Dan French, President, Vermont Superintendents Association
I am pleased to have the opportunity to introduce the work of the VSA Quality Task Force. This work has its origins in the thinking of many Vermont educators going back several generations. To a certain extent, it is a synthesis of these ideas. In other ways, it is a completely new integration of contemporary thinking from Vermont educational leaders and from educational leaders around the world.
I think this work could not be more timely because we find ourselves at a policy crossroads at the state and federal levels. It is my hope our work on Education Quality will inform the policy debate and become an ideavirus, an idea that grows and infects everyone it touches.
I believe the ideas found in our work will be well received among educators because they are hungry for a modern blueprint for moving forward that is consistent with their beliefs. They are susceptible to the "contagion" of this ideavirus because the NCLBA era has devastated their belief immune systems; as Dr. William Mathis once observed, "the No Child Left Behind Act is a soulless enterprise."
I also believe we have a responsibility to act, to not just sit back and hope these ideas spread and have their desired effect. We must charge ourselves to take action in our own districts. We must reach out to stakeholders and other partners to re-imagine a public educational system that is dedicated to our common, progressive ideals, but also reflective of the new technological context.
The Vermont superintendent is often characterized as a "pragmatic, visionary leader." We have taken an important first step in providing a future vision by organizing our ideas and publishing them in this work, yet the important work of seeing these ideas enacted remains. Bringing this work into fruition will require the full focus of our collective, pragmatic efforts. I believe no task has ever been more worthy of our complete commitment.
This work began in the winter of 2010 with the organization of a VSA Education Quality Task Force. This group was co-led by Elaine Pinckney, Superintendent for the Chittenden South Supervisory Union, and Martha Tucker, Superintendent for the Caledonia Central Supervisory Union. Jeff Francis, VSA Executive Director, helped organize and coordinate the work, and gave significant input into the process at every juncture.
An esteemed group of Vermont educators was assembled for the work:
The initial work was centered on synthesizing a variety of documents and publications including: Roots to Success, High Schools on the Move, Opportunities to Learn, The Vermont Design for Education, VSA Education Quality Statement, Middle School is Not a Building, Creating a 20th Century Learning Model for Public Education (New Brunswick), and the CVCC Transformation Statement: Educating a New Generation.
Themes were identified and then translated into graphic representations. This phase of the work went through several iterations. As the work started to take shape, it was shared with a variety of stakeholder groups including the VSA Trustees, the larger VSA membership, the PreK-16 Council, the Vermont House Education Committee, leadership of the VPA, VSBA and VSCEA, technology integration teachers from around the state, and the Vermont Business Round Table. This input and feedback was critical in shaping the content and graphic representation of the work.
Below you will find downloadable versions of the VSA Education Quality Work for your use. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license which allows you to share the work with others for non-commercial purposes as long as you give attribution credit to the VSA. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.