The 802 Ed
What's going on in Vermont's education policy and practice
This issue covers many topics that are immediately useful like the latest on divisive mascots in Vermont, an opportunity for a wellness retreat for educators, and the wobbly job market for school leaders. Be sure to check out the new ways that high school students are stepping up to help their school communities!
New to the lingo? At the suggestion of a reader we now include a guide to common abbreviations after all the news.
- Steven Berbeco, Editor
The Problem with Passion. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review points to the downside of the energy boost that comes from passionate leadership, and suggestions for channeling that spark into positive change that is more sustainable.
Marshall No More. The John A. Marshall School in Morrisville announced recently that this summer its name will change to the All Saints Catholic Academy, because of the “unthinkable abuse of children by priests who were under the leadership of the school’s namesake, Bishop John Marshall.”
Felony Book Shelving. Indiana’s Governor recently signed into law House Bill 1447, which includes a provision introduced late in the session that states school librarians may be charged with a felony for including banned books in their collections.
Mascot Stays, Superintendent Goes. The Chester Telegraph gets the scoop on a recent school board meeting where a confusing vote led to keeping the Chieftains mascot, and the resignation of board members and the superintendent who said: “This is not only a decision I do not agree with, it is one I cannot support.”
Nearly to the Finish Line. Peter D’Auria’s VT Digger article follows the path of education legislation that started in the House but quietly died in the Senate amidst a fight over who knows best what’s best for kids.
The Four-Day School Week. Stateline dives into the debate playing out in several states between proponents of a reduced school week and lawmakers who are stepping into to push back.
“Seismic Shift in Education.” The Carnegie Foundation and student assessment giant ETS announced a partnership to “radically transform education assessment,” moving away from credit hours based on seat time and toward proficiency-based learning.
Downsizing or Right-sizing? Nation-wide testing behemoth ACT announced its plan to let go of more than a hundred employees and millions of dollars worth of property and office furniture.
Teaching Through Mini-Golf. VT Digger spotlights Middlebury College’s new interactive learning experience, designed by students and intended to prompt awareness of reproductive justice issues.
State-wide Professional Development. Vermont State University recently stood up its Center for Schools, “the go-to place for professional learning for Vermont’s teachers, support staff, and administrators in all 14 Vermont counties.” School leadership workshops in collaboration with VPA are in the works.
Another Reason for Danger Pay for Principals. Early morning security camera footage caught an elementary school principal from West Virginia as he opened the dumpster behind the school to find a… This was a popular item in last issue, so we are including it again for readers who may have missed it.
Missed Connections. Education Week reports on a national survey that points to most middle and high school students feeling that their teachers don’t make an effort to understand their lives outside of the classroom.
A Mascot and a “Very Shameful History.” Discussion is underway in the Brattleboro High School community about the school’s mascot, the “Colonel,” in the context of a recent law requiring non-discriminatory school branding.
Heads Up, Vermont. Several states are taking innovative steps to support their students. Vermont school leaders and lawmakers should take note:
Indiana is the latest state to legislate a phonics-based approach to literacy.
Some schools, like in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, have adjusted their schedules to a later start time in response to students’ mental health issues.
New York State is adding apprenticeships to many of its community college associate degree programs.
Colorado’s legislature has passed a bill initiating a “first of its kind” high school for the 300,000 adults in the state without a diploma.
School Shootings in 2023. Education Week’s tracker reports 22 school shootings in 2023. “On May 18, a 19-year-old was shot and injured in the parking lot of Garfield High School in Seattle, Wash., while school sports practices were underway.” Total school shootings in 2022: 51. As a reminder, DPS and AOE operate an anonymous school safety tip line for students, school staff, and their community: calling 1-844-SAFE4VT; texting SAFE4VT to 274637; or online at safe4vt.org. For questions about school safety training in Vermont, contact Rob Evans.
In each issue we ask a survey question to get a sense of what is on our readers’ minds. Then, the following issue, we report back on what we learned. Last issue we asked: What are the greatest needs right now among school staff? The responses were more evenly distributed than in past surveys, with the most readers in favor of Services like mental health supports as compared to the other two options of Classroom materials and education technology and Colleagues to share the workload.
This issue’s survey question: Where will you go for leadership development next school year? Please indicate your response by clicking a check mark.
✅ State-wide professional associations like VSA, VPA, VSBA, and others
✅ Higher education programs in Vermont and/or outside the state
✅ Independent learning or through stand-alone programs
What’s on your mind? Suggest a survey question to find out how your colleagues respond in an upcoming issue of the 802 Ed!
Job Listings For School Leaders
Assistant Principal. Come join a great team at Derby Elementary School, working together with our wonderful students and committed staff! Strong applicants will have at least five years of teaching and/or administrative experience including MTSS and Special Education. Sponsored by North Country Supervisory Union
Supercharge the Applicant Pool. The market for school staff in Vermont is fierce and it’s important to stand out when attracting quality candidates. Why get wedged in among thousands of open positions on SchoolSpring? Your opportunity can stand out in an upcoming issue of the 802 Ed, dropping into the Inbox of 1,800+ readers. Sponsored by 802 Ed
Looking For a Change? With so many open positions in education, there are sometimes unusual opportunities. For example, the University of Vermont is hiring a Bee Lab Technician, perfect for those who like to keep in the buzz.
Thank the Team
Thank you to a colleague from an educational association in Vermont, a former teacher, and an incoming principal for the cups of coffee!
Like what you are reading? Want a creative way to show your support? Cover our coffee budget! Writing, editing, researching… all of that is caffeine driven. Choose this option and the extra energy will go to finding a few more updates to share.
Update on the Education Market
The end of the school year is mere weeks away, and even if the students don’t sense it then certainly the school employees can smell the fresh scent of summer just around the corner despite a mid-May surprise snow flurry – thank you, Vermont!
Many schools are in the process of winding down and the job market reflects this. The number of hard-to-staff positions like substitutes has gone from one out of every six posted jobs in early April to a negligible 5% of the job market today.
And yet, the job market for principals and other school leaders hasn’t reached the stability that many boards and superintendents may be hoping for. Said one school board chair about a co-principal position that came open: “The (applicant) pool is so shallow and the competition is so high, we decided it would be easier to find an assistant principal.”
The chart below tracks the total number of school administrator openings in the 60 days prior to publication, presented as data points and a polynomial trend line this time. Data from SchoolSpring.
Principal and Assistant Principal positions are opening up and getting filled around the state. Here is a graphic representation of the total number of positions that have opened (61) since the start of the calendar year, and the number of positions that have been filled (43) since then. Data from VPA.
Pass It On
Like what you are reading? Hit the button below to send a copy to a colleague, friend, neighbor, your boss… whoever!
Colleagues on the Move
Every issue we highlight school leaders who are making a change – congratulations!
Cara Zimmerman, previously chair of the Lamoille South Unified Union Board, is now director of policy services and legislative affairs at VSBA.
Hannah Parker, currently assistant principal at Brattleboro Union High School, will be interim principal this summer. She will swap positions with Cassie Damkoehler, who will be assistant principal.
Colden Golann, currently principal at Oceanside Middle School in Maine, will be principal at Vergennes Middle School this summer.
Bob Myers, currently interim principal at Barstow Memorial School, will be principal this summer.
Henry Bailly, currently interim principal at Bellows Falls Middle School, will be principal this summer.
John Broadley, currently principal at Bellows Falls High School, will be principal at Green Mountain Union High School this summer. He is taking over from Keith Hill.
These colleagues received administrator licensure from AOE since the last issue of the 802 Ed. Data from AOE’s Aithent Licensing System.
Daniel French • Superintendent
Stephanie Gagnon • Superintendent and Principal
Stephanie Ainslie • Principal
Vernita Vallez • Principal
Kimberly Weber • Principal
Rita Wood • Principal
Do you know a colleague who has made a recent move? Let us know!
Grants & Opportunities
Civic Education Advisory Group. The state’s recently hired Education and Civic Engagement Coordinator is convening an advisory group to help develop K-12 resources for civic education.
Mini-Grants from McClure. The McClure Foundation is offering small grants (up to $2,500) to help youth prepare for life after high school. Speedy review of applications and no reporting requirements.
Educating Homeless Kids. AOE has published an RFP for a contractor to support students who are homeless, including high school completion, postsecondary planning, and connection to other services. Deadline is today, May 22.
Student Mental Health That Works. ED is hosting a “Lessons From The Field” webinar on results from the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey and practical strategies to improve student mental health from practitioners in several rural and urban settings. 3pm - 4:30pm. May 24.
Collective Care for Educators. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation recently announced support for wellness retreats in New York City or the Berkshires for New England public school educators. Deadline is May 25.
Children and Youth Resilience Challenge. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the launch of a $1 million grant program for community-led solutions that advance mental health and well-being for youth. Deadline is July 7.
CIS Stabilization. DCF recently posted an RFP for contracted services to support professional development, recruitment, and other supports for Children’s Integrated Services, the state’s IDEA Part C provider. Deadline is August 4.
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Our biweekly newsletter about education policy and practice in Vermont is your go-to source for in-depth analysis, news, and insights on the education landscape in the Green Mountain State. We cover a wide range of topics that matter to you, from the latest legislation affecting Vermont schools to innovative teaching practices and successful student programs.
To continue to provide this invaluable resource, we depend on the support of our readers. By donating to our newsletter, you can help us to continue to provide high-quality, informative content that keeps educators, policymakers, and interested community members up to date on the latest developments in Vermont education. Thank you for your support!
In Case You Missed It
Vermont’s Presidential Scholars. ED recently announced the nation’s next cohort of Presidential Scholars, including students from Essex High School and Champlain Valley Union High School.
In Defense of Potty Language. This year’s winner of the Vermont Youth Book Award for the K-4th Grade category is the instant classic, I Eat Poop. A Dung Beetle Story: “Underneath the humor is a poignant story about feeling different from your peers that reinforces the idea that ‘we’re all a little weird.’”
Head Start Teachers Off The Hook. The federal government no longer requires Head Start teachers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, coinciding with the administration’s announcement that the public health emergency has ended.
High School Students as Custodians. Seven Days reports on a school that has responded to a tight job market by hiring high school students as facilities staff.
And High School Students as Counselors. WCAX highlights how students at two high school students have created a peer support program: “Once the youth say what they’re interested, adults will follow.”
The 802 Ed brings together the latest from Vermont's associations for principals, superintendents, and school board members, as well as state and national education agencies. We hope that you'll find something useful in each issue and welcome comments or suggestions for upcoming issues: email@example.com.
Abbreviation list: AOE Agency of Education, CDD Child Development Division, DAIL Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living, DCF Department for Children and Families, DPS Department of Public Safety, ED U.S. Department of Education, RFP Request for Proposals, NAEYC National Association for the Education of Young Children, NEASC New England Association of Schools and Colleges, PBIS Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, VPA Vermont Principals Association, VSA Vermont Superintendents Association, VSBA Vermont School Board Association.
Special bonus for making it to the bottom: Australia is wider than the moon, at least according to Cosmopolitan.