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2006-2007 News

Burlington school board takes major step forward

June 28, 2007
The Burlington School Board on Tuesday made substantial progress toward the goal of excellence and equity for all Burlington children. In response to community input, the board explicitly defined the goals, challenges, stakeholders, and decision-making criteria for reviewing proposals.Read More

Magnet School Presentations at Curriculum Committee Meeting

June 19, 2007
The curriculum committee of the Burlington School Board will meet from 1-4 p.m. on Monday, June 25th at Wheeler Elementary School, to hear presentations about the three magnet school ideas suggested by Superintendent Collins as part of her proposed methods of achieving excellence for all children and socio-economic balance in the city's elementary schools.Read More

Academic Excellence and Equity Update

June 11, 2007
The Burlington School District has completed its round of hearings and visits with NPAs, PTOs and other community hearings on the topic of Excellence and Equity in the schools.
This week, June 12, the Board will hold its regular monthly meeting at 7 pm at H.O. Wheeler School. Public Comment is on the agenda and residents are welcome to speak to the Board at that time.
Later this month, the Board will hold a retreat to go through the input gathered on the proposals submitted by the Superintendent, and to define the next steps in the process.
We wish to thank everyone who has become involved in this process, giving feedback, creative proposals and suggestions, and helping to frame the discussion.
We invite you to keep watching our website at the link,Excellence and Equity, for updated information.

Informational forum & arts school presentation added to discussion on academic excellence & equity

May 25, 2007
The Burlington School Board announces an additional forum to gather input and continue the discussion on achieving academic excellence and equity in Burlington Schools.

Public discussion opportunities are being held on:

  • Tuesday, May 22, 8:00 AM at Champlain Elementary Learning Center
  • Tuesday, May 29, 7:00 PM at Flynn Elementary Learning Center
  • Tuesday, May 31, 7:00 PM at Edmunds Elementary School
  • Monday, June 4, 8:30 AM at Barnes Elementary Learning Center
  • Monday, June 4, 7:00 PM at Wheeler Elementary Learning Center

There will also be a presentation on the Flynn Theater Arts Magnet proposal for interested parents. This presentation will be held on:

  • Wednesday, May 30, 6:00 PM at Wheeler Elementary

Comments and input may be provided by emailing school commissioners at their email listed on the School Board section of the school website (see School Board or Contacts button at left).
Additional input may be provided through email to superintendent@bsdvt.org or through letters sent to Superintendent, Burlington School District, 150 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401.
For further information, call 802.865.5332 or visit the Excellence and Equity Home Page.

Update on process for Excellence and Equity in Burlington Schools

May 21, 2007
by Jeanne Collins, Superintendent, and Thomas Fluery, School Board Chair

Jointly, we, as Superintendent and Board Chair, would like to outline next steps in the process for consideration of the Equity and Excellence Report presented by Superintendent Jeanne Collins to the board at its meeting on May 8, 2007.

We would both like to share our appreciation for the responses to the proposals put forth on May 8. It is important to note that the four proposals were a starting point and are very much open to review, revision, refinement, and replacement. The maps were intended to be conceptual and no action is planned on the current maps provided for background information. No vote has been scheduled on these proposals or the next phase in the process, and no action is planned to implement any part of the proposals at this time.

The board plans to move slowly and thoughtfully, after giving opportunity for the next several weeks for as many responses and ideas and suggestions as possible to come from the community. The board intends that this process be open, clear, fair and thorough. Through the public hearings over the next few weeks, the board and superintendent plan to listen and be responsive and respectful of the divergent ideas we're continuing to hear.

Opportunities to hear about the magnet options are being scheduled, with the first one being tonight, May 21 at 6:30 PM at Wheeler School. This session will focus on Sustainable Schools as a magnet or a strand within a school. A session describing the Arts Magnet is scheduled for 6 pm May 30 at Wheeler Elementary School.

Excellence and Equity Update Notice

May 15, 2007
Thank you to everyone who has communicated with the superintendent and the Board regarding their suggestions and reactions for excellence and equity in our schools. The conversation is very rich and diverse and appreciated.

As a result of listening, we are continuing to evolve these ideas and proposals. The maps have been updated with criteria information on how they were created, the current boundaries and other proposed maps as an option as well. Other ideas are still being processed.

A new hearing date has been added by the Board for Ward 1, at 7 pm on May 31, location to be announced (in Ward 1).

Watch for more information on the arts magnet proposal. The final copy will be posted later this week.

Keep watching this web page for new information, as the process and discussions evolve. Again, thank you to the Burlington community for participating in these discussions.

Proposals Presented at Board Meeting

May 9, 2007
Superintendent Jeanne Collins presented 4 proposals related to Excellence and Equity to the School Board at their regular meeting on May 8.
Find more information at the Excellence and Equity Home Page.

Teacher Appreciation Week

May 7-11 is Teacher Appreciation Week. Burlington School District would like to share its appreciation for ALL teachers of our students, including parents and all staff who work in our schools.
Thank you!

Public forums slated to discuss proposals for academic excellence & equity

May 6, 2007
The Burlington School Board announces three hearings to gather further public input on proposals to achieve academic excellence and equity in Burlington Schools. These proposals will be presented to the school board by Superintendent Jeanne Collins at its regularly scheduled board meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8. The meeting will be held in the Burlington High School cafeteria.
Public hearings will be held on:

  • Tuesday, May 22, 8:00 AM at Champlain Elementary, Learning Center, 800 Pine Street.
  • Tuesday, May 29, 7:00 PM at Flynn Elementary Learning Center, 1654 North Avenue.
  • Monday, June 4, 7:00 PM at Wheeler Elementary Learning Center, 6 Archibald Street.

Additional input may be provided through email to superintendent@bsdvt.org or through letters sent to Superintendent, Burlington School District, 150 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401.
For further information, call 802.865.5332 or visit the Excellence and Equity Home Page.

School End-of-Year Information

Updated May 6, 2007
The student year will extend by one day, with the last day of school now June 14.
Read More

Superintendent's Update on Equity Proposals for Schools

April 20, 2007
As many of you are aware, the timeline for the Equity Proposals for the Burlington Schools was scheduled to come back to the School Board this month. I want to update the council on the process and the timeline with this memo.
As the community conversations ended in the fall, the district collected over 1000 comments from Burlington parents and residents. The Board reviewed these comments and held a retreat in late November to discuss the priorities of the individual Board members in moving proposals forward. The Board then agreed to a plan that authorized the superintendent to develop no fewer than three proposals to bring back for Board discussion in March or April.
In January, I convened a working group of Burlington parents, educators, city representatives and other interested residents to look at the proposals that had come in, identify key pieces that appealed to many, and then to create an entirely new batch of proposals that might meet the needs of both academic equity and educational excellence for the Burlington community.
Following that work group, I have been working with district personnel to test the viability of the options in front of us. This has been a slow process, with much detail needing to be accessed.
In March, I asked the School Board for an additional month, with a goal of bringing proposals forward at the May School Board meeting. At this time, that remains the planned timeline.
I have suggested to the Board that when proposals are brought forward to the May meeting, the Board might consider launching another public input process, with detailed and costed out proposals, in order to get as much community feedback as possible. We will discuss this option at the next Curriculum meeting of the Board.

No changes are planned for the Fall of 2007 that relate to these proposals. With appreciation to the voters of Burlington, our budget has been approved for next school year and we have the time needed to determine the best approach for our schools for the year after next.

Superintendent Message on School Safety
April 18, 2007

Burlington schools wishes to send its condolences and concern to the students, faculty and families of Virginia Tech University following this week's tragedy. With every sad and tragic incident that occurs on school grounds, as a district, we stop and review our district safety plans, working with local police and fire departments to ensure we are making our school community as safe as we can. As recently as last week, Burlington schools experienced a modified lockdown of Hunt Middle School and C P Smith School due to a situation that was occurring in the nearby community. This morning, our district safety team met with Burlington Police and agreed to update parents on our procedures should an incident occur in Burlington schools.
Read More

Summer School Information

April 17, 2007
Elementary Summer School starts June 25.
For more details and contact information, Read More

Diversity Initiatives in the Burlington School District

April 17, 2007
The Burlington School District has made significant strides in dealing with racism and diversity over the past three years, through internal changes as well as participation with the community Study Circles on Racism. This is an update of the work that's been accomplished, a vision of how that work will continue and an invitation to continue the rich community dialogue that has helped foster change.Read More

Burlington School District announces process to continue work on achieving equity and excellence in all schools

Updated, April 5, 2007
The Superintendent will present proposals to the Board at the May 8 Board Meeting.

  • January: An advisory group will generate ideas during 2-3 meetings. This group will be comprised of a diverse cross section of parents, educators, community leaders, school administrators and School Board members.
  • February: The administration will develop those ideas and their own, as well as previous input, into proposals.
  • March - April: The cost of those proposals will be reviewed.
  • Proposals will be brought to the School Board at their May 8 meeting.
  • Further public input is envisioned following this period.

Kindergarten Registration and Dovetail Registration Information

April 2, 2007
Kindergarten registration for fall, 2007 is now in progress.
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Wood Chip Plant opens at BHS

March 7, 2007
The Burlington High School wood chip plant has begun operating, with a projected savings of $3.4 million over 30 years. The $2.2 million wood chip plant was built behind the high school starting last summer.
Read More

Diversity Series

March 7, 2007
The Burlington School District for the first time is going to embark on a series of Multicultural topics. The series is open to any Burlington School District employee that is interested in expanding their thoughts and knowledge around Multiculturalism. There will be a different topic for each month.
The first meeting will be Thursday, March 22, from 3:30 to 5:00 PM at Ira Allen.
Information Flyer

Tours of Burlington schools scheduled in February
Will highlight preventive maintenance backlog and needs

February 20, 2007
The Burlington School District is hosting tours of its schools to highlight the preventive maintenance backlog and needs. Among the items in the budget that voters will consider is the restoration of a percentage of funding designed to provide minimal support for preventive maintenance. The District budget has not met that percentage in the past few years.
District Facilities Director Chris Giard is leading the tours.

The schedule of tours is:
  • Tuesday, Feb. 20: 5 p.m., the Edmunds Complex (both elementary and middle school).
  • Monday, Feb. 26: 5 p.m., Barnes Elementary School; 5:45 p.m., Wheeler Elementary School.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27: 5 p.m., Flynn Elementary School; 6 p.m., Smith Elementary School.
  • Wednesday, Feb 28: 5 p.m., Hunt Middle School; 6 p.m., Burlington High School

Snow Emergency Message to Parents from Superintendent Collins

February 16, 2007

Dear parents,
The Burlington Schools are open today (Feb. 16) except programs at Taft building (Horizons and On Top) and Essential Early Education.

It was our understanding that the sidewalks around the schools were passable. I find now that this is not so. If any parent feels they cannot bring their children due to unsafe travel, please call the school and let them know and keep your children at home.

We apologize and will attempt to resolve this for future communications.

Legislative Reception

February 5, 2007
On January 29, 2007 the Burlington Board of School Commissioners hosted a reception for Chittenden County legislators at Champlain Elementary School. This well-attended reception gave the Board an opportunity to discuss areas of mutual concern affecting education in Burlington, such as the cost of mandates and other cost shifts, the impact of the ESL population in Burlington, Burlington's collaboration with 19 early education centers in the area and school safety. We would like to thank the legislators who braved the cold for the reception and invite any legislator to visit the schools to see our excellent programs.

Dovetail Registration

January 12, 2007
A meeting to learn about Dovetail, Burlington School District's non-graded primary for city students ages 5-8 will be held at 6 PM, Wednesday, Jan. 24 in the library of Edmunds Elementary School, 299 Main St. This K-1 Multi age classroom which transitions into a second grade is open to all Burlington students and accepts 20 5 year old students each year. The application deadline for fall 2008 closes Feb. 16. See the Edmunds Elementary School web page for details or download the form.

Department of Education Plans Meeting at BHS, Jan. 30, 7 PM

January 12, 2007
The Vermont Department of Education will hold a meeting at Burlington High School on Jan. 30 at 7 PM to discuss Commissioner Cate's White Paper entitled "The Governance of Education in Vermont: 1777 to 2006". This paper outlines the history of Vermont's education governance structure and addresses several concerns about education in Vermont, including the cost and quality of education, stagnant student enrollment and a short supply of school leader candidates. In addition, it outlines one model for redesigning education governance in the state.
The BHS meeting will be one of 30 state meetings and is open to any interested parties. The meeting will be hosted by Department of Education staff and facilitators.
For more information, visit the department's Education Governance Web page. This site also links to the commissioner's white paper, a two-page primer on Vermont's education governance system, the scheduled meetings and other related resources.

Budget News

January 10, 2007
The Burlington School Board approved a budget of $41,574,566 on Jan 10. This budget amount includes an increase of 55 equalized pupils which will bring in significant revenue, along with an anticipated increase in state funding to offset the increased expenditures. The budget includes funding to maintain the programs currently in place along with assuring funding to continue for after school programs, adding English as a Second Language teachers to serve our increased student ESL population, after school programs, preventive maintenance, curriculum supplies for a new math program, and other minor tweaks.
Further information is provided on our web site,
2007-2008 Budget Information Link
which will be updated with financial information as it becomes available. The Superintendent and finance chair will visit every NPA to discuss the budget and answer questions. For questions or comment, email superintendent@bsdvt.org

Building Burlington's Future- next steps

December 21, 2006
The Board has completed their list of guidelines, hopes and concerns for the development of proposals for demographically balanced elementary schools, now coined equity and excellence. The administration is in the process of setting up a work group of creative people, comprised of parents, educators, administrators, and city representatives to spend some time looking at proposals and identifying creative ideas to be considered by the administration in the development of proposals. This working group will start in January. Upon the completion of their work, the administration will look at the viability of the ideas and craft more than one proposal for further input. These proposals will be costed out and shared with the Board in March or April. The intention is these costed out proposals would be available for public input this spring, before a decision is made. Any changes are anticipated to take effect in the fall of 2008.

Report summarizes Responses to Building Burlington's Future

November 3, 2006
The Burlington School Board released an electronic summary of responses to Building Burlington's Future, a report advocating socioeconomic integration in city schools, on Friday afternoon, November 3rd. The report and all of the appendices are available on the response web page or from theBuilding Burlington's Future web site.
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Champlain Elementary School gets Red Sox Visit

It took 35,687 dirty and smelly tops from Hood milk products for Champlain Elementary School to win a New England-wide competition that will bring the Boston Red Sox to the school in Spring 2007. The school PTO elected to participate in the program this past spring to raise funds for the school. Each cap collected and submitted was worth 5 cents. The school generated $1700.
The school in the region that redeemed the highest percentage of caps per student was eligible to win a Red Sox visit. School Coordinator and physical education teacher Tammy Charbonneau didn't think they had a shot among the hundreds of other schools competiting. After all, compared to schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut, Champlain is small with about 300 students.
But the PTO, students and the community they reached responded. "We teach about teamwork and community involvement," Charbonneau said. "We were able to say how that teamwork and community involvement paid off when we announced that we had won the Red Sox visit." To find out more about the program, visit HP Hood.

Resignation of Grants Director, Betsy Liley

December 21, 2006
Betsy Liley will leave her role as the Burlington School District's grants and special projects director in mid-January. Betsy leaves us for a position as the University Foundations Director at Purdue University, her alma mater, located in West Lafayette, IN.
Betsy joined the Burlington schools in October 1999. During that time, she has overseen the growth of non-property tax funds from $6 million to about $14 million. In that period, the District has seen significant change in its programs and operations, fueled, in part, by the grant funds. Among the grants Betsy brought into the district are: PASS, a five year $5.6 million grant that supports climate change; Carol M White physical education grant; mentoring; Burlington After School; School Based Health Centers at Barnes and Wheeler; a Dental Clinic at HO Wheeler, and others. Betsy's oversight of two programs helped lead to national recognition for the District: a truancy prevention program named by United Way as a best practice, and an indoor air quality program that was one of 12 district programs recognized by the EPA in 2004.
Please join me in thanking Betsy for all she has done for the students and families in our district and to wish her well in her new position.

Edmunds Middle School Students Show off Culinary Creations at Annual Community Harvest Dinner

November 3, 2006
Edmunds Middle School students prepared dinner for friends, family, and the Burlington community at this year's Community Harvest Dinner on Thursday, October 26, 2006, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Family and Consumer Science teacher Ginger Farineau's seventh and eight graders prepared and served dinner to showcase the cooking skills they have developed in class. This year, sixth graders participated in the event as well, demonstrating how to make healthy after-school snacks using local Vermont products. UVM students from Professor Richard Schramm's service-learning based class "Going Local" partnered with Abbie Nelson of Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day) and Farineau to teach the sixth grade classes how to make four nutritious recipes utilizing locally grown and produced ingredients.
For more information, contact Abbie Nelson at 434-4122.

C.P. Smith Teacher Wins National Award

Lee Orlando won the Milken Family Foundation National Educator 2006 award. The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program provides public recognition and financial rewards to elementary and secondary schoolteachers, principals and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education. By honoring outstanding educators, the program strives to attract, develop, motivate and retain talented people to the challenge and adventure of teaching.

Burlington School Board, Education Association Release Terms of Three-year Contract

Sept. 18, 2006
The Burlington teachercontract has been ratified.The Burlington Education Association overwhelmingly ratified the contract on Friday, September 15 in the afternoon; the School Board unanimously ratified the agreement on Monday evening, September 18. The contract changes little from the existing contract other than salaries and contribution to health care. The three-year contract includes salary increases based on an estimated cost of 4.25% per year over three years using the 2006 staffing estimate. This estimate is subject to some degree of change based upon actual staffing patterns, such as number of teachers, years of experience and academic credit but will not change substantially.
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Construction Projects Update

September 24, 2006
Burlington High School's new ADA accessible campus is unveiled. The elevator is in place and working, the offices moved and other ADA accessible changes have been completed. Hunt Middle School's heating system is in place and the clean up for the project has begun. Wheeler is in the process of installing a new boiler system, as the aged one in place failed during the summer. As given the age of our facilities, Barnes has been identified as having lead in the paint that is peeling outside and it is scheduled for a cleanup and paint job immediately, to be completed within a month. The woodchip project is well underway and anticipated to be completed mid-winter and on line for the latter part of winter. As an added benefit to this project, the access road to the side of the Technical Center has been upgraded to allow the heavy trucks delivering woodchips through. The largest project of the BHS Athletic Field continues to progress, with the field being laid now, and the track in progress. We still anticipate completing this project by late fall, weather permitting.
It is now time to start looking ahead to next year's capital projects. Stay tuned for more information and updates.

Elementary Summer School Programs

Two academic summer school programs involved more than 250 city-wide elementary students in four weeks of programming this summer at Flynn Elementary School.
One program focused on helping 125 students in Grades K-5 maintain their academic knowledge in literacy and math so they can hit the ground running when school resumes in August. This program, funded through Title 1 and other grant funds, also helped build up skills in areas that students did not achieve standards last school year.
Read More

Burlington School Board, Education Association settle contract;
Terms and conditions to be released after ratification

Sept. 13, 2006
The Burlington School Board and the Burlington Education Association agreed on the terms of a new contract at 11:48 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12. The terms of the contract will not be shared publicly until both the Board and the members of the Burlington Education Association ratify the terms. The BEA plans to meet with its teachers at 3:45 p.m. Thursday; the Board plans to meet later that day. The negotiating teams for the Board and Burlington Education Association both said that they will strongly recommend to their constituencies that they should adopt the tentative agreement.
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Highly Qualified Teachers in the Burlington Schools

The Vermont Department of Education has released information about Vermont's highly qualified teachers from the 2004-05 school year. The information is being released under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Each school and school district must share the percentage of core area classes that were taught by teachers who were not highly qualified under this Act and the percentage of teachers teaching under emergency licenses. Highly Qualified Teacher designation is one that goes beyond teacher certification under No Child Left Behind and combines training with teacher assignment.
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Burlington Schools Negotiations Update

Aug. 30, 2006
by Terry Buehner, BEA president and Paul Hale, Board Chair
The Burlington School District does not yet have a new teachers' contract. As of late August, the Burlington School Board and the Burlington Education Association were awaiting a report from a fact-finder who was involved in helping the two sides reach agreement. Once that fact finder's report arrives, we are on a 30 day timeline before any action other than settlement can occur.
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Construction Projects Update

August 25, 2006
Construction projects have moved along well this summer! As of our return to school, faculty, staff and students will find a new elevator and better handicap access at BHS. A new heating duct system will be in place at Hunt Middle School, and at Wheeler School, due to a boiler failure this summer. The BHS Athletic Field is moving along well, despite delays with permitting at the beginning. We anticipate this project to be completed by late fall. The Woodchip project has begun and is anticipated to be on line by mid-winter. Stay tuned for more updates on these projects.

After School Programs

August 2006
The city and the school district are working on a collaboration of after school programs that are run by both parties and exist side by side in the schools. If City Kids is run by the schools, parents and children will see no change in hours, cost or staff. The advantage, as seen by the district, is the evolution of one management overseeing both programs that can allow for an evolution that includes seamless registration and transition between the two programs for students and families. With the city, we are creating an advisory committee of parents, partnership agencies and others to look at these programs and identify any gaps for students and parents that may exist. For more information, please contact the Superintendent's Office at 865-5332 or the Mayor's Office at 865.7272. See the web site for more information on the Burlington School District After School Program.

Construction Projects Update

August 2006
Several capital projects are underway in the schools this summer. The athletics field is moving along well, despite some occasional surprises such as ledge and piping where we wish to dig. Our delayed start due to permit approval means the project is slated to be completed late fall. The high school access for people with disabilities is nearly completed, with a new elevator, a relocated lift, and some other minor changes being done. Hunt Middle School will see an updated piping system for heat in place this winter. Wheeler School will need new boilers this winter and that project is just getting underway. Blasting is expected to begin on the woodchip furnace at BHS this week! Stay tuned for more updates on these projects.

June 2 Declared Edmunds Middle School Navigator Day

July 2006
Mayor Bob Kiss visited Edmunds Middle School and declared June 2 Edmunds Middle School Navigator Day to recognize the school team for its community service. The team had been recognized earlier this year with a community service award.
The team teachers are: Brent Truchon, Ann Park, Melinda Anderman, Jim Monahan and Amy Durfee. The volunteer service has been coordinated by Dov Stucker, the school's outreach coordinator.

Nationally recognized educator Grant Wiggins leads Burlington School District's teachers professional development

July 2006
Nationally recognized educator and trainer Grant Wiggins spent three days in June working with Burlington's teachers to improve instruction for all students.  Wiggins' work in Burlington was funded by the PASS grant, which is a four-year grant from the U.S. Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services.
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