2008-2009 News Archive
Helping Out In the Community
December 1, 2009
In addition to academics and participation in the arts and sports, our students undertake community service as part of their learning. Our kids are doing many amazing things. Our students have partnered with COTS, the Ronald McDonald House, the Salvation Army, and the Food Shelf to help our neighbors in need. From collecting thousands of pounds of food, to cooking meals and hosting coat drives, it's clear to see how much our kids really care.
Veteran Teacher Separation Option
December 1, 2009
We convened a Citizens' Budget Advisory Group in the spring, worked with school principals over the summer and reached out to teachers in September to help identify cost savings. One cost savings idea that we put into place is a Separation Option for teachers over 55 who have taught for at least 20 years. This plan offers teachers who are ready to leave the district an option to receive 20% of their pay in return for 20 days of service for the next three years. It will allow us to retain the expertise of the senior experienced teachers who exercise the option and help offset future substitute and professional development expenses. We expect that it will save us at least $200,000 annually.
Budget Update From Superintendent Collins
November 17, 2009
As fall moves in and the days get shorter, work on the Burlington schools budget for next year intensifies. Over the summer, I spent time with administrators gathering suggestions about how we can operate more efficiently so we can find ways to stem the rise in the school's budget. In September, I asked all teachers to participate in facilitated sessions at their schools to gather the wisdom of the people in the classrooms on how we might do things differently. Last month, I asked the Citizen's Budget Advisory Committee to review all of this work, as well as their own, and help draft recommendations for moving forward with a fiscally responsible budget for the schools. I will present the Citizen's Committee report, which is more of a multi-year map, to the Board on Dec. 1 at the Finance Committee along with different scenarios for next year's budget. The full Board will review this work on Dec. 8 and will hold public forums for comment on Dec. 15 and Jan 5. There will be one final opportunity to weigh in on next year's budget before it is final on Jan. 12 at the Board meeting. That is the night the Board must determine the budget that goes to the voters in March.
Diversity Update From Superintendent Collins
November 17, 2009
The Board and administration have participated in many meetings focusing on increasing the diversity of the Burlington faculty and staff in recent weeks. The Board did pass a Commitment to Diversity policy last March and the administration has been working on a strategic plan to progress better than we have in recent years. An active parent group has offered quite a bit of support and expertise, helping the district look at different ways of recruiting as well as how our hiring practices can be changed to increase success. This is an important issue to every Burlington family. Our children are growing up in a global world. Vermont has little diversity (and we are fortunate that much of that diversity is in our city and schools!). Every graduate needs to feel comfortable and competent with a very diverse population as they enter a workforce that is global and diverse. We hope that you are able to attend some of our Cultural Diversity Series events.
H1N1 Flu Vaccine Clinics
We have had several vaccine clinics in our schools. These clinics are run by the Vermont Department of Health and we are happy to host them. They are optional for our students, but consent forms must be completed in advance, as we must order the anticipated number needed. Thus, drop ins are not allowed at these clinics. VDH is, however, offering open public clinics. For information from the Vermont Department of Health about public clinics, click here.
Jeanne Collins joins Other National Leaders in Education for Sustainability
November 11, 2009
Jeanne Collins, Superintendent of Schools participated in a webinar, an online seminar, around education for sustainability (EFS). Read More
Go to the following link to listen to a recording of the 90 minute event:
Cultural Diversity Series
October 14, 2009
Madhu Neupone, Burlington School District Home Liaison explored the historical and cultural background, education, and other experiences of the Bhutanese experience in Burlington. This event kicked off our 2009-2010 cultural diversity series in partnership with the Fletcher Free Library.
Special Athlete Helps BHS Team
BHS cross-country athlete Harrison Boutcher's impact on the team is described in the Burlington Free Press. Read the story
New Project Highlights How People are Preparing for the Coming Heating Season - and Our Energy Future
How are you preparing for the coming heating season? Have higher gas prices changed how you get to work? Burlington School District is a partner in a new video project that's exploring how the recession and fluctuating fuel prices are changing how we heat our homes, get to work and plan for our energy future. Visit the Champlain Initiative's Changing Face of Chittenden County website to share your opinion, see what others think, and learn how you can take action at home, work and in your community.
Our students are busy with their studies! This month, students throughout the district will take the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) exams in reading, writing and math. Since 2005, Vermont students have taken the NECAP tests, developed in collaboration with the Rhode Island and New Hampshire departments of education, annually. The NECAP tests measure students? academic knowledge and skills relative to the Grade Expectations for Vermont's Framework of Standards. Reading and math are assessed in grades 3-8 and 11, writing is assessed in grades 5, 8 and 11. As we review individual student growth and progress from year to year, we are able to more accurately understand our student's learning needs and our instructional practices.
Walk To School
Wednesday, October 7th was International Walk to School Day. Despite the rain, families walked throughout Burlington and had a great time. Many of our schools have partnerships with Local Motion and Safe Routes to Schools to encourage students to walk, bike, scooter and skate to school. Through these initiatives, we've organized "walking school busses" and worked to increase pedestrian safety to promote the health of our students and our environment.Read More
Help Kids Get More Sleep
Recent research suggests that children and teens are getting an hour less sleep a night than they need! Studies have shown that a good night's sleep is essential for students to succeed in school - and has dramatic effects on their learning, cognition, and comprehension. Please help the students in your life develop good sleep habits.
Our goal is to develop a budget that provides high quality education for all of our students while being cost-effective and sensitive to the tough economic times faced by many Burlington residents. We also recognize that the work we do in our schools, and the success of our students, is linked to the economic vitality of our city. Throughout the month of October, Superintendent Collins will consolidate the recommendations from the citizens' Budget Advisory Task Force, teachers and administrators to identify cost-saving opportunities. Budget recommendations will be presented to the Board Finance Committee in November.
New School Board Commissioners
Welcome to Nathan Moreau of Ward 7 and Meredith King of Ward 2 as new commissioners to our school board.
Magnet School Celebration
Thanks to everyone who joined us to celebrate the opening of our new schools. It was an incredible day. Vermont Education Commissioner Vilaseca proclaimed our new schools a "model for Vermont."
College Scholarship Aimed At Magnet Students
Champlain College President David Finney announced a new Champlain college scholarship, created in honor of Bobby and Holly Miller and Lois McClure, for students of our magnet schools.Read More
Diversity Workforce Hiring Initiative
For the past year, the Board has focused its work on diversifying the Burlington Schools workforce, for the benefit of all Burlington children. The Board and administration has held community forums in the fall of 2008, leading to passing a Commitment to Diversity policy statement in March 2009. Excellence and Equity Page
The Board and administration have been strengthened by the addition of parent advocates who understand and support the importance of this initiative. The administration is presenting an updated strategic plan on Diversity Workforce Recruitment at the Board's Policy Advocacy meeting on September 15, 2009. Diversity Workforce Stategic Plan (pdf format)
This summer, we undertook maintenance and upkeep projects in several of our school buildings. We thank you, the voters, for your support of these critical safety and health repairs. Watch the RETN Webcast of Commissioner's Corner to find out more.
Elevator At Edmunds Middle School
September 10, 2009
To make it possible for kids, parents and students with limited mobility to access Edmunds Middle School, a project to install an elevator is underway. The target completion for this project is the 2010-2011 school year. Watch the WCAX.com video
Read the Burlington Free Press Story
Students Help Out In The Community
Our students helped out in the community nearly every school day. Students volunteered thousands of hours throughout Burlington to help make our city a better place to live. Cleaning up neighborhoods, organizing benefit concerts, creating books for pre-schoolers and crafting with senior citizens are just a few of the projects completed this year. Read More
Our teachers and administrators participate in ongoing professional development.. Last week, many teachers attended a class called, "Research for Better Teaching." Throughout the summer, teachers will attend classes in Responsive Classroom, Integrating Technology, and Differentiated Instruction, among others. Learn more at bsdweb.bsdvt.org. Read more
Citizen Task Force Reviews Budget
The task force has met 3 times, and will meet again on July 2nd. This group has about 20 members from across Burlington, including those on the Mayor's Budget Task Force. The task force is digging into the details of our current budget, as well as our grant funding and education laws and mandates. Much of the time in our next meetings will focus on reviewing individual programs and brainstorming possible recommendations for changes in the school budget. Read More
On July 1st, we have three new elementary school principals starting. We welcome Abi Sessions to the Sustainability Academy at Barnes, Paul Schreiber to Edmunds Elementary, and Graham Clarke at Flynn Elementary. We thank our former principals Paula Bowen, Guy Egri and Bonnie Ayer for their combined 47 years of service and dedication.
Read More about our new principals
Burlington Schools Encourages Families to Apply for Free Lunch status
We at Burlington Schools understands this is a difficult economic time for many of our families. If your family has recently experienced a change in income or housing situation, your children may now qualify for free lunch. Your Burlington Schools provide healthy, wholesome and fresh foods for your children everyday and we would like to help you during these challenging times. You may pick up an application for Free and Reduced Lunch at your school or download it from this website under food services and then return it to your child's school. We encourage you to take the time to fill out the application and return it to us, so your children can begin receiving free meals as soon as possible.
One Case Of H1N1 Flu In Burlington Schools
June 9, 2009
We have confirmed one case of H1N1 (swine) flu at Hunt Middle School. At this time, according to U.S. and Vermont Department of Health recommendations, all schools will remain open. Students, faculty or staff with flu-like illness (fever with a cough and sore throat) should stay home and not attend school or go into the community except to seek medical care for at least 7 days, even if symptoms resolve sooner.
Kindergarten Registration will occur in all schools on March 24 and 25.
Magnet application decisions will be announced by March 23.
Students Rate Quality Of Life In Burlington
June 4, 2009
On Thursday, June 4th, Barnes and Champlain 4th and 5th graders presented their findings on the quality of life in Burlington neighborhoods. Students shared projects they have completed to address some of the issues they identified.
Champions of Diversity & Equity Honored
June 3, 2009
On Wednesday, June 3rd, the City of Burlington, the Social Equity Investment Project, and Burlington Schools honored this year's Champions of Diversity & Equity. Nancy Zahniser, former Champlain and Barnes Principal, and Patrick Brown, Director of the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center, received Lifetime Achievement Awards. Award recipients also included BHS Student Nicole Murphy, Hunt Middle School Art Teacher Joy Kipp, Champlain Elementary School parent Michael Wood-Lewis, Reading-to-End-Racism Coordinator Denise Dunbar and Bilingual/BiCultural Home-School Liaison Nimo Girreh. The ceremony featured performances by student Bosnian and African dance groups. Read More
High School Student Awards
June 2, 2009
On Tuesday, June 2nd, more than 200 students were be honored for subject area achievements in all departments. Awards will also be presented for student leadership, scholar-athlete, scholarship, and national achievement.
Burlington Schools featured on VPR
Vermont Edition showcased developments at our magnet schools. Vermont Public Radio's Jane Lindholm talked with Lawrence Barnes principal, Paula Bowen, and with Vermont's Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca about how magnet schools fit into our education system, and how the model could be spread statewide. Click Here to Listen to the Podcast (VPR Website)
Champlain Teacher Wins Governor's Award
May 13 2009
Colleen Cowell of Champlain Elementary School, has won the 2009 Governor's Heritage Awards for Outstanding Educator. Read More
EMS First Career Carnival
March 31st, 2009 - Burlington area professionals engage Edmunds Middle School students in hands-on, real world activities. This new event, the first annual "Career Carnival" helps to expand kids' sense of future possibilities. Read More
National Principal Search For Sustainability Academy At Lawrence Barnes
Burlington Schools will begin a national search for the principal of the new Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes. Read More
Champions of Diversity & Equity
The Burlington School District, in partnership with the Social Equity Investment Project and the City of Burlington, will be seeking your nominations to identify this year's "Champions of Diversity & Equity".Read More
Friday, June 5 - 10:15-1:45
Wheeler Elementary - 6 Archibald Street
Integrated Arts Academy staff, students and partners showcase the arts as an avenue of learning. Very Merry Theatre, Jeh Kulu and Sambatucada will also provide demonstrations. A celebration to end the school year and kick off the Integrated Arts Academy at Wheeler.
Burlington Schools Express Deep Concern At Arrest Of Former Employee
May 21 2009
The Burlington School District was notified by the Burlington Police Department today that a former employee, Douglas Cavett, was arrested for molesting a young boy over several years.Read More
Burlington Schools Receive $5000
The Burlington School District has been selected as the 1st prize winner of the New England Dairy & Food Council's 2008 Expanding Breakfast Award for Vermont. Read More
Teachers Contract Maintains Lowest Spending
Burlington teachers and administrators have ratified a one year contract at the lowest level in over a decade. Read More
Seeking "Reading To End Racism" Readers for Flynn (March 26)
We are looking for Reading to End Racism readers for Flynn Elementary School's event to "Read To End Racism." Held at our elementary schools, the event is part of a year-long community-school initiative that involves stories to help our kids address racism and discrimination in proactive ways. Training will be held on March 12th. Read More
Magnet Schools are Coming
Kindergarten registration will begin on March 4th for our sustainability magnet at Barnes and our integrated arts magnet at Wheeler.Read More
School Budget and Bond Information
On January 13th, the Burlington School Board determined the budget amount to go on the ballot for March Town Meeting Day. At this meeting, the Board also decided on two other ballot items: an increase in our annual bonding authority and a safety and critical needs bond.Read More (pdf Format)
Budget & Bond Information Summary (pdf Format)
Burlington School Budget Powerpoint (pdf Format)
Budget Questions & Answers (pdf Format)
Tax Rate Comparison (pdf Format)
Tax Impact (pdf Format)
$9.75 Million Bond for Safety and Critical Needs (pdf Format)
For more information, click here http://bsdweb.bsdvt.org/Board/BoardBudget.php
Hunt Multicultural Dinner Postponed to January 29th
On Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, Hunt Middle School is hosting a multicultural dinner for Hunt students and their families. Read More
HMS Hosts 1st Multicultural Dinner
On Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, Hunt Middle School is hosting a multicultural dinner for Hunt students and their families. Read More
School Budget and Bond Vote January 13
The Burlington School Board will be meeting on Tuesday, January 13th at BHS
starting at 7 p.m. At this meeting, the School Board, after holding two
public hearings on the school budget, will be making its final decisions
regarding next year's school budget amount and what it will provide.
$2 Million Annual Bonding Authority for Capital Needs(pdf Format)
The Board will also consider a Schools' Safety and Critical Needs
$9.75 Million Bond for Safety and Critical Needs(pdf Format)
Burlington School District Budget Information
Participate in budget decisions. Public input hearings are scheduled for Jan. 6 and 13, 7 pm at Burlington High School. Budget information on the web will be updated as new information becomes available.
Powerpoint Presentation (pdf format)
Director of Diversity & Equity
Daniello "Dan" G. Balón
Dr. Daniello "Dan" Balón has been named Director of Diversity and Equity for the Burlington School District by the school commissioners. Dan starts on November 10th as the district's administrator that facilitates programs, policies and practices in diversity and equity. He will also supervise the English Language Learners program.Read More
Our Schools, Our Future
Sept. 2, 2008
On August 30, the school board passed 2 important resolutions that define the future of our schools. The Board passed a resolution to move forward with 2 magnet schools and a resolution to request the city council to bring a ballot item for voters to consider a 10-year, phased in renovation and upgrade plan for $226 million.
Our community has asked for a comprehensive plan, not a piece meal plan and the master plan presented tonight provides a thoughtful long-term plan. Community members, parents, teachers and students have told us that the plan must include, our buildings, achieve equity, and an educational curriculum that supports creativity and hands-on real world learning. For the past decade we have consistently been the lowest spending district in the county. What we spend on our schools does not mirror our values or reflect our commitment to the children of this community. The Board determined it was time to bring forward a comprehensive 10-year plan that reflects Burlington residents expressed values.
This 10-year plan aligns our community values, commitment to our children and investment in Burlington's future.
For more information, please go to www.bsdplan.com
The Future is Now: Burlington Schools' Vision for the 21st Century
Approved by the Board of School Commissioners July 15, 2008
Education in the 21st Century: The Case for Change
Burlington schools are at a crossroads. Like most school districts throughout the United States Burlington schools face a new reality rooted in factors beyond our control. Since our school system was developed and designed, how we conduct business, how we communicate, who we interact with, how we live - has all changed. Fifty years ago globalization was in its infancy.Read More
Future Of Our Schools
July 8, 2008
Building on the work of the past several years, we began the Excellence and Equity visioning process in March. The visioning process has helped to identify the ways that our schools must advance to prepare all students for the 21st century.
This summer, we will continue to work with educational planner Frank Locker and architect Colin Lindbergh to evaluate facilities condition and needs as part of our master plan for Excellence and Equity.
This work has helped to develop a draft vision that will be refined over the summer and presented to the School Board in late August and the public in the Fall.
Click here to read our DRAFT vision Read More
Click here for a schedule of upcoming meetings. Read More
Facilities Audit In Process
For the safety and health of our students and staff, as well as for budgeting and expense management, we are conducting a full facilities audit this summer. The school board has selected Burlington architect Colin Lindbergh to conduct the facilities audit.
There are three major areas that we are over budget: 1) special education expenses that are required, but not fully reimbursed, by the Federal government; 2) higher than budgeted energy expenses (our budget was set in January 2007); and 3) failing infrastructure beyond maintenance projections. The two areas where we have some control are directly related to our facilities - energy expenses and failing building systems. Read More
Superintendent of Schools, Burlington
July 8, 2008
The official school year may be over, but our schools are full of activity, and our planning for Excellence and Equity continues. This month, I want to review some of the budget issues we've faced in closing out the year, and to share some important information about the future of Burlington's schools.Read More
Doug Davis selected Food Services Director of the month!
July 23, 2008
Doug Davis worked with local groups to create an innovative program. by Becky Schilling
When Doug Davis began working in the hospitality industry, he learned that customer satisfaction is key to success. He has been putting that knowledge to work during his 11 years as director of foodservice at the 3,800-student Burlington (Vt.) School District. Davis listens to the students, parents and community to help drive his program. The result: increased participation and a nationally recognized farm-to-school program.Read More