Vermont dot gov
Alerts | Calendars | Directory

March 19, 2013

Three Schools Selected to Represent Vermont at Regional Conference on High School Innovation

Three Vermont public schools—Burlington High School, Essex High School and Williamstown Middle High School —have been invited to represent their state at a regional conference on effective strategies for improving teaching and learning in the 21st century.

The conference, High School Redesign in Action (, will take place March 21–22, 2013, in Norwood, Massachusetts. It is sponsored by the New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC), a state-led regional partnership committed to high school innovation, in collaboration with the Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island Departments of Education and the Vermont Agency of Education. All the selected schools have made significant progress raising student achievement, graduation rates, college-enrollment numbers, or other indicators of educational success.

“Burlington, Essex and Williamstown are great representations of schools that are looking to make their curriculum more relevant and applicable for Vermont’s students,” said Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca. “They’re embracing proficiency based learning and exposing their students to the skills that better prepares them to continue their education and to be successful in the future.”

All three of the honored schools are members of the Consortium’s League of Innovative Schools (, a multistate network of secondary schools working together to improve their programs and performance. The League’s goal is to promote the exchange of best practices and innovative improvement strategies throughout the region.

“I am so happy that Burlington, Essex and Williamstown will have a chance to present to their peers from across New England,” said Meg Powden, Co-Lead to the League of Innovative Schools (LIS). “It’s an exceptional opportunity for our school leaders and teachers!”

The NESSC is a regional partnership working to advance forward-thinking innovations in secondary education that will empower the next generation of citizens, workers and leaders. The Consortium’s goal is to ensure that every public high school student receives an education that prepares them for success in the colleges, careers and communities of the 21st century. The Consortium is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (, the largest philanthropic organization in New England focused exclusively on education, and it is coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership (, a nonprofit educational-support organization in Portland, Maine.

Contact Meg Powden, Co-Lead to the LIS, at (802) 828-0262 or with questions. Learn more about Vermont’s League of Innovative Schools here:

See the following page for Vermont’s High School Redesign in Action Presentations.



Schools: Burlington High School, Burlington, Vermont

Presenters: Amy Mellencamp (principal), Nick Molander (assistant principal and ninth grade academy coordinator), Gretchen Muller (biology teacher), Colby Skoglund (design technology teacher)

Presentation Information: Thursday, March 21 | 10:45 am + 1:00 pm


Contact: Amy Mellencamp |

Description: Burlington High School, a large urban high school, has transformed learning by creating ninth grade academies, initiating one-to-one technology learning using iPads and providing extended student-choice driven project-based learning opportunities. These initiatives, which require a clear articulation of learning expectations and effective teacher collaboration, are informing our ongoing comprehensive school improvement efforts and our journey towards implementing our proficiency-based model of learning. Participants will learn about the strategies undertaken in this large school to successfully chart the course for whole school transformation. These include supporting teacher teams, incorporating digital learning, and designing extended student-centered learning projects.


School: Essex High School, Essex Junction, Vermont

Presenters: Kim Audette (STEM director), Julian Bradshaw (AVPA director), Lea Ann Smith (STEMinar teacher), Rob Reardon (principal)

Presentation Information: Thursday, March 21 | 3:45 pm + Friday, March 22 | 9:15 am


Contact: Amy Cole |

Description: As part of its transformation process, Essex High School made a commitment to supporting students, personalizing learning, and developing multiple pathways—all within a comprehensive high school model. We began by creating academies for students interested in either the arts or the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. In 2013, our Academy of Visual and Performing Arts will enter its third year and our STEM Academy will enroll its first students. Working within the existing governance structure, Essex created integrated “schools within a school” to support student interests and aspirations through strategies such as seminars, capstone projects, master-teacher workshops, and career internships—all of which allow students to maintain a sense of belonging in the larger school community. In this session, the presenters will share their stories, successes, and struggles, and participants will learn about the leverage points we used to advance our work and the barriers our school overcame to develop and sustain our academies.


School: South Burlington High School, South Burlington

Presenters: Dennis Delena (teacher), Sandy FitzMorris (teacher), Scott Lang (principal), Lisa Page (teacher), Alicia Rominger (learning coordinator)

Presentation Information: Friday, March 22 | 10:45 am + 1:00 pm


Contact: Scott Lang |

Description: At Williamstown Middle High School, we have reimagined ninth grade to ensure our students are successful, well-known, supported, and enthusiastically engaged. We accomplish this by developing personal learning plans and by incorporating a variety of early and ongoing assessments that tailor our interventions and supports. This work, guided by the Common Core State Standards, is done in collaboration with multiple stakeholders in our community. Participants will learn how to implement comprehensive strategies for designing and supporting personalized learning through early assessment of foundational college- and career-readiness skills using ACT’s KeyTrain Curriculum 101. Participants will also learn how to develop and manage personal learning plans that lead to relevant learning in collaboration with career and technical centers, institutions of higher education, and other community resources.

Source: Agency of Education
Last Updated at: March 19, 2013 08:06:25
Governor Phil Scott | Policies

Normal Version

A Vermont Government Website
Copyright 2018 State of Vermont