To The Editor:

Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) faculty members Gershon, Dean and J. Ibsen are to be commended for providing The Valley Reporter readers, through their opinion piece of April 4 (“The world is changing; Harwood Union students will be ready”), a clear explanation of how Harwood’s implementation of the relatively new requirement for proficiency-based classroom assessments and progress reports is preparing students for future academic and employment challenges in a time of rapid cultural and technological change.

(Full disclosure here: During the period 1998 through 2002 I served as an assessment consultant for the VTDOE, now the Agency of Education. In that era state standards for curriculum and assessment were redesigned across all content areas and grade spans. In my final years at the agency, I served as state coordinator for the National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] testing program. The movement to proficiency-based evaluations of student progress in state-level as well as national assessment programs was under discussion even then, although VT’s proficiency-based classroom assessment system was not adopted until after my retirement. I’ve continued to watch this progression with interest [many articles about local changes have appeared in the VR], but this is the first time I have written publicly on the subject.)

Thank you, Greshon, Deane and Ibson (and all your Harwood colleagues), for providing students instructional practices that are grounded in international school effectiveness research and that incorporate well-honed precedents such as Exeter Academy’s (Exeter, NH) history of constantly improving application of its Harkness Table instructional design. Local students, their parents and all Valley residents can take pride in our public high school.

Alice M. Evans

Waitsfield, Vermont