Educational equity means that every student has “access to the educational resources and rigor they need at the right moment in their education across race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, sexual orientation, family background and/or family income.” Educational Equity is the degree of achievement, fairness and opportunity in education as measured by a standard of success. The Agency of Education (AOE), along with educators across Vermont, is determined to eliminate the inequity that persists between Vermont’s affluent white students, and student groups that have historically demonstrated achievement gaps within our state’s school systems, including students who are on Individual Education Plans, English learners (ELs), students eligible for free and reduced cost lunch, migrant children, children experiencing homelessness, children in the foster care system, and students of color. Ensuring more equitable schools is an important area of focus within Vermont’s 2019 State Plan.
The Equity Lens Tool provides a common vocabulary and protocol for evaluating policies, programs, practices and decisions for equity. It can also be used to produce policies, programs, practices and decisions that result in equitable outcomes.
Each brief contains resources, research and practical suggestions to support the comprehensive and systemic work of leadership teams around educational equity within the VTmtss Framework. The information strategies, and conversation starters can help close educational equity gaps for students. For more information, please reach out to Tracy Watterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting Educational Equity (SEE) Project
The SEE group, which was composed of a diverse selection of teachers from across the state, made multiple recommendations for the AOE addressing perceived problems of practice at the classroom, LEA, and AOE-level. After reviewing those recommendations, the AOE identified several to pursue.
One outcome of the SEE project is the 2019 List of Educational Equity and Diversity Professional Development Providers. This list contains vendors who provide various forms of professional development that address educational equity, diversity and/or culturally responsive practices.
Other SEE-related intiatives that the AOE is currently engaged with include:
- The inclusion of standardized prompts within AOE-facilitated school improvement processes that address educational equity
- Reviewing and highlighting existing Core Teaching and Leadership Standards that promote educational equity
Integrated Educational Frameworks to Support Equity
Integrated educational frameworks strive to include all students, school personnel, families, and community in creating a positive culture and equity of access to learning within a school, school district, or supervisory union. A fully integrated educational framework brings together evidence-based practices fostering inclusive education. The Agency promotes the use of integrated educational frameworks as the basic structure on which to build multi-tiered supports for the learning and behavioral needs of all students in Vermont.
Whole-school restorative approaches “build healthy school climates by creating space for people to understand one another and develop relationships; when things go wrong, restorative approaches create space to address needs, repair relationships, and heal. Restorative practices provide meaningful opportunities for social engagement that foster empathy and mutual responsibility for the well-being of individuals and the community. Proactive practices intentionally build trust and understanding within the community to ensure a healthy supportive climate and environment. When things go wrong, restorative practices engage those affected and create space so that individuals and communities can effectively identify, understand, and address harms and needs—this facilitates healing.” (Jon Kidde, Whole-School Restorative Approach Resource Guide, 2017)
Vermont Restorative Approaches Collaborative
A community-resourced network of people passionate about bringing the restorative approach to schools and communities through free support, training and technical assistance.
Whole School Restorative Approach Resource Guide
A guide for the implementation of restorative practices in Vermont schools.
Vermont Agency of Education’s Response to Restorative Practices Report
The AOE contracted with an independent vendor to organize and facilitate a one-day meeting for Restorative Practices practitioners and other interested individuals to report on current practices in Vermont and recommend ideas for the AOE and others to pursue.
Implementing Restorative Principles and Practices in Vermont Schools
Recommendations from the AOE-sponsored, facilitated dialogue on the training and implementation of educationally-based restorative practices.
SWIFT: Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation
Vermont has worked in partnership with the Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) Center at the University of Kansas, a national K-8 technical assistance center from 2013-2018. The SWIFT Center helps build whole school capacity to provide academic and behavioral instruction and support to improve outcomes for all students, including those with the most extensive needs, through equity-based inclusion.