How to Use This Course

Course Structure

Completing the entire course should take approximately 6 to 10 hours in total.

The course has been designed to meet needs of practitioners based on their role, experience level, and goals regarding the topic under study. If you are just learning about your role as your school or union completes a comprensive needs assessment, we suggest completing the entire course. If you have engaged in some of these practices, we recommend identifying the topics most important for you and your colleagues to build your respective capacities. If you’re an expert on any of these practices, think about the process you followed, how you would advise others, and where you want to refine your system.

The course is divided into a set of 9 questions so that users can either quickly find a resource that meets their needs or spend a longer period of time delving more deeply into a topic. Each practice includes an overview and has tasks for the learner to complete, either by answering a prompt or engaging in reflection.

Connections to Vermont Context

Since there are many overlapping terms within the field of education about continuous improvement, the Vermont Agency of Education has developed some tools to ensure educators have a shared understanding of key terms and concepts. All key terms used in this course are aligned with the agency's Continuous Improvement Framework.

Navigating the Course

The structure of this particular course is more of a buffet than a structured nine course meal. Each module has an introduction to the strategy being discussed. (Each strategy, if explored in depth, would require a course of its own!) There are some threads that unite these practices, values that they share in common. Each strategy promotes or supports the completion of a comprehensive needs assessment in a tangible way. Additionally, although the process may look linear, there is an opportunity to start the course where it makes sense to you. It's also important to note that the strategies in the course are explained in a very liner fashion, but can be completed when it makes sense for you in your continuous improvement process.

We've chosen these strategies to focus on because we have seen them serve as effective levers for school change and because these are frequently discussed as tent-poles for supporting systems change. They are not the only strategies worth looking at, but they provide a good foundation from which to build and are in line with the Vermont Agency of Education's Continuous Improvement Framework.

Evidence of Learning Tool

Similar to prior self-paced courses published by VT PLN, this course can be used for re-certification credit. If you are taking the course for credit, you should record your answers to the task prompts embedded throughout the course in the Evidence of Learning Tool document, which can serve as evidence of your learning when you approach re-certification.