*My Turn: Excellence and Equity in Burlington Schools
In Burlington, we have the unique honor of educating a multilingual and multicultural student population. All of our students benefit from the diversity in our schools, as does our City. Our young people are gaining an understanding of various languages, ethnicities and cultures, learning to communicate across cultures, and to navigate diversity and race. These are essential skills in a globalizing world.
The rejection of the school budget will have deep and lasting consequences threatening the quality of education that all of our students deserve and need.
In June 2012, I pledged to the Burlington community to put the District on the path to the elimination of racism and inequities in the Burlington School District. The work of ensuring equitable access to a high-quality education for all of our children remains incomplete and urgent. But much progress has been made in several areas identified in the plan Diversity: Our Gift and Our Future. We have:
• Updated harassment and bullying policies and procedures, so that parents and students clearly understand how to report incidents and understand what will happen when they do.
• Redesigned the Equity Council, made up of teachers from each school who are trained to infuse equity goals and cultural competency across the District.
• Revised processes to eliminate implicit biases in the process to address these barriers to hiring a high-quality, diverse faculty and staff.
• Provided professional development and cultural competency training to administrators, teachers and staff to increase our capacity to facilitate discussions of race and equity in our schools.
• Released the first annual Equity Inclusion Report, which will provide a means for monitoring progress in eliminating disparities in academic achievement, climate, inclusion, and District resource.
• Improved communications and supports for New American students and their families, including the development of a family-friendly report card for these students.
• Evaluated our secondary English Language Learners Program and incorporated the program review recommendations in the revised BSD ELL Strategic Plan.
*FY2015 Budget Timeline for a June 17 Vote
The Board is working to finalize numbers for an FY15 budget proposal. We anticipate bringing a proposal to the community in mid-April for comment, to approve a final proposal at the end of April and then vote in early June. Stay tuned and be heard in this process!
*Hunt Middle School Principal Announcement
It is with great pleasure that we announce a new Principal for Hunt Middle School as of July 1, 2014, Leonard Phelan. Currently serving as a middle school principal in Harwich, MA, Phelan is an experienced administrator whose middle school experience, work with Common Core and STEM, and his building of community will add value to our work in Hunt Middle School and Burlington School District.
Visit www.bsdvt.org to read the full press release.
*RECAP: New American Parent Meetings
A total of 65 parents attended two meetings on Saturday, March 8, to learn more about issues impacting their students at the secondary level in the Burlington School District. Equity Director Henri Sparks and ELL Director Linda Walsleben presented about maintaining confidentiality, preventing theft and providing academic supports for students. Parents identified additional topics to be addressed at future meetings.
View the presentation here: http://bit.ly/1diEccL.
*Snow Days / Last Student Day 2014
As a result of two snow days this year, the students’ last day is now June 11 and the teachers’ last day is now June 17. Any more snow days will result in additional days being added on.