Through the continuing process of scheduled “Take 20 Meetings,” I am able to hear the thoughts of all employees in the Franklin West Supervisory Union.  I am renewing my sense of hope for brighter days ahead as we near the one year mark of a global pandemic.  It is an absolute pleasure to meet with dedicated employees who care deeply for students who each possess a talent or a gift. 

Lisa Wilkins, a kindergarten teacher at BFA Fairfax shared her “One Word” for the 2020-2021 school year. “Hope,” is the one word that she personally chooses to live by during a year like no other.  When I asked Lisa how the students were doing this year, she stated that her kindergarteners are exactly “where they need to be.”  She credited parents who helped to teach their children last spring when the majority of the country moved to remote learning to close out the 2019-2020 school year. 

Brittany Sweet, who teaches Pre-K at Georgia Elementary School shared that freedom of expression, creative play, and ideal learning spaces exist within the GEMS Pre-K Program. The idea of learning from play within rich Pre-K environments at Georgia Elementary, BFA Fairfax Elementary, and Fletcher Elementary will indeed pay dividends for students as they progress to Georgia Middle School and BFA Fairfax Middle and High School.

Throughout the year I have witnessed the developmental and academic growth of the students in Cathy O’Brien’s kindergarten class at Fletcher Elementary School.  The collaborative teamwork that Cathy, Kathy LeMay, and other educational professionals accomplish together is leading toward exponential growth for students. The structures and creative play within the room play a key role in leading learning forward for all students. 

Recovery Plan

A term that will soon be commonplace across the country is the idea of a “Recovery Plan.” Such plans will strategically evaluate learning that may require remediation due to potential learning loss during this unprecedented pandemic. This planning and strategizing for a recovery plan will focus on the key areas of academic, social, and emotional learning.  As this conversation starts with district administrators, principals, lead coaches, and teacher leaders, I believe the word “hope” is something for consideration.

Interestingly, across the United States over fifty percent of the students have not received in-person learning since last March of 2020. I am grateful that our kindergarten through grade six students are receiving four days a week of in-person learning, and grades seven through twelve students are receiving two days of in-person learning  within our hybrid learning model. 

I am eternally grateful to all of our employees and parents for the steadfast effort to move all students forward with their learning as we journey together toward a hope for better days ahead.

Something to Celebrate

Two BFA Fairfax seniors were recognized by the Vermont State Athletic Directors Association (VSADA) and National Interscholastic Administrators Association (NIAA) as Top Scholar-Athletes. Five male and five female student athletes in Vermont are recognized for being distinguished in scholastic, leadership, and sportsmanship attributes. Congratulations to Abigail Sweet and Jarrett Sweet for being named the top female and male recipients for the State of Vermont.


“When people talk, listen completely.  Most people never listen.”

—Ernest Hemingway

Enthusiastically Yours,

James Tager is the Superintendent at Franklin West Supervisory Union. He is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @jrtager

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