Independent Schools Bill - Feb 16

The House Education Committee came back to their draft bill on Thursday dealing with independent schools. Timothy Newbold (Head of School, Village School of North Bennington) introduce himself after Chairman Conlon prefaced by saying that they were interested in hearing from some of the smaller independent schools. Their school has now been in operation for 10 years as an independent school, but it was previously a public school. VSNB is accredited through NEASC and he called it a “very robust way for a school to go through self-reflection.” One of the advantages of this process is that it’s adaptable and different schools can get different things out of the process. This is particularly true in terms of the visiting team. Newbold shared that is students love being there and the love that people have for this community is palpable. He also pointed to the 2200 rule series as already covering the public accommodations act concerns and the harassment and bullying policies.

Conlon asked if the accreditation process was too much of a lift to ask these schools to do. Newbold said it was definitely not an easy process, but it is a beneficial one.

Liz Shayne (Head of School, Schoolhouse of South Burlington) shared that her school has been around for 50 years but chose not to follow the accreditation process but rather seek review from the Agency of Education. They have very small class sizes and very few publicly funded students. However, they see many of students like the one who testified earlier who had a bad experience in public school.

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