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Volume 14, Issue 17

April 29, 2020

COVID-19 Updates and Guidance for Schools

This section of the Weekly Field Memo contains updates to COVID-19 guidance from the Vermont Agency of Education released since the last Weekly Field Memo. For a complete list of AOE-issued guidance, please visit our COVID-19 Guidance for Vermont Schools and Continuity of Learning websites. For the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on the COVID-19 response in Vermont, visit the Health Department's Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

Guidance: Continuity of Learning 

Audience: Superintendents, Independent School Heads
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued Educator Resilience: Tips on Self-Care in the Time of COVID-19(4/23), Remote Learning Resource: Expanded Access to Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative (4/29), Continuity of Learning: Identifying Critical Proficiencies (4/29) and PreK Learning from Home: Supplemental Resources for Families (4/28).
Contact: Jess DeCarolis at

Guidance: Adult Education and Literacy

Audience: AEL Providers
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued COVID-19 Guidance for Adult Education and Literacy: Volume 3 (4/22) and Adult Education and Literacy Continuity of Learning Instruction and Assessment Guidance (4/22)
Contact: Robin Castle at

Guidance: Interim Guidance on School Health During COVID-19

Audience: Superintendents, Independent School Heads, School Nurses
While “Stay Safe, Stay Home, Practice Every Day Preventive Measures” is paramount, student and family engagement continues to be a means of promoting health. School health and mental health wellness activities in place today will help students and families be healthy and ready for learning, play, and work tomorrow. Updated guidance can be found on the Vermont Department of Health website: COVID-19 Interim Guidance for School Health.
Contact: Sharonlee Trefry at

Vermont PBS Scheduling Information Week of 5/4

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Principals, PreK-12 Teachers
Vermont Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and the Agency of Education (AOE) are partnering to support continuity of learning for our students and school communities. This partnership provides access to free educational programming through Vermont PBS At-Home Learning. Teachers can create unique accounts with their school email or Google account through PBS LearningMedia. Accounts are free and provide access to a range of additional features. Each Wednesday, the Vermont PBS Week-Ahead Program Schedule will be made available to educators so they can plan for the following week. Resources that can be printed and sent home have been identified within the schedule.
Contact: Pat Fitzsimmons at or Heather Duhamel at

Other Agency of Education and State of Vermont Updates

This section of the Weekly Field Memo contains posts from the Agency of Education and other State of Vermont agencies that are not specically related to the COVID-19 Response.

Vermont Regional School Calendars for 2020-2021 – Reminder

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Headmasters, Regional Technical Center Directors, Curriculum Coordinators
Vermont statute, 16 V.S.A. §1071 (e), requires that superintendents of schools, regional public-school principals, and headmasters meet before April 1, 2020, and by majority vote, establish a uniform calendar within that area for the following school year. The calendar needs to include student attendance days, periods of vacation, holidays and the requisite five teacher in-service education days. Please send approved, regional calendars to Allison Keating at the Agency of Education.
Contact: Allison Keating at (802) 828-4855 or

School Lunch Hero Day

Audience: All
Friday, May 1st is School Lunch Hero Day. While school food service staff deserve our thanks and appreciation every day of every year, this year is especially important. Vermont’s school food service heroes are continuing to work in empty schools to keep Vermont’s kids fed during this uncertain time. They report that they really miss seeing their students, and the drawings and notes of appreciation they receive really brighten their day. Teachers and parents are encouraged to suggest that students send their local food service heroes a message of thanks on Friday. Notes can be left on pick-up coolers, shown from car windows, or posted on social media. Use the hashtags #vted and #SchoolLunchHeroes.
Contact: Rosie Krueger at

The Vermont Restorative Approaches Collaborative Website

Audience: SU/SD/School Restorative Approaches and Leadership Teams
The Vermont Restorative Approaches Collaborative, in partnership with the Agency of Education, has developed a website of curated resources related to restorative approaches for all Vermont schools. The Collaborative has also recently released a new guidance and resource document to support SU/SD/schools’ restorative approaches and leadership teams during the COVID-19 crisis. You are invited to take some time to explore these resources and offer any feedback.
Contact: Meg Porcella at

State Board of Education to Hold Virtual Public Hearing on Rules Series 1300 and 2360

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Special Education Administrators, Educators, General Public
The State Board of Education will hold a virtual public hearing on Rules Series 1300 and Rule Series 2360 on May 6, 2020, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. If you would like to register to provide public comment on these two rules series, please email Suzanne Sprague at The public comment period is currently open and will close on May 27, 2020. An additional public hearing on these rules series, following the scheduled hearing on May 6, 2020, will take place on May 20, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. These hearings are scheduled to be virtual until Governor Scott lifts his order. Public comment related to these rule series can also be emailed to:
Contact: Suzanne Sprague at

Registration Open for the BEST/VTmtss Virtual Summer Institute

Audience: School teams of educators, family members, and community stakeholders who are looking to strengthening systems, data, and practices within a multi-tiered system of supports
The 2020 BEST/VTmtss Virtual Summer Institute is scheduled for June 22-25, 2020, and is now open for registration. Individuals must attend as school teams and select one 8-hour strand and two one-hour workshops, participate in keynote presentations, engage in meaningful team planning time, and enjoy several special activities (optional) throughout the four days. Please note, registrations have been cancelled for anyone who registered for the live, in-person institute. These individuals must register again.
Contact: Laura Greenwood at

Extended Deadline - Educational Equity Learning Provider Request for Information

Audience: Professional Learning Providers
The Agency has extended the deadline for an RFI to collect updated information on individuals and institutions who can provide Vermont educators with professional development in areas related to educational equity and diversity. Please see the bid site for more information and updated RFI deadlines.
Contact: Julia Scheier at

Superintendent Assurance Required In Lieu Of VTmtss Survey SY19-20

Audience: Superintendents and Principals
May 1st traditionally marks the opening of the annual data collection window for the VTmtss Survey, which is designed to fulfill the requirements of 16 V.S.A. § 2904. This year, due to school closures and related concerns about the viability of the data that we’d be collecting, the AOE has decided to take a different approach to meeting this requirement. Each superintendent will be asked to sign an assurance, in lieu of completing the VTmtss Survey, for SY19-20. In the past, this has traditionally been a school-level data collection completed by a principal; we anticipate that this will be a one-time deviation from that approach, and that we will return to school-level collections next year. Superintendents will receive an email with the assurance on May 1, 2020. The deadline for completing the assurance will be June 1, 2020. If you have questions about this assurance, or about the related statutory requirement, please contact Tracy Watterson, VTmtss Program Manager, at
Contact: Tracy Watterson at

Courtesy Posts

The views, opinions and resources shared in this section of the WFM are solely those of the original contributors. The Agency of Education does not endorse the views expressed by these contributors and reserves the right to refuse submissions. Questions related to any of these resources should be directed to the organizations, people and opportunities as shared. Please refer to the Weekly Field Memo submission guidelines for additional information.

Until further notice, the Courtesy Posts will not include posts related to in-person training, events or meetings. This is to support social distancing strategies recommended by the Vermont Department of Health.

At Home STEM Resources from FourScienceVT

Four Vermont science museums have established FourScienceVT, a consortium to provide science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) remote learning resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. At-home learning resources can be found on the museum’s websites: Vermont Institute of Natural Science, ECHO, Fairbanks Museum and Montshire Museum of Science.

Keeping VT Children Safe: A Conversation with Dr. First and Puppet Jordan

In collaboration with Vermont Family Network’s Puppets in Education, the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital created a 9-minute video intended to help children understand what to do if they are experiencing abuse at home. Dr. Lewis First, chief of the UVM Children’s Hospital offers advice to children. Please feel free to share the video widely.
Contact: Karen Sharpwolf at

VT-HEC Summer Course - Work-Based Learning: Providing Effective Opportunities for Students, Schools and Businesses

Registration is open for the Summer 2020 course, Work-Based Learning: Providing Effective Opportunities for Students, Schools and Businesses, taught by Rich Tulikangas (Director of Vermont’s Linking Learning to Careers (LLC) project). In order to develop legal, safe and effective work-based learning programs and experiences, this course will provide a thorough overview of labor and safety laws and practices, sales and marketing, career development strategies, and effective systems for organizing, monitoring and evaluating student learning opportunities with businesses and community partners. This is the foundational course in our 18-credit series of courses providing a pathway to the Work-Based Learning Endorsement and is for work-based learning coordinators as well as anyone responsible for student learning outside the school walls (i.e. community-based learning coordinators, coop coordinators, flexible pathway coordinators). Dates: 6/22-7/27 with three online synchronous group meetings (6/22, 7/13 and 7/27, 3-7pm) and the remainder online. For more details, view the informational flyer.
Contact: Kim McKellar at

Virtual Vermont Global Issues Network Conference

Rutland High School is still hosting a modified virtual VT Global Issues Network (GIN) Conference on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Portions of the conference will be offered live via Zoom webinar, Facebook Live, and YouTube-live, while other segments will be pre-recorded for viewing at your convenience on the conference website. The theme is Equity and Inclusivity but many of the student-delivered breakout sessions pertain to the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well. The keynote address and Implicit Bias Training will be delivered by Bor Yang, the director and legal counsel for the Vt Human Rights Commission.
Contact: Bill Olsen at

Partnerships for Literacy and Learning: Start with Joy

Partnerships for Literacy and Learning presents: Start with Joy: Designing Literacy Learning for Student Success and Happiness Now and For the Future Grades K-8. This event had previously been postponed, but now Katie Cunningham will be presenting online two afternoons; on May 19 and May 21, 2020, from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. each day. As teachers navigate and transcend one of our nation's most challenging times, intentionally designing for student happiness is more important than ever. Because we cannot gather together in person, the cost has been reduced to $150, to make the opportunity to learn with Katie even more accessible.
Contact: Mary Grace at or (802) 828-0521

World Learning: Experiment in International Living Digital

Apply by May 20, 2020: The Experiment in International Living, a program of World Learning in Brattleboro, VT, invites teens ages 14–19 in the U.S., Algeria, Iraq and Yemen to apply online to The Experiment Digital, a fully funded (free) summer program. Motivated Vermonters who are interested in cultural exchange should apply online by May 20, 2020. For eight weeks (for four hours per week) from June 22 to August 16, 2020, students will log on to an interactive platform to learn about leadership and civic engagement and interact with their peers through videos, chats, webinars and games. The Experiment Digital is supported by the Stevens Initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute.
Contact: Kirby Landes at or at (802) 258-3451

Free or Discounted Online Professional Development from the Stern Center for Language and Learning

Join the Stern Center online this spring for professional development available from the comfort of your own home. Teachers looking to increase their students’ literacy skills can choose from a variety of online, self-paced courses and webinars. Choices include presentations by Louisa Moats and Nancy Mather, Orton-Gillingham webinars, Building Blocks online for early educators, and the 40-hour graduate level Comprehensive Reading course. Thanks to generous underwriting from our grantors, many of these offerings are available at no cost or a discount.
Contact: SJ Larkspur at

Professional Learning: Mindfulness - Virtual

Registration is open for Mindfulness for Troubling Times: An Online Cohort Series Annie O'Shaughnessy leads this 4-session series on Wednesdays in May from 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. via Zoom. Learn the skills of creating restorative and engaging online spaces while also taking care of yourself. Annie will introduce tips, tools and resources for teaching and leading restoratively. This series is motivated by the unprecedented stressors experienced by educators and hopes to provide a supportive home base for you. Starts May 6, 2020.
Contact: Lauren Wooden at or (802) 497-1642

Invitation to Share Your Middle and High School Dairy Curriculum

Got dairy... education? If you work with middle/high school age students and have ever done dairy-related activities (a farm visit, taste test, classroom lessons or something else) please take a few minutes before Monday, June 1st to visit this survey. Depending on how much you have to say about your dairy curricula, the survey should take between 5 to about 30 minutes.
Contact: Liz Kenton at or (802) 257-7967 x308

UP for Learning Announces a New Webinar Series - Remote Learning and the Brain for Educators

To help meet the needs of our evolving educational landscape, UP for Learning is creating a series of professional learning webinars for school staff that focus on the impact of stress on learning, the power of positive self-talk, and how the brain learns. Following each webinar, educators will be provided with a lesson and resources they can immediately implement with students to help them become more effective learners during these unprecedented times. The live webinars will be held every Thursday during May from 3-4 p.m. If you are unable to attend, you can register and a recording of the live webinar will be sent to you.
Contact: Amie Conger at

Subscribe Online

The field memo has time-sensitive and relevant information designed for students, teachers, and staff. The agency encourages principals, headmasters, and superintendents to share the memo with their education community. Additionally, individuals can subscribe or unsubscribe online.

Questions? Email Ted Fisher at