Education

The home for VPR's coverage of education issues and policy in Vermont.

The Education Team

Follow VPR reporters Amy Kolb Noyes and Howard Weiss-Tisman on Twitter for the latest on education issues across Vermont.

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below

Act 46 | Kids & Parenting | University Of Vermont | Vermont Legislature | Agency of Education

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A school building
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR File

For the first time, two towns that merged their school districts under Act 46 have broken up. The State Board of Education this week allowed the southern Vermont towns of Halifax and Readsboro to go their separate ways just a few years after they merged their schools.

I catch Patricia Stamper with a Zoom meeting going in the background and a child at her knee asking for attention. Stamper works as a teacher's assistant for special education students in the Washington, D.C., public schools.

These days, her virtual classroom is at home — and so is her toddler, who has a genetic disorder called Noonan syndrome, and her kindergartner, who receives speech therapy. Her husband works outside the home at a golf course.

Logo for The Frequency podcast, from VPR.
Lara Dickson / For VPR

The Springfield School District tries to address racism. Plus, COVID-19 in schools, decisions about police discipline, and Dr. Anthony Fauci considers the creemee.

A person stands in front of others seated outside in a park.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Springfield School District has been trying to address systemic racism in its schools for a long time. And sometimes, it can feel like taking one step forward, two steps back.

A high school senior kneels in the forest duff, grasping a handmade bow. He moves his arm back and forth, and a high-pitched squeaking sound ricochets through the woods.

Eight-year-old Asher Wool stands a few feet away. He explains what this teenager is up to.

"So, he's rubbing the string against the spindle to make a coal that can make a fire," Asher says.

No matches. No crumpled newspaper. The teenager has worked for years to develop the skill of building a friction fire here at Earthwork, a wilderness school located in western Massachusetts.

Gov. Phil Scott said during a media briefing Friday that low COVID-19 case counts at colleges and universities could allow for a more robust reopening of the Vermont economy.
Screenshot / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott said Friday that low COVID-19 cases counts on college campuses and in public schools could enable a more robust reopening of the lodging sector in advance of the fall foliage season.

Abagael Giles / VPR

Students are returning to school this week across Vermont, mostly using hybrid models that combine remote and in-person instruction.

An empty hallway at Milton Elementary School
Abagael Giles / VPR

Across Vermont, students are returning to classrooms this week, though teachers and staff have been preparing for some time now. It's going to be an unusual year for everyone.

Logo for The Frequency podcast, from VPR.
Lara Dickson / For VPR

What the first day of school looked like in one town. Plus, a high number of deaths on Vermont’s roads, a push for in-person learning, and more COVID-19 testing.

Staff screens student at Milton Elementary for a fever
Abagael Giles / VPR

Tuesday marked the first day of school for more than 73,000 kids in Vermont, who were sent home last March due to COVID-19. Along with the usual excitement, the day also marked a milestone in the state’s handling of the pandemic.

Phil Scott at a podium
Screenshot / ORCA Media

Vermont students returned to school on Tuesday, and state’s education secretary says he hopes districts will be able to offer more in-person instruction in the coming weeks if COVID-19 case rates remain low.

Six months into schools' pandemic-driven experiment in distance learning, much has been said (and debated) about whether children are learning. But the more urgent question, for the more than 30 million kids who depend on U.S. schools for free or reduced-price meals, is this:

Are they eating?

The answer, based on recent data and interviews with school nutrition leaders and anti-hunger advocates across the country, is alarming.

State health officials are investigating a potential outbreak of COVID-19 tied to a large fraternity party at the University of New Hampshire last weekend.

Eleven people diagnosed with COVID-19 have connections to the August 29 party hosted by the Theta Chi fraternity.

Gov. Phil scott, seen here at his media briefing Friday, says Vermont will likely see a modest increase in infection rates as schools and colleges reopen for in-person learning.
Screenshot / ORCA Media

Vermont is forecasting a spike in COVID-19 cases over the next month as colleges and public schools reopen for in-person learning, but state officials say they expect infection rates to remain well below the threshold that would trigger heightened public health concerns.

There's a LOT of education news these days. Here's an overview of the stories from this week that you might have missed, plus some valuable links we've gleaned from around the web.

First let's turn to the world of higher education.

A tall man at a podium
Screenshot / ORCA Media

With schools set to reopen next week, the Scott administration says the state has approved 12 new education “hubs” to provide child care services, with another 20 in progress.

A boy and girl stand at a desk.
Courtesy Sara Blondin

There's been a dramatic spike this year in the number of families across the U.S. deciding to opt out of the public school system and home school their children. This hour, we'll examine what the numbers tell us about that trend in Vermont and talk about what home schooling actually entails in terms of state requirements and curriculum.

COVID-19 forced Keriann Wilmot's son to trade his classroom for a computer. It was a tough transition for a 10-year-old with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"It was a different environment for him," Wilmot says. "He wasn't used to this kind of work from school coming in the format of an email in his Chromebook every single day."

Logo for The Frequency podcast, from VPR.
Lara Dickson / For VPR

How elementary school support staff are preparing for the year ahead. Plus, broadband access, stimulus checks for non-U.S. citizens, and COVID-19 numbers.

A man stands with a step ladder in a school hallway.
Anna Van Dine / VPR

Over the summer, we’ve heard from a lot of teachers and administrators about the challenges they’ve been facing getting ready for a school year unlike any other. But there are other people who help keep schools running who haven’t been getting much attention: support staff.

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