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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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Superintendent Updates

March 8, 2021

Dear RISD School Community:

As spring fast approaches it is hard to imagine we closed our district to in-person instruction because of COVID-19 this time last year. There has been a great deal of sacrifice by everyone in our school community to get us where we are today. We recognize that it’s not a perfect system but feel positive about the direction we are moving as we continually assess how best to improve the quality of education.

Starting March 15th, we are going to expand our school day by moving back our release times every day except Thursday. On all other days (M, T, W, F) Westshire Elementary will release at 2:30 p.m., Samuel Morey Elementary at 2:40 p.m., and Rivendell Academy at 2:50 p.m. The afternoon bus schedule is attached and further details about changes within the school day will be communicated directly by building administrators.

In addition, we learned today that Rivendell School District employees will have the opportunity to begin the vaccination process this week or next. This decision, in large part, is related to safety and the desire to return all students back to classrooms fulltime. I believe this vaccination plan, along with the writing of a school district recovery plan, will set us up to finish the year strong, provide extended school services into the summer, and allow for a strong opening next fall.

The Annual Meeting Informational Session and regular March board meeting are scheduled on March 9th. By this time everyone should have received information in the mail about the meeting, voting process and the annual report. Similar to last year, voting by mail is strongly encouraged, but there will be an in-person opportunity to cast your ballot from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16th at Rivendell Academy. Please visit our website for information www.rivendellschool.org.

As always, your support is greatly appreciated. I urge you to contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent

 

February 19, 2021

Dear Rivendell School Community,

With the February break upon us, I want to take a moment to reflect upon the positive aspects of our current structure and the tremendous effort it has taken to get us to this point. We recognize and greatly appreciate the sacrifices that families have made in order for us to maintain safe and healthy schools. Faculty and staff continue to be flexible and diligent in their approach to instruction, safety, and the overall well-being of students. We have been fortunate to have had very few COVID cases, which is directly attributed to the efforts of our communities and the people working in our schools.

Despite recent improvements in Vermont and New Hampshire COVID case counts travel restrictions remain in place. If you travel out of Vermont whether for a day trip or longer, you must quarantine in Vermont when you return. Additional information about traveling outside Vermont for a longer period of time can be found at https://apps.health.vermont.gov/COVID/faq/#4637. If you plan to travel over the break, I ask that you notify your child’s building administrator to discuss and determine a return to school date. This will also allow the district to coordinate a remote plan for children while they are quarantining.

Looking forward, we are exploring ways in which we might return the school day closer to our original hours of operation. We hope to implement this change beginning March 15th and are working on the logistics of drop-off and pick-up procedures, as well as revised bus routes. If in fact we are able to accomplish this, we will communicate any changes well in advance.

Finally, due to COVID restrictions, there will not be a traditional Annual Meeting this year and all votes will be by Australian ballot. The District will mail an absentee ballot to all active registered voters of the district. Two informational meetings are scheduled for February 23rd and March 9th at 6:30 PM via Zoom that will provide an opportunity to learn about the budget, ask questions and offer feedback to the Board. Please visit our website for information on how to connect to these meetings. This year’s annual report will also be available on our website the first week of March and will not be mailed directly to households, although printed copies will be available at town offices.

If you have any questions or concerns please e-mail me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District

 

December 23, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,

I would like to take this opportunity to update the school community about the most recent guidance released yesterday by Governor Scott and the VT Agency of Education.

  • For the period from December 23 – January 2, one household may gather with one other trusted household. That is a maximum of two households gathering during this period.
  • If you do gather, the Health Department strongly encourages getting tested 7 days afterwards.
  • If you gather with anyone from out of state, everyone in both households must quarantine for 14 days, or 7 days with a negative test.
  • Effective Dec. 23, 2020, the previous guidance to schools on implementing the prohibition on multi-household social gatherings has been rescinded. Schools may no longer include a question on multi-household social gatherings in their daily health check questionnaires.

In my last communication, I indicated that we would add this screening question after the holiday break but we are now being told not to include the question about multi-family social gatherings on our daily questionnaire. Travel restrictions remain in place and we ask that parents continue to be open and honest about non-essential travel. We are still planning to be remote the week of January 4th and returning to in-person instruction the week of January 11th.

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday break. The challenges and sacrifices that we have all had to make are unprecedented. Your compassion, flexibility and willingness to work with faculty, staff and administration is greatly appreciated and we are excited to continue this good work when we return in 2021. As always, please contact me directly with any questions or concerns you might have related to this new information.

Thank you,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District


December 4, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,

Last week, prior to the holiday break, we were notified and directed to implement new guidance from Governor Scott related to multi-family gatherings. I anticipate that future guidance from state authorities will continue to shift responsibility of COVID management and enforcement from the state to the local level. Therefore, I want to be proactive in communicating future decisions to help alleviate stress and anxiety for staff and families.

I recognize and appreciate that Rivendell families and staff made personal sacrifices over the Thanksgiving holiday in order to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order and I want to thank you. I have inferred that expectations around multi-family social gatherings will continue through the December holiday break. I believe that duplicating this effort over the December break might be unrealistic for many of you and unsustainable to manage operationally.

In an effort to address these potential challenges the week of January 4, 2021 will be a remote learning week to allow a one-week period to elapse following the December holiday break. This should afford faculty, staff and families time to plan accordingly and quarantine, as needed, based on personal decisions around travel and multi-family gatherings.

We as a district are working diligently to monitor symptoms and travel information from our daily screenings. We will continue to ask parents to be open and honest about multi-family social gatherings and encourage you to contact school officials if you have questions. Your cooperation and honesty help create a more cohesive and safer environment where all members of our school community feel valued.

When we return for in-person instruction on January 11, 2021 we will include the question about multi-family gatherings on the daily screening. This enhanced safety measure complies with Governor Scott’s Executive Order and is an added safety precaution for our school community. We will continue to work hard at finding a balance in protecting your safety and your privacy and will not use information reported by students to prompt an investigation or enforce quarantines. This information will simply be recorded for the purposes of contact tracing in the event it should be required.

The only other important information to note is that January 14th will be a half day for students due to mandatory staff training. The elementary schools will dismiss at 12:15 PM and the Academy will dismiss at 12:30 PM. Meals will be available for pick up during our remote week and building administrators will be communicating further details. As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have related to this communication.

Thank you,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent

November 30, 2020

Dear RISD Families,

Today we resumed in person studies across the district, following a well-deserved break for Thanksgiving. I am writing to remind everyone that Vermont state guidance requires those who participated in out-of-state travel and/or multi-family gatherings for the holiday to quarantine before returning to school and work.

The guidance related to multi house hold social gatherings is outlined here: https://education.vermont.gov/sites/aoe/files/documents/edu-guidance-for-schools-related-to-limits-on-multi-household-social-gatherings.pdf

To reiterate the request I made last week please communicate with building administrators or the school nurse regarding the need to shift your child to a temporary remote status for a quarantine period. We are not going to add these questions about multi household social gatherings to our daily screener. We are simply asking you as parents and guardians to read the guidance above and take responsibility for any activity that would require quarantine. If you have questions please contact your child’s respective school for clarification.

Thank you and welcome back,
Barrett Williams
Superintendent
RISD

 

November 25, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,

Yesterday, I received the Vermont Secretary of Education guidance to school districts related to the most recent addendum to the Vermont Executive Order.

“On November 20, 2020, Governor Scott issued Addendum 8 to his Executive Order which suspended multi-household social gatherings. Specifically, among other changes, the Order prohibits multiple households from participating in the same social gatherings, including group trips; gatherings related ceremonies, holiday events, parties and celebrations; and sharing accommodations with anyone outside your household.” A multi-household gathering includes any gathering of people outside of those living in your household.

This newly received guidance clearly states that social gatherings are now to be treated in the same fashion as out-of-state travel, requiring that you quarantine for 14 days or 7days with a negative COVID test. Our expectation is that all families, teachers and staff will adhere to this guidance to ensure a safe and healthy return to in-person instruction on Monday, November 30th. I ask all families to carefully consider your Thanksgiving plans and if you are not following the Vermont guidance regarding multi-household gatherings and/or travel over the break to please contact Jessica Gould, Creigh Moffatt or your building administrator to confirm a quarantine plan for your student to work remotely. Faculty and staff should contact your building administrator and Director of Human Resources, Brenda Gray if your holiday plan does not follow Vermont guidance. We ask that you let us know no later than Friday so that we can plan accordingly for the upcoming week.

The district does not have the resources, nor the inclination to monitor the activities of our school community over the holiday break and simply ask that you be open and honest about your plans to allow us to maintain a safe school environment for everyone. Families should be aware that based on our ability to appropriately staff each school we may need to move to remote instruction by grade or pod for a short period of time.

I wish each and everyone of you a happy holiday even under these difficult circumstances.
Thank you,
Barrett Williams
Superintendent

 

November 22, 2020 

Dear Rivendell School Community,

Over the weekend we were notified that we have a second confirmed positive case of COVID-19 within Rivendell Interstate School District. We have determined that the two cases are separate from one another, and that the potential impact on the staff and students in our school community related to the second positive case is very low. At this time, our current plan will remain in effect and we will reopen for in-person instruction on Monday, November 30th.

Once a positive case has been confirmed our COVID-19 coordinators work directly with the Department of Health to complete school level contact tracing. On behalf of the Department of Health we communicate in writing to those within the school community that have been determined as a close contact. This notification will be provided within 24-48 hours and includes information about how to properly quarantine and timelines. The Department of Health will follow up directly with people identified as close contacts if they have further questions or concerns. Please respond if the Health Department contacts you as they may be trying to reach you with important information.

As you can imagine, I have received many questions in the past several days regarding our response to positive COVID-19 cases. I understand the concerns and will provide information as it becomes available and as it is allowed by federal regulations. At no point can we as a district release personal health information about individual test results. As I stated above you will be notified within 24-48 hours if you were determined as a close contact with someone who tested positive. It should also be noted that the Department of Health makes recommendations to school districts about how to proceed, but the final decision is made at the local level. In each of these cases I took into consideration the potential number of close contacts before deciding how to proceed.

I hope this information is helpful and trust that you will contact me directly if you have questions or concerns. I may not have the immediate answer but will use the resources available and respond as soon as possible. Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through these difficult situations. I hope everyone is able to enjoy the remaining time of this beautiful weekend.

Thank you,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent

 

November 19, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,

Today we were notified that we have our first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 within Rivendell Interstate School District. At this time, we are working with the Vermont Department of Health and have determined that the potential impact on the staff and students in our school community is moderately high. This case has resulted in an in-school exposure that can be traced through contact in some capacity to all three schools within our district. At this time, our district will be closed for in-person instruction starting tomorrow, Friday, November 20th through Wednesday, November 25th.

The Vermont Department of Health will continue with more in-depth contact tracing and our schools will undergo extensive cleaning. We recommend that you help limit the spread of COVID-19 and adhere to state and federal guidance. Please respond if the Health Department contacts you as they may be trying to reach you with important information.

Students will engage in online learning opportunities as they had done during remote learning days at the beginning of this year. Your child’s respective building principal will be in contact with you about meals and the distribution of schoolwork materials. For the Academy, this will be very straight forward but for the elementary schools it will take some coordinating efforts.

We plan on welcoming all students in grades PreK-12 back on Monday, November 30th. Thank you for your patience as we work together to mitigate this situation. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent

November 12, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,
Due to the recent increase in COVID cases, both nationally and locally, our district considered a remote learning week after the holiday breaks. There has been much discussion and guidance from both the New Hampshire and Vermont Health Departments and Agencies of Education, that ultimately left this decision to the discretion of individual school districts.

Our goal at Rivendell is to operate in-person as safely as possible and for as long as possible, which is a significant undertaking for everyone within the health and safety restrictions that are currently in place. Below I have outlined our plan for the holidays and reiterated travel guidance for faculty, staff and families to consider.

We will remain open for in-person instruction after the Thanksgiving break. Academy students are scheduled to return that week and we are excited to welcome them back. We will consider the idea of returning to a remote week of instruction after the holiday break in December understanding that is it a longer break with a higher likelihood that people will travel. If you have not done so already, I urge you to think about this as you make plans for travel around the holiday breaks.

We carefully considered our decision to return to in-person instruction after the Thanksgiving break and believe that we are able to provide a safe environment that is consistent with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health officials. This decision is also in alignment with other surrounding local districts creating a consistent approach with minimal impact on daily staffing.

In general, we have received many questions about travel and quarantine guidelines as it pertains to the holidays, youth sports, haircuts, medical appointments and college students returning home. We will try to provide some clarity in this communication but would continue to encourage folks to ask questions as they arise on a case-by-case basis.

The Vermont Department of Health released the following statement on Sunday evening:

  • Governor Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD are calling on Vermonters to strictly observe health guidance to protect themselves and others – and to help keep Vermont’s economy and schools open. In addition, everyone is being asked to avoid unnecessary travel, including for the upcoming holidays, and to limit the size of gatherings.
  • The state is now strongly advising that any private social gatherings include no more than 10 people, and with a very limited number of trusted households. This applies to all types of private gatherings, including just getting together with friends socially at home, on campus or around town.
  • If you have attended an event with people who are not in your usual social circle, please avoid close contact with others and consider obtaining a test now as well as 7 days after the event or gathering. To see options for testing near you, please go to healthvermont.gov/covid-19/testing. Call your health care provider if at any point you develop any symptoms.


Essential Travel:

People traveling for essential purposes and who regularly travel to and from Vermont and New Hampshire may make day trips for the purpose of work, health care, commuting students to attend preK-12 school or college, and for other essential needs without quarantining. The quarantine exemption only applies to the person under essential travel rules. It does not apply to anyone else who travels with you, for non-essential reasons.

Examples of non-essential travel include but are not limited to:

  • Sporting events that are not school sponsored or sanctioned
  • Holiday shopping
  • Home decor and clothing shopping
  • Visiting family/friends
  • Eating at restaurants
  • Going to a gym
  • Going to a salon or barber shop


If you are hosting travelers under quarantine in your home, you do not also need to quarantine. That means you can go to school, work, or the grocery store. However, it is recommended that you stay at least 6 feet from the people who are under quarantine. People under quarantine should wear a mask in common spaces, use a separate bathroom, eat separately, and otherwise not be in close contact with the people who are hosting them. The safest way to host family and friends is to ask them to quarantine prior to arriving if they are able to travel in their own personal vehicle.


Picking up a Student at College:

If you are an employee of Rivendell Interstate School District or a student attending any Rivendell school and are picking up a college student outside of Vermont, you will need to quarantine when you return for 14 days. If you have not had symptoms of COVID-19, you have the option to get a PCR test on day 7 and end your quarantine with a negative test result.

I want to recognize that everyone is making major sacrifices and lifestyle changes as a result of the pandemic. During this holiday season it is increasingly more difficult to balance the health risk and our personal desire to connect with family and friends. These are hard decisions for families to make and we sympathize for those who have been isolated from family and friends. Our goal is to provide information to help families make informed decisions to keep you and those around you safe. Thank you once again for your time and understanding as we navigate these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District

November 6, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,

On Monday, November 2nd we welcomed our 7th & 8th grade students back to the Academy for in-person instruction. Even though we already had close to 60 students accessing services prior to their arrival it was a welcome sight to see kids smiling and hear the excitement in their voices as they interacted with one another. We recognize the challenges all our students and families have endured by starting the year remotely and would like to once again thank you for your flexibility, patience and understanding as we work to transition all our students back to some form of in-person instruction. We have received many inquiries about plans for the return of our high school students and are currently working out the logistics of schedules, space, safety precautions and a variety of other details. We will make information available about this transition as soon as possible.

The recent snowfall this week has prompted discussion among our administration about how to handle snow days, along with the need to be prepared for potential occasions when we might need to cancel on-campus school day(s), because of COVID cases or staff shortages. Beginning November 16th, any snow days we have will be considered a Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) days. Students will be required to complete assignments remotely on these days. By completing work at home on snow days, we will not have to “make up” these missed days at the end of the school year. These days will count as a full day of instruction for students and teachers if we as a district meet the minimum attendance and work completion requirements.

As part of the contingency planning we will test our emergency notification system Saturday, November 7th at approximately 12 noon. This is the system we have used in the past and will continue to use to notify families if we have to change from our normal schedule. If they haven’t already done so each school administrator will be providing details/expectations about the Non-Traditional Instruction days and what that will entail at each grade cluster. If we experience an extended closure for whatever reason we have a process in place for distributing materials and electronic devices. In the event that we have a planned closure we will do our very best to accommodate our students’ academic and technology needs.

Our respective states have not provided any further guidance about the holiday break and the potential impact travel might have on school districts ability to operate in-person instruction. Currently, we have to consider a variety of factors that include, but are not limited to, staff quarantine due to travel, increased potential exposure from asymptomatic individual(s) who may have had family and friends visit over the holidays and the impact of employee childcare as a result of surrounding schools choosing to be remote the week after the holiday. We will decide next week about the holiday break after reviewing survey results, communicating with other local school districts and receiving further guidance from our respective agencies of education.

Sincerely,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District

 

October 19, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,

On a daily basis, I am reminded of the challenges local school communities face in response to positive cases of COVID-19. We continue to be fortunate up to this point and I believe this is in large part because of the precautions we have put in place and the serious nature in which our communities have responded to COVID. I want to commend you and encourage you to continue following our guidelines and adhering to the unique travel restrictions that are in place. I know these restrictions can be incredibly challenging for our families to meet given our interstate connection. We will all continue to do the best we can and hope for reduced numbers in the coming weeks.

In a recent communication from the Vermont Department of Health it was noted that, so far, no further spread has occurred within a school after the initial case was identified. This would suggest that strategies like maintaining distance, using cohorts, requiring masks, washing hands regularly and disinfecting spaces daily are effective in preventing further transmission of the virus. Based on information shared in multiple VT/NH statewide superintendent meetings last week it is believed that a majority of recent regional exposures that resulted in positive COVID cases, have been traced back to activities outside of school. I would like to remind our school community the importance of maintaining safety measures regardless of what activities you are participating in.

With the holidays fast approaching it is important to be thinking about your travel or the travel of others who may be visiting you. It is my understanding that Vermont will be issuing some guidance in the coming weeks around holiday travel based on the epidemiological impact it could have on our communities. What this means for our district is understanding ahead of time who will need to quarantine when returning from the holiday break. If faculty and staff are traveling, we will need to know well ahead so we can plan for potential extended coverage.

In closing, I want to recognize the fact that as we navigate through the logistical details presented by COVID-19 we are doing our very best with the information we have at any given time. We work diligently to stay informed with the most up-to-date information and continue to learn along the way. I am proud of the way our elementary schools have approached in-person instruction and with a consistent community effort I am certain we will grow and improve.

As always if you have questions or concerns, I would encourage you to contact your building administrator or myself at your convenience.

Thank You,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District

October 13, 2020

Good Evening,

Today, Grafton County was identified as a yellow county on the State of Vermont cross-travel map. As a result, I have received many inquiries from faculty, staff and parents and wanted to provide an update to our school community in hopes of adding some clarity to the situation. Our district uses this map on a daily basis to determine if employees and students are subject to quarantine according to state guidelines.

Please see the map here: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/restart/cross-state-travel

The change in Grafton County to a yellow zone means that non-essential travel to Grafton County requires a 14-day quarantine upon returning to Vermont. This does not impact students attending school or employees coming to work. I have provided the definition for essential travel below as outlined in the cross-state travel guidelines for Vermont.

Essential Travel:
People traveling for essential purposes, including work, do not need to quarantine. Essential travel includes travel for personal safety, medical care, care of others, parental shared custody, for food, beverage or medicine, to attend preK-12 school and college if commuting daily, or to perform work for businesses that are currently allowed to operate. For more information about which businesses may operate and how they may operate, view the Work Safe Guidance. Individuals engaged in a daily commute to and from their job are expressly exempt from the need to quarantine by Executive Order.

Please read through this information carefully so that you have a clear understanding about essential travel. If you have further questions, please contact me, your respective building administrator, and/or our RISD COVID Coordinators, Creigh Moffat and Jessica Gould.
Thank You,

October 2, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,
As many of you are aware, Governor Scott announced last Tuesday that Vermont schools would shift from Step II guidance to Step Ill as of Saturday, September 25th The change between Step II and Step Ill have minimal impact on how we operate or the restrictions we are required to follow. The only significant change is that we are now able to begin competing against other teams as part of our fall athletic programs.

The new guidance also allows for more flexibility with the use of large group spaces such as the gym and the cafe, which is helpful as we plan for the colder months. We are currently exploring ways to hold classes outside during these beautiful fall days as recommended by our respective states knowing that winter is fast approaching. I would like to commend our faculty and staff for their efforts and willingness to problem solve by offering solutions and remaining flexible to ensure we have a safe and healthy start.

The move to Step Ill is in alignment with our plan to open our elementary schools and bring additional students back to the Academy. Planning ahead for contingencies will prepare us for the ever­evolving nature of COVID. This school year is complex and changing daily and we understand the frustrating nature of this difficult process and continue to appreciate your flexibility and understanding.

We have updated our family COVID handbook to reflect some minor changes, which are highlighted in red. As you read through the handbook please reach out with any questions you might have. Both elementary schools have each issued a handbook that is similar in nature, but more specific to their individual buildings. You will also be receiving a COVID acknowledgement and agreement form that we are asking families to sign and return for those who are in-person for instruction. Other information included this week is our remote learning platform and updated bus schedule based on the opening of SME and WES.

I hope that everyone is able to enjoy a safe and happy fall weekend!!!

Thank You,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District

September 18, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I would like to start by thanking you for your patience and understanding as we work through these first five weeks of remote instruction. Our faculty and staff have worked diligently to develop a platform in which we can connect with students in a meaningful way. We could not have done this without your support and your efforts are very much appreciated. Beginning on October 5th Rivendell Interstate School District will be open for in-person instruction with modified hours and days. We will still require enhanced physical distancing, precautionary measures and will provide a remote learning option for families who wish to keep their children home. Outlined below are some important details about what each campus experience will look like and how it will be structured.

Your COVID family handbook is up to date regarding the in-person restrictions required by the state. The one change of significant note is that we are no longer required to screen students prior to boarding the bus at the first point of contact. However, they will be screened upon arrival at school and they will be sent home if they have a temperature or if they present any of the COVID related symptoms outlined in the handbook. This has been a controversial topic in surrounding towns, and I want to be very clear about our expectations. We will ask parents to sign a waiver and an agreement related to our expectations around safety measures we are required to follow.

We have a few changes to note in the calendar as we begin to plan for a transition to Phase II.

  • September 28th – September 30th will be half days of remote instruction at the elementary level
  • September 28th in-service will be moved to October 1st
  • October 9th fall conference day will be moved to October 2nd
  • October 1st and October 2nd will be in-service days at the elementary level and conference days for the Academy


In the coming weeks you will receive communication from your building administrator to inform you about some of the logistics within each building (drop off/pick up, recess, bus routes, etc.). We will also be sending home important paperwork directly related to Phase II for you to sign and return prior to October 5th. The following pages outline what Phase II looks like at each building beginning October 5th. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via e-mail or phone at your convenience.

Thank You,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District
Phases of School Reopening

phases reopening

Rivendell Academy: The Academy will continue with remote instruction through the end of the first trimester. They have developed a strong remote learning platform built upon lessons taught via Zoom twice a week, office hours three days a week for students to get help, and Google Classroom. Students needing specialized direct instruction and students who need internet support will continue to attend school on campus. The Academy is currently making plans to bring additional middle school students onto campus for extra support based on the needs of students as determined by our faculty. We have surveyed students on their experiences with remote instruction and have provided them with opportunities for input in our Phase II planning. Our general goals are to develop Phase II plans that 1) promote improved interaction between teachers and students without eroding the quality instruction that the students are currently receiving and 2) increase the level of support that our IEP and academic mentoring students are currently receiving. We are looking at the end of our first trimester as a target date for returning students for some form of in-person instruction.

WES and SME: Westshire and Samuel Morey will open for in-person instruction on October 5th. Students will be spending their school day primarily with their classmates and teacher. There will be minimal time where different classes will interact. There will not be any whole school gatherings and recess will consist of no more than two grades maximum in the same outdoor area. Students and teachers will use the same indoor spaces and bathrooms every day. Students will not rotate into the library or art/music room, instead teachers will come to the students to teach. Our priority is to reduce the number of people sharing the same spaces and lower the risk of spreading COVID-19. This will mean that some teachers that normally rotate daily from SME to WES will rotate on a longer bi-weekly schedule. Our school day experience will be shorter than a normal school day (8:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m.) to allow for time for the new logistics of the staggered arrival and departure.

Westshire:
Start & End Times of the On-Campus Experience

  • The WES on-campus experience will be Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.- 2:15 p.m.
  • Morning drop-off will start at 7:45 a.m. and end at 8:15 a.m. (We strongly encourage families to drop off your child in your vehicle to reduce risk of exposure. Students traveling on buses will be adequately spaced apart according to the DOE recommendations.)
  • Morning bus runs will arrive to school at 8:20 a.m. and afternoon bus runs will depart from school at 2:30 p.m.
  • Students will be screened upon arrival and will then report to their respective rooms.


Samuel Morey:

Start & End Times of the On-Campus Experience

  • The SME on-campus experience will be Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.- 2:15 p.m.
  • Morning drop-off will start at 7:45 a.m. and end at 8:15 a.m. (We strongly encourage families to drop off your child in your vehicle to reduce risk of exposure. Students traveling on buses will be adequately spaced apart according to the DOE recommendations.)
  • Morning bus runs will arrive to school at approximately 8:20 a.m. and afternoon bus runs will depart from school at 2:30 p.m.
  • Students will be screened upon arrival and will then report to their respective rooms.


Rivendell Academy Middle School/High School:
Start & End Times of the On-Campus Experience

  • The Academy experience will continue to be the same for students who are attending in-person for technology and specialized instruction.
  • Morning drop-off will start at 7:45 a.m. and end at 8:00 a.m. (We strongly encourage families to drop off your child in your vehicle to reduce risk of exposure. Students traveling on buses will be adequately spaced apart according to the DOE recommendations.)
  • Morning bus runs will arrive to school at approximately 8:05 a.m. and afternoon bus runs will depart from school at 2:45p.m. (Thursday afternoon departure time will be 2:15 p.m.)
  • Families with limited access to internet will still have the option to send students additional days.
  • Students needing to access specialized instruction will also have the option to attend additional days.
  • Students will be screened and then report to their respective pod/designated workspace.


Preschool:
Preschool will continue to start their day at 8:00 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. We will offer childcare until 2:00 p.m. so that families can pick up their children before buses and older students are dismissed. We will charge a flat rate of $20 per day for any family that is accessing the preschool aftercare program.

Fully At-Home Option for Elementary:
Families may opt to access their child’s education program entirely at home. Elementary students will be assigned to a grade cluster cohort and will have a pod leader who will serve as an academic support and contact. This will be different from what the first five weeks of remote instruction looked like. Elementary students choosing to stay remote will have access to additional platforms that are designed specifically to provide grade level content (e.g., Canvas/Edmodo).

Attendance:
The daily and weekly structure for the RISD academic experience as of October 5th will be very similar for Academy students and very new for elementary students. Schools are required to officially record daily attendance which can be challenging when looking at the restrictions related to symptoms and daily screenings. Whether on-campus or at home, students will convene daily for a morning check-in and attendance. Attendance will be recorded but, in the event of a technology issue or in the event a child is home because of mild symptoms, attendance can be recorded by completing work or calling the school directly. Students selecting the fully at-home option will need to coordinate their schedules with their cohort leader.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Superintendent
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – Head of Schools, Rivendell Academy
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – Principal, Westshire Elementary School
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – Principal, Samuel Morey Elementary School

 

August 19, 2020

Good Afternoon,

I hope you and your families are well and have been able to enjoy the summer. Understandably, we have had several requests from parents about childcare for essential workers. As you know it is extremely difficult to determine who is an essential worker per the guidance from our respective states. When I reviewed the regulations, it would appear that 80% of our workforce could claim to be essential, which makes it difficult to establish guidelines for us to follow as a school district. Therefore, we have established our own criteria listed below. If you feel like you meet these criterion please send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The following criteria need to be met to qualify for our essential care program:

  • Both parents when applicable must be deemed essential workers.
  • Childcare options for the respective state you live in must be explored and ruled out because of logistics and or availability. Vermont residents should contact the Family Place at 802-649-3268 and ask for a childcare referral. New Hampshire residents should do the same through their state agent, NH Childcare Aware at 603-578-1386. They most likely will refer you to Care.com if you wish to skip the formalities.
  • Your employer must provide a written statement that indicates the need for you to be physically at work.
  • Must be able to drop off no earlier than 8AM and pick up no later than 3PM.
  • Essential worker care is no longer a reimbursable cost for the school district and therefore will require us to charge a fee of $45 per day per enrolled child. Your payment will need to be received prior to your child’s first day of the week.

Thank you for being patient as we work to find a solution for essential worker families during this difficult time. My hope is to begin offering care within the district starting September 8th. Please contact your building administrator if you have specific questions related to your childcare needs.

Best regards,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District

August 19, 2020 Superintendent Letter about childcare for essential workers

 

June 16, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,

This has been a very challenging spring for all of us and we recognize discussing current issues with your family may be difficult. The recent violence and unrest have brought to the attention of the world issues surrounding institutionalized racism within our country. As the Superintendent of Rivendell Interstate School District, I strongly believe in, and actively promote, the ideals of respect, responsibility and safety for all members of our school community.

If you or your child/children need help understanding and processing these tragic events, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help. Our administrators, teachers and counselors are available to answer questions or to process what you are seeing in the news. Though we are distanced, the health and well-being of your family remains of great importance to us. Here are three simple things anyone can do to help oneself and others during this difficult time:

1. Educate yourself (not from Facebook)
2. Talk to people about what you have learned
3. Support your friends and neighbors in need – (e-mail, letter, care package, phone call)

I recognize that social and racial injustice exist in our schools, communities and country. I know and understand that educating ourselves to combat these injustices is of utmost importance to effect change. We will continue to evaluate our practices and participate in future trainings, so we are better able to recognize, identify and respond to implicit bias.

It is my sincere hope that the lessons we learn from this national tragedy will inspire positive change in our respective communities and improve the educational equity that will allow our students the best possible opportunity to learn and thrive.

Sincerely,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District

June 16, 2020 Superintendent Letter to the Rivendell Community

 

June 5, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,

I hope this letter finds you all well and safe. It has been a busy time here at the District Office with end of year activities, planning for next year and the annual budget vote. As many of you are aware our budget was defeated last Tuesday. As we begin to plan for the next vote, I want parents and families to know that we are committed to developing dynamic learning opportunities for our students. We will have to make some difficult decisions in the next couple of weeks and ask that you continue to support our efforts to maintain a positive outlook as we think creatively on how to best move forward. The board has voted to hold our next vote on June 30th, and you should expect to receive an absentee ballot and informational correspondences in the next couple of weeks.

Summer Meals:
We are committed to continue providing summer meals to students and can do so with the support of the USDA and state agencies that help provide food to our district. We will prepare a full week of meals (breakfast and lunch) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting on June 22nd through August 14th. We currently do not have the capacity to deliver meals through the summer so families will have to arrange for pickup of meals during this time. If you are in dire need of this service, we may be able to find a volunteer from the community to help you out, but as a district we do not have the financial capacity to provide delivery service through the summer. If you would like to sign up for summer meals please e-mail Celise Johnson at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Childcare for Essential Workers:
Much like our meals program our childcare for essential workers program will also require some modifications to its structure. We currently have the capacity to serve 16 kids between the SME and WES campuses. The program will run from 8AM-4PM Monday through Friday from June 22nd through August 14th and will be staffed by current teachers and support staff members. The cost of the program will be $225 per week regardless of how many days your child attends. The reason for the fee now is because we have no way of knowing what financial support our district will receive from the federal government related to COVID-19 expenses and without an approved budget, we as a district, are not in a position to take on additional expenses. If we have more requests, then capacity we will use a lottery system to determine who gets an open slot. Please e-mail your request forms to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. It should also be noted that the current safety procedures recommended by the CDC will be required as part of the program.

Summer Plans:
As summer quickly approaches, I continue to think about the strain COVID-19 has put on families and the potential negative impact this has caused our children. Please know that our administrators, teachers and support staff will continue to be a resource for you even in the summer. If you or your child is struggling, we want to know so that we can do everything in our power to support the children and families we serve. I am still hopeful that we will work out a partnership with other local camps for our families to access and as I mentioned above, we will still be providing meals through the summer. We are exploring ways in which we can provide summer tutoring for individual and small groups of children. Outside of these activities I would encourage everyone to spend as much time outside as possible. Vermont and New Hampshire have wonderful state parks that are relatively inexpensive to visit, and our four towns are linked by the Cross Rivendell Trail, which has an amazing landscape that has easy access.

Closing:
In closing, I would like to congratulate the Rivendell Academy Class of 2020. I was recently recorded as part of the ceremony video and I can assure you I did not do them justice. Their contributions to the district have been invaluable and their leadership will be greatly missed. While I only had a short time to work with them, I am confident that they will move forward as positive members of our respective communities. They have served as role models for those to come and I/we wish them the very best in any and all endeavors they pursue. COVID-19 has put them in the history books and they have handled the situation with dignity and grace. I want to thank the graduating class for their flexibility, understanding and determination through all of this. They will be greatly missed, and we wish them all the very best!!!

Thank You,
Barrett Williams
Superintendent Rivendell Interstate School District

Rivendell Superintendent Parent Communication June 6, 2020

 

Week of May 14, Superintendent Update

May 15, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community:

It is incredibly challenging to remain positive and keep that sense of hope during these difficult times. I myself routinely have felt a sense of frustration that I very rarely encounter. I can only imagine the challenges that our students, parents and families are experiencing. I strongly encourage everyone to take a step back when experiencing these feelings and do something that is good for your social emotional wellbeing. Please also know that we as administrators, teachers and support staff are here to help support our students and families. We will get through this crisis and we will be stronger as a result when it’s all said and done.

Last Day:

The Rivendell School District has traditionally followed New Hampshire statute which requires 180 student days for the school year. The New Hampshire statue also allows for districts to base the school year on contact hours, which many are doing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. These districts will be ending school around Memorial Day and using the additional days for teachers to participate in professional development, reflect upon how to improve distance instruction and to begin planning for the start of school next year. As an interstate district we are obligated, at minimum, to meet the Vermont statue of 175 student days, which means our last student day will be June 5th.

Information Meetings/Budget Vote:

The board is hosting its second information meeting on May 19th at 6PM and is intended to target the folks who plan to show up at the polls to vote and those who are undecided and have not returned an absentee ballot. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom, which can be accessed by coping and pasting the link from the listserv posting. In addition, we will provide the link on our webpage for people to access and it is embedded below in this document. I would also encourage folks to use the budget question e-mail below if you have a question that has not been addressed in the Q&A document on our webpage. You have probably noticed an increase in communication from board members on the local listservs encouraging people to vote. In conjunction with this, we as an administrative team, have been sharing positive stories about the district and all the good work our faculty and staff have done during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you for your continued support as we recognize that we could not be successful without the partnership we have with you as parents.

E-mail for budget questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/93179139794?pwd=UXFVUWx3YzhZTk5UR05DclVJcERsUT09

Summer Programming:

The agency of education has yet to provide guidance about summer programs and is waiting for recommendations from the CDC and Department of Health. There are still many questions about the number of people they will allow in a program, required PPE equipment adults and kids might have to use and how to respond if someone in the program test positive for COVID-19. With so many unanswered questions about the safety procedures and precautions we have decided not to run a program this summer. We are, however, meeting with some of the local camps to see if we can develop a partnership of sorts that would allow our students access to day programming options. I will keep you posted as we continue to think about and discuss what this will look like.|

School Materials – Returning and Picking Up:

Each school will be communicating with parents directly on how they will schedule the returning of materials, books and electronic devices. Middle school and high school students will have lockers to cleanout and other materials that will need to be brought home for the summer. We have issued over 100 electronic devices to students during this crisis and it will be important for us to have these returned over the summer to ensure proper maintenance and updates are installed.

Summer Meals:

Currently, each state is suggesting that schools continue to provide meals throughout the summer, which I am in complete agreement with. We will be sending out a survey to families next week to see what the level of need is in our district and then coordinate with our food service team to develop a plan on how to best offer this service.

Fall Reopening Plan:

Parents and families are beginning to ask questions about next year and what that will look like. While I am optimistic that we will be able to provide in person instruction the reality is there is no way to predict the unknown. Vermont and New Hampshire have both created task force committees charged with creating a document that will guide our schools in how to best reopen in the fall. Much of this work is focused on how to keep faculty, staff and students safe. We have been told to expect this guidance near the end of June. Our faculty and staff have begun planning already but will certainly need this guidance as we move forward.

Thank you,

Barrett Williams

Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District 

https://youtu.be/rQtgIMPmNIA

 

Week of April 13 Superintendent Update

April 13, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community:

I would like to start by thanking all of you for your continuous support during these past four weeks. To put it mildly, these are challenging times with lots of unanswered questions. I have outlined answers to some of those questions below. As always, I will keep you informed as new information becomes available.

6th Grade: The situation we are facing with COVID-19, along with the limitations and challenges of an uncertain budget, led us to the decision that at this time it would be irresponsible to shift our 6th grade to the Academy next year. We are, however, committed to the change and will take the time between now and SY 21-22 to plan, hire and implement this initiative. For SY 20-21 each elementary school will have their own fifth grade and next year’s sixth grade will remain combined at SME.

Spring Sports: We anticipate the VPA making a final decision on spring sports by April 30th. We will wait for further guidance from the VPA on this issue before taking steps. At this time, it is unlikely the VPA will choose to offer spring sports based on the stay-at-home order through May 15th.

April Break: Last week superintendents across the state were directed by the VT Secretary of Education to follow current school calendars, but I submitted a request for a variance to the AOE based on our interstate status. The variance was approved, and as such, we will have a modified April break next week. I recognize that families and staff are affected differently by this shift to remote learning. Many are settling into the new schedule and prefer to continue teaching and learning, while others are feeling overwhelmed and need a break. In an effort to best meet the needs of everyone we will be off on Monday, April 20th and Friday, April 24th giving everyone back-to-back long weekends. We will maintain our academic programing Tuesday, April 21st through Thursday, April 23rd, which will offset our three snow days and allow us to get out of school earlier in June. We will not be providing meals or essential childcare on the two days we are off.

Items Left at School by Students: When the stay-at-home order is lifted by the Governor, we will come up with a process for students to access any items they have left at school and will work to create a pick-up system. Until the Governor’s order is lifted, we are not allowing public access to our schools. School districts have been advised to close campuses to the public to help promote the idea of social distancing.

If you have questions or concerns about the above information or other general information, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail. I am in the office daily and will respond to you as soon as possible.

Thank You,
Barrett Williams

Superintendent, Rivendell Interstate School District
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
603-353-2170

Rivendell Remote Learning Plan (posted April 8, 2020)

April 8, 2020

Dear Rivendell School Community,
For the past three weeks you have continued to show great fortitude in dealing with our school closure and distance learning. I appreciate all feedback as we continue to grow and improve upon how we can educate our students and support our families. During this time our administrative team has been meeting to discuss how to move forward into Phase 2 of our remote learning. There has been plenty of guidance from both states that we have considered and used in the development of our plan. Please know that we fully expect to run into challenges and will continue to look for creative solutions as needs arise. I have outlined below some of the recommendations that we have utilized to guide our work and feel confident that we have created a platform that will allow students to learn, stay connected and feel cared for between now and the end of the year.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Continuous learning opportunities means that teachers are providing students with content, materials, and resources that allow students to engage in academic work while at home. These opportunities will differ for different age groups and grades. Instructional models may include blending of non-technology and virtual platforms. Students on IEPs and 504 plans will receive accommodations and services outlined in their Distance Learning Plans.

2. Students should have weekly assignments, projects and if possible, check-ins. The recommended guidelines for student commitment each day are as follows:

  • Pre-k: 30-45 minutes
  • K-1: 45-60 minutes
  • Grades 2-3: 60-75 minutes
  • Grades 4-6: 90-105 minutes
  • Grades 7-12: 30 minutes per teacher for a maximum of three hours per day

3. We should be mindful of the stressors on students, families, and educators. As we continue to implement “remote instruction” we will gather feedback from students, parents, teachers, and administrators who might be overwhelmed by new responsibilities and routines as they diligently work to maintain student learning during this crisis. We recommend parents/students/teachers/learning coaches and administrators take movement/wellness breaks every 30 minutes.

4. We recognize that continuous learning opportunities are important but place a greater value on the social-emotional needs and the overall health of our students and families. In our efforts to meet the social-emotional needs of our students and families the administration is asking that we integrate the following into our remote learning plan:

  • Focus on essential learning for students - “Less is More”
  • Be flexible and ready to adapt when needs arise
  • Emphasize relationships in this new learning environment
  • Encourage use of materials, resources and platforms that are already in use
  • Extend grace to all in these unique and trying times

Please contact me with any questions you might have, be mindful of social distancing, wash your hands, stay safe and be strong. We miss you all greatly and look forward to improving upon how we support and teach you during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RIVENDELL REMOTE LEARNING PLAN


Parents and students will be able to access assignments and activities on the Rivendell Remote Learning site as of April 20th, which will be located on our webpage. All students should use this platform to access communication and assignments as a first step each day. All communication methods and assignments will be based upon the age of the child and in accordance with state recommendations. We will also continue to provide weekly activities in the different specials’ classes (Library, Music, PE, Art, and Guidance), as these are as much a part of your child's education as any subject.

Teachers will have daily Office Hours for easy access and communication. Teachers will be able to set up group video conferences, provide online video lessons, and will be available for one-on-one assistance through whatever means families have available. Our goal is to design material/lessons that are engaging and relevant to students, as we recognize the challenges families face with distance learning. The ability to introduce new concepts will be challenging for all students, and as such, we will focus on skill development and focus on providing more depth of existing knowledge. We believe this will allow students and parents to successfully participate in the new and unfamiliar remote learning school day.

Each family will be assigned an 'Academic Advisor' who will be in contact with you weekly and available as needed daily while school is closed. Their role is to assist both students and parents with the activities and lessons, as well as to make sure you have what you need. The advisors are made up of our support staff and instructional specialists (such as our reading, behavior and math specialists). The academic advisor role is to re-establish a connection with our students and to advocate any needs that exist in the household. We as a district will do everything possible to assist you directly or connect you with someone who can.

TIMELINE:
Our goal is to begin using this platform and outline starting the week of April 20th. In the next two weeks we will be designing and populating it with student resources and lesson plans. We expect that there will be some unknown challenges and will keep you informed with any changes or adjustments we might have to make.

REMOTE LEARNING EXPECTATIONS

Regardless of the platform that we use for learning it is essential that we work together as a school community to be successful. Our expectations are outlined below for everyone to review and use as a guide between now and the end of the school year.

STUDENTS:
1. Get daily assignments from the Remote Learning site and follow attendance procedure.
2. Contact your Academic Advisor if you have questions or need help.
3. Contact your teacher during Office Hours (teachers will note on their Remote Learning page Office Hours) with questions.
4. Attend any online meetings your teachers invite you to.
5. Submit all assigned work as requested by your teacher(s).

TEACHERS:
1. Post lessons on the Remote Learning site between 8:00 and 8:30 am.

  • Math/Science are posting on Monday/Wednesday
  • Language Arts/Social Studies on Tuesday/Thursday.
  • Specials are posting on Friday = Art, Music, PE/Health, Library, Language

2. Be online and ready to answer questions and help during two daily office hours:

  • 8:45-9:45 a.m.
  • 1:45-2:45 p.m.

3. Let students and parents know of online meeting times (for video conferencing and live teaching/help) on the Remote Learning site and through any daily communication.
4. Communicate any expected work to be completed and when it is due.
5. Answer parent or student emails in a timely manner.
6. Contact specific Academic Advisors about students needing extra support.

PARENTS:

1. Try to create a designated, distraction-free workspace.
2. Help your child access daily work on the Remote Learning site and make sure attendance procedures are being followed.
3. Help your child maintain a daily routine and schedule for learning as suggested by the teachers’ lessons and student expectations.
4. Help your child plan daily work into reasonable time periods.
5. Help your child post, submit, or virtually hand in any work by the due date and time.
6. Communicate any questions or concerns with the school-assigned learning coach as needed.
7. Contact teachers via email with further questions or concerns.

ACADEMIC ADVISORS:

1. Contact each family on your list by phone or video conference at least 2x per week or as needed.
2. Be familiar with the lessons for your students on the Remote Learning site.
3. Offer student help via phone, Facetime, or other online platforms as needed.
4. Communicate any questions or concerns to the appropriate teacher as soon as possible.
5. Maintain a record of contact made with each student and family.

Please know that this is a working document that we will modify as needed between now and the end of the year. Also, we recognize the need to be flexible with families during this transition and look forward to working with you to make this transition as smooth as possible. We continue to appreciate your support and willingness to play an active role in the success of your child/children’s education and overall well-being. Please continue to be safe in the coming weeks and months.

Best Regards,

RISD Administrative Team
Barrett Williams, Superintendent
Keri Gelenian, Head of School RA
Melissa Zoerheide, Principal WES
Steve Lindemann, Principal SME
Jan Cole, SPED Director
Brenda Gray, Human Resource Director

March 27, 2020

RISD Closure for the Rest of the School Year

Dear Rivendell School Community,

I am sorry to inform you that Rivendell Interstate School District will close our schools for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year based on a recent decision at the state level to try and help manage the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this closure we are required to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning. This is a shift in how we have approached remote learning and will require our faculty and staff to think about how to make remote student learning more rigorous in nature with learning outcomes and accountability procedures for our students. As we take on these new challenges, we ask for your continued support and thank you for your understanding.

Like many of you, I was very sad to hear the news about the closing of schools for the remainder of the year. My heart goes out to all our kids and families who are experiencing financial and other hardship, missing friends, traditions, sports and other educational opportunities. These are difficult times that I am certain we will successfully navigate and in some ways be better as a result.

I am including some resources and guidance that has been provided by the state:

Internet Access Opportunities:

  • Spectrum/Charter is offering free Wi-Fi to new subscribers who have a student in grades K-12 and/or college for 60 days (Call 1-844-579-3743 to enroll).
  • X-finity/Comcast is offering free Wi-Fi to low-income families for 60 days and free Wi-Fi
    hotspots to everyone.
  • AT&T has removed all data restrictions and is offering internet access to low-income families for $10 per month; their Wi-Fi hotspots will be free to everyone.
  • Cox Communications has removed data restrictions for all and are offering the first month
    free for new customers. They also offer a reduced rate of $9.95 for households with at least one K-12 student and participate in a government assistance program.
  • Sprint and Century link have removed data restrictions.
  • The Federal Communications Commission has a list of companies and organizations that have signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge.


Forthcoming Guidance:

  • Address student attendance and school calendar requirements;
  • Clarify procedural requirements for compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities
    Act (IDEA);
  • Focus district efforts on ensuring equitable access to high quality instruction and
    learning opportunities;
  • Describe how end of the school year gatherings and graduations will be handled;
  • Develop the format and submission parameters of a School Districts Continuity of
    Learning Plan which will be required to be submitted to the Agency by close of business
    on Wednesday April 8, 2020.

We have so many unanswered questions, which in my experience can lead to heightened anxiety levels. I would encourage us all to slow down, breathe deeply and take it one day at a time. We have an amazing faculty and staff who are working tirelessly to improve upon every aspect of the educational opportunities we are providing your child/children. I will continue to keep the school community updated as new information becomes available. Thank you once again for your continued support and compassion as we work to make the best of a difficult situation.

Best regards,

Barrett Williams
Superintendent
Rivendell Interstate School District

RISD Closure for the Rest of the School Year

 

Letter from Barrett Williams

February 14, 2020

Letter from Barrett Williams, Superintendent

Letter from Barrett Williams

December 11, 2019

Letter from Barrett Williams, Superintendent 

Rivendell Appoints New Principals

May 30, 2019
Dear Rivendell Community,

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Steven Lindemann as principal of Samuel Morey Elementary School and Timm Judas as principal of Westshire Elementary School effective July 1, 2019. Many thanks to all who helped with the search process.

The board decided at its April 4th meeting to return to the model of one principal dedicated to each school. The 13-person search committee was charged with finding two leaders to work as peers in making our schools the best they can be. The committee met with teachers, parents, and community members to identify what to look for in a candidate. Communication and interpersonal skills ranked high on the list, along with a demonstrated capacity to solve problems and build trust. School climate, behavior, and instructional leadership were also common themes. The committee looked through applications, conducted initial interviews, and set up a schedule for each of the finalists to spend a full day at the schools. This process played out over several weeks with the first two candidates visiting May 6th and the final two May 22nd. (If it feels like you’ve been waiting for a long time for an official announcement, you are right!) Reference checking started as soon as each finalist was identified. After each round of visits, the committee met to review feedback from teachers, staff, parents, community members and share what was learned from reference-checking. While some conversations took longer than others, the committee made the unanimous decision to recommend these two candidates to the school board.

Steve Lindemann started his education career teaching English to prospective baseball players, first in the Dominican Republic and then in the US working for the LA Dodgers. Shifting to elementary school education, he taught Kindergarten, 1st grade and 4th grade in Potsdam NY, before moving to VT and teaching 5th/6th grade math and science for 17 years. He became the assistant principal at Mary Hogan Elementary School in Middlebury in 2013 and served as interim principal this past year. He holds masters degrees in international management, elementary education, and educational leadership.

Timm Judas was the art teacher at Newbury Elementary School for eight years before teaching art and music at Oxbow for fifteen years. Throughout that time he worked to integrate arts across the curriculum and connect with rural community histories. He was involved in numerous school and community projects including a preschool, after-school programs, and theater and music productions. While teaching at Oxbow, he completed a masters degree and advanced graduate work in art education at Plymouth State. Since 2012 he has been teaching art education at Plymouth State and currently serves as the coordinator of graduate and undergraduate art education programs.

While changes in leadership can be challenging, we see this as an exciting opportunity to assemble a team of exceptional leaders to move the district forward. We look forward to working with this team.

Sincerely,
The Rivendell School Board

Superintendent Chosen!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         

Contact: Marc DeBois

Phone: (603) 493-0508

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

 

                                      RIVENDELL PICKS NEW LEADER

Barrett Williams, longtime Sharon Elementary School principal, tapped as

Rivendell Interstate School District Superintendent

                                                                                                                     

Orford, NH (April 16, 2019) The Rivendell Interstate School District Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Barrett Williams as superintendent of schools effective July 1, 2019.

A Vermont native, Mr. Williams attended Bradford public schools. He received his education degree at Husson College in Bangor, Maine, and his Master of Education at UVM. After teaching and serving as a an administrator in Tunbridge and Chelsea, he became principal of Sharon Elementary School where he has served for the past 11 years. At Sharon, Mr. Williams prized his connection with students, but he became known as a relentless promoter and developer of new programs and initiatives, including pre-school, farm to school, outdoor programs and more. These new ideas attracted enrollment. Total enrollment at Sharon increased from 84 students to 163 today, and Sharon is now at full capacity, one of the very few schools in the Upper Valley in that position.

The Search Committee, chaired by RISD vice chair Kathy Hooke of Vershire, was impressed by how well Mr. Williams matched their ambitious goals. “Teachers and community members told us that they loved Rivendell’s family-like atmosphere, innovative teaching and commitment to opportunities for students. They wanted us to find a skilled communicator, a proven innovator with the ability to see the connections that could lead to new programs and opportunities, and above all a leader with expertise and enthusiasm to take what we love about Rivendell and help us grow. Barrett checked all those boxes with professionalism and the disarming Vermont humor that we love.”

Mr. Williams lives in Thetford with his wife and son. He is a youth sports enthusiast, outdoorsman, and storyteller.  

Rivendell’s status as an Interstate district creates a host of opportunities, but also presents complicated requirements for management and reporting. In recognition of this challenge, RISD has retained the services of retired Lebanon superintendent Dr. Mike Harris to mentor Mr. Williams in his first year on the job. Dr. Harris served most recently as Lyme’s superintendent and was RISD’s interim superintendent 2016 to 2017. Board chair, Marc DeBois, states “We recognize that this is a challenging job. Dr. Harris’s long service to school districts in New Hampshire and to Rivendell will help make for a smooth and effective transition.”

The Rivendell Interstate School District was founded in 1998 to serve the children of Orford, New Hampshire and the Vermont towns of Fairlee, West Fairlee and Vershire. Rivendell has become known for its innovative approach to education that places the student at the center of deep authentic learning. The district is proud of its commitment to rigorous education for all students regardless of background or socio-economic status. It offers full-day preschool, afterschool and summer programming, and numerous opportunities for older students to deepen their learning through independent projects, internships and travel abroad. Rivendell’s three schools, Samuel Morey Elementary, Westshire Elementary and Rivendell Academy consistently rank among the best in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Superintendent Search Update

 

March 2019
Dear Rivendell Community,
The Rivendell Interstate School District is actively engaged in the process of searching for a new Superintendent of Schools. The search committee is composed of Brenda Gray, Keri Gelenian, Kirsten Surprenant, Rachael Weber, Makalia Oakes, Jess Cheney, Rebecca Wurdak, Kathy Hooke and David Ricker. Over the past several weeks the committee has met several times to look though resumes, review the job description, and identify what we are looking for in a candidate. We also held focus groups with teachers and community members. Some common themes emerged: we are looking for an excellent communicator who will be able to build relationships within the schools and larger community; a leader with expertise, enthusiasm and humor, capable of handling many responsibilities and making hard decisions; someone who will take what we love about Rivendell (small caring community, innovative teaching, commitment to special opportunities for our students) and help us grow. Based on these criteria, we narrowed the field down to three candidates for a first round of interviews. Of these, we identified one who we would like to advance to the next level. Since new applications continue to come in, we will keep the search open until the hiring process is completed. At this time, we are excited to invite you to meet our candidate under active consideration. We strongly encourage you to attend and participate in a community conversation with the candidate and submit feedback for the committee to consider. Included is a draft of the job description as you consider the role of the Superintendent in our district.


superintendent meeting dates

We hope to see you and welcome your participation and feedback.

Communication from RISD Board

Communication from RISD Board 01 14 19

Communication from RISD Board January 14, 2019

Student Enrollment

student enrollment

Click here to download the Student Enrollment Data Sheet.

Enrollment fluctuates throughout the year.

student enrollment08242016

student enrollement

Click here to download the Student Enrollment Data Sheet.

Enrollment fluctuates throughout the year.

Letter from the School Board and Superintendent

To the Rivendell Community:

Please read the letter with important information from the School Board and Superintendent.

Click here to download the letter.