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 14, Issue 18

06 May 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 Grading and Reporting: Guiding Considerations in Remote Learning Environments (5/6); Grading and Reporting: Practical Strategies from the Field During Remote Learning (5/6); Administrator Tips: Caring for Yourself and Staff in the Time of COVID-19 (5/6); Leveraging Summer 2020 Learning Programs: Key Considerations in Planning for Continuity of Learning (5/6); and Supporting the Senior Class of 2020: Further Considerations During Remote Learning (5/6).
Contact: Jess DeCarolis at jess.decarolis@vermont.gov

Guidance: Career and Technical Education

Audience: Superintendents, Career Technical Education Educators
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued Guidance for Career and Technical Education During COVID-19 (5/1) and Continuity of Learning Plan Reference Guide for Career and Technical Education (5/1).
Contact: Ruth Durkee at ruth.durkee@vermont.gov

Guidance: Education Medicaid

Audience: Superintendents, Business Managers, Medicaid Clerks, Special Educators
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued School-Based Health Services and Education Medicaid Telemedicine during Continuity of Learning Frequently Asked Questions (5/4).
Contact: Jessica Robinson at jessica.robinson@vermont.gov

Guidance: Student Teaching/Educator Preparation Programs

Audience: Superintendents, Educator Preparation Programs, Student Teachers
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has updated Student Teaching/EPP COVID-19 FAQ (Updated 4/30).
Contact: Ellen Cairns at ellen.cairns@vermont.gov

Department for Children and Families Guidance for Teachers: Helping Children and Families Cope During COVID-19

Audience: Teachers
Teachers are a vital part of the safety net for Vermont’s most vulnerable children. The Department for Children and Families has seen a dramatic decline in our calls of concern to the DCF child protection hotline during this time of remote leaning. While it is not surprising that reporting has declined, it is nonetheless of great concern. Since the 3rd week of March, 2020 Vermont’s child protection line has seen more than a 50% decrease in calls of concern from teachers (and many others). No doubt there are children who are vulnerable to child abuse and neglect, and these vulnerabilities may be heightened due to the stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on families, yet so much goes unseen right now. Vermont DCF has created a three-page guide to raise awareness of this vulnerability, and to offer guidance regarding ways teachers can still be a part of the safety net for children who may be at risk of child abuse or neglect. We hope you will find these strategies helpful, and we greatly appreciate all you do for Vermont’s children and youth.
Contact: Brenda.Gooley at brenda.gooley@vermont.gov

Vermont PBS Scheduling Information Week of 5/11

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 pat.fitzsimmons@vermont.org or Heather Duhamel at hduhamel@vermontpbs.org

Vermont Public Radio: But Why Live

Audience: K-6 Teachers
But Why, VPR's Podcast for Curious Kids is coming to the air-waves every Friday at 1 p.m. May 8-June 19, 2020. The AOE has partnered with VPR to bring these interactive and educational programs to Vermont students. The programs will cover a wide-range of topics related to natural science, poetry, space, history and civics. Students can listen to the program over the air on VPR's stations or listen to the web-stream at vpr.org. Students can call-in and ask their questions while the program is on the air or send them ahead of time to questions@butwhykids.org. On Friday, May 8, 2020, But Why will be learning about bats and beavers with the Vermont Bat Center and Vermont Fish & Wildlife. On May 15, 2020, write a poem to share with Poetry Guy Ted Scheu. Find out for about the programs and find supplemental resources for each program at butwhykids.org.
Contact: Pat Fitzsimmons at pat.fitzsimmons@vermont.org or Melody Bodette at melody@butwhykids.org

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.

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 julia.scheier@vermont.gov

AOE Final Request for Comments on Vermont’s Policy and Procedures: Significant Disproportionality in Special Education

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Special Education Administrators, Educators, General Public
The Agency of Education (AOE) is proposing a policy and a description of methodology concerning the requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) with respect to significant disproportionality. Under 34 C.F.R. 300.646 and 300.647, states must annually collect and examine data to see if significant disproportionality is occurring within the state and at the Local Education Agency (LEA) level. The IDEA regulations also expand the ways that districts must use funds to provide Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CCEIS) to students to address the identified disproportionality and to alleviate barriers to students’ access to curriculum and appropriate supports. Comments should be submitted to AOE.SpecialEd@vermont.gov with the subject header "Significant Disproportionality". The deadline is May 8, 2020.
Contact: Jacqui Kelleher at jacqui.kelleher@vermont.gov

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Audience: All
The Vermont Department of Mental Health, in collaboration with the Center for Health and Learning and the VT Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, will be releasing newsletters on various mental health topics each week throughout May. The Week 1 newsletter focuses on the general topic of mental health with an additional focus on how families can model and support emotional expression. There are links to activities, worksheets and videos for children and youth. Please share with families in your districts as feasible.
Contact: Laurel Omland at laurel.omland@vermont.gov

School Nurse Day

Audience: Superintendents, Independent Headmasters, Principals, School Nurses
Today, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, is the perfect opportunity to honor the school nurses serving our school communities. They are helping students and families access the care and resources they need today to address, social, emotional and physical health so they can be healthy today and ready for learning now and in the future. Feel free to share these messages widely from our national school nurse partners: NASN and NASSNC.
Contact: Sharonlee Trefry at sharonlee.trefry@vermont.gov

Hiring School Nurses

Audience: Superintendents, Principals
All Registered Nurses (RN) must complete the online New School Nurse Orientation in order to be licensed for practice in Vermont Schools (EQS, pg. 11). To avoid delays, the free orientation needs to occur prior to starting the Agency of Education application for a transcript review to become endorsed as a School Nurse (3-65) or Associate School Nurse (3-65A). Resources, job descriptions, and competencies can be found here: Standards of Practice: School Health Services Manual; Licensed School Nurse and Associate School Nurse (pg. 10), Competencies (pg. 176-185). For questions and a link to the New School Nurse Orientation contact Sharonlee Trefry.
Contact: Sharonlee Trefry at sharonlee.trefry@vermont.gov

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.

Live Stream Event: Putting Concepts into Practice for Students with Anxiety with Lynn Lyons

VT-HEC is excited to bring back Lynn Lyons for a one-day live streamed event on May 15, 2020. The event will also be offered as a recording for purchase if you are unable to attend the live streamed event. This intensive training will focus on how to interrupt anxiety’s cognitive patterns with simple, process-based approaches. Participants will be given strategies and language for identifying and managing normal levels of worry and anxiety as students learn, as well as concrete information about what to do with children who are in the throes of anxiety. In addition, participants will learn how anxiety’s quest for certainty and comfort impacts plans and goals for students, and thus how to create plans that are skill-based instead of avoidance-based. During this period of remote learning and daily uncertainty, the challenges are even more multi-faceted, and the need for skill-based supports more important than ever.
Contact: Julie Medose at julie.medose@vthec.org or (802) 498-3350

Vermont Youth Summit with Hasan Davis

You’re invited to a free virtual Youth Summit with dynamic keynote speaker and author of the book “Written Off”, Hasan Davis. The keynote presentation is specifically for youth and young adults, and those supporting youth in achieving their hopes and dreams are also welcome. The workshop for youth and young adults is offered on two different dates and youth can choose the one that they prefer. The keynote presentation is on Thursday, May 28, 2020, from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. (register online). An interactive workshop for youth and young adults (limit 35 per session) are offered on May 28, 2020, from 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (register online) or June 2, 2020, from 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (register online.) Both workshops are the same, so please choose one.
Contact: Martha Frank at martha.frank@vtfn.org

Online Professional Development: Linking Assessment to Instruction

Registration is open for Linking Assessment to Instruction with a Structured Literacy Approach, an online professional development course by the Stern Center for Language and Learning. How can educators better use testing data to enhance instruction using a Structured Literacy/Orton-Gillingham Approach? Participants will explore different profiles of dyslexia together with comorbid conditions, such as specific language impairments and ADHD. We will look beyond test scores and examine what tests actually measure as a foundation for lesson planning and instruction. Educators with previous structured literacy coursework are encouraged to apply. Learn more on the Stern Center website.
Contact: SJ Larkspur at slarkspur@sterncenter.org

English Language and Education Policy Online Course

A new UVM graduate course, ECLD 303 Race, Language Policy, & School, is being offered in the fall of 2020. This course explores the intersection of race and language alongside U.S. educational policy for English learners. Course outcomes include developing a sociocultural lens for examining English language learning and assets-based approaches in a multi-ethnic/lingual school or work environment. Learning is asynchronous with 4-5 synchronous sessions. This course is also open to continuing education students, as well as other learners who work in settings with families and children who are English learners. For more questions, please email Cynthia Reyes.
Contact: Cynthia Reyes at creyes@uvm.edu

Talk-It-Out Session: Vocabulary Instruction

Partnerships for Literacy and Learning presents their first Talk-It-Out Session. Step 1: Watch this video -Vocabulary Instruction Matters - and then, Step 2: On May 13, 2020, from 3:30 - 4 p.m. join the Talk-It-Out Session at this Google Meet Q & A with Ellen A. Thompson, Ed.D, a well-known Vermont Literacy Consultant and National Board Certified teacher. What does the research say? What are some guiding principles for teaching vocabulary? Learn five instructional moves to use in a digital or traditional classroom environment.This is a free event.
Contact: Mary Grace at info@pllvt.org or (802) 828-0521

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