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Family Newsletter 2.2.2024

Harwood Families -

Last week Harwood hosted our first evening Course Fair.  Families and Students were invited to learn more about our rigorous and robust course offerings and pathways and gain guidance and clarity around our programming and registration process.   

Classes of 2025, 2026 and 2027 have begun the registration process for the 2024-2025 school year (click your class year to view the letter sent home about the process).  This includes reviewing graduation requirements, their transcript and current schedule to identify what requirements they’ve met and what they still need.  They are also receiving and reviewing the Program of Studies in their Teaching Advisory.  Students will then meet with their school counselor to complete the course requesting process.   Once all course requests have been entered we will begin the process of creating the master schedule for the next school year.

The class of 2028 will begin their work with school counselors after February break.   

For those who were unable to join us we invite you to view the presentations from our Counseling department that provides an overview of this process.  In addition to the presentations given by our teaching staff that highlight the course offerings for next year.      

Our Program of Studies detailing all the courses at Harwood can be found here and on our HU website under the Academics tab. 

Please reach out to your child’s school counselor with any questions about registration.

While much learning occurs within our walls of Harwood Middle School, like other HUUSD schools we have the unique gift of an outdoor classroom in the Mountains during the Winter on Wednesday afternoon.  Thank you to Meghan McCarthy for being our Winter Program Coordinator and bringing this opportunity to our students each week.  We are also grateful to all our parent volunteers.

In partnership,

Meg, Laurie and Bethany



  • Every Wednesday from 01/17 - 03/20 (except 2/24) - 11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Middle School Winter Program at Sugarbush

  • 02/06 - Student facilitated Whole School Dialogue about the upcoming Bond

  • 02/09 - HUMS & CBMS Winter Ball 7-9 a.m. 

  • 02/15 - NAEP Testing for 8th grade 

  • 02/15 - 1:25 -2:05 p.m. - Assembly 

  • 02/15 - 9th grade transition night *For the full message send to our rising 9th grade families, click here.

  • 02/22 - 7 - 9:00 p.m. - Choral Night   

  • 02/26 - 03/05 - Winter Break - NO SCHOOL


Cultivating and maintaining a sense of belonging, pride and purpose:




The date for the spring sports parents meeting date is Mar 13, 2024 at 6pm in the high school auditorium. The registration link will be available soon.

We will be unveiling the State Championship Banners for Boys Soccer on Feb 9th and for Bass Fishing on Feb 13th. Both ceremonies will happen between the varsity and jv basketball games, please plan at 6:40pm. 

Looking ahead to the fall season, the anticipated start date for fall sports is Aug 15, 2024. 

Student Support Services

The Vermont legislature mandates that public schools conduct fire drills (school evacuations) and options-based drills (response to intruders) on a regular basis throughout the school year.  Harwood Union Middle and High School will conduct the following drills:

  • January- Secure the Building 

  • February- Fire Drill

  • March- Clear the Halls

  • April- Fire Drill

  • May- Secure the Building 

  • June- Fire Drill and Bus Evacuation

It is important for students and staff to be familiar with the process, procedures and routines. With each drill, we learn ways to refine and improve our safety plans.

We will talk with your child about the various exercises, the reasons why we conduct them and the best ways to remain safe. Please help us in conveying to your child the importance of these drills so we are prepared in the event of a real emergency.

The safety and security of our students and staff is of the utmost importance. We will continue to partner with law enforcement and other emergency responders as we continually revisit our procedures and routines to refine our safety plans. 

Thank you for taking the time to talk with your child about this issue. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact Bethany Turnbaugh at

Health Office Updates

Helpful guidelines for talking with children about school safety:

For some children, even participating in a drill may cause some emotional distress. This is especially true if it reminds them of a prior crisis event, or if they otherwise are feeling vulnerable or anxious.

As a caregiver, you are in the best position to help your child cope with trauma they experience during an emergency or safety drill or event at school. Any conversation with a child must be appropriate for their age and developmental stage.

Young children need brief simple information that should be balanced with reassurance. This includes informing children that their school and home are generally safe and that adults are available to protect them. Young children often gauge how threatening or serious an event is by adult reactions. This is why, for example, parents are encouraged not to get overly emotional when saying goodbye on the first day of school. Young children respond well to simple examples of school safety, like reminding them the exterior doors are locked, just as you lock your doors at home at night.

Upper elementary and early middle school children may be more vocal in asking questions about whether they are truly safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Parents can share the information they have about the school's safety plan and any other relevant communication to ease their child's mind.

- It is important to have conversations with your child, explaining that safety drills occur and why it is important to take them seriously. Be careful not to interject any of your own anxieties or feelings into the conversations, your child will pick up on that and may mirror those feelings. Instead, create and maintain an atmosphere of openness and support, encouraging your child to share with you all aspects of their day, both positive and negative. You’re in this together! Let them know whatever they are feeling; fear, dread, confusion, indifference, is normal and be supportive.

- Make sure your child understands the importance of paying attention during the drill and carefully following the directions they are given. Please encourage them to use mindfulness to help them get through it. The same simple strategies they use to calm themselves down before a big test or important game can work here. Tell them to be aware of their body and surroundings, listen to what is around them, be present in the moment. One exercise they can do before, during, or after) is the S.T.O.P. meditation; Stop what they are doing, Take a breath, Observe their surroundings, body, mind, and feelings, and Proceed with a clear mind. They can do this quickly, in the moment, as a way to calm down and focus during the drill.

- Caregiving experts have long espoused the importance of having dinner together as a family when possible, being present in the moments you have with your child. Make sure you take some time every day to really talk with your child, ask them powerful questions about their day that encourage more than one-word answers. Ask them how they felt physically, emotionally, and mentally after the drill. Discover, notice, build, and reward their strengths of bravery, judgment, perseverance, social intelligence, perspective, and hope. These strengths, along with mindfulness activities, can help your children build resiliency. 

Updates on illnesses:

We are writing to inform you that we have seen an increase in respiratory illnesses among children and adults in the last week. These illnesses could include but are not limited to, flu, RSV, and COVID-19. Symptoms of respiratory illnesses can include fever, headache, chills, body/muscle aches, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, and sore throat. A person may also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.


We have seen an increase in cases of COVID-19 within our community and our schools. At this time, no cases meet the criteria for a school outbreak.  We know that COVID-19 remains an active respiratory illness. COVID-19 test kits can be ordered online or picked up at your local pharmacy.  There are a limited number of test kits available at schools.  

When can your child return to school?

Your child should isolate at home for 5 days after a positive test or onset of symptoms. Your child can return to school on the 6th day provided their symptoms have improved and they have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. A fever is considered a temperature greater than 100.4o F.

Flu (Influenza) 

Flu-like symptoms may include a sore throat, cough, runny nose, headache, fever, and fatigue.  Providing fever-reducing medications and hydration is important for recovery.  A medical provider should see children if they have a fever greater than 104oF that is not controlled with fever-reducing medications, have difficulty drinking and are dehydrated, or if they have difficulty breathing.

What to do if your child gets the flu

When can your child return to school?

Your child can return to school when symptoms have improved, and they have had no fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication. Students should be free of vomiting and/or diarrhea for 24 hours before returning to school.  A fever is considered a temperature greater than 100.4o F.


There is no special treatment for RSV (or respiratory syncytial virus), so testing is generally not recommended. Most children with RSV will recover with home care. Symptoms may include fever, cough, and congestion.  Providing fever-reducing medicines, gentle nasal suctioning, and humidification can support children through illness. 

When can your child return to school?

Your child can return to school when their symptoms have improved and they have had no fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication. A fever is considered a temperature greater than 100.4o F. If your child is uncomfortable coughing, please keep them home. 

Did you know that there are vaccines available for special populations?  See this information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Getting Vaccinated

It is not too late to get vaccinated!  Check out the Vermont Department of Health website for more information on where to get a vaccine. Many local pharmacies and provider offices have vaccines available. 

What Can We Do?

Staying home while sick can help keep others safe.

  • All persons with acute respiratory symptoms should stay home while ill. 

  • All persons should cover their mouth using a tissue or bent arm—not their hand—when they cough or sneeze and wash their hands frequently throughout the day.

Good hand hygiene is essential:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Always wash your hands after using the toilet, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing before and after caring for someone sick.

TA update

Harwood Student Government Presents: Winter Carnival 2024!!!

This week we engaged in lots of great activities to embrace winter here in our community. Students had opportunities to enter a cookie baking competition to win spirit points for their grade; play in a fun badminton tournament, play snow volleyball; enjoy a quiet peppermint tea meditation, snow bowl (sledding into inflatable bowling pins!!!) and enjoy S’mores by the firepit or a warm cup of hot chocolate. The week ended with grade-based TA potluck breakfasts and a rousing game of staff vs. student basketball!

Much appreciation to the staff who stepped in to help with all of these activities!

Finally a major shout out to the members of the Student Government for all of their efforts to make this week a reality!!!

Join VSAC at College & Career Pathways 2024 

Class of 2025: We will be taking a group of juniors to St. Michael’s College on March 14th.  Sign up here.  

Families: VSAC will also have a FREE event to help families plan for education and training after high school on March 23rd. Families can participate in-person at UVM or online via Zoom. Attend live workshops on how to choose, apply to, and pay for education after high school; get test prep tips from a professional tutor; discover free local resources to support your teen’s career search; learn about short-term training opportunities for in-demand jobs; and connect with experts on postsecondary options for students who learn differently. All sessions will also be recorded for future viewing. Find out more and register at

Are you an 11th grader, thinking about life after high school and considering college as a next step? Check out the College Planning Guide: A collection of useful links and information to jump start your college planning process.  Post secondary career and college options require research, exploration, and planning. Your school counselors created this document to aid you in the college planning process. School counselors will work closely with you during September and October of your senior year to support your college application process. Click here to learn more! 

Strengthening and sustaining a rigorous and robust academic program:



Drivers Education


Harwood Union High School provides Driver’s Education opportunities to our students eligible with a valid permit through private driving schools.  Below are the anticipated dates for the 24-25’ school year courses:

Summer Course: (Dudley’s Driving Academy)

June 17th - August 9th

Fall Course: (Dudley’s Driving Academy)

October 28th - December 20th 

Winter Course: (Mad River Valley Driving)

January 15th - February 20th 

Spring Course: (Mad River Valley Driving)

April 10th - May 20th 

Students will be able to register through our counseling department with a valid permit.  Registration priority will be given according to age with 12th, 11th, then 10th and finally 9th grade.  Please find all full details and a link to register here.  

Community Announcements:



Dear Parent/Guardian:

As in previous years, our school board has chosen to participate in the Winooski Valley Regional Public School Choice Collaborative for 2024-2025. Through this program and the state school choice program, students may apply to go to any public high school in Vermont at no cost.

The Vermont Legislature passed a law in May 2012 (Act 129, Sec. 34. § 822d 2A) which allows high school students to apply through school choice to any public high school in Vermont. This law sets rules for school districts regarding the number of entering and exiting student slots allowed through school choice. Students are chosen by lottery from all the applicants for each school district based on the number of open slots. You may view school choice information at the Vermont Agency of Education website,

If your student is interested in attending a high school outside of the Harwood Unified Union School District next year, please do the following no later than February 29, 2024:

Download and complete the school choice application form located on the Harwood Union Middle High School website HERE.

Email your completed form, using the subject “School Choice Application” to Jennifer Shaub at no later than February 29, 2024.  

Students are selected using a LOTTERY SYSTEM.  You will be informed of the outcome of the lottery by April 1, 2024. You must confirm whether your student will accept or decline the placement by April 15, 2024 by emailing Jennifer Shaub at If you do not confirm placement by this date your slot may be given to another student if the school has a waiting list.

Parents are responsible for providing their student’s transportation if they are chosen.

If you have any questions, please contact the HUHS registrar, Jennifer Shaub at or 802-583-8180.

Harwood’s Rotary Interact Club is holding their 8th annual bottle drive. The proceeds will benefit the Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund and the Mad River Valley Community Fund. We hope you will consider donating your returnables for these important organizations in our local community.

For the drive, please drop off your bottles and cans at one of these locations, or request a pickup for your donation. Direct any questions to Interact club adviser Ellen Berrings at

Option 1:

Where: Rodney’s Transfer Station (on the road to the Waterbury Ice Rink) 

When: Anytime between now and 2/24/24

Please designate that they are a donation for Harwood Rotary Interact

Option 2:  

Come to Hannon Home Center 

When: Saturday, February 24th between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM

*****Drop off at this location is on this date only!

Option 3: 

Request a pickup with Ron Gulyas by emailing 

When: Any time before 2/24/24

Waterbury Winterfest, Vermont’s premier celebration of winter recreation, returns January 31st through February 4th with indoor and outdoor events for all ages. 

The schedule features many familiar, long-time favorites, including family broomball tournament, snow soccer

and volleyball, and VT Candyland. This year also marks the return of the popular Game Show on Friday evening after a three-year hiatus. New additions to the schedule include Monikers Merriment game night at Bridgeside Books on Saturday and a Cardboard Arcade hosted by Makersphere on Sunday.

The full calendar of events can be seen at A handful of events require

advance registration for planning purposes or because of space limitations. Interested participants are encouraged to sign up early to ensure their spot. Broomball teams have a registration fee of $10 per adult and $5 per child, and the bocce

registration fee is $20 per team. All other events are free and open to everyone, with donations

appreciated. Spectators are also welcome and encouraged to attend Winterfest events.

ABOUT WATERBURY WINTERFEST Waterbury Winterfest is a volunteer-run, non-profit

initiative that provides a venue for indoor and outdoor winter recreation events that bring

community members and visitors together to beat the mid-winter blues. All proceeds from

events and sponsorships go towards scholarships, grants, and supporting recreational activities

in Waterbury throughout the year.


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