Education Join the Conversation


The Vermont Agency of Education partners with RETN and ORCA Media to produce our TV show, Education - Join the Conversation. We began filming our series in ORCA Media's studio in fall 2012. This year we will be taking the show on the road. Secretary Holcombe will be visiting schools, highlighting the good things happening in Vermont education system.


Improving learning for all Vermont students means providing opportunities for economic, intellectual, and social success; this goal is our single greatest obligation. From early childhood education to higher learning, dual enrollment to technical degree programs, Vermont’s educational initiatives are some of the most innovative in the United States. We invite you, the public, to be a part of the education conversation in our state.

  Accountability Model
Episode 17 - March 2014

What do we want our students to know and be able to do? How will we know if they have developed these capabilities? Recent experience shows we can't test our way into better schools.  What kind of accountability would support continuous improvements in learning across all the critical goals Vermonters have for our children? Secretary Holcombe will moderate a discussion around current federal policy related to school accountability, Vermont's goals for our students, and what an accountability model that better supports our goals for our children might look like. 

Roundtable Participants:

  • Rebecca Holcombe, Secretary, Vermont Agency of Education (VT-AOE)
  • Chris Case, Education Project Manager (VT-AOE)
  • Dan French, Superintendent, Bennington-Rutland SU
  • Carol Brigham, Board Chair, Rutland Northeast SU
  The Transition - Sec. Vilaseca Introduces Sec. Holcombe
Episode 16 - January 2014

Outgoing-Secretary Armando Vilaseca talks about his five-year tenure as the Commissioner of Education reporting to the State Board of Education and then the Secretary of Education reporting to the Governor. Incoming-Secretary Rebecca Holcombe talks about her goals for Vermont’s education system.

Roundtable Participants:

  • Armando Vilaseca, outgoing Secretary, Vermont Agency of Education (VT-AOE)
  • Rebecca Holcombe, incoming Secretary, Vermont Agency of Education (VT-AOE)
  Physical Education
Episode 15 - December 2013

Physical education (PE) is part of the required curriculum for all students in Vermont. An engaging, rigorous PE program is a key component of whole child development and contributes to high academic achievement in our public schools. Join us to learn how PE is evolving to account for research and health trends. Exemplary physical educators will describe their teaching and assessment practices and explain how a modern physical education program is designed to prepare students for a lifetime of healthful physical activity. We will close our segment with suggestions for how parents, board members and administrators can ensure the highest quality PE in their school.

Roundtable Participants:

  Vermont Educators Talk About the Common Core
Episode 14 - November 2013

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) set high expectations for students across the country. What does this look like in our Vermont classrooms? Listen as educators describe changes in classroom practice that are helping students to reach these new expectations.

Guests Include:

  Pre-K & Early Childhood Education
Episode 13 - October 2013

Publicly funded prekindergarten education (Pre-K) provides access to a quality early education experience for over 6,000 of Vermont's young children. Public Pre-K occurs in some of Vermont's elementary schools and through partnerships with Head Start programs, child care centers or family-based care, or private preschools. Regardless of type of program, public Pre-K must meet high program standards, address the Vermont Early Learning Standards, and employ a licensed early childhood educator.

Guests Include:

  Smarter Balanced Assessments & Common Core State Standards
Episode 12 - September 2013

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) assessments are a major topic of conversation within Vermont education circles and nationwide. They represent a change in how we measure student achievement, putting a new focus on better preparing students to make a successful transition from school to college or the workforce. Students will take the assessments on computers, which is a major change from current testing. The Smarter Balanced computer adaptive approach will provide parents and educators with a more accurate picture of students' progress while minimizing the amount of time students will need to spend on testing. Together, the new standards and assessments will provide schools with important new tools for making decisions about school programs and student progress.

Guests Include:

  Gender Equity in Career & Technical Education
Episode 11 - August 2013

Increasing awareness and opportunities for young women and men to participate in education, training, and employment in career fields that have historically been filled by a single gender is key to the strength and future of Vermont's economy. The regional technical and career centers throughout the state are required to address concerns related to gender equity and non-traditional participation in their programs. It's important for all students to understand the spectrum of opportunities that are available to them, regardless of sex, and the responsibility that educators and businesses have to ensure there are systems in place to support students in whatever field of study and work they choose.

Guests Include:

  Governor's Institutes of Vermont
Episode 10 - July 2013

The Governor's Institutes of Vermont (GIV) is a thirty-year-old statewide program providing 500 high school students each year with hands-on, intensive academic and creative study experiences at college campuses. All ten residential GIV Institutes are designed for students already passionate about an academic or artistic subject to explore it in much greater depth and engage with likeminded peers and experts in that field. GIV's mission is to empower young people with intensive, hands-on learning experiences in college settings which inspire their academic and creative passions, build confidence and leadership, and expand their sense of possibility. GIV is also a strong advocate for young women in STEM education and young men's academic achievement. Sliding scale tuition makes GIV affordable for any Vermont family.

Guests Include:

  Harassment & Bullying Prevention
Episode 9 - June 2013

The Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying Advisory Council (HHB Council) envisions inclusive, healthy, and collaborative learning environments for all Vermont schools that are free of bullying, hazing, and harassment. We value multicultural learning environments and school communities free of prejudice and discrimination, where all students and adults feel welcome, respected, safe, and empowered to promote fairness and quality on behalf of themselves and others.

Guests Include:

  Education Quality Standards
Episode 8 - May 2013

The Vermont State Board of Education oversees education quality in the State. This fall, they appointed a commission of practitioners to revise the education quality standards, State Board Rule 2100. These rules will guide a new education system, focused on personalized learning, flexible pathways to graduation, and high expectations for all students.

Guests Include:

  Extended Day Learning & Afterschool Programs
Episode 7 - April 2013

Vermont's afterschool and summertime programs that occur outside of the school day promote innovative learning opportunities and promote positive intellectual, physical, emotional and social growth. Afterschool and summer programs have exploded in recent years in both the public and private sector. There are more programs, sports, clubs, mentoring programs, school gardens, internships, co-curricula's, private studios, internet-based courses, non-profits, museums, local artists, and community educators involved with schools than ever before. Collaboration is key to the success and longevity of extended day learning and afterschool programs

Guests Include:

  League of Innovative Schools
Episode 6 - March 2013

The League of Innovative Schools (LIS) is a professional learning community of educators who work to improve secondary schools through collaboration, support, and the sharing of best practices. The LIS was organized by The New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC) to implement and expand transformative practices throughout our region. Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont are member states.

Guests Include:


  Understanding the Cost of Education
Episode 5 - February 2013

Vermont is unique in that it has a statewide property tax system (Act 60 and Act 68) in order to create equitable opportunities for our students no matter where in the state they live. This system allowed districts that had lacked adequate resources before Act 60 to add important programs. However, because the state's enrollment has been declining (and because we have very small districts) we have among the highest levels of per pupil spending in the United States. As a response, current legislation (Act 156 and Act 153) incentivizes schools to explore school district/supervisory union mergers and Regional Education Districts (RED) in an effort to reduce per pupil spending. As Vermont's enrollment numbers continue to drop, our schools can work together to provide services and create opportunities for our children.

Guests Include:

  • Bill Talbott, CFO & Deputy Secretary, Vermont Agency of Education
  • Marilyn Frederick, Business Manager, Lamoille North SU
  • Robin Pembroke, Business Manager, Orange Southwest SU.

  Dual Enrollment
Episode 4 - January 2013

Statewide, Vermont schools are working to provide students more challenging academic opportunities to prepare them for success in college and the workforce. In this series we will be exploring dual enrollment programs (earning college credit while in high school), flexible pathways to graduation (Career Technical Education/CTE, theme-centered schools), work-based learning (internships, cooperatives), career pathways and awareness.

Guests include:


  Celebrating Teachers
Episode 3 - December 2012

Each of us can recall a special teacher or teachers who impacted our lives in a profound way. Educators choose the profession because they want to be a positive force in children's lives. They celebrate learning, understand the importance of education, and are inspired by our youth. In this episode, Commissioner Armando Vilaseca is joined by a roundtable of educators, who have been honored for their excellence, to get a glimpse into their classrooms and teaching strategies.

Guests include:


  Let's Talk About Nutrition
Episode 2 - November 2012

In this episode, Commissioner Armando Vilaseca is joined by a roundtable of experts to discuss the USDA's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. They explore the challenges and opportunities the new nutrition standards have created, menu planning and collaboration, the farm-to-school movement, school gardens, and act H.234.

Guests include:


Episode 1 - October 2012
  In this first episode, Commissioner Armando Vilaseca introduces the purpose of "Education - Join the Conversation;" a vehicle for the public to become a part of the education conversation in Vermont.

CVTV (Central Vermont Television)

LCATV (Lake Champlain Access Television)



ORCA Media (Onion River Community Access Media)

RETN (Regional Educational Technology Network)

GNAT-TV (Greater Northshire Access Television)


Angela Ross at or (802) 479-1240

Page Last Updated on April 23, 2014