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Family Newsletter 5.21.21

Harwood Families -

This week’s weather was a beautiful reminder that summer is around the corner. As a result, the Harwood campus has been buzzing both inside and outside.

There are many powerful changes that have come from COVID learning this year. One such pivot is the embracing of increased time supporting student’s overall well-being and specifically social emotional health. This focus is helping us strengthen our positive climate and culture.

What does this look like? If you happen to be driving by, rain or shine, you will see our students engaging in a variety of outdoor activities including spikeball, volleyball, ping pong, soccer and more.

Why is this a priority?

Studies show that time “off task” increases time “on task” in the classroom. Additionally, outside time is a natural prescription for improving overall well-being. One size does not fit all, but getting outside, even for 10 minutes, makes a difference.

  • Time in nature decreases anxiety and negative thinking, and lowers levels of depression and stress

  • Outdoor activity improves both mental and physical activity MORE than indoor activity

  • Time in nature helps to decrease high blood pressure

  • Time in nature is associated with better cognitive development in schoolchildren

Additionally, the closer one is to green space, the less one suffers from cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, mental health, respiratory, neurological, and digestive diseases.

As we begin to look to next year we will continue to prioritize this time to foster strong relationships and drive our goals forward in doing so. To:

  • cultivate and maintain a community where all students, staff and families feel safe - seen, heard, understood and respected.

  • Strengthen and sustain a rigorous and robust academic program that provides access and meaning for ALL students.

  • create and maintain a physical environment that reflects a positive school climate and culture

In continued partnership,

Laurie, Meg and Duane



What does Block 4 look like at Harwood right now - i.e. what is ELO and Flex Block?

  • Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) is a time for students to receive support from their teachers. It is a time for additional support, extension support, clarifying questions, additional work time and generally speaking an ideal time to ensure understanding before the next class block.

  • Flex Block is a time for students to partake in a 6 week experience that allows them to pursue an interest with a staff member they might not otherwise and/or to extend their learning or complete coursework if necessary.

As we support students in a smooth transition back to more days on site we want to ensure we’re maximizing this time for academic support and continuing to strengthen relationships and foster a community where all feel safe - seen, heard, respected and understood.

How is it marked if a student is dismissed early from school?

  • This an unexcused absence. It follows the same expectations as our attendance policy.

What steps need to be taken by families and students for an early dismissal?

  • Families need to complete the absence doc.

  • Students need to sign out with the front desk

Parent Involvement Survey Coming: Getting the Word Out

Dear Parents and Families of Students with Disabilities,

The Vermont Agency of Education has contracted with Potsdam Institute for Applied Research to conduct this year’s Parent Involvement Survey to let them know how you feel about your school’s efforts to create meaningful partnerships with you and how you believe schools can better meet your child’s special needs. This survey is a requirement of each state by the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and will be mailed to all families of students with disabilities on June 1, 2021.

We encourage families to look out for an envelope from the Vermont Agency of Education with a SUNY return address. The cover letter explains more. There is a link provided on the survey should you wish to take the survey online, and a phone number should you wish to answer over the phone. ALL options are confidential. The OSEP and the Agency of Education take these surveys seriously.

We hope you will take the time to answer yours when it comes.

If you need assistance in filling out the survey contact Vermont Family Network for support.

Thank You,

Stephanie Hudak, Director of Student Support Services



  • Calendar Updates:

  • 05/22 - Prom

  • 05/25 & 5/27 - Parent/TA conferences

  • 06/07 - 06/11 - Spirit week

  • 06/04 - All Summatives for S2/Q4 need to be complete

  • 06/11 - Last day of school

  • 06/12 - Harwood Graduation *details forthcoming

Parent/TA conferences

It has become Harwood tradition over the last several years to hold Spring, student-led conferences. This has been an opportunity for students to explore and share their personal and academic growth over the course of the year. This year, we intend to continue this tradition with a bit of a different focus. Recognizing the resilience shown this year due to the many challenges faced, our focus in conferences will be on reflection. Dave Melnick, LICSW, in his 2020 Resource Document (COVID-19 ~ End Well, Prepare Well, Begin Well: Reestablishing the School as Community) states: “During collective crises, it is even more important to make meaning of the events that have occurred. Meaning making is a process of reflecting about, learning from, integrating knowledge, and improving oneself following significant events.” In TA we will be considering a series of guiding questions to support students to reflect on the year considering how they have grown in response to the challenges faced this year. When we meet with you in May, your student will share their perspective on this growth and how it may serve them in the future. Students are also being challenged to create a representation of this growth in a manner they choose (s/a video, visual art, audio, music, video, etc.).

What: Student Led Reflection Conference

Who: Student, Parent/Guardian, Teacher Advisor

When: May 25th and May 27th from 3:00 - 6:00 PM

How: Through Zoom meetings

Sign Up: Please be on the lookout for a message from your child’s Teacher Advisor who will be sending out a google sign up during the week of May 3rd.

It is our hope that this collective conversation will be one of the steps in moving forward into a post-pandemic world.

You are the most important partner for your student in supporting their success, so it is essential that you be part of this process. We are also on board to support their reflection as they look forward into the future. Please feel free to contact us with questions you have about the process.

Thank you for the ongoing support of your student’s growth and learning. (not for grade 12)We look forward to continuing our partnership through the conferences and beyond. (Grade 12) It is hard to believe this will be our last “official” meeting with you and your student. It has been an honor to be on this four year journey with you.

From HUUSD School board

On May 26th, the School Board will be voting whether or not to continue with its plan to bring all 7th and 8th graders to CBMS in the fall of 2022. If the Board votes to continue, it will be making decisions about possible changes to CBMS -- whether or not there should be an addition, how big it should be, etc. Each decision has implications for costs as well as the way things will feel for students and teachers inside the building.

Whether or not you are in support of bringing all 7th and 8th graders to CBMS, we invite you to share your thoughts about how, if we do merge, to make that as good as possible for our district. We have put together a very brief survey to understand more about community priorities in this area. We are hoping you will take 5 minutes to do the survey -- and encourage your neighbors to do the same! The survey will be open until Thursday, May 20. Thank you so much,

Torrey Smith

Chair, HUUSD Board



Updates from our Health Office:

We need to continue to be vigilant as we have seen an increase in the number of positive cases in our district.

The most important things you and your family can do:

  • COVID symptoms are very similar to other illnesses, including seasonal allergies. Keep your student home with any symptoms unless there is a current doctor's note on file with the nurse's office stating their seasonal allergy diagnosis and usual symptoms.

  • Make sure your child is wearing a mask. Based on the current school guidance from the AOE, our schools will continue to require staff and students to wear masks while attending school. We ask that you continue to wear a mask when dropping off your student or picking them up from school.

  • Make sure your child is washing their hands.

  • Keep your child home and call the school nurse if your student has any symptoms.

  • Ensure that you or your student have completed the morning screening prior to coming to school. We ask that you contact your school nurse for further guidance if your child has been a close contact of someone testing positive for COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, or has a fever.

  • Sign your child up for a vaccine if he or she is eligible.

The schools are working hard to maintain a safe environment for your child.

  • Encouraging your children to maintain a 3-6 foot distance from others in their classroom.

  • Staff are staying home when sick.

  • Students and staff will continue wearing masks at all times except when eating. A 6 foot distance is maintained between students when eating.

  • Increasing ventilation by holding classes outside or opening classroom windows as able.


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