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May 14, 2021

8th Grade Celebration Plans

I want to update you with our end of the year plans. 

Currently, we are working on scheduling an opportunity for our 8th graders to have an end of the year trip to celebrate the completion of 8th grade.  However, due to COVID guidance our options are limited to an in state day only, without the addition of chaperones.  

The students are working with our teachers to identify where we will be going but the plan is for this field trip to be on Friday, June 11th.

I also wanted to share information about our 8th grade celebration ceremony.

We are planning to have an in person ceremony on Monday, June 14th at 6pm. However, due to COVID related guidance and an abundance of caution we will be putting the following in place.

This ceremony will be outside - rain or shine.  We will have a canopy tent sufficient for covering the students, but we will not have tent coverage for the families observing.  Please make sure to come prepared with umbrellas and rain protective clothing if there is a threat of rain.

All attendees will be expected to wear masks while attending the event.

We will provide chairs for seating, however, different households need to maintain 6 feet of distance from other households so there may be a need to shift the locations of chairs flexibly so that we are able to maintain physical distancing between households.

May 13, 2021

The Richford NOTCH Summer Day Camp will run Jun 28 - Aug 6th, Monday-Friday from 8:30AM to 12PM at the Richford Playground. FREE breakfast and lunch will be provided. Please see attached flyer for more information. 

If you are interested in registering your child for the day camp, please click on the following link to complete the registration, https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdWMI00Mss8_V3A5jUqLQZ6GNsNIJp4aahEeB3ASRuba8Syxw/viewform.

Please contact Melanie Gross with any questions (802) 255-5519.

May 4, 2021

Please click the following link to complete the registration for Preschool, Playschool or Kindergarten registration for the 2021-22 school year. 

Preschool and Playschool screenings will be held on Thursday, June 10th for NEW incoming students. Please email or call Brandy Johnson at the school to set up a time - brandy.johnson@fnesu.org or 933-2290.

April 14, 2021

Below is an outline of some important changes related to the updated COVID guidance from the AOE.

- When we return from April Break we will no longer need to have students in different zones.  We are allowed to return to our normal access to various playground spaces for all students during recess
- Students still need to maintain 6 feet of distance from peers.
- upon returning from break we need to treat this as if it's the first day of school and thoroughly review each of the recess spaces and guidelines for physical distancing with all students

Bus monitoring:
- FNESU has decided to still have bus monitors.  This will help ensure students are properly wearing their masks, provide hand sanitizer when students get on the bus, help students to their assigned seats, and monitor if any student presents any covid related symptoms so that we can move them to an isolated seat on the bus and get them to the nurse when they arrive.  These are things we do not want the bus driver to focus on as they are responsible for safely driving the bus.

Cleaning and Disinfecting:
- the new guidance has shifted our cleaning and disinfecting processes.
- we are to clean spaces regularly using soap based substances instead of disinfectants
- we will disinfect classrooms and other areas after a student has been identified as having covid related symptoms and need to be sent home, or after a covid positive individual has been identified

Pick up and Drop off:
- In order to ensure a safe drop off we will continue to have families drop off students with the routine we have done all year.  There will be adults present to check in on students to see if they are presenting any covid related symptoms and report them to the nurse, as well as help students enter the school through the proper doors. 
- Cars will still need to wait for an adult to greet them and take their child before letting the child out of the car.

- Pick up at the end of the day will continue to follow the same routine we have used all year.

March 16, 2021

Here's a live link to the NFHS Network:  www.NFHSnetwork.com

March 11, 2021

Hello Berkshire Community

I wanted to update you about the schedule for the week of Monday, March 15th to Friday, March 19th.

March 19th is an SU in-service so there will be no school on Friday.  This means that we will have a four day week.  As we have done in previous 4 day weeks we will have a modified schedule.

Kindergarten through 6th grade students will attend school in person Monday through Thursday.

Monday and Tuesday 3/15-3/16 will be  in person days for cohort A for 7th and 8th Graders and Preschoolers.

Wednesday and Thursday 3/17-3/18 will be in person days for cohort B 7th and 8th Graders and Preschoolers.

There will be LEAPS after school programs for those school days.

There will not be a full day LEAPs on Wednesday, and there will not be a LEAPS program on Friday.

Food will not be delivered the week of 3/15-3/19.  Instead if you would like to have meals you will need to come to the building and pick them up after school.  Please reach out to Brandy Johnson about signing up for meal pick up for the week of 3/15-3/19 and she can explain the schedule for pick-ups as well.

Lastly, while the state is working hard to get staff and others vaccinated, it is important to remember that the Governor's multi-household ban is still in effect.  

Please make sure to do your best to avoid multi-household gatherings.  As Supt. Lynn Cota has said in her communications, we have done a great job of keeping our students and staff safe and limiting the spread of the virus in schools, however we need to be continue to be vigilant and make sacrifices so that we can keep our schools safe and keep our schools open so that our children can continue to learn in person.

February 19, 2021

Here's a live link to the NMVUUSD Virtual Informational Meeting:

February 9, 2021

Parents … Did you know it’s not too early to make a plan for your middle schooler's future? For students in financial need or who will be the first in their family to go to college, check out the Talent Search program with the VSAC counselor, Kate Rowland. Being in the VSAC Talent Search helps students make good academic choices in middle school, high school and beyond. When it comes time to look at what education your child wants after graduation, VSAC Talent Search helps with school exploration, financial aid resources, summer enrichment programs and so much more. Talk to Kate to learn more! 

February 8, 2021
Good Afternoon Berkshire Community,

I have two important updates. One is for increasing in person learning for 7th and 8th graders, and the other is for 7th and 8th grade winter sports.

Increasing In-person learning for 7th and 8th grade:
- We are TENTATIVELY planning for 7th and 8th grade students to begin 4 days of in-person learning starting the week we return from our February break, which will be a three day weekC day on Wednesday, 3/3, then two days of in-person learning on Thursday, 3/4 and Friday, 3/5.
The week of 3/8 would be 4 days of in-person learning (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) with Wednesday as a C day - which is fully remote except for call backs.  This will be the structure moving forward.
- This plan is tentative as the FNESU is monitoring the COVID case rate in our community and we may consider postponing this increase if our cases change.  We will communicate with you if there are any changes to this timeline.

7th and 8th Grade Winter sports:
- FNESU has been working to find a way to safely provide winter sports experiences for our 7th and 8th graders.  Our current plan is to start basketball practices for 7th and 8th graders on Saturday, 2/20.  We plan to have one practice on Saturdays and one more practice during the week.

Berkshire boys will practice at Richford High School. Berkshire girls will be merging with Enosburg and will practice at either Richford or Enosburg High School based on gym availability. Specific dates and times will be communicated through our AD and coaches.

These plans are tentative, again, based on COVID cases in our community.  Potential games will be explored at a later date as well.  

February 4, 2021

Farm to School continues to be alive and well here at BES. Although it is not how we envisioned it rolling out this year, we are finding new and creative ways to help the local community connect with school in very real and meaningful ways! 

Here are a few of the things we have been working on this year:

sending home Harvest of the Month veggies

a whole milk taste test and video presentation, working with local farm, Aires Hill and Franklin County Dairy Promotion

Creation of a small scale CSA with local farm products distributed to teachers throughout the SU, managed in part by students and delivered by students

Preparing to tap our sugarbush

Preparing for spring gardening season

Purchase of a few varieties of apple trees so that we can have our own orchard here at school for eating and cider!

We look forward to the time when we can begin involving families and community members in this programming again!

January 28, 2021

Dear Berkshire Community

As Supt. Lynn Cota's previous communication stated, we are now looking to increase our in-person learning opportunities for our 6th through 8th grade students. 

We recognize the value and importance of in-person learning for our students and want to provide as much in-person learning as we can while also ensuring the health and safety for all of our students and staff through strict adherence to the COVID safety guidelines.

One particular challenge is meeting the physical distancing requirements for our students.  As you know, 6th graders have the 3 feet physical distancing requirement, while our 7th and 8th grade students need to adhere to the 6 foot physical distancing requirement.

Due to this difference in requirements we are not able to provide the same classroom set ups for our 7th and 8th graders as we would for our 6th graders.

Currently we have an available classroom space that can accommodate the physical distancing requirements for 6th grade, therefore we plan to have all our 6th graders shift to 4 days a week of in-person instruction starting on Monday, February 1st.  This means that our 6th grade students will be in-person at school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday starting the week of Monday, February 1st. We will still have Wednesdays as a fully remote day with call backs for our 6th graders as needed.

We are currently exploring options for how to bring our 7th and 8th grade students back to in-person learning 4 days a week.  However there are multiple logistical and building challenges that we need to navigate before we are ready to make that shift.  Therefore 7th and 8th grade will stay in the Hybrid model of 2 days in-person and 3 days remote until those challenges have been resolved.  I am confident that we will have those concerns resolved soon, but I can not give a specific timeline at this moment.  I will inform you as soon as those plans have been finalized


Leonard Badeau

Dear Berkshire Community

FNESU leadership is continuing to work out a plan to provide winter sports experiences for our middle schools.  One of the main challenges is having access to gyms.  Middle schools across the SU are working to return more students to more in person learning.  However, due to the 6 feet physical distancing requirements for our older students many buildings need to use the gym as a classroom.  Because of this the only gyms available for winter sports for middle school students are the Richford and Enosburg high school gyms.

We are coordinating across the NMVUUSD and FNESU to identify where our middle school (7th and 8th grade) student athletes can practice.

At this time the plan is to have Bakersfield, Berkshire, Montgomery and Richford students practice twice a week at Richford's gym.  While Sheldon and Enosburg will practice twice a week at Enosburg's gym.  We will be making teams and schedules based on a final count of student athlete numbers.  We do not have any further information in regards to games against other schools as the Governor has not given the go ahead for that at this time.

This Friday schools and their athletic directors will be identifing and confirm how many boys and girls are signing up for basketball. 

We will be meeting with AD's and Principals on Monday, Feb 1st to finalize the plans in regards to the number of teams, and then will relay practice schedules and team assignments to families likely later next week.

To clarify around transportation.  The schools will not be transporting students to and from practices.  Parents will need to coordinate drop offs and pick-ups to practices.  Furthermore, parents are not allowed to attend practices due to COVID guidelines.

Randi Chagnon will be check-ing in with students by Friday to confirm who is committed to participating in this plan for Berkshire students.

I recognize this is not ideal, but this is our current best effort to provide our students with basketball experiences despite the various limitations we need to deal with to ensure the health and safety of our students as well as to provide opportunities for all our students.


Leonard Badeau

January 21, 2021

December 16, 2020

Dear Berkshire Parents/Guardians and Community,

I am reaching out to update everyone on progress reports and our school's plans for the first week back from Holiday Break.

Progress Reports:
- Cohort A students in 6th through 8th grade received  their Progress Reports on Tuesday. Cohort B students will have their Progress Reports sent home on Friday, December 18th.

- Students in K-4th will have their Progress Reports sent home on Friday, Dec 18th.

Return from Holiday Break
We are expecting to see our students for in-person learning on Monday, January 4th. However, we want to be prepared for other scenarios that may arise between December 18th and January 4th.

With this in mind, on Friday of this week, students will be sent home with learning materials and their computers so that they can learn at home during the week of Monday, Jan. 4th through Friday, Jan. 8th. 

We are currently expecting to teach in-person on Monday, January 4th, but sending these materials home on Friday ensures that students have what they need to access their learning in the event that we need to shift to remote learning.

Between now and the end of our Holiday Break, Supt. Lynn Cota will communicate with staff and families if we need to shift to remote learning.

IF  we need to shift to remote learning for any number of days, I will share with you the remote learning schedules that our teachers have prepared as well as the remote learning expectations.


Leonard Badeau

December 4, 2020
Dear Berkshire Community,

I wanted to update and clarify expectations for teachers, students and families for when a student is learning from home.  There are 2 main reasons why a student may be learning from home at this time:

1) Berkshire has shifted to Fully Remote Learning
2) A student is quarantining at home

Our school has been working diligently to come up with a plan to best support student learning in either of these scenarios. This email is going to focus on learning expectations for when a student is quarantining at home. I will send a separate communication regarding Fully Remote Learning at a later date.

For Students learning at home due to Quarantine:
1) During Quarantining, the primary instructional goal will be for a student to maintain learning.  This is because it is often not feasible for a teacher to provide new learning instruction and materials to students who are learning from home, while also planning and delivering instruction to the students who are in school.

2) Your student's teacher(s) will do the best they can to upload assignments on SeeSaw and share learning materials.  If you do not have the internet then we will arrange for you to pick up those learning materials, or deliver them if necessary. 

3) These learning materials and assignments may not be immediately available the first few days a student begins a quarantine as a teacher will need time to arrange those materials, but we will communicate with you when they are available.

4) It is an expectation that students engage in their quarantine work daily.  Teachers will be checking and monitoring student engagement daily.

5) Daily Attendance will be maintained for students who are quarantining once materials have been sent. Your child is PRESENT for quarantine learning if:
- They log into see-saw and engage in the learning activities (complete assignments, attend live class times - if possible, ask for help and attend help sessions)

- For students unable to connect to the internet, you are present if you engage in learning activities (complete assignments) AND make contact with the teacher by video chat or telephone at least once a week

- If something comes up and your child cannot engage in their quarantine learning, then it is the family's responsibility to communicate with the child's teacher to help create an alternative plan.

6) If possible, teachers may arrange for a student to "sit-in" in a classroom, by watching classroom instruction through google video and/or watching a video of the lesson.

When we see your student in person we will begin to catch them up on anything we did not get to them while they were out. 
Please know that any time spent practicing math facts, practicing sight words, reading, writing, creating art, problem solving, moving their bodies, spending time outdoors, and helping with chores, is time well spent and will help continue to keep routines and learning a part of their day.

Leonard Badeau

Principal of Berkshire Elementary School

4850 Water Tower Road

Richford Vt, 05476

(802) 933-2290

“Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations.” -- Kouzes and Posner. 

November 24, 2020

Dear FNESU Parents,

New AOE guidance regarding the Governor's Executive Order was released last night and the Governor made a statement about multi-household gatherings at today's press conference. 

The following are our latest FNESU updates:

Update Letter - 11/24/2020

Update Video - 11/24/2020

Wishing you all a healthy, restful, and happy holiday!


Lynn Cota


October 9, 2020

IMPORTANT Return to School COVID Guidelines

We are sharing with you a two-page communication from the Vermont Department of Health about symptoms and when a child should or shouldn't return to school.  If a student has any one red or two yellow symptoms, they should be out for 10 days unless they have had a negative COVID test.  If a student has one yellow symptom they may return after 24 hours if that symptom is improved or resolved.  


Also shared with is a chart of COVID-19 symptoms and how they are the same as many other illnesses and conditions.  This is why it remains very important to stay home if you have symptoms unless otherwise directed by your physician.


Flu Vaccine Clinics

Thank you to NOTCH Health Centers who are providing the community with flu vaccination clinics in the coming weeks.  Insurances are accepted, but no one will be refused if uninsured.  Walk-up, no appt. necessary.  Upcoming clinics are as follows:

Richford NOTCH parking lot:  October 14th from 11:00-3:00

Enosburg NOTCH parking lot:  October 30th from 8:30-12:30

October 8, 2020

September 16, 2020

Good Evening Berkshire Community,

I want to update you with a few more Hybrid Learning topics.  Specifically, I wanted to talk about Wednesday "Call-backs", and student remote learning attendance, remote learning expectations.

Remote Learning Attendance:
There are three factors that we are asked to consider for attendance:
- Did the student make contact with the school?
- Did the student log on to the remote learning system (SeeSaw) and do their work
- Did the student complete their hard copy learning materials (if not able to access the remote learning system)

If we can answer yes to any of those three questions then a child is considered "present" for their remote learning day(s).

Teachers and the school will be updating attendance on Mondays - for students in Cohort A, and Thursdays - for students in Cohort B, for the remote learning days they had directly before that day.

I want to note that being counted as "present" does not necessarily mean that a student is "progressing as expected", which brings me to my second topic for today.

Wednesday  Call Backs:
Schools have the ability to "call back" students from remote learning to do in person learning on Wednesdays from 8:00-10:30.

The intention of call backs is to provide greater support to students to ensure they are sufficiently progressing in their remote learning.

A  callback is a mandatory attendance expectation, as we can provide bus transportation to and from school, and we can also provide breakfast for any child who is called back.

When a child is "called back" they will get direct instruction and support from their classroom teacher or interventionists.  All COVID related safety measures will be followed as we would any other school day.

We will try to communicate this to you by the Friday of the week before the call back, and no later than the Monday before the call back.

Remote Learning Expectations:
I want to stress that as our teachers continue to learn their students we will be able to greater refine and improve our remote learning instruction. The amount of time the work assigned may vary greatly from student to student. I also want to point out that remote learning tasks are designed to be done independently by the student, which again, does not mean it will take the same time for every child.  What one child can do independently can be done much faster than what another child can do independently. 

As always, we are a proficiency based school and the focus is not on how long a student is working, but rather, are they understanding the material and progressing in learning that material.  If you have questions or concerns about the work please reach out to the school, and our teachers can utilize their office hours to further support your child.

Also, don't forget the LEAPS after school program registration.  The first after school day is next Monday! Below is the link to the leaps registration.  You can reach out to Ethan Moss at Ethan.Moss@fnesu.org or call him at 933-2290 extension 3007.

August 26, 2020
Dear Berkshire Community,

Today we are going to focus on Hand Hygiene.  Proper Hand Hygiene is one of the most effective ways that we can help prevent the spread of germs that make us sick. 
The two best ways to clean our hands are to wash them using soap and water or to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We will have both options available at school.

We will be making an emphasis school wide to ensure we all have good hand hygiene by cleaning our hands during important times of the day such as:
- Before entering the school
- Before and after eating
- After using the bathroom
- Before and after recess or going outside
- When leaving school

Our School Nurse has created a helpful flyer to review with your children regarding hand washing practices.

August 24, 2020
Good Evening Berkshire Community,

Today I want to discuss our beginning and end of day routine changes due to COVID-19 guidance from the State.  The below procedures were developed based on the guidance from the state to minimize congregation of people, and to minimize the potential for exchanging of potential illnesses.

Start and End times:
The beginning of the school day will be at 7:45am and the end of the school day will be at 3:00pm.

Beginning of the day student drop off:
- Student drop off for the start of the day will begin at 7:45am.  Students will not be allowed to be dropped off before 7:45 unless they are part of the LEAPs morning program.  More information on that below.

- We will have a revised traffic pattern that directs cars from the entrance to school parking lot to the end of the parking lot by the gym entrance.  Cars will not be allowed to park and drop their kids off like we did in the past.

- Health Screeners will administer the health screening at that Health Screening location by the Gym Entrance on car at a time, before directing the student into the building. Students are not to leave the car until they have completed the screening. Parents are directed to remain in their cars.

- This process may be slow these first few days, so anticipate that you may have to wait in line until your car is moved up to the Health Screening area. Our goal is to have all screenings completed by 8:10am.  We plan to have up to 4 Health Screeners working at the same time to help move cars through in an efficient manner.

- If your student is part of the LEAPs morning program your child can be screened and dropped off between 7:00am and 7:30am.  After 7:30am the screening and drop off process will be stopped until the 7:45am start of school drop.  More information on registering for the LEAPs morning and After School Program will be shared at a later date.

Mid Day drop off:
- If you arrive to drop off your child anytime after 8:10 you will need to drive to the end of the clearly marked designated area for student drop offs, and bring your child to the front door.  Again, traditional parking will not occur this year. After you have paged the front office, a health screener will come out to screen your child.

Mid-day pick up:
- If you come to pick your child up before the end of day dismissal you will need to drive to the end of the clearly marked designated area for student drop offs/pickups, come to the front door, page the office, and state who you are picking up.

- After speaking with the office you are expected to return to your car and a staff member will bring your child out to your car.

End of day pick up:
- We will have staff members at the designated pick up and drop off area, communicating with the office about who is ready to pick up.  When your car is moved up to that space you will inform them who you are here to pick up and they will be sent out and brought to your car.

- This is certainly different than in the past but necessary to maintain a safe and healthy exit from the building for all of our students.

- Bus riders will be dismissed one bus at a time, while students being picked up will be released one car at a time (or up to 4 cars based on how many staff we have assisting in the student end of day pick up processes).

End of LEAPS pick up:
- LEAPs After School program ends at 5:00 pm and the pick up process will be the same as the end of day dismissal process, or if you pick up in the middle of the LEAPs program the process will be the same as the mid day pick up processes.

We will provide pictures and or videos of the process in the coming weeks to further review this process with families.

If you have any questions about this process you can contact the school by emailing the principal at Leonard.Badeau@fnesu.org or calling the school at 933-2290.


Berkshire Elementary School
4850 Water Tower Road
Richford, VT  05476
TEL: (802) 933-2290
FAX: (802) 933-2812