VPA’s Equity Initiative

The Vermont Principals’ Association’s mission is to support school leaders to improve the equity and quality of educational opportunities for all students.

Research shows that ALL students, and staff, benefit from more equitable systems. Yet, systemic educational inequities show up in curricula, our biases, school schedules, resource distribution, in hiring, and more. But, how can we see the forest for the trees?

In an attempt to address systemic inequities in our schools, the Vermont Principals’ Association aims to increase Equity Literacy* grounded in eight basic principles, and encourage courageous conversations and leadership.

The Vermont Principals’ Association’s Equity Initiative is a long-term initiative that involves:

  1. Hosting Equity Summits around the state
  2. Launching an Equity Practitioners Network
  3. Sharing our most relevant and valued equity resources (Equity Resource Directory)
  4. Sharing a calendar of equity-related events (Equity Calendar of Events)
  5. Inviting you to join us on this learning journey

You can reach the VPA’s Equity Coordinator, Linda Wheatley, at lwheatley@vpaonline.org and 802-535-8383.

Equity Summits: Building a Culture of Equity

VPA’s Equity Summits pop-up around the state, inviting school leaders, education partner organizations and students to a day of self-discovery and courageous conversation about how to remove barriers to equity in Vermont’s public schools. VPA Equity Summits are co-facilitated as attendees are safely guided through a series of presentations and exercises that uncover truths essential to becoming a threat to inequity.

There have been four Equity Summits to date, with growing student representation:
  1. May 30, 2018 at Capitol Plaza in Montpelier
  2. November 30, 2018 at Champlain College in Burlington
  3. May 24, 2019 at the School for International Training in Brattleboro
  4. October 8, 2019 at Jay Peak in Jay
A spring 2020 summit is very likely. If you’d like to host, please contact Linda Wheatley at the VPA.
Sample Student led Maps for Equity during Summit IV








Equity Practitioners Network

The EPN is a select group of educational leaders who are passionate about addressing systemic inequities in their schools and/or districts. The first cohort of twenty-eight educators from fifteen schools and thirteen school districts/supervisory unions. They began their two-year equity literacy practice together with Paul Gorski of the Equity Literacy Institute on October 2 & 3.

Announcing the first cohort of the VPA Equity Practitioners Network

Equity Resource Directory 


Here is a taste of what the EPN is reading and watching:

  1. Gorski, Paul. “Avoiding Racial Equity Detours.” Educational Leadership, April 2019.
  2. Gorski, Paul. “Re-examining Beliefs about Students in Poverty.” School Administrator, May 2016.
  3. Scene On Radio’s podcast, “Seeing White.”(14 parts; episodes 31 through 45)
  4. DiAngelo, Robin. “White Fragility.” International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 2011.
  5. Jones, Kenneth and Okun, Tema. “The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture.” From Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups. 2001.
  6. Former Vermont Representative, Kiah Morris’ TEDx, “3 tools for anyone serious about radical diversity.”
  7. The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project
  8. The 1619 Project’s education partner, “Pulitzer Center’s Project Curriculum”

Feel free to send your recommendations of favorite equity-related books, articles, courses, organizations, podcasts, videos, etc, to Linda Wheatley. Please send the title, a link if appropriate, a brief description of the resource, and a brief explanation for your recommendation. Thank you.

Equity Calendar of Events: Coming soon

Thank you to the Bay & Paul Foundation, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC), the Vermont Community Foundation, the McClure Foundation, and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.


*Equity Literacy as defined by the Equity Literacy Institute.

  1. The ability to Recognize even the subtlest biases and inequities,
  2. The ability to Respond to biases and inequities in the immediate term,
  3. The ability to Redress biases and inequities in the long term, and
  4. The ability to Create and Sustain bias-free and equitable classrooms, schools, and institutional cultures