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 48

09 December 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 and other COVID-19-related updates. 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: Strong and Healthy Start

Audience: Superintendents, Independent School Heads, School Staff
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued FAQ: Guidance for Schools Related to Limits on Multi-Household Gatherings (12/3).
Contact: COVID-19 Response Team at aoe.support@vermont.gov

Guidance: Special Education

Audience: Special Educators, Early Educators
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued Implementing IEP and 504 Plans in Early Childhood Special Education During In-Person, Hybrid and Remote Learning (12/8).
Contact: Katie McCarthy at katie.mccarthy@vermont.gov

Guidance: Continuity of Learning

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, Math Educators
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education has issued Selecting Priority Instructional Content - Mathematics (12/3).
Contact: Ryan Parkman at ryan.parkman@vermont.gov

Vermont PBS: Distance Learning Monthly Schedule for December and Teacher Planning Kit

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Principals, PreK-12 Teachers
The Schedule of Vermont PBS Programs for the month of December 2020 is now available, featuring weekly thematic bundles of analog, digital and broadcast resources to support all learning models. In addition, the PBS Teacher Planning Kit for November-January is also available, and includes bundled media and materials that can be used during in-person or remote instruction, both with or without internet access. Planning sheets for elementary and secondary education are divided into three sections: “watch,” which includes the program; “teach,” which connects activities, games, and lessons to the program; and “explore,” which provides additional resources about a specific topic or theme. For more information about the partnership between the Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont PBS (which continues to offer weekly thematic bundles of analog, digital and broadcast resources to support all learning models), visit the AOE’s Vermont PBS webpage or the Vermont PBS Distance Learning page.
Contacts: Emily Leute at emily.leute@vermont.gov or Heather Duhamel at hduhamel@vermontpbs.org

COVID-19 in Schools Data on Health Department Website

Audience: All
The Health Department has been posting data on COVID-19 in K-12 schools since mid-September. The table was recently updated in response to user feedback. The table counts people with laboratory confirmed (by PCR test) COVID-19 who were at the school, attended a school-sanctioned event, or otherwise interacted with the school community during their infectious period. The counts represent cases by school, not individual person. So, if someone interacts with multiple school communities during their infectious period, they will appear in the table multiple times. Please read more about what information is presented in the table.
Contact: COVID19.DataEntryTeam@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 specifically related to the COVID-19 Response.

What-If Wednesday

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, School Crisis Planning Team Members
The What-if Wednesday for Dec. 9, 2020 is designed for Superintendents, Principals and School Crisis Planning Team Members to facilitate a conversation about school emergency preparedness. Please complete the exercise and share with your faculty and staff as appropriate.
Contact: Robert L. Evans at revans@margolishealy.com or (802) 839-0448

AOE Soliciting Public Comment on ESSA Waiver Request

Audience: All
The VT Agency of Education is soliciting public comment on its intended application to the US Department of Education for waiver of the following ESSA Title IVA requirements for the remainder of the 20-21 school year: (1) Section 4106(d) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, related to LEA needs assessments for the 2020-2021 school year; (2) Section 4106(e)(2)(C), (D), and (E) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, with respect to content-area spending requirements for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2020 Title IV, Part A funds; (3) Section 4109(b) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA, with respect to the fifteen percent spending limitation for technology infrastructure for FY 2020 Title IV, Part A funds. Waiving these requirements will provide LEAs greatly increased flexibility in the use of their Title IVA funds to meet COVID-19 pandemic needs. Please submit comments, in writing, to anne.bordonaro@vermont.gov by COB Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.
Contact: Anne Bordonaro at anne.bordonaro@vermont.gov

Transition Plan Improvement Training (Indicator 13)

Audience: High School Special Educators, Special Education Administrators
The Vermont AOE Special Ed technical assistance team offered a training in October to review the new transition plan template and requirements for Indicator 13. In order to ensure that special educators and administrators have the support they need, the AOE is offering a follow up session scheduled for Jan. 12, 2021. This session will focus on the review and feedback of submitted transition plans and will point out trends and common areas for improvement using the new forms. In order to run this session, the AOE is relying on the submission of transition plans from the field. These submissions should be fictional or drafted IEPs without any identifiable information. Please send all plans to john.spinney@vermont.gov by Jan. 4, 2021. This process is a great way for special educators to get clarity and understanding on using the new forms in an environment conducive for learning. Registration details for the Jan. 12, 2021 training will be forthcoming.
Contact: John Spinney at john.spinney@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 only include posts related to in-person training, events or meetings that affirmatively comply with current health guidance from the Vermont Department of Health, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and/or the Vermont Agency of Education.

Learn to Code - Free Program for Grades 5-12

Vermont and Ohio 4-H are joining forces again with Lisa Dion, a computer science instructor at UVM, to bring youth another opportunity to learn to code! In this new 4-H World Changers series, youth will learn to program a collecting game using p5.js, a JavaScript library created especially for artists and designers. The programs starts Jan. 21, 2021 and runs for six sessions with at-home activities each week. Sessions are recorded, so it is possible to participate asynchronously if unable to participate in the live program. Learn more at the 4-H Announcements page.
Contact: Lauren Traister at Lauren.Traister@uvm.edu or (802) 888-4972 x 402.

Reminder: VSAC is Here to Help with Financial Aid Applications

There’s still time for high school seniors to apply for financial aid for the 2021-2022 school year. VSAC Outreach counselors are holding 1:1 Zoom meetings to assist with the FAFSA, VT Grant, VSAC-assisted scholarships and/or any additional financial aid forms. Schedule a date and time in December 2020 or January 2021
Contact: Christopher Barry at barry@vsac.org

Professional Learning: Working with Kids Remotely/Masked

We are seeing a strong need for virtual professional learning specifically designed for this moment in time. For all staff: Identifying and Intervening with Struggling Students in a Masked or Virtual Setting with Dr. Gillian Boudreau - providing educators with the tools to understand and identify the different types of stress students experience and build specific strategies to reduce stress and build resiliency - Jan. 14, 2021. For paraprofessional/instructional assistant staff: Supporting Students Virtually with Sarah Birgé - This one day-two hour training will leave participants with the confidence and skills they need to leverage technology for in-person and virtual support - Jan. 6, 2021, 9 - 11 a.m.
Contact: Lauren Wooden at lauren@cvedcvt.org or (802) 497-1642

2021 Vermont Entrepreneurship Day (12th annual) – Free Virtual Event

For HS/CTE students/educators – Feb. 10, 2021, (morning) join in the fun and hear from special enterprising Vermont entrepreneurs as they tell their stories and offer tips on how you too can be successful no matter what your end game plan. Advance option to participate in the visual media competition – with cash prizes awarded at the event, Governor’s proclamation and more! This year’s theme: “Inspiring Vermont Entrepreneurs to ReFocus – ReImagine – ReEngineer – We’ve Got You Covered”.
Contact: Laurel Butler at lbutler@vtsbdc.org or (802) 922-3692

Supporting Diverse Learners and Ensuring Equitable Access in Work-Based Learning Programs

Registration is open for the new Spring course in our Work-based Learning series, Supporting Diverse Learners and Ensuring Equitable Access in Work-Based Learning Programs, instructed by Rachael Potts, M.Ed., Internship and Work-based Learning Coordinator at Harwood Union High School. Ideal for Work-Based Learning Coordinators, Flexible Pathway Coordinators, Cooperative Education Coordinators, and anyone involved in supporting students' in work-based learning or similar experiences. In this course, participants will explore the process of how students grow and develop and how to design appropriate work-based learning experiences. Participants will learn to meet the needs of all students, discover ways to better prepare students who may face challenges in the workforce based on their gender or race, and identify some potential biases when working with students with disabilities. We will carefully consider strategies to increase the participation of students with disabilities in work-based learning experiences and discuss ways to coach employers and mentors in their understanding of supported employment. In addition, participants will survey data and resources in support of students facing inequity related to race, immigration status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and other factors within the workplace. Participants will leave this course with a greater understanding of the needs of diverse students and an action plan to continue to advance equity and a climate of inclusion in Work-based learning practices. Dates: Jan. 12, Feb. 2, March 2, May 4, 2021, 4-7 p.m. Live class stream on Zoom, the rest online. Three Graduate Credits through Castleton University.
Contact: Kim McKellar at kim.mckellar@vthec.org

Professional Development: Wilson Reading System® Introductory Course

Registration is open for the Wilson Reading System® (WRS) Introductory Course, a professional development course from the Stern Center for Language and Learning. This online course takes place January 26-28, 2021, and provides participants with an overview of the WRS 4th Edition curriculum. Participants explore the standard 10-part Wilson Lesson Plan and practice planning and delivering a lesson while receiving modeling and feedback from a Wilson Credentialed Trainer during the workshop. 
Contact: SJ Larkspur at slarkspur@sterncenter.org

New Education and Career Pathway Resources

Advance Vermont recently released “My Life, My Path,” a compilation of new resources to increase the awareness among Vermont students and workers of the variety of post-high school education and training options. “My Life, My Path” includes a new public web resource and a toolkit for educators, workforce development professionals, and family members who advise current or future students.
Contact: Tom Cheney at cheney@vsac.org or (802) 542-2217.

Vermont PBS Distance Learning Resource Wishlist Survey

Vermont PBS, the Vermont Agency of Education and the Vermont Department of Libraries continue to work together to develop easy to access, localized, learning connections for home and school. Please complete this quick Vermont PBS Distance Learning Resource Wishlist survey to inform project goals for 2021. There are more than 400,000 standards-based resources on PBS LearningMedia that can be used offline!
Contact: Heather Duhamel at hduhamel@vermontpbs.org

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