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 15, Issue 8

23 February 2021

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, Principals, Athletic Directors, Coaches, School Nurses
Since last week's Weekly Field Memo, the Agency of Education and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources have updated Guidance for Sports Academies (Updated 2/19) and Winter Sports Programs for the 2020-21 School Year (Updated 2/22). The Agency of Education and the Vermont Department of Health  have co-issued Emergency Respiratory Protection Program Guidance for School Nurses (2/19).
Contact: AOE COVID-19 Response Team at aoe.support@vermont.gov

Vermont PBS: February and March Distance Learning Schedules and Teacher Planning Kits

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Principals, PreK-12 Teachers
The Schedule of Vermont PBS Programs for the months of February and March 2021 are 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 January-March 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. Learn more about how to use this resource by viewing the screencast, How to Navigate PBS Teacher Planning Kits. For more information about the partnership between the Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont PBS, 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.

Vermont Students Honored with Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Two students from Vermont are among a select group of young Americans being honored as the nation's top youth volunteers for 2021, in the 26th annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. More than 21,000 young people across the country participated in this year's program. Mary Mendez of Manchester Center and Shyla Clayton of Morristown have been selected as Vermont's top youth volunteers for this year. As State Honorees, each will receive a $2,500 scholarship. Read more about their work in the communities in Prudential's press release.
Contact: Suzanne Sprauge at AOE.EdInfo@vermont.gov

Emergent Literacy Learning: Strategies, Tools and Resources with Helene Gallagher and Mary Ellen Seaver-Reid

Audience: Paraprofessionals
The session will be held on March 9, 2021, from 1-3 p.m. to explore strategies, tools and resources for teaching students with complex learning and communication profiles who are emergent literacy learners. Paraprofessionals will gain increased knowledge in evidence-based practices for teaching emergent literacy (language/communication, reading and writing) to students with complex profiles, preschool through high school. Participants will interact with presenters to learn strategies, tools and resources to increase access to literacy learning and student engagement in shared reading. Register online.
Contact: Ana Kolbach at Ana.Kolbach@vermont.gov

Updated Proficiency-Based Learning Glossary

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Principals, PreK-12 Teachers
A new version of the Proficiency-Based Learning Glossary is now available on the Agency of Education’s Proficiency-Based Learning web page. As is best practice, the glossary has been updated to reflect our growing understanding of the concepts included. New definitions have also been added, including Lexile and Quantile measures and critical proficiency.
Contact: Emily Leute at emily.leute@vermont.gov

School Counselor Survey - Deadline Extended

Audience: School Counselors
The Vermont Agency of Education wants to hear from you! We invite all school counselors to participate in this survey. We are interested in hearing your perspectives on a broad range of topics. Survey results will help the Agency prioritize policies and activities that improve the landscape for school counseling across the state. Further instructions are provided in the survey. It will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. The deadline has been extended to Feb. 24, 2021.
Contact: Jay Ramsey at jay.ramsey@vermont.gov

Grant Opportunity: Vermont Lottery Education Technology Program

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Technology Directors, Curriculum Directors, Educators
Through a partnership with the Vermont Lottery, AOE announces the 2021 round of a competitive grant program that seeks to further school education technology programs. The grant aims to support educators from all content areas in helping create connections between students and curriculum content using technology. There are two grant awards of $15,000 each awarded to two Vermont schools. The deadline to apply is April 5, 2021. Obtain a grant application at Education Technology | Agency of Education (vermont.gov).
Contact: Lisa Helme at lisa.helme@vermont.gov or (802) 828-6956

Professional Learning - Making the Shift: Foundations of Project-Based Learning

Audience: Curriculum Directors, Instructional Coaches, PreK-12 Teachers
Making the Shift: Foundations of Project-Based Learning is an introductory-level professional learning opportunity to support educators in developing the knowledge, skills and tools needed to begin shifting their instruction to a Project-Based Learning approach. Participants will take a deep dive into essential elements and phases of Project-Based Learning. Along the way, they will identify components of their current instructional practice that can be integrated into a Project-Based Learning unit. They will also learn new strategies and develop new tools to support authenticity and student-centered learning across contexts. Over a series of five two-hour sessions, participants will collaborate to write a Project-Based Learning plan by adapting a current lesson or unit to align with essential elements and phases of the approach. Participants who attend all sessions and complete a unit plan with accompanying materials will receive an attendance certificate for fifteen hours. There is no cost to participate in the sessions. Registration forms can be found online.
Contact: Kyle Anderson at kyle.anderson@vermont.gov

Elementary Master Schedule Training

Audience: Principals, Superintendents
The Vermont Agency of Education is pleased to announce that the District Management Group (DMGroup) is providing access to their elementary scheduling best practices, software and services. The goal of this partnership is to help create great elementary schedules to address learning loss, incorporate teaching and learning best practices, cost-effective use of resources, and the goals of Act 173 of 2018. DMGroup will build upon our prior work with Nate Levenson and Vermont educators to share expertise and elementary scheduling best practices. For elementary school principals, more information about accessing the scheduling software and registering for the upcoming virtual training opportunities can be found online. For superintendents and other district-level leadership, more information can be found online.
Contact: Meg Porcella at meg.porcella@vermont.gov

Vermont Standards Board for Professional Educators

Audience: Vermont Teachers, Principals, and School Board Members
The VSBPE will have four open seats for beginning in August 2021: two for practicing teachers, one for a practicing principal and one for a current school board member. If you are interested in learning more or in serving, please contact us. The VSBPE is a 13-member, teacher majority, policy-making board appointed by the Governor. The Board’s purpose is to oversee the training, licensing, and professional standards of teachers and administrators. Its overarching goal is promotion of educator quality.
Contact: Patrick Halladay at patrick.halladay@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.

Vermont Foreign Language Association Distinguished Teacher Award

The VFLA invites all Vermont citizens (colleagues, students, administrators, community members etc.) to submit a nomination for the 2021 VFLA Distinguished Teacher Award. Information about the award and a link to the nomination form can be found here on the Vermont Foreign Language Association website. The deadline for nominations is March 12, 2021.
Contact: Kerilyn Bristown at kerilynbristow@gmail.com

Financial Literacy Studio Video Contest for Grades 7-12

Vermont students enrolled in grades 7-12 of a school or a technical career center are invited to participate in a financial literacy video contest to highlight the theme “Save for a Rainy Day.” Three winners will be selected and awarded cash prizes. The 1st place prize is $500. The 2nd place prize is $250. The 3rd place prize is $100. Prize levels are the same for an individual student or for student teams that submit as a group. Participants can choose one or more of the following topics to create a video public service announcement that describes the importance of: 1) Spending and Saving; 2) Investing; 3) Financial Decision Making. The winning videos will be circulated statewide by Vermont Access Network community media stations. An individual student, or student team, may enter one video submission for judging. The deadline for student submissions is April 15, 2021. Judges will select and notify the directors of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, place entries in April.
Contact: The Vermont Jump$tart Coalition at vtjumpstart@comcast.net

Upcoming Deadline March 1: Essay Contest for High School Students

The Rutland Area NAACP urges all students living in Rutland, Bennington and Addison counties who are in 9th through 12th grade to enter the Black History Month Essay Contest! Write a 150-500 word essay/speech expressing YOUR commitment to anti-racism, and urging your peers to be actively anti-racist as well. Prizes: Visa Card in the amount of $250 (1st prize), $200 (2nd Prize), $150 (3rd Prize). Contest deadline March 1, 2021. See the contest flyer for details, and find lots of supporting materials and resources on the NAACP website.
Contact: Julie Conason at education@naacprutland.org

Connecting the 4 C’s and Computer Science

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, 8 p.m.-9 p.m. EST, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. HST. The four C’s (communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking) are extremely interconnected, especially in computer science curriculum. Every teacher knows how important the 4 C’s are, but in reality, it’s much more challenging to implement them consistently during the hustle and bustle of the school day. In this session, The Sea of C’s: Connecting the 4 C’s and Computer Science, walk away with a better understanding of the four C’s, new strategies on how you can use computer science to reinforce each skill, and a sample computer science lesson to use immediately in your classroom. After the event, you’ll receive a certificate of PD completion in your inbox.
Contact: Dr. Amy Rauch at arauch@codelicious.com or (463) 206-4602

Reminder: College and Career Pathways Events Start March 1st

VSAC’s annual College & Career Pathways event, primarily intended for 10th & 11th grade students and families, will be taking place virtually this year during the month of March. Counselors can sign up to use the College & Career Pathways videos and reflection activities with students. By watching the videos and completing the reflection activities, students can enter weekly drawings to win one of four $50 Visa gift cards. Other ways to earn entries are to attend live virtual workshops and virtual tours and info sessions of Vermont colleges, universities and short-term training programs.
Contact: Anna Telensky at telensky@vsac.org

Umatter for Schools: Youth Suicide Prevention Training for School Professionals

This 6-Week Online Asynchronous Training begins March 3, 2021. This newly designed online training consists of meetings and coursework over six weeks. The Umatter® for Schools Suicide Prevention is a national best practice program for suicide prevention. Graduate credit and CEUs are available.
Contact Catherine Diduk at info@healthandlearning.org

Vermont Literacy Conference 2021

Vermont Literacy Conference 2021: Partnerships for Literacy and Learning is excited for this year’s Vermont Literacy Conference with two Keynotes: Corneilus Minor & Jennifer Saravello. Save the dates of Aug. 2, 3 and 4, 2021, for this virtual conference with these renown presenters and much more. Urgency and Joy: Addressing Equity While Inspiring Learners is the overarching theme and all the details will be available at the end of February. Save these dates for exciting professional development this summer.
Contact: Mary Grace at info@pllvt.org or (802) 828-0521

4-H Teen Time - Critical Conversations

Join us in the Critical Conversations around race and justice, and learn how to unlock your leadership potential to inspire change. Participants will be guided by Extension educators in conversations and activities to help you understand topics such as racism, implicit bias, equity, culture and discrimination and learn how to facilitate difficult conversations. The goal of these sessions is to help you learn how to carefully examine the issue, weigh costs and consequences, and discuss possible courses of action. Open to all youth in grades 7-12 in Vermont and beyond. This FREE program runs March 6 and 7, 2021, 4 - 6 p.m. and space is limited to 40 participants. Register by Friday, March 5, 2021. Learn more at the 4-H Announcements page.
Contact: Lauren Traister at Lauren.Traister@uvm.edu or (802) 888-4972 x 402

Lessons Learned from Vermont's Virtual Academies (webinar)

With almost a year of remote and hybrid learning underway, educators everywhere have worked tirelessly to make sure students and families are supported and engaged. Please join us to hear three educators talk about what has worked for them in areas such as social-emotional learning, family communication and engaging instruction. The panel will share practical strategies with thoughts on equity and transferability to face-to-face classrooms. Panelists: Sona Iyengar (Winooski Middle School), Robin Bebo-Long (Two Rivers Virtual Learning Academy), Emma Vastola (Two Rivers Virtual Learning Academy). Moderator: Life LeGeros, UVM Tarrant Institute. Thursday, March 4, 2021, 3:30 p.m. EST. View online. No registration necessary.
Contact: Audrey Homan at events@tarrantinstitute.org

Professional Development: Fundations® K-3

Registration is open for Fundations Levels K-3, Wilson Language Training® workshops offered by the Stern Center for Language and Learning. Fundations’ research-based approach and extensive program materials allow K-3 teachers to present a carefully structured reading and spelling curriculum using multisensory techniques. These four online workshops provide a practical application of reading research that will prepare teachers to teach Fundations Levels K-3 in Tiers 1 and 2. Level K is presented on March 3, 2021; Level 1 on April 7, 2021; Level 2 on April 27, 2021; and Level 3 on May 7, 2021. Registration due two weeks before each workshop.
Contact: SJ Larkspur at slarkspur@sterncenter.org

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Email Mary.Peterson@vermont.gov, Digital Communications Specialist

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

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