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Independent Schools

Vermont Statute provides two choices for Independent Schools:

  1. Approved: An approved independent school is a school other than a public school which provides a program of elementary or secondary education, or both, that is approved pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 166 (b).
  2. Recognized: A recognized school is an independent school for any school year that meets the requirements for recognized independent schools, pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 166 (c), that is not a home study program.

The Vermont Approved and Recognized Independent School Directory contains contact information for approved and recognized independent schools in Vermont, as well as approved distance learning schools, tutorial programs, teen parent education programs and state operated facilities.

Read a letter from Secretary French to Vermont school administrators on the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court Carson v. Makin decision on public funding of religiously-affiliated independent schools.

Approved Independent Schools 

Independent School Approval Process

Approved Independent Schools apply under guidelines identified in 16 V.S.A. § 166 and State Board Rules 2220 – 2227 and 2228. Upon receipt and review of an application, an individual(s) is identified to conduct an onsite visit and provide a written report of findings and a recommendation for approval/non-approval to the Agency. Those schools seeking approval for special education apply under State Board Rule 2228. This requires receipt and review of an application, an onsite visit, and a report of findings/recommendation from the individual(s) conducting the onsite visit. A prerequisite to special education approval is general independent approval, see the following section for the special education approval process. 

The process for initial approval and renewal of approval are the same. The State Board of Education has the ultimate authority for approval of independent schools.

Independent Schools Serving Special Education Students, Approval Process and List

Approval for independent schools, general and special education, is pursuant to 16 V.S.A § 166, and the State Board of Education (SBE) rules 2220-2227 and 2228. 

Technical Assistance and Memos for Approved Independent Schools

Recognized Independent Schools

Enrollment Notice

The Recognized School Enrollment Notice form is required to be submitted annually as a part of maintaining a school's recognized independent school status. Completed forms must be received by the Agency prior to the opening of the public schools in your area.

Recognized Independent School Enrollment Notice

Other Educational Programs

Distance Learning Schools

A Distance Learning School is an independent school located in Vermont that offers a distance learning program and that, because of its structure does not meet some or all the rules of the State Board for approval of independent schools. Approval of these schools is pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 166 (b) (6) and State Board of Education Rules 2231-2234.7.

Tutorial Programs

A Tutorial Program is education provided to a student who is placed in a short-term program for evaluation and treatment purposes not administered by a school district. Approval of these programs is pursuant to 16 V.S.A. §§ 11 (27), 828, and Vermont State Board Rules 2230.

Teen Parent Education Programs

A Teen Parent Education Program is a program designed to provide educational and other services to pregnant pupils or parenting pupils, or both, pursuant to 16 V.S.A. §§ 11 (33) (A) (B), 1073 (b), and State Board Standards I-IVH.

Independent School Rate Approval

For the 2021-2022 school year, the Agency will review special purpose independent schools’ requests for rate increases that are based on a demonstrated reasonable, necessary and allowable increase in costs. See, SBE Rule 2228.8. 

Email requests and supporting documentation to


For independent school initial approvals, program renewals and State Board of Education information please email Patricia Pallas Gray or call (802) 828-3991.

For independent school tuition rate setting and education quality please email J. Deborah Ormsbee or call (802) 828-1226.