The Agency of Education recognizes Teacher Appreciation Day, May 5, 2020 with gratitude and admiration for Vermont educators.
Message from Secretary French
Happy National Teacher Day and Teacher Appreciation Week! More than ever, I am impressed by your ingenuity, your resilience, your passion and your strength, as we have navigated unprecedented challenges over the past two months. Now more than ever, I am proud to be a Vermont educator, and grateful to have such wonderful colleagues in all of you.
Usually Teacher Appreciation Week falls during one of the last weeks of the legislative session. In past years, some of my staff on the communications team have walked through the State House with a white board, gathering messages of thanks from legislators, the Governor and other state leaders. Of course, that isn’t happening this year, as the General Assembly, like all of us, is exploring new virtual ways of conducting business.
But now, more than ever, we have cause to be grateful for your efforts. Last week, during an all AOE virtual meeting, many AOE staff expressed their admiration and gratitude, and a desire to express that directly to you. You’ll find their messages below, from divisions, teams and individuals, thanking you for your efforts.
These past few months have been hard. You and your colleagues have had to transition from your normal teaching practice to remote learning, setting up new lesson plans, devising and recording instructional videos, preparing materials, and finding new ways to check in on and connect with your students. And all of you have done this while juggling the effects of COVID-19 on your family and personal lives as well. As a parent and the spouse of an educator, I have seen firsthand the challenges you have faced.
But you have achieved great things despite the hardship. I’ve been hearing many stories from superintendents, principals and CTE directors about your incredible efforts, the great innovations and new practices you are pioneering, and the new partnerships and relationships you are forging as you work to provide for your students. You are using existing resources and tools in new ways, and developing systems and practices that are wholly new, and will continue to provide benefits down the road. And many of you are also stepping up to support your wider communities as well.
At AOE we will continue to work hard to support you, and provide your districts and schools the resources they need to sustain this period of remote learning. I’m proud of our efforts – we’ve worked hard to forge new partnerships, with Vermont PBS, and Vermont Public Radio to provide education programming over the airwaves and online. And we’ve renewed and expanded existing partnerships, like with the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative. We will continue to pursue these kinds of resources, so that you have as many tools in your toolbox as possible.
While there have been many challenges and are more still to come, I am impressed by, and grateful for, your efforts and your ingenuity. We still have much work to do, to continue remote learning through the remainder of the pandemic, and to provide the supports students will need during the recovery. But the things we have learned, and the innovations you have pioneered, will not soon leave us. We are building new structures and practices that will last beyond COVID-19, and will benefit Vermont students for many years to come.
-Dan French, Secretary of Education
Message from Deputy Secretary Bouchey
Thank you to everyone who is stepping up to ensure our students are staying healthy and safe, and continuing to learn, during COVID-19. Many educators and essential workers are balancing the challenging demands of simultaneously teaching/working and parenting. I want to acknowledge this difficult work, particularly as we are all navigating uncharted waters together.
I am not surprised by the speed, innovation, creativity, brilliance, sensitivity and care that I have repeatedly seen Vermont’s educators demonstrate during this crisis. It’s illustrative of the way we always operate in Vermont. Education may look different right now, but the commitment and care that you all provide students and families is an ever-present part of our statewide education system. Please accept my sincere gratitude and acknowledgement of your hard work, initiative, and flexibility. Be healthy and well!
- Heather Bouchey, Deputy Secretary of Education
Messages from AOE Divisions / Teams
Thank you to all of you for your exceptional dedication to Vermont’s children and families during this very difficult time. We are so very grateful to you all.
- Federal and Education Support Programs Division
The Education Quality Team would like to acknowledge the continued great work of Vermont’s teachers. You provide leadership and strength to us all through your example. Always moving forward, being inventive (continually improving!), remaining dedicated. You remind us that all of our work at the AOE is ultimately about what is best for students. You hold the torch for students as they wait to return to face-to-face teaching and learning with you. Stay strong, be well, and know we appreciate all you do. And let us know if there are additional ways that we can support your work. Courage!
-Education Quality Division
Happy Teacher Appreciation Day from the Career and Technical Education Team. Thanks for your flexibility, resourcefulness, creativity, and kindness. We are always grateful for the work that you do, but at this particular moment in time, we are even more appreciative for your work and your caring for students.
- CTE Team, Student Pathways Division
We appreciate how teachers are going above and beyond proficiency during this time of remote learning!
Thank you for rising to the occasion and demonstrating perseverance and resilience so that you can meet the needs of your students!
We love how you are exploring authentic learning opportunities, allowing for student-designed assessment, and embracing technology!
-Proficiency-Based Learning Team, Student Pathways Division
Early Childhood Educators and Early Childhood Special Educators THANK YOU for your dedication and passion to children and families not only during this time but always. Know that your work is recognized and appreciated on a daily basis even though you may not feel that pat on the back—it's there.
- Early Childhood Education Team, Student Support Services Division
The AOE Special Education Team appreciates the tireless efforts of all its creative, innovative, and passionate educators teaching our children and youth with disabilities. We had the opportunity to go on a virtual listening tour with Special Education Directors and came away completely inspired and in awe of the excellent work with students and support to families. Thank you for going above and beyond as change agents and reflective practitioners.
- Special Education Team, Student Support Services Division
We appreciate your work to put the social-emotional needs of Vermont students first through your work to foster relationships, communicate with families, and engage in innovative ways to support learning.
- VTmtss Team, Student Support Services Division
Thank you to all Vermont's teachers. We appreciate your hard work every day to inspire and care for all our students. As a legal team, we are especially mindful that an informed, engaged civil society cannot exist without you. You have our sincere gratitude today and every day.
- AOE Legal Team
As storytellers we always love to see and share the awesome work that Vermont educators do. While times are hard right now, we’re seeing so many wonderful stories about teachers going above and beyond for Vermont students. You are doing so many new and inspiring things, and we are so grateful for your efforts!
- AOE Communications Team
Messages from AOE Staff
A few weeks back, I ran in to my favorite high school math teacher in the grocery store. She said she was “working harder than she ever has and way out of her comfort zone.”
I know that she is not the only one. THANK YOU to all the teachers working harder than ever and in different ways that are challenging and sometimes uncomfortable. THANK YOU.
- Maureen, Office of the Secretary
Vermont Educators: You inspire me every day of every year but you've all gone above and beyond these past few months. Please take care of yourselves and know how much you're appreciated.
- Tracy, Student Support Services Division
For some students, you are the only constant in an ever-changing and unpredictable world. Thank you for all that you do for our young Vermonters!
- Emily, Student Pathways Division
For those of us in education, we know how essential our schools are to our American way of life. Now, all of America knows how essential all of you are to everything we do in this country. This crisis has demonstrated our schools are so much more than places of learning: nutrition, community support, social and emotional pillars (sports, clubs, plays, activities bringing whole communities together for a common purpose)…essential for all of us.
- Clare, Legal Team
To my friends and colleagues in the field: Thank you. This unimaginable and unprecedented scenario has brought out the best in all of you. While the loss of our physical classroom environment is disheartening, the work you are doing matters and will be remembered.
-Andrew, Education Quality Division
To all of the teachers and school staff who are navigating their way through teaching and supporting students during this time:
Your efforts have not gone unnoticed and this would be so much harder on students and their families without your diligence and determination to make distance learning work.
On this National Teacher Appreciation Day I would like to say THANK YOU!
-Tonya, Student Support Services Division
Thank you for your amazing efforts and awesome creativity in pressing on to educate Vermont’s students. Keep up the great work!
-Beth-Ann, Data Management and Analysis Division