 2023. Congratulations as well to the BHS Girls Soccer and Boys Soccer for advancing to the semifinal round; it was the girls’ first semifinal berth since 2014