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Collaborating with experts to support schools and deliver professional development, ensuring the success of all students.

We Are All Responsible

A Message from our Executive Director on Racism & Equity

The leadership and staff of the VT-HEC add our voices to the resounding chorus that has risen to express outrage, sadness, anger and dismay at the latest examples of the long-standing and systematic violence inflicted upon people of color. Black Lives Do Matter. Those of us who have benefited from white privilege may struggle to understand what living with this fear and injustice every day entails and we are humbled by our inability to fully relate to the impact of the systematic deprivation of human rights. What we do clearly recognize is our collective responsibility to confront racism wherever it exists and to join together to attack it at its foundation. We recognize that:

  • We Are All Responsible as educators to eliminate racism in our schools and to demand and actively strive toward an equitable and inclusive system of education for all.
  • We Are All Responsible as parents to raise our children with the knowledge of the injustices that exist in the world and the need for all of us to take action against them.
  • We Are All Responsible as friends and family members to demonstrate empathy in accepting human differences and show kindness and understanding to those different than ourselves.
  • We Are All Responsible as citizens to choose representatives at every level of government that share these values and demonstrate the courage to act accordingly. 
  • We Are All Responsible as individuals to stand against racism in all its forms and to take action to advance social and economic justice.


Over the past few years, the VT-HEC has acted on its responsibility to address inequity in education by dedicating its Mission Investment Fund to offer education opportunities to all those who work to benefit children and youth including:

  • designing workshops focused on reducing inequity related to race, immigration, poverty, gender, disability, sexual identification, and sexual preference.
  • providing a growing library of free webinars on the Equity Literacy Framework.
  • offering workshop series and courses at nominal cost focused on attacking inequity in race, poverty, immigration, and gender. 


In the coming years VT-HEC commits continued focus on its responsibility by offering additional learning opportunities and providing resources targeted to:

  • creating gender-affirming environments,
  • building restorative justice, 
  • addressing implicit bias and 
  • reducing the inequities related to poverty, disability, and race.


We embrace our responsibility and work to ensure that all students receive an equitable education that includes learning about and reducing social injustice, and systemic racism and bias. It is our hope that we can all be responsible for future generations that are more accepting of differences and demonstrate kindness to all.




VT-HEC Offers Free Resources on Equity, Stress & Resilience

Racism, Poverty & Navigating Impacts of COVID-19

This past year the VT-HEC’s Mission Investment Fund has supported the offering of a number of  free webinars introducing the Equity Literacy Framework, focused on eliminating inequities brought on by racism and poverty, as well as webinars focused on resilience during the COVID19 pandemic.

Free  Recorded Webinar Series on Equity Literacy Framework

A series of four webinars that provide foundational learning in equity literacy, as well as prepare educators, educational leaders, and equity specialists to cultivate equitable and just learning environments for all.

Free Recorded Workshops on Equity in Schools

An Economic Justice Approach to Eliminating Socioeconomic Inequities in Schools, presented by Paul Gorski, with special guests Marceline DuBose, Taharee Jackson, and Jeff Sapp

Ridding Schools of Racism: From Equity Optics to Equity Action, presented by Taharee Jackson and Paul Gorski

Free Recorded Webinars on Managing Stress and Building Resilience

Stress and Resilience as we Navigate COVID-19
Building upon what we already know about stress and resilience, Dr. Joelle van Lent and Dr. Gillian Boudreau discuss how reducing the impact of fear supports our ability to learn, regulate, and sustain relationships.

We Made It Through the School Year – Now What? 
Highlight the impact of uncertainty and unrest on individual and collective nervous system functioning, Dr. Joelle van Lent and Dr. Gillian Boudreau continue the conversation on framing our work with students, families, and coworkers during the pandemic.

Managing Stress and Building Resilience in Times of CrisisDave Melnick, LICSW, discusses stress and resilience during times of crisis, and offers tangible well-being ideas for professionals, parents, leaders, and kids.

In the coming year VT-HEC will continue a focus on learning opportunities and resources targeted to:

  • creating gender-affirming environments,
  • building restorative justice,
  • addressing implicit bias and
  • reducing the inequities related to poverty, disability, and race.

VT-HEC Equity Series Continues this Spring

Equity Literacy begins with the willingness to see what we might be conditioned not to see and with the humility to consider our collective culpability

The Vermont Higher Education Collaborative (VT-HEC) is continuing its work with renowned educator, author, and speaker Paul Gorski to present a series on reducing inequity in our schools. After Paul’s dynamic introduction to the Equity Literacy Framework this past November we have scheduled three days this spring each focused on a specific theme: gender, race, racism and refugees and, poverty. Supported by VT-HEC’s Mission Investment Fund, these offerings will be available to all at significantly reduced pricing.

Equity means more than hosting multicultural arts-and-crafts fairs or diversity assemblies. It begins with a willingness to see what we might be conditioned not to see and the humility to consider our and our colleagues’ culpability. It involves real conversations about racism, economic inequality, sexism, homophobia and ableism.

While each of the three days this spring will focus on a particular theme they all will utilize the concepts of the Equity Literacy Framework to help participants become more aware and effective in dealing with inequity regardless of it form or source.

Confronting Gender-Based Inequity in Classrooms and Schools – March 19 Ellen Tuzzolo & Leigh Thompson – How can we expand our understanding of gender to create equitable environments for students, families and colleagues? In this fast-paced workshop, participants will examine how gender-based inequities interfere with creating authentic relationships between educators and students, and how that interference affects us, our students and our work. Using the Equity Literacy Framework, participants will consider their role in counteracting gender-based inequities, and practice recognizing and responding in a classroom context.

Whose Country Is This? Race, Racism, and Refugee Status in America – April 12 –Taharee Jackson, Ph.D.- This interactive workshop will focus on how educators and practitioners can move from actors to allies to accomplices for those who are different. Participants will leave with a full understanding of how to become powerful advocates for their students and how to practically address threats to equity in schools and society.

Reaching & Teaching Students in Poverty – Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap – May 15 – Paul Gorski, Ph.D.- How would our equity efforts change if we worked toward a deeper understanding of the barriers and inequities with which our students and their families experiencing poverty contend? In this workshop we will examine these barriers and inequities, how they operate in and out of schools, and how we might perpetuate them unintentionally in our spheres of influence. We then will be prepared to discuss strategies for rooting out class bias and inequity from school policy and practice.

  • Paul Gorski is the founder of EdChange and the Equity Literacy Institute; he has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts in classrooms, schools, and districts.
  • Leigh Thompson of is a consultant and facilitator supporting creative and critical exploration and dialogue about equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Ellen Tuzzolo has been fighting for racial and social justice as a K-12 educator, youth organizer, youth program director, and trainer.
  • Taharee Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Minority and Urban Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park.


The VT-HEC is one of Vermont’s largest statewide providers of professional development focused on the education, health and well-being of children and youth. The VT-HEC is working with a number of Vermont organizations, especially the VT Principals’ Association, to coordinate an array of presentations and work days focused on equity. The VT-HEC equity series is underwritten by the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund.  For more information:

VT-HEC brings renowned educator, author & speaker Paul Gorski to VT to Address Issues of Inequity in Schools

“Incredibly Valuable”  – Considering Issues of Inequity – In Participants Own Words 

Image result for paul gorski

Over 80 participants spent two days focusing on issues of equity in Vermont schools sponsored by the VT Higher Education Collaborative’s Mission Investment Fund. During these engaging and thought-provoking sessions, Paul Gorski explored why inequities and educational outcome disparities persist across race, class, gender, disability and other factors and what can be done to improve opportunities for all Vermont students.

Paul led often-tough discussions that required participants to consider what we might be conditioned not to see and the humility to see our own culpability. Equity means more than hosting multicultural arts-and-crafts fairs or diversity assemblies. It involves real conversations about racism, economic inequality, sexism, homophobia and ableism. The problem is not a lack of educators who appreciate and even champion diversity. The trouble lies in how so many diversity initiatives avoid or whitewash serious equity issues.

Participants appreciated Paul’s presentation, style and humor and recognized the benefit and necessity of tackling these difficult issues in order to make positive change. In their own words:

It’s always good to push us outside our comfort zone and think about other perspectives. There is soooo much to do in respect to creating a more opportunistic environment and experience for our youth. This has been a motivating experience…, I’m hoping to learn more about how to create and implement changes in our district.

I think the only way we can move forward to start with making people feel uncomfortable, identify their biases, and start responding to this… Thank you!

Can’t solve a problem we can’t name. Is Inequity so normal that I can’t identify it?

 The information was on point and allowed everyone to safely consider, in a vulnerable way, where we are in our equitable practices including the systems in place in our state, our community, our districts and our schools.

Gave me a good framework for looking for inequity in my school and the language and example to address equity. Inequity takes many forms and has many layers. The marginalized people are the experts. Privilege drives school spending and opportunities.

Paul is the founder of EdChange and the Equity Literacy Institute; he has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts in classrooms, schools, and districts. Paul has worked with educators in 48 states and a dozen countries. His professional and spiritual passions lie in building movements and engaging in processes for creating equitable and just organizations, schools, and communities.

VT-HEC is working to coordinate its effort with other VT organizations, especially the Vermont Principals Association. Because of the importance of this topic, the VT-HEC is using its Mission Investment Fund to offer its series at significant cost reduction. VT-HEC will offer three additional days in spring 2019, at a cost of $35 each, focused on gender (3/19); race (4/12) and poverty with Paul (5/15). See details here.

Watch for Paul’s other presentations in VT.



National Experts Coming to VT on: Anxiety, Student-Centered Learning, Equity, Special Education Law

Lynn Lyons; Carol Tomlinson w/Bill Rich; Art Cernosia; Paul Gorski

In addition to the many excellent Vermont presenters the VT-HEC has scheduled for the coming year we are excited to announce a number of very special offerings by experts from around the country.

  • Anxiety – Lynn Lyons – is an author, therapist and expert on anxiety in kids & families. Lynn has been featured in the NY Times Magazine, On Point/NPR, Time & Psychology Today and is the author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents – 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous & Independent Children. Lynn will be coming to Stowe, VT on October 10 & 11 for the presentation Interrupting the Worry Cycle: Advanced Strategies for Managing Anxious Students (& Parents!). In addition, Lynn will be offering two webinars to support those who are working to implement her strategies.
  • Student-Centered Learning – Carol Tomlinson & Bill Rich – Carol literally wrote the books on differentiation with her latest being The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Carol will be teaming with Vermont’s own expert on learning and the brain & proficiency-based learning for a presentation on October 18 in Montpelier, VT entitled: Strategies for Sustaining the Student-Centered Classroom. This will be the kick-off of a three-part series with Bill following-up with two additional workshops.
  • Special Education Law – Art Cernosia – National expert on special education law & issues will be returning to Vermont on October 25 for his annual Special Education Legal Update in Montpelier.
  • Equity – Paul Gorski – Paul is a prolific writer and professor at George Mason University where he founded EdChange, a coalition of educators and activists providing professional development on educational equity.  This year VT-HEC is working with the VPA and other Vermont organizations to present an array of events and learning opportunities focusing on equity. The VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund is sponsoring Paul’s 2-day presentation: Advancing and Sustaining Equity Literacy on November 1 & 2 in Montpelier.  This will be followed by three more days focused on equity themes in the spring – gender, race and poverty.


Additional information and registration on

Also, check out the many other offerings VT-HEC has planned for the year covering a wide variety of topics including; trauma, early childhood, behavior, gender, special education, teaming, autism and much more.