July 29, 2020
Dear Kingdom East Families,
Thank you to everyone who has reached out with comments and questions about our learning for the upcoming school year. This is an update as we plan for reopening schools on September 8th.
All of our faculty and staff are so excited to see our young people in a month! We recognize that many of us have uneasy feelings so we have several options for student learning. Please find in this letter a link to the options, the details for each possibility and answers to frequently asked questions.
Our options include
- In person learning
- Kingdom East Virtual Academy
- Or parents can chose to homeschool
Please look over the options closely. Below is a chart that shows the differences between the options. Attached also please find more detailed descriptions. Please read these over; reach out if you have questions.
Comparison of instructional models
|In-schoolStudents attend school in-person following health and safety guidelines Students complete learning in all core learning areas, including Essential Arts and PE.Assessment is managed as it has been done in the past (pre-emergency learning).Students have access to extracurricular opportunities through their local public school as allowable under health guidance.Full access to Special Ed services||Virtual LearningStudents participate in learning remotely for all subjects with Kingdom East educators providing the instruction.Students complete learning in all core learning areas in digital and online formats, including Essential Arts and PE.Assessment is managed as it has been done in the past (pre-emergency learning), only with feedback done virtually.Students have access to extracurricular opportunities through their local public school as allowable under health guidance. Full access to Special Ed services||Home SchoolingParents register their students for homeschooling through the Vermont Agency of Education Homeschool Division.Students must complete core content through the AOE, the AOE receives and is notified of curriculum parents choose. The school is NOT the source for learning materials or assessment.Students have access to Essential Arts and extracurricular opportunities through their local public school per KESD Home Study procedures.No Special Ed Services|
In-Person Schooling – complete details
We are opening in person schooling because the medical professionals have said that it is safe to do so, following precautions. We take the physical health and well-being of students and our community very seriously. Given the pandemic as we open in-person schooling there are a few new rules around the school environment. we have to follow rules from the Department of Health & Agency of Education that are beyond our control including:
- All students and staff will be required to wear cloth face coverings at school.
- K-8 students will stay with their classes all day, even during meal times.
- We will utilize the outdoors as much as practicable.
- Outdoor physical distancing will allow a break from wearing cloth facial coverings.
- Students and staff must maintain safe physical distancing.
- Anybody entering school will have temperature taken and be asked screening questions on first contact. If sick, students and adults must be sent home.
- Sick children and adults are required to stay home.
During the first two weeks of school, September 8th -18th, schools will be dismissed approximately one hour early to allow staff to fine tune procedures and help students adjust to all the changes.
Our in-person school and our Kingdom East Virtual Academy we will begin the school year with three learning priorities
- Social/Emotional Well Being for Students and Staff: School culture and relationships will be a top priority. Academics will be embedded as we take the initial weeks to establish a supportive and positive culture and well being; academics will not be the primary focus during initial weeks. We all need to learn routines such as wearing masks, hand washing, and physical distancing. We need to do all of this in a way that encourages the normal social and emotional growth of children.
- Preparing to Switch to Remote Learning: It’s possible that schools will need to close again. We will have sample schedules for this eventuality (This next year, we should plan on “emergency” or “snow” days during the upcoming school year to be remote learning days. The more planning the better prepared we will be. All teachers will have a Google Classroom and/or see-saw account ready for us to switch to remote learning. Remote learning will not look the same as emergency remote learning did this past March-June.
- Teaching and Learning: We will focus on what is most important for our children to learn during the pandemic. Our learners will need to complete classwork to make progress. This means that learning will be different than in a non-COVID year.
Requirements and Expectations for Kingdom East Virtual Academy (KEVA)
Overview: Kingdom East is exploring full remote learning options for those students and families in grades K-8 who would like to continue their education online as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. K-8 students will be enrolled in a full remote options with other students and a virtual teacher from Kingdom East schools. Students and parents must understand that by choosing this virtual option they will be enrolled as a full time remote learning student and return to a physical classroom will not be an option unless extenuating circumstances arise. Please see below the requirements and expectations for remote learning.
- Students and a parent or guardian who choose to do remote learning must fill out the online contract.
- The off-campus location must have adequate, reliable access to the Internet (at least 3.2 Mbps as determined using this tool). A school device will be provided with a home use contract needing to be signed.
- Students must complete coursework in all core subjects: humanities, math, science, health and physical education, art, and music
- Families must connect with support staff as needed for additional services (ie. guidance counselor, special educator)
- School meals will be provided if requested, but the school does not have the capacity to deliver them. Guardians will need to make arrangements for pickup.
- Students will have the same opportunities as their classmates to participate in school-sponsored clubs, sports, and activities with the understanding that some can only be done in-person. Schools must maintain AOE and VPA guidelines for all sports and other activities.
Expectations for students (who access the K-8 KEVA):
- Maintain contact with the online teacher(s) daily attendance through a combination of check-ins and work completion. This will also be used for daily attendance.
- Participate in both synchronous (between 8-3pm) and asynchronous (on your own schedule) learning.
- Attend an orientation on the how-tos of remote learning
- Complete all learning activities and assignments by the required date
- Respond and act upon feedback from teacher(s); this includes connecting with fellow students as necessary
- Ask questions! If you don’t know the answer or need help, communicate directly with your teacher(s). If you are having technical difficulties, let your teacher know.
Expectations for parents or guardians supporting their student at home:
- View detailed grade information and teacher feedback – see what your student sees!
- Support your student with assignment due dates
- Read Announcements as needed
- Support discussions your students are involved in when appropriate
- Review the course syllabus – course description, expectations, grading policies and assignment due dates all in one place
- Communicate directly with the online teacher(s) over any questions or concerns. Likewise, share success stories or suggestions around your student. Family input, feedback, and communication is critical to instructing our students whether they are remote or on-campus. Parents and guardians are invaluable partners in our schools.
- Attend an orientation on the how-tos of remote learning
Virtual Schooling- complete details – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RVqWk_vEdVD9BBii73vFoK9rMah2NveXfHH0iOmXv-A/edit?usp=sharing
For both planning and staffing we need parents to inform us which school option they will choose by Wednesday August 5th 2020. Here is the survey link that you must fill out for every child in your household!
K-8 families can also choose to pursue homeschooling through the Vermont Agency of Education.
Information for pre-K families will come separately.
Thank you everyone for your patience and understanding. We are looking forward to having all of our students back in the building again!
Kingdom East Leadership TeamRead More
*****For immediate release**********
Announcement: Stacy Rice appointed as the Kingdom East Director of Student Services.
Date: February 24, 2020
Kingdom East School District is pleased to announce the hiring of Stacy Rice as the next Director of Student Services for the Kingdom East School District. Dr. Brian Carroll who currently serves in this position is retiring on June 30, 2020.
Ms. Rice has served as the principal of Burke Town School since 2011. During her time at Burke, Ms. Rice transformed the special education delivery model by increasing licensed professional staff and shifting resources with a cost-neutral approach to the budget. Her collaborative and data focused leadership helped shift Title I funding and resources available to students. During her tenure, there has been an increase in student learning and achievement for all students including those with learning disabilities and special needs. She has instituted both literacy and mathematics community events to build on the strengths of learners and increase capacity with families. She has provided proficiency based learning, family school partnerships, partnerships with the Tarrant Institute, and many more programs.
Prior to working at Burke Town School, Ms. Rice served as a teacher and teacher leader at Lyndon Town School. She has served as a principal mentor through the Vermont Principals Association, served on the math steering committee, and supervised and coordinated the district mentor and mentee program.
Ms. Rice received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Farmington, and her masters in education at the University of Maine in Orono. She has completed various additional coursework through Lyndon State College (now Northern Vermont University) and most recently is part of the Margaret Waddington Center for Creative Learning Institute leadership program. She has specialized training in nonviolent crisis prevention and intervention, Life Space Crisis Intervention and Handle with Care de-escalation and restraint certification.
In addition Ms.Rice has volunteered with numerous local organizations including HOPE, Kingdom Trails, Lyndon Youth baseball and softball, Relay for Life, New England Mountain Bike, and various search committees in the school district and with the Vermont Principals Association.
In a recent email to faculty and staff at Burke, Kingdom East Superintendent of Schools, Jennifer Botzojorns said, “I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Stacy Rice for being nominated and appointed as the next Kingdom East Director of Student Services. She will be missed at Burke, however, we are all excited for her to take on a new role working in all schools.”
Ms. Botzojorns shared with the entire Kingdom East Faculty and Staff, “Ms Rice comes to her new position with on the ground experience working with all students. She understands the building based needs and brings with her the vision and long range planning for working district wide as a Director of Student Services. Our district is lucky to have someone of her caliber serving all of our schools and communities.
Ms Rice, reached at Burke Town School earlier this week shared, “I am fortunate to have spent my last nine years as the principal at the Burke Town School. It was a difficult decision to leave the students, staff and the Burke school community. I will miss working with them daily. The school community is amazing. The staff are the highest quality and put their hearts and souls into all children, their families and the community. I think about those 20 eighth grade students who will graduate in June, and realize I have known them since they were five or six years old entering the Burke Town School as kindergarteners!
“I am excited to start my new position as the Director of Student Services. Transitioning into a role where there was a significant amount of work done before me, I plan to continue that great work and continue to make improvements in order to advocate for all students. I am delighted that I have earned this opportunity to expand my leadership role and work with all of the school communities in the Kingdom East School District.”
The Kingdom East School District became effective on July 1, 2018 and serves eight communities including Burke, Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Newark, Sutton, Sheffield, and Wheelock. Information is available on https://kingdomeast.org/. The Director of Students Services provides vision, planning and oversight of all the special services in the Kingdom East School District including special education, psychological and all specialized student services. The Kingdom East School District will advertise and run a search to find a replacement for the principal at Burke Town SchoolRead More
A PSA From our KESD School NursesRead More
For Immediate Release
DATE: June 19, 2019
CONTACT: Jennifer Botzojorns
Lyndonville, VT –
On May 14, 2019 the Kingdom East Board of School Directors approved a not-to exceed twenty-four million dollar bond to be put before the electorate on Wednesday June 19 to support major renovation and improvements to school facilities in Burke, Concord and Lunenburg.
The citizens of the towns of Burke, Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Newark, Sheffield, Sutton and Wheelock defeated the measure by a vote of 313 YES to 789 NO. Kingdom East School District votes are commingled and not reported by town.
In addition to the bond vote, the town of Lunenburg considered a measure to return the Gilman School to the town of Lunenburg contingent upon the passing of the bond vote. This measure was defeated by a vote of 73 YES to 127 NO .
During the informational meetings, citizens expressed concerns about specific projects, the overall cost, taxpayer affordability, and recommended alternatives. The transition from individual school districts to one unified Kingdom East School District budget was a concern. In the past school construction costs were paid for by the local town. District school funding today is comprised of roughly 26% local residential property taxes, 41% non-residential property taxes, 20% state general funds, and 13% general purpose taxes. The 2018 – 2019 Kingdom East School District budget was $33,998,997 for all seven schools within the district. In the first full year of operation as the Kingdom East School District, tax rates decreased from the prior year in all eight towns.
Our District is not unique in our facilities challenges and needs. This week on Vermont Public Radio the Vermont Secretary of Education was interviewed concerning school facilities. Board members, parents, citizens and even students have sent over 200 letters
to legislators this winter asking for construction aid. At a legislative breakfast in St Johnsbury, questions regarding construction aid was asked of the local delegation. Legislators have shared that districts need to consider this issue at a local level.
The cost and estimated increases in the tax rates are real for everyone. Safe, quality facilities cost money, and folks express concern about the cost. The Board understands these real concerns and looks forward to further conversations about how the Kingdom East School District can best serve all of our children in our towns at a cost that taxpayers can support.
Kingdom East Board Chair, Cynthia Stuart stated, “The Kingdom East Board has worked together for three years, and together we have forged a common support for all our children and schools. The Board sees our schools as one community, not small separate entities, and we are committed to providing safe and quality facilities for our students. With community input and collaboration, the board will now reassess our options before moving forward.”
The facilities committee and entire Kingdom East School Board is committed to ensuring safe, equitable and healthy learning environments in all of the schools. On Tuesday June 25th at 5 pm, the facilities committee of the Kingdom East Board will review the information collected, including the minutes and input from the informational meetings. The full Kingdom East School Board will discuss next steps at their meeting on July 16th in Lunenburg.
Kingdom East School District became effective on July 1, 2018 merging seven schools and eight communities including Burke, Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Newark, Sutton, Sheffield, and Wheelock. The Kingdom East School District serves approximately 1,813 students, 330 employees, and oversees $46.5 million in facilities located in seven communities.