7/5/2012 - Vol. 1 No. 2
E-News for Winooski / e-mailed first & third Thursdays / Guy Page, editor & publisher
School choruses, bands invited to perform Star Spangled Banner!

At the opening of the June 25 school board/city council meeting, Mayor Michael O’Brien invited the school board to ask school music groups to open council meetings with a performance of the U.S. national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” At present the city council salutes the flag with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The request was the first of many joint school-city initiatives discussed at the meeting. First on the agenda was an official resolution to work together effectively and without duplication for the benefit of Winooski’s diverse citizenry. Described by one participant as “our marching orders,” the draft resolution (see below) was discussed, “tweaked” and approved.

Resolution on Commitment to Collaborate on Issues surrounding Children, Youth, and Families

Whereas, the City of Winooski and the Winooski School District share in the responsibility to create a healthy, safe, and encouraging environment in which to raise children, and

Whereas, the City of Winooski and the Winooski School District each provide programming for children, youth, and families, and

Whereas, Winooski is proudly home to a diverse citizenry including families who have resided here for generations, new residents, and a broad array of cultural and ethnic identities, and

Whereas, consistency in approach and expectations is critical to developing a strong community.

Therefore be it resolved,
The City of Winooski and the Winooski School District will make every effort to:
  • Design and carry out programming and services for children, youth and families in partnership, through collaborative planning and implementation, and
  • Ensure that programs and services in Winooski are innovative and exemplary, and incorporate best and promising practices in child and youth development, and
  • Work together to engage our citizenry and offer programming and services that are relevant and respectful of cultural differences, and
  • Ensure that community resources and revenues are effectively utilized and duplication is minimized

Specific school/city initiatives discussed at the June 25 joint meeting include:

City-Wide Social Thinking Initiative – Middle School Principal Mary O’Rourke said it is well-known that some students need help learning to share their social space with others. (“Social Thinking” is a new term for social skills training.) School board member Tori Cleiland will share her social thinking training with teachers at in-service in August. The school district hopes students will bring this training home and in their interactions in after-school centers.

“I think this is a great idea. One of the things we have been lacking in this city, is when kids leave school, what is expected of them,” Mayor Michael O’Brien said. It was agreed that this training will help students have the same expectations of social behavior inside and outside of school.

School strategic planning – this effort continues at a subcommittee level. Action plans are being written for flexible learning, school facilities, parent-community engagement, and other areas of interest. Drafts will be completed by this fall, and then with the help of a facilitator the school planners will present one comprehensive document. A school representative stressed that “it will be a living document and it will need to change.”

Municipal planning - discussions for a new municipal plan began last month. About 30 people spoke about their vision for the future of Winooski, City Manager “Deac” Decarreau said. For example, zoning in some single family neighborhoods prohibits the opening of a food market. Does Winooski want to encourage localvore practices and if so, does it make sense to allow neighborhood food markets to give residents closer access to food? This question, and many others like it, will be threshed out at meetings later this year.

School board opposes F-35 and F-16 flight paths

The following resolution was adopted by the Winooski School Board in June and posted on the district website:

Resolution of Vermont Air National Guard Aircraft Paths
Whereas, the Winooski School District's mission is to offer a safe and supportive educational environment that is conducive to learning for all of its students;

Whereas, the Winooski School District seeks to create conditions for its students that will maximize learning;

Whereas, research shows that excessive noise affects cognitive performance and interferes with learning;

Whereas, F-35A Vermont Air National Guard jets based at Burlington International Airport will be flown in the vicinity of the District and during school hours;

Whereas, the flight path of the current F-16 Vermont Air National Guard jets based at Burlington International Airport already have an adverse impact on the learning environment at the Winooski schools; and

Whereas, it is expected that F-35A jets would follow this same flight path, and will have an adverse effect on the learning environment.

Now therefore, be it resolved by the Winooski School Board as follows.

That the Winooski School Board opposes a flight path for F-35A jets that would impact the learning environment.  Further, the Winooski School Board opposes the current flight path for F-16 jets that impact the learning environment.

Church to offer free basketball clinic, dinners next week at West Allen Park

A free youth basketball clinic will be held Monday-Friday July 9-13 4:00-6:30 p.m. at West Allen Park in

Dinner will be served each evening following the clinic. All participants must be entering 6th grade or higher. The clinic is sponsored by Burlington City Church. For more info call Kevin at 802-448-2898.

Improve bike paths near Winooski River, Bridge? Take survey

The City of Winooski is taking a survey to determine how best to improve the bike path facilities in Riverwalk/Casavant Park east of the downtown core, including possibly connecting with the Winooski Bridge. According to a statement on the city’s website, www.onioncity.com, “all possibilities are being examined.” From the website you can click on a survey to express your opinion.

Congratulations to Winooski’s newest U.S. citizen!

As reported in the July 5 Burlington Free Press, Arafa Arbab of Winooski received her U.S. citizenship at a ceremony at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington July 4. Ms. Arbab is a native of Sudan. According to the Free Press, she is a caregiver for the daughter of revered Burlington rabbi Max Wall, who was himself an immigrant, arriving in New York in 1921.