2023-2024 BEST Project Staff

Anne Dubie

Anne-Marie Dubie

Program Support

Cassandra Townshend headshot

Cassandra Townshend

Project Co-Director

Amy Wheeler-Sutton headshot

Amy Wheeler-Sutton

Project Co-Director

The goal of the BEST project is to increase and strengthen capacity across Vermont, so that schools and their communities are better able to anticipate and respond to the needs of students who are at risk of or experiencing social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

To help schools develop more effective strategies and interventions, the BEST Team facilitates a variety of workshops, in-service training, university coursework, webinars, and an annual Summer Institute. Training and technical assistance are presented within the framework of a multi-tiered system of supports, specifically, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). They are available to school staff, families/caregivers (including kin, foster, and adoptive caregivers) community members, and a variety of interagency workforce members.


Training is offered on evidence-based strategies, interventions, and curricula that can be used in classrooms and schools to support students who are at risk of or who experience emotional/behavioral challenges.  Training is also extended to education administrators, families/caregivers (including kin, foster, and adoptive caregivers), mental health providers, and other interested stakeholders. All activities are posted on our annual Professional Development Calendar at www.pbisvermont.org.


BEST/Act 230 Grants

Each fiscal year, Supervisory Unions/Districts have the opportunity to apply for grants to use for training, program development, and building school and Supervisory Union/District capacity.  BEST funds are intended for training and professional learning that will support creating equitable, rigorous learning environments for students with emotional and behavioral needs and are NOT intended to support curriculum implementation at the core/universal instructional level. Conversely, Act 230 Funds are intended for training for the provision of education services to children who require educational supports for academics and/or behavior in each tier of the multi-tiered system of supports.  Generally, all BEST professional development opportunities and coaching activities are approvable costs under the BEST/Act 230 grants.

Laura Greenwood, BEST/Act 230 Program Manager
Vermont Agency of Education
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641
(802) 828-4388

BEST Projects

Project AWARE VT (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education)

Project AWARE stands for Advancing Wellness And Resiliency in Education. It's a national project that focuses on connecting school communities and mental health services.

In Vermont, the participating supervisory unions established District Community Leadership Teams to:

  • identify and manage priorities for change;
  • develop and adopt roles of mental health clinicians to meet the needs across a continuum of supports; and
  • build student and family/caregiver voice into their existing systems.

Then, the Project AWARE Team conducted a comprehensive analysis of the supervisory unions' social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health data to inform following years.


Learn more about Project AWARE VT @ CDCI

RISE-VT (Restorative Approaches for Implementation in School Equity in Vermont)

The RISE-VT project was part of the Vermont Restorative Approaches Collaborative.

RISE-VT worked with schools and districts to deepen and improve their use of restorative approaches, through coaching and trainings. They also collaboratively created documentaries showcasing how each site used restorative approaches.



Learn more about the RISE-VT project

Vermont Early MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support)

MTSS is a nationally recognized framework of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, that provide evidence-based systems and processes for educators supporting social-emotional development of children and youth.

Early MTSS is the framework specifically for supporting very young children, birth through third grade.

Learn more about Vermont Early MTSS @ CDCI

Vermont Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (VTPBIS)

Vermont Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (VTPBIS) is a state-wide effort designed to help school teams form a proactive, school-wide, systems approach to improving social and academic competence for all students. Schools in Vermont are engaged in using a formal system of positive behavioral supports in their schools. Involved schools who implement PBIS with fidelity and integrity see a dramatic decrease in the number of behavior problems experienced in their schools. Additionally, students in these schools enjoy greater levels of support and inclusion than those in comparative schools who do not use a system of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. To learn more, visit our VTPBIS website.



The BEST Project is funded through the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) and supported by the UVM Center on Disability & Community Inclusion.

BEST logo

Inclement Weather Policy

The Vermont PBIS Team will make every attempt to conduct training on the scheduled day and time regardless of the weather. However, if schools are closed or there is a delayed start in the town where the training is located, the training will be cancelled. Participants will receive an email by 6:30 AM if the event is cancelled. If cancelled, we will make every attempt to reschedule the event.


VTPBIS Reports