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 2

15 January 2020

Lead in School Drinking Water Testing Schedule Nearly Complete

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Facilities Managers
The Vermont Department of Health has posted the last major update to the schedule of sampling and sample pick-up dates for schools to have their water tested for lead under Act 66 of 2019. You can access the testing schedule online on the Vermont Department of Health website. Superintendents (public schools) and heads of school (independent schools) will receive an email from the Health Department when they have been scheduled. If your school is NOT on the schedule, or if your school will NOT be open on your scheduled pickup day, please email leadschool@vermont.gov as soon as possible. For more information, visit Lead Testing in Drinking Water: What Schools Need to Do, or dial 2-1-1 or (802) 652-4636.
Contact: Michelle Thompson at leadschool@vermont.gov

Seeking Hosts for School Safety Planning, Training and Exercise Initiative Phase III

Audience: Superintendents, Principals
The Agency of Education and Department of Public Safety have partnered with Margolis Healy in Vermont’s School Safety Planning, Training and Exercise initiative. The intent of this initiative is to assist all of Vermont’s K-12 schools with enhancing school emergency preparedness. We are preparing for Phase III, which will take place between February and June of 2020, and will consist of training sessions throughout the state, focused on an all hazards approach to school emergency preparedness, access control and crime prevention through environmental design. We strongly encourage school leadership and members of school or district planning teams to attend. We are pleased to have about 35 host schools already, but would like to offer more trainings with greater geographic reach to make attendance as convenient as possible. If you would be willing to host training sessions at your school, please complete our Host Phase III Training form no later than Jan. 24, 2020. Hosting would require seating for approximately 20-30 adults and capacity to project a PowerPoint presentation.
Contact: Dee Barbic at dbarbic@margolishealy.com

VTmtss January Office Hour Recording Available

Audience: Superintendents, Principals
The VTmtss Team has posted a closed captioned video of the January Office Hour, which offers an interview with Pat Fitzsimmons and Sigrid Olson about how the VTmtss Framework can support work with Proficiency-based Learning and Flexible Pathways, with an eye on Local Comprehensive Assessment Systems, a key lever for carrying out Act 173.
Contact: Julia Scheier at julia.scheier@vermont.gov or (802) 828-5041

VTmtss Educational Equity Brief Online

Audience: All Educators
The Vermont Multi-tiered System of Supports (VTmtss) Team has published a new Educational Equity Brief offering resources, research and best practices to support Educational Support Teams (EST). The document offers an overview of EST and Vermont trends, how to utilize the VTmtss Framework to strengthen all aspects of your EST, and how to use the VTmtss Decision-Making Tool to examine and improve your current EST structure.
Contact: Julia Scheier at julia.scheier@vermont.gov or (802) 828-5041

English Language Arts January Newsletter

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Instructional Coaches, English Teachers
The January issue of Literary Learning, the English Language Arts (ELA) newsletter, is now available on the ELA/Literacy webpage. The webpage also contains links to previous issues and other important information for ELA educators. Educators can subscribe to the ELA listserv to be kept informed about ELA education in Vermont.
Contact: Emily Leute at emily.leute@vermont.gov or (802) 828-6598

World Language Proficiency Development

Audience: Curriculum Directors
In December, world language educators developed PK-12 proficiencies based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards that were adopted by the Vermont State Board of Education last year. The Vermont Foreign Language Association (VFLA) is reaching out to educators to provide comment on the work before it will be shared on the AOE website. If you would like to provide comment, contact Martha Deiss at the AOE, with all comments submitted by Jan. 31, 2020.
Contact: Martha Deiss at martha.deiss@vermont.gov or (802) 828-6597

Local Comprehensive Assessment Systems Resources

Audience: Educators
The document, Local Comprehensive Assessment Systems in School District Systems: Act 173 Technical Guidance, provides technical assistance and guidance focused on local comprehensive assessment systems. It is one of a series of four supporting guidance documents the Agency of Education has developed to provide supplemental information to the Education Quality Standards (EQS) rules and practices as they pertain to the changes in practice necessary to implement Act 173 of 2018. Additionally, the Local Comprehensive Assessment System Quality Criteria, as well as the related Local Comprehensive Assessment System Quality Criteria Single Point Rubric, were developed with input from educators as tools for reflecting on a system’s strengths as well as areas in need of improvement. These tools can therefore be used to determine next steps towards strengthening balanced assessment systems that enhance the effectiveness, availability and equity of services provided to all students.
Contact: Pat Fitzsimmons at (802) 828-5896 or pat.fitzsimmons@vermont.gov

Preliminary Budget Data Collection

Audience: Superintendents, Business Managers
The Preliminary Budget Data Collection, deployed on Jan. 9, 2020, has the objective of collecting data necessary to calculate education spending for town school districts and union school districts. This is a voluntary collection but we urge you to submit data. The deadline is Feb. 1, 2020.
Contact: Glenn Bouchard at (802) 828-1017, glenn.bouchard@vermont.gov

Growing Works of Art Contest

Audience: Educators and Students Grade 1-8
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is celebrating Arbor Day, a day to appreciate trees and the difference they make in our lives. We invite students celebrate by creating a piece of tree art and writing. This year, the Growing Works of Art contest theme is “Trees are superheroes: share your tree story of why we need trees!” One winner from each grade (1-8) will be featured on the WCAX television show “Across the Fence.”
Contact: Rebecca Roy at rebecca.roy@vermont.gov

Special Education General Supervision and Monitoring System Public Comment

Audience: All, Special Education Administrators
Stakeholder input is being sought for the revised special education general supervision and monitoring system to be fully implemented beginning July 1, 2020. All comments are collected using a standard response form. Response forms should be sent to AOE.SpecialEd@vermont.gov. In addition to posting for public comment on the AOE website, the agency held multiple stakeholder meetings from September - December 2019. Notices for these meetings were published in the Agency’s weekly field memo. The Agency of Education is inviting public comment from Dec. 16, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2020.
Contact: Tonya Rutkowski at AOE.SpecialEd@vermont.gov or leave a message at (802) 828-1256

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. 

Registration open for Edcamp Vermont

Edcamp Vermont returns to Winooski for a day of fun, free professional development by teachers and for teachers. This participant-driven unconference is designed to facilitate authentic conversation about what you're passionate or curious about in education this year. Past Edcamp Vermont sessions have included a focus on social-emotional learning, trauma-informed practices, proficiency-based learning, equity and more. Learn more and register for free.
Contact: Ali Putnam at edcamp@centerpointservices.org

Teacher Workshop with Visiting Artist Damien Sneed

Join visiting artist Damien Sneed at the Flynn on Jan. 22, 2020 from 4-6 p.m. for a workshop inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sneed is at the Flynn presenting student matinee and evening performances of his work "We Shall Overcome" which ties together a living lineage of music and culture that includes traditional and modern gospel, classical, jazz, Broadway and spirituals, all interwoven with excerpts from Dr. King's speeches. "The work we did with the visiting artists provided many exercises to use with any age. The fact that we put them to use together and truly embodied them was powerful" (Alana Phinney, Independent Teaching Artist). Links to civil rights, activism, music history, African American culture/tradition/history, voice, expression; fee is $20/participant, includes two tickets to the 7:30 p.m. performance. Fee support & PD credit are available; register online.
Contact: Lauren Genta at lgenta@flynncenter.org or (802) 652-4508

Vermont Energy Education Program Professional Learning Opportunities

Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) has several professional learning opportunities coming up. One-day NGSS Instructional Toolkit Workshops for teachers are being offered in March in Burlington, Springfield and Bennington. A free, grant-funded Energy and Climate in NGSS course is being offered for teachers in the Northeast Kingdom April - June (fee applies only if earning two graduate credits through the course). And, our 3-credit summer Energy and Climate Projects Academy (Aug. 10-14, 2020) is now open for enrollment. See more about VEEP's teacher support at veep.org
Contact: Cara Robechek at cara.robechek@veep.org

Professional Learning: Proficiency-Based Communications

Registration is open for Messaging: Articulating the Why, What, and How of your Proficiency-Based System. On May 11, 2020, Emily Rinkema and Stan Williams will lead this one-day workshop for teachers, administrators, and coach/coordinators, supporting teams or individuals working with PBL to clearly develop and articulate the WHY, WHAT and HOW of your systems, to ensure smoother transitions and a more controlled message. Participants will develop succinct WHY statements that drive your classroom, school or district, draft a visual articulation of your proficiency-based system, and articulate the steps for implementation (HOW). Location: Hampton Event Center, Colchester, VT on May 11, 2020.
Contact: Lauren Wooden at lauren@cvedcvt.org or (802) 497-1642

Space Available: International Year of the Salmon Workshop

There are a few spots open in the Champlain Basin Education Initiative’s Salmon Workshop on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. Educators will learn about the life cycle and biology of salmon, and the restoration efforts and public policy initiatives surrounding one of Vermont’s premier sport fish. Presenters include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fisheries biologists and educators from LCBP, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and Trout Unlimited. Free workshop with credit hour certificate available.
Contact: Colleen Hickey at chickey@lcbp.org

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.

Weekly Field Memo Submission Guidelines


Email Kate Connizzo, Digital Communications and Web Manager, or call (802) 828-0048.

Contact Us

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

Web and Document Accessibility Policy​
Public Records Requests

Phone: (802) 828-1130 | Fax: (802) 828-6430
Staff Directory | Division Phone Numbers







Connect with Us

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Instagram icon
Google+ icon
YouTube icon
RSS icon