North Country Supervisory Union

Superintendent

Superintendent John A. Castle

2021 Annual Report

There is no question that our COVID context over the past year has dominated much of our world as educators. Add in the social unrest from last summer, a turbulent Presidential election and insurrection on the capital and it is fair to say things have not been “normal.”

I believe we all welcome some level of normalcy in our lives, especially with regard to the pandemic. The reality is our lives have changed. As a history teacher, one of the themes that I always weaved into my curriculum was that of the significance of watershed events. This is a theme that resonates with students as they can relate to significant moments in their personal lives. A watershed in the natural world is a geological dividing line. A historical watershed is an event that marks a clear before or after. The pandemic of the last year serves as a watershed event for our world and likely the field of education itself.

Hopefully, we can look forward to no longer needing to wear masks, constant hand washing or sanitizing, the limitations of physical distancing and of course zoom meetings. However, there are practices that we will maintain because we’ve learned they have value. The necessary use of online applications and virtual tools has accelerated transformations in teaching and learning. We have also increased appreciation for more personalized learning and the importance of partnerships with parents in supporting each child’s education.

The NCSU Design for Learning continues to guide our efforts as we begin to emerge from the receding storm of COVID-19. Our Work and Learning Plan, established in the Fall of 2018, still serves as the strategic steps for actualizing our Design for Learning. Although much of our work and learning was interrupted since last spring, it remains an aspirational call for change in the way we approach education. We cannot be satisfied to simply return to the way things were. We must become reengaged in our work and learning to move forward with the way things need to be.

Our commitment to Character, Competence, Creativity and Community helped us to endure this turbulent time in education and what likely will be considered such in history. I am hopeful that we have entered a new era that will bring health, prosperity, social justice, renewed strengthening of our democracy and a truly progressive shift in education. I look forward to our continued work and learning together.


Correspondence with the NCSU School-Community:

2022 Correspondence

March 4, 2022

Dear NCSU Staff & Families

As I’m sure most of you know, the Governor and Secretary of Education recommended that the mask requirement in schools be lifted as of March 14. The NCSU Full Board convened this evening to consider the recommendation of the Superintendent and Leadership Team to lift the universal mask requirement for all NCSU Schools effective March 7. The Leadership Team felt that it would be problematic for schools to manage the delayed transition—especially as supervisory unions around us have either already lifted their requirement or have determined to do so next week. Based on the determination of the NCSU Board, masks will become optional in all settings at school and on school busses effective Monday, March 7.

We believe that it is reasonable to make this change in our COVID-19 mitigation protocols now, based on current data related to transmission and impact of the virus in our State and communities. We sense that for many this is a welcome relief. However, we also recognize that not all staff or families will embrace this shift in procedure and we must acknowledge that we have staff, students and families who have health issues that make the risk of the virus an ongoing concern. We must continue to respect that COVID-19 is a public health issue, and we may need to make adjustments in the future. We all need to support those who remain most comfortable continuing to wear a mask! We encourage parents to discuss the choice of wearing a mask with your child prior to coming to school on Monday.

As of right now, all other mitigation measures and guidance remain in place. It is still recommended that those who are coming out of a case of COVID wear a mask for five days after completing isolation. We do anticipate there will be additional changes to guidance and testing within schools over the next couple of weeks and through the spring. Essentially, schools will mirror the guidance provided to the general public and will not have specific mitigation procedures in place. We encourage you to visit the Vermont Department of Health website for additional information and updates.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Be Well!

John

John A Castle

NCSU Superintendent of Schools


2021 Correspondence



2020 Correspondence