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State Spotlight April 2017 - Vermont

The Leadership Team and Administration at Oak Grove Elementary School in Windham Southeast Supervisory Union in Brattleboro, Vermont uses SWIFT tools and processes to identify priority areas and evidence-based practices to meet the needs of all students in their building, helping each child reach his or her potential.

The Leadership Team collected and reviewed data about their students, school, district, and community to identify current strengths and prioritize areas where they wanted to focus their continuous improvement work. The team identified an abundance of strengths: an effective Universal Behavior Management System, a strong relationship with their LEA, strong ties with families and the community, an effective Instructional Coaching system, and a team and colleagues they call “collaborative and working to support all students with integrity.” They will be successful when they apply these strengths to the evidence-based practice they chose to prioritize as their next area for improvement: implementation of UDL in their school and classrooms!

After the team finished Data Snapshots, they moved on to using the Priority & Practice Planning tools. The Leadership Team learned about and employed stage- and driver-based action planning with enthusiasm and integrity.  They asked good questions and included all team members in planning for improving the implementation drivers of best practice: competency, organization, and leadership.  Using such embedded strengths as their Instructional Coaching supports and close work with their LEA, they will implement UDL with professional development, coaching, and effective internal and external communication practices. These strengths will support faculty and staff as they embrace all children in the general education curriculum and ensure that families and community members are informed and supported in their relationships with the school.

Oak Grove Elementary School exemplifies a community working smartly and diligently to serve all children—a true learning collaborative that embraces continuous improvement with integrity and honor!

-Maura Hart

I began working in Education as a middle and high school English teacher, during which time I earned my Master's of Education Degree with Antioch University New England and began adjunct teaching for them. While I LOVED teaching in the public schools and working with my students, my life path took me on a different course. During the time when I had two babies and stayed home with them, I went to UMass to get my Ph.D. (it seemed like a good idea at the time...) This work brought me to consulting with schools and districts as a team facilitator and teacher trainer and coach. My experience with a district in Vermont introduced me to the SWIFT Center where I now work with amazingly talented and passionate educators who are committed to including all children in all classrooms.