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November 25, 2020 - Mettawee Student Tested Positive

Dear BRSU Families and Employees,

This morning we were notified that a student at the Mettawee Community School tested positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) .

Principal DeBonis, Nurse Mayer and I have been working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to determine close contacts. On November 23, 2020, the state changed their contact tracing protocol and schools are now responsible for communicating with teachers, staff, and families. Teachers and staff, families with children at the school, and families of the class impacted, are being sent communication. If you receive a call from the school, please answer, as we are sharing important information to you.

Positive cases are increasing throughout the country and we are no longer an exception here in Vermont. Governor Scott recently increased restrictions and I implore everyone to be vigilant and continue to take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19. The most important actions you can take are to wear a mask, stay six feet from others, and wash your hands. Keep your child home if they are sick and call your primary care provider if you or your child has symptoms of COVID-19.

Yesterday I shared with you information regarding the updated Governor’s Order regarding multi-household gatherings. I would be remiss to not recognize that while I know the Order was difficult for many of us right before Thanksgiving, my hope is that if we can make the sacrifices we need to now, it will yield future benefits. If you require quarantine, please stay home.

We will continue to work with the Health Department to keep our community safe. Our cleaning protocols at Mettawee follow the Health Department guidance and the classroom was thoroughly disinfected today. Anyone who is sick will not return to school until they are healthy and those requiring quarantine as a result of this case will do so. Click the link to learn more about getting tested in Vermont.

Thank you for understanding that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the name of the individual with COVID-19. We are a learning community who care about each other and treat each other with dignity and respect. I strongly encourage us to remember that stigmatizing our community members does not lead to improved outcomes. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with those impacted by this case.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to:

  • Randi Lowe, BRSU Superintendent

  • Brooke DeBonis, Mettawee Community School Principal

  • Mandy Mayer, Mettawee Community School Nurse


Randi Lowe, EdD


November 24, 2020 - Governor's order

Greetings BRSU Families,

This Thanksgiving holiday will be different than any of us have faced before. The Governor has directed us to not mix households, specifically not gather with people who do not live in your home, and stay within the state. This is hard for everyone, but with positive COVID cases rising throughout the state I implore you to follow the Governor’s Order. If you engage in activities that require quarantine (exposure to the virus, travel out of the state, and multi-household gatherings), or if you are wondering if your child should quarantine after the holidays, please be conservative and do so.

As directed by the Governor today, we will be adding a screening question to our screening process next Monday. This new question will be, “Has your child attended any multi-household gatherings that require quarantine?” Please expect this and be prepared to answer it after Thanksgiving.

Our instructional model is designed to allow students to move between in-person and distance learning. If your child requires quarantine after Thanksgiving, please follow your school protocol for notifying them that your child will be a distance learner. There is nothing negative about this and your child will not be penalized. I deeply appreciate your commitment to doing your part to keep our schools open. Quarantining when it is required will go a long way to helping this happen.

Thanksgiving this year presents an opportunity for us to put traditional practices on hold and to creatively consider something new and different. It has been quite a year, and I hope you find opportunities for gratitude. As I pause and consider this statement, there are many things to be grateful for in my life and being a part of our school community nears the top of my list. We have incredible students, teachers, staff and families and it is a privilege to walk this journey with you. Take care and I wish you and yours a peaceful and healthy Thanksgiving.


Randi Lowe, EdD


November 12, 2020

Dear BRSU Families,

We are navigating unprecedented times and I am reaching out to connect with you about the COVID-19 virus. Before doing so, however, I would like to take a moment to offer sincere gratitude and respect to the military Veterans who have fought and sacrificed for our freedom and our country. To those in our communities who have served, thank you for your service.

As we know, COVID-19 cases are increasing at a concerning rate across the country, and unfortunately, we are not immune to this trend. I want nothing more than to keep our schools open and the only way we have a chance of achieving this is if we continue to stay vigilant and follow Governor Scott and Dr. Levine’s guidance. Please limit contact with those outside of your close circle of family and friends, wear masks and socially distance from others. If you travel, please be honest and follow the quarantine requirements, which now requires a quarantine for all non-essential travel outside of Vermont. I encourage everyone to regularly review the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website for the most up to date information.

As we approach the holidays this is all even more difficult, but I am asking you to follow the practices we know work to mitigate the spread of the virus. This pandemic is taking a toll on each of us and I know how hard it is. I also know we are a community that comes together and cares for one another. Thank you in advance for your continued safe practices. We are in this together. Please take care and stay vigilant.


Randi Lowe

October 30, 2020

Taconic & Green Board Proudly Welcomes Student Representatives

Just prior to the final vote on the appointment of the first two Student Representatives to the Taconic & Green School District Board, Chairman Herb Ogden raised one final question. “We have been a collegial working group, referring to each other by first name. Shouldn’t we encourage these two young members to do the same?” On the Zoom computer screen, the faces of the dozen T&G Board members present smiled and nodded with thumbs raised. The final vote was unanimous.

T&G, meet Lexi and Sam.

Alexandria “Lexi” Lacoste comes to the T&G Board with a passionate interest in mental health education and a love of learning and the arts. As she starts her Junior year at Burr & Burton Academy (BBA), Lexi already has earned the prestigious Headmaster Award, in addition to the Scholar Leader Award for excellence in the classroom and leadership. Lexi’s passion manifests in a myriad of interests, none more so than her work for the Yellow Tulip Project, a student organization focused on mental health. She also plays left field for BBA’s softball team and earns raves as a trumpet performer. Lexi’s instructors consider her a leader and an advocate for her peers and community.

“I want to walk away with new leadership experiences, a new outlook on school and an understanding on how to attack problems for the greater community”, explained Lexi, describing what she hopes to learn from her new role as a Student Representative. "I hope to learn how to collaborate for and work with people who are of different ages and backgrounds. I also hope to walk away with the knowledge that I made a difference in young kids’ lives.”

Samantha “Sam” Stevenson is known as an effective communicator with a great sense of humor. In her first two years at BBA, Sam earned a reputation as a hardworking honor student, with an intuitive gift for listening and collaborating. Her perseverance and determination shows up not only in the classroom, but also in athletics where she has been a competitive swimmer for eight years, as well as, a starter at center defense for the BBA Field Hockey Team. In her spare time, Sam serves as a BBA Ambassador, where she confidently fields questions about the school as she guides visitors on campus tours. Sam’s teachers point to her natural curiosity and ability to connect that comes in handy as she pursues her love of science and politics.

That interest in politics attracted Sam to apply for the T&G Student Representative post. “I enjoyed learning about politics in AP Government, but my favorite part of the class was the lively discussion and debate among opposing viewpoints. I enjoy thinking of ways to bring people together, put differences aside, and find common ground. I’m very interested in policy and how it affects students of all ages.”

Lexi and Sam start their one-year tenure at the November Board Meeting. Both BBA Juniors are eager to get to work and the Board can’t wait to add the students' experience to their team. “When we started our search, we weren’t sure what to expect,” says BRSU Superintendent Randi Lowe. “But with Sam and Lexi, we were fortunate to find two great young women.”

Lexi Lacoste, T&G Board Student Representative

Sam Stevenson, T&G Board Student Representative

October 26, 2020

A Strong and Health Start - Safety and Health Guidance for Reopening Schools, Fall 2020

Issued by the Vermont Agency of Education and the Vermont Department of Health

Issued: June 16, 2020

Revised: October 23, 2020

Effective: November 16, 2020

October 11, 2020

Dear Families and Employees,

On the evening of October 10, 2020 we were notified of a student with a positive antigen test for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the Manchester Elementary Middle School (MEMS). The principals and nurse at MEMS and I immediately began collecting information and have been working closely with the Vermont Department of Health throughout the day. Given the circumstances surrounding this particular situation and the fact that this student was a close contact to someone who tested positive, the Vermont Department of Health is considering this a positive COVID-19 case.

Out of an abundance of caution the kindergarten classes at MEMS will stay home and participate in distance learning the week of October 12, 2020. We will determine later in the week if we are able to provide in-person instruction the week of October 19, 2020. The Department of Health contact tracers will be calling the families of students in the same cohort today. Please answer the phone if the Health Department calls you. A contact tracer may be trying to reach you with important information.

We recommend that everyone continue to take action to limit the spread of COVID-19, even if your child is not experiencing symptoms. The most important thing you can do is to make sure your child is wearing a mask and washing their hands. Keep them home if they're sick and call your primary care provider if you or your child has symptoms of COVID-19.

COVID-19 spreads mainly from having close contact with someone who has the COVID-19 infection. The virus is thought to spread by droplets from person to person when they speak, cough, or sneeze. Droplets travel less than 6 feet. When droplets from another person get in your mouth or nose you can inhale into your lungs. This virus can be spread by people without symptoms.

We will continue to work with the Health Department to keep our community safe. Our cleaning protocols at MEMS follow the Health Department guidance and the classroom space will be disinfected, again, prior to being used. Employees and sick children will not return to work until they are healthy. Click the link to learn more about getting tested in Vermont.

Thank you for understanding that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the name of the individual with COVID-19. We are a learning community who care about each other and treat each other with dignity and respect. I strongly encourage us to remember that stigmatizing our community members does not lead to improved outcomes. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with those impacted by this case.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to:

Randi Lowe, BRSU Superintendent

Deb Fishwick, Principal

Betsy Memoe, Principal

Peggy Roberts, MEMS School Nurse


Randi Lowe, EdD


September 17, 2020

BRSU Celebrates Teachers and Staff

COVID-19 may have changed the venue, but the virus could not dampen the spirits at the ceremony for the recipients of this year’s Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union (BRSU) Teacher and Staff Awards. Instead of a school auditorium, first-year BRSU Superintendent Randi Lowe revealed the honorees on a computer screen packed with 217 cheering and applauding participants. “This ceremony is always uplifting,” Lowe says. "But this year, after all the hard work and challenges we faced together, we really needed to celebrate.”

BRSU tradition calls for teachers to be acknowledged every year in two categories. First, fellow instructors nominate and select one of their own for BRSU Teachers of the Year. To be eligible for this honor, an instructor must have at least three years of experience at the BRSU and had not previously received the distinction. For 2020, the Teachers of the Year recipients are Laura Aghajanian, a Speech-Language Pathologist at the Mettawee Community School and Erin McCall, the Librarian at the Manchester Elementary Middle School.

The BRSU also nominates two teachers each year for the University of Vermont (UVM) list of Outstanding Teachers from across the state. This award honors educators who best exemplify five standards of teaching: learning, professional knowledge, advocacy, colleagueship and accountability. BRSU principals and senior staff recommend a short list of BRSU instructors for the UVM special designation. The final decision for the two BRSU recipients rests with the Superintendent. Selected this year for UVM Outstanding Teachers: Tracy Zaino, Middle School Math teacher from the Flood Brook School and Richard Zelenetz, Early Language Learning (ELL) Interventionist for the BRSU.

In addition to the faculty awards, this year the BRSU instituted a third category of honorees, the Annual Staff Award, to recognize the vital contributions made daily by paraeducators, custodians, chefs, bus drivers and administrators. “Our staff is an integral part of our academic team and the fact that 37 staff members were nominated by the teachers for the new award demonstrates their importance,” Lowe says. It fell to Superintendent Lowe to choose the four staff award winners: Denise Fisher, Paraeducator at the Mettawee Community School; Kelly Leggett, Administrative Assistant at The Dorset School; Dave Champine, Facilities Manager at Currier Memorial School; and Bill Amatruto, Custodian at the Sunderland Elementary School.

A list of the BRSU honorees in each category, plus comments from their BRSU colleagues follow:

BRSU Teachers of the Year

Laura Aghajanian

Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), Mettawee Community School: “Laura calmly and patiently manages students in crisis and handles tricky family dynamics in the most professional way. She is an advocate for her students and is willing to try and even develop new things to help them to reach their learning goals. Her students can count on her to provide fun and consistent specialized instruction, full of care and encouragement.”

Erin McCall

Librarian, Manchester Elementary Middle School: “Erin went above and beyond in her duties as the librarian at MEMS this year. Her distance learning website was incredible. She created videos and read books aloud for all levels of students. She engages with students who might otherwise struggle to be seen and heard, and is passionate about what she teaches. She has a great sense of humor and is dedicated. MEMS is immensely fortunate to have her.”

University of Vermont Outstanding Teachers

Tracy Zaino

Middle School Math Teacher, Flood Brook School: “Tracy is a master teacher, instinctively differentiating her teaching to meet every child on their level, and really knows her stuff when it comes to mathematics and instruction. She consistently demonstrates a deep knowledge of her students as learners and people, and is always willing to do whatever is needed to meet student needs. Tracy continues to bring calm, intelligence and a strong belief in equity and that all students can succeed. She is truly the model of a caring, flexible and helpful teacher.”

Richard Zelenetz

Early Language Learning (ELL) Interventionist for the BRSU: “Richard’s drive and willingness to try new things to do whatever it takes to connect with the population with which he works is inspiring. He is an amazing advocate for students and parents, and worked tirelessly to help us stay connected to families who we would have lost during the remote learning time period. His quiet, confident disposition allows for colleagues to easily connect with him and work together to support learners. Richard always has a smile on his face and inspiring words for all!”

BRSU Staff Awards

Bill Amatruto

Custodian, Sunderland Elementary: “Bill is a great guy and a true team player. He consistently, patiently, and graciously fixes, cleans, and looks after our building and its occupants. No matter how challenging, he responds to each request with thoughtful thoroughness. Repairs happen immediately, changes are thought through and done well. Bill seems to get along well with everyone in the building-- faculty, administration, staff and students are all greeted with a quiet smile and an open welcome. Bill is the backbone to all of the happenings at Sunderland School.”

Denise Fisher

Paraeducator, Mettawee Community School: “Denise is a dedicated, amazing paraeducator. She is an endless support for at risk readers. She is flexible, pleasant and supportive to staff, kids and families alike. She has been a part of Mettawee for many years, teaching students of all ages how to read and write. She supports students and teachers and is always willing to help in any way - from supporting readers and being a PTO member to going on field trips and being outside at recess every day.”

Dave Champine

Facilities Manager, Currier Memorial Elementary: “Dave has skills in so many areas, I can't imagine the Currier School without him! He is great with the kids and a good role model. He is innovative, always finding a solution that will work. He takes his responsibilities seriously and always makes himself available for everyone, no matter how busy he is. Not only does he clean, re-stock, sanitize, get the mail, feed the fish during breaks, come in on weekends to check on the building, but he also is a friend, mentor, and kind face to all the students in the building.”

Kelly Leggett

Administrative Assistant, The Dorset School: “Kelly has been a great help to the staff, students, and parents at Dorset. She is the go to person who knows the answer to many procedures, students' information, and countless other aspects of daily life at the school. Kelly always greets you with a smile and listens to you no matter how busy she is... which it is always. She is an invaluable resource, good friend and a kind member of our school community.”

September 4, 2020

Dear BRSU Families,

It is hard to believe that we are entering Labor Day weekend and next Tuesday we officially begin the 2020-21 school year. The planning and preparation for this year has been unlike anything I have been a part of in my career and the year will be unlike any school year we have experienced in our lifetime.

Our leaders have been working hard to plan for the opening of school, creating processes, and safety and health protocols to ensure our schools are ready and building out our educational model. Our teachers have spent the last nine days on a professional development and planning learning curve unlike any they have experienced before. They have used every minute of every day preparing for the start of the school year. I am very proud of the work our teachers and staff have done to prepare for the year.

Our school year opening plan was designed to provide time to implement our new processes and protocols and to adjust, as needed, prior to the start of Phase 2, when our students in grades K-5(6) return to schools in their assigned cohort. We expect that initially things may not flow perfectly, but we will be attentive to what requires adjustment. Our instructional model is new for everyone and we will grow together. Please partner with our teachers as we all implement and learn.

Here is our Family Guide to Distance Learning and we have created an e-learning site to support you in understanding our instructional model. We will continue to add to this site over time.

We are ready. We are keeping our focus on the main tenets that will mitigate the spread of COVID-19: wearing facial coverings, keeping appropriate social distance, washing our hands, using effective cleaning procedures and staying home when we are sick. We are starting our year slowly to provide the time to implement well. We expect that a slower, intentional start will lead to longer, more sustainable outcomes. Thank you for your patience and support as we start the year. This is the time for us to come together as a community for our children, teachers and staff, which will help keep us healthy and engaged in effective educational practices. I appreciate you doing your part to make this happen and I look forward to the start of the year.


Randi Lowe, EdD


September 2, 2020 - Family Health Guide

Family Health Guide

August 14, 2020

Dear BRSU Community,

As we move closer to the start of the school year, I am asking for your help to start the year with, and continue to maintain, safe school communities. The recently updated Strong and Healthy Start document developed by the Vermont Agency of Education, recognizes that community (not school) transmission will be the primary mode of infection for the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, I need your help in following social distancing practices, avoiding large gatherings of people and keeping your circle of contacts as small as possible. I am reminding everyone that this is a time for us to support our children and staff by following the practices that keep transmission levels low.

I want to be sure that everyone is aware of the state’s restrictions on out of state leisure travel. The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) website provides the most up to date travel restrictions for Vermonters. Every Friday this page is updated with new information and color codes a map of counties across the northeast region of the United States. The map uses the colors red and yellow to identify areas that require quarantine upon returning to Vermont. In recent weeks, there have been significant changes to this map. Leisure travel to any yellow or red county requires quarantine upon return to Vermont.

If your child has traveled to one of these yellow or red areas, your child should not attend school in-person unless they have observed the required quarantine. Detailed information about quarantine requirements is available at the Vermont Department of Health website. Please contact your school principal if your child finds themselves in a quarantine situation when they are scheduled to return to in-person instruction.

We are starting this school year under conditions we have not faced before. I have been reminded countless times this summer about our community’s strength, resiliency and compassion. I am asking you, on behalf of our children and our incredible teachers and staff, to follow the health and safety guidelines being asked of us.


Randi Lowe, EdD


July 21, 2020

Dear BRSU Families,

This morning was the final Team Lead meeting for our Phase 2 re-entry planning teams. I would like to thank those people involved in this important Phase 2 work--they have done a terrific job. These teams made recommendations to guide the school-level planning and will serve as a template for this work.

Logistics and Scheduling: SkylerLaBombard, Rosanna Moran, Bjorn Berhendt, Johanna Davis, Paul Eaton., Greg Harrington., Giom, Mike Dinsmore, Lauren Magrath, Deb Fishwick., Joey Blane

Operations: Greg Harrington, Carolyn Parillo, Kelly Foster, Derek Chalmers, Necole Zemp, Christopher Lackney

Instruction: Skyler LaBombard, Brooke DeBonis, Caitlin Cavagnino, Bjorn Berhendt, Jenn Turner, Sonja Thorley, Robin Sirois, Tracy Hughes, Carinthia Grayson, Amanda Penge, Scott Diedrich

Physical Health: Mandy Mayer, Neal McIntyre, Peggy Roberts, Mark Weikert, Janna Webb, Brian Jennings, Christopher Lackney

Social/Emotional Health: Betsy Memoe, Paul Eaton, Beth Barclay, Mary Hissong, Colleen Jennings, Sarena Barausky, Karyn Stannard

Communication: Jenn Turner, Randi Lowe, Skyler LaBombard, Chris Scudder, Bob Niles

Phase 3 begins the building level discussions and I will spend the next two days with our building leaders framing out their work, diving into equity training and beginning to set goals for the year. There are many SU level decisions that are still being made and this will continue throughout the month of August.

Please see the attached document with a planning update. I appreciate your continued patience and support. As you know, there is a lot going on and we are keeping the health and safety of our students and adults at the center of our educational decision making.

BRSU Update 072120.pdf


Randi Lowe

BRSU Superintendent

July 10, 2020

Dear BRSU Families,

We are working on our re-entry plan for school and I want to share an update with you. As you know, things are fluid and we are planning from the current guidance, and responding to new information when it is received.

The most important statement I want to make is that we need your support and partnership in a way we never have before. We want to open our schools safely at the maximum capacity possible and it will take a community to successfully do so.

The VT Agency of Education is requiring adults and children to wear facial coverings in schools. People have different perspectives about the use of facial coverings and we are all entitled to our personal opinions. However, when it comes to attendance at school, the current guidance is clear--we need to wear them. You can help us in a couple of different ways. A positive attitude with your child about wearing a facial covering at school will go a long way to helping us meet this requirement. Explaining to your child that this is something we wear to school now, and that it is important to cover our mouths and noses to keep everyone safe and healthy, would be enormously helpful. Wearing facial coverings at home over the summer will help get your child used to wearing one inside, which will also help them be successful when we return to school. I deeply appreciate your support with this transition.

We will conduct health screenings at the first point of contact between a child and school. If they ride the bus, the screening will occur at the bus stop prior to boarding. If they are being driven or walking/biking to school, the screening will occur before your child enters the building. An adult will need to stay with your child until they have been cleared to enter the bus/building. We are exploring the possibility of an online screening, but cannot confirm now that this will occur. We will update you as decisions are made.

School meals will be delivered to classrooms and students will eat with their class at the start of the year. Given that food will be transported through the building, breakfast and lunch options will meet FDA guidelines but will primarily be cold food options. When possible, feeding your child breakfast at home or sending in a lunch from home would be incredibly helpful for us. Feeding our children in their classrooms will take more time so whatever you can do to help will make a big difference.

We will be operating buses, but with the need to screen students before getting on the bus, routes will likely be different than in the past. Our transportation team is working hard to problem solve and troubleshoot through different scenarios. As soon as information is available, we will share it with you.

Finally, we are requesting information to help us in making a couple of decisions. We are trying to get a sense of how many students may be riding a bus, so please let us know about your intention to do so. We are also seeking your feedback regarding the return to in-person instruction and appreciate you sharing your thoughts around the potential of a completely remote learning option. Please complete this google form by July 17 to address these two topics. Your responses are not binding in any way, but will give us an initial sense of what families are currently thinking.

I will be sending out another email communication next Friday to update you on our work.


Randi Lowe

BRSU Superintendent

June 24, 2020 - School Reopening Plan

I will be communicating with you throughout the summer with updates and information as we plan for school reopening in the fall, so please check your email every couple of weeks. I will do my best to share with you our progress and decisions as they are developed. I have a terrific team of people working hard to develop a re-entry plan that prioritizes safety as well as the developmental needs of our students.

A Phase 1 Planning Team composed of 14 parents, teachers and administrators developed a comprehensive list of considerations and needs in six primary areas, scheduling and logistics, operations, instruction, physical health, social-emotional health and communication, that served as the foundation for the Phase 2 Teams. Our Phase 2 work is underway and we have teams developing our SU plan in each of the six areas. There are more than 40 people engaged in this work including parents, nurses, facilities, food service, teachers, instructional coaches and building and central office administrators. We will be consulting with others including students as plans are developed. I expect this work to be completed by the third week of July, at which point we will transition to Phase 3, which is when the schools will develop their specific building level models.

I know many of you are worried about the upcoming year and what school will be like for your child. Please know that we are doing everything possible to keep our school community safe while finding creative ways to prioritize relationships, safety and trust. We recognize the tension between the health and safety guidelines and our student’s social-emotional and developmental needs. I am encouraging creative, out of the box thinking with a focus on establishing community and relationships when we reconvene. When children feel safe and connected they are ready to learn.

Superintendent Wilson mentioned this in a recent communication, but I wanted to reiterate that we are asking you to be mindful of the quarantine requirements should you travel out of state this summer. We will be following the most up to date guidance when we return to school and would hate for students to not be able to return to school due to recent travel.

We will need your partnership in new ways. As we develop schedules and new procedures I will be asking you for your support in implementation. We have a fantastic community and I know that together we will do what is best for our children. Thanks for your patience and support as we plan for the upcoming school year.


Randi Lowe, Assistant Superintendent

Meals to Children 18 and Under - June 24, 2020

Bulldog Bites, Burr and Burton Academy's mobile food truck and free meal service, is on the road beginning June 22nd. The truck will be serving free meals to children 18 and under throughout the summer. Lunches can be ordered and picked up from either the Orvis Flagship store lot from 10-11:30, or from the VFW lot on Depot Street in Manchester, from 11:45-1:30. Free meals will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Adult meals will also be available for purchase--cash or check only.

Participants must adhere to proper social distancing guidelines. If you are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, please do not come to the truck.

Bulldog Bites is operated by Burr and Burton Academy. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for our menu options!

BRSU Equity Letter - June 3, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

The current circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current unrest sparked by the recent death of George Floyd have brought us, as a country, to a place of examination of our own systems to ensure they are welcoming to minority and marginalized groups. Our hearts go out to George Floyd’s family and to all who are impacted by the long-standing issues of discrimination, racism, violence, and injustice perpetrated in our country. We believe in the right of all Americans to peacefully protest and have their voices heard so that all Americans, particularly our brothers and sisters of color, be treated with dignity, respect, and justice.

As a school district, we are committed to doing our part to address racial inequities that currently exist within the system. We recognize that this may make many of us uncomfortable and serve as a challenge to our privilege. We pledge our commitment to work toward equity for all students and to raise awareness of implicit bias so that we can work together for change. We are in the initial stages of assembling a team to plan for implicit bias and equity training. Classrooms provide an opportunity for children to learn to value and respect diversity and differences in order to foster more inclusive environments in our schools and community. We, as educators, have both an opportunity and a responsibility to teach not only academic subjects, but to also teach acceptance, empathy, tolerance, and compassion. We will continue to work toward all students feeling safe, accepted, and cared for.

We realize that these recent tragic events may bring up questions for your children. We are sharing some resources below that may be helpful to you as staff, parents, and community members. As always please feel free to reach out to your child’s school for support. We are committed to doing this hard and uncomfortable work to ensure that all children live, learn, and play in safe, supportive communities and schools with access to equitable systems, supports, and opportunities.

Below please find some links that might be helpful in discussing these events with our children:

Supporting Vulnerable Students in Stressful Times: Tip for Parents

Discussing Hate and Violence with Children

Helping Students Make Sense about News Stories about Bias and Injustice

Talking to Children about Tragedies and Other News Events

Understanding Race and Privilege

Resources for Discussing Police Violence, Race, and Racism with Students

How to Support Your Child’s Resilience in a Time of Crisis

Responding to Children’s Emotional Needs During Times of Crisis

Talking Race to Young Children

How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism

How Racism Harms Children

Talking to Children about Racial Bias


Jackie Wilson, Superintendent

Randi Lowe, Assistant Superintendent

Skyler LaBombard, Director of Teaching and Learning

Carolyn Parillo, Principal, Currier Memorial School

Neal McIntyre, Principal Flood Brook School

Betsy Memoe, Co-Principal, Manchester Elementary Middle School

Deb Fishwick, Co-Principal, Manchester Elementary Middle School

Brooke DeBonis, Principal, Mettawee Community School

Jennifer Turner, Principal, Sunderland Elementary School

Rosanna Moran, Principal, The Dorset School

June Message to BRSU Students & Parents/Guardians - June 1, 2020

Dear BRSU Families,

The recent death of George Floyd has served to remind us all that racism and intolerance is real. The events of the last week have been difficult and emotional ones. It is hard for me to comprehend that such hatred and intolerance still exists in our country. As a community, we must take a hard look at our beliefs, biases, and actions and do everything we can to make sure that our schools are places that respect and value all our learners - equally.

This morning, I had a conversation with my successor, Randi Lowe, and we talked about what we could do differently. Randi is a member of a two-year cohort, called the Equity Practioner’s Network, that is currently studying issues of equity in Vermont, so this is a topic that is central to her work as a leader. We talked about the importance of every child feeling safe, included, and heard. As a community we will learn and grow together to better support all our children. Creating environments that honor equity for all are central to our democracy and we must attend to this work.

In two weeks, our 2019/20 school year will come to an end. It has been a difficult and challenging one but we’ve learned a lot and we want to take what we’ve learned to improve future educational opportunities for our children. We need to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to fill out the attached feedback survey. We will use this information to plan for educating our children in the fall.

Randi Lowe, who will take the reins as Superintendent in a few weeks, has formed a “Think Tank Team” to explore possible schooling and education options for next year. The Team is exploring everything from in-person school to distance learning. So many unknowns still exist that make the finalization of a fall school opening plan impossible at this time, but the work has begun.

Overview from Randi Lowe:

The BRSU is planning for the 2020-21 school year, recognizing that school will not be operating as it had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Current planning includes three phases of work. Phase 1 includes a team of 14 educational leaders, teachers and parents whose primary purpose is to frame out broad educational models and to identify needs and questions to be explored during Phase 2 in six different areas: Instruction, logistics and scheduling, physical health, social emotional health, operations, and communication. The overarching goal of Phase 1 is below and we expect to have this work completed by mid-June.

Goal: To provide educational models for BRSU schools for the 2020-21 school year that include:

    1. Providing for equity of education for all students

    2. Providing students and teachers with a safe school environment

    3. Providing for varying needs of students and families

Phase 2 will consist of six different stakeholder groups who will develop the details related to their area of focus within each of the educational models identified during Phase 1. This work will be completed by late July. The Phase 3 focus will be developing the implementation plans at a school level with building based discussions/decisions. As we know, the landscape of these discussions and the guidance are dynamic and our work will be responsive to the ever-changing requirements. We have received positive support for our approach and inclusivity of a variety of voices and perspectives.

The Agency of Education has signaled that detailed guidance will probably not be forthcoming until mid to late July. The Team will be positioned to share planning options as soon as final guidance is received.

In a few short weeks I will retire and Dr. Randi Lowe will take my place. Randi and I have been working closely throughout these last few months and the transition will be seamless. She is a smart, committed leader who cares about all the right things. It has been a pleasure to serve the children and families of the BRSU community for close to three decades. I wish you all health and safety in these trying times and thanks for all the support you’ve given me over the years.



Last Day of School is June 12, 2020

May 19, 2020

Dear BRSU Families and Students,

Last week I received notice from the Agency of Education that a waiver I requested to excuse us from making up emergency weather days was granted. This means that the last day of school for all preK-8 students in our six schools will be Friday, June 12, 2020.

The waiver allows us to exchange required student days for teacher professional development days. The waiver will enable us to engage in some critical professional development with our teachers as we begin planning for the 2020/21 school year. We have learned a lot about what does and does not work with distance learning. We look forward to having the opportunity to reflect upon our successes and failures in hopes of improving potential future distance learning experiences for our children and families.

We will continue to provide meals until Monday, June 22, 2020. If you have been participating in this program and no longer want to receive meals after June 12, please contact Kelly Foster, the Director of Food Services, at to let her know.

Principals will be working with their staff to wrap up the school year and virtually celebrate our learners. Students, we know it has been so difficult to be out of school for so long and separated from your teachers and friends. We are hopeful that in the fall we can have opportunities to connect more. Parents, you have been amazing. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support. We have all had to learn how to navigate this emergency together – you have been great partners.

I especially want to congratulate all our graduating students. We so wish we could personally celebrate your accomplishments with you before you leave our schools. Thank you for the leadership you provided for the younger students in our schools. Thank you for growing into such caring and responsible young people who will contribute to making our communities better places. When times are safer, please come back and say hello so we can give you a hug and congratulate you in person.


Jacquelyne Wilson


Feeding Our Children - May 14, 2020 - LINK

School Meals - 5/5/20

If you would like to receive to-go school meals, you may still sign-up your child(ren) (ages 18 and under). Please fill out the survey:

If you no longer wish to receive school meals, please email Kelly Foster to be removed:

Also, please consider filling out a school meals application-- if you qualify now your child(ren) will be:

1) Eligible for free school meals for the first 30 days of next school year (until you fill out a new application in the fall).

2) Eligible for a Pandemic-EBT benefit debit card from the State of Vermont.

If you already qualify for SNAP, you do not need to fill out a school meals application. Please email Kelly Foster to receive a school meals application: APPLICATION

As a reminder, there is NO charge for to-go school meals.

Kelly Foster

Food Service Director

Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union

802-362-2452 Ext: 1552

6378 VT Route 7A

Sunderland, VT 05250-8427

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