The 802 Ed
What's going on in Vermont's education policy and practice
This issue covers many topics that are immediately useful like swatting, book censorship, and the challenges of hiring special education staff. Be sure to check out the latest from this legislative session!
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
Momentum Mentoring For Women. A Forbes article profiles a superintendent of Nevada’s second largest school district and her journey in a field where 8 in 10 public school teachers are women, but more than 7 in 10 superintendents are men. “Gender bias is alive and well. You have to know it, combat it when you can, and not let it get you down.”
Checking Back In. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, a career coach offers practical advice for re-engaging at work in this era of “quiet quitting.”
Superintendents Younger with Higher Salaries. K-12 Dive runs through the results of the most recent national survey by the School Superintendents Association, including cases where a superintendent typically makes about as much as a middle school school principal. This was a popular item in last issue, so we are including it again for readers who may have missed it.
Benefits of Investing in School Swag. Three of the nation’s top Assistant Principals weigh in on leadership best practices in a recent District Administration article.
Swatting and Misinformation. NPR’s Morning Edition dug into the growing phenomenon of hoax calling a school and its recent expansion to include realistic social media posts that can lead to families accusing law enforcement of covering up a shooting that didn’t happen.
Building Community and Facilitating Healing. A recent article in Education Week outlines strategies that schools can take to respond to mental health crises that are “bombarding our schools.”
Bill Limiting Trans Youth. The national debate over trans youth in schools showed up recently in Vermont’s legislature with the introduction of a bill written broadly enough to keep students assigned the sex of male at birth from participating in any K-12 or college activity designated for girls.
The “Sexually Explicit” Bluest Eye. A superintendent in Spotsylvania County, Virginia is getting national attention for removing more than a dozen titles from school libraries, and also taking a step toward eliminating the libraries altogether as a cost-cutting measure.
Social Fitness of America’s Teenagers. A recent Plain English podcast interview with a child and adolescent psychiatrist explores possible causes of the youth mental health crisis, including glimmers of good news: “Kids being connected to schools is a protective factor.” (Thanks for the tip, AB!)
Child Care as “Catnip” For Private Equity Firms. Alison Novak’s article in Seven Days zooms out from a 26% tuition increase and fewer open days at Loveworks to show the bigger picture of corporate chains buying up centers, and brings in the voice of policy expert Elliot Haspel for additional context.
Please, Kids, Stop Ordering Pizza. South Burlington High School’s principal recently asked students not to order delivery from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Denny’s, and iHOP because of on-going disruptions to classes. Besides, he points out: “All students have access to free breakfast and lunch.”
“So Grammatically Perfect and So Completely Soulless.” VTDigger brings us up to date on ChatGPT, a software tool that uses artificial intelligence to generate high-quality text including, potentially, class essays.
Underqualified Teachers in the Classroom. Research by Kansas State University and published in EdSurge points to states’ problems getting qualified teachers into classrooms. Worst-off is our neighbor New Hampshire, with about “40 underqualified teachers for every 100 teachers in the state.”
“Innovative State Strategies.” The Education Commission of the States published a two-page briefing on Vermont’s community schools programs, which link schools with health centers, farm-to-school instruction, telehealth, healthy meals, clothing, and more.
Keep Those Libraries Open! Vermont’s legislature acted quickly to introduce three bills that would limit Vermont State University’s efforts to shrink or close its libraries: H.498, H.502, and S.134.
Heads Up, Vermont. Several states are taking innovative steps to support their students. Vermont school leaders and lawmakers should take note:
Missouri increased principal retention by almost 100% through an innovative Leadership Development System.
Colorado and Utah have signed on to the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, which makes it easier for teachers to fill vacancies in states with shortages. Legislation is pending in 15 other states, but so far Vermont isn’t one of them.
Legislators in Arizona are considering a bill that would give a cash bonus to schools with students who pass a dual enrollment class, as a way to increase access to postsecondary classes.
Boston is offering free community college for all of its residents, regardless of income, age, or immigration status.
School Shootings in 2023. Education Week’s tracker reports 14 school shootings in 2023. “On April 6, a 16-year-old student was injured when a gun accidentally discharged on a school bus, which was transporting students from South Central High School in Greenville, N.C.” 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: How will schools fill counselor and mental health clinician positions? The responses were strongly in favor of Posting to SchoolSpring, with few readers selecting Depending on community mental health agencies or Leaning into telehealth and other technology.
This issue’s survey question: What is your impression of principal turn-over this year? Please indicate your response by clicking a check mark.
✅ More than usual, and I’m worried
✅ About the same as any other year or less than usual
✅ I’m not sure
Job Listings For School Leaders
Interim Superintendent. Immediate opening for a full- or part-time district leader of the Canaan and Northeast Kingdom School Choice Districts. Strong applicants will demonstrate a successful track record of problem solving, establishing clear roles and responsibilities and fostering productive relationships as a Superintendent or central office administrator. Sponsored by Essex North Supervisory Union
Secondary Principal. The Danville School is seeking a strong instructional leader who will work closely with the Elementary Principal and Technical and Experiential Learning Program Director to continue a robust initiative that provides the best education to our students and support to our staff in a unique educational environment. Sponsored by Caledonia Central Supervisory Union
Principal. Come join a great team that is committed to developing life-long learners! Molly Stark Elementary School is looking for its next leader, who has a track record of school leadership success and outstanding resource management skills. Strong applicants will have a Masters degree and exemplary interpersonal skills. Sponsored by Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union
Principal. Vergennes Union Middle School is looking for a highly-motivated, student-centered administrator skilled in leading systems change. The successful candidate will have a distinguished record as a middle school teacher and/or administrator, and demonstrate a collaborative leadership style, a commitment to success for all learners, and a passion for life-long learning. Sponsored by Addison Northwest School District
Principal. Seeking a dynamic individual with strong leadership and communication skills to lead Wardsboro Elementary School, a PreK-6 school recognized as being dedicated to academic excellence. Our team and school community use a cross-curricular approach to integrate STEAM activities like art, music, and Spanish classes. Sponsored by Windham Central Supervisory Union
Principal. A rare opportunity for the right candidate to lead a distinctive school on a 31 acre campus! The Dover School seeks an innovative, welcoming, and inclusive principal to lead our International Baccalaureate PreK-6 elementary school, which has a long record of student academic success in a collaborative, community focused environment. Sponsored by Windham Central 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 education positions in Vermont, there are sometimes unusual opportunities. For example, winner of this month’s longest job title goes to the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Anti-Racism & Social, Emotional Learning posted recently by South Burlington.
Thank the Team
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
There’s no secret about it – school staff have become harder to recruit, hire, and retain. Where position postings used to generate dozens of applicants, now many school leaders are seeing only a trickle. At least one board has said publicly that it is accelerating its process for hiring a superintendent because they are “at risk of losing some of our candidates to other hiring districts if we do not move swiftly.”
Positions in special education can be particularly challenging to fill. Applicants need to have an additional certification in their dossiers, and the field in general may have a reputation, deservedly or not, of being more difficult day-to-day than general education. All in all, it can be hard to find the right candidate, or possibly any candidate for some positions.
The number of positions for special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and other related staff has increased at a rate of about more more posting per day over the past two months. This isn’t the break-neck speed of general teacher positions that have run at more than three additional postings per day over the same time period, but it does point to a hot job market for these hard-to-fill positions.
The chart below tracks the number of special education openings in the 60 days prior to publication, presented as data points and a linear trend line. 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 (39) since the start of the calendar year, and the number of positions that have been filled (22) since then. Data from VPA.
Pass It On
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Colleagues on the Move
Every issue we highlight school leaders who are making a change – congratulations!
Caitlin Steele, currently assistant superintendent of Addison Central School District and interim principal of Middlebury Union High School, will be principal this summer.
Debbie Singiser, currently at Career Visor, will be director of board services at the Vermont School Boards Association on May 15. She will take over from Phil Gore.
Beth Bearor, currently kindergarten teacher at Vergennes Elementary School, will be assistant principal this summer.
Flor Diaz Smith, VSBA Vice President, was elected to a two year term on the board of the National School Boards Association as an Eastern Region Director.
Megan Cheresnick, currently interventionist at Bridport Central School, will be principal at Ripton Elementary School. She is taking over from Tracey Harrington.
Janet McLaughlin, previously executive director of the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children, is now Deputy Commissioner of DCF’s Child Development Division.
Francesca Dupuis, assistant principal at Burlington High School, will be a social studies teacher at the school next year.
Winooski School District announced finalists for its superintendent search:
Wilmer Chavarria, director of equity and education support systems at Milton Town School District
Suzanne Gruendling, superintendent’s office director at Essex Westford School District
Francis “Frank” Redmon, superintendent at Quilcene School District in Washington
These colleagues received administrator licensure from AOE since the last issue of the 802 Ed. Data from AOE’s Aithent Licensing System.
Bethany Hale • Principal
Do you know a colleague who has made a recent move? Let us know!
Grants & Opportunities
Middle Grades Institute 2023. Join a summer learning experience that has been strengthening equitable outcomes for young adolescents for more than 30 years! The Institute includes interactive workshops and thought-provoking presentations on equity, antiracism, personalization, trauma-informed practice, social-emotional learning, restorative practice, social justice, and much more. Three convenient locations or fully online. June 26 to June 30, 2023. Sponsored by the Middle Grades Collaborative
How’s Child Care These Days? DCF is requesting that caregivers respond to a survey about child care, especially around financial assistance. Weekly raffle for gift cards! Deadline is April 11.
Supporting Statewide PBIS. AOE published an RFP to coordinate “evidence-based practices that prevent and address challenging behaviors, and include implementing statewide PBIS.” Deadline is April 12.
Two-Day Math Instruction Workshop. All Learners Network is offering a specialized math workshop for teachers of K-5 students, focused on supporting learners who unproductively struggle in the classroom. 8:30am - 3:30pm, April 17.
Got a Great ELA Curriculum? AOE is looking for a contractor to develop an exemplar English Language Arts curriculum. Deadline is April 18.
Technology Grants from the Lottery. AOE and the Vermont Lottery announced a $15,000 competitive grant program to “showcase a practical and deliberate use of technology for increasing student engagement and support student-centered learning.” Deadline is April 19.
We All Belong. Burlington School District is hosting a state-wide conference on the education of immigrant and refugee students and support for their families. Up to 12 Professional Learning credit hours for teachers. May 5 and 6.
Linking Schools with Mental Health Care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a competitive grant program to increase student access to mental health care by connecting schools with local mental health systems. Grants up to $970,000 per year. Deadline is May 8.
Media Intern For Bering Sea Research Trip. The Alaska Teen Media Institute has opened applications for an intern (18 to 24 years old) to ride along on the R/V Sikuliaq research vessel for a month, documenting the project and sharing what it’s like to live and work at sea. Deadline is May 14.
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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In Case You Missed It
Strings on Public Money For Independent Schools. House bill H.483 recently passed, legislation that sets “accountability and oversight of approved independent schools that are eligible to receive public tuition.” Next stop: Vermont’s Senate.
Seeking Aspiring Splicers. Vermont Tech now offers a no-cost apprenticeship program to become a Broadband Installer Technician.
Pop Up University. Neighbors are teaching neighbors in Bethel in a self-styled “university,” offering free classes during the month of March in everything from belly dancing to evolutionary thermodynamics.
Some States Aren’t Racing to Respond. A recent Washington Post editorial outlines responses from Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Arizona and South Carolina and others to the teen mental health crisis, such as creating incentives for psychologists to provide services in schools. Missing from the story is Vermont, which has yet to introduce a youth mental health bill in the current legislative session.
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, 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: Looking to slow down your day? Check out a webcam of the longest burning lightbulb in the world, clocking in past a million hours at this point.