Leadership matters. This is as true in education as in any other field. The challenges of new accountability requirements and institutional change mean that more is demanded of educational leaders than ever before. Vermont needs well-qualified and capable leaders to have a positive effect on student learning and insure successful public school systems.
Under the leadership of the Department of Education and working closely with the State Board of Education, members of the state’s educational leadership development community have come together to form the Vermont Educational Leadership Collaborative. The group is working together to develop a coordinated, systematic approach for advancing the quality, consistency, and sustainability of leadership development efforts to meet leadership needs across the entire state. Additionally, the group is working to implement and resource a statewide system that provides ongoing support so that Vermont’s educational leadership development programs address the needs across the full continuum, from pre-service to veteran leaders to leadership teams.
There are currently 3 coordinated initiatives underway:
Wallace Grant for Policy Governance
Through the auspices of the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation, nine facilitators were trained to assist districts and supervisory unions in policy governance implementation. These facilitators are currently working with leaders in four Vermont school systems.
Council on Education Governance
The General Assembly created the Council on Education Governance in 2003. It directed the Council to engage in a discussion of effective governance structures for delivery of quality public education services to Vermont children and to determine whether Vermont’s overall structure should be modified. The Council is made up of a broad, bi-partisan group of education leaders, state officials, legislators, parents, business representatives and others. They have developed a comprehensive description of Vermont’s current education governance system and examined Vermont law to determine the need for changes to enable productive discussion about changes to governance structures. They have provided grant awards to over a dozen supervisory unions to support work related to delineation of roles and responsibilities and realignment of governance.
Vermont Education Leadership Alliance (VELA)
VELA is dedicated to helping educational administrators and school board members who are committed to creating and maintaining an effective system focused on improving student learning. VELA will assist leadership teams in surfacing the assumptions under which they want to operate, coming to a common understanding of the work that needs to be accomplished as a district to promote student learning, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the leadership team and determining indicators to evaluate progress and celebrate success. VELA is a joint endeavor of the Vermont Superintendents Association, the Vermont Principals Association and the Vermont School Boards Association.
The Vermont Educational Leadership Collaborative includes the Vermont Department of Education, State Board of Education, Snelling Center for Government, Vermont Institutes, Vermont Principals’ Association, Vermont Superintendents’ Association, Vermont School Boards’ Association, University of Vermont, Vermont State Colleges, and the Vermont Educational Leadership Collaborative.