Student and Family



135 South Main Street                                                802-472-5411 phone

PO Box 515                                                                802-472-3325 fax

Hardwick, VT 05843                                                  

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We have published this handbook to inform you about our school and its programs.

A careful review of the information will allow you and your student to become familiar with our rules, procedures, opportunities, responsibilities and programs.  Please take the time to review relevant procedures with your student so that he/she will be familiar with them. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns which are not addressed in this handbook. This document will be accessible throughout the HES building, on our website at and a hard copy can be requested by contacting Christine Gifford at 472-5411. We look forward to an exciting year of learning with your children.

A word from our Principal

We have published this handbook as one way to keep you informed about our school and its programs. A careful review of the information will allow you and your child to become familiar with our expectations, responsibilities and programs. Please use our website: for events, updates and policies.

Please take the time to review important expectations and procedures with your child before and during the school year. In particular, look closely at the guidelines for bus safety, attendance, lunch and general student responsibilities for learning. The more we work together in guiding our students to become outstanding citizens, the greater the impact on our Hardwick community. Please share your ideas for improvement with us by email, phone call, or personal contact. Let us know if we need to include additional information that will better serve and inform families.

Principal Patrick Pennock

School Daily and Yearly Schedule

Daily - School begins at 7:45 am and students are considered tardy after this time.

In an effort to better secure the school and ensure student safety, we ask that parents and/or other family members remain outside the building or in the office lobby area when dropping children off in the morning and picking them up at dismissal.

Dismissal is officially at 2:35 pm, however, students who ride our buses home will begin boarding at approximately 2:30 pm. 2:35 is the dismissal time for students who walk home or who are picked up either in the classroom or in the Church parking lot, see more below. 

Dismissal for early release days will be at 11:35 am unless otherwise noted. Both breakfast and lunch are served on those days.

Yearly: The first student day of school is August 27, 2018 for students in grades K-6 (PreK begins on August 28th). Please see the attached calendar for all school in OSSU containing vacations, early release days, parent-teacher conference days and other designated days.. Please keep in mind that the final day of school is ultimately determined by how many days we make up in June due to poor weather earlier in the year.


Attendance and more

Arrival – Student supervision begins at 7:20 am on the playground. Grab and Go Breakfast begins at 7:30 am.  Classrooms open at 7:30 am.

Daily Attendance- It is so important for your child to be present and on time every day. Our yearly calendar is provided in order to plan family vacations within school vacations.  It is required that you call the school when your child is absent at 472-5411. You can also leave a voicemail on the office line so you won’t have to wait for the office to open. Excused absences are those that are verified by a parent or guardian (you may be asked to provide a doctor’s note), a physician, school nurse, or other school staff.

Excused absences and tardies fall into one of the following categories:

* Remember: Families are asked not to send their child(ren) to school if there has been vomiting, diarrhea or fever during the previous 24 hours.  A sick child does not learn easily and may spread the illness to classmates.  If a child becomes ill at school the nurse is available to assist.  We will contact parents first and then the individuals designated on the emergency form if a student needs to be sent home for illness.

Dismissal - Forms are sent home at the beginning of the year for families to fill out and return with each student’s dismissal plan. Please call the school to request new forms. It is important to discuss dismissal plans to your student(s) in advance. Students who have a clear understanding of where they are to go after school have far less anxiety (and are able to learn more) than those who are unsure about dismissal.  If you have a “one day” change for dismissal, please call the school before 1:30 pm to ensure your student gets the message.

Early Dismissal - We ask parents to report to the main office when picking up their child for an early dismissal.  We require parents to complete a sign out form before children are released.

Tardy - The State of Vermont mandates that school districts have strong attendance policies for all children and our school works hard to ensure that students are here daily and on time. Students arriving late to class miss important information, announcements and focusing activities all designed to provide a structured and comfortable start to the day. These opening of school tasks help in the transition from home to classroom and strengthen the sense of belonging essential to learning and success. While there are times when emergencies occur and being late is unavoidable, these should be infrequent, if not rare, occurrences. If there are barriers or issues to your child being able to arrive routinely on time, we are available to work with you to develop solutions.

Truancy Protocol from Lamoille Valley Truancy Prevention – Below is the protocol followed by schools in OSSU regarding absences. It is broken down into procedures based on the number absences by your student (5, 10, 15, and/or 20 days) for the entire school year.

Five Days Absent Intervention:

1. Documented attempt to make contact with parent/guardian by school.

Ten Days Absent Interventions:

1. Documented attempt to make contact with family by school;

2. Support services offered by school;

3. Letter from school outlining consequences for further absences & possible prosecution;

4. Letter copied to Lamoille Valley Truancy Program (LVTP)

5. Determination by LVTP and school to take further action at this time.

Fifteen Days Absent Interventions:

1. Letter to family notifying them of upcoming meeting (this triggers LVTP involvement);

2. LVTP may hold a meeting with the student, parent(s)/guardian(s) and school to develop a written plan to improve attendance, set guidelines for appropriate absences, to document the impact of absences on academics and behavior and to make referrals to support services;

3. LVTP may make a report to DCF;

4. The superintendent may seek corroboration regarding the student’s physical and/or mental fitness to attend school.

Twenty Days Absent Interventions:

1. LVTP facilitates document preparation with Principal, Superintendent and DCF;

2. LVTP helps Superintendent and school submits paperwork to State’s Attorney for possible petition to family court;

3. LVTP continues to assist student/family and school as necessary.

Drop Off/Pick Up Parking - Please use the parking lot of our generous neighbors, Mary, Queen of All Saints, Catholic Church (formerly, St. Norbert’s). Our families may use this lot for quick stops such as drop off and pick up. Students are escorted across the school driveway by staff at arrival and dismissal times. Please drive slowly and cautiously in both parking lots at all times to ensure safety.  If you are visiting the school during school hours or after school, please use the staff parking lot. If no space is available, use nearby street parking. Remember that the earliest student arrival time is 7:20 am and students should be picked up promptly at 2:35 pm. In an effort to better secure the school and ensure student safety, we ask that parents and/or other family members remain outside the building or in the office lobby area when dropping children off in the morning and picking them up at dismissal.

Bicycles & Skateboards - Bicycles must be kept in the bicycle rack near the red building.  Students are responsible for their own locks. The school does not assume any responsibility if a bicycle or skateboard is damaged or stolen.  Skateboards are allowed only to come to school and are not to be used on school property during school hours.

Changes in Home/Cell Numbers and Addresses  Any changes in address, phone number, or other information must be given to the school as soon as possible so we can contact you and update our “all call” system. Please update changes for your emergency contacts quickly as well.

Chaperones and Volunteers - ALL volunteers will need to have a background check before being able to volunteer at HES.  Background checks are only valid for 2 years, so please check with the school office if it is time to re-apply. This form is sent home at the beginning of the year.  Please complete and return this form as soon as possible since it takes a few weeks to process. There is no cost.

Code of Conduct for Acceptable Language in School

Sexually explicit or profane language (swearing) are NOT acceptable at Hardwick Elementary School. This applies to ALL, including adult staff, students, parents/guardians, and visitors. While we acknowledge that our students may hear offensive language in neighborhoods or at home, we teach them that this language cannot be used at school. We explain that there are two kinds of talk: street talk and school talk, and school talk clearly does not allow for obscene or sexually explicit language. We invite and expect families and community members to support us in creating a positive school environment for everyone.

Discrimination - Policy on Nondiscrimination

The Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union, and the Hardwick School District will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex or handicap in admission to, access to, treatment in or employment in its programs and activities.  If you have any questions or concerns, contact Patrick Pennock, Principal of Hardwick Elementary, who has been designated to coordinate the school's efforts to comply with Federal laws VI, Title IX and Section 504, or Joanne LeBlanc, Superintendent and Equity Coordinator for the Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union.

Dress Code - Parents and guardians are responsible for sending students to school dressed appropriately for a social public setting. We trust families in taking this responsibility seriously. Students wearing clothing that appears to create an improper or disruptive influence on the educational environment will be asked to borrow an article of clothing from the school’s extra clothing supply for the remainder of the school day. Dressing for outdoors is a major consideration in sending students to school appropriately dressed. We appreciate your support in keeping students healthy and happy.

Electronic Devices and Personal Property - The school provides electronic devices for instruction.  Teachers, staff,  and school administrators are the final authority on the rules governing the use of electronic devices in school. Students should not bring cell phones or other personal electronic devices to HES. If a parent needs their child to have a cell phone, they should contact the child’s homeroom teacher to create a plan for where the phone will be stored during the school day.

The school cannot guarantee the safety and security of personal property brought to school and  is not responsible for replacing lost or damaged items.

Emergency Closings & Delayed Openings - We subscribe to the “School Messenger” System that allows the school/OSSU office to notify families with up to 3 different phone numbers as well as email. As long as we have a current, working phone number(s) and/or email address for you, you will receive an automated announcement of a delay or closing. (This is another reason to keep your phone information updated with the school.)  The announcement will also be posted on the local radio and TV stations:  WDEV, WCAX, WLVB, WPTZ, etc.

Field Trips – We provide each student with a “Year Long Field Trip Permission Slip”. This optional form allows families to sign one permission slip for the entire school year.  Otherwise, the parent will need to be sure to provide written permission for each field trip. Information about each field trip will be given to families by teachers at least one week in advance. Most field trips are at no cost to students however, students will not be excluded from a trip for financial reasons. Parents who are chaperoning a trip MUST have completed the criminal record check and reapply every 2 years. A copy of the OSSU field trip policy and procedures is available in the school office and on the school website.

Fire/Crisis Drills Safety drills are mandated by the state and will be conducted monthly. Students and staff practice exiting the building, evacuating a school bus, and finding safe and secure spots within classrooms. The school has a Crisis/Safety Team which meets regularly to create safety procedures, plan with outside agencies for actual emergencies and evaluate drills to ensure successful safety plans.

Internet Use and Safety - The use of the Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union School District (OSSU) electronic resources (meaning the internet services provided at school) is a privilege, not a right. Inappropriate use will result in the loss of these privileges. Students may access electronic resources and the Internet for educational purposes only. Access to network services is given to students who agree to act in a considerate and responsible manner. OSSU reserves the right to terminate, suspend, or otherwise limit network access at any time. Users have limited privacy expectations in the contents of their personal files and records of their online activity while on the OSSU Network. System administrators have access to all files and accounts on the network and OSSU reserves the right to inspect or review accounts and/or files at any time. The District is not liable for unacceptable use or violations of copyright restrictions or other laws, user mistakes or negligence, and costs incurred by users.

The District is not responsible for ensuring the accuracy, age appropriateness, or usability of any information found on the District's electronic resources network including the Internet. The District is not responsible for any damage experienced including, but not limited to, loss of data or interruptions of service. The District is not responsible for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through or stored on the electronic resources system including the Internet, or for financial obligations arising through their unauthorized use. The following is a partial list of activities that are not permitted.

• The use of email, chat rooms, instant messaging, etc., unless authorized by a staff member

• Using obscene language

• Purposefully accessing or sending materials, which include pictures, video or audio files, that are rude,

disrespectful, abusive, obscene, sexually oriented, threatening, harassing, damaging to another's reputation, or illegal

• Damaging computers, computer systems or computer networks

• Violating copyright laws

• Using an other’s password

• Revealing personal identity, address and/or phone number

• Using a false name

• Trespassing in an other’s folders work or files

• Intentionally wasting limited resources

• Employing the network for commercial purposes

• Downloading or playing games, unless assigned.

• Any activity that involves money transactions.

• Unauthorized installing or un-installing of software.


• Violations may result in the loss of access.

• Additional disciplinary action may be determined in line with existing practice regarding inappropriate

language or behavior.

• When applicable, law enforcement agencies may be involved.

Locked Doors - To provide a safer environment, all exterior doors will remain locked when students are present. Please use the main entrance to enter during those times. Please check /sign in at the office when entering the building. You may be asked to wear a visitor or volunteer ID.

Lost and Found - The ‘Lost and Found’ box is located outside the gym.  Items found are taken to this box or, in the case of small or valuable items, turned in to the office.  Labeling clothing and school belongings with the child’s name is extremely helpful, and has led to many happy ‘finds.’  Items are kept for only a short time before being donated to charity.

Outside Recess Participation - We expect children to go outside for morning and afternoon recess unless the temperature is below zero. Boots and appropriate outerwear will keep your child safe and comfortable as dictated by Vermont’s ever changing weather conditions. Hats and gloves are also suggested for very cold days. Outside recess is a very important part of a student’s school day!

Personal Property - Students must assume responsibility for loss or damage to personal property brought to school.  The school will try to protect such property but is not responsible for replacing lost or damaged personal items.

Pets - Pets are not allowed in the school building or on school grounds without permission of the principal. This does not apply to documented service animals.

Snacks – Our school participates in a federal Free Fruits and Vegetable Snack Program. Each day the school food service provides either a fresh fruit or vegetable. Decisions about other snacks provided from home are at the discretion of families but we encourage parents to provide healthy, sugar-free snacks and drinks for their child.  You may be asked to NOT send snacks with nuts or other ingredients because of life-threatening allergies for some children.

Student Responsibility for School Materials - If a student loses or damages school materials, we ask families to reimburse the school for the loss or damage. This includes library materials.

Student Use of School Telephones - Telephone communications between a child and a parent should be limited to emergency situations.  Planning at home for after school plans and activities can help reduce the need for calls.  Students will rarely be given permission to call home for forgotten items. The natural consequence of not having an item helps improve organizational skills and responsibility.


School Newsletter - We publish a monthly school newsletter, The Bobcat Gazette which is sent home with the each child in the family each month. The newsletter features a Principal's column, a calendar of events, cafeteria menus, and children’s creative writing and art work.  We encourage parents to read the newsletter and use it to stay abreast of school happenings and events.  The Bobcat Gazette is also on the school’s website.

School Board Meetings and Mandatory Policies - The School Board meets on a monthly basis.  Watch the Bobcat Gazette and the website calendar page  for the time and place of meetings. The Annual work plan is posted on the OSSU and the Hardwick Elementary websites. All mandatory policies are available on the School Board and Policies page of our website. Printed copies are available upon request.

Staff Contact Information – Email: You can communicate with any Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union employee through email by using the first initial, last name of teacher @ (example, to reach Christine Gifford in the main office, use: Phone: Please see the staff list for phone extensions. Classroom phones will not ring during the school day but voicemail is always available.

Website The school Website address is: and is updated regularly. There is a calendar page, contact list, Parent Connections section with forms, menus, policies and more.

Facebook -


Educational Support Team - It is our belief that a comprehensive system of instructional supports should be available for any student requiring assistance.  We call this system the Educational Support Team or EST. Students may be referred to the EST by teachers, specialists or parents at any time a child appears to be in need of additional instructional supports.  The EST team meets regularly to review cases and develop plans to assist children.  Instructional supports include, but are not limited to, guidance services, health services, peer tutoring, psychological evaluations, social services referral, or special education referral and supplemental small group instruction. Parents are notified of EST referrals by the classroom teacher.  A parent desiring to refer his/her child to the EST may obtain a referral form from the child’s classroom teacher.

Responsive Classroom and PBiS - School rules are designed to provide a safe learning environment for everyone.  As a faculty we strive to be consistent, positive and fair in applying the rules and in dealing with students who violate the rules.  To create a safe and caring school, every member of the school is asked to abide by the same rules. Our school, in conjunction with the OSSU, has adopted the Responsive Classroom philosophy and uses Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (or PBiS) as the system to carry out that philosophy. Our belief is that we must make a positive, trusting relationship with the children first.  That relationship continues as we help the children learn to make positive, safe, and respectful choices.  Our entire school has adopted three guiding principles and these are posted in every room and hallway. The rules are:

We Are Responsible!      We Are Respectful!       We Are Safe!

Each year students earn "Paw Prints" when they show great examples of following the rules. Classrooms decide how to celebrate when they reach their goal for earned paws.  We also celebrate a few times a year as an entire school.

Consistent consequences are also practiced to guide students who struggle with these expectations. Most occur in the classroom with little disruption to learning. For full grids of various behaviors and interventions, please go to our website. Printed copies are available upon request. We also use a social skills curriculum called Second Step. This curriculum is intended to provide students with social skills learning to include empathy, communication skills,and conflict resolution.

Seclusion and Physical Restraint Rule 4500 -


The purposes of these rules are to:

  1. Create and maintain a positive and safe learning environment in schools.
  2. Promote positive behavioral interventions and supports in schools; and
  3. Ensure that students are not subjected to inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion.


These rules are applicable to all learning environments that receive public funding, or over which the Vermont Agency of Education has regulatory authority.

For full text and sample forms go to: http//

Special Education - Students, who are eligible for special education services, as determined by state and federal guidelines, receive additional support from the special education staff to address their needs.  Services offer assistance based on the specific needs of the child.  Any parent who feels their child may have special education needs is encouraged to contact their child’s teacher. Our goal is to provide services, when possible, in the students’ classrooms.


Breakfast and Lunch - Breakfast is served as grab and go starting at 7:30. When entering the building students will be offered breakfast to bring to their classroom. Breakfast is FREE for all students attending Hardwick Elementary School. Lunch is served daily at a cost of $2.95 for full paying students and free for students eligible for both free and reduced lunches. Students may also bring their lunch and milk may be purchased for $0.50. The menu is published and sent home every month in the Bobcat Gazette and is available on the website.

Parents may apply to receive free or reduced lunches for their children.  Families who have been eligible for free or reduced lunch in the past must file a new application at the beginning of each school year. If this is not done, families will be billed the full price for meals.  Information and application forms are available throughout the year in the school’s main office.  Please contact us at any time if your financial circumstances change in a way that may make you eligible for this program. The food service program is a self-supporting enterprise and therefore paying ahead or on time is needed. You may prepay for student’s meals each week, month, or more and remember that students will only be charged when they are served. The OSSU procedure for charging student meals is attached and on our website. Please adhere to the procedure to avoid unnecessary stress at meal times for students and staff. Please join your student for lunch any time. Adult lunches cost $4.00 and payment must be made at the time of service.

Busing Information - Hardwick Elementary School contracts for bus services from Wildcat Busing.  If you have any questions about routes or stops, please contact “Bear” or Joann at Wildcat Busing, 472-5501.

It is recommended that students be at their bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.  Bus drivers are required to depart from their pickup stations on time.  Drivers are not expected to wait for any student who delays the bus.  Expect schedules to fluctuate if weather or road conditions are adverse.  During hazardous road conditions, the driver of the bus will decide if a road is in safe, passable condition. Each bus driver has expectations for the behavior of the students on his/her bus.  Students should learn what the driver expects and follow these expectations.  Students will be warned by the driver when the rules are not being followed.  When an individual chooses to ignore the rules and the driver’s warnings, the driver will file a formal report with the school and the Student Support Staff will work with your student to resolve this. Subsequent offenses may result in a loss of bus privileges.  Any time riding privileges are revoked, it is the responsibility of the parent to provide transportation.

School Bus Rules

To provide maximum safety, each driver shall be responsible for enforcing, and each passenger shall be expected to observe the following rules:

1.  Be at the bus stop on time and wait on the shoulder of the road or sidewalk.

2.  Board the bus in single file without pushing and crowding.

3.  Be seated immediately and stay seated until the bus stops at your destination.

4.  Follow driver’s instructions regarding where to sit.

5.  Talk in a low, calm voice.  Loud talk and foul language are not permitted.

6.  Be courteous.  Throwing objects, changing seats, and rough play are not permitted.

7.  Ask for the driver’s permission before opening windows. (continued)

8. Look both ways before leaving the bus.  Wait for the driver’s signal to cross the road.

9.  Obey the driver.

10.  Be respectful at all times.

Any acts which are considered flagrant violations of safety may result in an immediate suspension of transportation privileges by the principal.  Parents will be held responsible for mutilation and/or destruction of property and equipment on the bus.

Health Services - The school has the services of a certified registered school nurse.  The school nurse assists sick or injured children, consults with parents and staff members, and conduct various clinics and testing programs for vision and hearing. Parents wishing to opt out of hearing testing may do so by contacting the health office.

Please be advised that the nurse cannot dispense any medication, prescription or non-prescription, without written permission. “Permission for Medication” forms are available in the school office.  The medicine must be in the original container indicating prescription, child’s name; time medication is to be given, etc. Asthma action plans and other medical plans must be provided by the student’s doctor and can be faxed to 472-3325. We ask parents to give medications at home whenever possible.  Medication prescribed three times a day should be given once in the morning before school, once after school, and once at bedtime.

Hardwick Town School Policy requires that every student attending our school must be immunized in accordance with state regulations. Forms seeking exemption for religious, moral or medical reasons are available through the nurse’s office.

REACH! – The REACH! Program operates after school and summer enrichment programs at Hardwick Elementary for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.  Normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 2:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. when school is in session.  No programs are offered on snow days or days when school is closed for emergency reasons.

After school programs for the 2017-18 school years will begin on Monday, September 11th and will continue through until May unless otherwise noted. The year is divided into three sessions and families must re-register each session.  Registration forms are generally available to all students two weeks prior to each session.

Program enrollment is limited, and programs are filled on a first come, first served basis.  Register early to reserve a spot for your student.  For more information contact the Hardwick Site Coordinator at 472-2587 pr on the HES website.


Parent - Teacher Conferences - An important part of our reporting system is the parent-teacher conference, which is held twice each year.  The conference offers both parents and teachers the opportunity to discuss academic and social progress, concerns, and share views in general.  The conferences are scheduled by the teacher with notification of the conference sent home several days in advance of the conference. The scheduled conference does not preclude calling a conference whenever the need arises.  Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher to arrange a conference at any time throughout the year.  We believe educating a child is a partnership and we value time we can spend with parents.

Promotion and Retention - In retaining or promoting a student, the school considers not only the student’s academic achievement and needs, but also the child’s age, social and emotional maturity and needs, and the wishes of the child’s parents.  If retention is being considered, the issue will be raised and discussed with the parent no later than April 15.  If the parent and/or the teacher believe retention should be considered, the next step is to gather as much information as possible before making the decision. Every factor which MAY affect the student’s performance in school is considered and discussed with parents. We are committed to looking at the whole child and involving parents in the decision.

Class Placement - In the spring we begin to work on class placement for the following year.  Placing students in classroom groupings is a complicated task. Many different individual needs, often of varying urgency, must be carefully considered when making classroom assignments.  The needs of individuals must be blended with the collective needs of all students to create groupings which will provide the best education for all students.


Hardwick Elementary School strives to provide a rich and varied curriculum for students.  Following is an overview of the programs we offer:

Act One, Vermont State Law

As many of you are aware, in July 2010, a law went into effect for Vermont Schools called ‘Act One’, or the “Sexual Violence Prevention Education Act”.  Act One mandates that all schools provide sexual violence prevention education for all ages.  To address this mandate, we have adopted two curriculums approved by the state and promoted by Prevent Child Abuse Vermont [PCAV].

For grades K-2, we use Care for Kids. The kindergarten students receive all 6 lessons.  The 1st and 2nd graders receive 3 lessons as a refresher.  Program Goal: The Goal of the Care For Kids program is to prevent child sexual abuse through health education and prevention. Program Description: Care For Kids is a comprehensive community approach to fostering healthy sexual development in early childhood.  The curriculum promotes adults understanding of children’s sexual development; open, comfortable communication between adults and children about sexuality; and adult responsibility for the safety and healthy development of children.

The Care For Kids curriculum includes developmentally appropriate activities and message that enhance the development of children’s self-esteem, respect for self and others, rewarding human relationships, and the avoidance of sexual coercion.

The Care For Kids curriculum uses six themes to communicate positive messages to children.  The first three themes develop self-esteem and positive attitudes toward sexuality and gender.  The last three themes develop an understanding of body boundaries and coping with boundary violations.  The themes can be easily incorporated into already existing curriculum within the early childhood setting.

Care For Kids Themes:

1. Bodies

2. Babies

3. Feelings

4. Touching

5. Bedtime

6. Secrets & Surprises


For Grades 3-6 we use the “We Care Elementary Curriculum.”

We Care Elementary is a developmentally targeted sexual abuse prevention program created by Prevent Child Abuse Vermont for elementary school communities. We Care Elementary focuses on building children’s protective factors through multimodal, highly experiential lessons. We Care Elementary is an interactive curriculum for grades 3-6 that explores support systems, communication, boundaries, self-esteem, empathy, coping, and other health promotion skills.

The We Care Elementary curriculum includes up to six lessons at each grade level. Each grade focuses on different topics related to healthy relationships.

3rd Grade: Communication and Understanding Feelings

4th Grade: Understanding Personal Boundaries

5th Grade: Recognizing Boundaries in Others

6th Grade: Understanding Sexual Harassment

*Families will be notified prior to classes starting in your students’ classrooms.  For more information, please contact Sheila Halpin, School Counselor, 472-2596.

Art - Students in grades K-6 receive art instruction once a week from a specialist.  Students use a variety of arts media including clay, watercolor, tempera and paper mache, and study the elements and principles of design and may be integrated into other areas of learning..  Student work is displayed throughout the building and in the community.

Guidance - Guidance services are provided by our school counselor.  The guidance program is a prevention oriented model designed for all students in the school.  Components in the guidance program include whole class instruction, friendship groups, teacher and parent consultation, and individual support for students.

Health - Our health program is taught by our school counselor and nurses.  Instruction is provided in drugs, alcohol, tobacco, body systems, fire safety, disease prevention, first aid, and growth and development.

Library - Library classes are held weekly for students in grades K-6 and focus on providing students with the skills and knowledge to be successful users of the library.  In grade 6 information skills are taught within the context of the classroom curriculum, with the librarian serving as a partner with the classroom teacher.

Mathematics - Our math program focuses on the development of math concepts, computation and problem solving.  Instructional activities are developed to satisfy the Common Core Standards.

Music - Students in grades K-6 receive music instruction once a week.  Our program focuses on exposure to many different kinds of music, rhythm and movement.  Students sing, learn to play instruments and dance.  Students in grades 4-6 may join our Band and/or Chorus.

Physical Education - Students participate in physical education class twice a week.  Our developmental program focuses on teamwork, cooperation, personal enjoyment of physical activity, and fine and gross motor skills.  Adventure based learning and challenge by choice activities are important components of the physical education program.

Reading - Our instructional programs in reading combine phonological awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary development, and the appreciation of literature.  Our program emphasizes the development of reading skills as well as maintaining a strong emphasis on the reading of quality literature.  Our primary goal is to foster a love for reading in each of our students.

Science - Our science program is an inquiry based approach which includes active learning experiences in earth, physical and life science.  Students in grades PK-6 have opportunities to learn science and gain knowledge about themselves and their environment by being scientists.  Science skills focused on in our program include observing, investigating, and constructing and testing hypotheses.

Social Studies - In social studies students learn about themselves and others through units on their local community, state and other parts of the world.  Current events and place based learning are incorporated into their studies.

Technology - A school-based technology committee comprised of teachers, technology specialist and principal meets regularly throughout the school year to design and implement the school technology plan. This committee also recommends the professional development needed by staff to stay current in using technology as a learning tool with students as well as for themselves. To insure internet safety, the school has adopted an Acceptable Use Policy. This policy in on the website and printed copies are available upon request.

Writing - Students write daily in a variety of forms with a focus on both skills and mechanics, and the creative aspects of writing.  Spelling instruction is integrated into reading and writing instruction. Our goal is to build on writing  skills and expertise as students move through the grade levels.



To reach staff by phone, please call 472-5411 and use the extension numbers below. To email staff, use lower case letters, with the staff member’s first initial and last name followed by See the example for the Principal below.

Principal                                             Patrick Pennock, X 2598  or

Preschool                                          Jessica Lamberton-Brown, X 2547

                                                           Christie Moodie

Behavior Specialist                           Marquis Drown, behavior

Kindergarten                                     Emma Lamson,  X 2516

                    Lauren Trautman,  X 2518

Grade 1                                              Amell Megan, X 2520

                                                           Joann Spear-Duffy, X 2582

Grade 2                                              Jessica Baitz, X 2521

                                                           Sara Behrsing,  X 2522

Grade 3                                             Davis Janis , 2534

                                                          Julie Magoon, X 2535

Grade 4                                             Suzanne Bader, X 2543

                                                          Maureen Demers, X 2546

Grade 5                                             Nathan Demers, X 2551

                                                          Lisa Forbes, X 2552

Grade 6                                             Kevin Broderick, X 2548

                                                         Will Adams, X 2549

Art                                                      Beth LeCours, X 2501

Music                                                Jeffrey Reed, X 2553

Physical Education                          Mike Baker, X 2527

Library/Tech                                     Lisa Baranyay, X 2592

Math Interventionist                       Monica Cross, X 2519

Literacy Interventionist                  Cynthia Burnham, X 2505

School Counselor                           Sheila Halpin, X 2596

Athletic Director                              Tammi Smith, X 2529

Special Education                           Jacky Burgess, X 2585

                                                         Shannon Larkin, X 2586

                                                                                    , X 2584

                                                          Heather Wright, X 2537

Nurse                                             Dobson Andrea, X 2593

Administrative Assistant               Christine Gifford, X 2599

                                                         Ashley Foster, X 2530

Instructional Assistants                  Christie Allen

(please use 472-5411)                     Nichole Clark

                                                          Alice Fleer

                                                          Bea Gelineau

                                                          Elisha Hersey

                                                         Diane Holbrook

                                                         Lisa Princ

                                                         Annette Meservey

                                                         Judy Picard

                                                         Tammi Smith, Behavior Interventionist

                                                         William Boyd

                                                         Jessica Boyd

REACH!  Site Coordinator              Erica Baker, 472-2587

Four Winds Coordinator                 Peggy Sprague,

Technology/Computer                     Brice McIntosh,

Building & Grounds Director           Jeff LeCours, 472-2194

Maintenance                                      Richard Coolbeth, X 2594

                                                            Michael Hall, X 2594

                                                           Gerard LeBlanc, X 2594

School Nutrition Team                      Val Hussey,  Director X 2528

School Chefs                                     Ruth McAllister X 2531

                                                            CeeCee Perry-Miller X 2531


Jennifer Fliegelman, chair                           472-5414

Jennifer Laundry, vice chair                           595-5725

Katharine Ingram, member                           472-2295

Kevin Moore Jr., clerk                                        595-3868

Fortman Steve, member                                   535-6942



Superintendent                                                          Joanne LeBlanc   x 22

Chief Financial Officer                                             John Smith x 21

Director of Student Services:                                        Heather Freeman   x 12

Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment:     Rhoda McLure  x 20

Human Resources                                                               Cheryl Dopp x 13

For a complete OSSU staff list, visit the website above or call, 472-6531.

Mandatory Policies for a complete file of our policies, go to  and choose the School Board and Policies page. Paper copies are available upon request.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a Federal law, requires that Hardwick Elementary School, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records.  However, Hardwick Elementary School may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures.  The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the Hardwick Elementary School to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications.  Examples include:

•        A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production;

•        The annual yearbook;

•        Honor roll or other recognition lists;

•        Graduation programs; and

•        Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.

Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent.  Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks.  In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to provide military recruiters, upon request, with the following information – names, addresses and telephone listings – unless parents have advised the LEA that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent.

If you do not want Hardwick Elementary School to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify the District in writing by October 1st. Hardwick Elementary School has designated the following information as directory information:

-Student’s name        -Participation in officially

-Address        recognized activities and sports

-Telephone listing        -Weight and height of members of

-Electronic mail address        athletic teams

-Photograph/Video        -Degrees, honors, and awards

-Date and place of birth        received

-Major field of study        -The most recent educational agency or

-Dates of attendance        institution attended

-Grade level        -Student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used to communicate in electronic systems that cannot be used to access education records without a PIN, password, etc. (A student’s SSN, in whole or in part, cannot be used for this purpose.)

1 These laws are: Section 9528 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 7908) and

10 U.S.C. § 503(c)

Prevention of Harassment, Hazing and Bullying of Students

Type: Mandatory Policy

Area: Students 12

Date Warned: July 29, 2015

Due Date for Adoption: September 15, 2015

I.  Statement of Policy

The Hardwick Town School District (hereinafter “District”) is committed to providing all of its students with a safe and supportive school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with respect.

It is the policy of the District to prohibit the unlawful harassment of students based on race, color, religion, creed, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Harassment may also constitute a violation of Vermont’s Public Accommodations Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and/or Title IX of the federal Education Amendments Act of 1972.

It is also the policy of the District to prohibit the unlawful hazing and bullying of students. Conduct which constitutes hazing may be subject to civil penalties.

The District shall address all complaints of harassment, hazing and bullying according to the procedures accompanying this policy, and shall take appropriate action against any person - subject to the jurisdiction of the board

- who violates this policy. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit punishment of a student for conduct which, although it does not rise to the level of harassment, bullying, or hazing as defined herein, otherwise violates one or more of the board’s disciplinary policies or the school’s code of conduct.

II. Implementation

The superintendent or his/her designee shall:

1.   Adopt a procedure directing staff, parents and guardians how to report violations of this policy and file complaints under this policy.

2.  Annually, select two or more designated employees to receive complaints of hazing, bullying and/or harassment at each school campus and publicize their availability in any publication of the District that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures, and standards of conduct for the school.

3.  Designate an Equity Coordinator to oversee all aspects of the implementation of this policy as it relates to obligations imposed by federal law regarding discrimination. This role may be also be assigned to one or both of the Designated Employees.

4.  Respond to notifications of possible violations of this policy in order to promptly and effectively address all complaints of hazing, harassment, and/or bullying.

5.  Take action on substantiated complaints. In cases where hazing, harassment and/or bullying is substantiated, the District shall take prompt and appropriate remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the hazing, harassment and/or bullying; prevent its recurrence; and to remedy the impact of the offending conduct on the victim(s), where appropriate. Such action may include a wide range of responses from education to serious discipline.

Serious discipline may include termination for employees and, for students, expulsion or removal from school property. It may also involve penalties or sanctions for both organizations and individuals who engage in hazing. Revocation or suspension of an organization’s permission to operate or exist within the District’s purview may also be considered if that organization knowingly permits, authorizes or condones hazing.

III.  Constitutionally Protected Speech

It is the intent of the District to apply and enforce this policy in a manner that is consistent with student rights to free expression under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The purpose of this policy is to (1) prohibit conduct or communication that is directed at a person’s protected characteristics as defined below and that has the purpose or effect of substantially disrupting the educational learning process and/or access to educational resources or creates a hostile learning environment; (2) prohibit conduct intended to ridicule, humiliate or intimidate students in a manner as defined under this policy.

IV.  Definitions. For the purposes of this policy and the accompanying procedures, the following definitions apply:

A.  “Bullying” means any overt act or combination of acts, including an act conducted by electronic means, directed against a student by another student or group of students and which:

a.   Is repeated over time;

b.  Is intended to ridicule, humiliate, or intimidate the student; and

c.   (i) occurs during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity, or before or after the school day

on a school bus or at a school sponsored activity; or

(ii) does not occur during the school day on school property, on a school bus or at a school sponsored activity and can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s right to access educational programs.

B.   “Complaint” means  an oral or written report information provided by a student or any person to an employee alleging that a student has been subjected to conduct that may rise to the level of hazing, harassment or bullying.

C. “Complainant” means  a student who has provided oral or written information about conduct that may rise to the level of hazing, harassment or bullying, or a student who is the target of alleged hazing, harassment or bullying.

D. “Designated employee” means an employee who has been designated by the school to receive complaints of hazing, harassment and bullying pursuant to subdivision 16 V.S.A. 570a(a)(7). The designated employees for each school building are identified in Appendix A of this policy.

E.   “Employee” includes any person employed directly by or retained through a contract with the District, an agent of the school, a school board member, a student teacher, an intern or a school volunteer. For purposes of this policy, “agent of the school” includes supervisory union staff.

F. “Equity Coordinator” is the person responsible for implementation of Title IX (regarding sex-based discrimination) and Title VI (regarding race- based discrimination) for the District and for coordinating the District’s compliance with Title IX and Title VI in all areas covered by the implementing regulations. The Equity Coordinator is also responsible for overseeing implementation of the District’s Preventing and Responding to Harassment of Students and Harassment of Employees policies. This role may also be assigned to Designated Employees.

G.  “Harassment” means an incident or incidents of verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct, including any incident conducted by electronic means, based on or motivated by a student’s or a student’s family member’s actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, marital status disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, that has the purpose or effect of objectively and substantially undermining and detracting from or interfering with a student’s educational performance or access to school resources or creating an objectively intimidating hostile, or offensive environment.

Harassment includes conduct as defined above and may also constitute one or more of the following:

(1) Sexual harassment, which means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, that includes sexual violence/sexual assault, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, written, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature, and includes situations when one or both of the following occur:

(i) Submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student’s education, academic status, or progress; or

(ii) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as a component of the basis for decisions affecting that student.

Sexual harassment may also include student-on-student conduct or conduct of a non-employee third party that creates a hostile environment. A hostile environment exists where the harassing conduct is severe, persistent or pervasive so as to deny or limit the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program on the basis of sex.

(2) Racial harassment, which means conduct directed at the characteristics of

a student’s or a student’s family member’s actual or perceived race or

color, and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, racial slurs, comments,

insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, and taunts on manner of speech and negative references to cultural customs.

(3) Harassment of members of other protected categories, means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student’s or a student’s family member’s actual or perceived creed, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, taunts on manner of speech, and negative references to customs related to any of these protected categories.

H. “Hazing” means any intentional, knowing or reckless act committed by a student, whether individually or in concert with others, against another student: In connection with pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization which is affiliated with the educational institution; and

(1) Which is intended to have the effect of, or should reasonably be expected to have the effect of, endangering the mental or physical health of the student.

Hazing shall not include any activity or conduct that furthers legitimate curricular, extra-curricular, or military training program goals, provided that:

(1) The goals are approved by the educational institution; and

(2) The activity or conduct furthers the goals in a manner that is appropriate, contemplated by the educational institution, and normal and customary for similar programs at other educational institutions.

With respect to Hazing, “Student” means any person who:

(A) is registered in or in attendance at an educational institution;

(B) has been accepted for admission at the educational institution where

the hazing incident occurs; or

(C) intends to attend an educational institution during any of its regular sessions after an official academic break.

I.  “Notice” means a written complaint or oral information that hazing, harassment or bullying may have occurred which has been provided to a designated employee from another employee, the student allegedly subjected to the hazing, harassment or bullying, another student, a parent or guardian, or any other individual who has reasonable cause to believe the alleged conduct may have occurred. If the school learns of possible hazing, harassment or bullying through other means, for example, if information about hazing, harassment or bullying is received from a third party (such as from a witness to an incident or an anonymous letter or telephone call), different factors will affect the school’s response. These factors include the source and nature of the information; the seriousness of the alleged incident; the specificity of the information; the objectivity and credibility of the source of the report; whether any individuals can be identified who were subjected to the alleged harassment; and whether those individuals want to pursue the matter. In addition, for purposes of violations of federal anti-discrimination laws, notice may occur when an employee of the district, including any individual who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibility, knows or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known about potential unlawful harassment or bullying.

J.  “Organization” means a fraternity, sorority, athletic team, association, corporation, order, society, corps, cooperative, club, or other similar group, whose members primarily are students at an educational institution, and which is affiliated with the educational institution.

K.  “Pledging” means any action or activity related to becoming a member of an organization.

L. “Retaliation” is any adverse action by any person against a person who has filed a complaint of harassment, hazing or bullying  or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the harassment complaint. Such adverse action may include conduct by a school employee directed at a student in the form of intimidation or reprisal such as diminishment of grades, suspension, expulsion, change in educational conditions, loss of privileges or benefits, or other unwarranted disciplinary action. Retaliation may also include conduct by a student directed at another student in the form of further harassment, intimidation, and reprisal.

M. “School administrator” means a superintendent, principal or his/her designee assistant principal//technical center director or his/her designee and/or the District’s Equity Coordinator.

N.  “Student Conduct Form“ is a form used by students, staff, or parents, to provide, in written form, information about inappropriate student behaviors that may constitute hazing, harassment and/or bullying.


Designated Employees:

The following employees of the Hardwick Elementary School have been designated by the District to receive complaints of bullying and/or harassment pursuant to this policy and 16 V.S.A. § 570a(a)(7) and 16 V.S.A.

§570c(7) and under federal anti discrimination laws;

Name:     Sheila Halpin                                          Title:     Guidance Counselor

Contact Information: 802-472-2596 or

Name:    Marquise Drown                                          Title:     Guidance Counselor

Contact Information: 802-472-2599 or

Prevention of Harassment, Hazing and Bullying of Students

Type: Mandatory Policy

Area: Students 12

Date Reviewed:


I.             Reporting Complaints of Hazing, Harassment and/or Bullying

A.            Student Reporting: Any student who believes that s/he has been hazed, harassed and/or bullied under this policy, or who witnesses or has knowledge of conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute hazing, harassment and or/bullying, should promptly report the conduct to a designated employee or any other school employee.

B.            School employee reporting: Any school employee who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute hazing, harassment and/or bullying shall take reasonable action to stop the conduct and to prevent its recurrence and immediately report it to a designated employee and immediately complete a Student Conduct Form.

Any school employee who overhears or directly receives information about conduct that might constitute hazing, harassment and/or bullying shall immediately report the information to a designated employee and immediately complete a Student Conduct Form. If one of the designated employees is a person alleged to be engaged in the conduct complained of, the incident shall be immediately reported to the other designated employee or the school administrator.

C.             Other reporting: Any other person who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute hazing, harassment and/or bullying under this policy should promptly report the conduct to a designated employee.

D.            Documentation of the report: If the complaint is oral, the designated employee shall promptly reduce the complaint to writing in a Student Conduct Form, including the time, place, and nature of the alleged conduct, the identity of the complainant, alleged perpetrator, and any witnesses. Both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator will have the right to present witnesses and other evidence in support of their position.

E.             False complaint: Any person who knowingly makes a false accusation regarding hazing, harassment and/or bullying may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion with regard to students, or up to and including discharge with regard to employees. There shall be no adverse action taken against a person for reporting a complaint of hazing, harassment and/or bullying when the person has a good faith belief that hazing, harassment and/or bullying occurred or is occurring.

F.             Rights to Alternative Complaint Process: In addition to, or as an alternative to filing a harassment complaint pursuant to this policy, a person may file a harassment complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission or the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education at the addresses noted below:

Vermont Human Rights Commission

14-16 Baldwin Street

Montpelier, VT 05633-6301

(800) 416-2010 or (802) 828-2480 (voice) (877) 294-9200 (tty)

(802) 828-2481 (fax)


Office for Civil Rights, Boston Office

U.S. Department of Education

8th Floor

5 Post Office Square

Boston, MA 02109-3921

617-289-0111 (voice)

877-521-2172 (tdd)

617-289-0150 (fax)


II.           Responding to Notice of Possible Policy Violation(s)

A.            Upon notice of information that hazing, harassment and/or bullying may have occurred the designated employee shall:

i.  Promptly reduce any oral information to writing, including the time,

place, and nature of the conduct, and the identity of the participants and complainant.

ii.  Promptly inform the school administrator(s) of the information;

iii.  If in the judgment of the school administrator, the information alleges conduct which may constitute harassment, hazing or bullying, the school administrator shall, as soon as reasonably possible, provide a copy of the policy on hazing, harassment and bullying and these procedures to the complainant and accused individual, or if either is a minor, cause a copy to be provided or delivered to their respective parent or guardian.

B.            Upon initiation of an investigation, the designated employee shall:

i.  Notify in writing both the complainant and accused individual (or if either is a minor inform their respective parent or guardian) that:

1.  an investigation has been initiated;

2.  retaliation is prohibited;

3.  all parties have certain confidentiality rights; and

4.  they will be informed in writing of the outcome of the investigation.

C.             All notifications shall be subject to state and/or federal laws protecting the confidentiality of personally identifiable student information. Pursuant to 34 CFR Part 99.30, a school administrator may seek the consent of the parent/guardian of the accused student, or the accused eligible student (if 18 or older, the accused student has the ability to consent), in order to inform the complainant of any disciplinary action taken in cases where the school determined that an act(s) of harassment, hazing, and/or bullying, or other misconduct occurred.  The parent/guardian or eligible student shall provide a signed and dated written consent before an educational agency or institution discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records.

III.          Investigating Hazing, Harassment and/or Bullying Complaints

A.  Initiation of Investigation - Timing. Unless special circumstances are present and documented, such as reports to the Department for Children and Families (“DCF”) or the police, the school administrator shall, no later than one school day after Notice to a designated employee, initiate or cause to be initiated, an investigation of the allegations, which the school administrator reasonably believes may constitute harassment, hazing or bullying.

B.  Investigator Assignment. The school administrator shall assign a person to conduct the investigation; nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the school administrator from assigning him/herself or a designated employee as the investigator. No person who is the subject of a complaint shall conduct such an investigation.

C.  Interim Measures. It may be appropriate for the school to take interim measures during the investigation of a complaint. For instance, if a student alleges that he or she has been sexually assaulted by another student, the school may decide to place the students immediately in separate classes and/or transportation pending the results of the school’s investigation. Similarly, if the alleged harasser is a teacher, allowing the student to transfer to a different class may be appropriate.

In all cases, the school will make every effort to prevent disclosure of the names

of all parties involved – the complainant, the witnesses, and the accused -- except to the extent necessary to carry out the investigation. In all cases where physical harm has resulted and/or where the targeted student is known to be expressing suicidal ideation, or experiencing serious emotional harm, a safety plan will be put in place. Safety plans must also be considered in cases where the targeted student is known to have difficulty accessing the educational programs at the school as a result of the inappropriate behavior. No contact orders, or their enforcement, may also be appropriate interim measures.

and District employees who are accused of certain types of infractions, including but not limited to sexual harassment under Federal Title IX. The rights established under Title IX must be interpreted consistent with any federally guaranteed due process rights involved in a complaint proceeding, including but not limited to the ability of the complainant and the accused to present witnesses and other evidence during an investigation. The District will ensure that steps to accord due process rights do not restrict or unnecessarily delay the protections provided by Title IX to the complainant.

E.  Standard Used to Assess Conduct. In determining whether the conduct constitutes a violation of this policy, the investigator shall consider the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behavior, past incidents or past or continuing patterns of behavior, the relationships between the parties involved and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. The complainant and accused will be provided the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence during an investigation. The school will also consider the impact of relevant off- campus conduct on the school environment where direct harm to the welfare of the school can be demonstrated or the conduct can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s equal access to educational programs. Whether a particular action constitutes a violation of this policy requires determination based on all the facts and surrounding circumstances.

F.  Completion of Investigation – Timing. No later than five school days from the filing of the complaint with the designated employee, unless special circumstances are present and documented, the investigator shall submit a written initial determination to the school administrator.

G.  Investigation Report. The investigator shall prepare a written report to include a statement of the findings of the investigator as to whether the allegations have been substantiated, and as to whether the alleged conduct constitutes hazing, harassment and/or bullying. The report, when referencing student conduct, is a student record and therefore confidential. It will be made available to investigators in the context of a review conducted by either Vermont AOE, or investigations of harassment conducted by the Vermont Human Rights Commission or U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

H. Notice to Students/Parents/Guardians. Within five school days of the conclusion of the investigation, the designated employee shall:

i.   Notify in writing both the complainant and accused individual (or if

either is a minor inform their respective parent or guardian) that:

1.   the investigation has been completed;

2.  whether or not the investigation concluded that a policy

violation occurred (and which policy term was violated, i.e. harassment, hazing and/or bullying);

3.   that federal privacy law prevents disclosure of any discipline imposed as a result of the investigation unless the

eligible student consents to such disclosure, pursuant to 34

CFR Part 99.30, as set forth in Section II, Part C, above.

ii.   Notify the Complainant Student - or if a minor, their parent(s) or guardian - in writing of their rights to:

1.   an internal review by the school of its initial determination as a result of its investigation as to whether harassment


2.  request an Independent Review of the school’s “final” determination as to whether harassment occurred within thirty (30) days of the final determination or although a “final” determination was made that harassment indeed occurred the school’s response to that harassment was inadequate to correct the problem; and that the review will be conducted by an investigator to be selected by the superintendent from a list developed by the Agency of Education;

3.  file complaints of harassment with either the Vermont Human Rights Commission and/or the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

iii.   Notify the Accused Student – or if a minor, their parent(s) or

guardian - in writing of their right to appeal as set forth in Section V

of these procedures.

I.        Violations of Other Policies. In cases where the investigation has identified other conduct that may constitute a violation of other school disciplinary policies or codes of conduct, the designated employee shall report such conduct to the school administrator for action in accordance with relevant school policies or codes of conduct.

IV.          Responding to Substantiated Claims

A.  Scope of Response. After a final determination that  an act(s) of  hazing, harassment and/or bullying  has been committed, the school shall take prompt and appropriate disciplinary and/or remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the hazing, harassment and/or bullying  and prevent any recurrence of harassment, hazing and/or bullying, and remedy its effects on the victim(s). In so doing, the following should be considered:

(i) Potential Remedial Actions. Remedial action may include but not be limited to an age appropriate warning, reprimand, education, training and counseling, transfer, suspension, and/or expulsion of a student, and warning, reprimand, education, training and counseling, transfer, suspension and/or termination of an employee. A series of escalating consequences may be necessary if the initial steps are ineffective in stopping the hazing, harassment and/or bullying. To prevent recurrences counseling for the offender may be appropriate to ensure that he or she

effects it can have. Depending on how widespread the hazing/harassment/bullying was and whether there have been any prior incidents, the school may need to provide training for the larger school community to ensure that students, parents and teachers can recognize hazing/harassment/bullying if it recurs and know how to respond.

(ii) School Access/Environment Considerations. The District will also take efforts to support victims’ access to the District’s programs, services and activities and consider and implement school-wide remedies, where appropriate. Accordingly, steps will be taken to eliminate any hostile and/or threatening environment that has been created. For example, if a female student has been subjected to harassment/bullying by a group of other students in a class, the school may need to deliver special training or other interventions for that class to repair the educational environment. If the school offers the student the option of withdrawing from a class in which a hostile environment/bullying occurred, the District will assist the student in making program or schedule changes and ensure that none of the changes adversely affect the student’s academic record. Other measures may include, if appropriate, directing a bully/harasser to apologize to the affected student. If a hostile environment has affected the entire school or campus, an effective response may need to include dissemination of information, the issuance of new policy statements or other steps that are designed to clearly communicate the message that the school does not tolerate harassment and/or bullying and will be

responsive to any student who reports that conduct.

(iii)Hazing Case Considerations. Appropriate penalties or sanctions or both for organizations that or individuals who engage in hazing and revocation or suspension of an organization’s permission to operate or exist within the institution’s purview if that organization knowingly permits, authorizes, or condones hazing.

(iv) Other Remedies: Other remedies may include providing counseling to the victim(s) and/or the perpetrator(s), and additional safety planning measures for the victim(s).

B.  Retaliation Prevention. It is unlawful for any person to retaliate against a person who has filed a complaint of harassment or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the harassment complaint. A person may violate this anti-retaliation provision regardless of whether the underlying complaint of harassment is substantiated.

The District will take reasonable steps to prevent any retaliation against the student who made the complaint (or was the subject of the harassment), against the person who filed a complaint on behalf of a student, or against those who provided information as witnesses. At a minimum, this includes making sure

that the students and their parents, and those witnesses involved in the school’s investigation, know how to report any subsequent problems and making follow- up inquiries to see if there are have been any new incidents or any retaliation.

C.  Alternative Dispute Resolution. At all stages of the investigation and determination process, school officials are encouraged to make available to complainants alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, for resolving complaints. Certain considerations should be made before pursuing alternative dispute resolution methods, including, but not limited to:

(1) the nature of the accusations (for example, face-to-face mediation is not appropriate for sexual violence cases), (2) the age of the complainant and the accused individual, (3) the agreement of the complainant, and (4) other relevant factors such as any disability of the target or accused individual, safety issues, the relationship and relative power differential between the target and accused individual, or any history of repeated misconduct/harassment by the accused individual.

V.            Post Investigative Reviews

Rights of Complainants

A.  Internal Review of Initial Harassment Determinations By Complainant.

A complainant or parent of a complainant may request internal review by the District of a designee’s initial determination (following investigation) that harassment has not occurred via written request submitted to the District superintendent. All levels of internal review of the investigator’s initial determination, and the issuance of a final decision, shall, unless special circumstances are present and documented by the District, be completed within

30 calendar days after review is requested.

B.  Independent Reviews of Final Harassment Determinations By Complainant.

A complainant may request an independent review within thirty (30) days of a

final determination if s/he: (1) is dissatisfied with the final determination as to whether harassment occurred, or (2) believes that although a final determination was made that harassment occurred, the school’s response was inadequate to correct the problem.

The complainant shall make such a request in writing to the superintendent of schools within thirty (30) days of a final determination. Upon such request, the superintendent shall promptly initiate an independent review by a neutral person as described under 16 V.S.A. § 570a.(b)(1) and shall cooperate with the independent reviewer so that s/he may proceed expeditiously. The review shall consist of an interview of the complainant and relevant school officials and a review of the written materials from the school’s investigation.

Upon completion of the independent review, the reviewer shall advise the

complainant and school officials in writing: (1) as to the sufficiency of the school’s

investigation, its determination, and/or the steps taken by the school to correct any harassment found to have occurred, and (2) of recommendations of any steps the school might take to prevent further harassment from occurring.  A copy of the independent review report shall be sent to the Secretary of Education.

The reviewer shall advise the student of other remedies that may be available if the student remains dissatisfied and, if appropriate, may recommend mediation or other alternative dispute resolution. The independent reviewer shall be considered an agent of the school for the purpose of being able to review confidential student records. The costs of the independent review shall be borne by the District. The District may request an independent review at any stage of the process.

C.  Rights to Alternative Harassment Complaint Process. In addition to, or as an alternative to filing a harassment complaint pursuant to this policy, a person may file a harassment complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission or the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education at the addresses noted below:

Vermont Human Rights Commission

14-16 Baldwin Street

Montpelier, VT 05633-6301

(800) 416-2010 or (802) 828-2480 (voice) (877) 294-9200 (tty)

(802) 828-2481 (fax)


Office for Civil Rights, Boston Office

U.S. Department of Education

8th Floor

5 Post Office Square

Boston, MA 02109-3921

617-289-0111 (voice)

877-521-2172 (tdd)

617-289-0150 (fax)


Rights of Accused Students

A.  Appeal. Any person determined to have engaged in an act(s) of hazing, harassment and/or bullying may appeal the determination and/or any related disciplinary action(s) taken, directly to the school board of the school district. The school board shall conduct a review on the record. The standard of review by the school board shall be whether the finding that an act(s) of hazing, harassment, and/or bullying has been committed constitutes an abuse of discretion by the school level fact finder. Appeals should be made to the school board within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the determination that an act(s) of hazing, harassment

and/or bullying has occurred and/or any announced discipline.  The school board shall set the matter for a review hearing at the next scheduled school board meeting to the extent practicable, but not later than 30 days from receipt of the appeal filing.

B.  Accused Student/Appellant Access to Investigative Reports/Findings. The school district shall make available upon request of the Accused Student/Appellant, any relevant information, documents, materials, etc. related to the investigation and related finding on appeal that can be redacted and de-identified in compliance with the requirements set forth at 34 CFR Part 99. For those documents that cannot be provided due to the requirements set forth at 34 CFR Part 99, when an Accused Student/Appellant seeks a review on the record before the school board of the

school district, a school administrator may seek the consent of the parent/guardian of the targeted student, or the accused eligible targeted student (if 18 or older, the targeted student has the ability to consent), in order to inform the accused student of the findings which gave rise to the school’s determination that an act(s) of harassment, hazing, and/or bullying  occurred. The parent/guardian or eligible student shall provide a signed and dated written consent before an educational agency or institution discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records.

VI.          Confidentiality and Record Keeping

A.            Privacy Concerns. The privacy of the complainant, the accused individual, and the witnesses shall be maintained consistent with the District’s obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to comply with laws governing the disclosure of student records or other applicable discovery or disclosure obligations.

i.  Concerns Related to Harassment Complaints.  The scope of appropriate response to a harassment complaint may depend upon whether a student or parent of a minor student reporting the harassment asks that the student’s name not be disclosed to the harasser or that nothing be done about the alleged harassment. In all cases, school officials will discuss confidentiality standards and concerns with the complainant initially. The school will inform the student that a confidentiality request may limit the school’s ability to respond. The school will remind the student that both federal Title IX and Vermont Title 9 prevent retaliation and that if he or she is afraid of reprisals from the alleged harasser, the school will takes steps to prevent retaliation and will take strong action if retaliation occurs. If the student continues to ask that his or her name not be revealed, the school should take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the student’s request as long as doing so does not prevent the school from responding effectively to the harassment and preventing harassment of other students.

The school will evaluate the confidentiality request in the context of its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. The factors the school might consider in this regard include the seriousness of the alleged harassment, the age of the student harassed, whether there have been other complaints or reports of harassment against the alleged harasser, and the rights of the accused individual to receive information about the accuser and the allegations if a formal proceeding with sanctions may result. If information about the incident is contained in an “education record” of the student alleging the harassment, as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232g, the school will consider whether FERPA prohibits it from disclosing information without the student’s consent.

B.            Document Maintenance. The Superintendent or school administrator shall assure that a record of any complaint, its investigation and disposition, as well as any disciplinary or remedial action taken following the completion of the investigation, is maintained by the District in a confidential file accessible

only to authorized persons. All investigation records, including but not limited to, the complaint form, interview notes, additional evidence, and the investigative report, shall be kept by the Equity Coordinator, Designated Employees and District/Supervisory Union Central Office for at least six years after the investigation is completed.

VII.        Reporting to Other Agencies

A.  Reports to Department of Children and Families.  When a complaint made pursuant to this policy includes allegations of child abuse, any person responsible for reporting suspected child abuse under 33 V.S.A. § 4911, et seq. must report the allegation to the Commissioner of DCF. If the victim is over the age of 18 and a report of abuse is warranted, the report shall be made to Adult Protective Services in accordance with 33 V.S.A. § 6901 et seq.

B.  Reports to Vermont Agency of Education.  If a harassment complaint is made in a public school about conduct by a licensed educator that might be grounds under Vermont law for licensing action, the principal shall report the alleged conduct to the Superintendent and the Superintendent shall report the alleged conduct to the Commissioner. If a harassment complaint is made in an independent school about conduct by a licensed educator that might be grounds under Vermont law for licensing action, the head of school is encouraged to report the alleged conduct to the Secretary of Education.

C.  Reporting Incidents to Police

a.   FERPA Rights. Information obtained and documented by school

administration regarding the school’s response to notice of student

conduct that may constitute hazing, harassment and/or bullying may constitute an “educational record” regarding the student or student(s) involved as defined by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Accordingly, such information may not be disclosed without prior parent approval to local law enforcement except in response to a lawfully issued subpoena, or in connection with an emergency if disclosure is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

b.  First Hand Reports. Nothing in this policy shall preclude persons from reporting incidents and/or conduct witnessed first-hand that may be considered to be a criminal act to law enforcement officials.

c.   Hazing Incidents. It is unlawful to (1) engage in hazing; (2) solicit direct, aid, or attempt to aid, or abet another person engaged in hazing; or (3) knowingly fail to take reasonable measures within the scope of the person’s authority to prevent hazing.  It is not a defense in an action under this section that the person against whom the hazing was directed

consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity. Hazing incidents will be reported to the police in a manner consistent with the confidentiality rights set forth above in this section.

D. Continuing Obligation to Investigate. Reports made to either DCF or law enforcement shall not be considered to absolve the school administrators of their obligations under this policy to pursue and complete an investigation upon receipt of notice of conduct which may constitute hazing, harassment and/or bullying.

VIII.  Disseminating Information, Training, and Data Reporting

A.            Disseminating Information. Annually, prior to the commencement of curricular and co-curricular activities, the District shall provide notice of this policy and procedures to students, custodial parents or guardians of students, and staff members, including references to the consequences of misbehavior contained in the plan required by 16 V.S.A. 1161a. Notice to students shall be in age-appropriate language and include examples of hazing, harassment and bullying. At a minimum, this notice shall appear in any publication of the District that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for the District.

B.            Student Training. The school administrator shall use his/her discretion in developing age-appropriate methods of discussing the meaning and substance of this policy with students to help prevent hazing, harassment and bullying.

C.             Staff Training. The board or its designee shall ensure that teachers and other staff receive training in preventing, recognizing and responding to hazing, harassment and bullying.

D.            Data Gathering. Public school districts shall provide the Vermont Agency of Education with data requested by the Secretary of Education.

Legal References:

Title V, Section B, 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 et seq.; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000d;

Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.;

Family Education Rights Privacy Act; 20 U.S.C. §1232g; Public Accommodations Act, 9 V.S.A. §§4500 et seq.;

Education, Classifications and Definitions, 16 V.S.A. §11(26);(30)(A);(32);

Education, 16 V.S.A. §140(a)(1); Education, 16 V.S.A. §166(e); Education, Bullying, 16 V.S.A. §570c;

Education, Harassment, Hazing and Bullying, 16 V.S.A. § 570; Education, Harassment, 16 V.S.A. §570a;

Education, Harassment, 16 V.S.A. §570c;

Education, Harassment, 16 V.S.A. §570f; Education, Hazing, 16 V.S.A. §570b; Education, Hazing, 16 V.S.A. §570f Education, Discipline, 16 V.S.A. §1161a;

Education, Suspension or Expulsion of Pupils; 16 V.S.A. §1162;

Child Abuse, 33 V.S.A. §§4911 et seq.;

Adult Protective Services, 33 V.S.A. §6901 et seq., all as they may be amended from time to time.

Washington v. Pierce, 179 VT 318 (2005)

Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union

Meal Charge Procedure

The OSSU is committed to providing the opportunity for all students to access nutritious meals in a cost effective manner.

It is the expectation of our organization that:

Our food service operations are based on debit (pay upfront) not credit (pay after purchase)

In recognition of the fact that students (and staff) may occasionally forget their money and that this can be both embarrassing and stressful for students, this policy sets forth the procedures for handling meal charges while being both sensitive to student needs and mindful of the fiscal responsibilities of the school meals program.

Students who do not have money in their account or who do not bring money for meals will be permitted to charge a maximum of five meals under the following conditions:

After the first charge:

After the fifth charge:

It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to provide for the nourishment of his/her child during the school day either by sending the child with a meal from home, applying for free and reduced meals or by making the necessary provisions for the student to purchase school meals.

If a student should receive five emergency meals the situation will be investigated by the school liaison/counselor or other authorized person to help establish eligibility for free and reduced price meals.  The principal may refer some situations to the Superintendent of Schools for further action.

Adults who do not have money in their accounts or who do not bring money for meals will be permitted to charge a maximum of one meal.  Payment will be expected the following day.