May Co-Chairs Update

Posted by Emily Blistein on 5/27/2022 11:20:00 AM

Dear ACSD Community,

Below please find an update on our most recent meeting and opportunities to engage as we move forward as an Advisory Committee working to center educational equity in our next strategic plan.


Overview of our May 16th meeting:

We checked in on the progress of our work and what we need to fulfill our advisory role to the school board as they embark on the new strategic plan this fall. A sub-group also led a discussion about the social emotional environment for students. A sub-group academic environment but slides were shared from the small sub group’s work on this topic and more will be discussed on June 6th. An earlier meeting on May 2nd was canceled due to illnesses and last minute conflicts.

We had an open dialogue about how this process is working and shared reflections about how we can adjust our approach to ensure we have time to complete our work and feel it is thoughtful and meaningful. We agreed that we need more flexibility to finish this work and may need to extend our time frame slightly into the summer. This will allow our group to review all the resources gathered to date, deliberate on main priorities/goals and identify areas that still need more work by the Board as we move into strategic planning. For comprehensive meeting minutes, please visit the web page. We have one more meeting scheduled on June 6th and discussed opportunities for additional meetings and community engagement.

We also reviewed our scope of work: 1) Focus at a high-level 2) Identify core areas and draft recommendations to be considered by the board for the strategic plan 3) Use the committee’s equity definition as a framework when making recommendations 4) Deliberate and document where more information/work is needed

Themes shared from the small group on social emotional environment for students:

  • Students' social emotional experience is connected to some degree to their academic programs. Students want to feel valued despite what academic program they are in and also seek more integration as a whole community.
  • Some structural issues with schedules, courses, class size, concentration of resources impact ability for students to engage fully in school community and programs. How do we customize learning paths for each learner?
  • Social hierarchy can be attached to academics, ability, disability status.
  • More should be explored on how the district uses data and how to best use it to inform district decisions and priorities. Qualitative vs quantitative. Be aware of bias in analysis. 
  • Prioritize underrepresented people in gathering more information. 
  • Prioritize mental health of students. 


Opportunities for community engagement:

  • We encourage everyone to fill out our community feedback form which helps us gather our community's thoughts about what ACSD is doing well and what we can improve to ensure all students feel included and supported. 
  • ​​​​​​​A sub group will meet to discuss additional outreach to prioritize hearing from our entire community. We had discussed hosting in person events in May at our elementary schools to hear from parents. Scheduling made this difficult in May, but we will prioritize parent outreach. We welcome your thoughts on ways to engage ACSD community members, especially those who have barriers to engaging with our schools or sharing their perspectives: email or call Emily Blistein 802-382-1183

Thank you, 
Amanda Gomes (MUHS '23) Esther Charlestin (Middlebury Selectboard Member)