Weekly Field Memo

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. And at our discretion, we may include other events or information from other organizations not directly affiliated with the AOE. The field memo is not intended to serve as a newsletter.

Volume 10, Issue 36

05 October 2016

Fall Census Training

Audience: Registrars, Administrative Support, Student Information Systems Support Persons or any school personnel who are responsible for completing the Fall Public School Student Census

Those interested in receiving training for the Fall Public School Student Census can choose to attend a training session with the Agency of Education. Each training will be held from 10 a.m. until noon. 

Contact: Glenn Bouchard at (802) 479-1044 or glenn.bouchard@vermont.gov

Update on Release of Science Assessment Results

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, Principals

On October 27, 2016, the Agency of Education will release results from the NAEP and the NECAP Science Assessments. This concurrent release will provide an opportunity to review the science achievement of Vermont Students in national, state and local contexts. Local NECAP Science results are currently available to principals and superintendents through the secure NECAP Analysis and Reporting website. Download a NECAP test interpretation webinar. 

Contact: Michael Hock, director of educational assessment, at (802) 479-1288 or michael.hock@vermont.gov

HQT Reports for the 2015-2016 School Year

Audience: Superintendents, Educator Census Data Collection Contacts

The preliminary HQT reports for the 2015-2016 school year are available on our secure server. Usernames and passwords were emailed September 29, 2016, to the contacts who were listed in the Educator Census data collection. Please review your reports and reply to us with any changes. Replies are needed by close of business Friday, October 14, 2016. If we do not hear from you, that is your acknowledgment that the information is accurate, and it will be used for federal reporting. Please note that being endorsed in an HQT area does not automatically mean an educator is HQT. 

Contact: Beth-Ann Willey with data updates at beth-ann.willey@vermont.gov, and Debi Price with HQT questions at debora.price@vermont.gov 

Save the Date: Governor's Statewide School Safety Training Conference

Audience: School Administrators, Teachers, Counselors, School Mental Health Providers, School Crisis Planning Team Members

Secretary Holcombe (AOE) and Commissioner Flynn (DPS) are pleased to announce the Governor’s Statewide School Safety Training Conference to be held at Vermont Technical College (Randolph) on December 8, 2016. This all-day conference is for public and independent schools focused on preventing school violence by providing a comprehensive training curriculum for those individuals that will actively participate in local school, “district” or supervisory union threat assessment teams. Those attending will receive a certificate of completion from SIGMA Threat Management Associates who are national thought leaders in assessing school threat/risk-based behaviors that can potentially have a negative impact on our schools.  School administrators are strongly encouraged to take a “team” approach to this threat assessment training by sending those members within the school, district or supervisory union or school safety partners who are designated or will be designated to conduct these types of assessments. Registration information will be available soon.

Contact: Shelley Matz at (802) 479-1754 or shelley.matz@vermont.gov

Call for Nominations for Vermont Presidential Scholars

Audience: Students, Principals, Guidance Counselors, Academic and CTE Teachers, CTE Center Directors

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program recognizes and honors high school seniors who demonstrate outstanding scholarship.  Twenty-five outstanding students from the state of Vermont – 20 from high schools and 5 from CTE centers – will be selected based on recommendations and applications from participating schools.  High schools can nominate up to one female and one male, and CTE centers can nominate up to two students. In addition, this year students are able to nominate themselves (with the endorsement of a qualifying adult). Go online for the high school nomination form and the  CTE nomination form. Only nominations submitted via the electronic system will be accepted. The deadline for nominations is November 4, 2016.

Contact for CTE Centers: Jay Ramsey, State Director for Career Technical Education, at jay.ramsey@vermont.gov

Contact for High Schools: Sigrid Olson, Personalization and Flexible Pathways, at sigrid.olson@vermont.gov

Expense Authorizations Are Now "Small Scale Education Contracts"

Audience: All

The Agency of Education has been required to change the way it administers a process formerly called Expense Authorizations or EAs. EAs are contracts and we must be in compliance with both state and federal regulations in order to carry them out. Our new Small Scale Education Contracts can be used to procure services from individuals for short durations where the compensation is no more than $1,000 plus expenses in a fiscal year. For more information, visit the AOE website. 

Contact: Haley Dover, public information officer, at (802) 479-1111 or haley.dover@vermont.gov

Innovation Grant BEST/Act 230 Funding Opportunity

Audience: Superintendents, BEST/Act 230 Coordinators, Directors of Special Education, Curriculum Coordinators, Principals

Supervisory Unions may apply for a BEST/ACT 230 Innovation Grant for the 2016-2017 school year. The grant application must be submitted on or before October 15, 2016. The intent of this grant is to allow supervisory unions and schools to research and implement innovative systemic changes leading to improved student outcomes. Grant requests must be directly related to the Education Quality Standards. Additional information and specifics may be found on the AOE website. 

Contact: Debbie Lesure at (8702) 479-1424 or debbie.lesure@vermont.gov

Smarter Balanced Assessment Newsletter Released

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, Teachers, Principals

The third issue of the Smarter Balanced newsletter was released. This issue contains information about electing a District Test Administrator per supervisory union/district, score reports, exemption forms, registering new teachers in the Digital Library, and most importantly, the AIR/Smarter Balanced Regional Training registration and draft agenda topics. 

Contact: Linda Moreno, assessment coordinator for special populations, at linda.moreno@vermont.gov

National School Lunch Week

Next week is National School Lunch Week (October 10-14, 2016). We're really proud of all the wonderful, delicious, and beautiful food that Vermont schools are serving and we'd like to show it off. If you have photos of a great reimbursable meal tray, a colorful salad bar or a gorgeous fruit display, send them to the AOE. We will add them to our collection to include in presentations, newsletters, websites, and flyers. Please include the school name, a description of the foods shown and a note if any of the foods are local, or came from USDA Foods or DoD Fresh. If students are shown, please make sure that photo releases have been taken care of. Tips are available from School Meals that Rock. 

Contact: Rosie Krueger, USDA Foods Consultant, at mary.krueger@vermont.gov

Personal Learning for the Common Good: A Conference for Teachers, Students, Community

Audience: All 

Personal Learning Plans ask students to reflect on their values and goals – but what about their rights and responsibilities as citizens?  Our communities face problems of great substance, which our young citizens must start solving - now. Yet many educators feel unqualified or unsupported when it comes to designing an action-oriented curriculum that delves into controversial contemporary challenges. What training, support, or incentives do educators need so they can take the risks that come with curriculum that addresses pressing political, social, and environmental challenges?  And what can we learn from schools that are already doing this work? Learn more and register. 

Contact: Elijah Hawkes, co-principal at Randolph Union High School, at (802) 728-3397 or ehawkes@orangesouthwest.org

VSAC Workshops Highlight Changes to FAFSA

Audience: All

Major improvements are coming to the 2016-17 FAFSA: An earlier application date of October 1 and simplified income reporting (to so-called "prior-prior") should encourage more students to complete the FAFSA and be eligible for financial aid. Please spread the word and encourage seniors and their parents to attend one of the 60+ workshops on paying for college and financial aid, offered by VSAC at high schools across the state. Workshops are free. A full schedule of dates and locations is available on the VSAC website. 

Contact: Sabina Haskell, VSAC, at (802) 542-2240 or haskell@vsac.org

Courtesy Postings

Request for Proposals: Farm to School Grant Program

The Vermont Farm to School Grant Program released the RFP for the 2017 grant round on September 30, 2016, which includes the new Universal Meals Program. More than $120,000 will be available in grants and technical assistance for Vermont schools to plan or implement a farm to school program. The Vermont Farm to School Grant Program, now in its 10th year, works to improve nutrition among Vermont’s children by connecting food producers to their local schools, as well as providing enriched educational experiences and curricula. The grant program enables Vermont schools to engage students in their local food system by incorporating local food and farm education into their cafeterias, classrooms, and communities. An informative webinar will be held for prospective applicants on October 12, 2016, and the deadline to apply is October 28, 2016.

Contact: Ali Zipparo at (802) 505-1822 or alexandra.zipparo@vermont.gov

EPA Requests Applications to Reduce Diesel Emissions from School Buses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of approximately $7 million in rebates to public school bus fleet owners to help them replace or retrofit older school buses. Upgrading buses with older engines reduces diesel emissions and improves air quality. EPA standards for new diesel engines make them more than 90 percent cleaner than older ones, but many older diesel engines still in operation predate these standards. Older diesel engines emit large quantities of pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which have been linked to serious health problems such as aggravated asthma and lung damage. EPA will accept applications until November 1, 2016.  

Contact: EPA at cleandieselrebate@epa.gov

Greater Rutland Makerspace Birthday Bash

Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) is throwing the brand new Greater Rutland Makerspace a birthday party at the Farmer's Food Center in Rutland on October 27, 2016. There will be food, drink, music and a popup makerspace featuring lots of local maker magic. The Makerspace Operations Committee is looking for makers to exhibit project. All kinds of maker projects will be on display, so whatever making you've been doing in the classroom or in your basement would be great. No interested in exhibiting? Come to the party and hang out with Vermont's coolest makers. 

Contact: Karen McCalla at kmccalla@millriverschools.org

Personalized Learning - Assessing the Student Learning Experience

As part of its promotion and support of personalized learning for all Vermont students, the Big Picture Learning is pleased to offer schools an opportunity to participate in a pilot test of an instrument for assessing students’ satisfaction with the learning experience their schools provide. Such data could help schools target specific aspects of their personalization initiatives that need attention and contribute to our statewide efforts to form a community of practice around a shared understanding of personalization and student-centered learning. Principals interested in having their schools participate in the pilot test should register online by October 14, 2016. A Big Picture Learning staff person will contact respondents with more details regarding participation.

Contact: Greg Young at greg@bigpicturelearning.org

Announcing An Exciting PD Opportunity for Middle School and High School Educators

Interested in learning how to embed in your content, research-based instructional strategies known to prepare all students for college and career success? Join high school and middle school educators from across the state in the Secondary Transition vtMTSS Academy, an eight-week virtual learning experience focused on classroom instructional strategies supporting students to master research-based college and career competencies such as goal setting, self-regulation, assertiveness, and conflict management. Learn more or apply for this free PD opportunity and earn up to 50 continuing education hours. The vtMTSS Academy will begin in October. 

Contact: Amy Gaumer Erickson at agaumer@ku.edu

Managing Day to Day Life in the Classroom

This workshop has a change in location to the Champlain Valley Educator Development Center's i-Classroom in Colchester. A perfect fit for teachers looking for classroom management strategies, camaraderie and peace of mind that will help you create a vibrant and respectful learning environment in your classroom. This workshop will be held on October 18, 2016. Register online.

Contact: Lauren Wooden, executive director, at (802) 497-1642 or lauren@cvedcvt.org

Early Childhood Expert to Discuss Parenting in the Digital Age

On Thursday, October 13, 2016, the Vermont Humanities Council will sponsor "Teaching and Parenting in the Digital Age: Technology Tools as Catalysts for 21st Century Learning and Early Literacy," a free public presentation by Chip Donohue, Ph.D. Donohue will explore how technology can empower and engage children, parents, families, librarians, and early childhood educators. His talk will be held at  7 p.m. at the BrownellLibrary in Essex Junction. Learn more. 

Contact: Jan Steinbauer, Vermont Humanities Council, at (802) 262-1352 or jsteinbauer@vermonthumanities.org

Youth Environmental Summit - Registration Deadline October 15

The Youth Environmental Summit (YES) is an annual conference for middle and high school students. This year's event will take place on November 2, 2016, at the Barre Civic Center. YES is an opportunity to learn about environmental issues and get involved in local communities. The mission of YES is to inspire, encourage, and prepare youth for a life of environmental responsibility, service, and leadership by increasing awareness and knowledge of environmental issues and fostering leadership skills. Participants will engage in hands-on workshops, discussions, and networking. The registration deadline is October 15, 2016. 

Contact: Lauren Traister, 4-H Teen and Leadership Program Coordinator, at (802) 888-4972 ext. 402 or lauren.traister@uvm.edu

Vermont State School Nurses' Association Fall Conference

The Vermont State School Nurses' Association will hold its Fall Conference on October 15, 2016, at the Brattleboro Retreat in Brattleboro, Vermont. Join us as we explore a myriad of topics related to mental health, mindfulness and transitions back to school.  Our Keynote Speaker this year is Dr. Jody Brakeley, who has invested many years in the lives of students and families in Middlebury. She is a co-creator of the Middlebury Area School Health (M*A*S*H) Team which augments the relationship between physicians and school nurses.  Dr. Brakeley also serves as a staff pediatrician at the Vermont Department of Health Child Development Clinic. 

Contact: Allison Conyers at (802) 244-4227 or aconyers@wwsu.org

Mindfulness and Restorative Practices: A Powerful Partnership

This workshop on December 7, 2016, explores Restorative Practices (a non-punitive form of behavioral support) and Mindfulness - which has been shown to improve student and teacher wellness and performance on many levels. Find out why schools are delving into these two powerful practices. Register online or call the Champlain Valley Educator Development Center (CVEEDC) with questions. 

Contact: Lauren Wooden, Executive Director, at (802) 497-1642 or lauren@cvedcvt.org

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Secretary Daniel M. French
1 National Life Drive, Davis 5
Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

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