Wondering about school choice in Vermont? There are a variety of options available for Vermont families. Knowing your options can help you find a learning environment where your child is thriving at school, not just “getting by.”
Many Vermont families choose traditional public school for their child. Traditional public schools are operated by school districts, free to attend, open to all students, and funded by taxpayers. Did you know that, on average, Vermont spends $20,540 per public school student each year?
Vermont has unrestricted open enrollment for public school. What this means is that you can send your child to any public school in Vermont, regardless of where you live or where the school is located. You can take advantage of this option by visiting multiple public schools near you and discovering which is the best fit for your family. Traditional public schools aren’t all the same: They may differ in learning methods and one may just “feel different” than another to you.
Vermont is one of only five states that have not yet passed laws allowing public charter schools. While Vermont families cannot yet choose public charters, this may be an option in the future!
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that have extra freedom to innovate and are accountable to authorizing entities for student achievement. Each school has a charter that explains the school’s purpose and what specific community need it serves. That could be providing a Spanish immersion program or offering a rigorous STEAM curriculum. If there are more families seeking admittance to a charter school than there are seats, a lottery system is usually used to determine admittance.
Vermont families can also choose magnet schools. These free public schools allow students to zoom in on a specific learning track, such as engineering or the arts. Magnet schools teach all subjects through the lenses of that specific track. Vermont has several magnet schools scattered throughout the state. If there is one near you with a theme that interests your child, this could be an exciting and free option to consider.
Vermont families can also choose private schools! These nonpublic schools charge tuition and offer unique learning environments that may be smaller in size, pass on a specific religious tradition, or provide a different curriculum than is available in your district school.
Students in specific Vermont towns are eligible for a tuitioning program, which funds their attendance at nonreligious public or private schools outside their communities. Additional funding may be available from other sources.
Don’t overlook virtual schools just because they are off the beaten track. These programs can offer uniquely flexible learning environments that meet a variety of family needs. Whether your child wants to accelerate learning or needs a quieter environment to focus in, you may be interested in trying virtual school.
While Vermont does not yet offer a free, full-time online learning option, all students can take part-time courses through Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative. A variety of factors determine whether the school or parent will pay tuition. For more information, contact your local public school.
Vermont families can also choose to homeschool, which allows for high levels of customized learning and flexibility. Homeschooling is the process of parents educating students at home and is permitted in all 50 states. Check here for resources about homeschooling specific to Vermont.
For additional information about school choices in Vermont, visit these resources:
National School Choice Week 2020 will take place January 26 – February 1, 2020. We encourage all schools, homeschool groups, organizations and individuals to join the celebration. Click here for ideas, inspiration, and more information!
Vermont will celebrate National School Choice Week 2020 with a record-breaking 92 events and activities across the state. Learn more about some of these celebrations at schoolchoiceweek.com/states/vermont/.
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