EWSD is committed to “growing hearts and minds for a better today and tomorrow: every day, every way, every one.” We serve approximately 4,500 preschool through 12th grade students in ten schools across three communities: Essex Town, Essex Junction and Westford, Vermont. We are one of the state’s largest and most highly-respected school systems, employ close to a thousand teachers and staff and operate with an $80 million-plus budget.
Our Educational Philosophy
EWSD is committed to “growing hearts and minds for a better today and tomorrow: every day, every way, every one.”
We are committed not only to students’ intellectual development, but also their social, emotional, physical, and creative lives. We are also committed to ensuring each and every child is successful in reaching their goals and aspirations. This mission statement was developed through conversations with staff, students, and community members during the process of merging the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union and Essex Town School District. We came together in 2017 as the EWSD with this new focus.
Our district’s instructional strategic plan – a multi-year plan built with an equity lens – lays out research-based, proven strategies to move our students and community forward. The rigorous, well-balanced proficiency-based curriculum focuses on emotional and academic growth to engage and inspire our learners. We believe in students sharing their voices and shaping their learning, with flexible opportunities to participate in arts, athletics, community service, and internships.
Teachers across the district meet weekly in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to foster collaborative learning and are encouraged to take advantage of our professional development funds to continue their education.
Our district is governed by a 10-member School Board, whose members are volunteers elected by our resident communities. Two high school student representatives also participate in board discussions. The Board generally meets twice each month to set policy, provide fiscal oversight and work with us to provide the resources that our staff need to be successful.
The district is led by Superintendent Beth Cobb, who works closely with a leadership team of school administrators and department heads. There are two “arms” of our organizational structure, which work together to ensure our children receive the best education possible: the instructional and the operational. The Superintendent oversees the Instructional side, including the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Student Support Services and Human Resources.
On the front lines are our school principals and instructional staff -- teachers, paraeducators and others, as well as the substitutes who cover when they are absent -- who work directly with students and families.
Brian Donahue, Chief Operating Officer, leads the district’s operations side. Departments include Transportation, Child Nutrition Services, Business Services, Facilities, and Safety. They work to support our instructional leaders by streamlining the business functions of the organization as a whole.
We believe in the value of every individual. We strive to raise the voices of both students and staff. We are committed to a growth mindset, seeking new learning opportunities, and working together to overcome challenges. This means that we don’t think people’s skills and attributes are set, but that we each can grow as we learn.
We respect and value our team members, and do our best to communicate clearly and often. Knowing that feedback is an essential part of continuous improvement, we acknowledge that it’s important to make time to share our collective knowledge.
Our systems are constantly evolving. We encourage creative thinking and risk-taking in pursuit of growth to give our learning community the best possible experience.
A key part of our mission is growing both hearts and minds, and we aspire for compassionate, caring interactions in all of our relationships.
Essex is Vermont’s second most-populated community and is nestled between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. The town of Westford lies just north of Essex and has historically been an agricultural community. Residents are a short drive from the city of Burlington and enjoy safe, walkable neighborhoods surrounded by trail-laced open spaces.