Weekly Field Memo

The Agency of Education created the weekly field memo to keep subscribers up-to-date with current education policy, state-wide education initiatives, and official messages from the AOE. The field memo may also include education-related items from other state agencies. And at our discretion, we may include other events or information from other organizations not directly affiliated with the AOE. The field memo is not intended to serve as a newsletter.

Volume 11, Issue 41

11 October 2017

New Physical Education Assessment

Audience: Teachers, Teacher Leaders, Curriculum Coordinators, Principals
As Vermont works to implement an accountability system that better reflects the state’s education priorities as stated in Education Quality Standards, changes will need to be made at the state and local level. One such change is the implementation of Physical Education assessments. Read the full Physical Education Assessment memo. The AOE selected FitnessGram to serve as its statewide physical education assessment for state and federal accountability purposes. FitnessGram is a non-competitive fitness assessment and is currently the most widely used fitness assessment tool nationally. FitnessGram will be field tested statewide in the 2017-2018 school year. And it will be formally incorporated into the state’s accountability system beginning in 2018-2019. Learn more and read the FAQ for Physical Education Assessment.
Contact: Susan Yesalonia at susan.yesalonia@vermont.gov or Michael Hock at michael.hock@vermont.gov

Vermont Graduation Readiness Tool for IEP Teams

Audience: Special Educators, Parents, General Educators, Guidance Counselors, Voc Rehab Transition Counselors
The Vermont Graduation Readiness Tool is designed to address a long-standing challenge for IEP teams in VT, which is, how to determine the graduation date for students with disabilities particularly students with developmental disabilities. Sometimes students graduate too soon and sometimes much later than necessary. VT AOE has coordinated an effort in developing a tool to help IEP teams decide on the date of graduation in a quantitative manner. Graduation readiness is more than just meeting the local proficiencies for graduation and this tool can help teams ensure their student has had preparation that is aligned with their specific needs to be successful after high school.
Contact: John Spinney, Post-Secondary Transition Coordinator, at john.spinney@vermont.gov

MTSS Component Focus: Comprehensive Assessment and Well-Designed Professional Learning/Expertise

Audience: Vermont Educators
These are the final two documents in a five-part series that provides useful information for effectively implementing a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) in Vermont schools. The Vermont (MTSS-RtII) Field Guide contains all five of the components that will be addressed. On its newly-designed MTSS web pages, the team presents the final two components for building and sustaining a multi-tiered system of supports for all students: Comprehensive Assessment and Well-Designed Professional Learning/Expertise.
Contact: Richard Boltax, Education Coordinator (MTSS), at (802) 479-1399 or richard.boltax@vermont.gov

Vermont Curriculum Leaders Association: How Can We Create Equitable Learning Environments in our Schools?

Audience: Curriculum Leaders
The theme for the 2017 – 2018 Vermont Curriculum Leaders Association (VTCLA) meetings is equity. The first meeting will take place on November 3, 2017 at Lake Morey from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will begin with a welcome by Secretary Holcombe in which she will share her thoughts about equity as an ethical and economical imperative for Vermont. Participants will then examine ways to determine if programs and offerings within their schools are truly equitable. A discussion focused on the Introduction of Building Equity: Policies and Practices to Empower All Learners will continue to build a collective understanding of integral components of an equitable and excellent schooling experience. All meetings take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register for VTCLA.
Contacts: Pat Fitzsimmons at pat.fitzsimmons@vermont.gov or Andy Kepes at akepes@rnesu.org

Governor's School Safety Conference

Audience: Administrators, Teachers, Counselors, Mental Health Providers, School Crisis Planning Team Members, Law Enforcement, School Resource Officers, Those Interested in School Safety
Education Secretary Holcombe and Public Safety Commissioner Anderson are pleased to announce the Governor’s School Safety Conference to be held on November 30, 2017 at the Sheraton, Burlington, VT. The all-day conference is designed to inform participants of the best and promising practices in school emergency preparedness. Schools are strongly encouraged to attend this conference with their local emergency management officials and emergency first responders to build or enhance their school crisis planning capacity. This conference will provide educational tracks that will include but are not limited to: managing the media and crisis communication, how to conduct an effective school safety exercise, the impacts of trauma after a critical incident, tactical emergency medicine and much more. Register for Governor’s School Safety Conference.
Contact: Lucille Chicoine at lucille.chicoine@vermont.gov

School Traumatic Brain Injury Survey Results

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Athletic Directors, Athletic Trainers, Coaches, School Nurses
In May 2017, the Vermont Department of Health, in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education and the Brain Injury Association of Vermont, distributed a survey to all Vermont schools.  The purpose of the survey was to gather information from school administrators, athletic trainers, coaches, and nurses related to concussion policies, concussion management plans, and concussion-related data collection.  Following an outstanding 98% response rate, the Health Department compiled a report highlighting the main findings and areas of action identified by the survey.  Please review the School Traumatic Brain Injury Survey Results.
Contact: Tanya Wells at tanya.wells@vermont.gov or Lauren Prinzing at lauren.prinzing@partner.vermont.gov

Informational Webinars: Farm to School Grant Program

Audience: All
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) is pleased to announce the release of two new Farm to School grant opportunities for 2018. New this year, both Farm to School grant opportunities are available to childcare providers as well as schools.VAAFM will host two webinars for potential applicants. We strongly encourage someone from your team to join the appropriate webinar, as it will cover details of this Request for Applications and tips and tricks for navigating our online grants management system. These interactive webinars will provide the opportunity to ask questions. The webinars will be recorded and posted on our website afterward. 

Contact: Ali Zipparo, at (802) 505-1822 or alexandra.zipparo@vermont.gov

Courtesy Postings

The views, opinions, and resources shared in this section of the WFM are solely those of the original contributors. The Agency of Education does not endorse the views expressed by these contributors and reserves the right to refuse submissions. Questions related to any of these resources should be directed to the organizations, people and opportunities as shared.

Vermont History Day State Contest Materials Now Available

Do you want to engage your students in historical research and skills development? Students in grades 5-12 are encouraged to create projects for the Vermont History Day State Contest, April 7, 2018 at Montpelier High School. Curriculum materials are now available from the Vermont Historical Society. Projects can be about any topic in history (not just Vermont history) related to the annual theme of “Conflict and Compromise in History.”  Learn more at the educator workshop on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in Montpelier. Find workshop details and register for the Vermont History Day State Contest.
Contact: Victoria Hughes, Vermont Historical Society, at victoria.hughes@vermonthistory.org

K-12 Benchmarks for Informative Writing

The Vermont Writing Collaborative is delighted to announce the arrival of new K-12 benchmarks for informative writing. All of these pieces come from classroom curriculum and are rooted in the Writing for Understanding, common sense recognition that students need a solid understanding of both content and structure/craft if they are going to be able to write proficiently. On the first day, November 6, 2017, we will work closely with those benchmarks (with hot-off-the-press new PD protocols for you to take back to your school). On the second day, November 7, 2017, educators are invited to actively use these benchmarks to analyze student work for instructional needs, and to score it – so, bring a set of your own student work (or we'll supply some if you don't have any). Both sessions will take place at Lake Morey Resort from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The cost is $200 for the first day or $350 for both days. Special room rates are available Lake Morey Resort. Register for K-12 Benchmarks for Informative Writing.
Contact: Joey Hawkins at joeylornell@gmail.com

Mosaic Student Summit Facilitator's Training

The Mosaic Learning Center is offering a two-day Student Summit Facilitator Certification Training on November 3, 2017 and February 15, 2018 at the Howard Center in Burlington for anyone interested in learning how to coordinate a Student Summit.  The Mosaic Student Summit is a planning tool designed to help teams engage in long-range planning for students, focused on amplifying strengths and supporting areas of challenge. The Mosaic Student Summit is founded on the premise that we excel by amplifying strengths not by simply fixing weaknesses. Stories that highlight students’ moments of greatest success and joy in learning, whether academically or socially, offer invaluable insight for creating effective and meaningful instruction. Inevitably the images that arise from these stories are impactful, memorable and help us personally connect to a more focused purpose. By entering the design of students programs through a gateway of strength, we are able to more holistically support areas of challenge. Register for the Mosaic Student Summit Facilitator's Training.
Contact: Michelle Irish at michelle@mosaiclearningcenter.com

Enhancing Teacher's Classroom Management: Efficient and Effective Strategies Training

This half-day training will provide participants an opportunity to (a) reflect and assess current classroom and non-classroom management strategies, (b) learn and apply several low intensity classroom management strategies (ie. Opportunities to Respond, Behavior Specific Praise, and Instructional Choice, etc.), and (c) discuss systems that need to be in place to support classroom management in a school. An introduction to understanding the function of behavior will also be included. Participants are encouraged to attend in small teams. Morning refreshments will be served. This training will be held from 9 a.m. - noon on October 19, 2017 at the Hampton Inn in Colchester. The cost is $73. Learn more and register for Enhancing Teacher's Classroom Management.
Contact: Amy Wheeler-Sutton at amy.wheeler-sutton@uvm.edu

Teaching Artist Academy and Fellowship Program 

The Community Engagement Lab is now accepting applications for the 2018 Vermont Creative Schools Initiative Teaching Artist Academy & Fellowship Program with Director Eric Booth.Teaching artists, or classroom teachers who work as teaching artists at all levels in their career development are welcome to apply. The Academy will explore the best practices that ensure that classroom teacher/teaching artist partnerships thrive in real-world situations. Twenty2 applicants will be accepted, with all fees and expenses underwritten. Ten of the 20 accepted applicants will be selected as Fellows, to participate in extended Academy sessions with overnight lodging and meals provided, and be considered for a $5,200 Vermont Creative Schools Initiative teaching artist residency award. Participants can choose to earn three graduate credits (fees apply) or a 30-hour Certificate of Participation (free). Academy sessions are January 13-14, 2018 and March 24-25, 2018, at Lake Morey Resort. Applications are due November 15, 2017. Learn more and apply for Teaching Artist Academy and Fellowship Program.
Contact: Paul Gambill at paul@communityengagementlab.org

Orton-Gillingham: Advanced Morphology

This one-day workshop will teach morphology from basic prefixes and suffixes to Latin grid endings and Greek combining forms. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of free and bound morphemes, Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Greek derivations, and how to explicitly teach morphological awareness while also teaching vocabulary and grammar. Participants will receive 6.5 continuing education hours. This workshop counts toward Orton-Gillingham Certified training requirements. Come ready to dissect and play with words! Held at the Stern Center for Language and Learning in Williston, VT from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, October 23, 2017. This class is also available via distance learning through GoToWebinar. Register for Orton-Gillingham: Advanced Morphology.
Contact: Caitlin Niland, Intake Coordinator for Professional Learning, at (802) 878-2332 or proflearning@sterncenter.org

The Power of Meaningful Text: Behind the Book with Author Jacqueline Woodson

Join us for Partnerships for Literacy and Learning's inaugural event. We begin the day with a keynote by Jacqueline Woodson, author of "Brown Girl Dreaming," the Vermont READS 2017 Book of the Year. Afterwards, registrants can choose from a selection of break out strands connected to our theme and led by amazing Vermont educators. A closing reception will launch and celebrate Partnerships for Literacy and Learning. We will meet on October 23, from 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Essex Resort and Spa in Essex Junction, VT.  Learn more, view a list of the breakout sessions and register for The Power of Meaningful Text.
Contact: Mary Grace at mkgrace@pllvt.org

Bridge Building Competition - and Crushing

This STEN competition will be held at Vermont Techincal College's Randolph Center Campus. Middle school students will compete March 23, 2018 and high school students will compete April 12, 2018. In advance of the event competition, teams of students create Popsicle stick built bridges; judging based on aesthetics, originality of design, presentation, ultimate load carrying capacity, and predicted failure point.  No cost to enter, complimentary lunch and t-shirts - plus scholarship funds offered to top performers. Model bridges promote the study and application of physics and engineering and help students develop “hands-on” skills while having fun. Learn more and register for the Bridge Building (STEM) Competition.
Contact: John Diebold at  jdiebold@vtc.vsc.edu

Red Kite Treasure Adventure - Theater for Youth on the Spectrum

This interactive theatrical experience returns to the Flynn Center's intimate Chase Studio on Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., with live music and sensory moments created specifically for young people (ages 4+) on the autism spectrum. Inspired by characters from Edith Nesbit's The Story of the Treasure Seekers, audience members join the chivalrous Oswald and his precocious siblings, encountering endless adventure along the way. Learn more and buy tickets for Red Kite Treasure Adventure.
Contact: Kat Redniss at kredniss@flynncenter.org

Jim Knight's Focus on Teaching - Using Video to Improve Professional Learning

This two-day institute will be held November 6-7, 2017. This intensive learning experience is ideal for teachers, coaches, teams, and administrators. Practical, powerful and transformative with many free tools, including Jim Knight's book "Focus on Teaching," and a toolkit on better teaching and learning. Registration will close soon. Learn more and register for Focus on Teaching - Using Video to Improve Professional Learning.
Contact: Lauren Wooden at lauren@cvedcvt.org

Designing Professional Development that Brings Out the Best in our Colleagues

Increasingly educators are taking on the complex role of teaching and/or coaching their colleagues. What are principles and practices that seasoned, skilled adult educators use to design and orchestrate learning experiences that bring out the best in our colleagues? Whether you’ve just become an instructional leader/coach, or someone who’s plied these waters for years, VT-HEC has designed this offering to meet you where you are and help you design, implement, and evaluate a plan for bringing out the best in you, your colleagues, and their learners. Participants may take any of the four workshops individually or as a whole, or the set of workshops can be taken as a three-credit graduate course through Castleton State University.  The first workshop takes place on October 25, 2017 at Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier, VT. Learn more about Designing Professional Development that Brings Out the Best in our Colleagues.
Contact: Julie Medose at (802) 498-3350 or julie.medose@vthec.org

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