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 40

02 November 2016

Smarter Balanced Newsletter Available

Audience: All

The fourth issue of the Smarter Balanced Newsletter is out. This issue contains general updates regarding TIDE (and a note about DLM rumors), a TIDE Webinar Encore, SBAC and Chromebooks, a new Designated Support, Digital Library self-registration, Performance Task classroom activities, and an Educator Opportunity with NAEP. 

Contact: Linda Moreno at (802) 479-1309 or linda.moreno@vermont.gov 

NECAP Science Release Tasks and Support Materials

Audience: All

The 2016 NECAP Science Release items and Support Materials and prediction charts are now available on the AOE website. 

Contact: Gail Hall, 6-12 science specialist, at (802) 479-1284 or gail.hall@vermont.gov or Kathy Renfrew, K-5 science specialist, at (802) 479-1448 or kathy.renfrew@vermont.gov 

Call for Nominations for Presidential Scholars

Audience: Students, Principals, Guidance Counselors, Academics 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

Eliminating the Grading Game: Providing Equity Through Proficiency-Based Learning (PBL) Practices

Audience: Superintendents, Special Ed Directors, Curriculum Directors, Teachers

At the recent Rowland Conference, Andrew Jones and Gabriel Hamilton from Mount Abraham Union High School gave this compelling presentation about shifts in practice required to transition to a proficiency-based learning system with the goal of equity for all. This presentation Eliminating the Grading Game can be used to inform educators as well as community members about the premise for PBL and how it differs from traditional systems. It can also be used to provoke meaningful conversations about inequities that currently exist in systems and strategies for addressing them. 

Contact: Kathy Renfrew at kathy.renfrew@vermont.gov, Andrew Jones at ajones@anesu.org, Gabriel Hamilton at ghamilton@anesu.org

Vermont Alliance for the Social Studies (VASS) Conference

Audience: Teachers, Curriculum Coordinators, External Learning Providers

The annual VASS conference continues to be a great resource for “Making Sense of the World.” Start the day with a fascinating and relevant opening session (Vermont Welcomes Syrian Refugees) in which Chris Louras, Mayor of Rutland; Robert Ford, former ambassador to Syria; and the USCRI/Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program Director Amila Merdzanovic will discuss how the crisis in Syria impacts Vermont and the rest of the world. Fifteen sessions will follow, focusing on topics like Inquiry through TED Talks, Game-Changing Digital Tools, 3D Vermont, Using ArcGIS Online, Giant Traveling Maps, Art and National Parks, and Transforming Classroom Practice through Socratic Dialogue and more. View the agenda and register online  

Contact: Sigrid Olson at (802) 479-1156 or sigrid.olson@vermont.gov

Save The Date: Preschool Development Expansion Grant Webinar

Audience: Administrators, Teachers, District Leaders, Partner Programs

A Question and Answer webinar will be hosted by the Vermont Agency of Education for districts and current grantees already receiving or interested in applying for the Preschool Development Grant. This is the second year of a four-year grant. The PDEG Technical Assistance Q&A interactive webinar is November 9, 2016 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. This interactive webinar allows participants to connect with the AOE's Early Childhood staff as well as fellow partnering sites to share questions and successes. Join the webinar For background information, watch the previously recorded PDEG Informational Webinar

Contact: Katie McCarthy at katie.mccarthy@vermont.gov 

School Safety Training - "What If Wednesday"

Audience: Superintendents, Principals and School Crisis Planning Team Members

The "What If Wednesday" school safety initiative is designed to stimulate a conversation about school emergency preparedness. Participants should read the summary of the "fictional" school safety incident and then answer the multiple choice question with the appropriate response action t obe taken for the specific emergency. 

Contact: Rob Evans, school security liaison officer, at (802) 839-0448 or revans@margolishealy.com 

Governor's Statewide School Training Safety 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. Spaces are filling quickly, so please reserve a spot. Register online

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

Winter Weather Challenge Safety Dialogue

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, School Crisis Planning Team Members

This facilitated dialogue is designed to initiate a conversation with your staff about how your school would respond to a “ Winter Weather Challenge" and to familiarize you with current school emergency operations plans, policies, and procedures. We recommend that school leaders share this training with key school decision makers during monthly/quarterly school crisis planning team meetings.

Contact: Rob Evans, school security liaison officer, at (802) 839-0448 or revans@margolishealy.com

2016-2017 Nominations for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) Open

Audience: All

The 2016-2017 nominations for National Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching for outstanding grades 7-12 Vermont Mathematics and Science teachers opened November 1, 2016. These awards are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Anyone may nominate an exemplary Vermont mathematics or science teacher for this recognition through the PAEMST site until nominations close April 1, 2017.

Contact: Gail Hall at gghall910@gmail.com

Transportation Solutions for Students Experiencing Homelessness

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Homeless Liaisons 

The Vermont Agency of Education is partnering with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) to provide technical assistance to six LEAs looking to improve transportation services for students experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to generate more affordable, flexible and efficient options for transporting students experiencing homelessness to their school of origin. VEIC will work directly with LEAs to develop transportation services plans and provide LEAs with implementation guidance. The homeless liaisons in each LEA will serve as the primary point of contact. Learn more Applications are due by 5 p.m on November 4, 2016. 

Contact: Justine Sears at (802) 540-7833 or jsears@veic.org

Courtesy Postings

LifeChanger of the Year Program Accepting Nominations

The LifeChanger of the Year program is an annual program, sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation that honors K-12 public and private school educators and employees from around the country who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership. Nominations can be made by anyone and are accepted until January 1, 2017. Nominations can be submitted online at no cost.  Each nominee is celebrated in various ways and has the opportunity to be considered for the grand prize of $10,000 to be split between the winner and his/her school.

Contact: Mayra Gonzalez at mgonzalez@conovergould.com

Jump$tart to Offer Teacher Education

The Vermont Jump$tart Coalition will present their annual conference for teachers on November 11, 2016, at the Davis Center at the University of Vermont. Vermont teachers from all grades are invited to attend this event and will attend three sessions from six different topic offerings, as well as hear Keynote Speaker, Peter Bielagus, America's Financial Educator. Register online 

Contact: Dylan Giambatista at dylan.giambatista@vermont.gov

Connecting The Dots: Using Best Practices to Support Young Children and Their Families

This workshop/course opportunity for Early Childhood Professionals is hosted by the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative (VTHEC). VTHEC is embarking on a two-year workshop series, as well as graduate level courses, to help early childhood professionals best support young children and their families. The first of a four-part workshop series kicks off on November 30, 2016, with Jim Squires presenting "Strengthening Foundations for Best Practice and Effective Curriculum." These workshops will be interactive, integrated learning experiences that blend theory and practice. Learn more and register online 

Contact: Julie Medose at (802) 498-3350 or julie.medose@vthec.org

Reflective Practice and the Peer Review Portfolio

Are you currently pursuing initial licensure or adding an endorsement through the Peer Review Alternative Certification Route? This course supports and guides teachers pursuing initial licensure or adding endorsements to their Vermont teaching license. Participants need to be in a school setting, for student teaching will not be arranged through this course.  As part of this course, participants examine the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards (Vermont Core Teaching Standards) and content endorsement standards and develop an electronic portfolio demonstrating their competency on each standard through the collection of artifacts and a written commentary that describes, analyzes and reflects on the evidence.  Vermont-NEA members taking this course will qualify for Vermont-NEA Scholarships to pay for the Peer Review Fee.

Contact: Juliette Longchamp at jlongchamp@vtnea.org

STEM - Bridge Building Competition - and Crushing

Students are invited to participate in Vermont Tech's Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology's third annual Bridge Building Competitions. Teams will construct bridges in advance of the competitions using only popsicle sticks, Elmer's Glue, toothpicks and dental floss. The free competitions will be held on two dates. The high school competition is March 31, 2017 and the middle school competition is April 13, 2017. Find more information and register online 

Contact: John Diebold at (802) 728-1282 or jdiebold@vtc.edu

The CAMS Framework, Managing Suicide Risk Collaboratively

CAMS has a 20-plus year evidence base, internationally recognized as a top-tier intervention with proven efficacy. The suite of trainings is for clinicians who see clients at risk for suicide in an outpatient setting over the course of weeks or months. Included in this training are a two-hour online session, a one-day face-to-face training at The Essex and post-training technical assistance. CEUs are pending. For more information and to register, visit the Health and Learning website 

Contact: Catherine Diduk, training/event coordinator, at catherine@healthandlearning.org

2017 Entrepreneurship Education - Visual Media Competition

Students in grades 9-12 are invited to submit bumper stickers and video videos for this competition. The theme is "Vermont Entrepreneurship: Innovation and Creativity." Winners will receive cash prizes. For more information visit the Vermont Tech website 

Contact: Laurel Butler at laurel.butler@vtc.edu

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