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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The Columbine memorial honors and remembers the 13 victims of the shootings at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.
BanksPhotos / iStock

Live call-in discussion: Twenty years ago, two high school seniors at Columbine High School in Colorado shot and killed 12 students and a teacher. They wounded more than 20 others.

It was a moment that shook that community and the entire nation. We look at how things have changed for schools, teachers, students and communities in the years since.

The long and winding road for Act 46 is nearing its final deadline. But questions and court decisions are still in play that could change the final outcomes.
ErikaMitchell / iStock

Four years after it was signed, the Act 46 school district consolidation law is nearing its final deadline on July 1. But there are court cases, refusals by school districts to merge and many questions swirling around the remaining mergers. We get updates and answers on these issues.

Poulrney Residents stand before large sheets of paper taped to a wall with ideas for repurposing the Green Mountain College campus.
Nina Keck / VPR

There's still no decision on what will happen to the campus of Green Mountain College when it shuts down this summer. On Thursday, 300 people from in and around Poultney met at the high school to talk about what they'd like to see happen next in town — the latest in a series of community meetings with state, college and local officials. 

Voters from Brattleboro, Putney, Dummerston and Guilford met in the Brattleboro Union High School gym recently to form the newly merged school district. All of the towns voted down a merger plan but are now consolidating to meet Act 46 deadline.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Time is running out for school districts that are fighting their Act 46 forced mergers, and school boards are reluctantly putting the pieces in place to have their new districts operational before July 1.

A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Under Vermont’s Dual Enrollment program, high school students can take college courses, and have the state pay for it.

Advocates say the program saves families money, and gives college-bound students a jump on their post-secondary career.

But some students who live along the border and go to high school in another state aren’t allowed to access the state funding that pays for the college courses.

One high school student is fighting to change that.

We're talking about the closing of Green Mountain College in Poultney.
Nina Keck / VPR

Two small liberal arts colleges in Vermont will close in a few months, another will stop teaching students at the end of this semester, and one more is on probation. At the heart of each school closing is a troubling financial picture, which is tied to another factor: the school’s accreditation.

Greg Schillinger looks at the camera in the Rutland High School library.
Nina Keck / VPR

You may remember a favorite teacher or coach from high school, but what about your assistant principal? In many schools, it's probably a job known for dealing with behavior problems and handing out detention.

But Rutland High School associate principal Greg Schillinger sees his role very differently — and he's now one of three finalists for National Assistant Principal of the Year.

People walk on the Stanford University campus, one of the institutions caught up in an alleged conspiracy around admissions.
Ben Margot / AP

An alleged conspiracy revealed this month involved rich parents paying huge sums to get their kids into college via bribery and fraud. The story also focused attention on the legal ways that the wealthy can get a leg up. We're looking behind the scenes at college admissions.

A group of students at Champlain Elementary School's library - some standing, some sitting, some kneeling - looking toward the camera.
Meg Malone / VPR

Beyond the Bright Sea takes place in 1925 on a string of small islands called the Elizabeths, off the coast of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The novel is a work of historical fiction, but it was mystery and suspense that grabbed — and held — the attention of a group of Dorothy's List readers at Burlington's Champlain Elementary School.

Mizina / iStock

This winter, college-bound students applied for scholarships administered by Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, including the Nordic Educational Scholarship of the Vermont Business Roundtable. This year, one hundred and thirty nine applications were received with forty five finalists making it to our selection committee. These scholarships support students seeking a certificate or two-year technical degree.

Take a look at a class roster at the University of Vermont. You'll see the usual stuff there — last name, student ID and class year. But you'll also see something else. Next to some names, there are pronouns: "he" or "she," but also the gender nonspecific "they" or "ze."

They may seem like a few more words on paper, but for some students, like Jeane Robles, having pronouns on the roster means a lot.

A sign that says Green Mountain College and then a building with the name Green Mountain College in the background.
Nina Keck / VPR

Two small liberal arts colleges in Vermont will close at the end of this semester. Once students leave Green Mountain College and Southern Vermont College for the last time this spring, how will those schools go about actually shutting down their campuses?

Vermont Education Secretary Dan French, left, and State Board of Education chairwoman Krista Huling consult a merger map during a State Board meeting Wednesday.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR File

The Vermont Agency of Education is stepping up its pressure on school districts that are fighting their Act 46 forced mergers.

Secretary of Education Dan French sent out a memo Friday saying if districts don’t move forward with the forced mergers, the state "will take every action legally available to bring the district into compliance."

Voters from the Windham Southeast Unified Union School District stand to be counted at a meeting in Brattleboro. Many towns did not vote on a school budget this Town Meeting Day.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

More than 30 Vermont school districts filed a lawsuit challenging the forced mergers the state has ordered them to make. Before voting on school budgets on Town Meeting Day, the districts involved in the lawsuit asked for a temporary injunction to allow merger proceedings to halt until the suit is resolved. But just one day before Town Meetings, a judge denied that request. 

A sign outside a polling place in Burlington encouraged voters in Ward 6 to vote Tuesday. School budgets up for consideration on Town Meeting Day fared well, with all but three passing.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Town Meeting Day voters by and large approved local school budget proposals Tuesday, despite the fact that increases in education spending are outpacing what districts asked for last year.

The town manager of Bennington, Vermont, says the closure of Southern Vermont College in his town will be "terrible" for his community. 

People sit in chairs at Jamaica Town Meeting and look up to a group of people sitting at a table at a stage in the front of the room.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

There’s been a lot of focus on the school districts that are fighting forced mergers, and what they would do about passing a budget this year.

But even in the districts that have successfully merged, Act 46 churned up some strong emotions on Town Meeting Day.

John Dillon / VPR

School meetings in several central Vermont communities were overshadowed by legal and financial questions raised by challenges to forced mergers under the Act 46 law.

State Board of Education Chair Krista Huling looks over a school district map during a meeting to review Act 46 mergers. A judge has denied a request from more than 30 school districts to temporarily halt the Act 46 merger process.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR file

  

A Franklin County judge has dealt a setback to the dozens of Vermont school districts contesting an order that could force them into involuntarily mergers as early as this July.

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