Highlights from today’s 802 Ed newsletter, published by Steve Berbeco:
Vermont’s Most Expensive Mascot? The Green Mountain Unified School District Board recently voted to stop paying the attorney who was representing them in an on-going dispute about the high school mascot, the Chieftains, after learning the cost so far is upwards of $10,000 in legal fees.
“Ready to Throw Down The Gloves And Start Fighting for Steve.” The Other Paper highlights a positive story of students fundraising to support a beloved staff member: “Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes they drive buses.”
Multimillion Dollar Toothache. VT Digger reports on Vermont State University’s failed efforts to start a dental therapy program despite more than $2.5 million and years of setbacks, according to the state auditor.
Universal Screening for Student Mental Health. AOE recently released guidelines for Vermont schools to develop a screening process for students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs and strengths.
Reconsidering Learning “Loss.” Vermont educator Peter Langella lays out an argument reframing post-pandemic public education from a strengths-based approach instead.
Reading Reckoning. Seven Days’ Alison Novak digs deep into the literacy wars, explaining Vermont’s tug between balanced literacy and structured literacy and how this may have led to a significant decline in students’ reading skills.
Accelerated Licensure for Trades. Vermont Public explores conversations underway to decrease the time it takes to become a licensed plumber or electrician at VTSU, where only about a third of students make it all the way through.
Nearly a Dozen Programs on The Chopping Block. VTSU plans to shelve ten programs and consolidate another thirteen, such as discontinuing School Psychology.
Desiderata for the Next Secretary. The VSA, VPA, and VSBA submitted a joint statement in support of hiring a Secretary of Education that can “improve the overall performance of the Agency of Education so that its personnel across the organization play an effective role in supporting school districts,” the “most pressing priority” for these associations.
No Blue Ribbon for Green Mountain State. This year’s coveted National Blue Ribbon School awards have been announced, with more than 350 schools from Alaska to Florida winning the status, although Vermont is one of four states that don’t participate in this national competition.
Beeping the Board Meeting. The Green Mountain Unified School District was disrupted at the 11:50 mark by a “Zoom bombing” call-in participant who introduced pornographic and racist material.
Next Secretary “Waiting in the Wings.” Political observer John Walters wagers that the interim Secretary of Education is a favored applicant for the permanent position.