Special Education in Vermont
Like its neighbor to the west, Vermont earns a “Needs Assistance” ranking from the U.S. Department of Education in regard to how well it meets the needs of students with disabilities. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 14.8 percent of Vermont’s students are assigned Individualized Education Programs, nearly two percentage points higher than the national average of 13 percent. The Vermont State Board of Education (VSBE) and its Special Education department employ over 1,150 special educators to staff programs at its 323 public schools, which are organized into 291 districts. Vermont is also home to 124 private schools.
Types of Licenses
Special Ed Degree Programs in Vermont
The college town of Burlington is also Vermont’s largest city, situated along Lake Champlain. This is where the University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services is located. At the undergraduate level, students can minor in special education or major in early childhood special education. The school also offers a Master of Arts program in special education. If you already hold a Vermont teaching license and seek an endorsement in special education, you have the option of pursuing a course of study through the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative. Teachers form cohorts, each of which is affiliated with one of the regional colleges that participate in the program, including the University of Vermont, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College and Castleton State College. Participants take 21 units of courses in special education to earn an endorsement in their preferred area of concentration.
For profiles of all the schools in Vermont that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
The primary path toward alternative licensure in Vermont is via its peer review process. Candidates must already hold a bachelor’s degree to participate. The VSBE holds a monthly clinic to train applicants in how to prepare their portfolios for consideration, a task which involves providing artifacts and documents proving that a candidate meets the VSBE’s requirements for licensure. A panel reviews these materials, interviews candidates and completes an evaluation indicating which competencies these candidates meet. There are several fees associated with this process, including a fee of $1,200 for the peer review.
Special Education Teaching Jobs in Vermont
The Vermont Education Agency maintains a professional learning webpage that lists current policies and resources regarding professional development for Vermont educators. Vermont is home to several Educational Services Agencies that partner with state schools to support regions and districts with professional development opportunities:
Funded by government grants, the Vermont I-Team is a project of the University of Vermont’s Center on Disability and Community Inclusion. The group’s consultants throughout the state support schools, educators, families and community agencies with professional development and technical training.
Vermont Organizations for Special Educators
- The state teacher’s union, the Vermont-National Education Association, represents its 11,500 members with advocacy work and professional programs.
- The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion’s Community Advisory Council meets regularly to explore state resources and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and advise the director of the center accordingly.
Special Education Blogs in Vermont
- Educator Preparation in Vermont: The official blog of the Vermont Agency of Education offers updates on Vermont policies concerning teacher preparation, testing, certification, training, evaluation and professional development. The agency also has an active Facebook page.
- Vermont Family Network Newsletter: This monthly newsletter is published digitally and features information about advocacy, events and resources regarding developmental disabilities, autism, special education, health and mental health.
- VT-HEC Blog: Curriculum, assessment and methods of reaching diverse learners are the themes of the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative’s blog.