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Graduation 2020 & Year-End Reminders and Updates

June 9, 2020

Dear Families,

It’s hard to believe we are in the last week of school, and tomorrow we will be congratulating our sixth graders—some of whom were the first students ever to complete all of their elementary school years at the newly established independent Village School of North Bennington. It was not easy to decide the best way to safely and inclusively honor them and celebrate their milestone.

Thanks to the assistance of videographer and Village School parent Michael Beach and our very own Amanda Bickford and Laura Cary, who put together the slideshow, we produced a special video graduation ceremony that will be aired for the first time tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10, at 6:30 p.m. on the school’s YouTube Channel. You can either access it at this link or by going to YouTube.com and searching for “VSNB Tube.” The video features many elements that are a traditional part of the Village School’s annual graduation ceremony. There will be speeches, awards, individual student recognition, a special guest speaker, and a student slideshow at the end of the video.

We invite you to share notes of congratulations on our school’s YouTube page, Facebook page, and also at NorShaft Lions Park, where families and friends can add signs to the park’s chain-link fence. 

It was bittersweet to recognize our sixth graders and their tremendous accomplishment without actually having them present at the ceremony. Like this COVID-19 spring, it was strange and sad not to be able to shake their hands and hand them their diplomas—but it was also joyful and meaningful to reflect on each remarkable student and to have a platform to wish them well as they head off for the summer and the next stage in their educational journeys. Mrs. Muller and I, thankfully, were able to visit many of the students at their houses after the filming of the ceremony. We delivered balloons and sunflowers to them. Attached to each sunflower was a photograph of the kindergarten class, bringing the loop full circle from the start of the school year, when the sixth graders gave sunflowers to the incoming kindergartners.

Our hope is that the Village School community will be able to come together again in late summer to celebrate the Class of 2020 graduates and our collective accomplishment of making it through this historic academic year.

Noted below are some final, important reminders before we close out the school year. I want to thank you again for the patience and flexibility you have shown in working through so many challenges and “firsts” together. As always, please reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. We will be in touch this summer with updates as we have more details about reopening the school for the 2020-2021 academic year. Stay healthy and safe, and have fun! 

Warm regards,

Tim Newbold

Head of School

IMPORTANT REMINDERS AND UPDATES

Returning School Items:

  • Classroom materials: Please follow the instructions of your student’s teacher for returning any classroom materials that were loaned to your family. 
  • Library books: A book-return bin is located outside of the front lobby entrance (facing School Street). It is available each day from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. until June 12. If these hours do not work for you, please email info@vsnb.org to arrange another time for drop-off. 

Progress Reports:

The final trimester closes on Friday, June 12, and your student’s teacher will communicate with you about how and when your student’s progress report will be distributed. Each teacher is going about distribution as best suited for their class. The progress report that you are used to seeing will also look a little different. This will be explained in further detail when you receive the progress report, but the important point is that students will only be assessed on the lessons the teacher was able to cover. For example, you might see a lot of N/As (Not Applicable) for content that could not be covered or assessed effectively. Each teacher will provide families with a comprehensive narrative describing what topics and skills they covered and how your student is being assessed. Encore subjects, such as Art, Music, and Physical Education, will not be assessed because they have been considered optional activities during the school’s closure. Additionally, each teacher will make recommendations for students to continue their learning over the summer. 

Chromebooks for the Summer:

In light of the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19,  the school has made a commitment to allow all returning students the opportunity to hold onto their Chromebooks for the summer. We understand that many families may wish to continue their children’s learning over the summer, and children also may not have access to their typical summer activities. We want to do what we can to help students have an engaging and fulfilling summer. The school’s expectation is that students will use the Chromebooks as an educational tool. Your student will have access to many of the same online tools that the school used for distance learning. There will be no formal instruction from teachers, but all teachers will make recommendations for students to be able to continue their learning. Importantly, the school will not be able to monitor your student’s computer usage, and this will be a family’s responsibility. There will only be limited tech support over the summer. Please reach out to Ms. Bickford (abickford@vsnb.org) if any issues arise. 

If your student is not returning to the Village School, or if your family does not need or want the Chromebook for the summer, we ask that you please return the Chromebook. You can reach out to your student’s teacher, Ms. Bickford (abickford@vsnb.org) or info@vsnb.org about making arrangements to drop it off at the school.  

School Yearbook:

Unfortunately, the school yearbooks have not arrived yet due to delays from COVID-19 interruptions. We thank you for your continued patience, and we will notify you about getting your copy (if you placed an order) as soon as the shipment is at the school. If you still need to place an order, it is not too late. Each yearbook is $13, and you can email info@vsnb.org to reserve a yearbook and/or mail a check payable to VSNB at P.O. Box 847, North Bennington, VT 05257. Tammy Carpenter will get back to you about making arrangements for pick up or delivery. Please place your order soon, as the supply of yearbooks is limited.  

Meal Balances:

Many students still have balances due to the school cafeteria. If you receive an invoice in the mail this week, please pay the amount due as soon as possible (instructions will be included with the invoice). If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact Mr. Newbold at tnewbold@vsnb.org or 802-442-5955. If your student has a positive balance on their cafeteria account, the credit will automatically be rolled over to next year. If you would rather receive a refund check, please send an email to info@vsnb.org.

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Mission

Children are at the heart of all we do. We nurture a child's curiosity, ignite enthusiasm for exploring, develop tools for inquiry, for invention, for achievement. We welcome families into a community-wide collaboration to help our children grow into their best selves - responsible citizens and stewards of the greater world, makers of the future.