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Weekly Field Memo - Volume 18, Issue 1

January 25, 2024


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 Weekly Field Memo contains education-related posts from the Agency of Education (AOE), other State of Vermont agencies, federal agencies or Vermont's congressional delegation.

Contents: January 24, 2024

AOE ESSA State Plan Amendment - Open for Public Comment

Audience: Education Administrators, School Board members, Educators and the General Public
The Agency is preparing to submit an amendment to our ESSA State Plan to the US Department of Education on or before February 1, 2024. The draft amendment is not meant to provide robust changes to the State Plan, or to alter the fundamental components of accountability provided by the Plan. Instead, these edits are minimal and are meant to align changes in statewide assessments and the feasibility of carrying out certain non-required state plan activities.

More information about the proposed changes, including a copy of the draft amended State Plan, has been published for public comment on the AOE website: For Public Comment: Amendments to Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan 2024. Please provide public comment to Courtney O'Brien no later than January 29, 2024.
Contact: Courtney O'Brien at

ARP ESSER Student Learning Grant for Computer Science, English Language Arts/Literacy, and Mathematics

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, Principals, and Educators
The ARP ESSER Student Learning Grant for computer science, English language arts/literacy, and mathematic instructional resources and professional learning is designed to allow for flexibility in the amount of funds awarded based on the scope of proposals. There is no maximum on funding requests, however, those exceeding $75,000 must address several specific requirements detailed within the grant. For additional information, please refer to the grant guide under ARP ESSER Current Funding Opportunities. The grant is available now in the Grants Management System (GMS) and the application deadline has been extended until Feb. 14, 2024.
Contact: Lisa Helme (Computer Science) at, Emily Lesh (English Language Arts/Literacy) at, or Pat Fitzsimmons (Mathematics) at

Vermont Public: NPR Student Podcast Challenge

Audience: Grades 5-12 Teachers, Curriculum Directors
It’s time again for the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. Last year, there were over 2,900 student-created and teacher-supported podcasts submitted from across the country. The winners received prizes and were featured on NPR. It’s a new year and a new time to consider podcasting (with support) in the classroom. To get started, check out the Vermont Public Podcast Project one-sheet, which includes tips and tricks to get started on the Vermont Public Educators page.
Contacts: Emily Leute at or Heather Duhamel at

The Vermont Portrait of a Graduate Professional Learning Opportunity

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, Principals, Educators
Since interest and availability of SU/SDs to participate in the Portrait of a Graduate (PoG) work has continued to grow across the state, the contract with Great Schools Partnership has been extended until June 30, 2025. Extending the timeline will allow new SU/SDs to engage in this work and support the state’s goal of building coherence and equity of expectations across Vermont. This webinar recording, The Vermont Portrait of a Graduate and Personalized Learning Plans, can provide background information that can be used to build an initial understanding of this opportunity.
Contacts: Pat Fitzsimmons at and Erica Wallstrom at

Request for Public Comment on ESSA Waivers

Audience: Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, Principals, Educators
The expiration of Vermont's ESSA Ed Flex waiver authority is approaching on June 30, 2024. To extend this authority, the US Department of Education (USDOE) requires states to submit a new application. In this regard, the Agency of Education (AOE) is sharing Vermont’s draft Ed Flex Waiver application, prepared by the AOE's Consolidated Federal Programs Team. The AOE’s objective in seeking this waiver authority is to provide maximum permissible flexibility to LEAs to spend their ESSA dollars in ways that are most responsive to emergent local student needs and changing fiscal circumstances. Please review the document and address any comments to Deborah Bloom, Assistant Division Director, Federal Education Support Programs, at To ensure its consideration, please submit your feedback no later than February 6, 2024.
Contact: Deborah Bloom at

Virtual CNA Training for Schools Eligible for Comprehensive and Equity Supports

Audience:School Leadership Teams from Schools Eligible for Comprehensive and Equity Supports
To provide leadership, oversight, and technical support the EQA Division will be hosting a virtual Comprehensive Needs Assessment Training on Jan. 25, 2024, from 9-11 a.m. for School Leadership Teams from schools eligible for Comprehensive and Equity Supports. Please email a contact below for the meeting link.
Contact:Nicole Whitney, Toni Marra at, or Lori Dolezal at

The Vermont School Mental Health Systems Toolkit

Audience: District and School Leadership Teams
The Vermont Agency of Education (AOE), in partnership with the Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH), has created The Vermont School Mental Health Systems Toolkit to support Local Education Agencies, schools, community advocates, and local leaders working together to assess, identify, prioritize, and fund school-based mental health services. This toolkit is a collection of resources for school/community leadership teams to enable them to learn about a problem of practice and identify approaches for addressing it.
Contact: Tracy Watterson at

Emergency Operations Plan Training: Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024

Audience: Behavioral Threat Assessment Team Members
Developing Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) K-12 101 Train the Educator (TTE) Virtual Training is a 2.5 hour virtual training offered through the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (REMS). This course provides crucial information regarding the development and implementation of EOPs. Act 29 (2023) requires that EOPs are due by July 1, 2024.
Contact: Sunni Eriksen at

Vermont Multi-tiered System of Supports 2023-2024 Survey Questions Early Preview

Audience: Principals, Superintendents, MTSS coordinators
Please preview the 2023-2024 VTmtss Survey Questions. The questions have been posted early so principals can consider data sources and collection methods before the official release of the Survey in May, 2024. The majority of questions are the same as last year's 2022-2023 Survey. This VTmtss Survey Webinar provides more detailed information about the purpose of the VTmtss Survey Summary and how the data can inform improvement at the school and district level.
Contact: Caitlin Chisholm at

Save the Date: the Vermont Kindergarten Conference

Audience: Early Educators and Administrators
The Vermont Kindergarten Conference will take place at the Doubletree in South Burlington on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. The morning keynote speaker, Christine Cunningham, is the founding director of Engineering is Elementary at the Boston Museum of Science. Her keynote, Nurturing Children’s Creativity through Engineering, will explore how hands-on engineering design can spark motivation, deepen scientific thinking, promote student agency, and encourage young learners to persist through failure. A lunchtime keynote by John Cohn will focus on the importance of a playful culture in the workplace. The registration will open in early February and the fee for educators is $160.
Contact: Pat Fitzsimmons at

Vermont Public: Lyla in the Loop

Audience: Elementary Teachers, Curriculum Directors
On Feb. 5, 2024, Vermont Public and PBS KIDS will debut LYLA IN THE LOOP, a funny and engaging animated series for kids ages 4-8. This show follows Lyla, a dynamic 7-year-old, who lives in a big city with her close-knit family, fantastical blue sidekick Stu, and a host of relatable and quirky characters who use creative and strategic problem-solving and critical thinking skills to address a range of everyday problems together. The series will debut in English and Spanish and can be found on broadcast and digital. Visit the Vermont Public Educators page for more recommendations for high-quality resources. Contacts: Emily Leute at or Heather Duhamel at

Announcement: ReSolve Math Research Opportunity for Grades 4-5

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Mathematics Leaders
Vermont supervisory unions/districts are invited to participate in the ReSolve Math Study. The study focuses on whether students’ mathematics proficiency is better served by instruction that systematically supports building mastery in unfinished learning, or by instruction that is highly targeted to just the prerequisite concepts thought to be essential to succeed in grade level content. Focused on fourth and fifth grade mathematics learners, the study will use two digital math products to deliver supplementary instruction to test these methods. The study is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. See Memo: ReSolve Mathematics Study Opportunity for a full description.
Contact: Kevin Feal-Staub at

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Questions? Email Ted Fisher at