Milton Independent - Test

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INTERACTIVE: How many students enrolled in home study due to COVID-19?

BRIDGET HIGDON Staff Writer​ ​ ​Updated

In July, the Milton Town School District announced it would join other area districts in reopening using a hybrid learning approach. In this model, students currently attend school in-person two days a week and virtually three days a week.

Before the school year began, families had to answer an important question: during a pandemic, what form of education is best for my student?

Here's an overview of how Milton families answered:

(Hover over the chart for totals and percentages)

While the majority of Milton families chose to participate in hybrid-learning, others chose the district’s 100% virtual learning option, withdrew to private school, or opted for enrollment in home study, in order to meet their specific needs.

A total of 112 students are utilizing the district-supported 100% virtual option. These students are still assigned a MTSD teacher and follow the same curriculum as those in hybrid learning, but do not step foot on the school campus.

The total number of students who withdrew from MTSD to participate in home study this year increased, but is on par with trends statewide.

During the 2019-20 school year, 41 MTSD students, or 24 families enrolled in home-schooling. As of Sept. 24 2020, 73 students, or 44 families withdrew from the district for home-schooling.

Here is the breakdown of students by school:

“Content-wise, it’s more difficult to complete home study at the high school level, and therefore we usually see fewer students,” Superintendent Amy Rex said during the Sept. 24 school board meeting. 

The Vermont Agency of Education reported there are 4,409 students enrolled in home study this year statewide as of Sept. 21. Additionally, the AOE home study team is processing enrollment paperwork for an additional 281 students.

This is more than double the number of Vermont students who enrolled in home study last year. In September 2019, only 2,140 students were enrolled in home study.

“The team is doing regular runs of the data on home study, but the team is also very busy processing the increased number of enrollments,” Ted Fisher, AOE’s COVID-19 response manager, stated in a Sept. 28 email to the Independent

Reasons for shifting to home study differ by family, but health and safety or child care concerns are almost certainly a factor.

“Certainly, the hybrid approach has challenged families and it’s easier for many elementary school families to find other options in terms of care and consistency of education,” Rex said. “That’s why we see an uptick there.”

Should MTSD be able to increase its capacity for in-person, home study students can re-enroll in the district at any time as well as the majority of those who are 100% virtual, Rex said. High school students who are currently 100% virtual can switch to hybrid learning at the end of the first semester, or half way through the year.

News

Girl Scouts raise nearly $2,000 during yard sale and bottle collection

BRIDGET HIGDON Staff Writer​ ​ ​Updated

MILTON — Girl Scout Troop 60336 stood up and stood for a cause Saturday by conducting a multi-part fundraiser to benefit food service at Milton Elementary School. 

The troop hosted a yard, cookie and bake sale, as well as a bottle collection, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 26 and raised an estimated $2,000 for the school. The money will be used to pay off some of the debt MES incurred while providing meals to families in need.

Girl Scouts raise nearly $2,000 during yard sale and bottle collection

Courtesy Victoria Herman

Troop 60336 is a group of Daisies, made up of 11 girls in grades Kindergarten thru second. The troop has thee co-leaders: Victoria Herman, Willow Longo and Jamie-Lyn Fletcher. 

Saturday's fundraiser continued a theme for the troop of learning about food insecurity. Last year, the troop held a food drive, and earlier this this fall, the group heard from a representative of Hunger Free Vermont. 

This project helps the girls work towards their Solidarity badge, which introduces them to the concepts of inclusion and being an upstander. 

"Raising awareness and money to pay down the school lunch debt is a good example of being an upstander," Herman said. 

Twelve parent volunteers were present throughout the day, including Dawn Lathrop, who was in Girl Scouts herself at a young age and is excited her daughter enjoys her time in the troop. 

Girl Scouts raise nearly $2,000 during yard sale and bottle collection

Courtesy Dawn Lathrop

After the fundraiser, volunteers took two trailers and station wagons full of bottles to Winooski and another three truck beds of bottles to St. Albans. Herman said more community members have bottles to donate and they might make another trip to the drop-off site later this week. 

In addition to the bottles collected, Milton residents also donated nonperishable food items. Those will be brought to the food shelf at the Milton Family Community Center. 

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