Vermont: Working in Education in Vermont

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Teacher's Aides

Vermont has a number of projects to improve the training of paraprofessionals in order to better meet the needs of children. The Paraeducator Resource and Learning Center, for example, provides information for paraeducators about collaborative teamwork, inclusive education, families and cultural sensitivity, characteristics of young people with various disabilities, roles and responsibilities, and implementing instruction.

Curriculum and Instruction

In a unique and innovative alliance Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island collaborated to develop one math and reading assessment exam for all three states. The New England Common Assessment Program began as a cost-saving measure for small states faced with the cost of expanding assessments to more grades.

A new study from the National Center on Education Statistics compares the student achievement standards of the states. According to the study, Vermont and Maine tied for fifth place among the states that set the highest standards for fourth-grade reading proficiency in 2007. Such standards form the basis of curriculum and instruction.

Educational Management

The Vermont Educational Leadership Collaborative is charged with developing a consistent and systematic approach to leadership development. Three coordinated initiatives further their efforts:

  • Wallace Grant for Policy Governance trained nine facilitators to assist districts and supervisory unions in the implementation of policy governance.
  • Council on Education Governance is working on realignment of governance of schools, including a new delineation of roles and responsibilities.
  • Vermont Education Leadership Alliance helps educational leaders and school board members creative effective systems focused on improving student learning.

According to a report from the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and the Center for American Progress, Vermont does a very good job of removing poor-performing teachers from the classroom. Forty-five percent of responding principals reported that tenure is a barrier to removing poor-performing teachers. While this may seem like a high percentage, it is twenty-seven percentage points below the national average. In addition, only four percent of principals reported that parental resistance made it more difficult to remove teachers who perform poorly.

Technology Education

The 2009-2012 Vermont Educational Plan provides guidance for integrating technology in all aspects of learning and teaching. The plan focuses on student-centered learning, leadership, flexible educational environments, involved communities, and evaluation of technology plans.

Riverdeep Learning Village is an online resource that provides educators with access to tools to create and distribute instructional materials and assessments that connect to state education standards. It facilitates online collaboration and sharing of resources.

Vermont Commons for Information Technology Educators is a source of discussions and resources for educators who are interested in integrating technology into the curriculum.

The Transformation of Education in Vermont, the framework for school transformation, calls for student-centered learning with technology playing a role in expanding learning opportunities. Almost all Vermont schools have access to broadband communications, along with access to network resources and technology tools. The Transformation of Education in Vermont addresses how teachers, students, and administrators can make the best use of this technology. The seamless integration of technology in learning is part of the vision for educational transformation in the state.

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