July 15, 2020
I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying a quiet Vermont summer. The intent of this letter is to inform you of the changes that have happened since transitioning into a new school year. After serving as Assistant Principal at Rutland Intermediate School for the last two years, I have enthusiastically accepted the position as the new Principal of Rutland Intermediate School. With the 20-21 school year, I will be beginning my 24th year with RCPS. Having worked with students and staff as early as PreK and as late as Grade 12, I have a clear perspective of where our kids are coming from and where they are headed. I am looking forward to continuing the positive changes we have made in my last two years at RIS as Assistant Principal. Given the unprecedented times we are all living in, I know there are many questions, probably more than I can even answer at this time. This letter should serve as a start to answer some questions I assume you have.
This summer is busier than any other. We are closely listening to and waiting for guidance from the Agency of Education and keep the safety of our students and staff at the forefront of all our decisions. District leaders have recurring meetings to develop a plan for the start of school. As we look closer at details for RIS, we are fortunate to have Ms. Justine Ruhlin as our new Assistant Principal. Ms. Ruhlin comes to us with a variety of experiences from as far away as South Dakota and as close as Southern Maine. Under normal circumstances, we would have enjoyed meeting as many of you as possible in person. Cathy Farman, Justine and I are planning a virtual “Meet the Administrative Team” meeting for some time later in the summer. Be on the lookout for the email invite. Until that time comes, please know you can reach out via email or phone to any one of us.
Administration is not the only change at RIS this year. First, for those of you familiar with our building, we had a number of room changes occur this summer. A huge thank you goes to our custodial staff who have moved more than 25 classrooms/offices in a short amount of time. These moves were made to bring teams of teachers and grade levels closer in proximity to cut down on transition time and increase efficiency and collaboration. We welcome some familiar RCPS faces to RIS. Summer Stoutes and Marie Marallo, from NE, and Phoebe Forman, from NW, join us as fourth grade teachers. Courtney Donovan and Tisa VanDine, also both from NE, join our special education department. We have some new faces as well. Beth Hughes will be teaching third grade; Samantha Hamilton will be teaching fifth grade; and Sammy MacEachron will now be teaching fourth grade. We also welcome a new art teacher, Lori Kramer, and a new music teacher, Alexis Scangas. In addition to these changes, you will see some of our current folks take on new roles in the coming year.
You may think knowing all this would bring you up to date with our changes, but it doesn’t. As we continue to think about how we can begin the school year with a “Safe and Healthy Start,” recommendations coming to us would be difficult to follow as originally planned. The decision was made to utilize our resources differently for the upcoming year. In an effort to reduce the number of students in a classroom, we have added seven additional classrooms: two in third, two in fourth, two in fifth and one in sixth. In order to do this, we need to suspend our Tier 2 and Tier 3 services and have now asked for our six Interventionists to change roles and return to the classroom as classroom teachers. As a result, class rosters had to change. (You will be notified at the end of this letter, if your child’s classroom teacher changed.) Miss MacEachron, as stated above, will now be a fourth grade teacher, making the 7th new classroom.
Lastly, for now, I want you to know that I read through the survey comments many of you completed. A common theme was the statement regarding how difficult it was to keep up with the many different Google Classrooms and teachers students had to interact with during our remote learning time. One way to make this work better, if we do in fact need to go remote again, is to help cut back on the necessary connections. We have decided that grades 3-5 will all be self-contained. Our focus will continue to be on building relationships and the importance of making positive connections. We believe that building strong relationships with each family will help us navigate these uncharted times as best we can.
Additional changes will be forthcoming. There are procedural changes being put in place for things like entering and exiting the building, breakfast, snack and lunch, walking in the hallways and using the restrooms, to name just a few. As details are laid out and more guidance comes forth, I will be sure to let you know. For now, I ask two things of you. First, your patience and understanding would be much appreciated as we continue to plan what the start of the school year will look like. Second, email is going to be crucial for communication. If you have not already provided us with your email, please do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. She will make sure your email is up to date in our system where you will be added to our distribution list.
Thank you for your time and, please know, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Rutland Intermediate School
65 Library Avenue
Rutland, VT 05701