A Community Connection
What's Happening Around WNESU
First Snow Day of the Year
Well, today was our first snow day. As Superintendent it is never an easy call. Today was the first time I used the new Alert System that allows me to send emails as well as calling. All in all it the system seemed to work pretty well. Moving forward, I will also be sending out SMS to anyone who has signed up with their school. If this that interest you, please contact your school. Around 11:00 I took a ride around the various town in the SU to get an idea of what road conditions are like throughout the various district. The local road crews did a great job, but a satisfied with the call of no school. I will always air on the side of caution when it comes to making the call. I can justify calling off school when we could have had it. However, I could not justify having school just to get a day in, and something happens. I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.
WNESU Finale Meeting with State Board of Education
WNESU Central Office Report's
Secretary of Education, Dan French, Visits the Westminster School
On Tuesday, Oct 23, the Secretary of Education visited and toured the Westminster School. The Deputy Secretary of Education was visiting BFUHS at the on the same day. As was part of the "Capital for the Day" Capital for a day is a day the Governor's cabinet visits different areas of Vermont. Depending on the position they hold determines where they will spend their time.
What Is Act 173?
State Board of Education Schedule for 10/29/19
Below are the various workshops that Board members and Superintendents had the opportunity to attend on on October 18-19 at Lake Morey. On the first day I attended the Community Engagement workshop and the Restorative Justice Workshop.
VSA/VSBA Annual Conference Topics
Diverse Workforce Recruitment and Retention
Presenter: Curtiss Reed
Northern New England offers a unique set of challenges in the recruitment and retention of a racially or culturally diverse workforce. Learn to avoid the pitfalls and enrich your recruitment and retention toolkit with these recommended strategies and techniques.
Community Engagement: Lessons from Essex Westford School District
Presenters: Beth Cobb, Kim Gleason
Essex Westford School District is proud of the work they have done to engage their community in school matters and creating positive changes. This workshop will walk you through key steps and processes that led to greater community engagement in EWSD. Upon leaving the session, attendees will have:
- Heard the story of one school district’s efforts to engage with students, community members, and school leaders during a time of change.
- Experienced one of the engagement activities that took place.
- Learned about ways this work is leading to more student voice and a culture shift towards authentic engagement.
- Reflected on their own experiences and begin to formulate action steps that they can take to engage key stakeholders in their own communities.
The Vermont Annual Snapshot
Presenters: Chris Case, Patrick Halladay
This coming December, the first Vermont Annual Snapshot will be released. The Annual Snapshot is an online tool where you can find quantitative performance data about the students in your school, your SU/SD, and the state as a whole. Based on indicators determined by stakeholders across the state, the snapshot is a tool for VT communities to better understand how well their schools and groups of students within their schools are performing and find opportunities for growth and improvement. In addition to performance measures, the Annual Snapshot will include an Equity Gap metric to understand how historically marginalized student populations are performing compared to their peers, allowing for schools and communities to develop systems to address pervasive performance gaps. Come engage in a conversation on the snapshot, its rollout, and how you can prepare your community to use it to improve teaching and learning.
Designing for Equity: A Firestarter
Presenter: Caroline Hill
Participants will explore a few of the key experiences and structures that can be used to design for equity in their districts and schools.
Digging Deeper into Policy Governance
Presenters: Val Gardner and Sean McMannon
This workshop is intended for board members and superintendents who are in the implementation stages of Policy Governance (PG) and want to delve more deeply into areas of PG such as: the Monitoring Process, Community Engagement, Board Structures and/or Board-Superintendent Relationship. The presenters intend to briefly touch on the foundations of PG that should be in place and then solicit specific areas of interest from participants to shape the workshop.
What is Whole School Restorative Justice?
Presenter: John Kidde
Implementation of Restorative Approaches in schools has been linked to reduced discipline referrals; reductions in violent and serious incidents; decreases in punitive and exclusionary discipline responses; increased student attendance and improved academic outcomes; and enhanced social emotional learning. (see
Participants will be expected to actively grapple with the material and apply the major pieces of content in ways relevant to them. By the end of the introductory workshop participants will have
- Identified personal values and compared them to restorative principles
- Defined restorative approaches in their own words and in a way that is relevant for staff and students.
The workshop intends to expose participants to restorative principles and practices as being applied in Vermont Schools
Partnering to Increase Equity in Postsecondary Aspirations and Attainment
Presenter(s): Patricia Coates, Tom Cheney, Chancellor Spaulding
70% of the jobs in Vermont’s 2025 economy and beyond will require learning after high school. Collaboration between public PreK-12 and postsecondary systems is critical to prepare students for the education and training they will need to get those jobs. Unfortunately, Vermont high school graduates access postsecondary opportunities at some of the lowest rates in New England. While new initiatives have increased access to postsecondary options in Vermont, the continuation gap for first-generation, low-income students and boys, in particular, is widening. In this workshop, we will explore data related to postsecondary aspiration, enrollment, and completion, share success stories from the field, and discuss with participants how the pre-k-12 and postsecondary systems might collaborate further to close equity gaps. In particular, how can we work together to ensure dual enrollment, work-based learning, and early college increase access and close equity gaps? Can districts address barriers to continuation through college/career preparation, more open access to SAT/ACT testing, and FAFSA completion? How can we change the narrative to create an expectation of continued learning after high school?
Lessons Learned from Fair Haven
Presenters: Rob Evans and Brooke Olsen-Farrell
This workshop will cover the lessons learned and impacts from the threat of a school shooting at Fair Haven High School last year. Topics to be discussed will include: the threat assessment process, coordination with local/state law enforcement, impacts on the school and the community and the stress and trauma associated with managing this type of incident.
Creating a Culture of Employee Wellness in Schools
Presenters: Shevonne Travers and Gillian Pieper
Enjoy an exploration of the Habit Design process that makes wellness accessible to everyone. Dive into the methodology and develop your own plan to help make a personal habit solid once and for all. Hear a brief intro about PATH (VEHI’s employee wellness program) and its impact on health and why Habit Design is a powerful tool in a successful program.
The Who, What & Why of School-Based Councils
Presenter: Nicole Mace
Many newly-unified districts referenced school-based councils in their articles of agreement, but the purpose and role of these councils is not clear. Join VSBA Executive Director Nicole Mace for an overview of the issues boards and administrators need to work through as they determine whether and how to establish school-based councils in their districts.