Title 16: Education
Chapter 3: STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
16 V.S.A. § 165. Standards of quality for public schools; equal educational opportunities
§ 165. Standards of quality for public schools; equal educational opportunities
(a) In order to carry out Vermont's policy that all Vermont children will be afforded educational opportunities which are substantially equal in quality, each Vermont public school, including each technical center, shall meet the following school quality standards:
(1) The school shall, through a process including parents, teachers, students and community members, develop, implement, and annually update a comprehensive action plan to improve student performance within the school. The plan shall include goals and objectives for improved student learning and educational strategies and activities to achieve their goals. The plan shall also address the effectiveness of efforts made since the previous action plan to ensure the school maintains a safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environment which is free from harassment, hazing and bullying. The school shall assess student performance under the plan using a method or methods of assessment developed under subdivision 164(9) of this title.
(2) The school, at least annually, reports student performance results to community members in a format selected by the school board. In the case of a regional technical center, the community means the school districts in the service region. The school report shall include:
(H) a description of how the school ensures that each student receives appropriate career counseling and program information regarding availability of education and apprenticeship program offerings at technical centers;
(K) data provided by the commissioner which enable a comparison with other schools, or school districts if school level data are not available, for cost-effectiveness. The commissioner shall establish which data are to be included pursuant to this subdivision and, notwithstanding that the other elements of the report are to be presented in a format selected by the school board, shall develop a common format to be used by each school in presenting the data to community members. The commissioner shall provide the most recent data available to each school no later than October 1 of each year. Data to be presented may include student-to-teacher ratio, administrator-to-student ratio, administrator-to-teacher ratio, and cost per pupil.
(3) The school substantially meets standards adopted by rule of the state board regarding conditions, practices and resources of schools. The standards shall address those aspects of the following which are most closely associated with improving student performance:
(4) The school shall provide for and the staff shall use needs-based professional development designed to improve the quality of education provided to the students and directly connected to standards for student performance established by the state board and any other educational performance goals established by the school board.
(6) The school ensures that students receive appropriate career counseling and program information regarding the availability of education and apprenticeship program offerings at technical centers. In addition, the school, if it is a secondary school, offers a genuine opportunity to access technical education programs.
(8) The school maintains a safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environment, which is free from hazing, harassment and bullying, and based on sound instructional and classroom management practices and clear discipline policies that are consistently and effectively enforced.
(b) Every two years, the commissioner shall determine whether students in each Vermont public school are provided educational opportunities substantially equal to those provided in other public schools. If the commissioner determines that a school is not meeting the quality standards listed in subsection (a) of this section or that the school is making insufficient progress in improving student performance in relation to the standards for student performance set forth in subdivision 164(9) of this title, he or she shall describe in writing actions that a district must take in order to meet either or both sets of standards and shall provide technical assistance to the school. If the school fails to meet the standards or make sufficient progress by the end of the next two-year period, the commissioner shall recommend to the state board one or more of the following actions:
(c) The state board, after offering the school board an opportunity for a hearing, shall either dismiss the commissioner's recommendation or order that one or more of the actions listed in subsection (b) of this section be taken. The action ordered by the state board shall be the least intrusive consistent with the need to provide students attending the school substantially equal educational opportunities. A school board aggrieved by an order of the state board may appeal the order in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.
(d) Nothing herein shall be construed to entitle any student to educational programs or services identical to those received by students in the same or any other school district. Further, nothing herein shall create a private right of action.
(e) If the commissioner determines at any time that the failure of a school to meet the school quality standards listed in subsection (a) of this section is severe or pervasive, potentially results in physical or emotional harm to students or significant deprivation of equal education opportunities, and the school has either unreasonably refused to remedy the problem or its efforts have proved ineffective, he or she may recommend to the state board one or more of the actions listed in subsection (b) of this section. The state board shall then follow the procedure of subsection (c) of this section.
(f) In order to be designated an independent school meeting school quality standards, an independent school shall participate in the school quality standards process of subsection (b) of this section. An independent school shall receive technical assistance in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b), but shall not be subject to subdivisions (b)(2)-(4) of this section. The school shall be an independent school meeting school quality standards unless the state board, after opportunity for hearing, finds that:
(2) two or more years following a determination that the school is not meeting the quality standards or that the school is making insufficient progress in improving student performance, the school fails to meet the standards or make sufficient progress toward meeting the standards. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; amended 1981, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1987, No. 97, § 5, eff. June 23, 1987; 1989, No. 44, § 3, eff. June 1, 1990; 1997, No. 60, § 4, eff. July 1, 1998; 1997, No. 71 (Adj. Sess.), § 82, eff. March 11, 1998; 1997, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 27, 1998; 1999, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 1b; 1999, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 8, § 2; 2003, No. 68, § 46, eff. June 18, 2003; 2005, No. 54, § 1; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.)