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 21

27 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, Educators
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued Student Attendance Policies and Procedures: Strategies During School Closure and Planning for a Strong, Healthy Start (5/27).
Contact: Jess DeCarolis at jess.decarolis@vermont.gov

Guidance: Financial Guidance

Audience: Superintendents, Independent School Heads, Business Managers
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has updated Agency of Education COVID-19-Related Financial Guidance (Updated 5/27). 
Contact: Kathy Flanagan at kathy.flanagan@vermont.gov

Guidance: Adult Education and Literacy

Audience: Superintendents, Adult Education Programs
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued High School Letter Template as Referenced in Initial Graduation Guidance for Students Assessing Below High School Proficiency on NRS Assessments (5/27) and Student/Family Letter Template as Referenced in Initial Graduation Guidance for Students Assessing Below High School Proficiency on NRS Assessments (5/27).
Contact: Robin Castle at robin.castle@vermont.gov

Guidance: Prekindergarten

Audience: Superintendents, Prekindergarten Educators
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued PreK Learning from Home: Supplemental Resources for Educators (5/27)
Contact: Kate Rogers at kate.rogers@vermont.gov

Food Assistance Information for Families

Audience: All
Many Vermont households are facing food insecurity for the first time as a result of COVID-19. The free meals provided by schools are just one tool to help. Many of these households may now be eligible for food assistance through 3SquaresVT. Households can find more information and apply for 3SquaresVT on DCF's webpage. Please also see the handout Feeding Your Family during the Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 Outbreak for a one-page flyer that can be provided to households. Providing this information to households is especially important if your SU/SD plans to stop or reduce meal service over the summer months.
Contact: Rosie Krueger at mary.krueger@vermont.gov

Webinar on Offering Meals over the Summer

Audience: Food Service Directors, Business Managers
On Thursday, May 28, 2020, from 2-3 p.m., AOE Child Nutrition Programs will be offering a 1-hour webinar aimed at schools that have never offered Summer Meals before and are interested in continuing meal service through the Summer Food Service Program this summer. Please register for this webinar online. A recording will be available.
Contact: Jamie Curley at jamie.curley@vermont.gov

Vermont PBS Parent/Teacher Survey, Scheduling Information Week of 6/1 and DISH Partnership

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Principals, PreK-12 Teachers
The Vermont AOE and PBS want to know how to improve programming and supplemental resources for the summer and fall. Please fill out a short survey and share your thoughts. The results will be used to inform next steps. Additionally, this is the Vermont PBS Week-Ahead Program Schedule for the week of June 1, 2020. Resources available online as well as those that can be printed and sent home have been identified within the schedule. A recent partnership with DISH Network expands access to the educational content jointly developed by Vermont PBS and the AOE to more families across most of Vermont. The channels will be available to DISH subscribers in the Burlington - Plattsburg media market.
Contact: Pat Fitzsimmons at pat.fitzsimmons@vermont.org or Heather Duhamel at hduhamel@vermontpbs.org

But Why Live: Words (May 29) and a Press Conference for Kids with Gov. Phil Scott (June 5)

Audience: K-6 Teachers
On Friday, May 29 at 1 p.m., But Why will focus on words with linguist and Lexicon Valley podcast host John McWhorter. He will be answering your questions about the origins of words and languages. On Friday, June 5, 2020, at 1 p.m. Vermont Governor Phil Scott will join But Why Live on Vermont Public Radio for a special kid press conference. First, students will learn what a press conference is and how journalists think about what questions to ask. VPR reporter Peter Hirschfeld will guide us through that. Then Governor Scott will join us to field questions from kids for the rest of the hour. This is an opportunity for students to ask questions about whatever is on their minds. Teachers could pair this radio program with a writing activity: ask students to write a news report using quotes from the press conference, or talk about the concept of an editorial essay and ask students to write an opinion piece based on the show. This episode is targeted at students in grades 3-6, but the phone lines will be open to all students. Students can send written or audio recordings of questions ahead of time to questions@butwhykids.org or call in live while the program is on the air. An audio recording of the press conference will be available at But Why after the program.
Contact: Pat Fitzsimmons at pat.fitzsimmons@vermont.gov

Prom Goes #VTstrong

Audience: HS Class Advisors, Principals, Superintendents
Vermont Public Radio (VPR) is partnering with the Agency of Education and Big Heavy World to present a statewide virtual prom with DJ Craig Mitchell on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at 7 p.m. Prom Goes #VTstrong will include submitted audio messages and reflections. The broadcast recording and virtual afterparty will be hosted from Big Heavy World, a volunteer-run local music organization headquartered in Burlington. For more information or to be part of the event, please visit VPR’s Prom Goes #VTstrong webpage. See also: Virtual Prom Considerations for Students and Educators.
Contact: Margaret Carrera-Bly at margaret.carrera-bly@vermont.gov

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.

Empowered Paraprofessionals Virtual Learning Series

Curriculum Directors, Principals, Superintendents, Special education directors to share with Paraprofessionals
The title “paraprofessional” will be used for this training and accompanying material, related titles may vary by school district and include paraeducators, teacher aide, personal care assistant, instructional assistant, etc. Empowered Paraprofessionals Virtual Learning Series is an 8-week learning series designed to give paraprofessionals opportunities to gain or improve knowledge and skills important to their position, job performance and career growth. It is targeted to provide paraprofessionals with information that will enhance their role as members of the educational team and practical information regarding methods and resources that may be used in a variety of education settings. Register for Empowered Paraprofessional Virtual Learning Series, June 2 - July 21, 2020.
Contact: Ana Kolbach at ana.kolbach@vermont.gov

Smarter Balanced Digital Library to Sunset on May 28, 2020

Audience: Principals, Curriculum Coordinators, Educators
The Smarter Balanced Digital Library will be decommissioned on Thursday, May 28, 2020, in order to complete the migration of materials to the new, and more accessible, Tools for Teachers platform. Tools for Teachers will launch on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Information will appear in the Vermont Common Assessment Portal as links and materials become available.
Contact: Linda Moreno at linda.moreno@vermont.gov

Student Member Sought for State Board of Education

Audience: Vermont Secondary Students Graduating in 2022 or Later
The Governor’s Office is seeking a candidate to serve a two-year term on the State Board of Education as one of its two student representatives. The State Board of Education usually meets on the third Wednesday of every month and establishes policies, regulations and rules related to education in Vermont and in keeping with statutes passed by the Legislature. Candidates may apply using the Application for Gubernatorial Appointment. The deadline for applications is May 29, 2020. Questions about the State Board of Education may be directed to Maureen Gaidys (802) 828-0047 at the Agency of Education. Questions about the application or the nomination process itself can be emailed to EXE.Appointments@vermont.gov.
Contact: Maureen Gaidys at maureen.gaidys@vermont.gov

Financial Literacy Program for Vermont Elementary Schools

Elementary School Principals, Librarians, and K-6 grade teachers
For the past nine years, the State Treasurer’s Office has offered the Reading is an Investment program to elementary schools. The program emphasizes the importance of reading and teaching young children about money and basic financial information. This past school term, Vermont elementary schools from across the state participated and we received more than 4,500 individual reading logs from students who completed the personal reading requirements. The Reading is an Investment program takes a two-prong approach to promoting financial literacy — class or library instruction and personal reading. Each fall, participating elementary schools receive two or three new hardback books. Lesson plans and activities are included with the books to teach money concepts. In order to receive the free library books and personal reading materials for students, a school must sign up for the program through the State Treasurer’s Office. We are now assembling the new books and materials for the upcoming school term. Your school is invited to participate in the program. To sign up, email the following information to Dylan Giambatista: school name; number of students in grades K-6th grades; school contact name, job title, phone & email; and mailing address for the school.
Contact: Dylan Giambatista at dylan.giambatista@vermont.gov or (802) 828-3706

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Audience: All
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The Week 4 newsletter focuses on offering help when we are concerned about someone’s mental health.  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, is releasing newsletters on various mental health topics each week throughout May. Please share with families in your districts as feasible.
Contact: Laurel Omland at laurel.omland@vermont.gov

Governor's Institutes of Vermont: Tell Your Talented Teens To Apply Before It's Too Late

Audience: All
The Governor's Institutes of Vermont (GIV) will be closing some Immersion topics in the coming days. Encourage your talented students to learn more detailed information about what Immersions remain open and to begin their application today. Students will explore a topic they are interested in and the related career fields via guided independent and group projects, field research, and Q&A sessions and career panels with experts and professionals; plus, they'll have tons of fun with community activities and make new friends who share their interests. With open Immersion topics spanning the Arts & Humanities and STEM fields, there is something for all of your passionately curious students. You can "GIV" your students a head-start on a future doing what they love by directing them to GIV.
Contact: Barry Steyling at barry@giv.org

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.

The Champlain Research Experience for Secondary Teachers (CREST 2.0) Professional Development Program

There are a few spaces available in the CREST 2.0 online PD Program June 22 to July 2, 2020. The CREST 2.0 Program is fully funded by the VSAC GEAR UP Grant which includes free registration and three UVM graduate credits for Grade 7-12 teachers from Vermont who are interested in learning about cutting-edge research related to the Lake Champlain Basin and in developing place-based projects to be integrated into their teaching. Due to COVID-19, CREST 2.0 will be conducted online (synchronous/asynchronous) with the possibility of field trips later in the summer or fall should COVID restrictions be lifted. Please see the CREST 2.0 Flyer for more information with links to the CREST 2.0 application and survey.
Contact: Regina Toolin at rtoolin@uvm.edu

COVID-19 Digital Archive

The Vermont Historical Society is collecting images and stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including digital photos, artwork, poems, reflections, videos and other materials that will help document a variety of experiences at this time. Works from students are welcome. Parents/guardians must submit items for children under 18 years old.
Contact: Victoria Hughes at victoria.hughes@vermonthistory.org or (802) 828-1413

Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, & Assessment: 90-minute professional development webinars

Learning to read and write is complex! When difficulties arise, as they do for many children, effective intervention hinges on accurate, well-designed assessment. Join the Stern Center for a five-part webinar series beginning June 9, 2020, with Melissa Farrall, Ph.D, a renowned expert on reading, language and assessment. Dr. Farrall will unravel the complexity of reading and writing, unpack the components of an evaluation targeting these areas, and guide practitioners in assessing literacy and providing targeted recommendations for intervention. Register for two or more webinars and receive a discount.
Contact: SJ Larkspur at slarkspur@sterncenter.org

Vermont Energy Education Program Online NGSS Instructional Toolkit Workshops

Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) is offering FREE online NGSS Instructional Toolkit workshops for teachers. The workshops are spread over three 2-hour sessions. They will focus on anchoring phenomena and instructional routines that support student sense-making, and will share curriculum ideas that work in the classroom, as well as home-learning lessons and strategies with a lens of project based learning. Teachers will get support from one another and the instructor with planning time for curriculum development. The June and August dates and times as well as registration can be found online.
Contact: Anna Hamilton at info@veep.org

Live Online Event: Hero Elementary is Coming to Vermont PBS

Please join Vermont PBS's preview screening of Hero Elementary; a brand new program from PBS Kids. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with the program's co-creator, Carol-Lynn Parente, and other education experts. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions connected to At-Home Learning. Friday, May 29, 2020, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sign up through Eventbrite.
Contact: Heather Duhamel at hduhamel@vermontpbs.org

Four Talk-It-Out Sessions June 1 - 4, 2020

Partnerships for Literacy and Learning presents four of their Talk-It-Out Sessions. June 1, 2020: Christine Hertz Hausman, Literacy Specialist and author discusses Inquiry, Investigations, and Projects for Elementary Students. June 2, 2020: School Psychologist Jim Calhoun discusses Home and School Collaboration In the Time of COVID 2020. June 3, 2020: Gayle Moskowitz, Literacy Specialist discusses Writing about Reading (Elementary). June 4, 2020: Alysia Backman, Literacy Coach and Emily Gilmore, History teacher and Rowland Fellow ‘17, who both teach at South Burlington High School discuss From Freedom to Empowerment in Student-Centered Learning (Secondary Level). Watch the videos before the talk-it-out then join us for 45 minutes for a Q & A. Details for this free professional development are found on the Talk-It-Out Website. You’ll find the links for the Google Meets at that website. You can do one or all four.
Contact: Mary Grace at info@pllvt.org or (802) 828-0521

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