Educational Support Systems
Title 16 of the Vermont Statutes requires each public school to develop and maintain an educational support system for children who require additional assistance in order to succeed in the general education environment. Support includes prevention, intervention, and prekindergarten services. The educational support system is required to include an educational support team (EST) and a range of support and remedial services, including instructional and behavioral interventions and accommodations. Each school board must assign responsibility for developing and maintaining the ESS to the superintendent or principal. Superintendents are required to annually report on the status of the ESS in their schools including how funds, such as Medicaid, are used to support the ESS.
Each school's tiered system of supports shall:
- be aligned as appropriate with the general education curriculum;
- be designed to enhance the ability of the general education system to meet the needs of all students;
- be designed to provide necessary supports promptly, regardless of an individual student's eligibility for categorical programs;
- seek to identify and respond to students in need of support for at-risk behaviors and to students in need of specialized, individualized behavior supports;
- provide all students with a continuum of evidence-based and research-based behavior practices that teach and encourage prosocial skills and behaviors schoolwide;
- promote collaboration with families, community supports, and the system of health and human services.
Educational Support Teams
The educational support team is one component of a school's educational support system. The job of an EST is to act as a "think tank" and help solve the puzzle of what is happening in school for a student and determine what he/she might need to be more successful. It is also the job of the EST, with the aid of the classroom teacher, to monitor, review and revise students' EST plans to ensure that the suggested programs, supports, and/or accommodations are effective. The focus is on what school staff can do differently, such as changing strategies, adjusting the environment, and altering expectations. The EST can also provide data to help evaluate and improve programs.
The educational support team for each public school in the district shall be composed of staff from a variety of teaching and support positions and shall:
- Determine which enrolled students require additional assistance to be successful in school or to complete secondary school based on indicators set forth in guidelines developed by the Secretary, such as academic progress, attendance, behavior, or poverty. The educational support team shall pay particular attention to students during times of academic or personal transition.
- Identify the classroom accommodations, remedial services, and other supports that have been provided to the identified student.
- Assist teachers to plan for and provide services and accommodations to students in need of classroom supports or enrichment activities.
- Develop an individualized strategy, in collaboration with the student's parents or legal guardian whenever possible, to assist the identified student to succeed in school and to complete his or her secondary education.
- Maintain a written record of its actions.
- Report no less than annually to the Secretary, in a form the Secretary prescribes, on the ways in which the educational support system has addressed the needs of students who require additional assistance in order to succeed in school or to complete secondary school and on the additional financial costs of complying with this subsection (c).
No individual entitlement or private right of action is created by this section. It is the intent of the General Assembly that a gifted and talented student shall be able to take advantage of services that an educational support team can provide.