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Agency of Education Establishes Family Engagement Council

December 2, 2022

For Immediate Release: December 2, 2022
Contact: Ted Fisher,

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Agency of Education announced today the creation of a Family Engagement Council to advise Secretary of Education Dan French on education policy and topics of interest to parents in Vermont. The council will consist of between 10 to 15 parents, guardians and family members of students enrolled in Vermont schools. The agency is seeking applications from parents and guardians interested in being appointed to the council. 

The group will focus on education policy, envisioning a 21st Century education system, and discussion how education can support the future success of our students and our state. Applications are due December 18, 2022. The first meeting will take place in January.

“The idea for this group was born out of an observation that there is not a strong state-level mechanism for parent involvement in the development of Vermont education policy,” said Secretary of Education Dan French. “We need to incorporate parent voices in the development of state-level education policy to ensure our policies are meeting the future needs of our students.”

Parent or Family councils are a model used in other states (including North Carolina, North Dakota and Connecticut) to ensure parent voice is included in the education policy development process at the state level.

“We have partners representing almost every other group in education,” added French. “From superintendents and school board members, to educators, school counselors and facilities managers, we have groups organized to provide a voice for their members at the state and local level. There is no organization providing a similar voice for parents. This group won’t be an answer for every challenge, but our goal is to incorporate parent involvement in AOE’s policy development process, and provide a platform for parents to participate in statewide conversations on education policy.”

Members of the Family Engagement Council will be appointed by the Secretary of Education to two-year terms. Members must be a parent, guardian, or family member who is the primary caregiver of a student enrolled in a Vermont school or Home Study program. To the extent possible, the membership of the council will represent the State’s geographic, gender, socio-economic, racial and ethnic diversity. Parents of younger children, parents in non-traditional families, and grandparents or relatives acting as primary caregivers are especially encouraged to apply.

In the first year, the Family Engagement Council will focus on two essential education policy design questions:

  • Education quality – how should we define education quality? What should students know and be able to do to be successful in the future?
  • Equity - How do we ensure all students have access to high quality education experiences in a highly decentralized education system like Vermont's?

After the application deadline on December 18, appointments will be announced. An initial meeting will take place at the Agency of Education in January, with several virtual meetings occurring through the rest of the 2022-23 school year.

About the Family Engagement Council

The Vermont Family Engagement Council is a panel of parents and family members of Vermont school-age students who advise the Secretary of Education on matters of interest to Vermont’s parent and family community. The focus of the group is on education policy; envisioning the 21st Century education system, grounded in quality and equity, that Vermont and Vermonters need to succeed, compete and thrive in the future.

About the Vermont Agency of Education

The Agency of Education implements state and federal laws, policies, and regulations to ensure all Vermont learners have equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities. The Agency accomplishes this mission through the provision of its leadership, support, and oversight of Vermont’s public education system.

Connect with the Vermont Agency of Education at