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 45

08 November 2017

Statewide Longitudinal Data System, Update Fall 2017

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Business Managers, School Boards, VSBA, VSA, VPA
The Agency of Education is entering implementation phase for the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS). The SLDS, made possible through funding from a $4.9 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education, will support the work of the AOE and Vermont school districts through the transfer of secure digital education data from Supervisory Unions / Supervisory Districts (SU/SD) to the Agency of Education, known as Vertical Reporting. In collaboration with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and School Information System vendors, we will be deploying the SLDS at the SU/SD level through a tiered approach over the next eight to 12 months. In the next few weeks, we will be releasing the Vermont SLDS Vertical Reporting specifications, along with a survey from the AOE, to allow SU/SDs to begin to evaluate and report back about their systems readiness. An SU/SD will only begin implementation when they are able to demonstrate systems readiness. Read the full memo regarding SLDS implementation from Secretary Holcombe.
Contact: AOE.SLDSInfo@vermont.gov

Nominations for Presidential Scholars

Audience: Students, Principals, Guidance Counselors, Academic and CTE Teachers, CTE Center Directors
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program recognizes and honors high school seniors who demonstrate outstanding scholarship. Twenty-five outstanding students from the state of Vermont – 20 from high schools and five from CTE centers – will be selected based on recommendations and applications from participating schools. High schools can nominate up to one female and one male, and CTE centers can nominate up to two students. In addition, this year students are able to nominate themselves (with the endorsement of a qualifying adult). Learn more about the Presidential Scholar Program in Vermont. Nominate a high school senior. Nominate a CTE student. Only nominations submitted via the electronic system will be accepted. The deadline for nominations has been extended to December 1, 2017.
Contact for CTE Centers: Jay Ramsey, State Director for Career Technical Education, at jay.ramsey@vermont.gov
Contact for High Schools: Sigrid Olson, Personalization, and Flexible Pathways, at sigrid.olson@vermont.gov

NGSS-Aligned Science Assessment 

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Leaders, Science Educators
As a part of implementing the Vermont State Plan and more accurately measuring students’ science proficiency, Vermont is in the process of developing a new NGSS-aligned statewide science assessment. This assessment will replace the NECAP Science assessment and will be field-tested in 2017-18.  For additional information about the assessment and its role in Vermont’s accountability system, read the full memo on New Next Generation Science Standards-Aligned Assessment.
Contact:  For questions about science content standards and instructional practice, email Margaret Carrera-Bly, Science Content Specialist, at margaret.carrera-bly@vermont.gov. For questions about assessment development and administration, contact Gabriel McGann, Statewide Assessment Coordinator, at gabriel.mcgann@vermont.gov.

Ready for Kindergarten! Survey

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Director of Student Supports, Kindergarten TeachersThe 2017-2018 Ready for Kindergarten!
We are in our final week of data collection for the Ready for Kindergarten! Survey that began on September 27, 2017. As of November 3, 2017, we have approximately 24% of student data entered from 54 of our schools.  The deadline for completion is November 10, 2017. Fill out the Ready for Kindergarten! Survey online. All kindergarten teachers are required to complete the R4K!S for each student in their classroom. Principals, please forward this submission and link to R4K!S to your kindergarten teacher/s. Upon completion and submission of the R4K!S for each student, principals and/or teachers are now able to request R4K!S data submitted for each student. 
Contact: Kate Rogers, Early Education Program Manager, at (802) 479-1454 or kate.rogers@vermont.gov

Digital Learning Plans

Audience: All
The Agency of Education will not be requiring Digital Learning Plans for the coming year, but they are strongly suggested and expected.  In an earlier Weekly Field Memo announcement, the plans were indicated to be due on or before June 30, 2018. This is no longer a due date for the plans. Supervisory Unions and Districts are encouraged to create plans, and questions may be posed concerning these with the Integrated Field Reviews that are taking place over the course of this year. There will be some informational webinars offered in November and December 2017 to help lead entities in creating these plans.  Stay tuned for those upcoming dates. 
Contact: Peter Drescher, State Director of Educational Technology, at (802) 479-1169 or peter.drescher@vermont.gov

Nominations for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Audience: All
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year. Awards are given to mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers from each of the 50 states. This year's awards will honor mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers working in grades K-6. To apply or nominate a deserving Vermont teacher, visit  PAEMST. Nominations close on April 1, 2018 and the application window closes on May 1, 2018.
Contact:  PAEMST Vermont Coordinator Lara White (Math) at lwhite@cnsuschools.org or Margaret Carrera-Bly (Science) at margaret.carrera-bly@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 Council of Special Education Administrators Annual Conference

The Vermont Council of Special Education Administrators' (VCSEA) Annual Conference will take place December 7 and 8, 2017 at the Burlington Hilton. The focus will be on national issues in special education and the neuroscience of early literacy success and is relevant to a wide education audience. Learn more and register for the VCSEA Annual Conference.
Contact: Lori Tourville at (802) 595-5799 or ltourville@vcsea.net

Financial Aid Applications Are for All Students

Do you have students who say they won’t complete financial aid applications? At VSAC, we frequently hear from students who have taken on large amounts of debt because they didn’t apply for financial aid because they thought they weren’t eligible. Our advice to all students is that the FAFSA and the Vermont Grant application are free applications that can be completed together in under an hour and should be completed by every single person who is considering continuing their education beyond high school. There is no risk in submitting these forms and the worst thing students will hear is that they aren’t eligible, but at least they will know for sure. And most students tell us that they received funds they weren’t expecting. If your students are even thinking about continuing their education, they should be filing the FAFSA and Vermont Grant application now.
Contact: Sabina Haskell at haskell@vsac.org

New Resources to Promote Drinking Water at Schools

The National Drinking Water Alliance has materials available for schools regarding water quality, including three fact sheets about Healthy Hydration, Effective Access to Water in Schools, and Drinking Water Safety in Schools. Also, consider the upcoming three-part webinar from the University of California's Nutrition Policy Institute and the National Drinking Water Alliance, Let’s Tackle School Drinking Water Safety: Webinar 1: Why Are We Talking About It?  Drinking Water and Lead Exposure; Webinar 2: Planning for School Water Quality:  Steps Schools Should Take; Webinar 3: Solutions: Find It and Fix It — Or Flush or Filter it.

Teaching and Learning with Robots in Elementary School

How can you integrate critical thinking, problem-solving, sequential thinking, spatial reasoning, and collaboration, while also teaching math, science, and literacy? Coding and building robots won’t fix all our educational challenges but is a highly engaging place to start.  Join the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative (VT-HEC) on November 17, 2017 at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier for "Coding from the Littles to the Middles" with presenters Arlyn Bruccoli and Jennifer Fitch. This hands-on workshop model requires learners to collaborate in order to successfully solve the tasks presented. All activities will be modified versions of science, math, and technology instruction from the presenters’ K-6 setting.  The presenters will also share examples of paper journals and blogging that support students’ reflection and planning. No coding experience necessary.
Contact: Julie Medose at (802) 498-3350 or julie.medose@vthec.org

2018 UVM Extension Master Gardener Course

UVM faculty and green industry experts teach a diverse range of horticultural topics to help you create healthy, sustainable home landscapes and grow your own food. Offered statewide, non-credit. Learn more and register for the UVM Extension Master Gardener program.  The online course starts January 17, 2018 and runs through the week of April 25, 2018. Registration deadline is January 16, 2018.
Contact: master.gardener@uvm.edu or (802)656-9562

Bullying Prevention with PBIS Webinar

This free webinar on November 14, 2017 from 9 -10:30 a.m. will provide an outline of the AOE policies and regulations related to bullying and an overview of bullying prevention strategies within a multi-tiered framework. Participants will learn about a user-friendly bullying prevention curriculum from the National PBIS TA Center. Examples of elementary and middle school strategies will be provided. School personnel including school social workers, school counselors, teachers, and other school staff are encouraged to attend. Register for the Bullying Prevention with PBIS webinar.
Contact: Amy Wheeler-Sutton at amy.wheeler-sutton@uvm.edu

Reading and the Brain

This interactive five-day course is designed for any educator who wishes to learn about the neuroscience of reading and how research and knowledge of the English Language improves classroom instruction. Course participants will leave with an in-depth understanding of phonological awareness, phonology, reading, and spelling development, reading fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, and written expression. Recommended for teachers, reading specialists, special educators, content area teachers, adult educators, and literacy coaches. Participants will leave with practical strategies they can immediately implement with their students. Teachers working toward their Orton-Gillingham Certified Level will obtain 37 coursework hours. This class is also available for three graduate credits through Castleton University. The course begins on January 25, 2018 at the Stern Center for Language and Learning in Williston. Register for Reading and the Brain.
Contact: Caitlin Niland, Intake Coordinator for Professional Learning, at (802) 878-2332 or proflearning@sterncenter.org

Solved! A Better Way to Approach Problem Solving

This two-day workshop series will be facilitated by Christian Courtemanche and will be held at the Hampton Inn Event Center on February 7, 2018 and March 28, 2018. Educators from grades 2-5 and coaches will collect and develop three ACT Problem Solvers to use in their classrooms, explore how to best adapt current problems from within their existing programs, and reflect on the implementation of these richer problems with their own students. Learn more and register for Solved! A Better Way to Approach Problem-Solving.
Contact: The Champlain Valley Educator Development Center at info@cvedcvt.org

Flynn Center Teacher Workshop

Join David Gonzalez, a renowned storyteller, from 4-6 p.m. on November 13, 2017 at the Flynn Center in Burlington for "The Four Rivers Model of Storytelling - The Confluence Model." The Confluence Model of Storytelling was created by Gonzalez to teach his style of multi-modal performance which establishes the four distinct elements of communication-language, voice, gesture, and imagination-as independent "rivers" that flow together. Cost is $25 per participant. A professional development credit is available. Register for Flynn Center Teacher Workshop with David Gonzalez: The Four Rivers Model of Storytelling - The Confluence Model.
Contact: Lauren Genta, School Programs Coordinator, at lgenta@flynncenter.org

FUNDAMENTALS in Trauma-Informed Practice and Adoption Competency

These self-paced modules provide the fundamental knowledge necessary to effectively work with children and families through a trauma-informed and adoption competent lens while providing concrete skills that will improve a provider/caregiver’s capacity to effectively implement evidence-informed treatments. Visit the e-learning site to create an account and self-enroll in the FUNDAMENTALS.
Contact: Jennifer Jorgenson at jjorgens@uvm.edu 

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