North Country News
6:30 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Vermont Schools to Participate in Education Initiative

Credit Jared C. Benedict/Wikimedia Commons

Vermont is one of five states across the country chosen to implement a five-year, kindergarten-through-grade-8 education program that will provide national experts to help schools focus on areas of concern and move toward inclusive education systems.



University of Kansas researchers are spearheading a five year, $24.5 million education initiative called SWIFT - or Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation. Vermont, New Hampshire, Maryland, Mississippi and Oregon will share the grant funds and receive expertize from SWIFT. The national center received funding through the federal government to advance learning and academic achievement. University of Kansas SWIFT Center Director Dr. Wayne Sailor explains that SWIFT provides a three-tiered system of technical assistance to the states and schools, including web technology, facilitators and needs-based technical assistance.

The Windham Southeast Supervisory Union is in Brattleboro. Supervisor Ron Stahley says the supervisory union has initiated programs leading to inclusion, and the SWIFT program will enhance and support those efforts.

Vermont Agency of Education Deputy Commissioner John Fischer says the department has been working with schools to transform to a more engaged system of learning.

Fischer says actions that address the whole student will be enhanced in participating schools.

The Grand Isle Supervisory Union is among the districts participating. Supervisor Robert Phillips believes in the long-term, children will learn at a higher level and be more career ready.

The grant was awarded jointly to Vermont and New Hampshire to share. Vermont will receive $50,000 per year for the five years for two districts to participate. Deputy Commissioner John Fischer says the state has matched the grant funding to bring two more supervisory unions into the program.

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