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



VT-HEC Addresses Trauma & Anxiety in Schools

How can schools respond to what seems like an epidemic of students affected by serious trauma and anxiety? 

The VT-HEC has made a commitment to support educators, administrators and others who work with students who have been impacted by trauma and anxiety.  Whether it is general introduction to the effects of trauma/anxiety, developing programs for specific students or building the capacity of schools’ MTSS, the VT-HEC has been developing coordinated learning opportunities and supports to help schools move forward to best respond to the needs of these students.

There are many introductions available on the impact of trauma and anxiety and the strategies that can help address them, but the VT-HEC is committed to going further and deeper developing an array of learning opportunities supporting the application of the most effective strategies and creating robust in-school expertise. Working with the Northeast Family Institute (NFI) and experts like Paul Foxman, Jon Udis, Joelle Van Lent, Gillian Boudreau and Lynn Lyons, we are planning a coordinated series of workshops, courses and other supports to continue over the next few years.

So far these plans have included:

Spring 2017

Developmental Trauma and Trauma-Informed Schools: Transforming Knowledge to Action In partnership with the Northeast Family Institute (NFI), the VT-HEC kicked off this new series with NFI’s David Melnick presenting a workshop on February 16, 2017 in Montpelier, VT attended by over 80 participants.  The workshop could be taken as part of a graduate course entitledDevelopmental Trauma and Trauma-Informed Schools: Theory, Practice, and Implementation.  This course, taken by 28 students, was the first in what is planned to be a series of courses that will support school personnel as they work to apply the principles of Trauma-Informed Schools.

Fall 2017 

Developmental Trauma and Trauma-Informed Schools: Transforming Knowledge to Action, with David Melnick, LICSW, in Rutland, VT ~ Over 80 educators and others participated in two workshop days while 30 folks attended the three additional dates for the level I graduate course. The workshops gave participants a firm foundation in the basics and the optional course took participants deeper into planning and implementation of these strategies in each of their school settings.

Power Struggles: What to do When a Student Says, “Make Me!”  65 educators and others worked with Jon Udis in Killington, VT on 11/8. Jon shared both what not to do and the strategies that work to de-escalate the situation and get students back on track. Participants left with an overall plan of action including being prepared for the next confrontation. 

Spring 2018 

Fostering Resilient Learners: Creating Trauma Sensitive School Communities, with Joelle van Lent, Psy.D, and Gillian Boudreau, Ph.D., in Montpelier, VT ~ Four workshop days (1/18, 2/16, 3/16, 4/12) with an additional date (5/17) for the 3-credit optional graduate course. 86 people attended the first workshop with 30 signed up for the course. Day 1 focused on the basics of the impact of trauma on kids’ ability to form relationships. The remaining workshops will address building resilience utilizing mindfulness and other strategies. These offerings will put participants and their schools on track to support students impacted by trauma within their classrooms & MTSS.

Managing Anxiety in the Classroom, Paul Foxman, Ph.D., in Montpelier, VT (1/26) Daily headlines and events over the recent past have only added to the many sources of anxiety that are putting more and more kids in the situation of trying to deal with chronic and serious anxiety without the supports or tools to help. Over 100 participants are registered to hear Paul help them recognize the symptoms of anxiety and begin to develop strategies to help students cope and succeed.

Level 2 Course – Trauma Transforming Schools: Advanced Skills and Systems Change Dave Melnick and VT-HEC partnered to develop this 2nd level course for educators who completed the level 1 course. This course focuses on the application of the principles of trauma-informed schools.

Fall 2018 

SAVE THE DATE – Managing Anxiety in a School Setting – Lynn Lyons LICSW– – October 10-11, Stoweflake Resort, Stowe, VT –  Lynn has been featured on NPR’s On Point, NY Times Magazine, Time Magazine as well as her own books and publications. In these workshops, Lynn explores concrete and often counter-intuitive strategies that normalize worry for families and provide an “umbrella approach” that is applicable to all of the anxiety disorders.

These workshops will demonstrate HOW to interrupt anxiety and OCD’s cognitive patterns with simple, process-based strategies that challenge the use of strategies that inadvertently support avoidance of anxious symptoms. There will be an option to receive extended implementation support from Lynn through interactive video seminars.

On the Drawing Board – Encore offerings of our Level I & II courses plus workshops focused on trauma and young children, autism/developmental disabilities, mindfulness and more.

Go to vthec.org for more information & registration. 

VT-HEC 2018 Mission Investment Fund

Funding Program Development & Scholarships

The VT-HEC Board of Directors has established the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund for the purpose of advancing our goal of providing high quality professional learning opportunities that support the success of every Vermont student. The VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund will be focused on developing new professional learning offerings in high need areas and supporting increased access to current VT-HEC offerings by providing a limited number of scholarships or reduced cost offerings.

For 2017- 2018 the Mission Investment Fund will provide professional development worth over $100,000 and will be supporting:

  • Partial scholarships for VT-HEC’s Pathway to Licensing Programs including Early Childhood, Early Childhood Special Education and Special Education.  These scholarships will be available to students that have no other financial support for professional development.
  • Lowered costs for the Connecting the Dots series of workshops & course focused on Birth to Three and Pre-School children.
  • Lowered costs for Registered Behavior Technician training for paraprofessionals and others desiring this content.
  • Development of new learning opportunities in the area of Trauma & Anxiety.
  • Revision of the VT-HEC Autism Certificate course sequence.
  • Partial scholarships for VT-HEC workshops. These scholarships will be available to participants that have no other support for professional development.
  • Provision of professional development to VT-HEC’s instructors, presenters and staff.

You Can Help….  Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help us expand the impact of the VT-HEC Mission Investment Fund so that we can offer support for increased participation in our offerings and develop new programs to meet the most critical professional learning needs in education in Vermont.

 

 

Spring Focus on Special Education & Struggling Learners

The VT-HEC continues to focus on supporting educators and administrators who work with students with disabilities and/or have other challenges to their learning and success.  Whether it is developing programs for specific students or building the capacity of your MTSS, the VT-HEC is developing a multi-year array of learning opportunities and supports to help you move forward in a consistent manner.

Getting Ready to Learn Series: Make and Take WORKshop Series One of our most successful series for a reason. It is focused on creating materials to meet the specific needs of young students with significant learning challenges including Autism and developmental disabilities. Participants will leave with an arm-load of learning materials tailored to the needs of their kids with the greatest challenges and tips on how best to use them. This year we have added the option of earning credit focused on implementation of these concepts and materials. Led by Patty Piotrowski and Chris Knippenberg (OTR) in So. Burlington, VT (2/2, 3/13, 4/10)

Registered Behavior Technician Training based on the Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The training is designed for paraprofessionals, and others desiring these competencies, working in education, mental health and related fields. It will be offered as a 40 hour training experience that will provide an excellent foundation of the knowledge and skills needed to implement behavior and education intervention plans. Led by BCBAs Candace Fugazy and Joanna Hull in
Colchester, VT ~ Six dates (3/10, 3/17, 3/24, 4/7, 4/14, 5/5)

A Systematic Approach to Teaching Socialization and Play for Young Learners – Learning to interact with peers is one of the most important skills a child can learn and for some it doesn’t come easily. Chris will help particiants develop and plan for those students in a way that will benefit all kids. With Chris Knippenberg in Burlington, VT (5/4)

Special Education: Approaches to Case Management with an Eye to Recent Cases and Legal Requirements with Heather T. Lynn Esq. in S. Burlington (2/8) Heather will share the practical implications of recent court decisions and current regulations on the special education process, IEP development, etc. and how you can navigate the often- confusing legal waters of special education to avoid danger zones, resolve conflict and stay on a safe and productive course.

Connecting the Dots: Using Best Practices to Support Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families in Montpelier, VT ~ Three more workshop dates (2/9, 3/23, 5/3) Supporting young children and their families is one of the most important things we can do for Vermont’s future.  Next up is Jayne Singer from Boston Children’s Hospital and then Dee Smith from UVM. Don’t miss these experts as they explore the most effective practices and research findings.

MTSS Ground Level Systems Planning: What does effective, daily implementation look like? K-6 with Jen Patenaude in Rutland, VT (4/4 & 4/5) Do you need to make changes to your MTSS structure and systems in order to more effectively implement multi-tiered programming designed to serve all students? If so, this intensive two-day workshop is the perfect time to plan for the next school year. Strategies and suggestions shared are drawn from the collective experience of schools from across Vermont that are well underway with implementing MTSS. Jen is the perfect person to lead your team to assess your needs and design the changes your system should put in place for next year.

Proficiency-Based, Personalized-Learning within an MTSS System: What does effective, daily implementation look like?  7-12 with Jen Patenaude in Rutland, VT ~ A two day offering (5/8 & 5/9) A middle/high school version of the above offering taking into account efforts toward personalization and proficiency-based learning in the complex 7-12 setting.

Go to vthec.org for more information and registration

Spring Preview: Early Childhood – Grade 3

VT-HEC has a full slate of offerings planned for the spring covering topics ranging from the practical use of learning scales to a series of “Make & Take” WORKshops focused on young students with developmental disabilities.  We welcome some of VT-HEC favorites such as Jen Patenaude, Chris Knippenberg and Bill Rich as well as some new folks that we are very excited about including, Heather Lynn on Special Education law, Paul Foxman on anxiety in the classroom and Jayne Singer from Boston Children’s Hospital.  In short, there is something for just about everyone.

Our spring offerings that most relate to young children through grade 3 include:

Connecting the Dots: Using Best Practices to Support Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families in Montpelier, VT ~ Three more workshop dates (2/9, 3/23, 5/3) Supporting young children and their families is one of the most important things we can do for Vermont’s future.  Next up is Jayne Singer from Boston Children’s Hospital and then Dee Smith from UVM. Don’t miss these experts as they explore the most effective practices and research findings.

Getting Ready to Learn Series: Three Make and Take WORKshops with Patty Piotrowski and Chris Knippenberg in So. Burlington, VT (2/2, 3/13, 4/10) – One of our most successful WORKshop series for a reason. It is focused on creating materials to meet the specific needs of young students with learning challenges. You will leave with an arm-load of learning materials tailored to support your toughest kids and tips on how best to use them. This year we have added the option of earning credit focused on implementation of these concepts and materials.

It Came from Outer Space: Integrating Technology and Writing Across the K-3 Curriculum with Arlyn Bruccoli and Jennifer Fitch in Montpelier, VT (3/9) The title says it all…. Arlyn, a library/media specialist, and Jennifer, an accomplished classroom teacher, will show you how. They will have you practicing with the tools they use working together using technology to help younger students express their ideas and reactions about science, social studies, literature, etc.

A Systematic Approach to Teaching Socialization and Play for Young Learners with Chris Knippenberg in Burlington, VT (5/4) Learning to interact with peers is one of the most important skills a child can learn and for some it doesn’t come easily. Chris will help you develop and plan for those students in a way that will benefit all kids.

Fostering Resilient Learners: Creating Trauma Sensitive School Communities, with Joelle van Lent, Psy.D, and Gillian Boudreau, Ph.D., in Montpelier, VT ~ Four workshop days (1/18, 2/16, 3/16, 4/12) and an additional date (5/17) for 3-credit graduate course. From the basics on the impact of trauma on kids’ ability to form relationships to utilizing mindfulness and other strategies to build their resilience, these workshops and course will put you and your school on track to support students dealing with or recovering from trauma.  Joelle and Gillian form a dynamic team with complimentary expertise and experience.

Managing Anxiety in the Classroom, with Paul Foxman, Ph.D., in Montpelier, VT (1/26) Daily headlines seem to bring more sources of anxiety that are difficult enough for adults to deal with but are putting more and more kids in the situation of trying to deal with chronic anxiety without the supports or tools to help. Paul will help you recognize the symptoms and develop strategies to help your students cope and succeed.

Special Education: Suggested Approaches to Case Management with an Eye to Recent Cases and Legal Requirements with Heather T. Lynn Esq. in S. Burlington (2/8) Heather will share the practical implications of recent court decisions and current regulations and how you can navigate the often- confusing legal waters of special education to avoid the danger zones, resolve conflict and stay on a safe and productive course.

MTSS Ground Level Systems Planning: What does effective, daily implementation look like? (K-6) with Jen Patenaude in Rutland, VT ~ Two workshop dates (4/4 & 4/5) Do you need to make changes to your MTSS structure and systems in order to more effectively implement multi-tiered programming designed to serve all students? If so, this intensive two-day workshop is the perfect time to plan for the next school year. Strategies and suggestions shared are drawn from the collective experience of schools across Vermont that are well underway with MTSS. Jen is the perfect person to lead your team to assess and design the changes your system needs for next year.

Check out our other series for offerings that may also address your interests and needs including: Special Education; Trauma, Resilience & Anxiety; Gender and where Proficiencies & Personalization are really working in VT.

VT-HEC WORKshops are learning opportunities that are planned to have participants practicing, applying and tailoring the concepts, skills and models that are being shared for much of the day and often include a course option to support implementation in your own setting.

Date Changes for: Tips & Tools and Designing Professional Development

Two Notable VT-HEC Offerings Re-scheduled
Tips & Tools for Early Childhood Special Educators w/Judith Masson:
Originally scheduled on 9/29 and 10/26.  Now scheduled to start on 10/26 (this will be day 1) and 12/11 (this will be day 2). This two-day workshop series will sharpen your skills & add to your toolbox as we walk through the special education process. It will offer organizational tools & strategies related to each step to maximize your time and energy. We will discuss the daily operations and responsibilities of being a preschool case manager/service provider and brainstorm cost-effective, time-smart approaches. Additionally, each day will include a “make & take” session for creating materials that you can start using your next day at work.
Workshop #1 September 29 October 26th Case Management & Service Delivery
During this workshop we will explore tips and tools related to:
• Early childhood special education evaluation, placement, and IEP processes;
• Case management responsibilities, such as facilitating meetings, reporting progress, family communication, etc.
• Service delivery models for special education.


Workshop #2 October 26 December 11th Lesson Planning, Consultation & Transitions
During this workshop we will explore tips and tools related to:
• Lesson plans, data collection & evidence-informed programming decisions;
• Paraprofessional supports and consultation;
• Transitions into early childhood special education, as well as kindergarten.

SCROLL_TEXT
Designing Professional Development that Brings out the Best in our Colleagues w/ Bill Rich and Wendy Cohen:
First date originally scheduled for 11/7.  Now scheduled for 10/25.
If you are or want to be a provider of professional development, instructional consultant or coach of your colleagues this series and optional course is for you.  This series will cover the principles and practices that seasoned, skilled adult educators use to design and orchestrate learning experiences that bring out the best in your colleagues. Whether you’ve just become an instructional leader/coach, or someone who’s plied these waters for years, we’ll meet you where you are and help you design, implement, and evaluate a plan for bringing out the best in you, your colleagues, and their learners.

 –
WORKshop 1: Getting Clear about What Matters Most (October 25) Note Change in Date
After a compelling and humorous introduction to the principles of adult learning design, we’ll dig into the details of identifying what matters most when designing and orchestrating learning for our colleagues. Participants will use their new learning to draft and tune an action plan tailored to their specific role and learners.

 

WORKshop 2: Strategies for Targeting Practice & Orchestrating Feedback (December 14)
We’ll spend the morning sharing, modeling, and considering strategies for targeting practice and
orchestrating feedback in ways that bring out the best in our colleagues and support their learning.
Participants will identify the strategies they want to try out and begin designing and refining a plan to apply
these back in their setting.


WORKshop 3: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Collaborative Inquiry (January 19)
How can we inspire and empower educators to begin working together in ways that nourish each other and
their students? Throughout this workshop we’ll model and practice strategies for tapping the collective
wisdom of our colleagues, students, and communities in the age of Act 77 and Education Quality Standards
(EQS).


WORKshop 4: Ending Well: Revisiting and Enhancing What Matters Most (March 15)
After studying a range of specific examples and processes, we’ll devote most of the day to
designing and tuning your approach to ending the year well for your particular learners.

VT-HEC Preview: Focus on Young Children – Birth Through Primary Grades

From Topics on Children Birth to Three to Robotics & Reading in the Primary Grades

There is much ground to cover as we work to develop our pre-school system in Vermont and refine our primary grade experience.  It always seems there is so much to learn, from what the latest research is telling us to using technology tools to make the work more efficient and manageable.

The VT-HEC maintains its long-standing commitment to young children. Since 2005 we have run an Early Childhood Pathway to Endorsement Program leading to the Early Childhood Licensing Endorsement and EC Special Education Endorsement that can also lead to a Masters degree. In addition, we offer an annual array of workshops and related single courses as we work with other providers to meet the professional development needs in this critical area. This year’s line-up includes:

  • Effective Social Communication & Social Interaction Interventions for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders with Patty Prelock, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, in Montpelier, VT (10/12) A Vermont treasure and national expert on child development, communication & ASD – One of our favorite people sharing the latest and most promising research and strategies –  not to be missed!
  • Tips and Tools for Early Childhood Special Educators, with Judith Masson in Montpelier, VT ~ Two workshop dates (9/29, 10/26) with a 1-credit graduate course option. Practical tips, processes and short-cuts that you can adapt to your setting to make your work life easier and more efficient – lots of practical ideas to put into practice tomorrow.
  • Teaching Reading Comprehension to Students Who Require More Explicit Instruction with Tina Newman, Ph.D; Heather Flynn, Ph.D; and Kimberly Marshall, MA, BCBA; in Montpelier, VT ~ Two workshop dates (10/16 & 11/13) After a very successful presentation last year, we are bringing back these folks for two days to share more in-depth strategies to teach reading to students who have learning challenges. This is the kind of specially-designed instruction every interventionist, special and primary educator needs in their tool box.
  • Coding from the Littles to the Middles: Robotics in the K-6 Classroom with Arlyn Bruccoli and Jennifer Fitch in Montpelier, VT (11/17) Hands-on opportunity to see how robots and coding can be integrated into your classroom and curriculum. Jennifer is a classroom teacher and Arlyn a media/technology master. These delightful presenters work together and can talk about their collaboration as well as the technology – plus you get to play with a variety of robots.
  • Connecting the Dots: Using Best Practices to Support Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families in Montpelier, VT ~ Four workshop dates (11/3, 2/9, 3/23, 5/3) with a 3-credit undergraduate course option. Bringing you expert perspective and information on topics important to supporting young children and their families. Knowledge that will benefit everyone working with young children.
  • Lights, Camera, Action! Using your Smartphone or Tablet to Create Efficient and Effective Learning Opportunities for your Students with Chris Knippenberg and Patty Thomas in Montpelier, VT (12/15) Video is a technology tool that that can be used creatively with all kids with a little practice to motivate, teach and demonstrate learning. Learn how in another of VT-HEC’s WORKshops.
  • Getting Ready to Learn Series: Three Make and Take WORKshops with Patty Piotrowski and Chris Knippenberg in Burlington, VT (2/2, 3/13, 4/10) – One of our most successful WORKshop series for a reason: focused on creating materials to meet the specific needs of young students with learning challenges – you will leave with an arm-load of learning materials tailored to support your toughest kids and tips on how best to use them.
  • It Came from Outer Space: Integrating Technology and Writing Across the K-3 Curriculum with Arlyn Bruccoli and Jennifer Fitch in Montpelier, VT (3/9) The title says it all…. Arlyn and Jennifer will show you how and have you practicing with the tools they use working together.
  • A Systematic Approach to Teaching Socialization and Play for Young Learners with Chris Knippenberg in Burlington, VT (5/4) Learning to interact with peers is one of the most important skills a child can learn and for some it doesn’t come easily. Chris will help you develop and plan for those students in a way that will benefit all kids.
  • Check out our other series for offerings that may also address your interests and needs including: Special Education; Trauma, Resilience & Anxiety; General Education – Proficiencies & Personalization
  • VT-HEC WORKshops are learning opportunities that are planned to have participants practicing, applying and tailoring the concepts, skills and models that are being shared for much of the day and often include a course option to support implementation in your own setting.

VT-HEC Supports Vermont’s Only Award Winning Schools

Cabot, Twinfield and Harwood only Vermont schools awarded the Personalized Learning Initiative

“Twenty New England public schools in the League of Innovative Schools were selected  to participate in a new initiative that will help them develop personalized learning experiences that address the distinct learning needs, interests, and aspirations of individual students. The initiative’s goal is to help the schools remodel their academic programs to ensure that every graduate is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, modern workplaces, and adult life.”  This was a very sought after award that looked at schools’ plans and progress in implementing a proficiency-based and personalized learning model. The League of Innovative Schools  is a regional professional learning community for schools consisting of 86 schools from across New England including 22 in Vermont. Cabot, Twinfield and Harwood were the only Vermont schools to be awarded acceptance into the Personalized Learning Initiative and all three have been working with TASS (Teaching All Secondary Schools). 

TASS is the  VT-HEC program that provides support to middle and high schools in their efforts to improve outcomes for all students by utilizing education neuroscience in a proficiency-based context.  TASS has been working for ten years to provide middle and high schools with an array of coherent learning and coaching supports that are tailored to the needs and goals of each school. All three of these schools, for instance, attended TASS offerings that introduced the principles of brain-based learning that would form the foundation for much of their work moving forward.

Following that introduction the schools took advantage of a variety of TASS offerings and supports:

  • TASS staff provided embedded professional learning opportunities and coaching throughout the year to teachers to implement a proficiency-based learning model in their classrooms
  • TASS leadership staff supported various school leadership teams and administrators in their efforts to address systems issues and ensure school –wide progress in spite of the many competing demands they faced.
  • Staff from these schools participated in the annual TASS series of WORKshops and graduate courses that focus on practical aspects of identifying learning targets, developing performance tasks, using standardized-based grading and reporting, and utilizing management tools to hold it all together.
  • Twinfield and Harwood have staff participating in the TASS Teacher Leader Certificate program in which staff are being prepared to take a leadership role in supporting their colleagues in expanding and sustaining the progress they have made.
  • The leadership team of Washington NE (Twinfield & Cabot) participated in both the 2014 & 2015  VPA leadership strand offered by the VT-HEC/TASS on how to utilize brain-based learning with their staff and students, and took advantage of the option to extend that learning by planning together with TASS staff for the start of the new year.  Those administrators have reported that the result of these planning efforts got them off to” their best start ever”.
  • Staff from all three schools worked together at a  TASS 2015 Summer Institute to further the work of their individual schools and prepare for the coming year. 

These are three very different schools in size and organization but each has made impressive gains and each has utilized TASS resources, in addition to others, to make significant progress and maintain coherence, while charting their own course. The VT-HEC is very pleased to be a part of this effort and congratulates the staff and leadership of these schools for their impressive achievement.

In the coming year TASS will again be offering the sequence of WORKshops, Using Neuroscience to Make Standards Work for ALL Students, which will be open to all and may be taken as a series, a three credit course or as individual WORKshops.

See more about these WORKshops here: https://www.vthec.org/documents/2015/08/neuroscience.pdf

 

VT-HEC WORKshops Focus on Application

VT-HEC WORKshops Coming in 2014-2015

Research on professional development producing actual change in schools and classrooms has not always been great. To better ensure the practical application of the knowledge and skills presented in our offerings to the work settings of the participants, the VT-HEC is designing a special series of professional learning opportunities that will focus on application of the content topic in the classroom or school. These sessions will be designated as WORKshops.

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Part II – What Works in Middle & High Schools

More Stories from TASS Schools

In Part II of this series Nancy Cornell, long-time Assistant Superintendent and Curriculum Coordinator  shares her perspective about working toward improving their schools in partnership with TASS – Teaching All Secondary Students. TASS is the VT-HEC program that supports middle and high schools with a tailored and coordinated array of coaching and learning opportunities over an extended period of time.  Nancy confirmed the TASS belief in the Michael Fullan statement about school reform:

“The main problem with educational systems and corresponding innovation and policy making is that they are, intrinsically, endemically, inevitably, overloaded and fragmented. Therefore, the main solutions have to be ones that contribute to coherence making and connectedness.” Michael Fullan

Nancy told  about how Mt. Abraham middle & high school always had pockets of excellence and a history of starting many separate initiatives, some even garnering national recognition. There was not, however, a coherence of purpose and action that saw the whole school working and moving forward together.  Nancy recounted that in her 20+ years she had hired  many talented consultants who often did great work, but they rarely coordinated that work with other consultants or other parts of the school. In contrast, the TASS consultants were clearly reading from the same page and coordinating their efforts which greatly increased their impact.  Nancy joked that when she hired TASS she knew that when even when the TASS consultants were not actually working in her building they were out there somewhere coordinating and planning what they were doing at Mt. Abe because she could see the difference they were making and knew she was getting the most from her investment.

Another point Nancy highlighted was the focus TASS has on making change through collaborative implementation. TASS has the capacity, she said, to train facilitators to help make the school’s collaborative teams and Critical Friends groups work more effectively. That in turn had a positive impact on making progress in multiple areas, even beyond those that TASS was working on. Nancy noted here that TASS consistently acted on the belief that collaborative work was key to making lasting whole-school change.  As examples, Nancy told of TASS consultant, Wendy Cohen, providing instruction and coaching to teachers on their work as facilitators and the whole TASS team meeting regularly with the leadership team to plan together.

Nancy also recounted that TASS consultants, Wendy, Bill Rich and Susie Girardin, designed many different kinds of learning opportunities to meet the  specific needs of the moment for the teachers they were working with including designing inservice days, planning staff and department meetings, providing in-class coaching and offering graduate courses during the year and over the summer. Nancy told us that some of these courses were offered with Mt. Abe staff partnering with TASS staff to instruct the course as an example of TASS developing and utilizing the expertise found within the staff.

Lastly, Nancy talked about the work that TASS consultants, such as Val Gardner, had done with the leadership to plan for the year including outlining what they wanted to prioritize and developing a calendar that outlined their work, meetings, deadlines, etc. The leadership team also worked with Val to define what they expected from the teachers and to identify what support the teachers would need.  Nancy noted that it wasn’t just the building administrators that TASS supported but also the Supervisory Union administrators and leaders of the elementary schools to facilitate district-wide planning.

Nancy ended by saying that she could not speak highly enough about how the comprehensive and coordinated work of TASS had helped Mt. Abe.

For more information about the TASS program, the services it can provide and the findings of its eight years of experience in Vermont schools, go to our web site at vthec.org or contact Seth Marineau at [email protected]

 Teacher Quotes:

“It used to be that we were always alone, in a silo, and it was uncommon for me to really examine student performance, to find the time to actually analyze an assignment, determine which kids have evidence of understanding…now we are able to support one another  Our conversations have been really productive and exciting”

 Today I was reviewing Tier III questions with my students  I thought it was so affirming of our work together when a student said ‘Hey, we talked about Tier III questions in such-and-such’s class today!’  I responded, ‘Freaky, I know.  We actually talk to each other!’ It was great evidence of the collaborative nature and common learning that TASS has supported.”

 

What Works to Improve Middle & High Schools

TASS School Stories – Part 1

On a snowy afternoon in February school administrators shared compelling stories relating their experiences in working toward improving their schools in partnership with TASS, Teaching All Secondary Students. TASS is the VT-HEC program that supports middle and high schools with a tailored array of coaching and learning opportunities. Each administrator in their own way confirmed the TASS belief in the Michael Fullan statement about school improvement: (more…)

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