• ACSD School Board Updates

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  • School Board News - June 2022

    Posted by Emily Blistein on 6/15/2022 7:00:00 AM

    The ACSD School Board released the Educational and Facilities Planning - April 2022 Report to the Community. You can find an update of this report and links to read it in full here

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  • School Board News - April 2022

    Posted by Emily Blistein on 4/6/2022 3:05:00 PM

    From Victoria Jette

    ACSD Board Chairperson


    As we enter the final season of the academic school year, I am thankful for the effort that this community has made to take care of each other, and for everyone’s patience with the many unknowns of educating during a pandemic.  Since our last update, it has been great to see our students find joy in renewed traditions like the MUHS Winter Carnival and Unified Basketball, new traditions like volleyball March Madness at MUMS, as well as 100th-day-of-school celebrations and artist residencies at our elementary schools. I am thankful for our educators who have shown up everyday and been there for our students as teachers, mentors, coaches and advisors.  They have strived to offer calm and consistency to our students even when they might not have been feeling either themselves.  And to those who are signaling fatigue over this most challenging of years, we hear you.  It is clear that many of us are craving relief and community celebration.  I look forward to seeing some of you cheering our students on as they perform on the field and stage this Spring, work and play throughout the community, and celebrate their accomplishments towards the end of the school year.     


    As we move for the moment from pandemic to endemic COVID, I would be remiss not to mention the extraordinary efforts by our lead nurse at MUHS.  Kelly Landwehr was thrust from the job of school nurse to leading the District’s efforts to keep students, staff and their families as safe and healthy as possible during an unprecedented public health crisis.  She shouldered the responsibility with grace, calm, methodical thinking and a smile.  Others have recognized her effort and she now finds herself as President-Elect of the Vermont State School Nurses Association. ACSD is so very proud of and thankful for Nurse Kelly! 


    Much gratitude also goes to outgoing Board members Mary Culllinane, Betty Kafumbe, Amy McGlashan, and Lorraine Morse for their years of dedicated service on the ACSD Board.  The Board welcomes new members Brian Bauer, Joanna Doria, Jamie McCallum, and Steve Orzech; their bios can be found on the About the Board page of the ACSD website. 


    Highlights of Board accomplishments and Committee work since the December 2021 Board Update include the following:


    • The Finance Committee worked with Superintendent Peter Burrows and Business Manager Logan Price to develop the FY23 budget, which maintains current programming, equips ACSD elementary schools with literacy and behavioral intervention support services, and provides additional staffing at MUMS to address student needs. Many thanks to the ACSD Community for supporting the FY23 budget! We are particularly grateful for Federal ESSER funds and the suspension of State education spending controls to enable this comprehensive support for our students during the pandemic, and are closely watching proposed changes to the State’s special education funding and pupil weighting systems to anticipate the financial impacts on ACSD in the future.   


    • The Board has adopted Special Education Policy D7 – which formalizes ACSD’s commitment to students with disabilities under the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and specifies guidelines regarding special education. The Policy and Governance Committee is continuing its work of reviewing dated policies for necessary updates and consistency with State statutes. Current policies under review include the following: Board Operation Policies A-1 through A-9, Personnel Policies B-1 through B-7, and Student Policies C-1 through C-11. In addition, the Policy and Governance Committee is working with school librarians to develop policies related to materials selection and instructional texts and resources. The complete list of ACSD Policies and Procedures can be found here


    • The Negotiations Committee successfully negotiated a 3-year contract for ACSD education support personnel; the ACSD/ESP agreement was ratified by the full Board on December 13, 2021, and includes the current academic year. 


    • The Facilities Committee has completed the Facilities Master Plan Report – which will be released soon, pending final formatting edits. The purpose of the report is to summarize the driving forces behind the Facilities Master Planning process, review the work that has been completed, update the communities we serve on the Board’s findings to date, and outline the work that remains to be done. 


    While we still have a number of challenges to resolve and questions to answer (e.g. following our COVID-19 recovery plan and determining what the impact of changes to Vermont’s education funding system will be on our learning community), the body of work confirms that we must take action to address our infrastructure, equity, and educational adequacy needs. The final report will be made available through multiple outlets, and will be followed by additional community engagement to discuss the best way forward to achieve our vision for creating the best sustainable learning environments to deliver our curricular programming. 


    • The Communications and Engagement Committee continues to update the Board’s website, has implemented systems to improve routine communications with the ACSD community (e.g., responses to email inquiries, Board updates, etc.), and has established a dedicated Board Voicemail line to receive telephone inquiries about Board work. All ACSD stakeholders may directly contact the Board at 802-382-1700; messages will be directed to the appropriate Board member(s) for a response.    


    As always, we welcome community input and participation in Board and Committee meetings. Currently scheduled meetings are listed below – but please check our Board and Committee Meetings page frequently, as new Committee meeting dates are continuously added to the calendar.



    Victoria Jette, Chairperson, ACSD Board



    Upcoming Meetings


    Board and Committee meeting dates, materials, and virtual links can be found on the Board and Committee Meetings page on our website at www.acsdvt.org/schoolboard.

    April 7, 2022 8:45 - 9:45 a.m. Communications & Engagement Committee Meeting

    April 11, 2022 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting

    April 25, 2022 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting

    May 9, 2022 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting

    May 23, 2022 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Policy & Governance Committee Meeting

    Mary 25, 2022 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. ACSD Board Meeting

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  • School Board News - December 2021

    Posted by Emily Blistein on 12/3/2021 12:00:00 PM

    From Mary Cullinane

    ACSD Board Chairperson


    As we draw closer to the end of the calendar year, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of our educators and administrators to carry out the ACSD’s mission into a third COVID-focused academic year. The heart, grit, and resilience of the professionals who show up everyday to guide and teach our youth are unsurpassed, and for that I am truly grateful. Please consider taking a moment to thank an educator in our community -- whether with a note, an email, or even a quick “thank you” the next time you see them in the grocery store line. Their work is so important to our collective success, and our acknowledgement means a lot. 


    This year the Board has been largely focused on supporting the District’s efforts with COVID recovery planning, navigating the uncharted waters of Ripton’s efforts to withdraw from the District, and filling key leadership positions as educators prepared for another year of pandemic-impacted instruction. Adding to the challenges are significant uncertainties around how the State will restructure its education funding formula, and the impact of proposed changes to pupil weighting factors on the ACSD’s long-term financial outlook. We are grateful for Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding in the short term, and are keeping a close eye on the State’s progress toward a final funding formula. In the meantime, the Board continues to focus on its essential work, and I am pleased to share some of its recent accomplishments:


    • Thanks to the work of the Policy and Governance Committee, the Board has adopted several policies around personnel recruitment and background checks, the use of security cameras in schools, ensuring access to education and services for homeless students, and raising flags on school grounds, among other topics. The complete list of ACSD Policies and Procedures can be found here


    • On October 11, 2021, the Board voted to raise the Black Lives Matter flag on the high school government flagpole, in solidarity with the MUHS Student Coalition on Human Rights. A video of the flag-raising can be viewed here


    • The Negotiations Committee successfully negotiated a 3-year contract for ACSD teachers; the ACSD/ACEA agreement was ratified by the full Board on October 25, 2021. 


    • The Communications and Engagement Committee has updated and reorganized several pages of the Board’s website, and has drafted a plan to streamline and improve routine communications with the ACSD community. 


    • The Finance Committee has welcomed ACSD’s new Business Manager, Logan Price, and is working with the administration on a budget for the next fiscal year that will maintain current programs and address staffing needs at MUMS and elsewhere.


    • The Facilities Committee has resumed its work on the Facilities Master Plan -- an update from the committee follows.

    Be well,

    Mary Cullinane


    Update From the ACSD Board Facilities Committee:

    Dear Community,


    As you know, the ACSD Board paused its Facilities Master Planning (FMP) process in January 2021 in light of operational challenges caused by the pandemic and the strain it was placing on ACSD.  With significant student needs requiring all available resources, it made sense to focus our energies as a community on those needs.   


    Much has happened during this calendar year. The COVID variant continues to impact our learning environment, the timeline for Ripton’s withdrawal from the District has been extended, and the State of Vermont has paused the spending threshold. The State has yet to finalize its pupil weighting study and proposed changes to its education funding system -- all of which underscore the uncertainty clouding the Board’s planning efforts. As the Facilities Committee resumes its work to identify the best long-term educational footprint for the District, we want to update the community on how these factors will influence the final plan.


    Status of the FMP

    The investigative work of the FMP has been exhaustive, and is summarized in “Our Facilities Master Plan Journey" on the ACSD website. The Facilities Committee has analyzed information on the District’s demographic and enrollment forecasts, the capacity and condition of facilities, community feedback, and a host of other variables. In addition to concerns about the long-term sustainability of our current educational footprint, the FMP process has identified a number of equity issues between some of our schools that require further investigation. 


    The Board has examined potential options through the lenses of student success, equity, and financial responsibility. However, given current uncertainty around the State’s new education funding formula and how updated pupil weighting factors will impact the ACSD’s budget, we do not have enough clarity around the District’s financial forecast to support any specific recommendations regarding the exact configuration of elementary schools at this time. As a result, the final FMP will not be as prescriptive as some may have anticipated. But the equity concerns identified during the FMP process will be probed further in the upcoming Strategic Plan for Equity. Addressing those issues will be an integral part of designing the District’s instructional footprint. 


    Moving Forward

    The Facilities Committee is currently working to complete the FMP and examine the final elements in the process, including identification of facility investment priorities, solidifying a vision for sustainability, and outlining some guiding principles for bonding. The Committee anticipates completion of the plan by the end of 2021, and will issue a final FMP Report shortly thereafter. 


    The final report will provide a summary of the Board’s findings from data compiled and analyzed during the FMP process. It will outline the Board’s values and priorities regarding student equity, guiding principles for a model school, sustainability and energy efficiency, and responsible investment in shared resources to provide the programming and services that all ACSD students deserve. The FMP will serve as a supporting document for implementing the District’s Strategic Plan for Equity, so that when circumstances clarify the ACSD’s financial forecast, the Board can use the plan to guide efficient decision making about its resources.


    As always, the Board welcomes the community’s involvement in this important process, and invites both written feedback through email and public comments during our Board and Committee meetings. Dates and agendas for upcoming meetings can be found here.



    ACSD Facilities Committee 


    Upcoming Meetings

    Board and Committee meeting dates, materials, and virtual links can be found on the Board and Committee Meetings page on our website at www.acsdvt.org/schoolboard.


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Board Newsletters

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