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AOE announces educator wellness partnership with Vermont Education Health Initiative

PATH Forward to Provide Targeted Wellness Supports to Vermont School Districts

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Education announced today that it signed a contract with the Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI), on a program to advance educator health and wellness in Vermont. The program, PATH Forward, will provide targeted wellness supports to Vermont’s educator workforce, and support Vermont’s supervisory unions and school districts in developing robust wellness programs that meet their individual needs. PATH Forward is a strategic investment in school-based wellness programs, both to meet their immediate needs, and build capacity going forward.

“Health and wellbeing is a key part of Education Recovery,” said Secretary of Education Dan French. “As we embarked on this effort, it became increasingly apparent that educator and school staff wellness is critical to their ability to support students. Providing tailored assistance on a district-by-district basis will ensure teachers have what they need to be successful in the near term, while making sure that wellness gets the attention and supports it deserves in the future.”

The PATH Forward initiative builds on VEHI’s existing Planned Action Toward Health (PATH) wellness programs, while ensuring every district has the resources and supports it needs to prioritize wellness in its community. Starting in the fall, VEHI will conduct surveys and focus groups with Vermont educators and school staff around the state. The information gathered will be used to develop targeted programs for school districts, as well as provide a baseline against which to measure the effectiveness of these programs down the road. VEHI will also work with the AOE and school districts to encourage school employees to take advantage of existing wellness resources.

In later phases of the project, VEHI will provide professional learning and technical support to school districts to develop or update comprehensive educator wellness programs at the local level, that are targeted to the specific needs of the district. VEHI will also work with schools to make sure policies and procedures are aligned with wellness best practices and encourage, not hinder, employee health and wellness.

“Supporting the health of our Vermont educators is the top priority of our wellness programs,” said Jonathan Steiner, President of the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust, which manages VEHI jointly with Vermont-NEA. “We have been providing innovative programming in our school communities for over 30 years, encouraging healthy life choices and building good habits.  This partnership with AOE will allow us to broaden our reach and provide the specific services each school needs.”

The partnership commits $1.395 million of the State’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP ESSER) to educator and school staff wellness. These funds come from the “State set-aside,” funds designated to the AOE to support statewide education recovery needs, contrasted with ARP ESSER funds that are sent directly to Vermont school districts. VEHI will also use some of the contracted funding to provide services and program supports directly to school districts, to reduce the burden of funding and administering these programs on the local level.

About the Vermont Education Heath Initiative

The Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI) is a nonprofit cooperative organization that has served Vermont school districts since 1992 by offering employee benefit plans responsive to the needs of both employers and employees and their dependents. VEHI is managed by the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust and the Vermont-NEA.

About VEHI PATH

PATH (Planned Action Toward Health) is an employee wellness program serving VEHI member school districts and supervisory unions. PATH aims to help employees live their best lives in environments that help them thrive. We do so by providing best-practice health promotion resources, a robust web platform, and a welcoming community in which to explore individual and group wellbeing.

About the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust

The Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust has served the Vermont education community since 1978 by offering cost effective and innovative risk management services. Our philosophy is to offer programs and services only if our presence will make a meaningful difference in preserving the educational resources of our members.

About the Vermont Agency of Education

The Agency of Education implements state and federal laws, policies, and regulations to ensure all Vermont learners have equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities. The Agency accomplishes this mission through the provision of its leadership, support, and oversight of Vermont’s public education system.

8.25.2022. MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Agency of Education

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