The 2015-16 award winners were chosen by the fifteen-member VPA Executive Council assisted by the 2015-16 Principals of the Year.
The selection criteria mirrors the Wallace Foundation’s criteria for effective school leaders asking nominators to comment about how the person has-- shaped a vision of academic success for all students, created a climate hospitable for education, cultivated leadership in others, improved instruction and managed people, data and processes to foster school improvement. In addition, the selection committee sought specific examples about how has the leader has created and maintained a healthy school culture, broadened and enriched school curriculum, provided more and better learning time during the school year and summer, ended disparities in learning opportunities created by tracking and ability grouping, used a variety of assessments designed to respond to student needs, reassessed student discipline policies, supported teachers as professionals, provided adequate resources for safe and well-maintained school environments, addressed key health issues; built on the strengths of language minority students and correctly identified their needs; and expanded access to libraries and the internet, while using technology wisely.
Vermont Principals’ Association:
SCHOOLS OF OPPORTUNITY CRITERIA
Schools where students face bullying, harassment or discrimination also hamper students’ ability to learn. Has the school taken steps to create a safe, welcoming school environment, which is the starting point for a successful education? To what extent has the school used the resources of the community to support the academic, social and emotional well being of students? How does the school include parents as partners in the development of school culture?
• Broaden and Enrich School Curriculum
Does the curriculum include a range of subjects, activities and experiences that provide a full, high-quality education? Is it designed with the particular needs of the students in mind? Does it include a rich and diverse array of subjects, including social studies, science, art, music and physical education, available throughout the school year? Does the curriculum include a range of subjects, activities and experiences that provide a full, high-quality education? Is it designed with the particular needs of the students in mind? Does it include a rich and diverse array of subjects, including social studies, science, art, music and physical education, available throughout the school year?
• Provide More and Better Learning Time during the School Year and Summer
• Use a Variety of Assessments Designed to Respond to Student NeedsDoes the school design and use testing to help teachers understand how well their students are learning and to provide feedback that improves curriculum and teaching? Has the school culture resisted the current push to place standards-based accountability testing toward the center of teaching and learning?
• Reassess Student Discipline PoliciesStudents cannot access rich learning opportunities when they are excluded from school through suspensions and similar approaches to discipline. While suspensions are sometimes necessary and appropriate, these policies are particularly troubling when they exclude students of color or students receiving free- or reduced-price lunch at rates disproportionate to their involvement in wrongful behaviors. Does the school seek out positive, restorative and non-exclusionary approaches to discipline when appropriate? When students are suspended, are they provided access to appropriate instruction?
• Support Teachers as Professionals
• Provide Adequate Resources for Safe and Well-Maintained School EnvironmentsHas the school taken steps to overcome obstacles concerning safety or environmental issues such as lack of heating or air conditioning (where needed), unsanitary or nonfunctioning bathroom facilities, and/or chronically overcrowded, dirty or dilapidated school buildings?
• Address Key Health IssuesDoes the school step up to provide for unaddressed health issues, such as a lack of eye care, dental care and adequate nutrition— factors that impact academic success?
• Build on the Strengths of Language Minority Students and Correctly Identify their NeedsFailure to understand the whole child and the role (or lack of a role) of language can lead to misdiagnoses of children’s strengths and weaknesses. Does the school approach its English learners as emerging bilinguals, building on the language strengths they bring to school? Does the school communicate with language minority students to ensure that student needs beyond language are met?
• Expand Access to Libraries and the Internet, While Using Technology WiselyOnline learning and blended learning are currently being marketed to policymakers and to schools as affordable ways to individualize, personalize and engage students in education. Some of these technologies have some potential, but can the school demonstrate that they are being used wisely, thoughtfully and carefully? Is technology used to supplement good classroom instruction or to supplant it?
One award is given in each category each year. Nominations are welcome from VPA members, colleagues, school board members, superintendents or the general public. The VPA Awards Committee made up of the VPA Executive Council, the previous year's award winners and VPA staff review all nominations and applications.
VPA state leadership awards:
Robert F. Pierce Award, Vermont Secondary Principal-of-the-Year.
Henry Giauque Memorial Award, Vermont Elementary Principal-of-the-Year.
Vermont Technical Director-of-the-Year.
NASSP Secondary Principal’s Award sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals
NASSP and John Winton National Middle Level Principal Award
NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year
The Awards Process-
Nomination forms must be submitted to the VPA by the deadline given on the nomination application. Complete and submit the nomination form. Nominations may be submitted by the nominee themselves, a nominee’s colleague, or the general public
The Selection committee will consist of the VPA Executive Council, previous year award winners and VPA staff
Nominees selected for national awards will be notified by the committee and asked to complete and submit the complete national application form.
Questions about the award can be addressed to Ken Page, VPA Executive Director