Vermont Seminar Series 2014 – 2015

Proficiency-Based Learning: A Systemic Approach is a seminar series focused on supporting districts and school unions in Vermont to implement proficiency-based learning. Here, you can find all the meeting materials, our webinar archive, and essential guiding documents and resources to support your work.  

Guiding Documents + Resources


Great Schools Partnership Webinar Archive: a series of webinars describing many aspects of proficiency-based learning.

Harnessing Teacher Knowledge:  a resource to help schools reflect on and improve efforts for teacher collaboration and professional learning to impact student achievement.

Leadership in Action: a briefing series intended for community engagement, helping educators put “eduspeak” into plain English.

Glossary of Education Reform: a searchable glossary for common terms in educational reform. The glossary’s intended audience is families, community members, and journalists, to help them understand new approaches in education.

Ten Principles of Proficiency-Based Learning: a document which describes the common features found in the most effective proficiency-based systems.

Seminar Series Self-Assessment

Team Time Planning Checklist


Webinar Archive

5.26.15 | PBL Implementation

4.28.15 | Policy and Proficiency-Based Learning

3.24.15 | What’s In A Grade?

3.4.15 | Proficiency-based Instruction

2.3.15 | Scoring Criteria Reflection and PLP Principles

1.6.15 | Proficiency-Based Learning: Transferable Skills Assessment System

11.18.15 | Proficiency-Based Learning: A Systemic Approach

Castleton College Workshop Materials
June 2 + 3, 2015

Plenary Session


Kate Gardoqui, Senior Associate

Tom Alderman, Director, Secondary and Adult Division, DOE


Assessing Transferable Skills


Mark Kostin, Associate Director

Kate Gardoqui, Senior Associate

Tom Alderman, Director, Secondary and Adult Division, AOE

Pat Fitzsimmons, CCSS Coordinator, Mathematics & Science Partnership Program Manager, AOE


  • Deepen understanding of how a focus on the Transferable Skills can change instruction and assessment .
  • Review and explore the use of Common Scoring Criteria to create alignment in definitions of proficiency
  • Review and explore the use of Task Models to ensure that student evidence aligns with the performance indicators being assessed.
  • Practice creating a Task Model for “Creative and Practical Problem Solving”.


Community Engagement

Stephen Abbott, Communications Director

Blythe Armitage, Communications Associate

Workshop Materials:

Workshop Description:

What does it mean to include your community authentically in school change? How can school leaders develop skills for building capacity throughout their community to listen, facilitate, and actively respond to community needs? In this session, participants will learn from successful models of community engagement and refine their own plans to deepen the work in their local community.

Instructional Practice

Reed Dyer, Senior Associate

Katie Thomspon, Senior Associate


  • I understand why “Backwards Design” is fundamental to Proficiency0Based Learning.
  • I can design formative assessments that inform myself and my students about their progress towards learning outcomes.
  • I can reflect on and adjust instruction based on formative assessment data/evidence.
  • I can explain how specific classroom structures and lesson designs support equitable learning opportunities for intervention and re-teaching at the classroom level.


Panel: VT Educators Innovating with Tech Tools for PBL


Brian Boyes, Launchpad

Peter Stratman, Launchpad

David Lipkin, Schoolhack Solutions

Josie Jordan, Schoolhack Solutions

Kendra Rickerby, VT AOE

Workshop Description:

Educators from two schools in Vermont will share their experiences developing new tools to serve teachers and students in their transition to more personalized, proficiency-based learning experiences. Participants will have the chance to see the tools–Launchpad and Schoolhack–as well as ask questions of the panelists about the opportunities and challenges of developing new tools.

Personalized Learning Plans


Andi Summers, Senior Associate

Dan Liebert, Senior Associate


  • I can describe the characteristics of a high quality Personalized Learning Plan..
  • I can weigh the pros and cons of various software/platforms used for PLPs.
  • I can describe how PLPs will connect with and support other structures and priorities within my school/district.


Student Voice


Helen Beattie, YATST

Sally McCarthy, YATST

Dylan McAllister, student

Clara Lew Smith, student

Workshop Materials:

Workshop Description:

How might students not just experience new ways of learning, but also help to design them? What roles can students play to lead educational improvement? Participants will use tools and resources to refine their own school’s work to enhance to role of individual students’ voices in their learning and the collective role of students in shaping school change.

Student Work and Norming


Becky Wilusz, Senior Associate

Jon Ingram, Senior Associate

Workshop Description:

Rick Wormeli asks educators, “What will you tolerate as evidence [for proficiency]?” Of all the questions in proficiency-based learning, this might be the most important one! In this workshop, participants will walk away with key processes and resources for using student work to continually develop shared expectations for student learning in a school and community.




Ken Templeton, Senior Associate

Don Weafer, Senior Associate


  • I can analyze the strengths and needs for my district’s reporting system.
  • I can explain the implications of different verification system decisions and how they might impact teaching and learning.


Monthly Meeting Sessions

Series Overview

Thank you for your interest in our upcoming series: Proficiency-Based Learning: A Systemic Approach. We are excited about this opportunity to bring you together with colleagues from our state committed to helping students achieve the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for successful lives after high school.

Download the Series Overview Document to see a list of topics the series will address, series outcomes, as well as dates and locations.

Meeting Locations

Rutland: Killington Grand Hotel

Lake Morey: Lake Morey Resort

Essex: Essex Culinary Resort

May 2015

Day One:

  • I can identify strengths and next steps for my district/SU to implement proficiency-based learning and can use team time effectively to work toward our goals.
  • I can describe core principles in communicating school improvement work to a variety of audiences.
  • I can design processes for increased student and community involvement/engagement in school improvement efforts.


Day Two:

  • I can identify strengths and next steps for my district/SU to implement proficiency-based learning and can use team time effectively to work toward our goals.
  • I can use a process to analyze policies that support proficiency-based learning.
  • I can identify strengths and next steps for my district/SU to support students’ flexible pathways to proficiency.


April 2015

Day One:

  • I can describe grading principles and practices that support proficiency-based learning for all students.
  • I can explain the importance of habits of work for student success and strategies for assessing these habits separately from academic performance.
  • I can use strategies and resources to facilitate faculty and community discussions to reach shared agreements on the purpose of grading and effective grading practices.
  • I can refine my district / SU plan based on feedback from peers.


Day Two:

  • I can describe grading principles and practices that support proficiency-based learning for all students.
  • I can identify systems of reporting and verification that support proficiency-based grading practices