At the Harwood Unified Union School District’s (HUUSD) May 25 school board meeting Life LeGeros was appointed to the open Duxbury seat until Town Meeting Day in March 2023. There remains an open seat from Fayston. LeGeros is an educator currently working as the professional development coordinator at Tarrant Institute. He is the father of two children who will be students at Crossett Brook Middle School next year. “Huge shout-out to our educators,” LeGeros began. He noted participating in many district events and programs since moving to Duxbury in 2015. Previously, he’d been a middle school math teacher in Massachusetts. He has also coached soccer and enjoys playing in local adult leagues. He is on the steering team for the Waterbury Area Antiracism Coalition. “Equity is my core value,” he said, noting that he is process-oriented. He said he wants to be involved because the school board would be “a great platform to connect with people across our community . . . We have amazing, amazing educators here. It’s a really special place.”
Student representatives Maddie Thibault, Maisie Franke, and Jeswin Antony gave a presentation about many positive things happening at Harwood these days, from spring sports -- tennis, baseball/softball, lacrosse, and track and field -- to the second of a series of student-led dialogues. Harwood students have raised more than $3,000 in fundraisers for Ukrainian relief such as penny wars, a T-shirt sale, the National Honor Society’s bake sale and a dunk tank in which students bought tickets to dunk their teachers.
Last week was Harwood’s spirit week, during which the school held fun competitions such as the battle of the bands, poetry, murals and music videos. Themes included Adam Sandler, Pirates of the Caribbean, Gone Fishing and Despicable Me.
The entire Harwood Union High School student body participated in the second set of student-led dialogues which Maisie Franke said she and other students hope to continue next year. This was part two of the student-led dialogues on the school climate, such as whether students feel safe and trusted in school. Student rep Maisie Franke said the major takeaways from the dialogues included the need for communication and transparency, trust and freedom and safe spaces.
“People care, that was a really big thing I noticed,” said student rep Jeswin Antony. Both Franke and Antony were facilitators of these discussions, along with others. Antony noted that since the first all-school dialogue, incidences of vandalism had gone down in the school. He added that a new school hall monitor has reduced issues of vaping and what Antony called “nuisances” in bathrooms. “Things have changed in my eyes since the first dialogue,” he said.
Harwood director of facilities and operations Ray Daigle gave an update on the PCB testing that will be done over the next two years. PCBs are chemicals commonly found in buildings built prior to 1980. After finding the harmful chemicals at Burlington High School, causing the school to relocate, the state of Vermont will be testing all schools in the state built prior to 1980 over the next three years. The testing was originally slated to be complete by 2024, but the state has extended that timeline until 2025. It released a draft schedule for testing schools based on priority and risk. In the HUUSD, Warren School will be tested between July 1 and September 30, 2022. Fayston, Warren and Waitsfield elementary schools will be tested between October 1 and December 31, 2023. Harwood Union Middle/High School will be tested between April 1 and June 30, 2024, and Brookside Primary School will be tested between July 1 and July 31, 2024. Crossett Brook Middle School will not be tested for the chemicals, as it was built after 1980.
Daigle also gave an update on roof repairs to the Harwood building. The HUUSD has a contract with AC Hawthorne, which will begin the repairs starting the third week in July. Daigle said he anticipates the project taking about three weeks. He said they are unable to begin earlier due to delays in getting needed materials. He said that a flooring project in the school has been postponed due to the inability to get necessary materials from Europe.
The board also discussed hosting gatherings throughout The Valley this summer and early fall to introduce incoming superintendent “Dr. Mike” Leichliter to the community. The board tentatively decided to host events in July (his contract begins July 1), August, and September. It is coordinating those dates with Leichliter.