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VT-HEC to Offer Course at Early Childhood Summer Institue

Advanced Child Development Course at Special Reduced Rate

The VT-HEC will be starting a new cohort of its Early Childhood (EC) & Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Pathway to Licensing course sequence this summer at the Early Childhood Summer Institute to be held at Castleton University in July. The VT-HEC will offer the first course in the course sequence, Advanced Child Development, at a special reduced rate for the Institute. The VT-HEC is pleased to be joining many of Vermont’s early childhood organizations, agencies and higher education programs in putting together a slate of courses focusing on preparing high quality Early Childhood Educators.

The VT-HEC EC/ECSE Pathway to Licensing program is open to Vermont educators wishing to add either the Early Childhood or Early Childhood Special Educator endorsements to their teaching license or to qualified individuals seeking initial licensure in either EC or ECSE through peer review. The EC course sequence (18 credits) and the ECSE sequence (21 credits) both begin with Advance Child Development..  All courses meet the Agency of Education competencies in EC and ECSE.

Visit the VT-HEC website for more information about the EC/ECSE program:

The Early Childhood Summer Institute at Castleton is a true collaboration among many of Vermont’s Early Childhood organizations and programs.  It is designed for Early Childhood Educators (birth through grade 3) working in public schools, private early childhood and after-school settings and the administrators who support them.  There will be over ten courses offered on the Castleton campus during the week of July 24-27, 2017. The VT-HEC is proud to be participating in this effort by starting the new EC/ECSE cohort at this event at a greatly reduced cost.

To register for any of the courses offered at the Early Childhood Summer Institute or for more information go to:


Tina Newman: Reading Comprehension for Students w/ ASD #vted

Tina Newman
Reading interventions that are specifically tailored to the student with ASD are critical

VT-HEC presents a workshop Reading Comprehension & Autism Spectrum Disorders on April 3, 2017 in Montpelier, VT. The day is designed to develop greater teacher competency in addressing the unique learning profiles of students with ASD; students who may have mastered the techniques of decoding text, but struggle with comprehension. This dynamic learning opportunity will include discussions of methodologies to improve student learning within the broad curriculum domain of reading comprehension skills.

The essential building blocks of successful reading comprehension will be reviewed including vocabulary, background information, literal comprehension, main idea, and the application of cognitive strategies to support reading comprehension. In addition, data collection procedures and the use of curriculum-based progress monitoring tools and standardized assessments to track student progress. will be addressed.

Dr. Tina Newman is a licensed clinical child psychologist who specializes in assessment and intervention with children who have individual learning needs. Dr. Newman received her Ph.D. in School/Applied Child Psychology from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and completed postdoctoral work at Yale University.

Dr. Newman held appointments as a Psychologist at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Center for Children and as an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale University, Child Study Center. Her research pursuits included assessment and intervention with children who have individual learning needs, including multiple exceptionalities (e.g., areas of both strength and weakness) and circumscribed interests in autism spectrum disorders. Her clinical work included comprehensive assessments of children with complex learning profiles. She currently provides consultation and training for The Center for Children with Special Needs in Glastonbury, CT.

for more information:

Preview – Technology Tools & Assessment – Chris CichoskiKelly

woman typing on laptop and media icons fly off

Matching Technology Tools with the Assessments You Need for your Students

Join Chris CichoskiKelly in an exploration of how you can use technology to design and organize assessments that meet the needs of you and your students. Over two days of workshops Chris will review over a dozen tools that will help you tailor assessments to your content and your students’ goals.

Chris will review tools that can help educators develop and manage learning scales and performance tasks and assist with proficiency-based grading. There are tools that will make learning goals and progress clearer to students and parents and help teachers and students better focus their efforts. Many of these tools can involve students in the assessment process and increase their participation and learning.

Among the tools Chris will be reviewing are: PlayPosit; Socrative; Quizlet; Plickers,  Goobric, Flubaroo and Kahoot.  You will learn how to make creative and tailored use of Google Forms and Sheets, better use Excel for graphing and help make more efficient use of checklists and rubrics. Improve your assessments and keep your date organized with the right tools.

The workshops are on February 3 and March 17 (new date) ; to get the most from this offering take it as a 3 credit course through which you will get support from Chris for the application of the tools you select to your own assessment goals. In addition, you will be able to see how your fellow students are utilizing these tools in different ways.

Chris’s workshops and courses have gotten rave reviews from past participants:

This course was amazing!! The knowledge I gained has been so incredibly useful; we can see that it is clearly benefiting the students.

So many skills and tools. all kinds of useful shortcuts and small ways I can assess and analyze assessments. This class is my favorite one I’ve ever taken as an adult!

I immediately began integrating the tools I learned about into my practice. I am so impressed by the breadth of this course.

I had knowledge of google tools before, but I would say my knowledge tripled or more, and that I have applied that knowledge daily both in my professional life and my personal life.

 It is the most applicable course I have ever taken. I used what I learned immediately.


Preview: Peg Dawson – Executive Skills Coaching #vted


If coaching executive skills were a football game, this would be the playbook

The most informative, practical guide available on the topic
Invaluable to teachers, counselors and school psychologists who work with students with executive skills deficits
Translates cutting-edge research into meaningful, practical, well-organized and easy-to-implement strategies

Smart but Scattered co-author, Peg Dawson, is coming to VT-HEC on February 2 & 3 to share her celebrated program on coaching for improvement of Executive Skills.  With co-author, Richard Guare, their books have covered the critical importance of Executive Skills for success in the 21st Century for kids, tweens, teens and adults. They cover how to assess those skills and how to develop programs to improve them. Peg will be here for a two day workshop on how to coach improvement in executive skills with a follow-up course option where you can be coached on implementing their program by the author who wrote the books on coaching and executive skills.

What other have said of this work:

A unique and marvelous book that presents a coaching model for students with executive skills deficits including those that have ADHD. It is the most informative, practical guide available on the topic –  filled with strategies that can be readily implemented.  Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, Dept. of Psychiatry, Medical University of So. Carolina

If coaching kids with executive skills deficits were a football game, this would be the playbook.  It provides both theory and the details on how to implement a coaching program… synthesizes cutting-edge research on learning and the brain into an accessible approach. As a student of child development and the brain I strongly recommend it  Thomas (Lee) Reynolds MD,  psychatrist, North Canton

invaluable to teachers, counselors and school psychologists who work with students with executive skills deficits… provides constructive, step-by-step guidance on what it means to  have an executive skills deficit and how to implement an effective coaching program.  Peter Farrel, PhD CPsychol, FBPsS, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

for more information –



VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund

Expanding VT-HEC’s Capacity to Provide Quality Professional Learning Opportunities

The VT-HEC Board of Directors has established the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund for the purpose of advancing the goals of the VT-HEC to provide high quality professional learning opportunities to help ensure the success of every Vermont student.  The VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund will be focused on developing new professional learning programs in high need areas and supporting increased access to current VT-HEC offerings.

So far in FY’17 the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund is supporting:

  1. the new VT-HEC Early Childhood Workshop series, Connecting the Dots, which will begin on November 30, 2016 with the workshop, Strengthening the Foundations for Best Practice and Effective Curriculum with Jim Squires.
  2. a limited number of scholarships for our Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education endorsement pathway and other courses and workshops.
  3. development of a new program focused on Trauma-Informed Schools. This will include a series of graduate courses partnering with Northeast Family Institute as well as related workshops.  The first course, Developmental Trauma and Trauma-informed Schools:  Theory, Practice, Implementation, will start this spring. The first workshop, Truama-Informed Care, is scheduled for November 9 & 10.
  4. development of a professional learning offering for paraeducators and others based on the Registered Behavior Technician competencies of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. We hope to begin offering this course in the spring of 2017.


You Can Help….

Please make a tax-deductive contribution to help us expand the impact of the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund so that we can offer additional scholarships and develop new programs to meet the most critical professional learning needs in education in Vermont.

If you are going to make a donation this tax season please consider helping us help those that educate and support Vermont’s children and youth. Go to:


Conversation with Early Childhood Special Education Graduate Amy Emerson

The VT-HEC is proud of its program graduates.  Many chose to take their coursework and continue on their career path.  Our agreements with our partners in the state colleges allows this to happen in a seamless and personalized way.

Below is an interview with Amy Emerson. Amy went through the VT-HEC pathway to licensure program in early childhood special education , and transferred those credits towards her masters degree in education at Lyndon State College. She is currently a licensed Early Childhood Special Educator working at Blue Mt. School.

Congratulations, Amy!


Conversation with Amy Emerson, March 1st, 2016

How did the VT-HEC program work for you as an adult student?  

I started the program when my daughter was 18 months old. It really worked well for me. I was able to work on the weekends and could do the work at my own pace and when my child was asleep. As a Mom, I appreciated the flexibility. It was also nice to be surrounded by people in similar situations.  The instructors understood adult learners – assignments were doable and they understood the demands of everyday life. But it was not busy work; it was quality.  I even had my son in the middle of a course, and due to the flexibility, I was able to continue my work.

How did the VT-HEC pathway to licensure program prepare you for your career and current position?

I feel the program prepared me really well for my practice. During my studies, I was able to use my life experience, my job, to do part of my work. This was valuable.  And, I ultimately ended up with my early childhood licensure.  It was great to get there from where I left off with my bachelors degree. I did not have to start over or do a lot of extra work to begin the program.  And, I was able to take all of my credits through VT-HEC and plop them into the master’s program at Lyndon State College.

Is there anything else you want to say about your experience in the VT-HEC pathway to early childhood special education licensure program?

During the sequence of courses in the early education program, I decided I wanted to pursue my special education endorsement. The VT-HEC program Coordinator was amazing. The support I received from VT-HEC was so great. I felt like I was a person and not a number. They cared about me and were willing to walk me through the steps I needed to take. And, I am so glad I took the route I did instead of peer review. I learned so much.

VT-HEC Enters its 15th Year – 2000-2015

15  Years Providing Quality Professional Learning Opportunities and Supports

The VT-HEC was formed in 2000 with the mission of addressing critical personnel and training needs related to improving education outcomes for all students.  VT-HEC began in response to Act 117 of the 2000 legislative session which required the Commissioner of Education to form a collaborative with colleges and others to address personnel and training issues in special education, general education, leadership, early education, etc. (more…)

VT-HEC & VPA Partner for the Third Year

Using the Principles of Neuroscience to Lead in the 21st Century

For the third consecutive year, the VT-HEC is partnering with the VPA to offer coordinated leadership supports to help administrators and their leadership teams utilize what we know about the brain and learning to work through the ever-expanding list of requirements and initiatives to establish a clear direction tailored to their school and community. The supports include:

  • Bring Coherence & Relevance to Your Leadership Work Through Brain-Based Principles – A strand at the VPA Leadership Academy with Bill Rich and Val Gardner on August 5 and 6. Participants will be using the principles from research on the brain and learning to make sense of the many competing demands that face school leaders to chart a coherent course for their school and staff.  (Register at
  •  “The Best Start Ever” – Jump-Start the Year Planning Together  This year we are again offering the option for strand participants from 2013, 2014 or 2015 to participate in supported planning sessions on the afternoon of August 6 and August 7 following the VPA Leadership Academy. Strand participants can have members of their school leadership teams join them in applying the principles covered in the strand to their planning for the new year with the help of Val Gardner, Bill Rich and other TASS consultants. Administrators who participated in this planning last year reported they got off to “the best start ever”. For more info contact

We are very excited to be working with the VPA to continue this component of our program.  It is clear that many school leaders struggle to maintain a clear focus given all of the challenges and demands they face.  It has been our experience that school leaders that can establish a clear direction based on common principles and develop a coordinated plan for the coming year have the best chance of hitting the ground running and making significant progress during the year.  We believe that these learning and planning opportunities will help leaders accomplish these goals.

This opportunities is also available to the schools that are working with our TASS, Teaching All Secondary Students, program that supports middle and secondary school improvement.  Recently, three Vermont schools were awarded grants working through the League of Innovative Schools and the Great Schools Partnerships – all three of those schools have worked with TASS. They were the only Vermont schools to win this very competitive grant.

One can’t do much better than having experts such as Val and Bill on hand to assist leaders in applying these basic principles of learning and behavior to the work of their schools and staff.  Together Bill and Val make a powerful team that works to practice what they preach by designing learning opportunities that give participants the content, coaching and feedback they need to apply the new learning to their own situations.

TASS New Middle School Supports

Supporting  Middle Schools in the World of Standards-Based Learning & the Common Core

TASS (Teaching All Secondary Students) has been supporting middle and high schools in their efforts to improve outcomes for all students since 2005 by offering embedded professional learning opportunities, coaching and leadership support. Now TASS is building on that foundation to offer schools and individual educators more ways to focus on the nature and needs of adolescent learners in the current world of proficiencies, graduation expectations and new testing.

1. TASS Middle School Endorsement Course Sequence

Beginning in the fall of 2014 TASS  will begin offering courses required for middle grades licensing endorsement.  The first course will be Nature and Needs of the Adolescent Learner.  These courses are designed to teach well researched skills, strategies, and tools, that will enable teachers to provide safe learning environments that will nurture students’ intellectual capacities, develop their leadership skills and voice, and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners. The current course sequence is:

  • Nature and Needs of the Adolescent Learner (Fall 2014) Starts September 13 – Register Now!
  • Responsive Middle Level Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment (Spring 2015)
  • Middle Level Organization and Structures (Summer 2015, mid-June)
  • Adolescent Literacy and the Common Core (Summer 2015, mid-July)
2.  Workshop Series – Teaching & Learning with Adolescents

This year TASS will be offering a series of three workshops to provide leaders and educators more examples of how they can respond to the special needs of the adolescent learner given the current environment of standards-based learning, Common Core, etc.

  • Designing Learning Opportunities for Adolescents – October 20, 2014
  • Self –Directed Teaching and Learning – January 26, 2014
  • Common Core Literacy Standards Across All Content – March 16, 201
3.  WORKshop Series – Using Neuroscience to Make Standards Work for ALL Students

A series of four WORKshops that can be taken individually, as a series or as a course that focus on the practical application of the principles of education neuroscience to standards-based learning in middle and high schools.  These WORKshops have been designed by Bill Rich and will be supported by other TASS consultants with plenty of time allocated for participants to apply the new learning to their own setting.

  • Crafting Student-Friendly Learning Targets – October 9, 2014; Capitol Plaza, Montpelier, VT
  • Designing Performance Tasks to Power Student Learning – November 21, 2014; Capitol Plaza, Montpelier, VT
  • Getting to (& Surviving) Standards-Based Learning March 8, 2015; Capitol Plaza, Montpelier, VT
  • Data Tools to Keep You in Sync with Your Students – May, 1, 2015; Capitol Plaza, Montpelier, VT


4.  TASS School Support Program

TASS is a VT-HEC Program focused on supporting middle and high school in their efforts to improve outcomes for all students. TASS delivers a comprehensive, coordinated and coherent array of supports and learning opportunities designed to apply the principles of Education Neuroscience in a standards-based learning context for the 21st Century.  TASS provides a long-term, integrated system of embedded professional development, coaching and leadership support within a system of collaborative implementation that is tailored to the long-term goals and short-term needs of each school.  TASS consultants include Bill Rich, Val Gardner, Wendy Cohen, Susie Girardin and Otho Thompson; all long-time educators working in Vermont schools. 

5.  TASS Leadership Support Program

Val Gardner and Bill Rich have designed a series of WORKshops for leaders interested in and committed to applying principles of brain-based learning design to create cultures of ongoing learning. This learning opportunity has been offered at the VPA Leadership Academy and will be offered as a series of WORKshops this year for education leaders.  This year the first WORKshops will be held on October 3, 2014,  Who Are Our Learners? Applying Brain Research to How We Lead our Adult Learners. This will be followed by three more support sessions for those who have attended one of the introductory sessions at the VPA or are from a TASS school.

TASS Middle School Progam  will be coordinated  by Susie Girardin.  Susie is a middle grades specialist who has worked in middle schools and with middle school teachers for 40 years.  She is a leadership and teacher coach for TASS and is also part of the design team for the TASS teacher leader Certificate of Learning Design program.  Susie has taught all of the courses in the middle school sequence and will be working to design the workshop series.

It would be hard to find someone more committed to middle level students and to addressing their unique characteristics. Susie is a dynamic presenter, coach and instructor who makes her passion about student-centered learning contagious.  She has been working in a number of schools around Vermont and is always in demand.  Susie is available for consultation and coaching in schools through the TASS program.