• ACSD School Board Updates

    Welcome to our School Board Page where we will be posting regular updates.  

  • Letter from Mary Cullinane, ACSD Board Chairperson

    Posted by Erika Garner on 1/28/2021

    Dear Community,
     
    Over the last few months, we have continued to work through our challenges and celebrate our successes as a community. We have done so by respecting different perspectives, empathizing with others whose burdens are different than our own, and believing in the good intentions of our neighbors.

    As many of you know, the work of the Board has focused on supporting ACSD as we find our way through the pandemic and ensuring the necessary policies and practices are in place, enabling us to meet the needs of our students today and in the future. These past few months have continued to stress the overall underpinnings of our district. Our teachers, our families, and our students continue to deal with instructional environments impacted by Covid. Our middle school continues to work towards bringing our 6th grade community to the MUMS campus. With changes in staff, our administration is working towards filling important positions in service of our community. The town of Ripton has voted to move forward with the seccession process. And as the state continues to evaluate our system of funding based on the weighting of student needs, we recognize the need for, and anticipate changes in, how funds are allocated.

    This is a lot.

    The entire community of ACSD is committed to this work. The leadership team, our educators, the staff, … everyone. As a board member, it has been an honor to support these efforts.

    In light of where we find ourselves as a community, the uncertainty of how the pandemic will progress in the near future, and tremendous strain being placed on the district, we, as a board, have decided to suspend work on the Facilities Master Plan process. It is our intention to reinvigorate our effort once we have some of these challenges behind us and anticipate this timing to be around September of this year.  At that time, we hope to be able to once again, work with our community, in person, to finalize our plans for stabilizing our financial foundation so that we have the necessary resources to support students and families.

    Our challenges are not going away, but right now, we must focus on the immediate needs of students and do so with full attention and purpose.

    We will continue to maintain the FAQ on the Facilities Master Plan and if you want to learn more about where we are, and what has been accomplished to date, please visit, https://www.acsdvt.org/fmp.

    As I have shared before, we will get through all of this, stronger together.

    Thank you,
    Mary Cullinane
    Chairperson, ACSD Board

    Comments (-1)
  • Letter from Victoria Jette, Facilities Committee Chair

    Posted by Erika Garner on 10/14/2020

    Dear Community,

    The Facilities Committee met on Wednesday, September 23rd to hear from ACSD administrators Vicki Wells and Caitlin Steele about their long standing work on redesigning our system of delivering ACSD's academic program and special services to students. They gave us an overview of the IB experience, student supports and the educational vision for ACSD as it relates to the Facilities Master Plan (FMP).   We had asked them to present how their work would look in both the three and four school model.  It is a powerful presentation that I encourage anyone interested in understanding the educational impacts of consolidation to view the meeting recording posted on the Board and Committee Meetings page on the ACSD website at www.acsdvt.org/schoolboard.  It was encouraging to hear how promising they feel the three school model is and great to be able to begin to imagine the dynamic school communities that we aim to create.

    The next big step in moving forward with the development of the FMP is to perform a transportation study to ensure that we will be able to provide transportation services with reasonable ride times while building the diverse communities we seek.  We will be focusing on this over the next few weeks.

    The Porch Conversations have been well attended. It is inspiring to see people show up with thoughtful questions, listen and learn about the challenges facing ACSD. We are not alone in trying to figure out how to position ourselves for future success and stability in a time of rising cost and downward demographic trends.  

    Thank you,
    Victoria Jette

     

    (This letter appeared in the School Board Newsletter on October 14, 2020. The full newsletter can be viewed by following this link)

    Comments (-1)
  • Letter from Victoria Jette, Facilities Committee Chair

    Posted by Erika Garner on 8/20/2020

    Last week the Board had an in-person retreat to touch base, catch up and discuss how we are all feeling about Covid, reentry plans, consolidation, equity and our work around anti-racism.  It was long but truly engaging.

    The members of the Board are concerned about the impact of Covid on all district families.  We worry about the students this district is charged with educating and caring for.  We worry about their teachers.  We worry about their parents and their parents' livelihoods.  We worry about surviving this storm as a whole community and we appreciate the strength we see in our leadership, our teachers, our parents and students.  As Bill McKibben so eloquently wrote in The New Yorker, we are lucky to live in VT.  We know our neighbors and the tradition of looking out for one another.  We want to thank everyone who is working hard to support this unprecedented start of school.
     

    Many have shared concerns regarding timing of this work and the pandemic. We believe it is important to clarify the timeline we are currently working towards. We hope to have a comprehensive first draft by the end of the year.  We will be seeking feedback and redrafting through the winter, as we are aiming to have the final draft ready by town meeting day in March.  The implementation date will depend on the plan and future financial realities but our best guess is 2022/2023 school year or beyond. I believe that we would be shirking our responsibility as a Board if we allow the pandemic to paralyze us.  Is it going to be easy?  No.  But as we discussed at our retreat, the Board is unanimous in its desire to keep going.  We believe that the financial condition of the state is going to result in substantial cuts to school budgets.  For the ACSD board to ignore these signs and not prepare the district to mitigate some of the harm those cuts will cause would be irresponsible.
     

    Knowing and understanding the communities that make up the ACSD is the never ending work of the Board and our administrators.  As a consolidated district this work started in earnest 5 years ago with the strategic plan when community members from across the district came together to create a vision.  This vision led us to the International Baccalaureate initiative.  As our school communities grappled with and embraced this transition we were delighted to see our teachers and school communities find strength in collaboration.  We heard from principals, teachers, students and parents about the highs and lows of charting this new path.  As we did then, we still attend gatherings, school events, student presentations and days of learning to understand what it’s like at the ground level where implementation happens.  We read comprehensive monthly updates from each principal about what is going on in each school, their victories, and challenges day to day.  We receive news, advice and input from community members all the time. We recognize we must continue to ensure there is constant flow of information between the Board and the community we represent. As part of our efforts to improve, below you will find additional ways the Board will be working to connect with the community as we move the Facilities Master Plan forward.


    Thank you,
    Victoria Jette

     

    (This letter appeared in the School Board Newsletter on August 20, 2020.  The full newsletter can be viewed by following this link.)

    Comments (-1)

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