§ 2901. Success for all students in the general education environment
(a) It is the policy of the State that each local school district develop and maintain, in consultation with parents, a comprehensive system of education that will result, to the extent appropriate, in all students succeeding in the general education environment. A comprehensive system of education includes a full range of services and accommodations that are needed by students in the district. These services could include a separate alternative program if the district finds that some of its students could be better served in an environment outside the classroom, or if the district finds that separate placement is the best way to provide services to a student who is disrupting the class or having difficulty learning in a traditional school setting for educational, emotional, or personal reasons and thereby impairing the ability of the classroom teacher to provide quality services to that student or to other students. This chapter does not replace or expand entitlements created by federal law, nor is it the intent of this chapter to create a higher standard for maintaining a student in the general classroom than the standard created in the following federal laws: 20 U.S.C. § 1401 et seq., Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; 29 U.S.C. § 794, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., Americans with Disabilities Act.
(c) No individual entitlement or private right of action is created by this section. (Added 1989, No. 230 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; amended 1995, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1999, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 2009, No. 44, § 40, eff. May 21, 2009.)
§ 2902. Educational support system and educational support team
(a) Within each school district's comprehensive system of educational services, each public school shall develop and maintain an educational support system for students who require additional assistance in order to succeed or to be challenged in the general education environment. For each school it maintains, a school district board shall assign responsibility for developing and maintaining the educational support system either to the superintendent pursuant to a contract entered into under section 267 of this title or to the principal. The educational support system shall, at a minimum, include an educational support team and a range of support and remedial services, including instructional and behavioral interventions and accommodations.
(b) The educational support system shall:
(1) Be integrated to the extent appropriate with the general education curriculum.
(2) Be designed to increase the ability of the general education system to meet the needs of all students.
(3) Be designed to provide students the support needed regardless of eligibility for categorical programs.
(4) Provide clear procedures and methods for addressing student behavior that is disruptive to the learning environment and include educational options, support services, and consultation or training for staff where appropriate. Procedures may include removal of a student from the classroom or the school building for as long as appropriate, consistent with State and federal law and the school's policy on student discipline, after reasonable effort has been made to support the student in the regular classroom environment.
(5) Ensure collaboration with families, community supports, and the system of health and human services.
(c) 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:
(1) 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.
(2) Identify the classroom accommodations, remedial services, and other supports that have been provided to the identified student.
(3) Assist teachers to plan for and provide services and accommodations to students in need of classroom supports or enrichment activities.
(4) 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.
(5) Maintain a written record of its actions.
(6) 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).
(d) No individual entitlement or private right of action is created by this section.
(e) The Secretary shall establish guidelines for teachers and administrators in following federal laws relating to provision of services for children with disabilities and the implementation of this section.
(f) 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. It is not the intent of the General Assembly that funding under chapter 101 of this title shall be available for a gifted and talented student unless the student has been otherwise determined to be a student for whom funding under that chapter is available. (Added 1989, No. 230 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; amended 1995, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 1997, No. 87 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1999, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 1999, No. 117 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2009, No. 44, § 40, eff. May 21, 2009; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 192, 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)
§ 2903. Preventing early school failure; reading instruction
(a) Statement of policy. The ability to read is critical to success in learning. Children who fail to read by the end of the first grade will likely fall further behind in school. The personal and economic costs of reading failure are enormous both while the student remains in school and long afterward. All students need to receive systematic reading instruction in the early grades from a teacher who is skilled in teaching reading through a variety of instructional strategies that take into account the different learning styles and language backgrounds of the students. Some students may require intensive supplemental instruction tailored to the unique difficulties encountered.
(b) Foundation for literacy. The State Board of Education, in collaboration with the Agency of Human Services, higher education, literacy organizations, and others, shall develop a plan for establishing a comprehensive system of services for early education in the first three grades to ensure that all students learn to read by the end of the third grade. The plan shall be updated at least once every five years following its initial submission in 1998.
(c) Reading instruction. A public school that offers instruction in grades one, two, or three shall provide highly effective, research-based reading instruction to all students. In addition, a school shall provide:
(1) supplemental reading instruction to any enrolled student in grade four whose reading proficiency falls below third grade reading expectations, as defined under subdivision 164(9) of this title;
(2) supplemental reading instruction to any enrolled student in grades 5-12 whose reading proficiency creates a barrier to the student's success in school; and
(3) support and information to parents and legal guardians. (Added 1997, No. 60, § 9, eff. June 26, 1997; amended 2009, No. 44, § 40, eff. May 21, 2009.)
§ 2904. Reports
Annually, each superintendent shall report to the Secretary in a form prescribed by the Secretary, on the status of the educational support systems in each school in the supervisory union. The report shall describe the services and supports that are a part of the education support system, how they are funded, and how building the capacity of the educational support system has been addressed in the school action plans, and shall be in addition to the report required of the educational support team in subdivision 2902(c)(6) of this chapter. The superintendent's report shall include a description and justification of how funds received due to Medicaid reimbursement under section 2959a of this title were used. (Added 1999, No. 117 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; amended 2005, No. 54, § 14; 2009, No. 44, § 40, eff. May 21, 2009; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 193, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)
§ 2905. Prekindergarten-16 Council
(a) A Prekindergarten-16 Council (the "Council") is created to help coordinate and better align the efforts of the prekindergarten-12 educational system with the higher education community in order to increase:
(1) postsecondary aspirations;
(2) the enrollment of Vermont high school graduates in higher education programs;
(3) the postsecondary degree completion rates of Vermonters; and
(4) public awareness of the economic, intellectual, and societal benefits of higher education.
(b) The Council shall be composed of:
(1) the Secretary of Education or designee;
(2) the Commissioner of Labor or designee;
(3) the President of the University of Vermont or designee;
(4) the Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges or designee;
(5) the President of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation or designee;
(6) the President of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges or designee;
(7) a principal of a secondary school selected by the Vermont Principals' Association;
(8) a superintendent selected by the Vermont Superintendents Association;
(9) a teacher selected by the Vermont-National Education Association;
(10) a member of the Building Bright Futures Council or designee;
(11) a career technical education director selected by the Vermont Association of Career and Technical Center Directors;
(12) a representative from the business and industry community selected by the Vermont Business Roundtable;
(13) an advocate for low-income children selected by Voices for Vermont's Children;
(14) a member of the House of Representatives, who shall be selected by the Speaker and shall serve until the beginning of the biennium immediately after the one in which the member is appointed;
(15) a member of the Senate, who shall be selected by the Committee on Committees and shall serve until the beginning of the biennium immediately after the one in which the member is appointed;
(16) a member of the faculty of the Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, or a Vermont independent college selected by United Professions AFT Vermont, Inc.; and
(17) a representative of after-school, summer, and expanded learning programs selected by the Vermont Center for Afterschool Excellence.
(c) The Council shall develop and regularly update a statewide plan to increase aspirations for and the successful completion of postsecondary education among students of all ages and otherwise advance the purposes for which the council is created, which shall include strategies to:
(1) ensure that every high school graduate in Vermont is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education without remedial assistance;
(2) increase the percentage of Vermonters who earn an associate's or higher level degree or a postsecondary certification;
(3) identify and address areas of educator preparation that could benefit from improved collaboration between the prekindergarten-12 educational system and the higher education community;
(4) promote early career awareness and nurture postsecondary aspirations;
(5) develop programs that guarantee college admission and financial aid for low-income students who successfully complete early commitment requirements;
(6) enhance student engagement in secondary school, ensuring that learning opportunities are relevant, rigorous, and personalized and that all students aspire to and prepare for success in postsecondary learning opportunities;
(7) expand access to dual enrollment programs in order to serve students of varying interests and abilities, including those who are likely to attend college, those who are from groups that attend college at disproportionately low rates, and those who are prepared for a postsecondary curriculum prior to graduation from secondary school;
(8) develop proposals for statewide college and career readiness standards and assessments;
(9) create incentives for adults to begin or continue their postsecondary education; and
(10) ensure implementation of a prekindergarten-16 longitudinal data system, which it shall use to assess the success of the plan required by this subsection.
(d) Together with the Secretary of Administration or the Secretary's designee, the following members of the Council shall perform any statutory or other duties required of them, including duties in connection with the Higher Education Endowment Trust Fund: the President of the University of Vermont, the Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges, the President of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the President of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges, the representative from the business and industry community, the member of the House of Representatives, and the member of the Senate.
(e) The legislative and higher education staff shall provide support to the Council as appropriate to accomplish its tasks. Primary administrative support shall be provided by the Office of Legislative Council.
(f) The Council shall annually elect one of its members to be chair.
(g) The Council shall meet at least quarterly.
(h) The Council shall report on its activities to the House and Senate Committees on Education and to the State Board of Education each year in January. The provisions of 2 V.S.A. § 20(d) (expiration of required reports) shall not apply to the report to be made under this subsection. (Added 2009, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2011, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. May 11, 2012; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 194, 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2013, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 30.)