Author: Amanda Brooks

Federal education officials visit EWSD

Members of the U.S. Department of Education visited the Essex Westford School District as part of the department’s national back to school tour last Wednesday. Johnny Collett and Kimberly Richey, assistant and deputy secretaries of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, respectively, toured Hiawatha Elementary School, visited Little Ones University and participated in a listening session with parents, educators and policymakers in the special education in the area. In the listening session, Collett noted U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is focusing on rethinking education, and he, too, is working on what that means for special education. “What are some...

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Vermonters benefit from land conservation

A new report from the Trust for Public Land reported that for every $1 invested in land conservation in Vermont, $9 is returned in natural goods and services. “This is the third highest return on investment we’ve seen among the dozen studies we’ve conducted in states across the country,” said Shelby Semmes, the TPL’s Vermont and New Hampshire state program director. The 900 percent return on investment in land conservation comes back to local municipalities in various forms of natural goods and services, the report said. The TPL report explained that conserving lands bolsters local economies directly in many...

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First day busing draws mixed reviews

Issues with busing on the first day of school is not a new thing for the Essex Westford School District. However, with the transportation plan changing so frequently in the recent weeks, EWSD has been under a microscope. Thanks to some last minute planning by EWSD, Essex High School students who had historically had service were able to board a school bus last Wednesday morning on the first day of school. This was possible when EWSD and Colchester SD consolidated the number of buses being sent to the Champlain Islands, said EWSD chief operating officer Brian Donahue. By working...

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Busing plan still in the works

Essex Westford school leaders are working on some unique – yet temporary – fixes in response to the transportation controversy this week while parents continue to chastise leaders for their handling of the ordeal, which has left many students without a bus on the first day of school. Mountain Transit has 11 drivers going through the training and licensing process and it’s unclear when they will be ready for driving, according to Brian Donahue, chief operating officer of EWSD. He added in an email to the Reporter that several drivers test dates have been moved up to the beginning...

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District backtracks on busing plan

Fewer students than initially planned will receive bus transportation to Essex Westford School District this school year. Such was the announcement from chief operating officer Brian Donahue on Wednesday morning, one that comes just two weeks before the start of school. Plans have unexpectedly changed since the school board meeting on August 7, a discussion The Reporter reported on in this week’s paper. Donahue said several bus routes were nixed from the original plan for the Aug. 29 school start date. Now, only Essex Elementary, Founders Memorial and Essex Middle schools will have busing provided by Mountain Transit. Essex...

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