VTVLC Administrator Profile
Get to Know VTVLC Director of Special Education, Melissa Sargent-Minor
Melissa Sargent-Minor joined VTVLC as a consulting special educator back in 2021, but this year she has transitioned to Director of Special Education, a role in which she supports educational teams (families, schools, and VTVLC) to ensure that exceptional learners have equitable access to their online learning opportunities.
A third-generation educator (her grandmother and father worked in education for 45+ years), it’s no surprise that Sargent-Minor works in education. But Sargent-Minor’s involvement in the sphere of special education happened by chance. “A chance meeting in a parking lot led me to join Vermont’s first cohort of special educators with the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative,” Sargent-Minor said. “I was inspired by a fantastic professor, MaryBeth Doyle, and started my journey in special education with a focus on intensive special needs learners.”
At the beginning of the 20-21 school year, Sargent-Minor’s former school signed on to participate in the Collaborative School Option VTVLC offered to Vermont schools. Sargent-Minor agreed to participate as an online special educator.
For Sargent-Minor, balancing virtual services/case management and in-school teaching was a made for a challenging year, but she was certain about the value of having a special educator act as a liaison between exceptional virtual learners and their Vermont schools. Sargent-Minor advocated for VTVLC to have a full-time special educator on hand, and was soon offered the role of Consulting Special Educator. “I continue to push myself and the team to ensure access and opportunity for exceptional learners across the state through virtual learning,” Sargent-Minor said.
Since entering into her role at VTVLC, Sargent-Minor has developed and honed processes to ensure VTVLC is meeting all students’ needs. “We have created wonderful processes in collaboration with our sending schools to ensure the onboarding of students is clear and expectations for all stakeholders are discussed,” Sargent-Minor said. “This has proven to be successful for our K-12 full time students.”
Now, Sargent-Minor is entering her first year as Director of Special Education and looking forward to all that the school year has to offer, from welcoming the K-12 students back, to celebrating the expansion of the 9-12 Collaborative Diploma Program. Additionally, Sargent-Minor is excited about VTVLC’s student club offerings, which she says offer great opportunities for students to connect about a variety of interests.
|VTVLC Director of Special Education|
Years at VTVLC
Role before VTVLC
We are here to help you be successful. It all starts with communication.
To Sargent-Minor, opportunities for virtual learning in the state are vital. “At VTVLC, students can develop transferable skills that may not be learned through in-person learning,” Sargent-Minor said. “Proper email communication and etiquette, time management skills, and finding balance in school, work, and life are all areas that experiencing a course virtually may provide for a student.”
However, Sargent-Minor feels strongly that communication is a critical component of online learning success. “I have heard from students that they didn’t know what they needed for support, so they didn’t ask their teacher, and time marched on, and they became significantly behind and stressed,” Sargent-Minor said. “Even if you don’t know what to say, that is all you need to say!”
Sargent-Minor says, at VTVLC, it’s okay to email someone say that you are stuck or request a meeting to gain additional support. VTVLC also offers Student Support Academic Success Coaches to assist with pacing and weekly planning. Additionally, VTVLC teachers offer online office hours, and technical support is on hand to assist with technological barriers. “We have staff that can listen and provide guidance on how to get back on track, stay on track, or facilitate communication with your teacher to let them know what is going on in your world,” Sargent-Minor said. “We are here to help you be successful. It all starts with communication.”
Overall, Sargent-Minor stresses that VTVLC is a great opportunity for Vermont students to explore their learning online. “As VTVLC honors 10 years of Act 77, the flexible pathway act that opened doors to virtual learning for students across the state of VT, I am excited to be a part of our continued growth and offerings to schools around the state,” Sargent-Minor said.