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Weekly Field Memo - Volume 17, Issue 28

August 18, 2023

The Agency of Education created the weekly field memo to keep subscribers up-to-date with current education policy, state-wide education initiatives, and official messages from the AOE. The field memo may also include education-related items from other state agencies. The field memo is not intended to serve as a newsletter.

Agency of Education, State of Vermont and Federal Updates

This section of the Weekly Field Memo contains posts from the Agency of Education (AOE), other State of Vermont agencies, federal agencies or Vermont's congressional delegation.

Castleton Course: Systemic Use of Data to Improve Student Learning

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, Principals, and K-12 Teachers
Systemic Use of Data to Improve Student Learning is being offered through Castleton and is free for Vermont educators. It is designed for teams to build a collaborative data-use culture, where teachers and administrators meet regularly and leverage a variety of assessments to improve student learning and teacher practices. The course starts on Oct. 11, 2023 and includes three in-person sessions (Oct. 25, 2023; Jan. 10, 2024; May 22, 2024) and nine two-hour virtual sessions. The option for earning three credits is available for $450. For details and registration, visit the Vermont Data Use website.
Contact: Pat Fitzsimmons at

Benchmark Assessment Grant Application: Round 3

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, Principals, and Instructional Coaches
The third round of applications for the ARP ESSER Benchmark Assessment Grant for Vermont LEAs will be available in the Grant Management System in early Sept. This grant encourages Supervisory Unions (SU/SDs) to purchase new or expand on existing benchmark assessment system(s) for English Language Arts and Mathematics that report Lexile and Quantile measures, and/or to support staff participation in the Educator Academy for Lexile and/or Quantile Frameworks. Grant awards will be for up to $25,000. Applications will be due on Oct. 12, 2023.
Contact: Pat Fitzsimmons at

Parent, Family and Community Engagement Web Page  

Audience: Administrators, Family Engagement Coordinators, Home School Liaisons, Families  
West River Valley Thrives is the featured Family and Community Engagement Highlight. Thrives exemplars Community Partnerships by engaging students and families in creating opportunities for meaningful contributions to support and promote healthy lifestyle choices emphasizing the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. Featured on Thrives’ website, find Parents and Guardians Resources and a blog with short videos and articles. Additional new resources on the AOE Parent, Family, and Community Engagement web page include Hunger Free Vermont Summer Meals site locator, and Becoming an Ally: Partnering with Immigrant Families to Promote Student Success, a SWIFT resource.
Contact: Nancy Hellen at  

Family Engagement Self-Assessment

Audience: Administrators, Family Engagement Coordinators
The Family Engagement Self-Assessment is designed to help school systems reflect on current professional practice and to identify the Family Engagement practices you may want to focus on as part of your action plan development and implementation. The Self-Assessment is organized by the 7 Core Principles outlined in the Family Engagement Toolkit and Self-Assessment (FETSA). It is designed to be completed by teams who have the information necessary to reflect upon the spectrum of family engagement practices within a school system. The Agency of Education’s VTmtss Team is available to facilitate the use of this self-assessment and to answer questions. 
Contact: Nancy Hellen at   

Vermont Public

Northeast Nature Videos from But Why

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Principals, Grades 3-5 Teachers
Vermont Public’s But Why team has created a series of short videos for 3rd-5th grades. In the first season, Northeast Nature, host Jane Lindholm helps kids explore the science behind what’s happening in the northeastern U.S. each month, offering educators and students an opportunity to find science in their own backyards. Additionally, the team provides teacher resources, project suggestions, and fun activity guides to take learning off the screen and into the classroom. Visit the website to see descriptions of all the episodes and to sign up for these free resources made in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education.
Contacts: Emily Leute at or Heather Duhamel at

Summer of Possibilities for Art and Science

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Principals, Middle and High School Teachers
Join the Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont Public for playful learning through art and science! Check out the PBS LearningMedia Arts and Culture Collections for middle school and high school. Additionally, PBS LearningMedia organizes amazing resources for your students about Science and Nature in collections for middle school students and high school students. Remember to visit the Vermont Public Kids and Education page for more recommendations for high quality resources.
Contacts: Emily Leute at or Heather Duhamel at

VT Electric Bus Pilot Report Available

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and VEIC have released a report on Vermont’s Electric School and Transit Bus Pilot Program. As a part of this program, three schools and one transit agency replaced a total of eight diesel-powered buses with electric buses. The pilot evaluated the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of electric buses and charging equipment compared to conventional diesel-powered buses; the report may be a useful resource for entities considering or planning electrification projects.
Contact: Leigh Martin at or (802)261-0713