Leland and Gray Union Middle and High School

Educational Support Services (ESS)


dsc00231Sometimes the things that happen in a student’s life can get in the way of his ability to learn well. As a result, grades, behavior, attendance, peer relationships and safety may be compromised. Reaching goals and dreams may become difficult.   The staff and administration at Leland and Gray are commited to helping all students who struggle with a variety of difficulties through the Educational Support System (ESS).

In year 2000, the Vermont Legislature passed Act 117, a mandate for all public schools to adopt an Educational Support System that achieved two goals:

1. To provide regular education students with academic, behavioral, and health-related supports to encourage their school success, and

2. To curb Special Education costs with consistent and effective services.

The ESS consists of a range of supports and services, instructional strategies and accommodations needed to increase the ability of a school to meet the needs of all students in the general education environment. One of the many components of the ESS is the Educational Support Team (EST).

The job of the EST is to act as a “think tank” and help solve the puzzle of what is going on for a student and determine what he/she might need to be more successful. It is also the job of an EST to review, revise and monitor the effectiveness of interventions. The focus is on what school staff can do differently by changing strategies, adjusting the environment, and altering expectations. Members of the EST include, but are not limited to classroom and special education teachers, specialists, administrators, nurses, paraprofessionals and school counselors. While parents and students are not required to attend the EST, they are invited to participate and resulting plans are always shared. Referrals are made to the EST by any school employee, parent or student and are usually made after teachers have tried a variety of strategies. Referrals are screened by the Director of Student Services.


Supports, accommodations and interventions are written in to an EST plan that follows a tiered system of support:

Tier I:

Classroom-based interventions for students struggling in two or more classes.

Tier II:

Small group interventions for those who continue to struggle despite supports.

Tier III:

Individual interventions or crisis response.

Interventions may include:


*identifying a safe space

*providing a mentor

*extending deadlines

*modifying assignments

*differentiating instruction

*in-class and/or after-school help


The Educational Support Team (EST) meets every 6 weeks to review progress

Interventions may include:


*participating in boys’ or girls’ group counseling

*peer tutoring

*attending homeroom or advisory check-in

*receiving weekly progress reports and study guides

*participating in after-school or summer programs


The Educational Support Team (EST) meets every 4 weeks to review progress

Interventions may include:


*individual guided study

*intensive mentoring

*interest-based lessons

*frequent parent communication

*referral for counseling

*In case of crisis, L&G may involve community service providers and interventions as appropriate.


The Educational Support Team (EST) meets every 2 weeks to review progress


Leland and Gray’s Educational Support System is designed to increase the ability of the regular education system to meet the need of all students. The acting Educational Support Team creates thoughtful and strategic plans to ensure the success of this goal. If at any time the team suspects that the student has a learning disability, a referral will be made for a special education evaluation.


If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact:

Melanie Zwolinski

Director of Student Services

802-365-7355 ext. 124