Latest update from the Superintendent

Reopening Letter 7-16-2020 (1).pdf

6/5/2020

Dear Families,

One last reminder that our Parent Survey will close at 3:00 p.m. today. Thank you to all of the parents who have already completed the survey.

As our year comes to a close, we have scheduled celebrations for our sixth graders and graduations for our seniors. Much thought and planning has gone into these events to recognize and honor our students as best we can during this pandemic and while following Governor Scott's and Secretary French's guidelines. I am appreciative of all the work our administrators, teachers and staff members have put into planning these events. I am looking forward to attending all of the ceremonies whether I can attend in person or need to attend virtually.

I have scheduled one last Zoom meeting with all of you on June 11th at 6:30 p.m. Here is the link for the meeting: https://trsu.zoom.us/j/99411173878. I know it's a busy time of year and I hope you will be able to join me. I will give you updates on our work and be in conversation with you about any questions or concerns you might have.

I hope you continue to be in good health and have a good weekend.

Sincerely,

Meg Alison Powden

Superintendent of Schools

6/1/2020

Dear Families,

If you're like me, at the beginning of each decade I have a sense of hope and optimism. So far, in 2020, it's been more challenging for us to maintain positivity about the future. In the midst of this pandemic, we continue to hear about African-Americans being harmed and killed by police officers who take an oath to protect and serve all citizens of our country. The most recent tragedy was the horrific murder of George Floyd.

Given our students' ability to quickly access social media and news outlets, I imagine many of our students have seen the recording of Mr. Floyd's death. Racism is pervasive and systemic throughout our society. It's important for us to talk with our children about race and racism. Today, I was looking for resources to share with you and came across this information from Parent Toolkit. I hope it is helpful to you as you talk with your children.

We are working on a Reentry Plan for this upcoming year. To help us with our planning, please take the time to complete this survey: Parent Survey Regarding the 2020-2021 Academic Year. The survey window will close on June 5th.

It's hard to believe the 2019-2020 academic year is coming to a close. Our last school day for students will be June 15th. The following three days will be used for teacher and staff professional development. There is much for us to think about, plan and prepare for the coming year.

I hope you and yours continue to have good health.

Sincerely,

Meg Alison Powden

Superintendent of Schools

4/24/2020

Dear Families,

What a week! It's great to have our students back and engaged in their online learning programs. As we move forward with the Continuity of Learning phase there is much for us to learn and work on as we continue to adapt to this new learning environment. Our teachers and staff continue to work so very hard during a difficult and stressful time. I am grateful and proud of their effort and willingness to incorporate new teaching strategies within their class and course instruction. Their work is essential for us to deliver an education and provide a food service.

This week, our Director of Curriculum, Michael Eppolito has been working with our elementary teachers and the administration to finalize a Growth Report. This Report will let you know the growth your child(ren) made on the Critical Indicators. Mr. Eppolito has prepared a Letter to introduce you to the format of our Growth Report. As mentioned in the letter, these Reports will be mailed out on May 7th.

On another note, I will be hosting a Zoom meeting on Thursday, April 30th at 6:00 p.m. for you. This will be an opportunity for you to share how this Continuity of Learning phase is working for your family, to ask questions and make comments. The link to the Zoom meeting is: https://trsu.zoom.us/j/95412104397. I hope you will be able to join me. In addition to that meeting we will be sending out a survey on the following day, May 1st, to receive further input from you. Whether you attend the meeting and/or fill out the survey, we'll be grateful for your feedback.

Our School Nurses want to remind you that it's that time of year again, please review this Tick Flyer. Also, we want to continue to stop Covid-19 cases from occurring, I know it's hard and challenging at times, so thank you for doing all you can to keep Vermonters healthy and well.

Sincerely,

Meg Alison Powden

Superintendent of Schools


4/8/2020

Dear Families,

As you know, yesterday afternoon our teachers attended professional development meetings. The afternoon gave teachers an opportunity to share and plan with their colleagues by grade level and department. Teachers had the opportunity to share instructional strategies that are working and plan for the implementation of the continuity of learning for our students. A Continuity of Learning Guide for our educators has been completed and submitted to the Agency of Education (AOE) for their review. Also, we have created a Continuity of Learning Guide for Families to inform you of our work going forward. Please review the guidelines when you have the opportunity and let me know if you have any questions.

Our school nurses want to be sure you're aware of the Updated Covid-19 webpage provided by the Vermont Department of Health (VDH). Governor Scott announced today that he will be extending the Stay Home, Stay Safe order on Friday. All of us are working to diminish and eliminate new cases of Covid-19. According to Governor Scott and Dr. Levine of the VDH, our efforts to Stay Home and Stay Safe are making a significant impact. I know it can be challenging at times to follow this order. It feels good though to know that by doing our best to fulfill this order, we are helping family members, friends and residents throughout our county and state to stay healthy.

I wish for you good health during these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Meg Alison Powden

Superintendent of Schools

3.31.2020

Dear Families,

Right now we're in a maintenance of education period. This means the TRSU educators are working on becoming instructionally and technologically skilled at providing distance learning while providing an ongoing education to our students, to keep their skills and achievement where they were when the schools were closed. In addition to ongoing education, some of our teachers have introduced new learning to our students because in their professional opinion their class(es) of students were ready for the next phase of instruction.

We are currently working on a Continuity of Learning Plan for that second phase of instruction. Our Director of Curriculum, Michael Eppolito has created a draft Plan. Right now it is being vetted by our teachers and administration. We plan on beginning to implement our Continuity of Learning Plan prior to our April vacation.

Just a reminder, we will be on April vacation from April 13th-17th as it is scheduled in our school calendars. All of our employees need to have an opportunity to have a break at that time. However, we will continue to provide food pick-up and delivery during that week throughout the supervisory union.

Since we have established our routines for this maintenance of education period, I am not anticipating the need to continue to provide you with a daily message. Once we get closer to launching our Continuity of Learning Plan, I will begin sending out daily messages again. In the meantime, let me know if there are any topics you would like further information on. I want to be sure we are providing you with the information you need.

Sincerely,

Meg Alison Powden

Superintendent of Schools


3/30/2020

Dear Families,

Recently, I started researching the pandemic of 1918-1919. I'm curious about the lessons learned from that time. Also, I've been wishing that as a young adult I had asked my grandmother how my grandfather and they survived during that time. My mother's oldest brother was born during the 1918 pandemic. This past weekend I asked my mother if my grandmother ever talked about that time and if so, how they survived. My mother said she did speak about the pandemic on occasion. They survived because they stayed on their farm in Castleton and fortunately had all they needed.

Isolation worked for them and that is one of the lessons learned from the 1918 flu pandemic. That is why we need to keep our physical distance during this pandemic. I like the term physical distance better than social distance. It's important for us to stay connected socially while keeping our distance physically.

Just a reminder, our School Counselors and School-based Clinicians have created a TRSU School Counseling webpage with lessons for our students, resources for our families and a listing of our counselors and clinicians for you to contact. This webpage is linked to the TRSU website. Also, this morning, I received the following resource to share for those of you who might be struggling with substance abuse concerns: VTHelpLink. During this Covid-19 pandemic we need to do all we can to care for ourselves and our loved ones.

With our educators offering online learning for our students, many of you have observed our instructional practices in real time. As I've mentioned previously, having to become distance learning educators in a very short period of time is a huge transition for us. If you happen to observe an instructional practice or student behavior that causes you concern, please contact your child's Teacher directly to discuss your concern. If for some reason you aren't able to connect with the Teacher, then contact the Principal of your child's school.

To provide the best learning experiences possible for our students, we need to hear from you, what works for your child(ren) and what doesn't appear to be working. Thank you in advance for keeping the lines of communication open.

Sincerely,

Meg Alison Powden

Superintendent of Schools

3/26/2020

Dear Families,

Just now I was reviewing my notes from the day. Since the beginning of this ordeal, I have taken pages and pages of notes on a daily basis (granted it is a small notebook). However, today I only have two pages of notes and that's indicative of all of our challenging and collaborative work getting to the point of becoming routine. While we are so far away from our typical instructional and delivery of services routine, we are establishing new routines for Ensuring an Ongoing Education and Food Services during this period of Stay Home, Stay Safe.

In regards to providing childcare services, we will be unable to provide those services within our school buildings. However, I am aware of five children of Essential Personnel still in need of care. We will work with you to find care with private providers. I just got off a conference call with my colleagues in the southeast and the Superintendent from the Springfield School District said there is a provider in his district who might be able to provide care. I will be contacting you soon (hopefully tomorrow) to see if that option will work for your family. If there are other Essential Personnel who need care for their children please contact me at meg.powden@trsu.org.

Parents of elementary school children, if you haven't already done so, please complete our TRSU Tech Agreement. We are all set with our middle and high schoolers who have devices. We have many elementary school children who are using our devices without the Agreement being submitted. Please fill out that form as soon as possible. Thank you.

Have a good evening and good health,

Meg Alison Powden

Superintendent of Schools

3/25/2020

Dear Families,

Governor Scott has directed all of us to Stay Safe, Stay Home beginning at 5:00 p.m. today. With this directive, I want to assure you, we will continue to provide our students with an education, social and emotional support, and food. School personnel are considered Essential Persons and we are in the process of issuing letters to our employees who need to access our school buildings. These letters will verify their essential status. Our employees will only be traveling to our schools to instruct our students, pick up educational materials and supplies, for preparation and delivery of food, and for ongoing cleaning and maintenance.

Also, Secretary French informed the Superintendents today to plan on an extended school closure. We are beginning to plan for that extension by creating an Extended Home Learning Guide for our teachers and students. On April 7th we will be holding a professional development afternoon (see school calendar) for our teachers. Please plan accordingly, if your child(ren's) teachers typically provide instruction in the afternoon.

It will be challenging and difficult for all of us to stay home (with the exception of essential purchases). We're used to being on the move, headed to work, seeing extended family and friends, going to the movies, etc. I hope during this time you find ways to enjoy being at home and access any services you need to stay healthy and well.

Sincerely,

Meg Alison Powden

Superintendent of Schools


COVID-19 Letter to Families 3-24-2020.pdf
Covid-19 Letter to Families 3-23-2020.pdf
Covid-19 Letter to Families 3-20-2020.pdf
Covid-19 Letter to Families 3-19-2020.pdf