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Family Newsletter 10.30.20

Follow the yellow brick road

Follow, follow, follow, follow

Follow the yellow brick road

Follow the rainbow over the Duxbury Hill

Follow the Highlander who follows a dream

Follow, follow, follow, follow

Follow the yellow brick road

We're off to see the Wizard

The wonderful Wizard of Harwood…  

Dear Harwood Families,

Over the last several weeks in advisory your children have been preparing for Wednesday’s mock trial in readiness for our national election next week.  

As a district, we have been engaging in work with Rebecca Haslam (an anti-bias curricula and pedagogy, and equity literacy for educators consultant) in considering our own biases and how they impact our daily actions as educators and human beings.  This experience has required us to begin engaging in difficult conversations that will surface disagreement.  The goal of this work is intentionally intended to challenge us as we continue to grow and strengthen HUUSD toward becoming a community where we all feel safe - seen, heard, respected and understood. 

In looking to the inevitable challenges of next week’s historic election, we seek to provide similar space and opportunities for the HUMHS community to continue engaging in difficult conversations that yield consideration of our individual role in democracy, self regulation and civil responsibility.  Harwood’s election week activities can be found here:  Harwood Election Debrief  Activities

This guide was created to support and facilitate this work.  Please partner with us to continue this work at home and outside of school to increase our children’s capacity to grow their skills as Global citizens - one of Harwood’s learning expectations (proficiencies).

3. GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Develop and express knowledge and understanding about the world, and exhibit actions which contribute to building a community's values and practices.

HS.03.02 Demonstrate respect for others including diverse/differing points of view. HS.03.06 Evaluate various forms of bias, and explain the influence on one's own and others' point of view.

As we charter this work our children will also be readying for their November Conferences (November 12 and 17th) where they will reflect and share their wellness and academic goals for the year.  Families should receive an email from their student(s) teacher advisor to schedule a time to meet on one these two evenings.  Please note that we are not utilizing Canyon Creek scheduler for these conferences this fall for a variety of circumstances.  

The confluence of these realities feels appropo as the words of Iain S. Thomas so beautifully captures.  “The most difficult moments of our lives are the ones we will later look back on … and bow to, acknowledging that it was then that we became who we are…” Whatever happens, on or around November 3rd, ultimately, a winner and a loser will be declared. And in that moment, regardless of the result, each one of us will choose who we become. And each day after, as well.  Let us rise to the occasion, no matter the outcome, and be made better by it.”

In this moment when the country is divided, we can be an example of hope, unity and a community of one. 

In partnership and with gratitude for sharing in the work of creating a community where all can feel safe - seen, heard, respected and understood,

Lauie, Duane and Meg

9th grade Global studies hard at work



Are you and your family thinking about traveling outside of Vermont?

  • If so, please review the Vermont Travel map; it is color coded and intended to be used to determine if you need to quarantine upon return or not. The map is updated weekly on Tuesday.

  • Quarantine means refraining from activities outside of the home, like grocery shopping or getting together with friends or family. People in quarantine should separate themselves from others and check themselves for symptoms. People in quarantine may not go to work outside of the home and may not attend school.

  • What are the quarantine guidelines when returning to Vermont? If traveling by personal vehicle to a county with less than 400 active cases per one million residents of COVID-19 (GREEN area on the map) you do not have to quarantine once returning to VT. If traveling to a county with more than 400 active cases of COVID-19 per one million residents (YELLOW or RED areas on the map), you must quarantine for a total of 14 days or for 7 days followed by a negative COVID-19 test. Traveling by airplane, regardless of the color of the place you are traveling to, is considered high risk and the same quarantining guidelines must be followed as traveling to a RED area.

  • What if the color changes in the county you’re visiting before you return to Vermont? If the color changes — Please use the color of the county on the day you leave VT to help you determine whether or not you need to quarantine when you return to VT.

  • Are you hosting friends/family from out-of-state and unsure as to whether or not your household (not your guests) should be quarantining as well? While your guests may need to quarantine based on what color the county is that they’re traveling from, you and your family who reside within the household do not need to quarantine as well. Quarantining guidelines are only applicable to the traveler, and therefore students CAN still come to school when someone in the house has traveled from any other area.  This also applies to family members who may have traveled (including those who have returned from college for a holiday or scheduled break). The family member who traveled should follow quarantine guidelines. Please note, Be sure to maintain at least 6-feet distance from those who have traveled and wear masks when in common spaces (even inside your home) where social distancing is not possible. Remember to frequently wash your hands as well as frequently touched surfaces (e.g. bathroom, kitchen) until the end of the quarantine period (either 14 days or 7 days followed by a negative COVID-19 test).  For more travel information, visit the Vermont Department of Health's website

  • Please help spread the word about our new video, "How Contact Tracing Slows the Spread of COVID-19,"

The brief video (1 minute, 42 seconds) is to help educate people about how contact tracing works, why it’s an important tool to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to encourage people to answer the call if they are called by a contact tracer. The video can be helpful for people of all ages; it uses a friendly, animated style, and easy-to-understand language and visuals. Now that schools have opened up, we want to make sure families are familiar with this concept and process, in the event they become a case of COVID-19, or are identified as a close contact to a case. The video also explains that calls from a contract tracer always come from a live person, and are never a computer-generated voice or robot, and we never ask about financial information. It also shows the phone number that will show up if you get a call. This is to help people understand what is a legitimate call from a contact tracer.



Harwood Middle School continued its tradition of building a connected community through their first 2020-21 school spirit challenge.  Competition between HUMS student pairings resulted in an 8th grade win during our annual corn hole tournament (boards built by previous HUMS students) The expertly crafted spirit trophy is highly sought after by students and teacher advisories throughout the year.  Way to go HUMS!  

  • CALENDAR reminders:

    • 11/03 - NO school for students.  In-service for staff

    • 11/12 - 3-6 p.m. Conferences 

    • 11/13 - end of Q1

    • 11/16 - start of Q2

    • 11/17 - 3-6 p.m. Conferences 

  • CALENDAR changes: in order to balance days of instruction please note that the week of Thanksgiving will have a different schedule:

    • 11/23 - Black cohort day

    • 11/24 - Gold cohort day

  • November conference details

    • Harwood Union will be hosting student led conferences for all parents and students in grades 7-12. Conferences will be held on two evenings, November 12th and November 17th. Parents will have the option to select one 20-minute meeting time per student on either of these two dates.

    • Your student’s TA teacher will be sending out a parent letter and a sign up doc.

  • Picture day logistics 

    • Once again Life Touch studio will be providing school photos the week of November 9 in the auditorium lobby.

    • Upcoming Student pictures 

      • Schedules and Photo packages will be distributed next week

      • HUMS - During TA Monday (11/9), Tuesday (11/10), Thursday (11/12) & Friday (11/13) 

      • Grade 9 - Monday (11/9) & Thursday (11/12)

      • Grade 10 - Tuesday (11/10) & Friday (11/13)

      • Grade 11 - Tuesday (11/10) & Friday (11/13)

      • Grade 12 - Monday (11/9) & Thursday (11/12)

      • HURA - A Wednesday date will be chosen to allow HURA students to have their school photos taken by appointment.  More information to come 


    • Old County Rd. in Waitsfield will be closed to vehicles from 5 – 7 pm, Saturday, October 31st for Halloween Trick-or-Treating.  Some things will be a bit different this year due to covid concern.  Specifically,  Everyone is asked to come masked  Maintain physical distancing from those who are not in your family as you enjoy the festivities AND - NEW THIS YEAR…THE GREAT PUMPKIN WALK in addition to candy stations spaced along the road.  Thank you Waitsfield Elementary School for providing so many Jack O’lanterns to line the road.

  • Harwood's ROC (Rooted Organizing Communities) club is hosting a winter clothing drive. We're looking for coats, hats, boots, scarves, gloves, and mittens. The drive will run from October 20th to November 4th. Donations can be made at TBPS, CBMS, HUHS, or Waitsfield Elementary. All donations go directly to recently resettled Vermonters and are greatly appreciated. Thank you for donating! If you have any questions, please reach out to or



  • A mental health crisis can happen at any time for anyone. Then add the additional impact of COVID,  shorter daylight hours and changing weather. If  you, a family member or a friend is experiencing mental health challenges;  you can always reach out to Washington County Mental Health Screeners at 802-229-0591 or call 911. 

  • Have you had the “COVID Talk”?

    • As life continues in the shadow of the pandemic, we are learning there is a lot to discuss about how to feel comfortable and stay safe before seeing friends and family. Here are four tips to help have the “COVID Talk” – a conversation to negotiate boundaries and establish expectations ahead of time. Ask questions. Before you get together, start with an open and honest conversation about what everyone has been doing to stay healthy and how they have been socializing. Consider everyone’s worries, boundaries and possible COVID-19 exposure risk so you can all get on the same page.  Focus on what you need. Using “I” instead of “you” statements helps avoid people feeling defensive or judged. In fact, blaming and shaming may actually increase push back and the likelihood of risk-taking behaviors. We recommend sharing what you’re comfortable with, based on your own perspective instead of making demands of others. Share why it is important to you. Share what level of risk works for you and why. It might be different for others. Some people feel comfortable taking on a moderate amount of risk in their lives. Others may not feel comfortable taking on any risk. Focusing on your own reasons for staying safe can help people to better understand and get on board.  Set boundaries and stick to them. We are all for keeping it friendly, open and non-judgmental – but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your safety! It’s OK to be clear and straightforward about what you need to feel safe and comfortable. It’s also okay to decline invitations or leave situations that feel too risky. You should never have to feel bad or apologize for prioritizing your safety. Lead by example by sticking to what works for you and avoiding judgment.

  • Everyone Eats!  Everyone Eats is a program that engages local restaurants to make to-go meals for anyone who has been impacted by COVID 19. Pick up is at Sugar Fish VT (not Sugarbush) on Saturdays from 11-1:00, 168 Fiddlers Green by the laundromat. You will receive one individually packaged frozen dinner for each person in your household.  Also, Farmers to Families Boxes are available first-come, first serve.  Sign up using the following link:  You will only need to enroll once.  Please come each week to pick up meals. If you have questions, call Jess Tompkins at  802-793-1116 or email


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