Please join us for:
Vermont Legislative Forum
Thursday, September 29, 2016
CAPA Symposium | Bennington College
Veronica Newton, Vermont Agency of Education, will be joined by Vermont State Senator Brian Campion, Laura Boudreau (SVSU), Glenda Cresto (MAUHS), Tim Payne (MAUMS), and local educators, students, and parents to discuss Vermont Act 77 and the role of personal learning plans in the education of our students.
Moderated by Susan Sgorbati, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action
Open to the public
Contact: email@example.com | 802-447-4267
The SVSU family of websites have been migrated from WIX to the free SVSU Google Apps for Education domain. The goal of the new sites is to provide an improved site appearance, a more streamlined navigation experience and faster webpage load times while decreasing the amount of network resources required by each site visitor. The websites for all the schools within the SVSU follow the same template allowing visitors to more easily find information across the sites.
The contents of each navigation tab drop down menu are described below.
May 6, 2016
The Southwest Supervisory Union and member Districts are seeking community members who would like to participate in the Act 46 Study Committee as Community Representatives. Input from the community is an important part of the process of collaboration and possible consolidation.
The goal of the committee is to develop a plan of action for all districts involved to:
As a community representative, the expectations would be to:
Each town board will be accepting applications and letters of interest for appointment at their June meeting. Please mail your application (www.svsu.org “Act 46 Committee") to:
James R. Culkeen, Superintendent
Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union
246 South Stream Road
Bennington, VT 05201
Thank you for your interest in this important process!
Developmental screenings are short tests to tell if a child is learning basic skills when he or she should. Free developmental screenings are available for children ages two and a half to five years old.
Upcoming screening dates:
Please call (802) 447-8419 to make an appointment.
STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS)
STARS is Vermont’s quality recognition system for child care, preschool, and afterschool programs. Programs that participate in STARS are stepping ahead — going above and beyond state regulations to provide professional services that meet the needs of children and families.
The more stars a program has, the more it is involved in a wide range of practices that support children, families, and professionals.
Adopted August 19, 2014
The Vermont State Board of Education is committed to ensuring that all students develop the knowledge, capabilities and dispositions they need to thrive as citizens in their communities, higher education and their careers in the 21st century. The Board of Education’s Education Quality Standards (EQS) rules aim to ensure that all students in Vermont public schools are afforded educational opportunities that are substantially equal in quality, and enable them to achieve or exceed the standards approved by the State Board of Education.
These rules were designed to ensure continuous improvement in student performance, instruction and leadership, so that all students are able to develop high levels of skill and capability across seven essential domains: literacy, mathematics, scientific inquiry and knowledge, global citizenship, physical and health education and wellness, artistic expression, and transferable 21st century skills.
To achieve these goals, educators need to make use of diverse indicators of student learning and strengths, in order to comprehensively assess student progress and adjust their practice to continuously improve learning. They also need to document the opportunities schools provide to further the goals of equity and growth.
Uniform standardized tests, administered across all schools, are a critical tool for schools’ improvement efforts. Without some stable and valid external measure, we cannot evaluate how effective we are in our efforts to improve schools and learning. Standardized tests – along with teacher-developed assessments and student work samples -- can give educators and citizens insight into the skills, knowledge and capabilities our students have developed.
What standardized tests can do that teacher developed tests cannot do is give us reliable, comparative data. We can use test scores to tell whether we are doing better over time. Of particular note, standardized tests help monitor how well we serve students with different life circumstances and challenges. When used appropriately, standardized tests are a sound and objective way to evaluate student progress.
Despite their value, there are many things tests cannot tell us. Standardized tests like the NECAP and soon, the SBAC, can tell us something about how students are doing in a limited set of narrowly defined subjects overall, as measured at a given time. However, they cannot tell us how to help students do even better. Nor can they adequately capture the strengths of all children, nor the growth that can be ascribed to individual teachers. And under high-stakes conditions, when schools feel extraordinary pressure to raise scores, even rising scores may not be a signal that students are actually learning more. At best, a standardized test is an incomplete picture of learning: without additional measures, a single test is inadequate to capture a years’ worth of learning and growth.
Along a related dimension, the American Psychological Association wrote:
“(N)o test is valid for all purposes. Indeed, tests vary in their intended uses and in their ability to provide meaningful assessments of student learning. Therefore, while the goal of using large-scale testing to measure and improve student and school system performance is laudable, it is also critical that such tests are sound, are scored properly, and are used appropriately.” Unfortunately, the way in which standardized tests have been used under federal law as almost the single measure of school quality has resulted in the frequent misuse of these instruments across the nation.
Because of the risk of inappropriate uses of testing, the Vermont State Board of Education herewith adopts a series of guiding principles for the appropriate use of standardized tests to support continuous improvements of learning.
WHEREAS, our nation and Vermont's future well-being relies on a high-quality public education system that prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship and lifelong learning, and strengthens the nation’s and the state’s social and economic well-being; and
WHEREAS, our nation's school systems have been spending growing amounts of time, money and energy on high-stakes standardized testing, in which student performance on standardized tests is used to make major decisions affecting individual students, educators and schools; and
WHEREAS, the overreliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality and equity in the nation’s public schools by hampering educators' efforts to focus on the broad range of learning experiences that promote the innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and deep subject-matter knowledge that will allow students to thrive in a democracy and an increasingly global society and economy; and
WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that standardized testing is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness; and
WHEREAS, a compelling body of national research shows the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in areas such as narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, and undermining school climate; and
WHEREAS, high-stakes standardized testing has negative effects for students from all backgrounds, and especially for low-income students, English language learners, children of color, and those with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, the culture and structure of the systems in which students learn must change in order to foster engaging school experiences that promote joy in learning, depth of thought and breadth of knowledge for students; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the Vermont State Board of Education requests that the Secretary of Education reexamine public school accountability systems in this state, and develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which has at its center qualitative assessments, does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, decreases the role of compliance monitoring, and is used to support students and improve schools; and
RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Board of Education calls on the United States Congress and Administration to accordingly amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as the “No Child Left Behind Act") to reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality, eschew the use of student test scores in evaluating educators, and allow flexibility that reflects the unique circumstances of all states; and
RESOLVED that the Vermont State Board of Education calls on other state and national organizations to act in concert with these goals to improve and broaden educational goals, provide adequate resources, and ensure a high quality education for all children of the state and the nation.
Every child attending Mt. Anthony Union Middle & High Schools; Prekindergarten at Molly & Division St.; and Shaftsbury, Woodford, Pownal, Monument, Bennington, and Molly Stark Elementary Schools can now eat complete, nutritious and reimbursable breakfast and lunch approved by the program for free.
The federal government’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is structured to provide funding for free meals for economically disadvantaged school districts. The SVSU has determined that all public schools within the SVSU qualify and will participate in the 2015-2016 school year program. Participating in the CEP program, allows the SVSU to receive federal reimbursement for up to 100 percent of meals served.
“Finally, the math makes sense. The entire SVSU community benefits from our participation in CEP. All families qualify for free meals. A family of four who paid for breakfast and lunch last year can experience a savings of $1,200 this year. That is real money families can use to relieve pressure off their personal finances or increase their purchasing power in our local economy. It truly is a win-win for everyone.” says SVSU Chief Financial Officer, Richard C. Pembroke, Jr., SFO.
Every family is welcome and encouraged to take advantage of this new program. Participation is not required as children can still come to school with a meal from home. Snacks, snack milks, ala carte or second meals will continue to be charged at the current rates.
“With improved food quality, efficient food distribution methods and increased staff, we are ready to respond to the expected increase in meal participation. Schools within the program have experienced a 10% to 40% increase in breakfast participation,” says Maureen O’Neil, Southern Vermont Food Service Director from the Abbey Group who is working closely with the SVSU to implement the new program.
Across all SVSU public schools, 2900 students will now have the opportunity to eat two complete, nutritious and reimbursable meals approved by the program every school day without the stigma of being different from other students. This alone is expected to increase meal participation.
“The potential of the CEP program is truly exciting,” says SVSU Superintendent, James R. Culkeen. “Schools already participating have reported an increase in student attentiveness, fewer reports of student hunger, fewer disciplinary referrals and fewer visits to the school nurse. All of these elements make a great recipe for student success and enables them to perform at their best.”
August 21, 2015
Dear Parent or Guardian,
We are committed to providing every student in our school community with all the tools they need to succeed, including nutritious breakfast and lunch that everyone can enjoy together. That is why we are excited to announce that this year; all public schools within the SVSU are enrolled in a new program offering complete, nutritious and reimbursable meals approved by the program every school day to all students at no charge.
All children enrolled in public schools within the SVSU can eat for free.
I am writing to share with you this exciting news and to ask that you help us ensure our meal program is a success by having your child participate in school breakfast and lunch every single school day. It is important that everyone participate in our universal meal program because…
Part of what makes a great school culture is everyone sharing a meal together.
When all of our students are eating together, our cafeteria will become a place to learn more about new foods together, make healthy choices, and fuel up for learning and play.
Participating in school breakfast and lunch helps your school and your community.
The more students who participate in school lunch and breakfast, the more our schools receive in federal reimbursement for meals served. This additional money enables us to improve our program by introducing higher quality ingredients and healthy food choices.
Participating in school breakfast and lunch helps your family.
Participating in school breakfast and lunch helps provide nutritious food for your children at school so they can concentrate better and learn more, and saves you valuable time and money at home.
I hope you will join me and the school community in supporting this exciting new program by participating in school breakfast and lunch this year. Please feel free to contact your school with any questions and to discuss any special dietary needs.
James R. Culkeen