Skip to main content

Educational Equity

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.

Educational Equity Professional Learning Provider List 

The AOE has published a list of educational equity practitioners who provide various forms of professional learning to address educational equity, diversity, justice, and belonging. Each vendor submitted information for review in response to a Request for Information (RFI) in 2023. Vendors on this list demonstrated that their work addresses educational equity, diversity, justice, and belonging as a part of their application. The list includes information on each vendor’s specialty and services provided. Please note that inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement from the State of Vermont; school systems are encouraged to conduct additional research and reference checks to identify the resource(s) that will best address their equity needs. 

The Suggested Questions When Selecting Educational Equity Professional Learning Providers includes guidelines for SU/SD/schools when considering professional learning providers to support educational equity diversity, justice and belonging in your educational setting. These questions were used as the criteria for our review for inclusion on this list. This list reflects an update of the original 2019 list, an outcome of the Supporting Educational Equity (SEE) Project, created to address problems of practice at the classroom, LEA, and AOE-level. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (hereinafter referred to as “Section 504”) is a federal civil rights law that says no qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of their handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has created a number of resources, including a Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools. The Resource Guide can be found online. Other resources related to disability discrimination can be found online.  

Contact: Ernest Wheeler at or 802-828-5806.

Updated Explanation of VT Student-Centered Learning Plans Document 

There are different types of student learning plans for Kindergarten through Grade 12 that are developed to guide students and families to systematically plan and monitor student academic and personal success. Learning plans address individual needs with a tailored plan designed to help students personalize their learning, meet the state’s learning standards, and stay on track for graduation. 

The Explanation of VT Student-Centered Learning Plans is a resource to ascertain which plan(s) would be most appropriate to address a student’s current needs within a determined timeframe, including Personalized Learning Plans, Education Support Team plans, Individualized Education Plans, and Section 504 plans. This explanation is a non-exhaustive list of the many different types of plans that a student may have, and it is possible for students to have more than one plan. 

Equity Lens Tool

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.

Educational Equity Brief Series

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

Introduction to Equity Briefs - Volume 1, Issue 1 (August 2018)

Supporting our Vulnerable Students Living in Poverty - Volume 1, Issue 2 (November 2018)

Supporting our Students of Color - Volume 1, Issue 3 (February 2019)

Supporting our English Learners - Volume 1, Issue 4 (July 2019)

Supporting LGBTQ Students - Volume 1, Issue 5 (October 2019)

Strengthening and Enhancing Educational Support Teams (EST) - Volume 1, Issue 6 (January 2020)

Suspension and Expulsion Incident Report 

Act 35 of 2021, an act relating to the Task Force on Equitable and Inclusive School Environments, prohibits the suspension or expulsion of students under age 8 unless the student poses an imminent threat of harm or danger to others in the school.

To meet obligations related to Kindergarten to Age 8 suspension and expulsion data collection, a public or independent school administrator must complete this incident report for each student who is suspended or expelled. Within 5 school calendar days from the date of incident, the school must submit this report to the Agency of Education (AOE). 

For more information, please contact Tom Faris at

Kindergarten to Age 8: Suspension and Expulsion Definitions, Data Collection and Reporting

The following document provides definitions of suspension, expulsion and imminent harm. It includes policy background and some additional considerations related to the suspension or expulsion of students. There are also examples of some “non-disciplinary” practices that meet the definition of suspension.

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.

Restorative Practices

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)

Virtual Learning Modules   
This e-learning module was designed by John Kidde in collaboration with UVM and Up for Learning to help schools understand the possibilities inherent in school-wide restorative approaches (SWRA) and can be useful for schools interested in learning more about SWRA or preparing to take the steps to implement SWRA in their school. The interactive 1–2-hour course provides and overview of how SWRA aims to enhance resilience and positive school culture while prioritizing relationship-based pedagogies, justice and equity, youth voice, and well-being for students, teachers, and families. It includes reflection questions and activities and can be completed individually or in a group with other faculty and staff.  

Videos from Vermont Schools
This link captures the work completed through the Restorative Approaches Implementation for School Equity in VT project (RISE-VT), funded by the AOE and completed by both UVM’s Center on Disability & Inclusion and Up for Learning to improve and scale the use of restorative practices in Vermont. This link captures videography work of the long-term efforts of coaches, educators, students, and others involved in this work as they utilize the restorative approach frameworks in their respective schools. There are five Vermont sites represented in these videos, demonstrating the practice and continuous improvement of SWRA in a variety of school or district settings in Vermont. These videos can be helpful for schools that are both interested in implementing school wide restorative approaches (SWRA) or for those who already have an SWRA framework in place and are looking for ways to improve.  

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.

Vermont Restorative Approaches Collaborative (VTRAC) Directory
This directory​ is comprised of Vermont trainers, researchers, Community Justice Center (CJC) staff, and school educators and leaders throughout Vermont. Membership in this collaborative is based on a deep commitment to the development of the restorative approach in Vermont schools, not on any specific criteria related to experience as a restorative approach trainer in schools. School leaders are encouraged to explore the profiles available in this directory when seeking support around implementation or improvement of their school wide restorative approach framework.  

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.

SWIFT Website

SWIFT Family and Community Resource Report for Vermont