Friday, May 13, 2022
Dear Lamoille North Families and Staff,
For almost one week, we have had bluebird days and HOT weather! Most of our schools are either finished or have almost completed the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) testing; now, we are seeing so much activity in all of our schools and the energy is joyful and contagious! We thank our families, students, and staff for their commitment to bringing back our typical end of year events and critical experiences for our students after such an extended period of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On a related note, while our local COVID-19 cases continue a slight upward trend, we continue to do well overall in the district. As a reminder, if your student(s) have any symptoms of illness, please stay home and use two antigen tests, at least 24 hours apart. If the first antigen test is negative, use the second at least 24 hours later. If they are both negative, and you still have concerns, get a LAMP or a PCR test. Or, use one LAMP test instead of antigen tests. FREE LAMP, antigen, and PCR tests are available from the Health Department at a number of state run testing sites. Please check the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard often to help make personal decisions around testing and masking. We will continue to update our Dashboard weekly on Friday until the end of the school year, at which point it will be discontinued for the summer. Depending on what the situation looks like in the fall, we will decide whether to continue this practice.
At Governor Phil Scott’s weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Health Commissioner, Mark Levine, said the state will cease daily dashboard updates and instead produce a weekly surveillance report. The first report was posted on Wednesday, May 11th, while the last dashboard update will occur on Wednesday, May 18th. “The Health Department will continue to collect, analyze and respond to data in real time,” Levine said, “but our teams need to get back to focusing their time on analyzing the most valuable data from a public health perspective." State officials say the widespread deployment of vaccines and at-home tests have made daily case counts a far less meaningful metric, while the more useful data points of hospitalizations and deaths are better viewed over longer periods of time.
On Wednesday, as advertised, we partnered with Healthy Lamoille Valley to host a public discussion on preventing youth Cannabis use in our communities. We thank the team from Healthy Lamoille Valley, our ambassadors from the Lamoille Area Youth Coalition, and Substance Misuse Prevention Consultant with the Vermont Department of Health for their education and insights. As one parent reported shortly afterwards, “this was an eye-opening experience and it is clear that it takes a village to help our communities.” We plan on hosting more of these educational discussions for the greater Lamoille community in the fall.
In school news, Sara Reed, Lamoille Union High School teacher, reports, "Trifecta, the band consisting of three Lamoille students - Mitchell Barton, Ryan Kirkpatrick, and Calvin Kontos - were interviewed this week by Vermont Public Radio Today! They will be featured in a segment of the show "Safe & Sound" that celebrates Vermont musicians. It will air at 6:00 p.m. this Saturday, May 14th. Theirs is a real success story of hard work and determination, despite the challenges that COVID-19 has posed. We encourage you to tune in for this interview!”
In district news, the Vermont Agency of Education (VTAOE) recently released its annual snapshot, a measure of how schools in Vermont are doing related to academic proficiency, personalization, safe and healthy schools, high-quality staffing, and investment priorities. Last spring’s Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) and Vermont Science Assessment (VTSA) scores have been released to the public just in time for our students to take the assessments this year. We will be doing some analysis at the school and district levels in the weeks ahead. The analysis will inform our continuous improvement work. We will share more information about our students’ performance and our continuous improvement planning in the near future.
On a different note, as we prepare for the next school year, we are having to explore really creative ways to recruit new employees to our area. One of the barriers we continue to face is a lack of housing options for teachers trying to move here. This message is a request for help from our community members. If you have housing available, we ask that you reach out and let us know so that we can connect our new hires to potential housing options in the area. Please contact our Human Resources Director, Charleen McFarlane, at email@example.com or call her at 802-851-1177. Thank you!
And lastly, please see the Healthy Lamoille Valley’s May newsletter which can be found HERE.
As always, thank you for being collaborative, kind and supportive members of our school community. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
My best to you,
Catherine Gallagher, M.Ed.
Superintendent of Schools
Lamoille North Supervisory Union