• September 24, 2021

    Good evening VVS, 

    Happy Friday! We've had yet another beautiful week of summer weather, with autumn temperatures beginning to make an appearance just in time for cozy fall fires, hot cocoa, and Friday night football games. Students are settling nicely into their school routines. It’s great to hear their voices throughout the schools.

    A few items:

    1. The COVID testing processes and procedures will begin shortly for faculty and staff. We will roll out the testing opportunity for students in the coming weeks. 
    2. Thank you for all you do to keep our community safe and healthy. Please continue to practice hand hygiene, wear clean masks, and stay home if you are feeling ill. 
    3. We will be holding a Drive-up Flu Shot Clinic on Wednesday, October 6th from 4-7pm in the Sheveron parking lot. All community members are welcome - please see Peachjar and Facebook for more details. 

    Tomorrow is National Family Health and Fitness Day. It's the perfect time to get out and ride bikes, go for a hike, or visit your favorite apple and pumpkin picking spot. Then, share your family fitness activities on our district Facebook page! Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 17, 2021

    Good evening VVS, 

    Happy Friday! We were blessed with beautiful weather for our first full week back. Our students and faculty across the district took advantage of our new outdoor learning spaces, playgrounds, and athletic fields to enjoy learning, spending time with friends, and participating in our annual bus safety program. The summer weather will continue into the weekend, giving us more time to ride our bikes, enjoy the water, and get outside for many fall festivities. 

    A few items:

    1. We will begin offering free weekly COVID testing to asymptomatic individuals within the next few weeks. The tests will be a self-administered cheek swab that will be available during school hours. Thank you to the families who filled out the survey indicating their interest in this testing. We will send out a formal sign-up when we are ready to begin offering the screening.
    2. Infection rates are on the rise in our region. Thanks to everyone for doing your part by wearing clean masks, washing hands frequently, and staying home if you are feeling ill. All these steps help us to continue enjoying our everyday activities both in and out of school.

    Tomorrow is National Cleanup Day, a day when people all over American volunteer to clean up parks, trails, sidewalks, and outdoor spaces. What can you and your family do to make our community shine? For cleanup ideas, visit nationalcleanupday.org. When you are done, post your progress on our district Facebook page to share your contribution to the VVS community! Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 10, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    What a fantastic first week back! The weather was perfect, and we so enjoyed having our faculty, staff, and students together and learning in-person.

    A few items:

    1. NY State requires schools to provide COVID screening testing to asymptomatic students who would like to be screened for COVID-19. We are working on establishing our processes and will provide more information in the coming weeks.
    2. Contact tracing requirements remain in place for anyone exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19. Individuals exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may not be required to quarantine. Parents may wish to provide a copy of their child’s COVID-19 vaccination record to the school nurse to expedite contact tracing and possibly reduce instances of quarantine.
    3. Please remember to wear clean masks every day, practice good hygiene, and stay home if you are not feeling well. 
    4. All unvaccinated employees or employees who do not provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination must be tested weekly. Thank you to all our employees who provided their information. We will provide further information on the employee testing procedures next week. 
    5. Do you know anyone who would like to become a part of our VVS team? We are hiring for many positions including teacher aides, bus monitors, lunch monitors and substitutes for all positions. If you or someone you know would be interested, please have them call our Personnel Office at (315) 829-2520, extension 7116.

    Tomorrow is September 11, a day we honor as Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance. We can honor those who lost their lives and those who performed tremendous acts of heroism with acts of service. As President Biden said, "Service is a fitting way to start to heal, unite, and rebuild this country we love." Visit http://americorps.gov/911-day for service ideas for your family and loved ones. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha 

     

    September 3, 2021

    Good evening VVS families,

    Happy Friday! It was so nice to see so many smiling faces this week at our open houses. The fall weather was the perfect background to cool classrooms down and welcome families back. 

    A few items:

    1. We are so excited to welcome our students back to in-person learning on Tuesday, September 7th. 
    2. Please remember to have clean masks ready and to monitor for COVID symptoms before sending your child to school each day. 
    3. Late yesterday afternoon we received information from the New York State Department of Health regarding offering weekly COVID-19 screening testing for students. We are reviewing this information and will provide further details to families next week.
    4. We will be hosting a Back-to-School COVID Vaccine Clinic on Tuesday, September 7th from 5-7 pm. Please visit https://vvscovidclinic.youcanbook.me to register.
    5. If your family requires remote instruction due to documented medical issues, please contact your building principal.

    Monday is Labor Day, a day designed to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. We hope that all of our families enjoy the long weekend, and we look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, September 7th.


    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 27, 2021

    Good evening VVS, 

    Happy Friday. Our sunny weather may be giving way to a stormy weekend, but that doesn't put a damper on our excitement as we welcome everyone back to school next week! Wednesday and Thursday are our opening Superintendent's Conference Days for faculty and staff and our Open House evenings for students and families. Please check Peachjar and SchoolMessenger for your building's activities.

    A few items:

    1. We look forward to welcoming our students back to in-person instruction on Tuesday, September 7th. 
    2. VVS will not require daily COVID screenings for students, faculty and staff. Instead, everyone will receive a reminder email and text on Sunday evenings to follow COVID guidelines, maintain good hygiene practices, and stay home if they are experiencing symptoms. 

    Tomorrow is Speak Kind Words Saturday. Blaise Pascal says it well in his quote: "Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much." I am always impressed by our supportive community and how we model kind and compassionate interaction with our children. Take some time this weekend to talk with your children about our responsibility to be thoughtful not only about what we say, but how we say it. Gracious, caring, and neighborly communication is one of the defining characteristics that make VVS a great place to learn, to work, and to live. Have a wonderful weekend. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 20, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    Happy Friday; I hope you’re drying out from all the rain we had this past week! It’s hard to believe that next week is our last full week of summer. Our buildings and grounds crew are putting the finishing touches on our buildings, and many teachers are moving along preparing their classrooms for students to return. It’s been great to see students in the schools for orientation and transition activities.  

    Here a few items:

    1. School begins for all students on Tuesday, September 7th. We look forward to welcoming all our students back for daily in-person learning. Let’s all stay healthy so we can follow our regular school schedule for the whole year!

    2. Next Friday, several law enforcement agencies will be on the VVS High School campus for safety training exercises. Any activity you may see is only an exercise and not a real event. We are pleased to provide the use of our facilities for such important training. This training exercise supports our law enforcement agencies and helps inform our school and district safety plans.

    3. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Virtual Town Hall last evening. We were able to answer all the questions from the Thoughtexchange and others posed during the town hall. The Thoughtexchange will remain open for you to ask new questions. The recorded meeting will be posted on our website along with an FAQ.

    On Sunday, we celebrate National Senior Citizens Day. This is great time to thank our seniors citizens for all they have done and continue to do contributing to society and making everyone’s lives better. The country’s foundation and practice of care and concern for all is the result of the hard work and sacrifices of our senior citizens; they deserve all our gratitude. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 13, 2021

    Good evening VVS Families, 

    Happy Friday! We had a few storms this week, but can all look forward to a beautiful weekend ahead. With the expected more comfortable temperatures, it's the perfect time to get outside for some fun family time. 

    A few items:

    1. Yesterday, the New York State Education Department released its guidance for the 2021-2022 school year. We are reviewing the guidance and expect to receive additional guidance from the Oneida County Health Department. These will assist us in finalizing our plans for the beginning of the school year. 
    2. We invite you to join our Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, August 19th at 6:00 pm, where we will share our plan for the start of the school year. We know many families have questions and concerns they would like addressed. We have set up a Thoughtexchange to gather questions ahead of Thursday’s Virtual Town Hall. I will include information in response to the Thoughtexchange questions and also take questions during the Virtual Town Hall. You will find the Thoughtexchange link here: https://tejoin.com/scroll/124423565.
    3. Thank you for your continued patience as we transition our phone system. Our Tech Services Team has worked incredibly hard to ensure a smooth transition, and we are appreciative of their efforts. 

    Sunday is National Relaxation Day. We could all use a little relaxation before we begin our back-to-school preparations! Whether you find relaxation floating in a pool, reading a book, listening to music, or watching a movie, this weekend will be the perfect time to slow down and connect as a family. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 6, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    Happy Friday! August has started with another week of beautiful weather, which looks like it will continue into the weekend.

     

    A few items:

    1. Thank you for your patience as we rolled out our new phone system. We are pleased to report that the transition has been going smoothly. We will continue to post the temporary cell phone numbers on our website in the event that you have any issues connecting with our buildings. 
    2. We will be holding a VVS Community Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, August 19th from 6-7 pm. We will be sharing our plans for the upcoming school year, and answering any questions related to the opening of school. Please check your Peachjar flyers for the link and more information.

    Today is Farmworker Appreciation Day. Our area is known for amazing farms - whether it's dairy, fruits, vegetables, animals, or our very own VVS maple, we appreciate the hardworking individuals who provide fresh food and products for us all. To show your support, consider visiting a local farmers' market, berry patch, or farm stand this weekend with your family or friends! Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 30, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    I hope you have had a wonderful and relaxing July. We have been blessed with some beautiful weather this past week, with more to come. It’s hard to believe that August arrives on Sunday! While there are still many more days of summer ahead of us, we are looking forward to the 2021-2022 school year. 

    A few items:

    1. On Monday, August 2, we will change over to a new phone and public announcement system in each of our buildings. This is part of the final stages of the Facilities Project that began in 2018. 

    This new system is designed to simplify phone calls for all of our families. Instead of dialing different numbers for each building and office, our only district phone number will be (315) 829-2520. From that number, you will be able to dial an extension or select from a menu of options for each building or the district office. Please note that the direct phone numbers for each building will no longer work. In the event that there are technical difficulties with the transition to the new phone system, we have provided each building with a temporary cell phone number. These temporary numbers may be found on the district website. 

    1. We are finalizing plans for back-to-school and open house. We will have more information in the coming weeks that will assist you in your back-to-school planning. 

    August 2-8 is Exercise with Your Child Week. Whether it’s riding bikes, taking hikes or playing sports, make some time in the coming week to stay active as a family. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 24, 2021

    Good evening VVS!

    We have been blessed with the perfect weather to celebrate the final days of the 2020-2021 school year. As I walked through the buildings this week, I saw big smiles and happy tears. I heard laughter and the sounds of celebration. All proof that we have grown throughout this school year, ending it stronger as a district and as a community.  

    We will never forget these years, but as we look back on them, let us look back with gratitude, optimism, and pride. Gratitude for the new ways we found to stay connected, optimism for what we can accomplish when we work together, and pride in giving our all for our community. I take comfort knowing that when difficult circumstances arise, VVS rises, and will rise, to meet them every time. 

    In the spirit of resting and recharging, we will stop our weekly messages through the month of July. We will resume them the first week of August to keep you updated on plans surrounding the opening of school. We wish you a wonderful, fun-filled, sun-soaked summer. Thank you for your patience, support, and encouragement in making this school year one of our best ever! 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 21, 2021

    Good evening VVS Families,

    I hope this last week of school is off to a great start for you. Here is a reminder of the schedule for the week:

    Tuesday:           Middle School Dismissal 11:10 AM       Elementary Dismissal 12:05 (PM Pre-K attends) – Grab-n-Go Lunch

    Wednesday:       Remote Learning AM – Middle School Classes Conclude 11:10 AM             Elementary Classes Conclude 12:05

    Thursday:          Middle School Dismissal 11:10 AM       Elementary Dismissal 12:05 (AM Pre-K attends) – Grab-n-Go Lunch

    Friday:               No students attending – Have a great summer!

     

    Please call your child’s school if you have any questions about the last week of school or our summer programs.

    Best,

    Martha


    June 17, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    I hope you're having a good evening. After a stormy start to the week, our beautiful weather has come back to conclude our last full week of instruction. It's hard to believe that there are only four days left in the school year. 

    A few items:

    1) This summer we will see some changes to our meal programs. Please view this flyer: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BfMk5gMn_ws6d1VuAX_0HQHGIt06QNVj/view?usp=sharing describing how meals will be provided over the summer months. Students attending our summer programs will be able to enjoy breakfast and lunch at school. Those not attending summer programs in person will be able to receive meals as described in the flyer.

    2) We continue to receive frequent updates to the Pre-K to Grade 12 Guidance for Schools During the COVID Health Emergency. We review these updates as soon as we receive written guidance from the New York State Department of Health. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we make adjustments based on the updates.

    This weekend we have two celebrations and observances. Classes will not be in session tomorrow in recognition of Juneteenth, otherwise known as Emancipation Day. We celebrate Juneteenth as the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the emancipation of slaves in 1865. 

    On Sunday, we celebrate Father's Day with sincere appreciation to the fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles, guardians and positive role models our students have in their lives. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 11, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    Happy Friday! This week's beautiful weather was perfect for the many activities our students enjoyed throughout the week. Congratulations to the seniors and high school students who were recognized at the high school's Senior Awards Ceremony and in the Academic Awards and Junior Scholarships presentation!

    A few items:

    1) Our Summer Activity and Learning registrations close this evening. If you haven't yet, make sure to view our entire summer catalog on our district website. Our faculty and staff have put together so many fun and engaging activities for students of all ages to enjoy. Students can sign up for as many activities as they like! 

    2) As this year comes to a close, we look toward the fall and the 2021-2022 school year. Our plan is to hold in-person instruction five days a week for all students beginning September 8, 2021. Federal guidance on the use of federal COVID relief funds require schools to plan for future long-term closures; therefore, we will schedule some remote instruction days throughout the year. These days will be held on our half days as shown on the district 2021-2022 student program calendar. The 2021-2022 student program calendar may be found on the district website. We hope this information will assist families in arranging schedules and childcare for the fall. More information will be shared with families in August.

    Sunday is National Children's Day. We are always amazed at how resilient our VVS students have been over the past 15 months. Let's take some time this weekend to celebrate our youth and the positivity and growth they have demonstrated. We are certainly proud of their achievements during this time. Have a wonderful weekend. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 7, 2021 - Outdoor Mask Mandate Update

    Today, Governor Cuomo announced that New York will no longer require masks outdoors at schools.

    Starting tomorrow, June 8th, VVS students and staff will no longer be required to wear masks when outdoors. This includes outdoor learning spaces, playgrounds, and athletic fields. 

    Although NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker released a letter seeking information from the CDC on ending the mask mandate for both indoor and outdoor spaces, the Governor only approved discontinuing mask-wearing in outdoor spaces. The Governor cited the CDC’s recommendation to continue mask use indoors, limited opportunities for social distancing inside classrooms, and a higher indoor transmission rate in his decision. The New York State Education Department has also directed all New York State schools to continue mask use when indoors.

    VVS is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students and staff, as well as following all safety regulations put forth by state, county, and local governments. We encourage our faculty and staff to use outdoor spaces for learning as much as possible during the final few school weeks, and appreciate our community’s support in keeping everyone as safe and healthy as possible. 


    June 4, 2021 - Mask Mandate Update

    Good evening,

    News media outlets are reporting New York State plans to relax school mask mandates as soon as Monday. Please be advised that as of Friday evening, June, 4, 2021 the district has not received any official notification from any New York State authorities, including the Governor’s Office or the New York State Department of Health, regarding any changes to the current health and safety requirements for schools. We will review any information we may receive regarding health and safety requirements for schools. Our current health and safety protocols will remain in place on Monday. We will update our communications as official information becomes available. Thank you for your patience.

     

    Best,

    Martha


    June 4, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    Happy Friday! We are clearly headed into summer with temperatures soaring into the 90s. Make sure to put on sunscreen and stay hydrated if you are planning any outdoor activities.

    A few items:

    1) Our infection rate continues to be well below the regional average through the diligent efforts of our VVS community. We appreciate how well everyone continues to wear masks, socially distance, and fill out the daily COVID Health Screening so we can end our year with the same low rates. 

    2) Our spring celebrations continue this weekend with the Senior Prom. We wish all our seniors a wonderful evening Under the Stars!

    3) Our summer programs are filling up fast! Please visit https://sites.google.com/vvsschools.org/vvssummerlearning/home to sign up!

    4) This year's water testing results have been completed. You can view the results here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/13mxtfLdTe1WC3sF6V0DAIxKEHDfFY1m7/view?usp=sharing

    Sunday marks the 77th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, the strategic battle that ultimately led to the end of the second World War. Last weekend, we took a moment to honor those who gave their lives in service to our nation. We can observe D-Day this weekend by taking the time to thank a veteran for their service to our country. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 27, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    What a beautiful week we have had. Although parts of the weekend will be a bit cold and rainy, it looks to be sunny and warm later in the weekend so we can gather to celebrate Memorial Day. As a reminder, school will not be in session tomorrow, Friday, May 28, or Monday, May 31, as we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. 

    Thank you to everyone who came to our COVID vaccination clinic yesterday. We extend our appreciation to Oneida County for bringing the clinic to VVS. We had 99 VVS community members receive their immunizations; many under the age of 16!

    We are happy to announce that our VVS Summer Learning catalog is now available. Please visit https://sites.google.com/vvsschools.org/vvssummerlearning/home to schedule your summer fun!

    On Monday we celebrate Memorial Day, a day when we honor the men and women who died in service to our country. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, which began a few years after the Civil War. It became an official federal holiday in 1971. Let us all take some time this weekend to honor those who gave their lives for our freedom and reflect on the sacrifices they made on our behalf. Have a wonderful long weekend. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 21, 2021

    Good evening VVS,

    What a wonderful week, filled with sunny and warm weather. I enjoyed seeing people out and about in the community. We happily look forward to the beautiful weekend ahead, too!

    A few items:

    1) Thank you to the entire VVS community for your support of the 2021-2022 school budget. We are pleased that the budget passed with 82% of the community's support. We would also like to congratulate Dr. Frank Frey on his election to the VVS Board of Education. 

    2) We will be hosting another COVID Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, May 26, from 4-7 pm. All VVS community members ages 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated at this clinic. Please click here for more information: https://www.vvsschools.org/Page/3937.

    3) Thank you to everyone who has participated in the most recent Thoughtexchange. Your input is so important to our efforts in prioritizing the needs of the VVS community. The Thoughtexchange remains open through tomorrow, so there is still time to participate. You can participate here: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/175170754.

    Today is National Pizza Party Day. Did you know that the first pizzas were created over 12,000 years ago? Persian soldiers even baked pizzas on the hot surfaces of their shields! Whether you prefer to bake, grill, or order your pizza, this weekend will be the perfect time to have an outdoor pizza party. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 14, 2021

    Good evening VVS Families,

    What an amazing day we’re having! I hope you’ve been able to get outside to enjoy the perfect spring weather.

    Here are a few items:

    1) We are all excited to hear about the latest CDC announcement regarding masks. At the time of this message, we are awaiting guidance from the New York State Department of Health regarding how this will impact schools. Any changes in New York State Health Department or Oneida County Department of Health requirements will be shared with families, employees, and students. We appreciate your continuing to follow current health and safety protocols and especially your patience while we await this guidance.

    2) Thank you to everyone who has participated in the most recent Thoughtexchange. Your input is so important to our efforts in prioritizing the needs of the VVS community. The Thoughtexchange remains open through May 22, 2021 so there is still time to participate. You will find the Thoughtexchange here: https://tejoin.com/175170754 

    3) The VVS School Budget Vote and School Board Election will take place on Tuesday, May 18th from 12:00 – 9:00 pm. Residents should have received a copy of the Sheveron Communicator and Budget Newsletter. If you haven’t received a copy, please call the District Office at 315-829-7425 and we will send one out. You may also visit the VVS Webpage for all of this information.

    Tomorrow is International Family Day, followed by National Barbecue Day on Sunday. With all the expected sunshine and warm weather I hope you can get outside and celebrate both! Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 7, 2021

    Good evening VVS families,

    I hope you have had a nice week. The blossoms and flowers continue to emerge as spring progresses.

    A few items:

    1) The months of May and June are filled with year-end activities. This is also a time when we develop more specific plans for the coming year. We know we can better serve our students and families when you share your thoughts with us. We are asking families to participate in a social and emotional wellness Thoughtexchange. The results of this survey will be combined with what we learn from students, faculty, and staff as we develop plans for the summer and fall, including how the COVID relief funding can support these needs. We invite you to participate by using this link: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/175170754. As always, your thoughts are anonymous.

    2) This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. I would like to take a moment to celebrate all of our VVS educators, and those who play essential roles in supporting education. We are so proud of our VVS educators, who hold themselves to incredibly high standards and always work to better our students' lives. I would also like to recognize our VVS families who have taken on a more active role in their children's education this year. We are so appreciative of the way our VVS families have stepped up to support our remote learning efforts.

    This Sunday is Mothers' Day. I hope you can take time to celebrate your mother, grandmother, aunt, family member, or someone like a mother who has made a positive impact in your life. We can all find time to appreciate those who have offered us unconditional love, support, and guidance. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 30, 2021

    Good evening VVS families,

    I hope you have had a nice week. We have experienced quite a rollercoaster of weather! We’ve had some much needed April showers to nourish our May flowers!

    A few items:

    1) Thank you to those who signed up for our VVS vaccination clinic this week. We had 89 community members and students sign up to receive their first dose. We are grateful to Mohawk Valley Health Systems, who distributed the vaccines. 

    2) Our senior and spring celebrations have begun! These events are carefully detailed and planned according to the guidance from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) in place at the time planning began. Changes in guidelines may or may not be able to be accommodated depending on timing and the details outlined in the written updates we receive from the DOH. Press announcements regarding loosening or changes to COVID guidelines typically don’t have the space to allow for a full description of all the details required of schools. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we review updated guidance documents as they are shared with the schools.  Anyone is welcome to view these guidelines on the DOH website at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/04/doh_covid19_updatedgraduationguidance_041221.pdf

    Today is Arbor Day, a day when communities all over America plant trees and celebrate a greener tomorrow. The spirit of Arbor Day reminds us to live our lives in a way that will benefit others for generations to come. As Nelson Henderson said, "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit." Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 23, 2021

    Good evening VVS families, 

    I hope you have had a nice week. The blustery winter weather is finally over, and we can all look forward to a warmer, sunnier weekend. Next week’s temperatures might even reach into the 80s! 

    A few items:

    1) We will be hosting a COVID vaccination clinic on Wednesday, April 28th from noon to 4pm. Community members and students ages 16 and older who have not received a first dose are eligible to receive the vaccine, which will be a Pfizer vaccine. You can register using this link: https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?OpID=C06A40745C1F04AAE0530A6C7C16B7D0

    2) We will be hosting our first senior celebration this weekend to honor our class of 2021 graduates. Thank you to all of our high school staff and parent volunteers who are making the senior pancake breakfast possible. 

    3) The Board of Education has approved the use of one of our remaining emergency days on Friday, May 28th. We will hold onto our other days for use in the event of a weather or other emergency that would require schools to close. VVS will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 18 in accordance with legislation declaring June 19 a New York State holiday. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when news of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas. Please update your calendars accordingly. You can expect to receive an end-of-year calendar in early June.

    4) Over the weekend, we will be sharing a "COVID Health and Safety Reminders" flyer on Peachjar. We encourage all families to review the reminders to keep our community infection rate low. You can also view the flyer using this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dFv7C4u1vAJU1lRH4l9dDVyIoRowADh_/view?usp=sharing.

    Yesterday was Earth Day, a day when we demonstrate our support for environmental protection. Over 1 billion people participated in this year's Earth Day events, from more than 193 countries. Many of our students celebrated or learned about Earth Day in class this week; ask your child what they learned about protecting and caring for our planet! For fun family ideas to continue the celebration into this weekend, visit earthday.org. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 16, 2021

    Good evening VVS family,

    I hope you have had a nice week. While the weather has turned a bit colder, our plants and flowers welcome the rain as they emerge from winter hibernation. 

    A few items:

    1) We have been experiencing some issues with our morning daily health screening. For those who have been unable to access the form, our tech team recommends trying to open the form in the Google Chrome browser. If you are still unable to access the form, please call your building secretary to have them fill out a form for you.

    2) We’re taking a different direction with the in-school COVID testing I spoke about last week. We had hoped that providing an option for testing at school would assist some of our families and employees, who may experience challenges obtaining a COVID test through their health care provider or a rapid test site. However, we have identified some unanticipated consequences to this option. At this time, individuals should continue to seek testing through various rapid test sites or through their health care provider. We appreciate your understanding.

    3) We have received new guidance for schools from the New York State Department of Health. This guidance will help inform our planning for spring and end-of-year activities. These activities include important traditions for students and adults. Every effort is made to include VVS educators, parents and students in our planning. Our goal is to continue these traditions in a meaningful and safe manner for everyone.  

    Today is World Voice Day, a day when we celebrate the vocal arts. We are fortunate at VVS to have a tremendous music program that helps students find their true voice. We are also grateful to have so much community support for music and the arts that we have been named a Best Community for Music Education for the fourth time! Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 12, 2021

    Good evening VVS family,

    I hope you had a wonderful spring break. The beautiful summer weather was a welcome addition to the time off. 

    We were thrilled to welcome our students back to remote and in-person learning today. As we return to our school routines, please make sure that you have clean masks ready to go and are prepared to fill out the daily health screening each morning. As many families return from vacation, it's important to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Remember to quarantine if you are symptomatic or have been exposed to COVID-19. Our school nurses can provide rapid tests to any student or faculty member concerned with symptoms they may be experiencing. If you are experiencing symptoms and wish to be tested in school, please contact your school nurse to arrange for a rapid test before coming to school or work. With everyone doing their part, we can keep our VVS infection rate down and continue to enjoy learning together!

    Friday, April 16 is National Librarian Day. Take some time this week to show your appreciation for our VVS librarians. They all work hard every day to instill a life-long love of literacy, inquiry and learning in our students’ lives. Have a wonderful evening. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 1, 2021

    Good evening VVS family,

    I hope you have all had a nice week. March came in like a lamb and went out like a lion, but we can look forward to the springtime temperatures returning this weekend. 

    A few items:

    1) Spring Break will begin tomorrow, April 2nd. We look forward to welcoming students back to in-person and remote learning on Monday, April 12th. 

    2) We are aware that individuals will be traveling over spring recess. While our COVID rates are very low and many people have received their vaccines, COVID is still a risk for a number of age groups. Please remember to remain safe, socially distant, and to wear masks to help ensure that we are all healthy and safe when we return from the break. Individuals traveling internationally should review the travel requirements outlined by the New York State Travel Advisory. You can find more information on travel guidelines at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

    Tomorrow is International Children's Book Day, and this weekend begins National Library Week. Why not kick off Spring Break with some fun family reading time? Visit https://www.learnplayread.com/10-best-family-books-to-read-together/ for a list of books the whole family can enjoy together. Then, share a photo of your family read-along or a cozy book cave with us on Facebook! Have a wonderful break.

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    March 26, 2021

    Good evening VVS family,

    What a beautiful week we have had! I hope you all have a chance to enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures that will continue into the weekend. 

    A few items:

    1) New York State Law now requires all single-occupancy bathrooms in places used by the public such as stores, restaurants, and schools to be gender neutral. On Monday, students will be made aware that any single-occupancy bathroom that can be secured by the occupant for privacy will be available for use by all genders. Single-occupancy bathrooms are not new to students and have been used by students responsibly since Pre-K or Kindergarten. Gender neutral bathrooms are also frequently used by students when visiting stores, on airplanes, and at events that may use portable bathrooms. Single-occupancy bathrooms have always been available to students and will now be labeled for use by all genders. Single-occupancy bathrooms will still be designated for either adult or student use, not both.

    2)  Spring Recess will begin next Friday, April 2. We encourage all of our families, faculty members and staff to continue to practice social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing during this time to keep ourselves and our community safe and healthy. 

    3)  The VVS FFA Drive-Thru Pancake Breakfast will be held this weekend from 8 am - 12 noon both days. Our annual tradition may look a little different, but the pancakes and syrup will still taste just as delicious as they always do! 

    Tomorrow we can celebrate Earth Hour from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm by turning all of our lights off in support of nature and the planet. There are many unique ways to celebrate Earth Hour, including live Q&As, virtual performances, and posting to social media. Visit https://www.earthhour.org/ to learn more about how you and your family can participate. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well, 

    Martha


    March 19, 2021

    Good evening VVS Family, 

    I hope you have had a great week. The sun is wonderful and the coming warmer weather will inspire us to get outside for walks, bike rides, and all-around outdoor fun! Please accept our apologies for any confusion regarding today’s Superintendent’s Conference Day. Next Friday will be a full day of school for all students. The high school calendar has been corrected to reflect this schedule.

    A few items:

    1) We will be transitioning our middle and high school students selecting the hybrid learning model to 4-days of in-person instruction beginning Monday, 3/22. Students will attend school in-person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday will remain a remote learning day. The daily COVID Health Screening is very important, please make it a part of your routine to fill out the survey. Students who attend school on Wednesday for extra-curricular or athletic activities will need to complete the survey prior to arriving at school for those activities. Thank you to our staff who are managing the screenings every morning! It is a large task, but a very important piece of our health and safety protocols.

    2) Today the CDC released changes to its Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention. You can view the full document here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/operation-strategy.html. These changes include:

    • Revised physical distancing recommendations to reflect at least 3 feet between students in classrooms and provide clearer guidance when a greater distance (such as 6 feet) is recommended.
    • Clarified that ventilation is a component of strategies to clean and maintain healthy facilities.
    • Removed recommendation for physical barriers.
    • Clarified the role of community transmission levels in decision-making.
    • Added guidance on interventions when clusters occur.

    It is important to note that these changes are based on evidence suggesting that many K-12 schools that have strictly implemented prevention strategies have been able to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open. VVS has been, and hopes to remain, one of those schools. Thank you for doing your part to help VVS continue to provide in-person instruction and other opportunities safely through consistent use of prevention strategies, including universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing. There are circumstances where layered prevention strategies should be used in addition to the correct use of masks and physical distancing. VVS will provide additional barriers including face shields in those circumstances. Students and parents may request a face shield at any time and one will be provided by the district.

    3) Additional layers of COVID-19 protection include testing to identify individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination for teachers and staff. Over 50 individuals received their vaccine on Wednesday during our vaccine clinic. Please see the website for information on SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination.

    4) Remember, if anyone in the household is currently symptomatic, all children should stay home from school. We are grateful for everyone's assistance in keeping our community healthy and safe. 

    5) Pre-K and Kindergarten registration will take place online this Wednesday, March 24, beginning at 1:00 pm. Please call your building secretary if you have any questions. 

    6) Thank you to all who attended our most recent Town Hall. We appreciate your feedback and questions as we move forward and progress toward our long-term goals. 

     

    This week we marked the one-year anniversary of our transition to COVID-era learning. Thank you to all members of our VVS community - families, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members - for the hope, strength, grace, and tireless support you have provided during this time. Please visit our Facebook page to view our new video celebrating all that we have accomplished and how far we have come during the past 12 months. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    March 12, 2021

    Good evening,

    What a beautiful week we have enjoyed! I hope you were able to spend some time outside and enjoy the lovely spring weather.

    A few items:

    1. Pre-K and kindergarten registration will be held online on March 24th, beginning at 1 pm. Please share this information with anyone who may be interested.

    2. A reminder that we will hold our next Virtual Town Hall this Monday, March 15th at 6 pm. The link will be available on the district website, Peachjar, and our Facebook page.

    3. We will provide a link to our updated Reopening Plan on our website, as we prepare to welcome middle and high school students to 4-day a week in-person instruction on March 22. 

    On March 12, 2020, 366 days ago, the pandemic was nipping at our heels and was soon to change all aspects of our lives in ways we never imagined.The pandemic has been extremely challenging and disruptive, yet we have learned and grown, emerging stronger, as individuals and as a community. Educators, parents, caregivers, and students have much to celebrate. We know too that our journey continues as we face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

    Over the next few days, I invite you to set aside some time to reflect on the past year. Be mindful of a Rose, Thorn, and Bud you have experienced since March 13, 2020. Talk with your family and share a Rose (a highlight, success, small win, or something positive that happened), share a Thorn (a challenge you experienced or something you could use more support with), and finally share a Bud (a new idea that has blossomed or something you are looking forward to knowing more about or experiencing). 

    This evening, beginning at 6:00 pm, the VVS sign on Route 31 will be turned to magenta and remain thus through March 21st. Magenta represents universal love, compassion and kindness, all qualities describing the response shown and felt across this great community. We invite you to join us by keeping your porch light on during this time.

    Have a great weekend,

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    March 5, 2021

    Good evening VVS family,

    Happy Friday! I hope you have had a nice week. Although today is windy and chilly, spring weather will be here next week when temperatures soar into the 60's.

    A few items:

    1) Thank you to everyone who shared thoughts on the most recent Thoughtexchange. A major theme that emerged is one of appreciation, another is the desire to have students attending school in-person. We are humbled by all your words of gratitude and appreciation. Each day I hear the same from faculty and staff about parents, grandparents, students, and community members. This journey has been a true partnership.

    2) Our shared goal is to safely transition to more in-person learning opportunities for all our students. You may have heard rumors about middle and high school students moving to in-person instruction four days a week. We have invited some of our hybrid-learning middle and high school students to join us for four days. There are a number of logistical challenges to address as we modify our reopening plans to safely transition all our hybrid-learning students to four in-person days. A draft revised reopening plan will be shared with everyone next Friday, March 12th, followed by a virtual Town Hall meeting on Monday, March 15th. A reminder with the link will be provided next Friday.

    3) We have completed the reopening plan for our extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. These activities will be able to meet in-person once the principals have met with advisers and reviewed all the safety protocols. Club advisers will contact club members with more details.

    4) Please join me in extending a big VVS welcome to new Board of Education member, Dr. Frank Frey. Dr. Frey is a long-time VVS community member who is already making a great contribution to our Board's work. Thank you to all of the candidates who applied.

    5) Individuals and families may be planning to travel over next month’s spring recess. Those traveling should review the current New York State Travel Advisory at the following link to review the requirements for out-of-state travel: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

    Today is the International Day of Unplugging. In time when we’ve been plugged in more than ever, take some time this evening to set your computers and phones aside, turn off the TV, and spend some time with family, read a good book, play a board game, or participate in another tech-free activity. By unplugging from technology, we can attend to other important aspects of our lives. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    February 26, 2021

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! I hope you have all had a nice week, enjoying the sun and warmer temperatures. We have had a great first week back from February Break, with only one new positive case in the district. Keep up your great work in following the health and safety practices. As an added bonus, wearing clean masks, washing our hands, and following social distancing guidelines is keeping us all healthier overall. We have begun to transition to four days of in-person learning for our middle and high school hybrid learning students. This is occurring gradually to allow the schools, transportation department, and dining services to make the necessary logistical adjustments for the increased number of students present each day. Mrs. Hodkinson and Mrs. Sanchez will be gathering information from parents to inform their efforts to accommodate our hybrid learners.

    A few items:

    1) We invite all of our families, faculty, and staff to participate in the Thoughtexchange, which will be open through March 3. You can access the link here: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/349293220. Thank you to all who have participated so far. As of this afternoon, we have had 208 people share thoughts. Your thoughts and ideas help us to plan for the months ahead.

    2) Our winter athletic season is underway, and we invite all VVS fans to watch livestream games. You can find the link on our website and district Facebook page. Next week, we will be sending out an interest survey for the Fall 2 athletic season to students in grades 7-12.

    This week is National FFA Week. We are incredibly proud of our FFA members for their leadership and accomplishments across the district, region, and state. A point of pride for VVS is our maple syrup, and we are pleased to announce that our 2021 syrup season is underway. Visit our Facebook page to watch students start the process by tapping the trees. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    February 19, 2021

    Good evening VVS family,

    I hope you have all had a fun, family-filled, relaxing February break. It’s so quiet in the schools when you’re gone; we can’t wait to welcome you back in-person and on our screens.

    As we look forward to returning to school on Monday, we would like to share a few items:

    1) Please make sure that you have clean masks ready to go. Following our safety guidelines has been the key to our low COVID rates the past few weeks. So low in fact, that VVS didn’t have any cases of COVID among our students or adults in the few days leading up to the break! Great job everyone!

    2) We are pleased to announce that Oneida County has approved our Winter Athletics Plan. Varsity and junior varsity basketball and volleyball began yesterday. Their games will be live-streamed, so keep an eye out for the game times. Our high school musical production is going hybrid this year. Mr. Chandler and the drama department have a great plan in place for our students and our prospective audience members. The elementary drama production is complete and available to see on our Facebook pages.  

    3) Don’t forget to share your thoughts on our Thoughtexchange. Remember, your thoughts will help us plan our summer programs and our programs for the 2021-2022 school year. You can access the Thoughtexchange here: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/349293220.

    Join the conversation and share your thoughts

    ThoughtExchange makes your voice heard on things that matter.

    my.thoughtexchange.com

    Tomorrow is National Love Your Pet Day. Share a photo on our Facebook page of you and your favorite furry, scaly, or stuffed friend! If you don’t have a pet, we’d love to see a photo of you doing something you love! Have a wonderful weekend. We’ll see you on Monday!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    February 12, 2021

    Good evening,

    I hope you have all had a nice week. Our second week of hybrid instruction has been just as successful as our first, with zero new reported COVID cases. Thank you to everyone for continuing to diligently follow all health and safety guidelines in our mission to keep students learning in-person.

    A few items:

    1) Mid-winter break begins with Presidents' Day this Monday, February 15 through Friday, February 19. Classes will resume on Monday, February 22. It will be cold, so bundle up and enjoy some winter activities.

    2) It’s hard to believe we have been teaching, learning, working, and living in a COVID environment for almost a year. I am so proud of the way our great VVS community has risen to the challenge, supporting our children and each other throughout the last eleven months. As we look toward the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic year, we invite you to reflect on how things are going now and share your thoughts on adjustments we can make to support students and families during the second semester. Additionally, we have learned a lot over the past year and want to build on our successes beyond this year. Your thoughts will help us plan our summer programs and our programs for the 2021-2022 school year. We are asking faculty, staff, parents, and guardians to reflect on the past year and answer three questions:

    · What is working well that we should continue to build on?

    · What suggestions do you have for supporting students and families during the second semester?

    · What has worked well this year that you would like VVS to continue or build on for the future?

    You can access the Thoughtexchange here: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/349293220. Your thoughts and ideas are important to help us all continue to learn and grow. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and rate how much you agree with the thoughts of other members of the VVS community. You can enter your ideas and star others' ideas through March 3. Thanks for taking the time to help VVS learn and grow!

    This Sunday is Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day (as we know it) gained popularity in the 1600s, when friends and loved ones exchanged small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. Who in your life could use some words of encouragement and positivity? This weekend would be a great time to send someone a card or letter to brighten their day and lift their spirits. Have a wonderful weekend. We look forward to seeing you back at school after the break.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    February 5, 2021

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! Our first days back to hybrid instruction, coupled with our first snow day, made for quite an exciting week! Thank you to our in-person learners, faculty, and staff for a seamless transition back, and for following all safety guidelines to keep our community healthy. 

    As a reminder,

    1) Please send your child to school with a clean mask each day. 

    2) Make it a part of your morning routine to fill out the COVID Health Screening Form.

    3) Keep your child home if they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

    Superbowl Sunday is coming up in a few short days, and many people are excited to watch the game, see the commercials, and celebrate their teams. Please remember that limiting gatherings, social distancing, and mask wearing are the most important things we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Consider virtual gatherings and other ways that you can enjoy the game with friends and family while keeping our community safe. Let’s hope it’s an exciting game for those watching! Have a wonderful weekend. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


     

    January 29, 2021

    Good evening VVS families,

    Happy Friday! I hope you had a good week and found ways to stay warm while enjoying the winter season. We’ve reached the end of the holiday surge and are excited to welcome our students back to hybrid instruction on Monday.

    A few items:

    1) Thank you to the 259 students and families who volunteered for our COVID testing this past week. You stayed with us even as the Governor lifted the yellow zone designation on Wednesday. The one positive test result puts us a .39% infection rate, well below the overall county infection rate.

    2) As we return to school, we are still following all our health and safety procedures, including the morning COVID screening. Please make sure to fill out one form for each child before they leave for school each morning. 

    3) For updates on current COVID cases in the district, please visit the district website and view the COVID dashboard, which is updated daily.

    4) As we work to complete the contact tracing process in the event of a positive case, you may receive a call from an unfamiliar number before or after school hours. Please be aware that we may be trying to reach you if your child is required to quarantine. 

    5) Our students are eager to return to all aspects of school, including extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. We are currently working with Oneida County on a plan for athletics to satisfy state, section, league, and county requirements. We are also working to make sure students have opportunities to participate in the arts, agriculture, and various clubs. Mr. Thomas, principals, coaches, and advisers will reach out to students and families with information in the days and weeks ahead.

    Tomorrow is National Hot Chocolate Day. With these frigid temperatures, warm up with a batch of your favorite hot winter drink. Try adding some sprinkles, candy canes, or flavored syrup for a twist on the traditional drink we all know and love. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    January 22, 2021

    Good evening,

    I hope you have all had a nice week. The weather has been blustery at times, reminding us it's winter and leaving us with enough snow to have some outdoor fun! Bundle up, it’s going to be cold.

    A few items:

    1) As we prepare to return to hybrid instruction on February 1st, we will be conducting student and staff COVID testing to meet the NYS Yellow Zone Requirements. Everyone can do their part to help VVS return to and continue hybrid instruction. We are looking for volunteers to help us meet our 20% requirement. In a few minutes, we will be sending out information and a sign-up for student COVID testing. Some of us who are here every day participated in the practice run last week. It was quick, painless, and successful! Thank you in advance to all who sign up.

    2) On Wednesday, January 27, VVS will have a Pre-K - 12 Half-Day Superintendent's Conference Day. Please note this is a change from the original half day on January 29th. The teachers asked for the change in order to have more contact time with students. They miss them!

    3) Cases are going down, but please remember to contact your building nurse if your child has tested positive for COVID or is required to quarantine. Thank you. 

    4) Thank you to all the families who have filled out the third marking period survey. Approximately 80% of our students plan to return to hybrid instruction. This information is invaluable as we develop student schedules and transportation routes. 

    Sunday is National Compliment Day. I would like to take this opportunity to compliment all of the adults in our community - parents, teachers, guardians, grandparents, and role models, on their positive influence during this challenging time. I would also like to compliment our students for their resilience and adaptability to new learning styles. Our community is truly a community of distinction, and I am grateful for each member of our VVS family. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well, 

    Martha


    January 15, 2021

    Good evening VVS families,

    Happy Friday! I hope you have had a nice week. The clear weather we enjoyed today will turn into some snow showers tomorrow, just in time to go sledding or build a snowman over the weekend. 

    We have a few reminders:

    1) Each building sent out a survey on Wednesday, asking families to commit to hybrid or remote instruction for the third marking period. Please make every effort to complete the survey by January 19th. 

    2) In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, all district buildings and offices will be closed this Monday, January 18th. This is a change from the family calendar, which had incorrectly listed offices as open. 

    On Monday, our country celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, calling to mind the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. Now more than ever, it’s crucial for families to discuss race and racism at home. This MLK Jr. weekend is a great opportunity to talk about these topics—as well Black history, civil rights, segregation, and acceptance. Here are some Black history movies and documentaries for kids from Common Sense Media and other sources that can help get the conversation about race started in your home. For tips on discussing race with your family, read the article here.

    Movies for Kids Ages 4-9
    Movies for Kids Ages 10-12
    Movies for Kids Ages 12+

    Here's a list of 23 additional Black history movies for kids that address race, civil rights, segregation, and acceptance for your family to watch this MLK Weekend: https://www.nymetroparents.com/article/black-history-movies-for-kids

    MLK Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. If you are celebrating this day of service with people outside your household, make sure you follow steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here are some activities that are safer to do.

    ·       Make hygiene kits for local homeless shelters.

    ·       Drop off a meal to a neighbor.

    ·       Send care packages to deployed troops.

    ·       Plan an outdoor activity with people who live with you, such as a park cleanup or walk.

    ·       Build a snowman outside a senior living center for the residents to enjoy.

    ·       Attend a virtual speech or event, such as the annual religious ceremony.

    ·       Make a charitable donation as a family to an organization working on the issues that mean a lot to you.

    You’ve probably seen the famous MLK Jr. quote, “Everyone can be great, because everybody can serve.” It’s a good reminder to our children that everyone can make a difference. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    January 12, 2021 Remote Learning Extended

    Good evening VVS Family,

    I hope this message finds you and your families well. 

    In mid-December, we made the difficult decision to transition to fully remote learning with the hope of returning to the in-person portion of hybrid instruction next week. This decision was made as a result of the impact of the increase in COVID-19 infections following the Thanksgiving holiday. While the school COVID infection rate remains low thanks to the work of our community, the impact of community infections on the school is significant. Intermittent closures and the sudden need to quarantine for those individuals exposed to the virus are disruptive to students and families. Additionally, the district’s ability to adequately staff our schools is diminished due to quarantine and isolation requirements.  

    As I stated in Friday’s message, we have been closely monitoring infection rates across the region, as well as collecting data on VVS students and staff who are currently ill or are required to quarantine. Thank you to all who have reached out to provide us with information so we can make the best possible decisions moving forward.

    As a result of the information collected, VVS will extend remote learning through Friday, January 29. We will resume hybrid instruction on Monday, February 1. Madison-Oneida BOCES Career and Technical programs are in session. Please contact the bus garage if you need transportation. Meal delivery will continue for those who have signed up for meals to be delivered. 

    This extension of remote learning will allow our students and staff to continue the remote learning routines they have established, increase the likelihood of continuity of hybrid instruction, and avoid a sudden shift back to remote instruction. School personnel are receiving the COVID vaccine, which will help reduce the need to quarantine and isolate and contribute to school safety for students. 

    We appreciate the challenges and burdens of remote learning for our families. We are grateful for your continued support as we work together to prioritize health, safety, and learning for all of our students. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    January 8, 2021

    Good evening VVS families,

    I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break. We welcome our students back to learning and look forward to the promises of the new year. 

    A few items:

    • We continue to monitor the regional COVID infection rate and the number of VVS students and adults with COVID and those under quarantine due to exposure. If you have not already done so, please notify your child’s school nurse or principal if your child is currently recovering from COVID or is currently required to quarantine. I will review this information early next week and determine whether to extend remote learning beyond January 15 or return to the in-person portion of hybrid instruction. 

    • VVS faculty have requested an increase in student contact time. In response, all half-day Superintendent Conference Days beginning in February have been removed from the calendar. The revised 2020-2021 Student Program Calendar can be found here: 2020-2021 Revised VVS Student Program Calendar

    • On December 21, VVS was designated as a COVID yellow zone, which means we will need to test 20% of our combined in-person individuals (students, faculty and staff). We will send more information on testing closer to our return to hybrid instruction. 

    We are blessed to live in a country that protects freedom of speech and expression while protecting us from acts of violence. This brings forth the varying beliefs and points of view for meaningful participation in a democracy. Regardless of our political views, the attack on the US Capitol this Wednesday is deeply disturbing. Children of all ages will react to these events in differing ways. The links below contain resources to assist parents in talking with their children about these events.

    We are saddened to hear of the resulting deaths of five individuals, including Brian D. Sicknick, a US Capitol Police officer who died last night from injuries he sustained during the attack on the Capitol Building. Please keep these individuals and our country in your thoughts and prayers. 

    Tomorrow is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. VVS is fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with our law enforcement officials. In a small community such as VVS, our law enforcement officials really are a part of the community. Let's take a moment to show our appreciation to those who help and support us, including those times when they, like Officer Sicknick, put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe. See the link below for some ideas for you to consider to honor our law enforcement. 

     

    Talking to Your Children: 

    NASP: Talking to Children About Violence

    National Geographic: Talking to Children About Chaos in the Capitol 

    Common Sense Media: Talking to Kids About the Violence at the US Capitol 

     

    National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day:

    https://nationaltoday.com/national-law-enforcement-appreciation-day/

     

    Thank you to all of our community law enforcement officers and the families who support them. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    December 22, 2020

    Happy Holidays VVS Family,

    Winter break begins tomorrow, December 23, with remote instruction resuming on January 4th.

    The month of December is a month of celebration. In the next few days, we look forward to celebrating the season of joy, hope, love, kindness, goodwill and gratitude.

    Meeting the challenges of this past year would not have been possible without you. Throughout the past nine months each of you has been a light and an inspiration to the community and to each other.

    During the next two weeks I wish you rest, peace, and joy as we make way for the promises of health and prosperity in the new year. Stay safe, be well, and have a wonderful holiday!

     

    Warmly,

    Martha


    December 18, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! The holiday spirit is filling us all as we close the week with the beautiful winter landscape from Thursday's snow.

    A few items:

    1) Winter break begins Wednesday, December 23rd, and we resume remote learning on Monday, January 4th.

    2) Section III has announced that winter athletics are postponed until January 18th at the very earliest. We will keep you updated with any changes.

    3) With the transition to remote learning, any positive student or staff cases will not require other VVS students or staff to quarantine. Therefore, we will not call to notify you of positive cases as they arise until we return to hybrid learning. In order to keep you informed, we will update families each Friday with any new cases identified during the week. Daily updates will be posted to the COVID Dashboard on our website.

    4) Currently, we have 17 active cases: 14 students and three adults. VVS has had 50 confirmed positive cases since September 1st, 2020. Thank you to everyone for adhering to health and safety protocols to keep us all healthy and safe.

    Tomorrow is National Wreaths Across America Day, a day when we display wreaths to remember our veterans and honor those who serve. We have much to be thankful for during this holiday season, and many people to thank for their service to our nation. Whether it is a healthcare worker, teacher, essential worker, or military service member, take some time this weekend to reflect on the sacrifice of those who have selflessly worked to assist us all throughout this challenging time. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    December 11, 2020 Transition to Remote Instruction

    Good evening VVS families,

    As we enter the weekend, I hope you enjoyed the pleasant weather we had today - quite a change from the previous wet and blustery days!

    We have closely followed the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the VVS School District. As you know, the past few days have been especially challenging. In terms of infection rate, while we have been fortunate to sustain a low rate throughout the fall, Oneida County is now over the 9% threshold of positive percentage of daily cases. In the last two days alone, VVS has seen a 36% increase in reported cases among our students and employees. 

    In reviewing today’s cases and resulting quarantine requirements with district leaders, we have made the difficult, yet what we believe to be the prudent decision, to transition to remote instruction. We will begin remote instruction on Monday, December 14, and return to hybrid instruction on Tuesday, January 19. Students enrolled in BOCES Career and Technical Education programs are able to continue to attend those programs at the BOCES campus. Those of you who follow the COVID infection rates are aware that the recent increase in infection rates across the state have resulted from household and social gatherings. Remaining on fully remote instruction for this time period will allow us to weather the anticipated holiday spike and return to the full and productive instructional formats we enjoyed in the fall.

    While we all know that in-person learning is best for most students, the now daily increase in the number of students and adults placed under quarantine, coupled with the number of families who decide each day to change their instructional model by opting for fully remote instruction, has begun to diminish the instructional experience of all our students. 

    We appreciate and empathize with the challenge this may present for some of our families. We have included a list of resources that families can use if you are in need of assistance with childcare, meals, technology, and many other resources. 

    For assistance with child care:

    • Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Child Care Resource Center at 315-223-7850 extension 222

    For assistance with meals:

    • VVS Meal Request Form
    • Food Bank of CNY: Click “Find Food” to find nearby locations
    • Holy Family Food Pantry: (315) 829-2486
    • Verona Food Pantry: (315) 813-3477
    • Rome Food Pantry: (315) 337-8600

    For assistance with technology:

    For assistance with remote learning:

    For additional assistance:

    As always, we appreciate the support, understanding, and grace that our community has exhibited during this challenging time. We commend the dedication of our faculty, staff, and administration for their efforts in allowing VVS to continue hybrid instruction up to this point. While we will learn remotely for a few weeks, we remain committed to returning to hybrid instruction as soon as we are safely able to do so. In the meantime, we will continue to navigate the next few weeks the same way we always have - together. 

    We look forward to connecting with you on Monday for our first day of remote instruction. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    December 10, 2020 COVID Notice

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    Late yesterday and this morning, we were notified of eight students and staff members who tested positive for COVID-19. At E.A McAllister Elementary, one student tested positive. At J.D. George Elementary, one student and 2 faculty/staff members tested positive. At W.A. Wettel Elementary, one faculty/staff member tested positive. At the high school, three students tested positive (one in-person student and two remote students). These are illustrated in the chart below. 

    Building

    Individuals Tested Positive

    E.A. McAllister

    1 in-person student

    J.D. George

    1 in-person student, 2 faculty/staff members

    W.A. Wettel

    1 faculty/staff member

    High School

    1 in-person student, 2 remote students

    Upon completion of the contact tracing process in coordination with the Oneida County Health Department, an additional 38 students and six faculty/staff members will need to quarantine. We are awaiting further guidance from the health department, which may result in an additional four faculty/staff members needing to quarantine. Those individuals have been asked to stay home until we receive guidance from the health department.

    All individuals that tested positive, who we wish well, will remain out of work until cleared by the health department. We have already notified the families of students who are affected by this case. We will provide remote instruction to all students who are quarantined, and meals will be provided to students who were previously signed up for meal delivery. No buildings will need to close or transition to remote learning at this time. 

    Although all of our students, faculty and staff are taking every safety precaution while in school, it is likely that positive cases will continue to occur due to community spread. We will continue to disinfect our classrooms, buses, and shared spaces, and ensure that all students and adults are following health and safety protocols. We appreciate families and community members who are doing their part and following all safety guidelines to keep the VVS infection rate low. 

    We continue to encourage all parents/guardians to monitor students closely for any sign of potential illness, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, recent loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea. Parents and guardians of students exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, local health department, and school principal.

    As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff and families is our top priority. We are closely monitoring this situation and the impact on our district as a whole. We will alert you to any updates. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or school nurse.  

    As always, we appreciate your continued support and assistance in our health and safety efforts.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    December 4, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had  a successful return to learning this week. As winter approaches we were able to squeeze in some milder days. How lucky for us!

    We know that in-person instruction is essential to student success, and we strive to continue our hybrid instruction models for as long as we are able to safely do so. Today we learned two individuals at the middle school and two individuals at the high school tested positive for COVID-19. All individuals needing to quarantine out of an abundance of caution have been contacted. The number of positive COVID cases here in the VVS district remains low, with the current infection rate among students and employees at less than 1%. The winter months are just beginning and we have more holidays to celebrate. Let’s make sure we continue to follow the health and safety guidelines. We all want to remain healthy and protect those around us, too. Now might be a good time to bring back some of the safe indoor fun we enjoyed last March.

    A few items:

    1) We invite you to attend our VVS COVID Virtual Town Hall this Tuesday, December 8th at 6 pm. We will be discussing the VVS response to COVID based on the most current NYS guidelines, as well as the next steps, and answering questions you may have.

    2) We will be changing our attendance procedures at the middle and high school to a more personalized approach for the next few months. As there are several different attendance requirements for remote learners, we will discontinue the use of SchoolMessenger automatic phone calls during this time. We recognize the challenges that students and families are facing with COVID, and look forward to continuing our home-school attendance communication in a manner that will benefit all learners.

    Today is National Cookie Day! What better way to celebrate the end of the week than by whipping up a batch of your family favorites. You can even freeze some to enjoy during the holidays! For fun winter cookie ideas, visit our Facebook page - be sure to share your results with us! Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well, 

    Martha


    November 29, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving recess and found ways to connect with friends and family. 

    We will return to hybrid instruction tomorrow, November 30, and look forward to welcoming our students back into our classrooms. Our teachers did a phenomenal job with remote instruction, but there is no substitute for face-to-face learning and fun!

    A few reminders:

    1. Please be mindful that, while we have been fortunate with limited cases, the need to switch to remote instruction can happen at any time. Have a family plan for quarantine or remote instruction days. 

    2. Make sure students are coming to school with clean masks every day. 

    3. VVS, along with area schools, is working to procure tests in the event that Oneida County is identified as a yellow zone. If we are unable to obtain tests, we may need to switch to remote instruction. 

    We continued to monitor infection rates and contact trace for any new positive cases throughout the Thanksgiving break. As of today, three positive cases were reported to the district over the break. Two at J.D. George and one at the middle school. All individuals needing to quarantine were notified prior to Thanksgiving Day. At this time, we are able to return to our regular hybrid learning schedule as planned. 

    While there is much uncertainty right now, we can take comfort in knowing that our community’s response to any situation will be positive. Our smooth transition to remote learning last week was just one example of what we can accomplish when we work together. As always, we appreciate everyone’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID and keep our community safe. Enjoy the rest of your evening. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha 


    November 24, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope this message finds you well. While shifting to remote learning has its challenges, I admire the way that our faculty, staff, students and families rose to the occasion. Thank you to all who made this short transition to remote learning such a positive, engaging, and uplifting experience. 

    Over the past few days we have been closely monitoring the individuals who have been quarantined. Based on current information, we will be able to provide student transportation next week. Therefore, we are happy to announce that we will resume hybrid instruction beginning Monday, November 30. 

    In talking this week with teachers, students and parents, we all agree that it is important for our students to be in school. The infection rate in our region and in the district remains low, and in fact, we have had only 9 positive cases since the opening of school. It is only through the commitment each individual has made to adhering to our school’s health and safety precautions that we have had so much success remaining open. We appreciate the seriousness with which everyone has approached the responsibility of keeping our community safe. 

    We know that this will be a different holiday season for our families, as we will not be able to get together with all of our loved ones in person as we have in the past. But, whether it’s through video chat, over the phone, or however we are able to connect, we still have each other and we are grateful for all those who bring love and joy into our lives. Even if we can’t be there in person, we can all find innovative ways to stay in touch while keeping everyone safe. 

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. May your holiday be filled with happy faces, warmth and full hearts.

     

    With gratitude,

    Martha


    November 20, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you have all had a good day. After a cold and snowy start, we enjoyed some beautiful weather today to end the week.

    This morning we sent out a message notifying families that VVS will transition to remote learning for Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24. At the time, we were making a proactive decision to avoid a last-minute emergency closure based on the increased positive cases and quarantines we were experiencing in the district. This afternoon, we were notified that a third bus driver has tested positive for COVID-19. The driver, who was exposed outside of work, was last at work on November 18th. The driver and all students followed health and safety guidelines including wearing face coverings at all times. The bus was disinfected after each run. Although all health and safety protocols were followed, the Oneida County Health Department directed that the 46 students who rode the bus for a combined total of 15 minutes or more are considered to be at high risk for infection and are required to quarantine. Three additional drivers and a substitute driver who assisted in meal delivery, while wearing face masks and following health and safety guidelines, are also required to quarantine for 14 days. With the loss of the additional bus drivers, we would have been unable to provide transportation for students next week; we are fortunate we were able to use today to calmly transition to remote learning on Monday.  

    We are grateful to our faculty, staff, students, and families who have done so much to keep us open for hybrid instruction this long. It is truly a remarkable accomplishment that our community has come together to take the necessary precautions that allowed us to continue in-person instruction up to today. We appreciate the burden that remote instruction places on our faculty, staff, students, and families, and look forward to engaging with and continuing to build positive relationships with our students and families. Our faculty and staff have been working tirelessly to develop a high-quality hybrid instructional model, and this effort will benefit everyone as we shift to remote learning. Please be assured that it is a priority at VVS to return to hybrid instruction as soon as we are safely able to do so. 

    We recognize that remote learning can cause additional challenges and are aware that families may need additional assistance. Please visit our website at www.vvsschools.org for a list of resources that are available through the district or local organizations. 

    Today is Universal Childrens' Day. We are proud of the resilience of our students, and the perseverance and growth they have shown over the past several months. In these extraordinary times, let us all take a moment to celebrate the character our children are showing in the face of adversity, and commit to being positive role models in their lives. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    November 18 COVID Notice

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    This morning, we were notified of a VVS bus driver who tested positive for COVID-19. Based on this information, limited exposure took place beginning Tuesday, November 10th. The driver, who we wish well, last reported to work on November 12th and will remain out of work until cleared by the health department. 

    Although the driver and all students wore face coverings at all times and the bus was disinfected at the conclusion of each run, the Oneida County Health Department has provided a directive to the district indicating that students on this driver’s bus who rode in excess of  a total of 15 minutes are at an increased risk of exposure. Upon completion of the contact tracing process, 24 students will be required to quarantine, and three students will be required to self-monitor.

    We have already notified the families of students who are affected by this case. We will provide remote instruction to all students who are quarantined, and meals will be provided to students who were previously signed up for meal delivery. No buildings will need to close or transition to remote learning at this time. 

    We will continue to disinfect each bus after every run, and ensure that all students and adults are wearing masks at all times while riding the bus. 

    We continue to encourage all parents/guardians to monitor students closely for any sign of potential illness. Additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, recent loss of taste or smell, vomiting and diarrhea may occur. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, their local health department and school principal. Parents and guardians of students exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, local health department and school principal.

    As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff and families is our top priority. We are closely monitoring this situation and will alert you to any updates. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or school nurse.

    We appreciate your continued support with our health and safety efforts.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    November 12, 2020

    Good evening, 

    Happy Friday! Today marks the end of our first marking period. As we close on the first ten weeks, we have much to be proud of. Our transition to hybrid and remote learning during a pandemic has taken all of the skills and effort of everyone in our community. Only by working together have we been able to accomplish this goal. 

    We now turn our attention to the next ten weeks. With the rise in positive cases regionally and nationally, and the onset of flu season, we know it will be an even tougher challenge to remain open. It is important now more than ever that we all self-monitor and follow all guidelines such as:

    1) Maintaining six feet or social distance, wearing masks, and avoiding social gatherings. 

    2) Keeping students at home if a family member is exhibiting symptoms or waiting for test results.

    3) Reporting symptoms to your family physician and local health department.

    4) Washing hands and masks frequently. 

    5) Having a family plan in the case of a switch to remote instruction. 

    Today is World Kindness Day, a day celebrated with acts of kindness and generosity. One of the kindest things we can do is to keep our friends and family safe and healthy. By taking every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19, we can keep our community spread low, give our children more days of in-school instruction, and keep our loved ones safe. We wish you a wonderful weekend. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    November 12, 2020 District Update

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    We have certainly had an eventful day at the VVS School District. I am calling with a reminder and updates about three issues:

    1. Students and faculty at E.A. McAllister were evacuated to City Hall today due to a boiler malfunction that resulted in a combustion of the boiler. No one was injured and there was no damage to the building or the building’s structural integrity. McAllister families received an update phone call, email and text earlier this afternoon. McAllister students will return to school tomorrow, November 13th. 

    2. Yesterday, we reached out to report a positive adult case at the high school. After completing the contact tracing process, the Oneida County Health Department has determined that no individuals will need to quarantine or self-monitor due to exposure. High school students will return to school for a half day tomorrow, November 13th, with dismissal at 11:15.

    3. Today we were notified of a positive student case at the middle school. The student was not in attendance during the infectious period, therefore no individuals will need to quarantine or self-monitor due to exposure. The middle school will be open tomorrow for a full day of school.

    4. As a reminder, tomorrow is a half-day for high school students only. Middle and elementary school students will have a full day of instruction according to their regular schedule. 

    It is extremely important as we move into flu season that students and families take extra precautions to stay healthy. Make sure you are wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and maintaining good hygiene. 

    There are numerous people to thank for today’s efforts. Thank you to our local fire department, police department, city hall employees and first responders, who were on the scene at McAllister so quickly and helped until the very last student was picked up. Thank you to our faculty and staff, who cared for students through evacuations and who provided engaging remote instruction. Thank you to our district and building administration, who worked diligently through the crisis and contact tracing. Everyone stepped up today to make sure that our students could all safely learn tomorrow. My deepest gratitude to all for their selfless and tireless efforts. 

    We appreciate your continued support with our health and safety efforts.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    November 11, 2020 COVID Update

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    Earlier today, we were notified that a staff member at the high school tested positive for COVID-19. This case is unrelated to the previous middle school cases. We wish this individual well. In compliance with state guidelines, the individual will not return to school until cleared by the Oneida County Health Department. Anyone who may have been exposed will be notified by the District or the county health department as soon as possible. The District has completed our portion of the contact tracing process and is awaiting official guidance from the Oneida County Health Department. Based on the District’s review of the contact tracing information, the individual involved met or exceeded all health and safety protocols.

    To allow for the completion of the contact tracing process and out of an abundance of caution, high school students will attend school remotely tomorrow, November 12th. Meals will be provided to students in both cohorts who were previously signed up for meal delivery. Athletic games and practices are cancelled for tomorrow.

    Cleaning staff are currently on site performing a disinfecting of the high school, in preparation for individuals to be able to return. Please know that all staff and students have been wearing masks throughout the school day and following district health and safety protocols. We will continue to clean and disinfect high touch areas such as light switches, door knobs/push bars, locker handles, toys, bathrooms, copy machines, etc. daily, in addition to our regular cleaning and disinfecting schedule. 

    We continue to encourage all parents/guardians to monitor students closely for any sign of potential illness. Additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, recent loss of taste or smell, vomiting and diarrhea may occur. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, their local health department and school principal. Parents and guardians of students exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, local health department, and Mrs. Sanchez.

    As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families is our top priority. We are closely monitoring this situation and will alert you to any updates. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or school nurse.

    We appreciate your continued support with our health and safety efforts.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    November 9, 2020 COVID Update

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    We have been working closely with the Oneida County Health Department today to complete the contact tracing process for yesterday’s positive COVID case in the middle school. Thanks to the diligence of our staff, students and parents in following all safety guidelines, no individuals are required to quarantine due to exposure. VVS Middle School will be open to Cohort B in-person learners tomorrow, November 10th.

    As an additional precaution, we reached out to several families this afternoon to ask them to self-monitor over the next few days. We continue to encourage all parents/guardians to monitor students closely for any sign of potential illness. Parents and guardians of students exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, local health department, and Mrs. Hodkinson. Families can access a list of local testing sites at: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you

    We are grateful to the Oneida County Health Department for their guidance, and to our faculty and staff who have meticulously conducted contact tracing protocols and cleaning routines in anticipation of students returning to our building. 

    We appreciate your continued support with our health and safety efforts.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    November 8, 2020 COVID Notice

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    Late this afternoon, we were notified that a staff member at the middle school tested positive for COVID-19. This case is unrelated to the previous middle school case. The individual has not been at work since Tuesday, November 3rd. The District and the Oneida County Health Department are in the beginning stages of contact tracing. Based on preliminary discussions with the Health Department, the District and the individual involved met or exceeded all health and safety protocols. In compliance with state guidelines, the individual, who we wish well, will not return to school until cleared by the Oneida County Health Department. Anyone who may have been exposed will be notified by the District or the county health department as soon as possible.

    While we have not been advised to do so, due to the late notice and out of an abundance of caution, middle school students will attend school remotely tomorrow, November 9th, to allow contact tracing to be completed. All students should still attend their 7:40 homeroom virtually for attendance. All cohort A students will need to follow their normal period 1-9 schedule with the exception of any study halls or lunch. Meals will be provided to students in both cohorts who were previously signed up for meal delivery.

    Cleaning staff are currently on-site performing a disinfecting of the middle school, in preparation for individuals to be able to return. Please know that all staff and students have been wearing masks throughout the school day and following district health and safety protocols. We will continue to clean and disinfect high touch areas such as light switches, door knobs/push bars, locker handles, toys, bathrooms, copy machines, etc. daily, in addition to our regular cleaning and disinfecting schedule. 

    We continue to encourage all parents and guardians to monitor students closely for any sign of potential illness. Additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, recent loss of taste or smell, vomiting and diarrhea may occur. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, their local health department and school principal. Parents and guardians of students exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, local health department and school principal.

    As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff and families is our top priority. We are closely monitoring this situation and will alert you to any updates. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or school nurse.

    We appreciate your continued support with our health and safety efforts.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    November 6, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! What beautiful weather we have to end the week with. I hope you are able to get outside this weekend and enjoy these unexpected extra summer days.

    We are quickly approaching the end of marking period one, and that means that some families will be transitioning their instructional learning or transportation models. Please be patient with your building principals, secretaries, and teachers as we work to accommodate our learners and maintain our safe practices. 

    As we close the end of the first ten weeks, we would like to get feedback from our families. Please visit our Thoughtexchange at https://my.thoughtexchange.com/922503918 to help us shape the next ten weeks. What is working for your family, and what are some challenges that you are experiencing? We would love to hear from as many families as possible so we can work to streamline our processes and update our plans. While we are always striving to improve and meet the needs of our families, please be mindful that some of the policies (such as mask-wearing, bus capacity, and social distancing), are required by the state and local governments and it is not within our ability to alter them. 

    Wednesday, November 11 is Veterans Day; classes will not be held for any students. Veterans Day is a day to express our gratitude to all those who served in the armed forces to protect us and our way of life. Our students have worked to honor those who served. These activities take on many forms across our buildings. Take a moment to talk as a family about the importance of their service and other ways to thank our veterans for their service to our country.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    October 30, 2020 COVID-19 Notice

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    Late today, we were notified by the Oneida County Health Department that a staff member at the middle school tested positive for COVID-19. In compliance with state guidelines, the individual will not return to school for at least 14 days. Upon completion of the contact tracing protocol in coordination with the Oneida County Health Department, it was determined that no students and/or other faculty or staff members will need to quarantine due to exposure. A small amount of students had limited contact with the individual. Out of an abundance of caution, the parents of those students have been notified. We will conduct a deep cleaning of the affected areas in addition to our nightly cleaning of the entire building. The middle school will not close, as the weekend will provide us with ample time to perform the cleaning. 

    We continue to encourage all parents/guardians to conduct temperature scans daily priThe symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite, recent loss of taste or smell, vomiting and diarrhea may occur. Parents and guardians of students or staff exhibiting symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider, their local health department and school principal.

    Please know that all staff and students have been wearing masks throughout the school day and following district health and safety protocols. We will continue to clean and disinfect light switches, door knobs/push bars, locker handles, toys, bathrooms, copy machines, etc. in addition to our regular cleaning and disinfecting schedule. All families will be notified in the case that we receive additional direction from the health department. 

    As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff and families is our top priority. We are closely monitoring this situation and will alert you to any updates. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or school nurse. 

    We appreciate your continued support with our health and safety efforts. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    October 30, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! Today marks the last day of our second month of school. We have been fortunate to remain open thanks to the diligence and care of our families and staff. Thank you for taking the time to fill out the health screening, teach your children to monitor for symptoms, and reinforce good hygiene habits. Everyone will need to do their part to keep our community safe, especially as we enter flu season. 

    A few reminders:

    1) Please fill out your health screening or call the nurse to report your child's absence as early as possible. 

    2) Continue to ensure that your children come to school with clean masks each day. 

    3) COVID-19 cases are on the rise locally and across the world. Make sure your family has a plan for childcare in the event the district needs to transition to remote instruction. In the days ahead we will be releasing specific information to families to guide you through the possible transition to fully remote instruction. 

    4) Our annual "Hour with the Superintendent" meetings will begin next week using a virtual format. There are three opportunities for parents, students, and community to join me for an hour. Our first meeting is on Monday, November 2 at 5:30 PM. Please visit our District website or Facebook page for the links. 

    Tomorrow is Halloween. Did you know that people have been trick-or-treating since medieval times? Way back then, it was called "guising" and children dressed in costumes and asked for money or food in exchange for music, poetry, or a "trick." Whatever your family plans are to celebrate, we encourage everyone to maintain social distance, wear masks when at small gatherings, and wash hands frequently when interacting with others. Please see the NYS Healthy and Safe Halloween Tips on Peachjar or our district Facebook page to celebrate safely. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    October 23, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! What a beautiful way to end the week with this gorgeous weather. I hope you are able to spend some time outside this weekend and enjoy the summer weather.

    We have a few important items to share with you:

    1) As we approach the end of the first marking period, we know there are families who are looking to change their child's instructional model or method of transportation. If you would like to request a change, please reach out to your child's building secretary by Friday, October 30th. We are asking families who request changes to commit to the change for the next ten weeks. As a reminder, we can only accommodate one address for bus transportation per student. 

    2) Our attendance system is more challenging with the addition of the COVID screening. The earlier families can submit the screening, or call the school to let us know if your child will be absent, the better our system works. We really appreciate your support in this area. 

    3) Our region has been fortunate with infection rates, however, we encourage families to start developing a plan if the district needs to move to remote instruction. We know from past experience that we may not have much warning before our schools or district need to close, so please talk with your family about what fully remote instruction may look like for you.

    Sunday is National Art Day. This is the perfect time of year to use the fall foliage as inspiration for family artwork. You can try pressing leaves, taking photos, decorating pinecones, or doing a painting of your favorite outdoor space. What other ways can you think of to celebrate art and have some family fun? Share your photos on our district Facebook page so we can see what creative ideas you have come up with! Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well, 

    Martha


    October 21, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    I hope you have been able to enjoy the sunny break between periods of rain today. As a reminder, tomorrow is the last of our fall parent-teacher conference days. Middle and high school students will be dismissed at 11:15. Elementary students will be dismissed at 12 noon. Morning Pre-K students will attend in the morning. Afternoon Pre-K students do not attend school tomorrow. Classes will not be held for any students on Friday due to a faculty and staff training day. Students who choose a school lunch will bring their lunches for Thursday and Friday home with them tomorrow. We look forward to meeting with all the families who have signed up for tomorrow’s conferences. Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day, so I hope everyone gets outside to enjoy the wonderful fall weather. Have a great evening!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    October 16, 2020

    Good evening, 

    Happy Friday! I hope you have had a nice week. The fall colors and beautiful weather have been the perfect combination for some outdoor family fun. 

    Here are a few items:

    1) NY has released an app called COVID Alert NY that will notify you in case you have had contact with someone who has tested positive. For more information, visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-alert-ny.

    2) You may have heard that Oneida County’s regional maximum gathering number of 50 people limits the number of people permitted at our athletic contests. While we are disappointed in the limit this places on spectators at events right now, we are grateful that our athletes are still able to play. We would also like to give a shout-out to VVS alumnus Brennan Miller for volunteering to live stream VVS home games. Now you can watch your favorite VVS athlete at home by going to our district website under the Athletics tab, Broadcasting (radio/live stream).

    3) Please make sure your child is coming to school with a clean mask each day. For tips on cleaning and caring for masks, please visit the VVS Facebook page. 

    Tomorrow is "Sweetest Day." Sweetest Day was started all the way back in 1922 when many candy companies in Cleveland came together to distribute over 20,000 boxes of sweets to the city’s most vulnerable people. Today, we note it as a day to be sweet by sending a kind message, a small token of appreciation, or performing an act of random kindness. How can you take a moment this weekend to let someone know you appreciate them? We appreciate all of our VVS community for the care, concern, and kindness you have demonstrated over and over again the past few months. Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    October 14, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    I hope you have been able to enjoy this beautiful day. As a reminder, tomorrow is our second parent-teacher conference day. Middle and high school students will be dismissed  at 11:15. Elementary students will be dismissed at 12 noon. Afternoon Pre-K students will attend in the morning. Morning Pre-K students do not attend school tomorrow. Students who choose a school lunch will bring their lunches home. We look forward to meeting with all the families who have signed up for tomorrow’s conferences. Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day too so I hope everyone gets outside to enjoy the wonderful fall weather. Have a great evening!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    October 9, 2020

    Good evening VVS Families,

    Happy Friday! Today marks the completion of our first month of school. We are so grateful to everyone for all you have done to help our students transition to hybrid and remote learning. This is still all very new to students, teachers, and families, and we look forward to your continued feedback and collaboration as we continue to navigate this uncharted territory.

    Today begins a three-day weekend. Students will not attend school on Monday or participate in remote learning activities.

    This weekend marks Indigenous People’s Day and Columbus Day. Research how these days came to be celebrated and what they mean to our communities. Fall is in full force, so I hope you are able to take some family time this weekend to enjoy the foliage or go apple or pumpkin picking. There are many apple and pumpkin recipes to enjoy. Whatever you choose to do, we look forward to seeing everyone back and learning on Tuesday.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    October 2, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! It is hard to believe we are in our second month of school. With the upbeat atmosphere in our buildings it still feels like the beginning of the year - filled with the joy of faculty, staff and students who are so happy to be learning together again. 

    We are phasing in athletics, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. VVS varsity cross country, field hockey, soccer, and tennis will begin on Monday, allowing our varsity athletes to compete in the Fall 1 season. JV and modified athletics, as well as varsity football, will compete in the Fall 2 season. Our thanks to the Athletics Sub-committee for their work in developing the reopening plan for fall varsity athletics. You will find the plan on the COVID-19 Landing Page on the VVS website. Students and parents will receive information about extra-curricular and co-curricular activities from their school buildings.

    A few items as we continue to work diligently to keep our community healthy and safe:

    1) Face coverings play a large role in keeping everyone healthy and safe. Please make sure your child's mask is washed daily, or they are wearing a clean disposable mask to school each day.

    2) VVS will host a community drive-thru flu shot clinic on Thursday, October 15th from 4:00-6:00 pm. Please check your Peachjar flyers for more information. 

    3) Several area districts have had to close school buildings due to positive COVID cases linked to community gatherings. Let’s keep up the great work throughout the VVS community to stay healthy, safe, and in school. If we do have to close any of our schools, please make sure your family has a plan for childcare in the event VVS needs to transition to remote learning. 

    4) The Federal Government lunch program begun in March has been extended through December 31, 2020. VVS is able to provide free meals for children ages 2-18. Meals are available to students in hybrid and remote learning models. To enroll in meals for your child, please fill out the meal request form here: https://forms.gle/q5wSpFPtY5Z39MZ36.

     

    Today is World Smile Day. We celebrate this day thanks to Harvey Ball, the man who created the first smiley face symbol. He started World Smile Day in 1999 so we could all devote one day a year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world. How many acts of kindness can we perform to create smiles this weekend? Share them on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VVSDistrict. 

     

    Stay safe, be well and smile,

    Martha


    September 25, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! Our second full week of school was filled with lots of learning, laughs, and smiles. Whether your child joined us in person or remotely, we are so happy to be back together and building the relationships that are the foundation of a great education.

    A few items:

    1) The Federal Government lunch program in place since March been extended through December 31, 2020. As a result all school-provided meals are free for children ages 2-18. Meals are available to students learning both in the hybrid and remote learning models. If you would like to enroll in meals for your child, please fill out the meal request form: https://forms.gle/q5wSpFPtY5Z39MZ36.

    2) We have been experiencing some issues with Peachjar flyers. To remedy the issue, we will be resetting the system on Monday. Please add school@peachjar.com to your contact list so the flyers won't be sent to your spam folder. If you have manually unsubscribed from Peachjar flyers, this will not resubscribe you, however, if your account was unsubscribed in error, you should begin receiving email flyers again. 

    3) Thank you to all of the families who have made the COVID Health Screening a part of your daily routine. The earlier our families fill out the form, the safer our process becomes in screening students. Please be sure to fill out the form with your child's full first and last name.

     

    Tomorrow is National Family Day and National Pancake Day. Spend some quality family time enjoying a pancake breakfast - you could even get creative and mix food coloring with your batter to create pancake art! Don't forget to top those pancakes with our VVS FFA maple syrup. Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 18, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! Today our first full week of school comes to a positive conclusion. Thank you to everyone who helped make it a positive, uplifting experience! We are in the midst of implementing our educational programs, transportation programs, and meal programs, while also attending to the social, emotional, and physical needs of our students and families during a difficult transition. We appreciate how gracious and flexible our students, families, faculty and staff have been as we embark on this new way of learning together. 

    A few items:

    1) Thank you to all of our families who have been diligently filling out the health screening every morning. It helps our mornings to run smoothly when our students have the form filled out for them before they get on the bus. 

    2) Please remember that if you keep one child home with possible COVID symptoms, all children in the household must also stay home.

    3) We are still working on issues with Peachjar that will likely require a system reset. We will have more information for you next week. 

    4) If you drop off your children at the middle or high school, please only drop them off at the Sheveron or Middle School Bus Loop Entrance.

    5) If you are in need of meals, internet access, or Chromebooks/devices, please visit our website where you can access request forms for each of these resources. 

     

    Tomorrow is World Cleanup Day! World Cleanup Day began in Estonia in 2008, when 50,000 people united to clean up the entire country in just five hours! Visit www.worldcleanupday.org/ for some ideas on how you and your family can participate to make a difference. 

    Have a wonderful weekend. We look forward to seeing you all next week!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 16, 2020 - Athletic and Extra-Curricular Activity Update 

    Good evening VVS Families,

    VVS is ready to develop the details for the next phase of reopening. This includes the start of athletic, extra-curricular, co-curricular, and after-school activities. 

    Last week, Section III athletics member schools were asked to indicate whether they were ready to begin fall sports on September 21, 2020 or to request a delay of fall sports until after January 1, 2021. No other option, such as delaying the start of the fall season until later in the fall of 2020, was presented. The VVS School District spent the summer months preparing for a safe reopening of Pre-K through grade 12 instruction for all students and is not ready to begin fall sports on September 21, 2020. Our plans included a gradual reopening of school for our instructional programs and to begin athletics, extra-curricular, co-curricular and after-­school activities for all students following a successful school reopening. This approach was taken to help ensure everyone was familiar with the new expectations and practices put in place to keep everyone safe, healthy, and prepared to engage in hybrid learning. We hope that our approach allows VVS to remain open for all aspects of school including academics, athletics, extra-curricular, co-curricular, and after-school activities. 

    Our plan to restart athletics at VVS is as follows:

    • We have assembled an athletic subcommittee of the Reopening Task Force to develop a plan for athletics in compliance with guidance from the NYSDOH.
    • Their goals will be to: 
      • Ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes
      • Re-engage all student-athletes as soon as possible for their social, emotional and mental well-being
      • Maximize participation across all sports and all student-athletes
      • Keep competition as local as possible for as long as possible
    • Based on the recommendations of the subcommittee, VVS will either:
      • Join in the “Fall 1” season after the September 21st start date (as soon as we are safely able to do so)
      • Participate in the “Fall 2” season (beginning after March 1)
    • It is important to note that regardless of the fall season we participate in, the NYSPHSAA has announced there will be no sectional or NYSPHSAA regional or state completions regardless of the decisions made at the local school district level.

    VVS is committed to educating the whole child. This includes academics, athletics, extra-curricular, co-curricular, and other after school activities. Our plan to restart all other activities is as follows:

    • Each building principal will be working with their committees to develop plans to begin extra-curricular, co-curricular, and other after-school activities. 
    • Their goals will be to:
      • Ensure the health and safety of all advisers and participants by following all state and local regulations and safety guidelines
      • Re-engage all extra-curricular, co-curricular and after-school opportunities as soon as possible for social, emotional and mental well-being
      • Maximize participation across all opportunities 

    We invite all of our families, faculty and staff to participate in a Thoughtexchange to share their perspective with the athletic subcommittee and building committees. You can share your thoughts, concerns, and questions at https://my.thoughtexchange.com/317401425.

    The circumstances surrounding all aspects of school are ever-changing, and we appreciate everyone’s patience during this challenging time. VVS remains committed to providing students the opportunity to participate in athletics and extra-curricular, co-curricular and after-school activities. It is important to do so in a manner that prioritizes health and safety and adheres to the NYSDOH guidance. We will continue this commitment while working to keep everyone safe. 

     

    Best,

    Martha Group


    September 16, 2020 

    Good evening,

    We hope your first days full-time learning have been enjoyable. We wanted to share some reminders as our school year gets underway. 

     

    Students Who Are Sick:

    1) If your child is home ill with COVID-like symptoms, all siblings who reside in the same household must also stay home. 

     

    COVID Health Screening:

    1) As a reminder, if you select "Yes" for any of the screening questions, your child may not attend school that day.

    2) Students are not permitted to fill out paper copies, so parents will need to get in the routine of filling out the form every morning. 

    3) If you do not have an email on file or are not enrolled in text messages, please call your building secretary to enroll.

    4)The daily morning message will go out at 6:00 AM for faculty and staff, 6:30 AM for middle and high school students, and 7:00 AM for elementary students. 

     

    Meals and Delivery

    1) We continue to transition into our new meal program. Thank you for your patience as we work to provide all students with meals. 

    2) The new meal system will be as follows:

    • All breakfasts will be delivered; there will be no in-school breakfast offered.
    • Breakfasts will be delivered in weekly packages beginning Wednesday, September 16th.
    • If you need to change your family's meal request, please fill out the Meal Request Form at: https://forms.gle/unTfkkwbwMCWAHg86
    • Meals will be delivered daily to our remote learners, however, the delivery will occur after 10 am, giving our buses time to complete their morning routes. 

     

    Technology

    1) Chromebooks/Devices: All students in grades 2-12 are provided 1:1 Chromebooks for use at school and at home. Please understand that not all requests for students in grades PreK-1 can be accommodated, as supplies are limited and preference must be given to students on all-remote instruction, then by grade level for students participating in in-person instruction. If possible, families are encouraged to purchase a family device or share devices at home to the extent practical. If neither of these are possible, and if you are requesting to borrow a Chromebook/device from the school district, please complete the 2020-21 Chromebook/Device Request Form at the link below. If you are requesting for multiple students, please complete one form for each student you are requesting a device for. https://forms.gle/q4WbeTF6KLrMZFGB8

    2) WiFi Hotspots: If you are having issues accessing adequate high-speed internet, please contact Spectrum first to see if you qualify for any of their plans or assistance with plans. If you have confirmed that Spectrum does not service your area, and cellular data is an issue, and you still need assistance, please complete and submit a 2020-21 school year WiFi Hotspot request at the link below: https://forms.gle/7Pz5da8ktrqpa1aA7

    3) VVS Tech Support is available to students and families from 8:00 am through 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. You may reach Tech Support at 315‐813‐4434 or techsupport@vvsschools.org.

     

    Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 14, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. As we move into a solid routine for the school year, we wanted to reach out and let you know about our new COVID Dashboard on the district website. The dashboard will have the latest statistics, information, and resources families can use to stay up-to-date and informed. Please view the Dashboard at www.vvsschools.org.

    As we stated last week, moving forward we plan to limit the evening phone calls to Friday unless there is important information we need to share. We know there is an enormous amount of information going out to our families right now, and we are working to streamline those efforts. Please don't hesitate to reach out to your child's building if you have any questions or concerns not addressed in other ways. We wish you a wonderful week!

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 11, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! We have made it through our first week back to school. Our success is the result of the tireless work of our faculty, staff, and administrative team, coupled with that of our incredibly supportive and hardworking community! We truly learn, work, and live in a special place.

    The Health Screening Survey was successful again this morning. Thank you to everyone who is diligently filling out the form each morning. You play a crucial role in the health and safety of the entire VVS community. 

    A few reminders:

    COVID Health Screening:

    1) As a reminder, if you select "Yes" for any of the screening questions, your child may not attend school that day.

    2) Students are not permitted to fill out paper copies, so parents will need to get in the routine of filling out the form every morning. 

    3) If you do not have an email on file or are not enrolled in text messages, please call your building secretary to enroll.

    4) The message will go out at 6:00 am for faculty and staff, 6:30 for middle and high school students, and 7:00 for elementary students. 

     

    Meal delivery

    Today ends our summer meal delivery. If your child will need meals and you have not filled out the form, or if your meal situation has changed, please contact Julie Snediker at jsnediker@vvsschools.org.

     

    Technology

    1) Please be assured that if you have completed a request for a Chromebook/device or a WiFi hotspot that we have your information and are in the process of working through your request:

    2) Chromebook/Device: All students in grades 2-12 are provided 1:1 Chromebooks for use at school and at home. Preference is given to Pre-K, kindergarten and first grade students on all-remote instruction. If possible, families of our youngest students are encouraged to purchase a family device or share devices at home to the extent practical. If neither of these are possible, and you need to borrow a Chromebook/device from the school district, please complete the 2020-21 Chromebook/Device Request Form at the link below. Please complete one form for each student needing a device.  https://forms.gle/q4WbeTF6KLrMZFGB8.  Principals will be speaking with families next week to let them know if their request has been able to be accommodated and if so, when and where to pick up their device.

    3) WiFi Hotspots: If you are having issues accessing adequate high-speed internet, please contact Spectrum first to see if you qualify for any of their plans or assistance with plans. If you have confirmed that Spectrum does not service your area, and cellular data is an issue, and you still need assistance, please complete and submit a 2020-21 school year WiFi Hotspot request at the link below: https://forms.gle/7Pz5da8ktrqpa1aA7. The hotspots on back order were received on Thursday 9/10. They need to be configured, inventoried, and logged into our system. We will begin reaching out to families mid-week with a time and place to pick them up.

    4) VVS Tech Support is available to students and families from 8:00 am through 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. You may reach Tech Support at 315‐813‐4434 or techsupport@vvsschools.org.

     

    Today is Patriot Day. Patriot Day is a time for us to reflect on the devastating terror attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives. On this day, we commemorate and give thanks to the brave first responders who put their lives on the line. Take a moment today to consider what we stand for as a nation and how we can work together to make the world a better place for all.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 10, 2020

    Good evening,

    As we continue our "Welcome Back Week," we are so grateful for the positive attitude, grace, and patience displayed by all our VVS families and students. Today was a beautiful day of outdoor classes, recess with friends, and getting back into the new routine of school. It was easy to see the joy on everyone's faces - masks can't hide smiling eyes!

    An enormous thank you to all of the families who filled out the health screening form this morning - we had several buildings with a 100% completion rate! Taking the time to complete the survey each morning is an important step is keeping everyone safe. We apologize for the glitch this morning, and appreciate your patience as we work to perfect our systems. Please be reminded that families only need to complete the survey if their child will be attending school in-person that day. 

     

    A few reminders:

    Tomorrow's building schedules:

    1) All elementary students with last names beginning with K-Z will attend in-person. Transportation will be provided. 

    2) Middle school students in Cohort B will attend in-person. Transportation will be provided. Virtual Cohort B students will be following the period one through nine schedule with their captain and completing transition activities. 

    3) High school seniors will report for optional orientation. Transportation will NOT be provided. 

     

    COVID Health Screening:

    1) As a reminder, if you select "Yes" for any of the screening questions, your child may not attend school that day.

    2) Students are not permitted to fill out paper copies, so parents will need to get in the routine of filling out the form every morning. 

    3) If you do not have an email on file or are not enrolled in text messages, please call your building secretary to enroll.

    4)The daily morning message will go out at 6:00 AM for faculty and staff, 6:30 AM for middle and high school students, and 7:00 AM for elementary students. 

     

    Meals and Delivery

    1) The meal delivery that we have done all summer will continue until this tomorrow, Friday, September 11. 

    2) On Monday, September 14, we will transition to the new meal system for this school year. The new meal system will be as follows: all breakfasts will be delivered; there will be no in-school breakfast offered. Breakfasts will be delivered in weekly packages beginning Wednesday, September 16th. If you need to change your family's meal request, please contact Julie Snediker at jsnediker@vvsschools.org. Meals will be delivered daily to our remote learners, however, the delivery will occur after 10 am, giving our buses time to complete their morning routes. 

     

    Technology

    1) Chromebooks/Devices: All students in grades 2-12 are provided 1:1 Chromebooks for use at school and at home. Please understand that not all requests for students in grades PreK-1 can be accommodated, as supplies are limited and preference must be given to students on all-remote instruction, then by grade level for students participating in in-person instruction. If possible, families are encouraged to purchase a family device or share devices at home to the extent practical. If neither of these are possible, and if you are requesting to borrow a Chromebook/device from the school district, please complete the 2020-21 Chromebook/Device Request Form at the link below. If you are requesting for multiple students, please complete one form for each student you are requesting a device for. https://forms.gle/q4WbeTF6KLrMZFGB8

    2) WiFi Hotspots: If you are having issues accessing adequate high-speed internet, please contact Spectrum first to see if you qualify for any of their plans or assistance with plans. If you have confirmed that Spectrum does not service your area, and cellular data is an issue, and you still need assistance, please complete and submit a 2020-21 school year WiFi Hotspot request at the link below: https://forms.gle/7Pz5da8ktrqpa1aA7

    3) VVS Tech Support is available to students and families from 8:00 am through 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. You may reach Tech Support at 315‐813‐4434 or techsupport@vvsschools.org.

     

    Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 9, 2020

    Good evening,

    Our second day back was a great success! It was wonderful to see so many students returning to school. We appreciate the great effort by our faculty, staff, students and families in following all the guidelines keeping our VVS family safe.

    Our Daily Before-School Student COVID Health Screenings begin tomorrow. Depending on your SchoolMessenger preferences, you will receive a phone call, email, or text reminding you to complete the health screening form. This is completed for students who are attending school in-person that day. Parents do not need to complete a screening for students who are learning remotely. As a reminder, if you select "Yes" for any of the screening questions, your child may not attend school that day. Parents will need to get in the routine of filling out the form every morning before students leave for school. Students are not permitted to complete the form at school. If you do not have an email on file or are not enrolled in text messages, please call your building secretary to enroll. The message will go out at 6:30 am for high school students and 7:00 for elementary students. 

    A few reminders:

    Tomorrow's building schedules

    1) All elementary students with last names beginning with A-J will attend in-person. Transportation will be provided. 

    2) Middle school students in cohort A will attend in-person. Transportation will be provided. Virtual Cohort A students will be following the period one through nine schedule with their captain and completing transition activities. 

    3) High school orientation continues with juniors reporting tomorrow and seniors reporting on Friday. High school students provide their own transportation to orientation.

     

    Meals and Delivery

    1) The meal delivery that we have done all summer will continue until this Friday, September 11. 

    2) On Monday, September 14, we will transition to the new meal system for this school year. The new meal system will be as follows: all breakfasts will be delivered; there will be no in-school breakfast offered. Breakfasts will be delivered in weekly packages beginning Wednesday, September 16th. If you need to change your family's meal request, please contact Julie Snediker at jsnediker@vvsschools.org. Meals will be delivered daily to our remote learners, however, the delivery will occur after 10 am, giving our buses time to complete their morning routes. 

     

    Technology

    1) If your family does not have reliable access to internet, please contact Spectrum to see if you qualify for services. If you do not, please reach out to Mark Wixson at 315‐829‐7487 or mwixson@vvsschools.org to request a Wifi hotspot.

    2) If you have a student in grades Pre-K - 2, and do not have access to a tablet or computer, please also contact Mr. Wixson.

    3) VVS Tech Support is available to students and families from 8:00 am through 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. You may reach Tech Support at 315‐813‐4434 or techsupport@vvsschools.org.

     

    Have a great night. We can’t wait to see you! 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 8, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all had a wonderful first day, whether we got to see you in-person or you were able to participate in virtual orientation activities. We have created a Welcome Week Learning Guide, which you can view on our website or on our Facebook page. 

    Due to some system issues with Peachjar and SchoolMessenger, we decided to do a phone call tonight to make sure our families had as much information as possible. Thank you to all who reached out to notify us of those technical issues; we are working with both vendors and hope to have a resolution as quickly as possible. 

    We have a few areas where we would like to provide our families with more information:

     

    Meals and Delivery

    1) The meal delivery that we have done all summer will continue until this Friday, September 11. 

    2) On Monday, September 14, we will transition to the new meal system for this school year. The new meal system will be as follows: all breakfasts will be delivered; there will be no in-school breakfast offered. Breakfasts will be delivered in weekly packages beginning Wednesday, September 16th. If you need to change your family's meal request, please contact Julie Snediker at jsnediker@vvsschools.org. Meals will be delivered daily to our remote learners, however, the delivery will occur after 10 am, giving our buses time to complete their morning routes. 

     

    Daily COVID Health Screenings

    1) Starting Thursday, all families will be expected to complete a daily digital COVID Health Screening for each child. The link to the screening will be sent out via email and text using SchoolMessenger. We will also provide a link on the district website. This link will not change, so you can save it to your desktop or in your notes. 

    2) Please only complete the survey if your child is coming to school that day. If your child is learning remotely or staying home for other reasons, you do not need to fill out the survey. 

     

    Technology

    1) If your family does not have reliable access to internet, please contact Spectrum to see if you qualify for services. If you do not, please reach out to Mark Wixson at 315‐829‐7487 or mwixson@vvsschools.org to request a Wifi hotspot.

    2) If you have a student in grades Pre-K - 2, and do not have access to a tablet or computer, please also contact Mr. Wixson.

    3) VVS Tech Support is available to students and families from 8:00 am through 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. You may reach Tech Support at 315‐813‐4434 or techsupport@vvsschools.org.

     

    We look forward to seeing everyone this week and wish all of you a happy and healthy start to the school year. 

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 4, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! We have spent the past few days planning and preparing to welcome our students and families back to school, and we are looking forward to our orientation days next week! We understand that the in-person orientation may be a challenge for some of our elementary and middle school parents who may need to take time off from work. We’d love to have you but understand if you’re not able to attend. For those who are able to attend, please make sure that all family members are wearing a mask, and that you take your temperatures beforehand. Everyone will need to fill out a COVID Health Screening form before entering the buildings, confirming their temperature is below 100 degrees, they do not have COVID symptoms, and in the past 14 days they have not tested positive for COVID, traveled to a COVID-restricted area, or been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID.

    Parents will need to fill out this form digitally each morning before their child comes to school. The form does not need to be filled out if the child will be absent from in-person learning or if they will be learning remotely that day. 

    Starting next week, I will send out messages on Friday evenings instead of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. There will be a lot of information coming home from buildings, and we want to keep our communications as streamlined as possible. I look forward to touching base with all of you on Fridays to stay in touch. 

    Today is National Wildlife Day. Our fun Friday tip is to research conservation and preservation efforts and see what you and your family can do to take part. Here are some ideas to get you started: http://www.nationalwildlifeday.com/. Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    September 2, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a wonderful day today. We welcomed our faculty and staff back today for our first Superintendent's Conference Day. It was great to see so many smiling faces as we worked together to prepare for our students to arrive next week. 

    A few items:

    1) Bus routes are being printed today and will be distributed tomorrow. 

    2) We are hosting our third family technology training this evening. Please join us at 6:00 pm for our Google Classroom training session on Google Meet: https://meet.google.com/kvu-odca-hsz

    September is National Family Meals Month. Our Wednesday Wellness tip is to get in the habit of having family meal time or time to connect in the evenings. By providing children with a reliable time to talk about their days, we can help them process their emotions and deal with difficult situations. This will be especially important as they move into the start of school and all of the new experiences that will bring. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 31, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend. It looks like our last full week of summer vacation will be filled with more beautiful weather. We have truly enjoyed a terrific summer!

    A few items:

    1) If you need meals delivered on days when your child is learning remotely, today is the last day to fill out the form to request them. Please click here to fill out the form: https://forms.gle/pRyTz27EJUpmspQJ7.

    2) Tonight we are offering our first live family technology training on Chromebooks and GoGuardian. Join us at 7:00 pm on Google Meet using this link: https://meet.google.com/myo-duty-dwe. If you are unable to join us, these sessions will be recorded and posted on our website. 

    Tomorrow is World Letter Writing Day. Our Mindful Monday tip is to spend time thinking of people you are grateful for, and then write them a note to tell them the impact they have made on you. The last few months have been a challenge, but we have all had someone there to support us along the way. Now is a good time to let them know how much you appreciate them. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 28, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! The wonderful summer days are giving way to a rainy weekend. The much needed rain will give us a reason to stay indoors to begin to organize and prepare for the new school year. 

    A few items:

    1) Any family in need of meals for the upcoming school year will need to fill out a form so that we have an accurate list for each day. Please fill out this form by Monday, August 31st: https://forms.gle/kK4edStUQqfYTN5CA.

    2) If you need childcare this year, we are partnering with the YMCA for childcare options. Today is the last day to fill out the survey: https://s.surveyplanet.com/3yPGFhMsD3.

    3) VVS is pleased to offer live technology trainings for our families. The first will be VVS Chromebooks & GoGuardian for Families (Grades 2-12) on August 31st at 7pm. Please click here for more information: VVS Live Technology Trainings

    This week is World Water Week, which was established to address global water issues. Our Friday fact: We use about a quarter of a gallon of water when we wash our hands. That’s if we keep the water running the whole time. If we wash our hands at least 10 times each day, how much water will we use? We can stay safe by washing our hands and still do our part to help conserve water. Here's one way you can help: when washing your hands for 20 seconds, turn off the water while you are lathering up. What other ways can you think of to help conserve water?

    Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 26, 2020

    Good evening, 

    Today brought us a little taste of fall with cooler temperatures and sunny skies. I hope you were able to enjoy a break from the heat.

    A few items:

    1. Our teams are working extremely hard on transportation, scheduling, food service, technology, and instruction. Accomplishing these tasks to accommodate our various schedules is a new undertaking. We appreciate the patience of our families as we hand-schedule over 1,800 students in all of these areas. Our goal is to have the A/B group assignments to you by early next week and busing information in the mail by September 3rd.
    2. On Monday, August 24th, Governor Cuomo announced lower-risk sports (e.g. tennis & soccer) may practice and play beginning September 21st. No travel games or practice will be permitted outside a school's region or neighboring regions until October 19th. Full-contact sports can practice but aren't authorized to compete. We are awaiting further guidance from the NYS Public High School Athletics Association COVID-19 Task Force, the Section Executive Directors, Section III, and Tri-Valley League on fall sports. We will share information as it becomes available to the District.
    3. Next week, please be on the lookout for information from your child’s school on the building orientations. These orientations will allow families to participate virtually or in small in-person group sessions.

    For our Wednesday Wellness tip, we remind families to practice how to safely put on and take off a mask. There are excellent guides on teaching children how to do this, including this one from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html.

    Today is National Dog Day. We are thankful for our furry friends, including Red, our VVS Therapy Dog! Have a great evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 24, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. The beautiful weather will give way to some storms this week, to help cool down the high temperatures we've been experiencing. 

    A few important items:

    1. We are working in partnership with the YMCA to explore childcare options for our VVS families. If you are in need of childcare, please fill out the following survey: https://s.surveyplanet.com/3yPGFhMsD3. The survey will close this Friday, so please be sure to fill it out by then.
    2. VVS is pleased to offer live technology trainings for our families. The first will be VVS Chromebooks & GoGuardian for Families (Grades 2-12) on August 31st at 7pm. Please click here for more information: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Pd34iOa2msynC3HhuV1WvY6jN0VbOhN0/view?usp=sharing.
    3. Our Technology Services Team has created a website to support families and students in navigating district technology platforms to better support remote and hybrid learning. Please click here to learn more: https://sites.google.com/vvsschools.org/vvsfamilytech/home.

    We all know our school experiences this year will be different from what we recall from the past. Keeping a greater distance from each other will be one of the changes, so our Mindful Monday tip is to practice being mindful of the distance between you and others. Check the MyLife and Headspace YouTube channels for more mindfulness ideas. These channels have an amazing number of mindfulness and stress relief-related videos. They include movement, resources for different life circumstances and come in a variety of lengths. Take some time to explore them!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 21, 2020

    Good evening and happy Friday!

    We've been blessed with another beautiful summer week, and next week looks to be gorgeous as well. With only a few weeks left before school begins, we know our families are anxious for information about how the first few days will look. We are planning a gradual return to school starting on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. We have included a link to the return to school schedule here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PGEEIsVOqBnMXEAkTFDwJ2lD2_EbMulY/view?usp=sharing and on the district website. You will be contacted by your child’s school building with the more specific details for the first four days of the school year.

    Many families are still looking for childcare this fall. We are working in partnership with the YMCA to explore childcare options for our VVS families. If you are in need of childcare, please fill out the following survey: https://s.surveyplanet.com/3yPGFhMsD3.

    Now is the time to turn our attention to re-establishing routines and procedures that will help students find success when classes resume. Our first tip is to reinforce health routines. Our Friday Fact is that handwashing is one of the best ways to stop the spread of viruses. Students should be engaged in a lot of hand washing in and out of school. There are many great videos on our Reopening Website that you and your child can watch to reinforce how to properly wash your hands. 

    Tomorrow is National Be an Angel Day, a day which encourages acts of kindness and good deeds towards others. How can you be an angel for someone in your life? Our fun Friday tip is to create a goody bag, picture, or piece of artwork and leave it anonymously for a neighbor or friend to brighten their day. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 19, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a nice day today. The weather has been so beautiful!

    We have a few items to share this evening:

    1. We want to make the distinction clear between Home Schooling and Remote Learning for those that selected either option in the Parent Survey. Remote Learning is an extension of the VVS-provided Hybrid Learning Model. Students participating in the VVS Remote Learning Model are enrolled as VVS students and receive all of their lessons, information, communications, and extra-curriculars from VVS as a Remote Learning student. Home Schooling students are district residents but are not enrolled at VVS. Home School students receive their education solely by parents/guardians. Home School students do not participate in any VVS programs including extra-curricular activities, nor do their families receive school communications. Parents who intend to home school their children are required to send the district a letter of intent to home school their child. If you believe you may have selected the home school model for your child in error, please contact Mrs. Whalen at swhalen@vvsschools.org.
    2. Parents/guardians will be expected to conduct a daily heath screening including a temperature check for each child prior to students leaving for school each morning. Parents/guardians will be required to provide an assurance that their child does not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19. VVS is working with rSchool Today to provide families with an app to notify the school nurse of their child’s health status in each morning. We will provide more information on the daily screening questionnaire and app in the coming days.  
    3. I want to clarify our position on cleaning student desks. The CDC  guidelines indicate that schools should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily or between uses by different students and should consider cleaning surfaces and object including desks. The district will provide cleaning solution and paper towels for teachers and other providers to clean desk tops between classes if students change rooms and while students are changing classes.

    Our Wednesday Wellness tip is the Osseo Area Learning Center Virtual Calming Room.  The Calming Room is full of resources that can be used by students (and adults) of all ages, including music, visual relaxation, guided practices, resources, and apps. Have a nice evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 17, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. It certainly was the perfect weather to spend some outdoor time with family, friends and loved ones. 

    Thank you to all of the families who have completed the Instructional Model and Transportation Survey. We haven’t heard from 15% of our families. Our building secretaries will be reaching out to those families over the next day or two. If you have questions about school procedures please reach out to your building principal. If you have health related questions please contact your health care provider.

    We invite you to attend our second Virtual Town Hall this evening from 5:00 – 6:00 PM. You can find the link to the meeting here: https://meet.google.com/pyc-kopf-ufb. Tonight’s meeting will be limited to an hour to accommodate our Board of Education tour of our middle and high school. This will be followed by the regular Board of Education meeting. You can find the link to our Board meeting on the website.

    Our Mindful Monday tip is to focus on one thing at a time. There is a lot of information coming at us in this ever-changing situation, and by focusing on one item at a time, we can lower our anxiety and keep moving forward. Have a nice evening. 

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 14, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! Another beautiful summer week is in the books, and we will be treated to gorgeous summer weather over the weekend as well. 

    Thank you to all of the families who have completed their Instructional Model and Transportation Survey. The survey is due by tonight, so please make every effort to complete one survey for each child by 9 pm tonight. You can find the survey here: https://forms.gle/aD1rUvkZ2kXQP9dJ8. If you’re looking for some information, don’t forget to check the FAQs on our reopening website. Here’s a Friday Fact for preparing for school in September: we can all do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and any virus or disease by developing these habits: maintaining social distancing, washing hands a lot, and wearing masks or cloth face coverings.

    Our Technology Services Team looks forward to supporting your return back to school, whether in-person or remotely. In preparation, here are some ways to help make a seamless transition to school:

    • Has your child logged onto their Chromebook in the past few days? Please have them log on so you know the Chromebook is working properly and they are able to log in without issue.
    • Now is the time to report any unresolved technology or school device issue from the end of last school year or during the summer.
    • Contact our Technology Services Team regarding any issues with the above at techsupport@vvsschools.org or call 315-813-4434. Please include your name, your child’s name, grade, and building, the best way to contact you, and the issue that your child is experiencing.

    Tomorrow is World Honeybee Day. Honeybees are vital to our food supply chain, as they pollinate fruits and vegetables to help them grow. Our fun Friday tip is to begin planning your fall gardens. There are many fall plants and vegetables that you can enjoy before the snow comes. Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 12, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a wonderful day today. The sunny weather has been such a blessing to lift our spirits and provide opportunities for healthy outdoor fun. 

    Thank you to all of the families who have submitted their Instructional Model and Transportation Selection Surveys. If you have not yet filled out the survey, you can find it here: https://forms.gle/3BAW9PetWTfEKWgw5. We are asking families to fill out one survey for each child by Friday, August 14th. If you find you are having difficulty accessing the survey, please email Mrs. Whalen at swhalen@vvsschools.org for assistance.  

    Our Technology Services Team looks forward to supporting your return back to school, whether in-person, or remotely. In preparation, here are some ways to help make a seamless transition to school:

    • Has your child logged onto their Chromebook in the past few days?  Please have them log on so you know the Chromebook is working properly and they are able to log in without issue.
    • Now is the time to report any unresolved technology or school device issue from the end of last school year or during the summer.
    • Contact our Technology Services Team regarding any issues with the above at techsupport@vvsschoosl.org or call 315-813-4434. Please include your name, your child’s name, grade, and building, the best way to contact you, and the issue that your child is experiencing.

    We've added to the FAQs on the reopening website. Please take a moment to review the updates. 

    Here’s our Wednesday Wellness tip: measure out six feet and then enjoy talking to each other across the distance paying attention to facial expressions and body language. What’s it like? Talk about some of the positive aspects of this healthy way of interacting with others. Have a great evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 11, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you were able to enjoy today's beautiful weather. Thank you to all who joined us last night at the Virtual Town Hall. There were many great questions asked. If you were unable to join us, please view the video of the meeting on our Facebook page and the district website in the Reopening link. 

    The upcoming Principal Coffee Hours and August 17th Virtual Town Halls for families and staff will allow us to continue our dialogue to gain clarity and understanding as the school year approaches.

    Please click here to complete our Family Selection Survey for each family to select a method of instruction and transportation for each child to start the 2020-2021 school year: https://forms.gle/AHxu3PZF2W3Mf1Yf8. We appreciate the difficulty in making a decision during these uncertain times. We are asking all families to complete the form by Friday, August 14th so we can begin to shape our classes and schedules. 

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with the student members of our Reopening Task Force. Based on our discussion, we are hosting a Thoughtexchange just for students at: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/780018213. Please encourage your child to check their VVS email account to access the Thoughtexchange and add their questions and ideas. We look forward to hearing from our students. Their voices are so important to us.

    Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 10, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all enjoyed another beautiful summer weekend. We will continue to have sunny and hot days all this week. Our mindful Monday Tip is to think positive. People who are positive are happier and accomplish more. So look on the bright side!

    Our Technology Services Team looks forward to supporting your return back to school, whether in-person or remotely. In preparation, here are some ways to help make a seamless transition to school:

    • Has your child logged onto their Chromebook in the past few days?  Please have them log on so you know the Chromebook is working properly and they are able to log in without issue.
    • Now is the time to report any unresolved technology or school device issue from the end of last school year or during the summer.
    • Contact our Technology Services Team regarding any issues with the above at techsupport@vvsschools.org or call 315-813-4434. Please include your name, your child’s name, grade, and building, the best way to contact you, and the issue that your child is experiencing.

    Tonight we will hold our first Virtual Town Hall on reopening at 6:00 pm, which is just a few minutes from now. You can join us by calling in or clicking on this link: https://meet.google.com/axa-jffm-rmi. We look forward to speaking to everyone and addressing your questions and concerns. We hope to see you soon!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 7, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you have had a nice week. As many of you have heard, today Governor Cuomo announced that schools may open in the fall if they meet the safety guidelines established by the New York State Department of Health, along with some additional requirements established by the Governor earlier today. Our Reopening Plan, along with the results of the family survey and our Instructional Models Plan, can be viewed on our reopening website at https://sites.google.com/vvsschools.org/vvs2020reopening/home. We will continually update this site as we receive new information. 

    Our next steps for reopening are as follows:

    • Tonight, we have added a Frequently Asked Questions page that will address some of the concerns we think you might have, along with those we have heard from the community and seen on Facebook. We will continue to update this page, so please check back often.
    • We encourage you to participate in our Virtual Town Hall sessions. The first will be this Monday, August 10th, at 6 pm, and the second will be on August 17th. Please see the flyer for more information: Virtual Town Hall.
    • On Tuesday, August 11th, we will be sending out a second survey, asking families to select their instructional model and transportation methods.

    Today is National Water Balloon Day! Take a break and fill up some balloons to have a good old-fashioned water balloon toss or water balloon fight. Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 5, 2020

    Good evening, 

    Today's weather was a welcome change from the intense heat of the past few days. The cooler temperatures and slight breeze made it an ideal day for a walk or bike ride. 

    Our VVS Reopening Task Force met this morning as we continue planning for the beginning of the school year. The results of our family and faculty surveys informed more of the details around our reopening efforts. Our plans conform with the requirements of the New York State Education Department and Department of Health while addressing many of the concerns and preferences shared in the surveys.

    Tomorrow, we will release a reopening video and document outlining our reopening plans for the 2020-2021 school year. A Virtual Town Hall meeting will take place on Monday, August 10th at 6pm to discuss your questions and concerns. We will send out a family commitment survey, on Tuesday, August 11th asking families to select their learning and transportation preferences for September.

    It takes about a month to develop new routines. As we think about a return to learning in early September, now would be a good time to establish daily routines and structure. For our Wellness Wednesday tip, visit Caring Communities at Emory University for some useful tips for families. https://med.emory.edu/departments/psychiatry/_documents/tips.familieswithchildren2pdf. 

    Tomorrow is National Root Beer Float Day, yum! Did you ever wonder what kind of roots are used to make root beer? Have a great evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    August 3, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend and found ways to stay cool! The next few days should bring some showers to give us relief from the heat. 

    We are working with all of our stakeholder groups to flesh out the finer details for September. More information will be coming later this week, with a Town Hall meeting scheduled next week to give our families the opportunity to learn more and ask questions.

    Our Motivation Monday tip is to make something great happen. You can do that by scheduling some activities into your calendar. Make it a priority to organize, relax, and spend time as a family by blocking out time every week to participate in these activities. Sit down as a family and decide what is important to you and your physical, social, and emotional health, and make them a priority. We all need to take care of ourselves and our loved ones now more than ever. Visit our Family Resource Guide for inspiration. 

    Today is National Watermelon Day. What a great day to get outside and enjoy some watermelon - the sweet, juicy fruit of summer.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 31, 2020

    Good evening,

    As we say goodbye to the month of July, we have a lot to be grateful for. We have been spoiled by beautiful weather and opportunities to gather with family and friends in safe outdoor gatherings! As August begins, many are looking forward to the start of school. We miss our friends, our colleagues, and our learning communities. 

    We are grateful for the 1,324 responses we received on the survey. The information you provided will greatly help us in making the best decisions for our students and families. Our VVS Reopening Task Force and building teams will make good use of your feedback to make every effort to balance the needs of our families with the best practices for keeping our students, staff, and families safe.

    Today, districts were required to submit their plans for reopening using three models - fully in-person, hybrid, and fully remote learning - to the state education department. We have developed our plans and submitted them to the New York State Education Department and Department of Health. This first edition meets the specific requirements set forth by the Board of Regents and the New York State Department of Health. You will find this plan on our website shortly. This plan is a continuous work in progress and will be adapted to meet the specific needs of the VVS community during these changing times and to conform to Governor Cuomo's announcement next week regarding school reopening.

    For our fun Friday tip, we encourage our families to learn a new skill together. You can learn construction skills by building a bird house, learn cooking skills by watching an online tutorial, or learn artistic skills by taking an online class. There are many ways to have fun and practice being life-long learners. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 29, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    It’s hard to believe that we’re at the middle of the week! Thank you to all our families for completing the reopening survey. We will compile the results over the next few days. The results will be shared with our district Reopening Task Force and the building and department work groups to inform their planning. We’ll share highlights with our community so everyone knows the basis for our decisions as we reopen our schools.

    Our Wednesday Wellness tip is to make sure you get at least 30 minutes of cardio activity every day. There are lots of fun family cardio activities to enjoy such as biking, jogging, walking, swimming, or something else entirely. You can play a game of tag in the yard, take a bike ride around the neighborhood or on a trail, include your dog by taking a nice walk together, or have a family dance party!

    Tomorrow is International Friendship Day. What a great day to remember our friends. Give your friend a call just because, make a card or send them a note to let them know how important they are to you. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 28, 2020

    Good afternoon,

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend and start to your week. The heat and thunderstorms yesterday and overnight were quite the change from the summer we've experienced so far. Perhaps you saw the rainbow and even the double rainbow yesterday afternoon! The temperatures should be manageable for the next few days.

    Thank you so much to the faculty, staff and families who have completed the survey. We know some people lost power yesterday and may need more time to complete the survey. We want to make sure we hear from everyone so we’re extending the timeline to complete the survey until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, July 29th. This will help us to better address everyone's needs. For our families, please visit the district website or check your email for a link to the survey. For our faculty and staff, please check your VVS email for the link.

    Today is National Milk Chocolate Day! A bonfire would be a great idea with the cooler evening. Make some s'mores with marshmallows and graham crackers, or get creative with different chocolate bars or cookies to make your own s'more creation! Have a great evening, and we hope to hear from all of you on our Reopening Survey.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 24, 2020

    Good evening,

    As we conclude another beautiful summer week, we are looking forward to an equally beautiful weekend. Dust off the sprinkler and get out the water balloons and slip n' slides to beat the heat!

    As promised, here is the link to the VVS Family Reopening Survey: https://forms.gle/efcq3Gt31GDk2JUc7. We are asking each family to fill out a survey for each child in your family. This will allow us to take the unique needs, personalities, and preferences of all students into consideration as we plan. Please fill out the form by Tuesday, July 28th. This will provide us with some of the information needed for the plans we are required to submit to the state on July 31st. Most importantly, the information you provide will assist our building and district teams in tailoring our return to school plans and activities to the specific needs of the VVS community.

    Sunday is National Parents' Day. I want to take this opportunity to thank all parents and those serving as parents for your love and support for your children. Being a parent is the hardest and most important thing you’ll ever do. Students, take the time this weekend to honor your parents, guardians, or role models and thank them for all the ways they love and support you . You might cook a meal, plan a family fun night, gather around and share memories, or create a thoughtful card to celebrate them, especially during this time. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 22, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you enjoyed the last two days. Yesterday was practically perfect and today’s rain provided a welcome shower for our flowers and vegetable gardens!

    Today we had our first meeting with the VVS Reopening Task Force. We are grateful to have over 50 faculty, staff, parents and students volunteers to assist us in this monumental task. On Friday we will be sending out a survey to all of our families, and look forward to your feedback. It is important to us that we hear from everyone as we make decisions that will impact all of our students and families.

    Today is National Hammock Day. You can make a homemade hammock in just five minutes. The directions can be found at this link https://www.instructables.com/id/hammock-in-5-minutes. For other Wednesday Wellness tips, Mindful Classrooms offers a Google Drive filled with a compilation of different activities for stress relief. There are coloring pages, scripts for stress relief, and physical activities that get you up and moving. The different activities can be done at home and many are available in multiple languages. We wish you a relaxing and restful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 20, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend and found a way to beat the heat! This week should be a little cooler with some thunderstorms to help bring the temperatures down. 

    A brand new week is always a good time to think about things differently. In her diary, Anne Frank said, "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Our Motivational Monday tip is to talk as a family about what you can do to improve the world from right here where you live. Check the Roots and Shoots website if you need some ideas: https://www.rootsandshoots.org/.

    Today is National Moon Day. After it gets dark and the air cools down, the evening will be perfect to go outside and observe the moon and the night sky. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 17, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a wonderful week and were able to enjoy some of the family fun activities from our Summer Learning Guide!

    Yesterday the New York State Education Department released the guidelines for re-opening schools. The 145-page document will be used to guide our work in developing re-opening plans that keep our students and staff safe and healthy as we continue to learn. We are using the state guidance to develop a comprehensive survey to give us a picture of what is important to our students, families, and staff as we move into the fall. We expect to release the survey next Friday once our 2020-2021 planning team has been able to thoroughly review the state guidance.

    Sunday is National Ice Cream Day; our Fun Friday tip is to have an ice cream scavenger hunt. Hide jars of sprinkles, toppings, cherries and more around the house, and give a clue to each location after the completion of a chore. With the high temperatures forecast for this weekend, it would be the perfect time to get some indoor chores done and enjoy an ice cream sundae bar as a reward! Have a great weekend.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 15, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you are enjoying your summer, and found some useful new learning activities in week 2 of our Summer Learning Guide. If you haven't visited our Summer Learning Guide, we encourage you to check it out here: https://sites.google.com/view/vvssummerlearningguide/home/week-of-july-13th?authuser=1

    For our Wellness Wednesday tip, Positive Psychology offers a great compilation of 18 Mindfulness Games, Worksheets and Activities for Kids of all ages. Please see your email for the link. Mindful games and activities help children by promoting happiness and reducing stress while helping develop compassion, focus, curiosity and empathy. Since today is National Nature Photography Day, it would be an excellent time to spend some mindful moments capturing the beauty of the world that surrounds us. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 13, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! This week looks to be more manageable in terms of heat, but with enough sunshine to enjoy the outdoors. 

    Today Governor Cuomo and the New York State Education Department released some guidance on school reopening that will help shape our plans moving forward. Now that we have this guidance, we will be looking for your thoughts to assist us in developing the more specific elements of our plan as it pertains VVS families. Please be on the lookout for a survey to arrive later this week. Your responses to the survey will help us put forth a plan that more closely aligns to the needs of our students and families in a manner that prioritizes the physical and social-emotional health, safety, and well-being of our students, adults, and community members, while ensuring equity and continuous learning for our students. 

    Our Monday Motivation tip is to get a head start the night before. In the evening or before bedtime, talk to your child about what tomorrow will look like. What will the weather be and how do they choose an appropriate outfit? What events or activities are coming up that they may need to prepare for? In the evening you can celebrate your accomplishes from the day and plan for the next day. It’s OK if you didn’t get through everything, just work on moving ahead. Routines like this provide predictability and the motivation to start the next day fresh and with purpose that puts us all on the path to success now and when school or work resumes in the fall.

    Tomorrow is National Mac & Cheese Day. Now that the weather’s a bit cooler you can whip up your favorite mac and cheese recipe for dinner. Yum!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 10, 2020

    Good evening,

    Today brings about a beautiful end to the perfect summer week. As we all enjoy the sunny summer days, rest assured that we are also working hard at VVS to develop plans for reopening in the fall. The Board of Regents is expected to provide guidance documents next week. During the first week of August, Governor Cuomo will give direction on reopening schools. We have gathered information from a variety of sources to assist us in developing plans for a number of scenarios to meet student learning needs as well as to maintain a safe learning environment for all of our students and adults. We value the input of all of our families, and will reach out to you in the coming weeks to ask for your thoughts, questions and concerns as we navigate this process.  

    Today is National Sugar Cookie Day. For our Fun Friday tip, turn sugar cookies into a fun family activity by having each family member add their own special ingredients to some cookie batter. You can mix in chocolate, M&Ms, sprinkles, peanut butter chips, nuts and more. Then get creative with frostings and decorations to finish the project. Enjoy the weekend!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 8, 2020

    Good evening,

    We continue to enjoy a good old fashion summer with beautiful clear skies and hot temperatures. Today is Be a Kid Again day. Celebrate being a kid or be a kid again. The lightening bugs or fire flies are out. Turn off the lights and watch the show from inside, or go out in the yard and catch those summer bugs. Let them go at the end of the night so you can enjoy them again tomorrow!

    On Monday, we shared our Summer Learning Guide. If you have not had a chance to view it, please visit the district website or Facebook page for the link. There are many activities for kids of all ages and lots of opportunities for family fun!

    For our Wellness Wednesday Tip, UC San Diego’s Center for Mindfulness, The Sanford Institute, and the Compassion Institute have teamed up to offer free Mindfulness and Compassion sessions daily. Among these free live sessions you will find sessions for parents, kids, and teens. Get the whole family together for some mindfulness and stress relief - you have certainly earned it!

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 6, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. The weather couldn't have been better for some quality outdoor time as we celebrated the Fourth of July. 

    We are pleased to announce that our Summer Learning Guide, filled with read-alouds, learning experiences, and family fun activities, will go live today. Please visit https://sites.google.com/view/vvssummerlearningguide/home to begin your summer learning fun!

    Today's Motivational Monday tip is to start off the day with a healthy breakfast. Now that the days aren't so jam packed with activities, it is a great time to experiment with healthy and delicious breakfasts that the whole family can help make. Visit https://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/food-drinks/g1612/healthy-kid-friendly-recipes/?slide=2 for 61 great ideas to establish a family routine of starting the day off right!

    Tomorrow is National Strawberry Sundae Day. What could be more motivating than the thought of a strawberry sundae to go pick or pick-up some fresh local strawberries? Check one of the many local farms for a fun family outing. Then come home and enjoy a homemade strawberry sundae! Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 3, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    Today begins the Fourth of July weekend. July 4th is the day we celebrate our country’s birthday. The vote for actual independence took place on July 2, 1776. The Declaration of Independence, written largely by Thomas Jefferson, was formally adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. From then on, July 4th became the day our country celebrates American independence. John Adams believed July 2nd was the correct date for this celebration and would reportedly refuse to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—50 years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The tradition of setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July began in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, during the first organized celebration of Independence Day. That same night, the Sons of Liberty set off fireworks over Boston Common. Two hundred and forty four years later we continue this celebration. There are many ways we can celebrate the Fourth of July, our country’s birthday, and stay healthy.

    Here are some ideas for your family to have fun and stay healthy as you celebrate this year’s Fourth of July:

    1.      Stream Hamilton together. Hamilton, the Broadway musical hit, is streaming live on Disney+ starting Friday, July 3. What better way to get into the holiday than with listening to the story of one of our founding fathers? (Just remember, the content may not be suitable for younger audiences). For younger audiences, Common Sense Media can help you find the perfect movies for the entire family.

    2.      Get patriotic with the Boston Pops. The show must go on for the Boston’s Pop Firework Spectacular. This year, they will be celebrating front line healthcare workers and honoring those that have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. The performance will be available on television, radio, and digital media beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 4.

    3.      Be festive with food. Get in the spirit of the holiday with red, white and blue treats. You can find inspiration on Pinterest.

    4.      Enjoy backyard games. What’s more patriotic than a game of backyard baseball? Gather up the family for a day of fresh air and physical activity – without having to leave home. If baseball is not your thing, set up an obstacle course, turn on the sprinklers, have a relay race, or come up with another fun family game like cornhole or ring toss. Cap off the night with a bonfire and s’mores as you watch fireworks on TV or stream patriotic music.

     

    You may want to celebrate Fourth of July (safely) with friends. Just be sure to adhere to all state and local guidelines on gathering size, and set up your chairs six feet apart. Here are a few ways you can organize Fourth of July fun for the whole neighborhood:

    1.      Organize a flag hunt. Invite neighbors to put small flags in their yard. Then, take a walk around the block to see how many your family can find.

    2.      Put together a parade. Encourage neighbors to decorate their cars and drive along designated streets at a specific time. Honk horns. Wave flags. (Just be sure not to interfere with regular traffic patterns.)

    3.      Have a BYOF (bring your own food) barbeque. Set up picnic tables six feet apart, and enjoy a community picnic while maintaining physical distance.

    4.      Create a sidewalk chalk contest. Break out the chalk and challenge your neighbors to show their Fourth of July spirit with pictures, phrases, and drawings. Enjoy walking around to see everyone’s creations.

     

    Check these websites for more information about the Fourth of July and ideas for celebrating our country’s birthday. Happy 244th Birthday, America!

    https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th

    https://www.providence.org/news/uf/619161593

     

    Stay safe and be well,

    Martha


    July 1, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Wednesday! I'm sorry we missed you on Monday - sometimes the days just get away from us in the transition to summer schedules! We’ll work hard to make sure we don’t miss you again!

    I hope you’ve enjoyed these summer days. The weather has been beautiful, with a few rain showers to help feed our gardens and lawns and ease the heat. 

    Today's Wellness Wednesday tip is a reminder to keep both our physical and emotional health in mind when building our routines. Tending to our physical and mental health will help us get through these times and any time. Having a plan helps us stay in the routine. We’ve found some tips to get you started. This “Physical & Mental Health Menu” can be filled out at the start of each week to help us build a plan for ourselves to take care of our physical and mental health, relieve stress, and keep everyone on an even keel. Have a nice evening. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 26, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Friday! I hope your first full week of summer vacation was enjoyable and relaxing. The weather certainly has been beautiful for outdoor family activities. 

    As we mentioned in our previous messages, Friday messages will be Family Fun Fridays with tips and ideas for activities to help you create some family fun.

    Tomorrow is Summersgiving. Summersgiving is a relatively new national holiday, started in 2009, that encourages people to re-imagine Thanksgiving dinner with new summer recipes like turkey on the grill, cranberry lemonade, and more. Now that small gatherings of 25 people are allowed, this weekend will be the perfect time to gather some friends and loved ones to celebrate what we are thankful for as we move into the summer. 

    Speaking of thankful, our seniors are graduating tonight at 6 pm on Sheveron Field. You can watch the livestream by clicking on the link on our website. Have a great night and a wonderful weekend!

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 24, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all enjoyed this beautiful day and a return to milder temperatures. Today we have our first Wellness Wednesday message. A big part of our mission to educate the whole child is helping students learn strategies for their social and emotional health. We have partnered with Mindful Classrooms and James Butler for the past two years to develop our social emotional learning efforts. James will be providing us with a series of tips for our summer wellness messages. These tips work well for adults too, so get the whole family involved!

    Our first tip is the website, app, and YouTube channel GoNoodle. GoNoodle engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. I'm sure many of your children are already familiar with some of the fun songs and dances they have available! Take a moment today to find a video that you can enjoy with the whole family for a fun dance and mindfulness break.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 22, 2020

    Good evening VVS Families!

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend as summer officially began yesterday. The temperatures and weather have been perfect for getting outside and spending some time together as a family. 

    Today is the first of our summer messages, which we will send out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Our theme for the first day of the week will be Motivational Mondays, bringing you inspiration and motivation to move through the week ahead. Wednesdays will be Wellness Wednesdays, and will feature a health and wellness tip or practice that you can implement with your family. Fridays will be Family Fun Fridays, and will provide fun ideas and activities for the weekend. 

    Today's Motivational Monday tip is to set goals for your summer vacation. Is there an area of the house you would like to tackle, a garden that you've been meaning to plant, or any other project you'd like to accomplish? Make a family list of goals for the summer months and put them somewhere you can see them and check them off. Don't forget to set some goals for family fun!

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 19, 2020

    Good evening VVS Families and happy Friday!

    Today is Juneteenth. Juneteenth dates back to 1865, when Union soldiers and Major General Gordon Granger announced the news that the war had ended and the enslaved were free. It has been over 150 years since that momentous day, and while we still have much work to do, I am encouraged by the conversations that I hear and the activism of our youth toward equality and justice.

    Summer officially starts tomorrow! It sure feels like it’s already here! We will stay connected. Starting Monday, messages with themed activities will arrive on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We’ll also keep you informed about plans for the fall. To help families with summer ideas, we are putting together a Summer Activities Calendar. Let’s make it a true community affair! Send your fun activities, crafts, or read-alouds to Sondra Whalen at swhalen@vvsschools.org. We look forward to featuring our families over the next few months! In the meantime here is a link to get your summer started! https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/04/28/parents-guide-education-resources-coronavirus/?arc404=true 

    Sunday is Father’s Day. There are lots of great ways to celebrate and remember all — dads, step-fathers, grandpas, father-in-laws, uncles, those special men who make such a positive impact on our lives by loving us, taking care of us, and keeping us safe. So let him know how important he is to you. Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 18, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a wonderful first day of summer vacation. We enjoyed seeing many smiling faces at the materials pick ups and elementary graduations today. These will certainly be memories to cherish. 

    Did you know that expressing gratitude can make you happier?  Gratitude is expressing thanks for what we receive. It could be something tangible like a card or help; it could be intangible like words of encouragement. According to Harvard Medical School researchers, expressing gratitude helps us remember the goodness in our lives and recognize that the source of that goodness lies, at least partially, outside ourselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves— whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. While we have had many challenges over these past months, we have much to be grateful for. As we enjoy the end of school celebrations, you might want to take some time as a family and make a gratitude list. Write down or ask someone to write down all the things that you are grateful for. Read the list out loud then put it where you can see it. You can keep adding to it over the summer. It just might make your day or someone else’s!

    While formal lessons have concluded, we will still have some summer fun activities headed your way. Our daily message will change a bit too. We will share our summer plans with you tomorrow.

    A reminder to families who are using free Spectrum internet access - the service will end on June 30th. Please contact Spectrum if you have any questions.

    Speaking of gratitude, today is National Nursing Assistants Day. Though we have all done our part to help bend the curve and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed, our front line health workers have still been working overtime to take care of their patients. Today would be a great day to write a chalk message, or reach out to a nursing assistant or medical professional you know to thank them for their service. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 17, 2020

    Good evening and happy last day of school!

    As we move into summer, I want to express my gratitude for all that we have accomplished together over these past months. The COVID-19 crisis is a time that we all will remember. We have worked together as a community to create vivid memories for ourselves and our children. As our children reflect on this time in the years to come, they will remember how this community worked together to make the best of things. As a result, they will be able to do the same when facing future crisis and challenges. So as the school year comes to an end, thank you to our faculty and staff, who have worked sun up to sun down and well into the night to take care of our students and families, from preparing and delivering meals to making learning happen, to providing a listening ear, or just being there. Thank you to our students, who have stepped up to take ownership of their success and have worked hard to keep learning. Thank you to our parents who have successfully juggled careers, childcare, and their new role as co-educators. Thank you to our community members, who have volunteered their time, talents and treasure to take care of our students. When the going gets tough, you see true character emerge. There were many points when it would have been easier to stop connecting and staying involved, but everyone in the VVS community rose to the occasion to work together to continue meal delivery, to keep learning and engaging, and most of all, to support our neighbors. I have never been more proud to serve this district - a true district of distinction.  

    Tomorrow is National Splurge Day - what a fitting day to celebrate the end of the school year! Perhaps you can splurge on some ice cream, a movie rental, or any number of activities that you can do together as a family. You have earned it! 

     

    With warmth and gratitude,

    Martha


    June 16, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all had the opportunity to get outside and enjoy this beautiful day. It's the perfect time to get out the sprinklers and water balloons to have some fun in the heat. 

    A few things:

    1) The City of Sherrill opened its playgrounds this afternoon to the public. Please be reminded that VVS playgrounds are required to stay closed until Phase Four begins, when public school buildings and facilities can open to the public. Please enjoy the playgrounds in your town or village.

    2) If you are currently receiving school meals, you will continue to receive meals over the summer. If you need to change your delivery address, please contact Julie Snediker at jsnediker@vvsschools.org

    3) A reminder that Summer LEAP registration is still open. The nice thing about Summer LEAP is that you can participate as much or as little as fits your summer schedule. You can sign up here: https://www.vvsschools.org/Page/2819.

    We are pleased to share our "One Day" video, created by Eileen Hubbard and Brandie Collins from the high school. This moving and inspiring video includes teachers and staff members from across the district. Our high school students will recognize most of the teachers; our elementary and middle school students will recognize some of them. Everyone will know how much VVS cares for you. You can view the video here: https://youtu.be/ek81J6CvYc4. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 15, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Although the weather was a bit chilly at times, it was still sunny and the perfect weather for a walk or hike.

    It’s hard to believe we are in our last few days of remote learning; let’s finish strong! There are many materials pick up events and celebrations this week. We welcome our families back to campus to say their year-end goodbyes, and ask everyone to continue to abide by social distancing guidelines. Please wear masks at all times and remain in vehicles unless you are directed otherwise. I know many of you have been missing your faculty and staff, but we do need to remain six feet away from non-family members at all times for everyone's health and safety. 

    This week is National Flag week, which kicked off yesterday with Flag Day. Did you know that a teacher created the idea to celebrate this day? In 1885, Bernard Cigrand led his small school in Wisconsin in formally observing the holiday. In 1966, Congress formally designated Flag Week, calling all citizens to display the flag. We usually hold Flag Day events in school with opportunities to discuss what the American Flag symbolizes. This is a conversation you may wish to have as a family throughout the week. Here are some fun flag crafts if you would like to create your own flag art to display this week: https://www.redtedart.com/american-flag-crafts-for-kids/. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 12, 2020

    Happy Friday!

    Today concludes our 13th and last full week of remote instruction, and what a beautiful week it has been! We have enjoyed seeing our seniors and meeting your families. We have a few more special events and celebrations to take us through the last few days of school.

    The deadline for receiving absentee ballots for the budget vote and board election is Tuesday, June 16th. Please make sure your ballots are in the mail by tomorrow to ensure they have the time to get to the district office through the postal system. 

    Tomorrow is National Random Acts of Light Day. This day was established to bring light to the darkness of cancer by surprising someone with an act of kindness. If you know someone who is battling cancer bring some light into their day with a phone call or text message. Whether or not someone you know is battling cancer, it is always a good day to bring light and kindness into our community. Have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Be safe and be well, 

    Martha


    June 11, 2020

    Good evening, 

    We have been so fortunate to have such beautiful weather for our events this week! It’s already feeling like summer. The weekend will be a little cooler, but it will be a welcome change from the heat we've been experiencing. 

    A few items:

    1) If you have ordered a senior sign or VVS pride sign, they are available for pickup at the administration building weekdays from 9 am - 2 pm. 

    2) If you signed up for free Spectrum service, please be aware that the service will end on June 30th. Please contact Spectrum or further details. 

    3) For families of seniors - senior awards will be live streamed tomorrow night at 6pm. Families of students receiving awards will get a link to view the awards through SchoolMessenger tomorrow afternoon. 

    Tomorrow is National Red Rose Day. A red rose signifies love. Although we have experienced many challenges, this time is the perfect time to literally and metaphorically "stop and smell the roses." In taking time to slow down, be together and celebrate, we have created many new memories and traditions with our loved ones that we will carry with us into the years ahead. Have a great evening.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 10, 2020

    Good evening,

    Luckily the rain held off to give us another beautiful summer day. Congratulations to our first half of senior graduates this week! We have received very positive feedback about these special family celebrations, and we look forward to seeing the rest of our graduates tomorrow and Friday. If you have not yet scheduled a time, please reach out to swhalen@vvsschools.org to book a time slot. 

    A few reminders:                                                                                                                 

    1) There are still spots available for our virtual Summer LEAP Program. You can sign up here: https://www.vvsschools.org/Page/2819.

    2) We have received some comments about missing ballots. If you or someone you know has not received a ballot, our attorney has advised that the intent of the Governor’s Executive Order extending the time for the district to receive ballots by June 16th is to allow sufficient time for ballots to reach the school district by mail. Unfortunately, as of 5:00 p.m. yesterday the school district may not honor requests for absentee ballots. We are only permitted to accept absentee ballots by mail between June 10 and 5:00 p.m. June 16, 2020.

    ​3) We have noticed many families taking pictures with our banners and collages at the high school. We love seeing the smiling faces, and appreciate all of your efforts to maintain all health and safety guidelines while you are visiting. Please share your pictures with us on our Facebook page or on Twitter using the hashtag #VVSPride!

    Tomorrow is National Making Life Beautiful Day. Perhaps you could pick a family project to work on at home, share some kindness with each other, or share your kindness with a neighbor. It’s a wide open day. If there is anything we have learned during this time, it is that we should celebrate what makes life beautiful, and share our blessings with others. I hope you have a wonderful evening.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 9, 2020

    Good evening, 

    What a beautiful day we had today! This week begins many activities, with graduations, materials pick ups and more. Thank you to all of the families who have come to the events so far. We appreciate that everyone is making the efforts to follow all NYS Department of Health guidelines, including wearing masks at all times, following staff directions, and staying socially distant. It has been a difficult adjustment, but we are grateful that everyone is making the efforts to keep our students, families, and community members safe during all events. 

    Today was the last day to drop off your absentee ballot at the District Office. If you have not yet submitted your ballot, you can still mail it using the enclosed postage-paid return envelope. All absentee ballots must be received by the District Clerk on June 16th.

    Today is National Iced Tea Day - what a perfect day to brew some tea and pour it over ice to cool down from a day of sunshine and warm temperatures. You’ll want to make some for tomorrow too; it’s going to be a hot one!! Have a wonderful evening!

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 8, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you were able to get out over the weekend and enjoy the wonderful weather. Today begins our 13th and last full week of remote learning. We are looking forward to many special events over the next few days to celebrate the conclusion of the school year. Today was also our first day of graduation stations. It was wonderful to see our seniors and their families for this occasion. Thank you to the senior celebrations committee and all of the faculty and staff volunteers who are making these events possible.

     

    Here a few items:

    ·        Yesterday Governor Cuomo announced that graduations of 150 people may be held beginning June 26th. Being able to graduate as a full class has been most important for our seniors. We are now making plans for a graduation that will allow our students to celebrate this important milestone together.

    ·        Governor Cuomo also extended the timeline for mail-in absentee ballots to be received to Tuesday, June 16th. If you or someone you know hasn’t had the opportunity to turn in an absentee ballot, these may be brought to the district office no later than 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, June 9th. After tomorrow, ballots must be received by mail by the district clerk in the district office not later than June 16, 2020. If you have any questions regarding the board election or budget vote, please email the district clerk Tamara Whooten at twhooten@vvsschools.org.

    Today is World Oceans Day. Did you know that between 50 and 80% of life on Earth is located in the ocean, and that we have explored less than 10% of it? You can learn more by taking a virtual dive at National Marine Sanctuaries at https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/vr/. Have a great night!

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 5, 2020

    Happy Friday!

    We have completed our 12th week of remote learning, with only one full week left to go! I admire the way our families have adapted to this challenge: always seeking to improve, working through difficult situations, and helping others where you can. I am so proud to serve this community as superintendent. 

    Another point of pride for VVS is our National Honor Society inductees. Congratulations to the 44 VVS High School students who were inducted today in a virtual ceremony. We invite the community to view the ceremony here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14CrUmUobqqHrhsm7n7VYvMBuACzKh1uy17yh1ltRidE/edit

    A few items:

    1) If you ordered a senior or VVS Pride lawn sign, you may pick up your order at the administration building any weekday between 9 am and 2 pm. 

    2) If your family has signed up for free Spectrum service, please be aware that the service ends on June 30th. You may want to contact Spectrum to see if they will continue the service through the summer.

    3) We have received many questions about summer meals. We are pleased to announce that we will continue to deliver breakfast and lunch during the summer. More information will be sent out next week.

    4) This year’s budget vote and board election take place by absentee ballot only. All ballots must be received at the district office by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9th. If you haven’t had a chance to mail in your ballot, you may drop it off in one of the ballot boxes located just inside the entrances to district office.

    Tomorrow is National Play Outside Day! Get creative with sprinklers, water balloons, or find an old tarp to create a slip-n-slide. There are plenty of ways to have fun and beat the heat. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 4, 2020

    Good evening,

    What a beautiful day we had today. I hope you all had a chance to enjoy the sunshine and blue skies. 

    I wanted to update you on the Budget Vote and Election ballots. After working with our attorneys and local officials, we are able to provide you with the following information:

    1) Many schools across the state experienced difficulty in putting out absentee ballots to every voter. We are fortunate that the county's voter list was over-inclusive, instead of under-inclusive and missing many voters.

    2) If you received your ballot, and are an eligible voter, please fill out and return your ballot. All ballots must be received - not postmarked - by 5pm on Tuesday, June 9th.

    3) If you are an eligible VVS voter and did not receive a ballot, we apologize. Please contact Tamara Whooten, Board Clerk, at twhooten@vvsschools.org or (315) 829-7425, and she will send you a ballot.

    4) If you received a ballot but are not an eligible VVS voter, please return your ballot with your name, address, and "not a VVS qualified voter" written on the ballot envelope. This will help us correct district voter lists moving forward. 

    Thank you all for your patience as we navigate this new way of holding an election. As always, we appreciate the support of our community during this challenging time.

    Today is National Hug Your Cat Day. I know some of you have a cat from your posts, so give your cat a nice hug. Don’t have a cat? Well, today is also National Cheese Day; I hope you can enjoy your favorite cheese! Have a wonderful evening. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 3, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all enjoyed the warmer weather we had today. Even though it has been cloudy, make sure you are still putting on that sunscreen! Most burns occur during cloudy weather, since harmful UV rays are not stopped by the clouds. 

    Thank you to all who attended last night's Virtual Town Hall and Budget Hearing. We had many great questions about the budget, and appreciate the support of the community as we move forward. We are proud to offer a budget that maintains all student programs, does not lay any employees off, and still remains under the New York State allowable levy limit. 

    Tomorrow is Audacity to Hope Day. It is a fitting day for the circumstances we find ourselves in, as it is a day for all Americans to recommit to their dreams with the "audacity to hope" that they can be achieved. Even when we are experiencing difficult times, we must still move forward with the hope and the belief that things will be better than they currently are.  

    I hope you have a wonderful evening. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 2, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope you all had a wonderful day. The warmer weather was a nice change from the weekend. 

    We will be hosting our Virtual Town Hall and Budget Hearing in just a few minutes. We welcome everyone from the community to join us as we review the budget and answer your questions. If you would like to participate using the chat feature, you can join using this link: meet.google.com/mtt-qxgp-tgk. If you would like to listen in, you can join by phone at ‪+1 567-334-1047 using PIN#: ‪541 651 498#

    If you ordered a senior or VVS lawn sign but were unable to come to the pick up on Thursday, you can pick up your signs at the VVS Administration Building, located across the parking lot from the middle school. The best times to pick up are between 9 am and 2 pm, Monday-Friday. 

    Tomorrow is National Running Day. We know we have a lot of runners in our community, with over 30 participants in our Memorial Weekend VVS Virtual 5K! Congratulation to Peter Thompson for taking first place with a 5K time of 20 minutes and 47 seconds!

    I hope to see you all at our Virtual Town Hall and Budget Hearing tonight. If you are unable to participate, you can view a preview of our Budget Newsletter here: https://www.vvsschools.org/cms/lib/NY01913955/Centricity/Domain/20/VVS%202020%20Budget%20Newsletter.pdf.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    June 1, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy Monday and first day of June! I hope you all had a wonderful and restful weekend. Today begins our twelfth week of remote learning. As we move closer to the end of the school year, there several items that we are focusing on. 

    1) Budget Hearing: we look forward to hosting our Virtual Town Hall and Budget Hearing tomorrow, June 2, at 6:30 pm. Thank you to those who have participated in the Thoughtexchange! You can join the Google Meet using the following link or phone number: 

    To join and participate with the chat feature: https://meet.google.com/mtt-qxgp-tgk       

    To join by phone and listen only:  ‪+1 567-334-1047    PIN: ‪541 651 498#

    2) We have heard from many community members about issues with the absentee ballots that have been mailed to registered voters. Today we learned this is an issue across the state. We met with our attorneys this morning and will be providing you with further instructions and guidance shortly.

    3) We are happy to announce that students will be able to keep their Chromebooks over the summer for any summer learning opportunities. Only 12th grade students will need to return their Chromebooks during end-of-year student materials pickups. 

    4) Families of seniors: if you have not yet signed up for a graduation time slot, you can do so here: https://vvsgraduation2020.youcanbook.me/. We are looking forward to welcoming our seniors on campus and celebrating your achievements!

     

    Today is National Say Something Nice Day. We all have people that have helped to lift us up and take care of us over the past few months. Reach out to those people and let them know that you are grateful for them! 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 29, 2020

    Happy Friday!

    As we conclude our tenth week of remote learning, we have much to be celebrate. We have fun learning opportunities, events, and celebrations planned to conclude the year.

    1) We distributed our June Family Calendar last night. We have included a copy for you here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zEQ9PHKkIrO0-6_s2QL93L7JBUHbVbrf/view?usp=sharing.

    2) If you were not able to pick up your senior and VVS Pride lawn signs last night, we will reach out to you to schedule a pick up time. 

    3) Next Tuesday we will hold our Virtual Town Hall and Budget Hearing. A copy of the tentative budget is available for you to view on the district website. Please share your thoughts, questions and concerns in our Thoughtexchange here: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/582036685.

     

    Tomorrow is National Creativity Day. For creative project ideas, visit our Family Resource Guide. Enjoy some time outside and have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 28, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope you all had a nice evening, and had an opportunity to relax and recharge. We never did get that rain, so hopefully you were able to get outside and enjoy another warm day.

     

    A few items:

    1) For our families of seniors, graduation sign-ups can be found here: https://vvsgraduation2020.youcanbook.me/. There are 155 time slots at varying times of day to try to accommodate all of our families. In case of inclement weather, we will send reschedule dates. Also for seniors, National Honor Society graduation cords will be dropped off tomorrow between 11-2. They will be placed in mailboxes if no one is home. 

    2) Thank you to the Oneida County Sheriff's Office for visiting us today and sharing our meal program on Facebook Live. We know many of you saw some familiar faces and sent a hello out to the wonderful folks who prepare over 1400 meals each day. We wanted to remind families that any child within the VVS district under the age of 18 is eligible for free meals. Please contact Julie Snediker at jsnediker@vvsschools.org to sign up. 

    3) The family calendar will be posted to our website, Facebook, and Peachjar this evening. 

    4) We have posted a flyer on Peachjar and our website about the Virtual Town Hall and Budget Hearing. We hope you will be able to attend. We have set up a Thoughtexchange to gather your thoughts regarding the 2020-2021 budget and school year. You can access the Thought exchange here https://my.thoughtexchange.com/582036685, or on our website.

    Today is National Heat Awareness Day. It was a such a quick transition from winter to summer, we may have forgotten some of the precautions we should be taking! Make sure you are using sunscreen every time you go outside, and take frequent water breaks, especially when it is this hot out. Don't let dehydration or a sunburn keep you from enjoying the beautiful weather we've been having. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 27, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you have been enjoying the beautiful weather and finding ways to stay cool! 

    A few reminders:

    1) Please mark your calendars: we will be holding a Virtual Town Hall/Budget Hearing on June 2 at 6:30. 

    2) If you ordered senior signs, you may pick them up at the high school Sheveron on Thursday from 3-5 pm.

    3) We will be distributing a family calendar tomorrow so you can begin to plan your last month of school.

    4) The ongoing isolation is taking its toll on many adults and student. This is to be expected. Taking care of your mental health is just as important, if not more important, than taking care of your physical health. Make sure to get enough rest, eat well, and have a routine that gets you up and moving. Also, make sure to get outside to enjoy the warmer weather and do things you enjoy. Please reach out to your school social worker, a teacher, or visit the Family Resource Guide for resources to support you through these challenges.  

    This week is National Backyard Games week. What are your favorite backyard games? Perhaps it’s corn hole, sack races, balloon stomp, crab soccer, or a nature scavenger hunt. Whatever you like to do, take some time to enjoy a game with your family outside, and enjoy the amazing weather we've been fortunate to have. Share your fun on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll include them in our weekly video.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 26, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with time to pause and remember those who have given so much for our country. 

    A few announcements:

    1) Our virtual Summer LEAP Program will be held June 29 - July 30. Register online at https://www.vvsschools.org/Page/2819.

    2) Our senior lawn signs have arrived! We will be having a pickup this Thursday, May 28, from 3 - 5 pm. If you are unable to make the pickup, please email swhalen@vvsschools.org.

    3) We will be hosting our next Virtual Town Hall/Budget Hearing on Tuesday, June 2 at 6:30 pm. The link will be posted later this week. 

    4) Families of seniors - check your email! We have sent out the latest senior celebration events, including graduation information!

    May is National Get Caught Reading month. Perhaps you could take a good book and read outside on a blanket or under a tree, or create your own book nook pillow fort. There are many ways to make reading fun! Send us photos of you reading your favorite book or share them on twitter! We’ll include them in this week’s video.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 22, 2020

    Good evening!

    Another warm and sunny day greeted us as we concluded our tenth week of remote learning. The beautiful weather we enjoyed today also looks to last throughout the weekend! I hope you had a chance to enjoy some of the many activities that were available on our Memorial Day Learning Guide. Thank you to all of the faculty, staff, and students who worked hard to create a wonderful selection of learning opportunities. 

    As we move into Memorial Day weekend and honor those who gave their lives in service to the country, please take a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life. We may be moving through challenging times, but the sacrifices we are making and the support we are showing for our neighbors and community are the hallmark of our nation. I wish you a wonderful holiday weekend and look forward to resuming our remote learning on Tuesday next week.

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 21, 2020

    Good evening!

    What a wonderful day we've had to begin our Memorial Day Weekend. 

    A few things:

    1. Last night the Board of Education approved the modified student program calendar. The last day of the regular school year for students will be June 17, 2020.

    2. Today, Governor Cuomo announced that summer programs must be held remotely. He also said the state is considering whether summer camps will be permitted as health officials study a newly emerging inflammatory condition in children that is believed to be related to COVID-19. We will be sharing additional information with students and families about summer learning and enrichment opportunities in the next few weeks.

    3. Meal delivery will continue over the summer months. In the next week, we will be surveying our families regarding summer meal needs and drop-off locations.

    4. Governor Cuomo stated that it is too early to decide whether schools and colleges can reopen in the fall. The state will issue guidelines in early June on what schools would need to do to reopen safely in the fall with adequate measures on social distancing, busing, cafeterias, and other areas, to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Schools need to submit their plans for approval in July. VVS has already begun to plan and will be including faculty, staff, parents, students, and community in this effort.

    5. The New York State Education Department is conducting a statewide virtual conversation about reopening schools using Thoughtexchange. This conversation is to assist in the education department’s thinking about what a return to school buildings might look like and how best to support students, families and staff. This is a statewide exchange facilitated by the 37 New York BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services). The exchange results will be shared with our elected officials so that they will have a more global understanding of the thoughts and ideas our community members have about returning to in-person schooling. I encourage your participation in this endeavor through the ThoughtExchange Link: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/333518046.

    Tomorrow morning we will post our Memorial Day Learning Guide on Facebook and on our district website. We hope that you will join us tomorrow, beginning with the First Call/Reveille song at 8:00 am, for a day honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 20, 2020

    Good evening,

    We had yet another beautiful day to enjoy today. If you haven’t had time yet, take the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and beautiful temperatures. 

    A few things:

    1) If you haven’t already signed your child up for Camp Invention’s Summer project, please fill out the online registration here as soon as possible: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQM5dv2DjYrk2LF40o_1JtIpVdqTinei2M4Bny06N2IJVd_A/viewform

    2) If you are interested in ordering a banner for your senior, Pexton Photography has extended the deadline to May 25th at 5pm. Please see Peachjar for ordering information. 

    3) We have created a parent survey for technology training and needs. Please fill out the survey here so we can begin to implement specific trainings and more assistance: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSemlLBXe9eMTJVkSgImx9-doC4oAyCnYo3KpvJ1USyzWz9TOA/viewform

    Do you have a Red Nose? Tomorrow is Red Nose Day, a day when people come together to end child poverty through entertainment and programs. Learn more at rednoseday.org or tune into NBC to watch the Red Nose Day Special and donate. There is lots of talent in the VVS community; perhaps you can do something entertaining with a Red Nose and share it with us.   

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 19, 2020

    Good evening, 

    We had another beautiful spring day today. The flowers are coming into full bloom and the trees are filling in with leaves, signaling the warmer weather ahead. 

    A few reminders:

    1) We will have our second Superintendent's Conference Half-Day on Thursday, May 21st. Our faculty and staff will be working on finalizing their curriculum and remote learning lessons for the remainder of the school year. 

    2) A Memorial Day Learning Guide, similar to our Spring Learning Guide, will be available to families on Thursday evening. The guide will feature many activities for students and families to enjoy as we recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.

    3) I appreciate the feedback from some of our families regarding the fourth marking period. Honest communication is important for all of us during these challenging times. My intent was to alleviate concerns among parents and students seeking more specific information regarding student learning progress as we come to the end of the school year. I understand that for some it has added to an already stressful situation and for that I am truly sorry. We recognize that the teaching and learning taking place during this time will not be comparable to the education students experience during a typical school year. Our goal is to honor and recognize the learning and growth of each student. Everyone is doing their best. Please enjoy your learning experiences, take breaks and celebrate your accomplishments.      

    This week is National Bike Week. With all this nice weather, it would be an ideal time to take a break and go on a bike ride.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 18, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather we had this weekend. We enjoyed seeing our seniors on Saturday afternoon, and appreciate all of the families who came out to support our students. This week we will be delivering senior signs on Tuesday and Wednesday - be on the lookout for our delivery crew and their festive bus!

    In honor of Memorial Day and our warmer weather, VVS is hosting its first Virtual 5K! Over Memorial Day weekend, set your GPS, take any 5K run, and send in a picture of your completed route and time for your chance to win prizes! You can view the flyer here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gHx2y2apFEIlPxVqLzKS70N7ZNacbfRa/view?usp=sharing.

    Have you ever heard of Victory Gardens? During times of war, many people planted gardens of vegetables, fruits and herbs at their homes or in parks. These were called “Victory Gardens” and helped people come together just like we’re coming together now. Tomorrow is National Plant Something Day. Now that the colder weather has given way to sunny days, it's time to plant flowers and vegetables outside! You can plant seeds or pick-up plants from a local garden business. Getting out in the garden is great for both your physical and mental health. This Memorial Day weekend could be an ideal time to spend some time together honoring those who died serving our country and planting with your family.

     

    Be safe and be well, 

    Martha


    May 15, 2020

    Happy Friday!

    Today was a beautiful day. I hope you had a chance to go out and enjoy the nice weather before the storms later this evening. 

     

    A few items:

    1) A reminder that the Senior Cap & Gown Pickup Celebration has been moved to tomorrow, May 16, from 12-2 pm. We hope to see many seniors and their families at this event. 

    2) We have received word that some of the SchoolMessenger nightly phone calls have come through as a different phone number, some even registering as spam. We apologize for any confusion. We are working with the company to resolve this issue.

    3) We will take senior lawn sign orders through Saturday evening to accommodate any families who were planning to deliver their order at the Senior Cap & Gown Pickup Celebration.

    4) We have completed the grading procedures for the fourth marking period and made some updates regarding the third marking period. The are available at the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nTpncdR0uejKZeYbA0lCc1p4Z6O2s7dg/view?usp=sharing and on Peachjar.

     

    Today is the International Day of Families. Whether you are planning a pizza and movie night, a fun hike or picnic this weekend, or another activity, we hope you can spend some quality time with the family members that have been your support system through this challenging time. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 14, 2020

    Good evening,

    What a beautiful day we had today! The sunshine and warmth were a very welcome change. 

    We are excited about the several upcoming Senior Celebrations, but we have some changes due to the weather. Please note that tomorrow's Cap and Gown Pickup Celebration will be moved to Saturday, May 16th from 12-2 pm. Saturday looks to be warmer and drier, which will make the event a better experience for everyone involved. We will send out a new celebrations schedule via email this evening, and will post it to Facebook and our website as well. Our seniors can also visit the Graduate Together website​​ to submit photos and videos for a chance to be featured on the one-hour primetime show Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, which will air on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC on Saturday, May 16, at 8 pm. Please view the updated Senior Celebrations Schedule here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/188r98noezc2t9E5PKlhtddwPjEAFMhy7/view?usp=sharing.

    Do you love pizza? Tomorrow is National Pizza Party Day! It’s also the 25th anniversary of Toy Story. A rainy Friday night is a good night to kick back and relax with pizza and a movie. Watch Toy Story or another movie with a "make your own pizza" or one from a local pizzeria. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to relax, pause, reflect, and celebrate your accomplishments during the past week. Whatever our challenges, believe in yourself. Randy Newman's Toy Story theme song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” reminds us we’re able to get through life’s challenges together through friendship; by being a friend and relying on our friends. Have a wonderful evening.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 13, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you had a chance to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather today, and that the sunshine lifted your spirits. Warmer days are ahead! 

    A few things:

    1) As we head into the warmer months, if you are receiving meals, please be on the lookout for meal deliveries as some items in the lunches require refrigeration.

    2) Friday is the last day we will be able to take senior lawn sign order forms. Please make sure to submit your orders as soon as possible. Please email swhalen@vvsschools.org with any questions. 

    Have you ever heard of John Philip Sousa? He’s wrote enough marching songs to be nick-named the “March King.” Tomorrow is Stars and Stripes Forever Day. It commemorates the first performance of Sousa’s piece in 1897, as it was played in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the unveiling of a statue of George Washington. Our ability to come together and take pride in how we take care of our neighbors and community members is a hallmark of our nation and the VVS community. I'm always humbled by the graciousness and support of our faculty, staff and families, even as we approach our tenth week of remote learning. The enduring attitudes of charity, selflessness and positivity are a source of great pride for our community.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 12, 2020

    Good evening VVS families, 

    I hope you were able to enjoy your afternoon getting caught up, organizing, reading, and enjoying some time outside despite the strong winds!  

    During the Superintendent's Conference Day Google Meets today, our teachers looked at their curriculum to determine how to make the most of our last marking period. Their discussions included refining our remote learning priorities and practices and how to assess and report on student learning progress at the end of the year. This included a discussion on grading. We know from the Thoughtexchange and Virtual Town Hall that learning progress reporting and grading is a topic of interest and concern for parents. We will have more information for you later this week describing our reporting practices for the fourth marking period.

    This week is National Transportation Week. Thank you to our VVS Transportation Department for the amazing work you do every day in providing meals and a friendly “VVS hello” for our students and families. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 11, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope you enjoyed the weekend in spite of the wintery Saturday. At the Virtual Town Hall meeting last week, we heard your concerns about being overwhelmed and are reviewing our practices to help make remote learning more manageable. We are keeping with the scheduled half-day Superintendent's Conference Day tomorrow, May 12th. During this time, teachers will collaborate over Google Meet to refine their practices in remote learning. Students won’t have any Google Meets tomorrow afternoon, giving them time to catch up on assignments or do some pleasure reading. 

    If you’re available, tomorrow afternoon might be a good time for you and your child to log into their VVS email. If your child has not been checking their email regularly, you’ll find directions in the Family Resource Guide and can use the log-in icon on our district website. High school students, especially, should be checking daily as they are receiving emails about scholarship and program opportunities. Please encourage your child to make checking their email a regular habit. 

    Tomorrow is National Hospital Day, celebrated on May 12 in honor of Florence Nightingale's birthday. Florence Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing, and helped establish many of the hospital standards - including hygiene practices - we enjoy today. Thank you to all of our hospital workers who continue to put themselves at risk for the benefit of everyone.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 8, 2020

    Good evening,

    Today was a wonderful day of senior celebrations and community pride. Thank you to our volunteers and the generous donors who made the breakfast possible - especially our FFA for their pancakes and delicious maple syrup. It was great seeing all of your smiling faces, and the car decorations were superb! We received nearly 100 sign orders and can't wait for the seniors to see them on lawns all over the community. We appreciate all of the community support for our seniors, especially the positive feedback on Facebook and the honks as people drive by our Class of 2020 sign display! Our senior sign tribute will remain on the front lawn until May 19th, when we are planning a fun personalized delivery of the sign to each student's home. Any student who would rather pick up their sign instead of having it delivered is welcome to collect it from the front lawn at any time between now and May 19th. 

    Sunday is Mother's Day. Whether you are a biological mother, adoptive mother, foster mother, step mother, class mother, mother-figure, or are even a fur mama, we wish all of our VVS moms a wonderful Mother's Day, and hope you are able to celebrate and enjoy. Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 7, 2020

    Good evening, 

    Thank you to everyone who attended the town hall meeting last night! We had over 130 participants and were able to address your thoughts, concerns and recommendations. I appreciate your words of encouragement, and your willingness to share your concerns openly and honestly. It was a great experience, and we are planning a second Virtual Town Hall for later this month so we can continue our community building and communications. 

    Tomorrow is National Child Care Provider Day. Much like our teachers, principals, school lunch heroes, and nurses, our VVS childcare providers are an essential and important part of our community. Thank you for your work in providing a safe and loving environment for children when they cannot be with their parents or in school.

    If you have some free time, I encourage you all to drive by the high school some time this week or next, as our senior lawn signs are now decorating the front lawn! Thank you to the Senior Celebrations Committee for your work in creating this amazing display of #VVSPride for our seniors. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 6, 2020

    Good evening, 

    Happy Nurses' Day to all of our wonderful VVS nurses and healthcare workers in the VVS community. We appreciate all you do to keep our community safe and well. 

    Thank you to those who have already purchased senior signs. Please visit Peachjar or our website for order information. Orders are due by May 15th. 

    Please join us for tonight's VVS Virtual Town Hall Meeting, which is happening soon on Google Meet. To enter the meeting using your computer, which will allow you to participate using the chat feature, please use this link: meet.google.com/xrt-crhg-yqi. To enter the meeting using your phone, which will allow you to listen in only, please call ‪+1 478-419-0160 and use the PIN number ‪130 588 605#. We hope you will be able to attend!

    Tomorrow is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Everyone is experiencing the stress associated with the changes to our lives resulting from COVID-19. These stressors can include fear of the virus itself, frustration with the length of home confinement, social isolation due to lack of contact with friends, family, and teachers, and financial worries along with the feelings of loss. Your building social worker is available to assist at any time, or visit our Family Resource Guide for emotional health hotline and support information. We are all in this together. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 5, 2020

    Good evening, 

    Today is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global day of unity taking place in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. So many in our community have demonstrated their generosity to friends, neighbors, and strangers. You have given food, donations, and material items, your time, talent, treasure and moral support to countless individuals. Thank you for all of the ways in which you have given today and every day.

    We are happy to announce our senior celebrations will begin this week. Signs will go up on the high school front lawn on Thursday morning, and will be delivered to homes in a few weeks. All seniors will receive a sign. Attached please find an order form for additional lawn signs that you may order. Seniors will see the full effect of their signs at our drive through senior pancake breakfast on Friday from 9-11 am. We have more fun activities planned for the next few weeks and months. And don’t worry, plans are in the works for other important celebrations such as kindergarten and sixth grade recognitions.

    Everyone is invited to join us tomorrow on Google Meet for our first ever VVS Virtual Town Hall to discuss your concerns for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. Our Thoughtexchange is still open at https://my.thoughtexchange.com/743348852. It will be open until 2:00 pm tomorrow to submit your thoughts, questions, comments and suggestions. Please see the attached flyer for more information on how to join the meeting. 

    Tomorrow is National Nurse's Day. We appreciate our hard working VVS nurses and those who work in other settings. If you’d like you to send your nurse a note, please share a favorite memory or post positive message on our Facebook page.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha

     

    VVS Virtual Town Hall Meeting​​​​​​​      Senior Lawn Sign Order Form 


    May 4, 2020

    Happy Monday!

    What a beautiful weekend we had. The weather was perfect for walks and other outdoor activities. I hope you got the chance to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

    Today begins our 8th week of remote learning. As we look ahead to the next few months of remote learning, we are looking to make adjustments and better meet the needs of all of our families. If you haven't shared your thoughts and questions for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, please go to https://my.thoughtexchange.com/743348852 and share. We will be talking about many of the topics mentioned at our upcoming VVS Virtual Town Hall this Wednesday, May 6th, at 6:00 pm. We hope you will join us. 

    This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Typically we recognize all our educators with in-school celebrations. This year, we’d like to give you the opportunity to help us recognize all the VVS educators, the best educators we know! We thank them for their wholehearted efforts to keep our students safe and engaged. We would love to hear your VVS faculty and staff shout outs so we can share them on our social media pages. This includes teachers, teacher aides, lunch and playground monitors, nurses, social workers, counselors, bus drivers, substitutes, and parents; anyone and everyone who has played an important role in your child’s education. If you would like to share a positive message, please fill out our Google Form here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdgQRqxHDYmLtxE5ea2gyCOlmf7mc6s8-92op2XvdZQyE2ocw/viewform.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    May 1, 2020

    Happy Friday!

    Today we received some news about the remainder of the school year. As many of you may have heard, Governor Cuomo announced during his press briefing today that all New York schools are closed to in-school learning for the remainder of the academic school year. We will, however, continue to provide remote learning, meal delivery, assistance with childcare for essential workers, and support for our students and families. We are prepared to continue remote learning with plans to fine-tune the procedures and schedules that will help bring us to a successful conclusion to the year. 

    I imagine the news that schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year brings about a mixture of emotions. On the one hand, there is the sadness and disappointment surrounding the traditional end-of-year celebrations, ceremonies and milestone events. On the other hand, there is the sense of relief from the worry about all the steps that need to be taken to keep everyone healthy. These are all very natural emotions. We will find new ways to connect, support, and celebrate as we move forward to prepare our schools to reopen. 

    For our seniors, some new celebrations will begin next week, with lawn signs going up on Thursday, and a pancake breakfast drive-through on Friday, May 8th from 9 -11 am at the high school. We invite all of our class of 2020 seniors and their families to decorate cars and visit us for some pancakes with VVS FFA maple syrup and fixings. Look for more information on Facebook, Peachjar, and SchoolMessenger in the coming days. 

    Next week, we will be hosting our first ever VVS Virtual Town Hall meeting on Google Meet. Please join me on Wednesday, May 6th at 6:00 pm to share your thoughts, concerns, questions and suggestions. We are opening a new Thoughtexchange to gather your thoughts to use as a starting point for our Town Hall meeting. The Thoughtexchange will remain open from now until 2:00 pm on Wednesday, May 6th. Please visit https://my.thoughtexchange.com/743348852 to share your thoughts regarding the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, and re-opening school for the 2020-2021 school year.

    Today is National Principals' Day. We are so grateful for the calm and caring leadership of our principals everyday, but we appreciate them even more as they work to help our faculty, staff, students and families during this time. We encourage you to visit our Facebook page and give a shout out to your principal or share a fond memory. Enjoy the weekend by getting outside and spending some time away from your electronics.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 30, 2020

    Good evening,

    Today we say goodbye to April, a month that has seen us fully transition to remote learning and a new way of teaching and learning together. Families and educators alike worked tirelessly this month to provide for our families and each other. We fought to stay connected, to keep learning, and to help those less fortunate. The way our community has grown closer over the last month is awe inspiring. Tomorrow brings in the month of May, and with it, hopefully, some news about what the remainder of the school year will look like. Regardless of the governor's decision, we will be together every step of the way until our buildings are open again.

    To our seniors - we are excited to announce that our first senior celebration will take place next week with senior lawn signs. They will be placed on the front lawn by Thursday afternoon. If anyone in the community wishes to order a sign, we will send out an order form Tuesday of next week. 

    Seniors will also have the opportunity to begin applying for senior scholarships tomorrow, May 1st. Please check your email, the high school guidance Google Classroom, Peachjar, or the district website for more information. 

    Tomorrow is School Lunch Hero Day. I cannot think of a more appropriate day to celebrate our wonderful food service staff. Even in the midst of a pandemic, they have been unwavering in their dedication to make sure that our students are healthy and fed. Together with our transportation staff, they are truly school lunch heroes, and we thank them for their hard work and commitment to our students. Many of you have already shown your appreciation to our school lunch heroes. If you haven’t gotten around to it yet, tomorrow is the perfect time to give a wave, a shout out, a note, a picture, or post a comment on Facebook or Twitter for these heroes using #VVSPRIDE.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 29, 2020

    Good evening,

    Earlier this week the weather forecast was for lots of rain; today we got a bonus day. I hope you had the opportunity to spend some time outdoors and relax.

    We are pleased to announce that our senior celebrations will kick off next week with senior lawn signs at the high school, with options for community members to purchase "We love our seniors," "VVS Pride," or a copy of their graduate’s lawn sign. We will send out the order form next week through Peachjar and the daily message. Thank you again to those who donated to make this first celebration possible.

    We would like to add a clarification from yesterday's message. We asked families who were unable to store the Thursday and Monday milk donations to reach out to Julie Snediker. That email address was spelled incorrectly in yesterday's email. The correct address is jsnediker@vvsschools.org. We apologize for any confusion that may have caused. 

    Today is International Dance Day. Get up and dance! Dance in the house, dance outside, dance alone, dance with a partner, have a family dance party! Share your dancing videos and photos on Facebook and Twitter at #VVSPride. We can’t wait to see you all dancing.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 28, 2020

    Good evening,

    I hope you all enjoyed today's beautiful weather and were able to get outside. If you haven’t gotten outside, you still have time before the rain comes. Remember, it’s important to take breaks. Being outside relaxes us and helps relieve stress.

    Some families have reached out for technology assistance. We have created a Tech Tip sheet for parents and guardians, which you can find on Peachjar, Facebook, and in the Family Resource Guide. Also, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Tech Support Hotline at (315) 813-4434 or at techsupport@vvsschools.org. The hotline is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    Today is National Stop Food Waste Day. In that spirit, the Dairy Farmers of America and Oneida County are joining together to donate milk to all families who are receiving meals. Milk will be delivered on Thursday, April 30th and Monday, May 4th. If you are unable to store milk in a timely fashion, please reach out to Julie Snediker at jsneidker@vvsschools.org.

    Today is also World Wish Day. What are your wishes? We’d love to know, perhaps you can write one down to share or make a picture or a poster and share it with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #VVSPride. In the meantime, my wish is that we all continue to take care of each other and celebrate the blessings of this great community.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 27, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We had some beautiful weather to enjoy - a reminder that spring is on its way. Today marks the start of our 7th week of remote learning. This week we are focusing on establishing boundaries. In this time of increased stress, it is important to create boundaries that help us develop routines and guard our family and personal time. Please visit our Family Resource Guide for some great articles on how to establish your routines and balance work, school, and family time. 

    Tomorrow is National Superhero Day and National Pay It Forward Day. During this time, our essential workers and healthcare workers have truly become our heroes! Perhaps you could plan an act of kindness to show them your gratitude and "pay it forward." Some ideas to consider are: leaving snacks or gift cards for delivery workers, offering to do yard work for a neighbor who works during the day, or sending an encouraging note to an essential worker you know. Small acts of kindness make a big impact on those who are working to keep our communities healthy, safe, and fed. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 24, 2020

    Happy Friday!

    Today concludes our sixth week of remote learning. It's hard to believe that we began this journey a month and a half ago. Studies show developing and implementing a remote learning plan takes at least three years of planning and preparation! We are still working to improve upon our practices, connect with all of our families, and support the learning of all of our students. I'm so proud of your efforts as families and pleased with the progress we have made in remote education thus far. 

    Today concludes National Environmental Education Week. Since it is still too cold to plant outside in our region, perhaps this weekend would be a nice time to begin an indoor herb garden, or to start growing seeds to transplant once it becomes warmer. Agricultural education is an important part of our community, and it is never too early to teach our children to appreciate the hard but rewarding work of growing food and caring for the environment. 

    I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with rest and relaxation. 

     

    Be safe and be well, 

    Martha


    April 23, 2020

    Good evening,

    National Environmental Education Week concludes tomorrow with Arbor Day. Arbor Day is a day when groups and individuals are encouraged to plant trees. A tree that is important to us here at VVS is the maple tree. Maple trees provide us with the sap our FFA and agriculture students use to make maple syrup. Trees in our area of the state are just starting to bud. Perhaps you can spend some time outdoors tomorrow taking a walk to find the buds on the trees.

    You may be familiar with the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Tonight or tomorrow you could read or listen to a book that is favorite of all ages. It is especially poignant now, reminding us that someone will always be there for us even when we feel like we're alone. If you don’t have the book at home, you can listen to it and see the pictures at the following link www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybcr1HL7sq0.

    More evidence that we’re not alone: we had twenty more volunteers sign up last night to help with senior celebrations and community needs! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all that are coming together to help during this time. We have also received several questions about purchasing additional senior signs and VVS Pride signs. We are working with our organizations to gather information, and will provide more information on ordering those in the near future. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 22, 2020

    Good evening,

    Happy 50th Earth Day! Many of us weren’t born or are too young to remember the first Earth Day in 1970. The focus for Earth Day 2020 is climate. If you’re interested, you can look up some ways to celebrate Earth Day in your own way.

    Over 60 families volunteered to assist neighbors and participate in our senior celebrations. No wonder pride in the VVS Community was a central theme in the Thoughtexchange! We have also had people reach out with great ideas to honor our seniors. We welcome ideas from parents, students, and teachers making plans to celebrate our kindergarten and sixth grade graduates, too. Please feel free to contact swhalen@vvsschools.org if you have an idea or would like to participate. 

    We continue to review the thoughts and themes from the community Thoughtexchange we held last week. Thank you to all who have stepped up to offer resources, assistance, and kind words during this time.

    Through your feedback, we have identified specific areas to target to provide reassurance and support. One area of concern is student learning progress and if students will be prepared for the next grade. The realities of each student and family situation in this time are vastly different. It may be difficult for parents to know if their child is learning enough. For reassurance, ask your child’s teacher to name the one or two things that are most important right now. When students return, teachers will find out where students are in their learning and work to help everyone catch up on what they may have missed.

    Today is National Picnic Day. While it may be a little chilly for an outdoor picnic, you could spread out a blanket and prepare an indoor picnic that you and your family can share together. The memories and sense of belonging we are able create with our children during this time will be the silver lining of this situation.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 21, 2020

    Good evening,

    The VVS community continues to shine! Overnight, we had more than 30 families ask how they could participate in making our seniors' year memorable. Thank you; we are so fortunate to live and work in this community. If you are interested in donating or participating, please reach out to Sondra Whalen swhalen@vvsschools.org.

    We are working to include a variety of meals for families to enjoy in the coming weeks. We know many students love peanut butter and jelly, so we would like to serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at least once per week moving forward. School nurses have identified students with peanut allergies who are currently receiving meals and have communicated this information to the food service and transportation personnel. Students with peanut allergies will continue to receive the current meal options. As always, peanut products will be contained during the preparation process to ensure that no cross-contamination occurs.

    Although we have specific allergy information for our students, you may live in a peanut-free home due to another household member’s allergy restrictions. If your household cannot receive an item containing peanuts, please notify Julie Snediker, Wettel Elementary Clerk, at jsnediker@vvsschools.org. Again, an alternate meal or meals will be provided to your family. We thank you for your assistance as we work to continue providing nutritious meals to our school community!

    Do you know about biodiversity? If you are celebrating National Environmental Education Week, today’s focus is on biodiversity. The Earth supports an incredible array of creatures—from the incredibly small to the impossibly large—and this variety of life is called "biodiversity."

    Tomorrow is Earth Day! Earth Day began in 1970, when an estimated 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy environment. How will you and your family celebrate this day? Visit our Facebook page or tweet photos with the hashtag #VVSPride to share!

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 20, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    Today’s sunshine provided a bright beginning to National Environmental Education Week and our sixth week of remote learning. Today’s environmental focus is on water. Did you know that the average American family of four uses about 400 gallons of water per day in and around their home? You may want to check out some activities on the water cycle.

    This Wednesday marks the 50th Celebration of Earth Day. We are posting '30 Ideas to Celebrate Earth Day at Home' on our website and district Facebook page to give you some inspiration to celebrate this week.

    Some information we would like to share:

    1) We are in the process of developing a way to connect our community members in need with our community members who are looking for opportunities to give. If you have specific needs, or are looking for ways to donate, please reach out to Sondra Whalen at swhalen@vvsschools.org.

    2) Along those same lines, we are planning a series of celebration activities for our graduating senior students. These students are missing a significant portion of their senior year celebrations in recognition of thirteen or fourteen years of learning. Our first activity is creating yard signs for all of our seniors. If you are interested in donating to senior celebrations, please reach out to Sondra as well.

    Tomorrow is National Kindergarten Day. If you or someone you know has a kindergarten age student that has yet to register, please visit, or encourage them to visit, our website for the online registration form. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 17, 2020

    Happy Friday!

    I'm so proud of our VVS community for continuing to face each day with the same resilience and compassion you’ve shown since our first day of closure five weeks ago. We truly work and live in a community of distinction. Please visit our Facebook page to see the weekly learning videos that we have posted.

    The feedback we’ve received on the Thoughtexchange is extremely valuable. If you haven't participated yet, there is still time tonight to submit your thoughts at https://my.thoughtexchange.com/649231469.

    Two themes have emerged from the Thoughtexchange. One is that many students and families are overwhelmed with information coming from a variety of sources. A second is the great sense of pride in the progress we’re making as a district.

    We are working to streamline our communications while continuing to maintain a connection and provide you with valuable resources and important information. One of the ways we will streamline our communication is by switching our nightly messages category from "emergency" messages to "general" messages on SchoolMessenger. Beginning Monday, if you had previously opted out of phone calls, you will no longer receive my nightly phone message; it will still be available via email, text, and on our website. If you have opted out, but wish to continue receiving a phone call with my daily messages, please email Sondra Whalen at swhalen@vvsschools.org.

    We appreciate the tips and suggestions shared on the Thoughtexchange; thank you. Your willingness to share in ways that help others in the community is a point of pride for VVS. We will add those to our family resources as we continue to refine our practices.

    Tomorrow begins National Park Week and Cleaning for a Reason Week. If you’re wondering what to do this weekend, you could go out and celebrate nature, or take one of the virtual National Park tours in our Family Resource Guide. Perhaps you could do some family spring cleaning projects! There are many age-appropriate chore charts available online so everyone in the family can participate. Whatever you do, take a break and have a wonderful weekend!

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 16, 2020

    Good evening, 

    What a wild day of weather! Between the sun, the snow, and the wind, it seems as though mother nature has not decided what season we should be in right now. 

    We continue to receive excellent feedback on the Thoughtexchange that started on Tuesday. Please visit https://my.thoughtexchange.com/649231469 to view comments and participate. We have had 231 participants and look forward to even more of your feedback. It has been very helpful so far.

    Two pieces of information that we would like to pass along:

    1)      Today, Governor Cuomo announced that NY will remain on pause, and schools will remain closed, through May 15th. Please be assured that we are working on alternate avenues for spring events such as graduations, awards presentations, and other important milestone events in case the closure is extended even further.

    2)      The third marking period concluded on April 3rd. Due the challenges presented by the COVID-19 closure, districts in our immediate area decided to modify how we are providing families with feedback on student learning progress. Elementary and middle level students will receive only comments on the progress report. High school students will receive comments and a "P" for pass or "Inc" for incomplete. The decision was made after thoughtful review and consideration by the superintendents in our immediate area. This manner of reporting student learning progress for this marking period is in keeping with the recommendations of experts across the fields of education and psychology. A letter outlining further details can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RWGDnCMp9l76FwUYj3r0BH7ZbSxfeVRL/view?usp=sharing. If you have any questions about your child's progress, please contact your child’s teacher. 

    Tomorrow is National Ellis Island Family History Day. Do you know your family's history? Visit the Family Resource Guide for some ideas on how you can create your own family tree. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 15, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    Today many of you may have had the opportunity to take a virtual field trip to celebrate the Universal Day of Culture. The Universal Day of Culture was established to protect artistic and academic institutions and historical monuments. We live in an area full of art and history. Take a screen break and visit some nearby places where you can still practice social distancing. The Old Erie Canal State Historic Park or the Griffiss Sculpture Park in Rome are two ideas.

    Thank you to the many families who participated in the Thoughtexchange yesterday. Thank you also to those who let us know about the issue with the email link. That has been corrected. So far over 80 participants have shared their thoughts and rated others' feedback. We are working through all of the comments from the Thoughtexchange, and look forward to more of your feedback. There is a lot of great information already that will help guide our plans moving forward. The Thoughtexchange will remain open until Friday. Please visit https://my.thoughtexchange.com/649231469 to participate.

    We welcome constructive criticism. However, please be reminded that comments that are abusive, negatively focus on a single individual, or compromise anonymity will be removed from the exchange. If you have concerns about an individual, please contact your building principal. 

    We would also like to remind families that Pre-K and kindergarten enrollment is underway. Please reach out to your elementary school if you need assistance in registering. 

    Tomorrow is National Stress Awareness Day. While it usually signifies the first business day after tax day, this year it takes on a more significant meaning. We’re all stressed, so let’s get out and play. How about a game of tag, hop scotch, or jump rope? Inside or out you can play eye spy. Indoors, get out a board game, play charades, or musical chairs. Or just be silly and make each other laugh. For more ideas to de-stress, please visit our Family Learning Guide on the VVS website. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 14, 2020

    Good evening,

    Today we had the gift of another beautiful sunny day. I hope your family has had some time today to think and talk about how we can assist you with managing the demands of parenting, working, and schooling. You and other families might have questions, challenges, or concerns like these:

    ·       I’m overwhelmed by all we have to do.

    ·       How much time should my child be working on school work each day?

    ·       How do I help multiple children and still have time to do my own work?

    ·       My house is getting really messy.

    ·       How do I get my child engaged in learning?

    ·       I don’t feel qualified to teach my child.

    ·       My child is feeling anxious about everything that’s going on.

    ·       I’m concerned about too much screen time.

    ·       My child is lonely and misses their friends.

    Perhaps your family has been able to conquer some of these challenges and has ideas to share. We have created a Thoughtexchange where you can share your suggestions, needs, and comments. If you are not familiar with Thoughtexchange, it is an online platform where participants can anonymously share thoughts and ideas, and then read through and rate what other participants have shared. It is a way to build community and identify the most important topics and needs in any given situation. Please join our Thoughtexchange by visiting https://my.thoughtexchange.com/649231469. You can also find the link to the Thoughtexchange in the SchoolMessenger text, email, and on our website. We’ll keep the Thoughtexchange open until Friday, April 17th. Your thoughts are important to us, so if you have trouble accessing the Thoughtexchange, contact Mrs. Whalen at swhalen@vvsschools.org and she will walk you through it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so we can better support your family. 

    Today is the Universal Day of Culture. If you’re looking for an adventure, visit the Family Resource Guide and take a virtual cultural field trip with your family! 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 13, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, filled with joy and, for many of you, new beginnings. As we begin our fifth week of remote learning, our focus is on assisting students and families with managing the demands of parenting, working, and schooling. In preparation, we’d like know more about the challenges you’re experiencing or the questions you have. Spend some time this evening and tomorrow writing down your thoughts. Tomorrow we will provide you with a link to a ThoughtExchange so you can share your challenges, needs, and suggestions.

    Today is International Creativity and Innovation Day. Many of our families showed their creativity during the Light Up Verona event on Saturday. The beautiful displays of VVS pride were a great sight to see; thank you to the J.D. George PTO, faculty, and staff for organizing the event, and to all families who participated. 

    Tomorrow is International Moment of Laughter Day. Let's all take the opportunity to appreciate the goodness and the humor we can find around us. 

     

    Be well and be safe,

    Martha


    April 9, 2020

    Good evening,

    I’m sure you’ve heard the line 'April showers bring May flowers.' English poet and farmer, Thomas Tusser, wrote “sweet April Showers, Do spring May flowers.” Tusser was born 495 years ago, and we’re still quoting him! Even though he was born near the city of London in England, he loved farming and wrote a lot about agriculture. After the April rains and these challenging times, we all look forward to May flowers and brighter days ahead.  

    Today our Spring Learning Week featured a mix of VVS community members, teachers, staff, and even a student! Special thanks to community member Kristina Boylan, who shared a read-aloud with us today, and young Olivia Sniezek, who shared her culinary skills. Spring Learning Week continues through tomorrow, providing one more day of enriching activities for the whole family to enjoy. All videos and activities are now available on our website at www.vvsschools.org. You may view any activities that you may have missed over the past few days.

    Please note:

    1) Dibbles has run out of free Easter dinners. Please check with your local food pantry if you are in need of food for the weekend.

    2) Many of you have seen registration forms for Camp Invention. We will accept all applications for our summer programs, with the understanding that the nature of the programs may differ in the wake of our current situation.

    Tomorrow is National Siblings Day and National Hug Your Dog Day. After being cooped up with your siblings for nearly a month, now may be a good time to reflect on what you love most about them, and how they have made your life better. No sibling? Give your dog or a stuffed dog a hug. Our pets are a real comfort to us during challenging times.

    Today marks the beginning of Passover, Holy Thursday, and Easter celebrations. We recognize that this is a special time for many of our families. I wish you a joyous weekend filled with special memories. 

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 8, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    Although it looked like it might rain, we had another nice day to enjoy outside, along with some great activities from our Spring Learning Guide. Thank you to the faculty and staff who hosted today's activities, along with the Piazza family and VVS alumna Dr. Rashmi Bismark, who hosted great sessions as well! 

    Did you know that April is Community Service Month? There are many community services available to our families; for example:

    1) Oneida County has set up a Mental Health Hotline at 1-800-678-0888. If you are experiencing mental distress due to COVID-19, please reach out to the Mental Health Hotline.

    2) If you lost your health insurance due to COVID-19, NY State of Health is having an open enrollment period. Please see our Family Resource Guide, website, or Peachjar flyer for more information.

    3) Dibbles is offering a free Easter meal to anyone in the area. Telephone reservations for meals need to be made by tomorrow April 9th. Please call (315) 829-3022 and leave a message to reserve your meal. We’re so grateful to our community service providers and especially Dibbles for their generosity!

     

    Be well and be safe,

    Martha


    April 7, 2020

    Good evening,

    What a gorgeous day for day two of VVS Spring Learning Week. Many families joined us for read-alouds, crafts, and even a recipe tutorial! If you were unable to access the Facebook page, look for a link tomorrow morning on the VVS website on the Spring Learning Guide page. We will be releasing a folder of all of the videos that have been posted. Keep sharing your learning experiences on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #VVSPride. We love them!

    Here’s some great news; VVS was named as a 2020 Best Community for Music Education. This well-deserved honor recognizes our exceptional music faculty, our high performing students, and the tremendous support for music throughout the community. Congratulations and thank you to the entire VVS music department for enriching the lives of our students and the VVS community. Check out the Spring Learning Guide link to the new Don't Stop the Music initiative, a YouTube Channel showcasing a series of short concerts featuring VVS music alumni from around the world. 

    Tomorrow is National Zoo Lover's Day. Post your favorite picture at the zoo, or visit one of several zoos listed on the Spring Learning Guide. You can participate in live activities and access live cameras to watch the animals as they eat and play. Perhaps you’ll be inspired by the work of individuals around the globe working to preserve animal habitats and save animals from extinction.

     

    Be safe and be well,

    Martha


    April 6, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    I hope you were able to join us for some of the many activities that took place on our first day of Spring Learning Week. Thank you for sharing your positive comments and pictures of your participation in our daily challenge of movement and mindfulness. We loved seeing all of your smiling faces as you enjoyed the beautiful weather!

    As many of you may have heard, there have been some state updates that affect VVS:

    1) Governor Cuomo announced today that schools will remain closed until April 29th. 

    2) The NYS Regents Exams have been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year. The NYS Education Department will share more information tomorrow, and we will update you as soon as we know more. 

    3) The Oneida County Executive's Office sent out guidance on implementing social distancing in all situations. Extraordinary measures have already been taken and even more needs to be done. I would ask that you all take proper precautions as it pertains to public parks and playgrounds. We need to keep people off courts and playground equipment while preventing congregating activities. At this time, these activities and equipment are closed. Parks should be used for solitary activities such as running, walking, and biking. When people are taking part in these activities, they should be at least six feet away from other people at all times.

    4) During this current health crisis, you may be considered an essential employee who is still required to work. Child care placement is available to personnel who provide essential services, supplies, or support during this time. If you believe that you may qualify, please call the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Child Care Resource Center at 315-223-7850 extension 222. 

    Tomorrow is World Health Day, a day when we celebrate nurses and midwives for the critical role they play in our health care. In times like these, we are especially thankful for their compassion and care. We are especially grateful for our VVS nurses, who care for all of the children in our VVS family on a regular basis. 

     

    Have a nice evening,

    Martha


    April 3, 2020

    Good evening,

    As our third week of remote learning comes to a close, I hope you have been able to find a rhythm to your days. If you are struggling to create your schedule, please visit our Family Resource Guide at www.vvsschools.org, or reach out to one of our social workers, who can provide you with some strategies and assistance. 

    There are many blessings to celebrate this weekend. Nationally, tomorrow is School Librarian Day. We always knew that librarians were an essential piece of our student's education, but the past few weeks have shone a spotlight on the impressive Library Media Department at VVS. They have created numerous videos and guides, and host a daily support chat so our students and teachers can stay on track. Their love of all things literacy and their unwavering support of every content area is inspiring to students and staff alike. 

    Tomorrow, we will be sending out a Spring Learning Guide filled with educational activities and fun for the whole family to enjoy over the next week. We hope you take advantage of the many read-alouds, crafts, videos, and activities our teachers have planned for next week, as well as the resources that our team have pulled together to provide you with engaging enrichment activities and opportunities to explore as a family.

    And finally, happy Friday! Here are some ideas for the weekend:

    Many of you have received another bag of popcorn from Mr. Wagner. This website has some delicious looking recipe ideas for popcorn. https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/sweet-and-salty-popcorn-chex-mix/.

    Take a screen break and:

    ·       Build a fort with blankets and pillows and camp-out

    ·       Have a home spa day

    ·       Family game night

    ·       Play cards

    ·       Plan a garden

    ·       Walk around the neighborhood or up and down your road (practicing social distancing of course) or

    ·       Take a scenic drive

    Check out this website for other ideas – some that involve screens and some that don’t: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/37-spring-break-staycation-ideas-for-kids/.

     

    However you spend your time, be safe and be well. I wish you a wonderful weekend!

    Martha


    April 2, 2020

    Good evening VVS families,

    We had another sunny day to enjoy today! It looks like it may rain tomorrow, so if you haven’t gotten outside yet, you still have time.

    As we wind down our third week of remote instruction, I'm impressed with how well everyone is adapting to our new situation. At the same time, I appreciate how hard it is to be away from friends and neighbors. One thing I know for sure is that you are able to do hard things. We appreciate the support and flexibility of our entire VVS community in rising to this challenge. Everything you’re doing is helping keep you and the people you care about safer and healthier. Thanks for doing that.  

    Did you wear your blue for World Autism Awareness Day? Make sure to share a picture on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #VVSPride.

     

    We would like to highlight some resources available to families that perhaps you were not aware of:

    1) Families can call 2-1-1 Mid-York for support and assistance in a number of areas. Community resource specialists are available to connect you to local services and resources including food, housing, utilities, mental health, financial assistance and fun activities.

    2) PBS is airing free educational programs all day during school closures. To find your local station, visit PBS.org.

    3) If you are looking for enrichment learning, fun activities, or screen-free ideas for your children, please visit our Family Resource Guide on the district website. There are over 500 websites, resources, games, and ideas for you and your family to choose from!

     

    Tomorrow is National Find a Rainbow Day. You may be able to find a rainbow after the rain clears tomorrow, or you can make your own using crayons, markers or other items. Maybe you can even bake and decorate a rainbow cake! Rainbows symbolize the beauty and hope after the storm. We can all take that message to heart as the VVS community continues to "create our own rainbows" everyday we are apart.

     

    Be safe, be well, and have a good evening,

    Martha


    April 1, 2020

    Good evening, 

    The first Wednesday in April is National Walking Day, so I hope you were able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. If not, there is still time to enjoy a walk with your family. Just remember to practice healthy habits.   

    A few items:

    1)      Today marked the 10,000th meal that we have delivered! Thank you to everyone who helped us achieve this goal and those who continue to work hard to provide for the VVS community.

    2)      The third marking period ends on Friday. Due to the move to remote learning, many students may be nervous about this marking period. We all know it’s important to provide feedback to students and communicate student learning progress to parents and guardians. The abrupt shift from in-person to remote instruction has caused us to modify our typical approach to reporting student learning progress. With that in mind, report cards will be different from previous marking periods. Information regarding how VVS and other school districts have decided to communicate student learning progress for the third quarter will be shared with students, parents and guardians when report cards are released later this month.

    3)      We are planning to share middle and high school report cards digitally through Parent Portal. If you have not signed up for Parent Portal, please email your building secretary with your name, your student's name, and a preferred email if you do not already have one on file.

    Tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. On December 18, 2007, the UN General Assembly designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. It was first observed in 2008. Wear your blue and post a picture to our Facebook page or Twitter account so we can showcase you and your family!


    Be safe, be well and have a nice evening,

    Martha


    March 31, 2020

    Good evening,

    Thank you to everyone who has followed our new Twitter account and tweeted photos and shout-outs to #VVSPride. We will be retweeting as many as we can! 

    Yesterday, we received additional information from the Governor’s Secretary for Education that Governor Cuomo's Executive Order extending school closures through April 15 also requires schools to continue to provide remote instruction for students, meals for students, and child care for essential workers every weekday between April 1, 2020 and April 14, 2020, even if the district is scheduled to be on spring break during that time. We recognize that the past few weeks have been challenging for our community. Changes to routines, remote learning, and limits to our social activities impact us all. However, we have only to watch a little news to understand that these are necessary steps to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As we look to next week, in keeping with the Governor’s Executive Order, we are putting together a variety of activities for students and families to access.  A guide filled with a variety of ideas for movement, enrichment, and fun for the whole family to participate in will be sent out the later this week. The remote opportunities will allow families some flexibility in their routines, and recognizes that many families will be observing their religious holidays during this time.

    A few reminders:

    1)      As we move from getting families connected to getting students engaged, we would like to remind students and families that the state is still requiring that learning takes place while we are closed. The expectation of the New York State Education Department is that teachers are providing instruction and students are participating in instruction. Teachers will be reaching out to families to ensure that they have everything they need in order to be able to engage with their learning.

    2)      We ask that you notify your child’s school building if your child will be at a different location for meal delivery during the week of April 6 – 10. 

    3)      Our FFA maple sales are available online, for drive-through pick up or shipping. Please email Mark Peavey at mpeavey@vvsschools.org for more information or to place an order.

    4)      During this current health crisis, you may be considered an essential employee who is still required to work. Child care placement is available to personnel who provide essential services, supplies, or support during this time. If you believe that you may qualify, please call the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Child Care Resource Center at 315-223-7850 extension 222.

    Do you like potatoes? Today is National Tater Day! Tater Day started in Kentucky in the early 1840s with the trading and selling of sweet potatoes, and is the oldest continuous trade day celebrated in America. Maybe you can enjoy some french fries or mashed potatoes in celebration. You could even make your own maple dip for sweet potato fries by mixing 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of VVS maple syrup and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Enjoy! 

     

    Have a nice evening,

    Martha


    March 30, 2020

    Dear VVS families,

    I hope you had a good weekend. We are beginning our third week of remote schooling with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Nearly 100 percent of our families are digitally connected, and we continue to see displays of VVS pride wherever we look. We also recognize that the new reality of remote schooling is sinking in. This change is hard and our hearts go out to you. We have a number of resources on our website, but you may just need someone to talk to. Your child’s teachers and the school social workers are available to talk to you or your child. Please don’t hesitate to send them an email or call the school number. They will support you.  

    A couple of updates and reminders:

    1) With the spring break coming up, we are preparing some different and varied experiences for students and families to enjoy.

    2) Schools have received an exemption to be able to provide meals over spring break. If you are receiving meals and your child’s address will change during that week, please reach out to your building secretary.

    3) Many of you are running low on school supplies and other materials. The teachers and principals are gathering these items together and planning how to get them to you.

    During this time there is also much to celebrate, and those celebrations can lift up and inspire others. We have started a new VVS Twitter account so we can gather your stories and share your positive experiences. You can find us on Twitter @WeAreVVS, and you can use the hashtag #VVSPride to share. We look forward to hearing your inspirational stories on Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to share shout-outs, videos, or pictures as well. Maybe your story will be selected to be featured in a district video!

     

    Take care,

    Martha


    March 27, 2020

    Happy Friday!

    As we conclude our second week of closure, I am reflecting on the great strides we have taken to stay as connected as possible. From the delivery of over 8,000 meals, to participation in online learning including Google class meets, to a social distancing parade, we have found ways to stay connected and see each other despite our circumstances. 

    One of the ways we have worked to stay connected is by procuring new phone lines and email addresses for all of our buildings and offices. Please visit our website for the contact information and Parent Resource Guide, which is updated daily with resources and ideas for family activities.

    We miss seeing all of your smiling faces everyday in school, but we love the way the community has come together to take care of one another. We will continue to work to provide more opportunities to connect and engage with staff members, support services, and learning opportunities. Please be reminded that childcare is available to essential workers such as health care providers, first responders, food preparation and suppliers including grocery store workers. Please call the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Child Care Resource Center at 315-223-7850 extension 222 or email earlycareandlearning@cornell.edu for information on childcare placement.

    Did you get your popcorn from Mr. Wagner or from the store? I hope so.  Here are some fun popcorn facts:

    -          Popcorn is a health snack – as long as you don’t use a lot of butter and salt.

    -          Popcorn has been enjoyed for centuries in cultures around the world.

    -          Americans eat 17 billion quarts of popcorn every year. That would fill the Empire State Building 18 times. That’s a lot of popcorn!

    -          And most important, popcorn is fun to eat!

    I hope you are able to enjoy some popcorn with your family tonight! Have a wonderful weekend.

     

    We look forward to "seeing" you on Monday!

    Martha


    March 26, 2020

    Dear VVS Families,

    I am pleased to let you know that we will be calling families today to provide Mifi's to those without internet. Our instructional technology staff has worked hard over the last few weeks to procure, configure, and assign these devices. We look forward to having all of our families online and able to join us for digital learning opportunities. 

    This week, we worked diligently to connect all of our families with the district. Next week, we look forward to shaping our path with digital and distance learning, and providing guidance to our families on expectations and procedures to ensure everyone has chance to develop a learning schedule that works best for them. We recognize that every family's situation, availability, and needs are different, and we are working to create plans with those thoughts at the forefront. 

    Tomorrow’s food deliveries include a bag of popping corn with instructions on how to make the popcorn. Tomorrow night might be a good time to have a popcorn party. You could include a family game or watch a movie together. I’ll have some popcorn surprises ready for you tomorrow night.

    Tomorrow is also National Scribble Day. I hope you have some time to get creative with your children and unwind as the weekend approaches. We know that is impossible to be a full-time parent, a full-time employee, and a full-time educator. We recognize and are grateful for the work that you are doing at home to assist in your child's education. Whatever balance you are finding, whatever schedule you are working on, whatever systems you are creating - you are doing a great job and we are here to support you.

     

    Have a nice evening,

    Martha

     
     

    March 25, 2020

     

    Good evening VVS Families,

    I hope you all had a wonderful day. I know all our teachers have enjoyed connecting with their students on Google Meet. Thank you to the families who are working hard to get connected to the school so we all have the opportunity to continue to learn together. Check out the Social Distancing Parade by the McAllister staff on Facebook. We look forward to more fun and safe ideas for ‘seeing’ each other and safely sharing experiences.

    Thank you also to the many people who have come forth to volunteer during this time. Your generosity is humbling and we are appreciative of the efforts of the entire VVS community. Our ability to pull together in times of adversity are what make this district a great place to learn, to work, and to live.

    We are close to completing our internet requests, so please reach out to your buildings if you are unable to access the internet. We have a few more devices we can loan to families to get you online.

    Tomorrow will mark the start of our second week of this new way of teaching and learning. I appreciate the challenges all of these changes have presented for everyone. There is a lot of stress with changes in all areas of our lives, work, school, activities, and socialization. We take our work, our families, and our children’s education seriously, however it won’t fall perfectly into place in just one week. Here are some tips to consider as you work to adjust to some of these changes:

    -       Create a flexible schedule; all school-work doesn’t have to happen during the regular school day. Older students can work their schedules around the Google Meets, while younger students can view videos or complete assignments according to a schedule that works best for your family.

    -       Develop a schedule that best meets your child’s needs. Some children need a firm and predictable schedule, while others do very well managing their time and completing tasks on their own.

    -       If parents and adult caregivers are working outside the home during the regular work day and students need assistance in completing schoolwork, schedule some time in the evening a few days a week or on the weekends. It’s the learning that’s important, not the time of day it takes place.

    -       The routines you develop should be the ones that work best for your family and lend a sense of predictability. 

    We’ll provide more ideas in the coming days. The most important thing to keep in mind right now is that your children need you. Your calm presence will provide them the best opportunity to navigate this challenge.

    I’m sure you figured out that chocolate covered raisins are also called chocolate covered ants. Did you know that many people eat actual chocolate covered ants? However, I wouldn’t recommend making them with ants you find around the house!

    Tomorrow is wear purple for Epilepsy Awareness Day, so I hope you will share photos of you and your family wearing purple with us. 

     

    Enjoy your evening,

    Martha


    March 24, 2020

     

    Good evening, 

    Today, we continued on our mission to connect every family to our schools. Thank you to those who filled out the internet request form; we will reach out shortly with information on how to proceed. If you cannot access the form, please call your building and leave a message, and we will call you back to gather information on your needs. 

    A few reminders as we continue to work to slow the spread of COVID-19:

    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. 
    • Please stay home if you are sick. 
    • No VVS employee or member of the public should be using VVS athletic facilities or playgrounds. 
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and immediately dispose of the tissue. 

    By working together, we can keep our community members, neighbors, and loved ones safe.

    Today is chocolate covered raisins day. Ask your grandparents what they or your great grandparents called chocolate covered raisins. Here’s a hint: think of a tiny insect. March is National Celery Month. You can probably think of something to make with celery and chocolate covered raisins!

     

    Take care,

    Martha


    March 23, 2020

     

    Good evening,

    What a difference a few days make. On Friday we were enjoying spring, and today winter is back!

    As we enter the second week of closure, we take pause to celebrate the successes of our first week, and evaluate opportunities to refine our systems and expand our ability to assist families. We now have a Family Resource Guide available on our website at https://sites.google.com/vvsschools.org/vvsfamilyresources/home-page?authuser=1 which includes digital and distance learning information, contact information, Chromebook care tips, and over 500 resources for you and your family to use over the next few weeks. We will continue to update this website as new resources become available. 

    While providing meals and educational materials were our primary focus last week, this week we are looking to connect all of our families to the schools. We have an Internet Request Form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScXP3ROWmgNJpjBIRJjDoXqe6wjhXfuts2HvTlzYBvbzLyWBQ/viewform?usp=sf_link. We are asking all families without internet access to follow the steps of the form, and only request help from the district if you are unable to procure internet through any other methods. Right now, we have access to fewer than 20 hotspots, and though we have ordered more, there is a nation-wide shortage for internet devices. Based on the results of the Internet Request Form, we will attempt to connect as many families as possible. 

    Some families have internet access, but it may be slow, spotty, or unable to carry the strain of multiple users. If you are facing this situation, we suggest that you develop a family schedule for internet usage as a way to mitigate this issue. Please understand that the entire world is facing connectivity issues, and as we all rush to digitize our lives, the systems are operating at maximum capacity. 

    Did you know that today is National Puppy Day? Established in 2006, National Puppy Day celebrates the unconditional love and happiness puppies bring to our lives. While we’re all softies when it comes to our four-legged friends, today is also designed to raise awareness about puppy mills and help prospective pet owners consider adoption. Take the time to give your puppy or dog an extra hug today. If you don’t have a puppy, you can always enjoy looking at pictures of videos of puppies; they are so funny!

    Today is also World Meteorological Day. World Meteorological Day takes place every year on March 23rd. It showcases the essential contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to the safety and well-being of society and is celebrated with activities around the world. The themes chosen for World Meteorological Day reflect topical weather, climate or water-related issues. This year’s theme is count every drop/every drop counts. Check out the World Meteorological Organization for interesting information on the importance of water.

    Thank you to the families who reached out to us to show us how you celebrated Maple Weekend. We loved seeing the photos of creative and delicious pancakes. Please continue to submit pictures and stories through our district Facebook page. Stay warm and have a wonderful evening.

     

    Best,

    Martha

     


    March 20, 2020

    Good evening, 

    Happy first day of spring! Yes, today is the first day of spring, and today’s warm weather gave us a preview of what is to come. Even though we may still experience some cold and snowy days, we know that summer is just a few months away.

    Beginning Monday, families will need to use our main district phone number at (315) 829-2520 if they wish to call for information. We are working to connect phone lines for each building, and will notify you as soon as we are able to establish those numbers. Families can also reach out to each building at new email addresses, which can be found on the district website. 

    We have established a tech hotline for families in need of technology support. Please call or Skype (315) 813-4434, or email techsupport@vvsschools.org for assistance from one of our instructional technology specialists. The hotline will be available from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday through Friday. 

    The State Education department just announced the cancellation of all 3-8 testing. They will provide us with information regarding Regents testing at a later date. 

    During this current health crisis you may be considered an essential employee who is still required to report to work each day. Child care placement may be available to essential employees who work in health care, are first responders, work in grocery stores, transportation, some construction fields, certain non-profit agencies and in food or supply distribution fields. If you believe that you may qualify, please call the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Child Care Resource Center at 315-223-7850 extension 222. Thank you to all essential personnel who continue to support our community's safety and health. Please be safe, and whenever possible, stay at home.

    We made it through our first week of closure with optimism, perseverance, and teamwork. We are grateful for the cards, notes, and kind messages that we have received in the past few days. It is a pleasure to serve this district and see the spirit of kindness and community that has come to the forefront of our day to day activities.

    As we start our weekend, I’m reminded that many of us had planned to enjoy pancakes and VVS Maple syrup at one of the FFA breakfasts. Instead, perhaps you can make pancakes at home! We’d love to see pictures of the funny shapes you make, how high you can stack your pancakes, or other creative things you do. Whatever you do, we hope your weekend is fun and relaxing. We look forward to connecting with you on Monday for a new week of learning opportunities.

     

    Best,

    Martha


     

    March 19, 2020

     

    Good evening,

    Thank you to all of our families who joined us for digital and distance learning today. We enjoyed seeing smiling faces and working together to create meaningful learning experiences. 

    As we move forward with our digital learning, please remember to dress appropriately for virtual meetings with teachers and to use school email for instructional purposes only. Students are reminded to use personal email addresses for non-school communications and social media. 

    Please continue to practice, and remind students of, good hygiene etiquette. Wash your hands often and for more than 20 seconds, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and stay home if you are feeling ill. Please call your primary care physician or local urgent care facility if you have health-related questions. Oneida County has also established a Coronavirus Information Help Line (315) 798-5439, which families can call if they need daycare, emergency assistance, or aging and chronic care services. 

    Today was the third day of successful food deliveries, with more than 740 meals delivered. We continue to be grateful to our staff and community members who make this possible. For their safety and yours, please keep dogs inside during deliveries. 

    Tomorrow will conclude the first week of our school closure. I am incredibly proud of the way our students, families, faculty, staff, and community members have risen to this challenge. Within 96 hours we came together to completely restructure how we teach students, provide nourishment to children, and support our families. Our successes in these areas are what makes VVS a community of distinction. 

     

    Have a restful evening,

    Martha

     


    March 18, 2020

    Good evening, 

    As we conclude the second day of establishing our new routines, I am humbled by the positivity, grace, and resiliency of our community as we come together for our children. 

    Starting tomorrow, instructional staff (including faculty, teacher aides, and teaching assistants) will be working from home as we continue to reduce contact between individuals within the district. 

    Please be reminded that the school closure includes VVS athletic facilities, both indoor and outdoor. These are closed and off-limits to students, families and the public until April 14, 2020. For personal and public health precautions, as well as safety and security, please be reminded that there is no unauthorized use or access.

    Families may contact teachers through email at this time. You may still call the buildings with questions. Now that students have learning materials, we will continue to refine our practices and processes. Please be on the lookout for updates regarding contact information and resources to support you and your family. These notices will be distributed through all of our communication channels - SchoolMessenger, Peachjar, the District website and the District Facebook page. 

    We are grateful for the teacher aides and monitors who have volunteered to assist our food service and transportation personnel with packing meals and delivering supplies, as well as the community members who have begun to organize food donations. Your efforts are essential in helping our VVS family move through this time of difficulty. 

    Tomorrow will bring our first day of digital and distance learning. We appreciate your patience as we try new ideas, along with your willingness to try them alongside us. This journey is a journey that we take together. I have every confidence that this will make us stronger than ever. As always, please reach out to us if we can assist you or answer any questions you may have. 

     

    Warm Regards,

    Martha


     

    March 17, 2020

    Good evening,

    Today was a banner day for the VVS Central School District. Our incredible faculty and staff delivered over 200 meals, connected students with learning materials, and helped families get the resources they will need in the coming weeks. We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of our food service, transportation, and support staff, as well as our faculty members and families. Everyone worked together to complete these monumental tasks in a welcoming, safe, and orderly manner. 

    We want to provide families with a few pieces of information:

    First, Spectrum is offering free internet and installation if you are in the Spectrum coverage area. Please call 1-844-488-8395 if you need internet for your family. 

    We also ask that you have students log into their Chromebooks by tomorrow morning to make sure they can connect with your home Wi-Fi network. We have heard that some home settings on the Chromebook may not have auto-updated. If you are unable to log-in, please bring the Chromebook to your child’s school Wednesday during the scheduled supply pickup times, and tech support will be on-site to assist with a manual update. We will also have a tech hotline established by the end of the week to assist families with any technological needs. 

    Last, please be reminded that breakfast and lunch meals will be delivered to families that have requested them beginning at 9:00 a.m. daily. Please be ready and on the lookout for those deliveries, particularly in areas where the bus may not be able to pull up door to door.

    It is in times of hardship and uncertainty that true character is revealed. I’m so proud of VVS for taking this opportunity to shine, and being a true example of what it means to be a community. 

    Have a nice evening,

    Martha Group


     

    March 12, 2020

    Good evening, 

    I’m writing this evening with an update regarding our activities in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). A number of decisions have been made in response to this virus at the federal, state, and county levels. Decisions will continue to be made that may impact our communities, including our schools. We monitor state and local communications regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as communication with our county health departments and the New York State Education Department. 

    While it is important to keep in mind that, to our knowledge, neither Oneida nor Madison Counties have identified or are investigating cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), we are taking steps to support our students and families in the event of a prolonged school closure. These measures include provision of instructional activities and breakfast and lunch.  

    Tomorrow, Friday, March 13th is a scheduled half-day Superintendent’s Conference Day. March 20th is a scheduled full-day Superintendent’s Conference Day. Thursday, March 19th will now also be a half-day Superintendent’s Conference Day. During this time, our teachers will prepare online and paper instructional activities for our students and families should the district be required to close schools for a prolonged period.  Our food service and transportation department will develop plans to prepare and transport food, school supplies, and instructional packets.  

    The district recognizes that a prolonged school closure presents many challenges to our families. Our intent is to support families rather than exacerbate an already challenging situation. These March 13th, 19th and 20th Superintendent’s Conference Days provide us an opportunity to plan. We will continue to communicate with students and families as our plans evolve. 

    I encourage you to contact your child’s building principal with any questions or concerns you may have regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). You are also encouraged to visit your building Facebook page and the District website for links to resources regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) and the District’s on-going FAQ. 

    Best regards, 

     

    Martha Group 

    Superintendent of Schools 

     


    March 4, 2020

    Dear VVS Families,

    Please be assured that the VVS Central School District continues to actively monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in conjunction with local, state, and federal health authorities. As always, the safety of our students, staff, and families remains our top priority, and we will act out of an abundance of caution to protect everyone’s health and wellbeing.

    Currently, the Oneida County Health Department indicates that the immediate threat to our community is low. Should this change in the future, VVS is prepared to protect our families through appropriate control measures.

    It is believed that COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, much in the way the flu and other respiratory viruses are spread. To prevent the spread of these illnesses, we encourage families to practice routine healthy habits and hygiene practices such as:

    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately throw away the tissue.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    As recommended by the Oneida County Health Department and the CDC, we continue environmental cleaning practices such as disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and performing deep cleans multiple times a week. VVS uses hospital-grade cleaning equipment and solutions to help insure that our buildings stay disinfected. We are prepared to escalate our cleaning practices if recommended by local or state health departments.

    In situations like these, rumors may cause unnecessary reactions and panic. Therefore, we encourage you to get information from credible sources. The New York State Department of Health established a webpage with updates, key messages, frequently asked questions, travel advisories and more at: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/.

    Should you have specific questions about COVID-19, please see our district FAQ, call your healthcare provider, or consult local and state health departments.VVS Virtual Town Hall Meeting