The Agency of Education recognizes the importance of partnerships between schools and families to improve outcomes and ensure equity for all students. This page provides parents/families, community members and school districts resources to advance parent/family engagement.
See current highlights for parent, family and community engagement.
Family Engagement Core Principles
Explore each core pinciple and what each looks like in practice.
Vermont Family Engagement Toolkit Introduction (video): This 13-minute video outlines aspects of the Vermont Family Engagement Toolkit and Self-Assessment and suggestions to get you started.
Vermont Family Engagement Toolkit and Self-Assessment (FETSA): The Vermont Family Engagement Toolkit and Self-Assessment is designed to be an easy-to-use, practical guide for educators seeking to develop and maintain growth of school or Supervisory Union/District family engagement work, including for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
The Family Engagement Toolkit and Self-Assessment is designed to be used in its entirety to assess all family engagement aspects of the system.
The Family Engagement Self-Assessment is designed to be completed by teams of school personnel who have the information necessary to reflect upon the spectrum of family engagement practices within a school from the individual teacher level to whole-school initiatives. Ideally, teams should consist of administrators, teachers, related service providers, families, and school family engagement coordinators if available. Individuals may also use this Self-Assessment to reflect on their own practice. (FETSA pg. 12)
This web page exemplar incorporates Building Effective Two-way Communication and Partnering with the Community
The RNESU web page includes features that show commitment
to effective two-way communication and partnership with families
and the community. The format provides the headings
Parents/Guardians and Community to easily find information.
- A section for ‘Parents/Guardians’ includes essential information
such as Services, Food & Lunch Info, Summer Programs, as well
as a page on Harassment Hazing and Bullying with common
questions and a flow chart of the process when a complaint is
- Under ‘Our District’ a ‘Let’s Talk’ feature provides a quick
communication tool for questions, comments, concerns,
etc. Contact options include superintendent, school principals, school board members, and administrative leads. ‘Let's Talk’ allows people to quickly reach the person they need to talk with even if they do not know their name. A texting option is also available.
Contained in the section ‘Community’, there is an extensive interactive Bulletin Board with resources including Financial/Food/Housing, Child Care, and Activities.
These AOE Initiatives support and exemplify the core principles of family engagement.
Universal PreK (UPK) Café: Special Series Issue #3 Family Engagement April 14, 2021
The Early Education Team is excited to share its third issue of the UPK Café Special Series. The series focuses on recovery, reconnection, and resources to support school district recovery and implementation plans with this issue focusing on Family Engagement.
The Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont PBS have expanded their partnership to support learning for Vermont students, families, and school communities this school year and beyond. This partnership provides access to free educational programming, curricular connections, and distance learning tutorials through Vermont PBS. Summer learning can be playful and fun. Explore Summer of Possibilities resources for family engagement activities.
Continuity of Learning Information for Parents and Guardians
As Vermont schools assist in the state’s overall response efforts, our collective goal is to keep students, families, and educators safe as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19. This include resources on Guidelines by Age Group, Emotional Safety and Communication, Ideas to Engage Children and Keep Them Thinking, Design a Home Learning Environment and Resources for Families of Children with Disabilities.
Family Engagement Resources Provided by the Agency of Education
The headings for families and for educators are intended to guide you to relevant resources.
- Vermont Multi-tiered System of Supports (VTmtss)
- After School and Summer Programs
- Early Education
- Requirements, Applications, Laws
- Special Education
- Student Learning
Strengthening Family Engagement through a systemic approach.
Vermont Multi-tiered System of Supports (VTmtss) is a systemic approach to decision-making for excellence and equity within a culture of continuous improvement that focuses on successful outcomes for all students.
Families are a critical part of VTmtss as this systemic approach:
- Supports the effective collaboration of all adults to meet the academic, behavioral, social and emotional needs of all students, and;
- Engages and develops the collective expertise of educators, students, family and community partnerships.
VTmtss Framework Tools Connections to the FETSA:
- The VTmtss System Screener will help you identify a family engagement opportunity within your system.
- The Family Engagement Self-Assessment can be used in conjunction with the VTmtss Driver Diagram to gather additional systemic data to identify a family engagement-related problem of practice.
- When an LEA has identified a problem of practice the self-assessment (in whole or in part) can be used to analyze practices and prioritize action steps.
- The Family Engagement Making Connections with VTmtss in conjunction with the VTmtss Driver Diagram, identifies which VTmtss components align and supports a Family Engagement problem of practice.
Educational Support Team: A Deeper Look: Defines what Educational Support Team (EST) is in our current context with suggestions for creating and maintaining an effective EST. Emphasizes the importance of supporting parents in being active participants in children’s EST for effective collaboration to identify needs and supports.
Parent/guardian participation in EST meetings regarding their children is critical. Ideally, parents attend meetings but if they cannot, the EST should solicit parent input to the decisions.
Strengthening Family Engagement: February Office Hour Recording
Looking for ways to expand your family engagement, assess your current practices, and integrate this vital aspect into your VTmtss Framework? Explore the VTmtss Team's February Office Hour closed-captioned recording and slide deck, which dives into the AOE's Family Engagement Toolkit and Self-Assessment and offers best practices for involving the community.
Opportunities to strengthen family engagement outside of the school day.
Funding for Afterschool and Summer Programs: The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers program funds 100 centers in Vermont schools. Families and K-12 youth may participate, teach, and engage with programming in their schools. These programs support students' learning and interests through diverse and engaging programming using multiple approaches and curricula. Programs are delivered through schools and community partnerships for grades K-12.
The Vermont Early Education Guiding Principles describe what individuals, organizations, and communities understand and do to realize the promise of each and every young Vermont child. These principles articulate Vermont’s commitment to fully include each and every child and their family in a continuum of meaningful experiences to ensure their health, mental health, safety, happiness and success now and into the future.
For Families with Children Birth to Age 8
Answers can be found for the following questions in Resources for Families of PreKindergarten Students.
- What is Universal Prekindergarten Education (UPK)?
- How old does my child need to be to qualify for UPK?
- Where can I find a UPK program for my child? Prequalified Providers Directory
- How do I sign up?
- What does UPK funding cover?
UPK Café: Issue 29 - May 21, 2020: Family Engagement, Family Connections through home languages, Brain Architect’s Podcast, NPR/PBS Scheduling, Conversation Starters for Children. VELS: Developing Self
PreK Learning from Home: Supplemental Resources for Families (4/28): This supplemental guidance is intended to help families support their child’s learning in the home environment, with resources that are grounded in the Vermont Early Learning Standards.
Family Resources: Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS) family materials include family-focused activities, articles, and national resources designed to help you engage in learning with your child. The resources are categorized by these core learning domains:
- Developing Self
- Communication and Expression
- Learning About the World
Information on assessing and strengthening parent/family engagement through requirements, applications and laws.
These Consolidated Federal Grants provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.
Consolidated Federal Programs Guide to Title I, Part A Parent and Family Engagement: This toolkit includes information and resources for Title I, Part A requirements for parent and family engagement, including policies, compacts, annual meetings, and parent involvement activities.
Title I, Part A: Parent and Family Engagement: This video focuses on the Title I, Part A requirements for parent and family engagement, including policies, compacts, annual meetings, and parent involvement activities. It provides an overview of the allowable uses of the Title I PFE set-aside and multiple resources to create an effective PFE program at the LEA and school level.
Examine information on school, educational, student, and financial data that the Agency of Education collects each year from Vermont's education community.
List of Data and Reports: Each year, the Agency of Education collects school, educational, student, and financial data from Vermont's education community. The information collected helps inform agency staff, schools, educators, and taxpayers about the functionality and success of Vermont's education system. Includes Vermont Education Dashboard, assessment data, and Vermont Annual Snapshot.
For Families and Educators
Concussion Guidelines: The law requires that schools educate their coaches, their youth athletes, and the youth athletes’ parents and guardians regarding the prevention and mitigation concussion-related injuries. Under 16 V.S.A. §1431, responsibility to ensure compliance with these guidelines falls on principals of public schools, and on heads of approved independent schools.
Free and Reduced Meal Application: Apply for Free and Reduced Lunch. Check to see if you're eligible for free and reduced school meals.
For Families and Educators
Act 77 Law Personalized Learning: This 2013 law paved the way for schools to work with every student in grade seven through grade 12 in an ongoing personalized learning planning process.
Resources are intended to help families partner collaboratively with IEP Teams and to make overall decisions about special education services for their children with disabilities eligible for special education services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). More information can be found on Special Education Resources for Families web page.
For Families and Educators
Resources as well as rights, roles and responsibilities of all involved in a child's education.
Parent Rights in Special Education: Parents have specific rights concerning their participation in the special education process. These documents should help guide you through this process.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) strongly supports the rights of families to be involved in their child's education. These pages will help families to understand the rights, roles, and responsibilities of all parties involved in making decisions about a child's education. Additionally, these pages provide evidence-based tools and resources designed to educate and empower families in supporting their children to succeed in school and beyond.
Rights of Parents of Students with Disabilities: Parents of children who receive or who may be eligible for special education services have rights under a law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This brochure provides a summary of those rights.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) Guide to Family Engagement for Parents/Caregiver
- The SEARCH Institute’s infographic on six ways to engage families
- CDC’s strategies and sample actions for engaging parents, especially in school health
What and how we are learning and how families as stakeholders are involved.
Find explanations and resources for Content Areas, Career Technical Education, Proficiency-Based Learning, Personalized Learning, Project-Based Learning, Flexible Pathways, Adult Education, and A Portrait of a Graduate.
For Families and Educators
- Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) Manual: What role do different stakeholders play in Personalized Learning: Families & Other Engaged Adults (resources)
- Glossary of Terms: Personalization and Flexible Pathways
- Conceptual Learning Process Framework for Adults: Outlines the process that supports the development and use of Personalized Learning Plans from the adult perspective.
- Learn about Personalized Learning, systems and approaches that deepen student learning by incorporating each student’s interests, strengths and needs - including student voice and choice in what, how, when and where they learn - to achieve the goals of active engagement, academic success, and preparation for post-secondary opportunities.
- Resources for Vermont Families: This reference document includes links and contact information for agencies with Vermont offering resources available to families and their children, including services for mental health, child care subsidies, crisis prevention, and child care.
- PBIS: This page includes resources for families and school teams. Families can learn more about how to bring positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) into their home, review virtual learning resources, and learn about what PBIS looks like at school. School teams can access family engagement modules, resources from the National PBIS TA Center, see examples from Vermont schools, and more.
- SWIFT Family and Community Report for Vermont: Identifying and mapping available community-based resources within the state.
- Global Family Research Project: A new tool from the Global Family Research Project (GRFP) and the National PTA’s Center for Family Engagement that gives families, schools, and parent leaders simple, proven strategies for creating ongoing relationships to support student success. The tool is based on “Joining Together to Create a Bold Vision for Next-Generation Family Engagement,” GFRP’s paper summarizing important findings on why family members are important to children’s learning.
Please contact the following for questions regarding specific topic(s).
Emanuel Betz, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (After School and Summer Programs)
Tracy Harris, Special Education
Nancy Hellen, Vermont Multi-tiered System of Supports
Sigrid Olson, Personalized Learning
Kate Rogers, Early Education
Jessie Murray, Title I