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Superintendent's Report

Human Resources  |   Business Office  |  Communications  |  Special Education

Early Education  |  Technology  |  Facilities  |  Curriculum  |  Reception  |  PATH

John Pandolfo - Superintendent  |  Tina Gilbert - Administrative Assistant

The BSU Art Show opened on Tuesday, February 19 at the Aldrich Library. Artwork from students of all ages is on display until March 26. Our students have created some amazing art! Please check it out if you have not yet had the opportunity.

We managed to make it through February with no additional snow days, so at this point our final student and staff day remains at Friday, June 21. We will keep our fingers crossed for March. BTMES and BCEMS are currently planning for Grade 8 ceremonies on Thursday, June 20, and SHS has graduation scheduled for Saturday, June 22.

With the vote to amend the Default Articles of Agreement now successfully behind us, the next step in the merger process for Barre is to elect the Initial Board of the New Union District. Based on the amended articles, this will be a nine-member board, with four school directors from Barre City elected by Barre City, four school directors from Barre Town elected by Barre Town, and one at-large school director from either Barre City or Barre Town elected by both communities. The BUUSD merger activity schedule for the upcoming months is as follows:

Transitional Board Meeting on Thursday, March 14 at 6:00pm in the SHS Library

Election date for Initial Members of the New Union District Board on Tuesday, April 9 in Barre City and Barre Town. Petitions are due at the close of the business day on Monday, March 11

(Tentative) organizational/initial meeting for New Union District Board Thursday, April 11 at 6:00pm in the SHS Library

(Tentative) FY20 budget vote on Tuesday, May 14

We continue to work on the FY20 budget in preparation for the vote later this spring.

See the Merger Update Page on the BSU website for more details. 

At this point it is unlikely we will have a ratified Master Teacher Agreement by April 1, 2019. Based on that, 2019-2020 Letters of Intent for Teachers will be distributed by March 29 and are due back by April 15.

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Human Resources

Carol Marold - Human Resources Coordinator  /  Leslie Babic - HR Specialist

We are finishing up open claims for the 2018 year. If you have not notified us of an open issue, please email us asap at BSU-HR@u61.net or call 476-5011.

Audit your FSA/HRA and BCBS accounts throughout the year. Make sure you have your accounts set up with Healthy Dollars and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Healthy Dollars’ system is a much different format than Data Path’s, and hopefully easier to understand. You can set up your user account at: http://healthydollarsinc.com/

Remember that BCBS has made many changes and you will have to make a new account for the 2019 year. Visit their online employee portal at http://www.bcbsvt.com/individual-insurance

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Business Office

Lisa Perreault - Business Manager

Ashley Young - Senior Accountant; Amy Renaud - Accountant BSU; Kris Gilbar - Accountant SHS/CVCC & BTMES Payroll; Ann Baker - Accountant BCEMS & BTMES Accts. Payable; Kathy Couture - Medicaid Clerk

We are in the process of merger activities creating a new organization and a new unified budget, for the Barre Unified Union School District! Due to delays in the implementation of the new AOE/Legislative mandated Uniform Chart of Accounts (UCOA), and Powerschool E-finance State-wide School District Data Management System (SSDDMS). we are building the budget in our current ADS/Profund financial management system. In mid-April we will start scheduling time to work with building-based bookkeepers to develop procedural changes as necessary.

All employees who participate in our health insurance benefits, and those eligible to participate, received a 1095C form. Those forms have also been submitted electronically, to the IRS.

Reminders: Before applying for a grant, please complete a Grant Application Prior-Approval Form, found on our website.

As always, please contact us if you have any questions.

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Communications

Ben Merrill - Communications Specialist

With the launch of the new website behind us, we will be turning our attention to finishing up the 2018-2019 BSU Annual Report. The Report will feature updates from each of the schools, as well as articles and photos highlighting the activities and initiatives at the BSU over the past year. In addition to letting taxpayers and community members know what’s happening at the schools, the Annual Report also serves (in part) to deepen our connection as a soon to be Unified District, as both Barre City and Barre Town share numerous resources at both Spaulding High School and CVCC. As we move forward as a Unified School District, publications such as the Annual Report can help residents of both municipalities find common ground in the educating of their children.

One final word on the new website: The launch on Jan 23d was practically flawless, and public input so far has been very positive. One of the goals of the new site is to use it as a communications tool, and we are already seeing this in practice, as a number of community members and organizations have contacted the schools or the SU for information; or to make suggestions via the “Contact us” portion of the site. The Communications office also monitors the new site on a daily basis with an eye towards keeping it up to date, ADA compliant, and engaging. A great deal of thanks is due to the Technology Team of Josh Allen, Mike Emmons, and Dan Smith, whose expertise has made it even better.

Much of the work in the Communications area is “behind the scenes.” Communications from various departments (e.g. Early Ed, Curriculum, Human Resources, Technology, Superintendent’s Office) are drafted, written, edited and released via the Communications office. This happens on a daily basis.

Earlier this month, the Times Argus featured a full page ad titled: Spaulding High School: Celebrating the Fine and Performing Arts. This page was organized and designed by the Communications area and features artwork and photography from several Juniors and Seniors at SHS. The page was generously donated by the Times Argus. We will be running a similar full page spread in April featuring work at the Elementary/Middle Schools.

Work is also in progress on creating “budget support” materials, designed not only to help voters understand how their tax dollars are being spent, but to remind them that tax dollars spent on preparing Barre students to be the next generation of Barre business people, trades people, professionals, soldiers, and artists is a smart and necessary investment.

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Special Education

Don McMahon – Co-Director of Special Services; Stacy Anderson - Co-Director of Special Services;  Pam Wark - Administrative Assistant

SHS, BCEMS and BTMES completed required February Time Schedule documentation during the week of February 11-February 15. According to the Vermont AOE, because the state is switching to a new funding model under Act 173, this will be the last Time Schedule documentation that the district will complete.

VCSEA is sponsoring an ACT 173 Workday on March 15th, entitled “Special Education Finance and Act 173: Navigating the Transition to a Census-Based Funding Model”. Both Co-Directors are planning to attend along with Lisa Perreault, Business Manager and Superintendent John Pandolfo. In addition, the AOE is in the process of developing a website page specifically for ACT 173. It should be up and running sometime this month.
The AOE has also developed an online webinar entitled Special Ed Live. This monthly webinar site is aimed at reaching more special educators to answer questions from the field and offering technical assistance. The January recording can be accessed by following this link.

The AOE is currently in the negotiating process of a new alternative assessment contract and expect to announce specific details soon. The test window will be April 16th through May 3rd. The AOE anticipates providing regional trainings in four locations around the state during the first week of April. Like Vermont’s other assessments, the new alternate assessment will use a computer test delivery system and will include an array of embedded accommodations and accessibility features.

We have begun planning for Special Education Extended School Year (ESY) services as required by students’ IEPs. Spaulding ESY services will continue as they have in the past and we are working to be more collaborative in our efforts to serve our BTMES and BCEMS Pre-K to grade 7 students during the summer. We are always in need of staff to provide ESY services and will be sharing a memo in staff mailboxes after February break that can be returned to us to indicate that you are interested in being considered for summer employment.

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Early Education

Sandra Cameron - Early Ed. Director/Act 166 Coordinator; Lauren May - Early Ed. Coordinator; Pam Wark - Administrative Assistant

The Barre City and Barre Town preschool programs are finalizing their STARS Annual Reports. STARS is the state’s PreK quality assurance program. Both programs have consistently earned the highest point level, 5 stars, in the past and are completing the report to maintain their 5 point status.

Planning to support kindergarten transition has begun early this year. Our PreK and K teams at both schools are meeting to outline systems that will better meet the needs of children who are entering kindergarten next year, both from our internal preschool programs and those in our community. Some of these systems include looking at our screening and placement processes, coordinating with behavior support teams, and organizing opportunities for teachers to visit children across environments.

Preschool Screening and Open House for incoming preschool students will be held on April 4th. Our teams are already meeting to organize and prepare for this busy but exciting day. Screening and Open House provides families with information on their child’s development as well as an introduction to our program and staff. Many of the families who come on this day ultimately enroll their children in our programs.

The Child Development Division held another meeting for public school representatives to provide input on VT Child Care Licensing Regulations and the impact they have on public PreK programs. This month’s meeting was dedicated to discussing the tracking of professional development, CDD vs AOE background checks, and state mandated training requirements.

The legislature continues to analyze Act 166: Universal Prekindergarten. With the Agency of Education and the Agency of Human Services at odds, the legislature has placed this work on hold temporarily while these agencies work to find common ground.

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Technology

Emmanuel Ajanma - Director of Technology; Megan Gonyaw - Admin. Assistant

The BSU technology staff is conducting an internal Security Practices and Procedures review as part of an overall review of our technology framework. We are utilizing the COSN framework of rubrics and checklists that are geared specifically towards schools as a way to help measure our technology procedures and practices. We expect this to be an ongoing process which will help improve the security and stability of our information technology.

BSU joined the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC). The SDPC is a collaboration of school districts and other stakeholders who share common concerns around student privacy. The goal of SDPC is to set standards of both practice and expectations around student privacy such that all parties involved have a common understanding of expectations. SDPC has adopted Student Data Privacy Agreement to be used by all member districts when implementing online applications. We have used the data privacy agreement with some of our vendors so far and will continue to expand it moving forward. Click here to view our active agreements

BSU Tech Integration Specialists have begun work on procedures that will guide teachers interested in using digital resources that require students to log in to either access or produce content on the Internet. This applies to online applications such as websites, blogs, wikis, online forums, or any other digital tool in which students are logging in with accounts or posting content (text, images, media) on the Internet. We will share out more information about this process so stay tuned!

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Facilities

Jamie Evans - Director of Facilities

The winter season is keeping all of the school buildings busy with snow removal! Work continues at all schools in following through with the state funded safety grant. Barre City Elementary & Middle School as well as Barre Town Middle & Elementary School is working on the implementation of additional security cameras throughout the buildings. SHS and BCEMS already have plow/sand trucks to supplement our plowing contract, and BTMES is planning to get one as well.

The woodchip heating plants are running well at all of the school buildings. BTMES will have its boiler arch rebuilt in the off-season as routine maintenance.

BCEMS is awaiting return bids on the recently issued RFP for the upcoming roof project for summer break 2019. 

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Curriculum

Jacquelyn Tolman - Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment; Ashley Dunlea - Administrative Assistant

Our professional development days continue to run very smoothly due to the distributive leadership efforts of the curriculum team. We continue to actively seek feedback from sessions, and will continue to work to strongly and clearly align our PD with our continuous improvement plans. Feedback from our elementary teachers for the February 5th PD day has 100% of respondents saying one or more sessions met their needs. Feedback is reviewed by curriculum leaders, the innovation team and administrators. I am always glad to meet with individual teams or teachers to discuss your needs and vision for our professional development. Please let me know if you would like to spend some time talking about this! Planning for 2019 - 2020 will be happening soon.

There are no updates from the AOE in regards to 2018 assessment data, so our focus is now on gearing up to administer the 2019 Smarter Balanced, Fitnessgram and Science assessments. Our individual school assessment team members (Ben Matthews, Emily Loughlin, Kim Benson, Jason Woodard, Jodi Bushway, Karen Heath, Venus Dean and Lindy Johnson) have met with me and reviewed the most up to date information about the 2019 testing windows, accommodations and scheduling needs. Test administrators are working on coordinating testing calendars and equipment. Work has begun on ensuring that testing accommodations have been uploaded and will be ready to go for our students when the assessment windows open. I have to thank the team as they do a fantastic job with making sure that we have everything in place for a smooth assessment roll out. I am so grateful for their help!

I will be working on our annual reinvestment of Medicaid Administrative Claiming (MAC) funds in a few weeks. As outlined in the current MAC Agreement with the Vermont Department of Health, these monies are to be used in a collaborative manner toward improved health outcomes for children. This collaboration can also impact and improve educational outcomes. The reinvestment funds are intended to be used for population-based prevention and health promotion activities, for all students of the LEA, and not for any single student who receives services due to an eligibility process or screening such as, but not limited to IEP or 504. In the past these funds have been used to support our Student Assistance Providers at the middle and high school level. The BSU SHAC team will meet, discuss ake the final recommendation for the reinvestment plan.

The BSU curriculum committee did not meet in February, but work continues on the alignment of elementary homework practices and on our continuous improvement plans (CIP) for 2019 - 2020. Here are the ongoing notes from the homework committee. Later this week you will see a few google surveys in your Gmail. One will ask our elementary teachers about current homework practices and one will ask for some input for CIP planning. We are also sending homework surveys to all BSU elementary parents and with help from elementary teachers we will be surveying students as well.

Here is the CIP resources for this month: Ten Roles for Teacher Leaders. In the BSU we have department chairs, PLG, grade level, curriculum leaders and others who all play an essential role in supporting teaching, learning and professional development in our SU. Understanding how those positions function is an essential part of continuous improvement and building cohesion.

We will be participating in a McKinney Vento monitoring session at the end of March. During this monitoring, the AOE will come in and review our procedures and documentation for our students who are struggling with homelessness or as an unaccompanied youth. I have had initial conversations with the AOE about this process and I am confident that we are in compliance and have a good system in place. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about this. I have to thank Dawn Poitras and Ashley Dunlea for all of their help in ensuring compliance and improving our system.

Our Consolidated Federal Grant amendments have been submitted. We have added investments to increase access to work based learning, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math opportunities for students as well as added equipment to bring equity in educational opportunities for our students. Through the grants our teacher leaders are also able to attend high quality professional development opportunities at the National level and bringing important learning and information back to the BSU.

I recently shared this statement on Twitter, and thought I would share it here as well: The best schools have this in common: The adults respect each other, value their colleagues’ contributions, encourage everyone to have a voice, have high professional expectations, and ensure everyone is acknowledged.  I would also add that they operate with a high level of empathy and trust. Have a great month!

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Reception Desk

Linda Papineau - Receptionist

We continue to hire new substitutes and onboard new employees as quickly as possible. The following of our hiring process by our administrators continues to help this process run smoothly.

If you visit the BSU office you’ll notice it has received a long overdue face lift. We have an improved handicap bathroom. New blinds have been installed in both the lobby and the bathroom. We recently added a new conference table and postage meter table. Also, a new unit for our mailboxes and mail center with cupboards for storage of copy paper.

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PATH

Introduction to Spinning:

This 6 week series will help you learn the basics about bike setup and the basic SPINNING moves. The class will build each week and end with a 45 minute SPINNING class. Maximum class size: 15

Thursdays, March 7th- April 11th, 6-week 4:15-5:00pm @ Granite City Group Fitness in Barre This is a PATH sponsored event, although you don't need to be a member to participate. Only $42 for the 6-week series, pay at the first class.

PATH building leaders:

BC: Gretchen Singer, Diana Flood
SHS: Beth Bicknell, Jesse Carpenter, Sarah Chap
CVCC: Wendy Clark, Cheryl Zanleoni
BT: Laura Thygesen, Jessie Casavant, Amy Robertson
BSU: Ashley Dunlea

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