Issue #34: Late July

Dear OSSU Educators,
I’m betting it would be truly impressive to take an inventory of all the professional development that you are engaging in this summer…

So let’s do it! Send an email to reeve@hardwickagriculture.org briefly describing the program, course or learning you’ve been doing. I look forward to hearing from you and being able to paint a picture of the collective skill-building that has been happening in preparation for the new year!

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ECHO Center Partnership with OSUED: The new Orleans Southwest Unified Elementary District composed of Woodbury, Lakeview and Hardwick Elementary Schools is engaging in an exciting new partnership with the ECHO Leahy Center. ECHO has recently expanded its science education mission to reach communities beyond Chittenden County with support for innovative and collaborative place-based STEM curriculum. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.)
After visiting to meet with school leaders, teachers and community partners, ECHO invited the OSUED to become one of six pilot sites to participate in its new outreach program. The OSUED was thrilled to accept! This year, ECHO will work with the district to design and implement high quality STEM curriculum through needs assessment, coaching, professional development, science kit materials, curriculum design, and a community science night. ECHO’s approach is to work closely with the schools to build a partnership that addresses the particular needs of the school and its community. Stay tuned for more as the partnership progresses!

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The Hazen Artisan and Entrepreneurship Academy will launch this fall with five new classes: Building Businesses and Bridges, Woodcraft to Market, Printmaking for Profit, Career Cafe Crew, and Artisan Trade Independent Study. The Academy’s new coordinator, Hilary Maynard, began working with teachers this summer at Ed Camp during a full-day planning and leadership development retreat. Attending the retreat were 15 Hazen staff, 10 community partners, and 3 students. An amazing day of critical reflection and co-creation!

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Opportunity: NEK Leadership Institute
The NEKLI, a program created by NorthWoods Stewardship Center with support from the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative, seeks to challenge, support, and promote leaders who serve in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. This initiative provides participants with the tools, resources, and connections that will enable them to be more effective leaders, as they address challenges in their work and in their communities. The program consists of 6 sessions, including one overnight, totaling 7 seminar days between November 2019 and April 2020. Each session is held in a different part of the Northeast Kingdom to convey a sense of region’s rich historic, geographic and cultural diversity.
Free of cost for the applicants selected! CLICK HERE TO APPLY

Issue #33: Early July

This issue zooms out to share some of the OSSU happenings at the supervisory union level.

First up, a warm welcome to new OSSU Superintendent, Adam Rosenberg! On a recent visit to the CAE, Adam shared that the vibrant ecosystem of community partnerships in OSSU was a big part of what drew him to this position. Cheers to existing and future partnerships and to ongoing investment in cultivating their potential for supporting transformational learning!

In the introduction to his transition plan, Adam describes his focus as Superintendent:

Building off of the OSSU Framework for Continuous Growth, my focus will be on cultivating agency through reflective practice: student agency in order to fulfill our vision statement, staff agency to create a system of distributed leadership, and community agency to engage community members and parents in and create diverse opportunities for student learning.

You can read Adam’s reflections as he dives into OSSU by following him on Twitter at @LearnerBased

Equity in Schools:

  • On March 29th, Act 1, took effect in the State of Vermont. This act creates an Ethnic and Social Equity Standards Advisory Working Group to review student performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education and, on or before June 30, 2021, recommend to the State Board updates and additional standards to recognize fully the history, contributions and perspectives of ethnic groups and social groups.
  • OSSU community members, in solidarity with families of color, organized to attend the May meeting of the OSSU School Board to speak out about the racism experienced by students in our schools and the need for a shared commitment to engage in the long-term work of finding solutions and taking action to undo racism in our community.
  • OSSU administrators Heather Freeman, Amy Massé , Joanne LeBlanc and Tess Martin attended an Undoing Racism training in NYC with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. This training began by examining poverty and its structural causes, then moved to an exploration of the history of race and racism in our society.
  • Equity Literacy Grant: OSSU, Montpelier-Roxbury and Southwest Vermont school districts were together awarded a $44,000 Equity Literacy Grant from the State of Vermont. Beginning July 1, this grant supports critical training for administrators and staff to build capacity for addressing racial and social inequities within our systems. Additionally, a District Equity Team composed of teachers, students, administration, parents, community and local businesses, will meet once a month to help develop goals for this work. Project partners and resources include the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, CQ Strategies LLC and WholeHeart, Inc.

Beefing up local beef in schools: The OSSU food service programs have set a shared goal of  purchasing more of their beef locally. Through a partnership with Jasper Hill Farm, the six schools will source an estimated 1100 pounds of local, organic beef for school lunches in the 2019-20 school year. Yum! This aligns with a new statewide goal signed into law in May that states: by the year 2022 school boards operating a school lunch, breakfast, or summer meals program shall purchase at least 20 percent of all food for those programs from local producers.

Issue #32: Late June

** Click here for a list of local 2019 Summer Meals Sites where youth eat for free. **

 

HES Sustainability Fair: For the past few years, Hardwick Elementary has been building a shared vision for incorporating sustainability as a unifying theme across the school. This year, staff, students and community partners worked together to hold the first annual HES Sustainability Fair – a day full of interactive presentations and peer-to-peer learning showcasing the sustainability topics studied by each grade throughout the year. For example, sixth-graders worked with Central Vermont Solid Waste District to conduct a school waste audit this spring and shared a sorting game and audit findings at the Fair. Second-graders learned about planting and nurturing seeds in order to grow pumpkins for Hardwick’s annual pumpkin walk, and then led a seed-starting station at the Sustainability Fair to teach their peers. Other projects included recycled art, natural and cultural history signage for Atkins Field, the ‘3 Cares’ of self, others and community practiced in the ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) model, and a salsa taste test and label design competition for a homemade school salsa being developed to help fund-raise for the school gardens. Despite being quite parking-lot bound, HES frequently makes use of outdoor learning spaces. For the Sustainability Fair, student presentations were set up on the playground, in the woods above the athletic field, and all over Atkins Field (a community green space a short walk from the school.) 

Pics from grade-level sustainability units during the school year:

Sustainability Fair Slideshow:

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Hazen J-Term:

Those of you who had the opportunity to attend Hazen’s J-Term Expo might have sampled homemade aromatherapy products, ordered a slice of artisan pizza hot out of the mud oven, bought a raffle ticket for a beautiful barn quilt painting, or caught a performance from the Kiss cover band. And all of that before you even stepped inside the school building where hallways were lined with student project presentations on everything from fly-fishing to print-making, mountain-biking, first aid, dairy farming, ceramics, cultural exchange to Mexico, and many more! J-Term offers students two weeks of special interest seminars at the end of the school year. Piloted two years ago by the middle school, the program has grown to include the high-school. Students choose three seminars for the term and develop a deep-dive project in one of the three. These are the projects showcased at the Expo. For a further glimpse into two of the J-Term classes, ‘Healthy Eating’ and ‘Barn Quilts,’ see the slideshows below! Note: Community partnerships, field trips, and student leadership were key components of both of these classes, as well as many others.

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Summer PD opportunities (compiled by Vermont Learning for the Future):

  • Shelburne Farms Education for Sustainability – 2-day, 5-day and year-long professional development opportunities with internationally renowned programming, facilities and staff. Graduate credit and scholarships available.
  • Proficiency-Based Learning: A Framework for Clarity and EquityAugust 5-9. Led by Mike Martin and hosted by the Champlain Valley Education Development Center, this course will provide structures and strategies that help clarify next steps for teachers and school leaders who are engaged in this work and are responsible for communicating this change to students, families and the wider community. The operating assumption is that proficiency-based learning will improve equitable student outcomes through greater precision, transparency, and relevance thanks to intentionally structured learning activities and assessment.
  • Abenaki Culture in the Classroom – presented by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Through lectures and experiential learning, Vermont Abenaki Artists Association scholars, historians and culture bearers provide teachers with a deeper understanding of how indigenous culture continues into the 21st century and how to support Abenaki and Native students while presenting American history. August 8-10. Graduate credit available through Castleton University.
  • Discovering Community Summer InstituteAugust 12-15. presented by The Vermont Folklife Center. Educators from across the state will gather for a four-day intensive at The Fairbanks Museum. The course provides an introduction to collaborative ethnography and digital storytelling for the classroom, offering hands-on experience for methods of community-based research and documentary media making. Three graduate credits available through Castleton University.
  • PhD in Educational Leadership, Social justice & Equity – A low-residency program offered by Southern New Hampshire University. Participants meet in person one Saturday per month and a week in the summers (Summer 2019 at Loon Mountain, August 5-9) and degree completion can be done in three to five years.  There is no regional cohort requirement for this program – participants who wish to consider equity work deeply through doctoral study are welcome to apply for acceptance as individuals. Application deadline is July 1. Contact Kelsea Moulton, Program Coordinator (k.moulton@snhu.edu) or call the Vermont Campus office at 802-489-5080.  
  • Courageous Conversations: Beyond Diversity with Luis Versalles, Pacific Educational Group – A two-day seminar hosted by the Champlain Valley Education Development Center that helps teachers, students, and administrators understand the impact of race on our lives, our work and our learning. Interactive and stirring exercises strength participants’ critical consciousness of race and leads them to investigate the role that racism plays in institutionalizing achievement disparities. Most importantly, it models and teaches a protocol for discussing race in ways that are productive insightful, and generative. September 24-25, at the Hampton Inn in Colchester

Issue #31: Late May/Early June

There is always far more amazing, place-based learning going on in OSSU than this little blog can keep up with, and it’s even more true this time of year as special projects and outdoor activities abound. So enjoy this issue’s selection of stories, and know that more will be coming throughout the summer!

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Craftsbury Academy Career Day

On May 31, Craftsbury Academy hosted a Career Fair featuring over 45 community members.  The event was organized as a class project by students from grades 9-12 in Leadership Class. The event began with an introduction from Rusty Dewees followed by sessions of 11 different panels representing 11 different career clusters.  The second session consisted of 6 presentations including the Morrisville Police Department K-9 unit and a culinary demonstration from the New England Culinary Institute. Each panel was hosted by two high school students who introduced the presenters or panelists and then facilitated questions from the audience consisting of Craftsbury students grade 6-12 and Wolcott Elementary’s sixth grade. – submitted by CA student leadership team

 

May 13-17 was Hazen’s second annual Service Week! You may have read about it in the Hardwick Gazette, or seen the banner in downtown Hardwick, but here (below) is a deeper visual dive into some of the 18 different projects that took place at school and in the surrounding community. Service Week is coordinated by the Partners in Learning Team, a collaboration between community members, school board members, student leaders, WonderArts Vermont, The Center for an Agricultural Economy, VSAC‘s Aspirations Program and Hazen Union High School.

 

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Some nuggets of evidence of Service Week’s impact:

  • Students singing at the top of their lungs while they pulled weeds in the Hazen greenhouse.
  • Student internship and job shadowing opportunities identified while working at host sites.
  • Teacher: “It was great to see the kids really find their flow and enjoy working together.”
  • Project host: “I was out for a walk on the trails last night and saw Marlene’s trail. Wow! This is a hard working group! Thanks so much for everything.”
  • Student: “That place was amazing – it was so inspiring to be there!” (reflecting on service project at Heartbeet)

And a note from one work site host:

Just wanted to say that this service week is my favorite week of the year. I LOVE working with your students they are WONDERFUL and dedicated and awesome… I just really appreciated the students’ willingness to tackle everything I threw at them. As usual, they got much more done each day than I anticipated. Thanks so much for making this happen every year.”

 

4th Annual Wolcott All-School Garden Work Day (in pictures and video):

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Spontaneously composed original song: “I am a happy kid, with my dirty hands!”

 

 

Job Fair at Hazen Union: Twenty local businesses participated in a Job Fair sponsored by Jasper Hill Farm, Voc Rehab Vermont, VT Department of Labor and Hazen Union High School. Held in the Hazen library, the first part of the fair was open to students, followed by a time period open to community members. Support for completing job applications and communicating with employers was also offered. Three cheers for local talent, career exploration, and community engagement!

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Last year the CAE conducted an evaluation project to understand the impacts and opportunities of place-based food systems education in OSSU. The evaluation findings help guide CAE’s work as a support organization working with the local school system. Below is a summary of the project, also viewable HERE in pdf form for easier reading.

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Issue #30: Early May

The Future of Education Design Studio: Earlier this spring, Hazen Middle School students Bailey Shepard (8th) and Lydia Hall (7th), traveled with three members of the Community Programs Team from the Center for an Agricultural Economy to take part in a Design Studio focused on student leadership in advancing civic engagement in education. Here is how Bailey and Lydia described the experience:

“When I went to the youth leadership workshop I learned a lot about student leaders. I really enjoyed getting to work with other adults and have them listen to my opinion. 

One problem we have come up with is that we need more student-led classrooms. For example, more Harkness classrooms, so it’s a student-led conversation and not a teacher standing up in front of the room talking. 

I really enjoyed going to the workshop and learning and coming up with new ideas trying to make changes so our education can be to its fullest.” – Lydia

“I loved meeting kids around my age from other schools. It’s nice to talk to new people, different people than who I see every day at school. I wanted to talk about improving breakfast at school. Quite a few people from other schools brought up the issue of racism. I’m part of the Stand-Up group at Hazen that works to address racism, so I liked talking about this with new people, too. 

Our project is to make a survey for the whole school and I met students from another school, Tuttle, who are also working on a survey project.” – Bailey

At the Design Studio the Hazen team began to develop a project idea – a student survey to identify issues for action and change by asking questions in three topic areas:
  1. School and personal wellness (meals, time outside, bell schedule, etc.)
  2. Student-based classrooms (student driven learning models)
  3. Issues that matter to students (climate change, racial justice, etc.)
Stay tuned for more as this project develops!

 

Hazen Community Partner Appreciation Breakfast: On May 7th, the Partners in Learning (PIL) team hosted a special event in honor of the value that community partnerships contribute to student learning. Now in its third year, the event’s invitation list surpassed 140 entities(!) – individuals, businesses and organizations that have partnered with the school through internships, guest presentations, program collaborations, job shadowing, etc. Those in attendance (about 40 folks) were welcomed by principal David Perrigo and student PIL member Bailey Shepard. Liz Shlegal of the Alchemist Foundation gave a keynote address, with a reminder that the only unique product we actually produce in Vermont — is Vermonters! Finally, a student panel (Chris Coderre, Morgan Mercier and Dillon Coderre) shared their stories of how community-based learning has transformed their school experience. A clear sense of the reciprocal benefit of school-community partnerships was woven throughout the program. 

Partners in Learning is a collaboration between community members, school board members, student leaders, WonderArts Vermont, The Center for an Agricultural Economy, VSAC’s Aspirations Program and Hazen Union High School.

 

Lakeview VREC Mini-Grant Project: Each year the Vermont Rural Education Collaborative awards mini-grants to schools for, “innovative projects that promote youth leadership, place-based education, and foster school and community partnerships.” Lakeview has been a participant in this program for many years. Here, student Charlie Kehler shares his experience:

V.R.E.C. 2019

This was my first time ever doing V.R.E.C. It was a great process. We started by coming up with ideas for our grant in early fall. Then once we had come up with a good idea, we went to a pitch meeting in Coventry with Mrs. Campos where we pitched our idea to three other schools. Then we listened to their ideas and asked them questions.

After the pitch meeting we started writing our grant. It was for Outdoor Learning supplies like binoculars and nets and sample takers. It also included microscopes and water pH test tubes and tablets. Some rocket kits were included. We also got big bins to store them. They are available to other teachers and classes if they want to check them out.

After we got our grant approved we made a tri-board to present at the presentation meeting. The meeting was held at Burke Town School. Our bus got there in the morning. When we got there we went into the gymnasium. There was a small snack waiting there for us. We had a little time to settle in and look around. Then Margaret, who is one of the leaders, spoke to us about what the schedule would be for the day. She also announced which groups of schools would be presenting with each other. First we listened to Lyndon Town School give their presentation. Then we gave ours. We presented to Millers Run, Burke  Town School and Walden. Each sixth grader had a part. My part was telling them what we learned and teaching them how to do a water pH test. Some other things that we got with our grant of 1500 dollars were soil testing kits, nets, sketchbooks and compasses.

Overall I think it was a great process for everyone in Sixth Grade. We have been using the new materials and it’s great to get outside!

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Wolcott Elementary School celebrated its annual Spring Fling with a full day of special activities to bring in the new season with creativity, joy and hands-on learning. In the photos below, students craft biodegradable seed-starting pots from newspaper, plant squash, cucumber, kale, herb and flower starts for the garden, and seed their own mini salad gardens in recycled milk cartons. 

 

Start-Up Entrepreneurship Series at Hazen: Spark, a project of Greensboro-based nonprofit WonderArts has partnered with the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) to offer a local series of classes on entrepreneurship and small business development. One version of the series is geared toward adults, and the other is being offered directly to students at Hazen Union. With support from Hazen’s work-based learning program, a cohort of ten self-selected, entrepreneurial students has met five times this semester with CWE’s Gwen Pokalo for a dynamic series of workshops to develop their ideas and strategies for building a small business. For more on the Start-Up Series, check out the WonderArts blog

 

Upcoming Event: Craftsbury Academy, in partnership with Healthy Lamoille Valley, is hosting a community forum on the impacts of technology and social media on youth. This event is open to all! May 30th, 6-7:30 pm. Read more HERE.

Issue #29: Late April

 

Wolcott Elementary School Maple Explorations: As part of an integrated unit on maple sugaring, Wolcott fourth-graders made a visit to Maple Sugar Mountain in Waterville and later hosted a classroom visit from sugar maker Linda Reeve of Bare Swamp Maple in Wolcott. The Reeves are currently the maple source for the Wolcott School meals program.

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4th Grade Teacher Trista Hutchins writes: “The kids loved it and learned so much. My uncle (a retired teacher) provided them with an engaging tour. He was very impressed with their questions and all they knew and wondered more about. We even had a pancake lunch with fresh syrup! When we returned to school the class did a free journal write about their visit. I was impressed with many of their thoughts and new learnings.”

 

Craftsbury Students Present at Community Forum: The Craftsbury School Life Association (SLA) recently hosted a community forum to discuss the strengths, challenges and opportunities for keeping athletics strong, supported, creative, and inclusive for Craftsbury kids. This coincided serendipitously with a language arts research project being undertaken by middle school students to investigate various aspects of competitive sports.

Teacher Alyssa Krebs writes: “The 7th and 8th grade studentshave been working on an argument writing unit for the past six weeks, opening up the big, broad, student-selected topic of competitive sports and encouraging each student to take a deep dive into a subtopic of personal interest.  The subtopics they researched range from pressure, to injuries, to co-ed sports teams, to funding, and beyond.  In the end, their challenge was to develop a nuanced claim about their subtopic, build an argument with reasons and evidence, and ultimately write an essay.  We finished editing just in time for students to contribute their own thinking to the community sports forum. Each student turned their argument into a visual poster which we then organized by topic and set up as a walking gallery in the Common Room.  In addition, each of the three classes (1 seventh and 2 eighth) selected a single argument to orally present at the forum.”

Students opened the forum with their presentations, setting the stage for the rich discussion that followed, and reminding us all how critical youth voice and youth-adult partnerships are in working toward meaningful school and community change.

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Hazen Celebrates Community Partnership: Two upcoming events at Hazen bring attention to the value of community-based learning and the many ways that community partnerships enhance the experience of students.

  • On May 7th, a Community Partner Appreciation Breakfast will be held to recognize the scores of individuals, businesses and organizations who have contributed to Hazen as internship providers, guest presenters, project partners, etc. A student panel and keynote speaker Liz Shlegal of the Alchemist Foundation will present to the invited guests.
  • On May 14-17, students and teachers will take their energy and teamwork into the community for the second annual Hazen Service week. Service projects take place at local farms, businesses, community spaces and at the school itself.

Stay tuned for photos and stories from both of these events!

 

 

Issue #28: Early April

Happy April Break! Read on to hear how Lakeview celebrated the last day before break, and learn about a student art exhibit that could be a great addition to your vacation itinerary.

Career Day at Lakeview Elementary: The Friday before April break was a special day at Lakeview. Ten different guests from the community set up stations in and around the school, and students spent the day touring each station to learn about the different kinds of work done by members of their community. Supported and coordinated by the PLUS Team (People for Lakeview Union School), the list of guest presenters included:

  • Vermont State Police – David Upson
  • Greensboro Fire Department – Dave Brochu, Jr., Devin Burgess and John Moffatt
  • Jasper Hill dairy farmers – Dave Thomas and Brandi Robinson
  • Town of Greensboro Road Foreman- Tom Camarra
  • Craftsbury Outdoor Center athletes – Jen Forbes and Hallie Grossman
  • Ben and Jerry’s food scientist – Luke Garguilo
  • Black Dirt Farm compost and vegetable farmer – Tom Gilbert
  • Family Nurse Practitioner – Jeri Wohlberg
  • Computer Scientist-  Dave Martin
  • Performing Artist – Taryn Noelle

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Art and Environmentalism: On April 7th, a show of student artwork from around the state will be installed at the Burlington International Airport, presenting environmentally themed student artwork in conjunction with Green Up Day.  This show, coordinated by Hazen art teacher James Lockhart, is part of his long-time commitment to integrating nature and environmental education into art curriculum.

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One of the pieces of Hazen student work appearing in the Airport show this year.

James not only designs art curriculum that helps students connect to the natural world, he also cultivates opportunities to showcase the environmental messages students convey through their art. A few years ago, Hazen eighth-graders crafted life-sized sculptures of every major fish species in Lake Champlain! This integrated art and science project culminated in a show at the ECHO Center in Burlington. The next year, James and Hazen student artists teamed up with the VT Statehouse curators to produce the first one-school show at the VT Statehouse, this time featuring artwork to raise awareness of the endangered bird species of District 14. Last year, interested in bringing student work and their environmental message to an even bigger audience, James connected with the CEOs of Burlington International Airport, both of whom are on the Green UP VT board, and coordinated a Green Up-themed student art show, this time collaborating with eight other schools as well. The show was so successful that it is not only happening again this year, but is already scheduled for next year,too, and now includes scholarship prizes for student artists. Visit this year’s show at BTV between April 5th and May 31st!

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Issue #27: Late March

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Youth Climate Strike: On Friday, March 15, tens of thousands of students in 112 countries around the world left school and marched through their communities to demand decisive and immediate action by governments to confront the climate crisis. Below, three students who were part of the climate march at Hazen Union School share their experience:

“We had a good turnout for our small community. A lot of kids from different social groups participated, our signs were amazing, and the atmosphere was very respectful,” said 11th grade organizer Kai Gilbert. “I’m really proud of everyone who walked out – it can be hard to get behind issues that don’t directly affect you – your fruit isn’t rotting from the inside on your farm, your town isn’t being flooded – but a lot of kids were able to get past their privilege and join in to stand up for something beyond their protected, safe experience.”

Although the youth-organized protest took the form of a school walk-out, teachers were invited, and many chose to join the student protesters. “It felt really good to experience teachers and students behind something together, by choice,” said ninth grader Carter Hill. “It was cool to be involved in something statewide. It hit me that people are doing this all over the state, and the world.”

“It was great for me – an amazing experience,” freshman Gabriel Hill shared. “There were so many social media posts from community members and businesses thanking walk-out participants.” 

Kai described the impact of the event, saying, “The march made people feel more confident to speak about climate change, to be more outspoken and passionate. It opened possibilities about what we can do to improve school and engage in more environmentally sustainable practices. We are now working on flying the world flag as a symbol of Hazen’s dedication to stopping climate change and cutting emissions.  Next year we hope to organize one day per quarter dedicated to climate activities in the community – planting, energy audits, art, presentations, etc. that will educate people about the need for action.”

“Some students didn’t walk out because of disbelief and others had a hard time with missing class at the end of the quarter. But the importance of civil discourse has been emphasized at Hazen by our principal, which is something I really appreciate, and I think this experience was a great example of that.”

 

Lakeview StoryKeepers Project: Vermont children’s author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock shared her love of history and family stories with Lakeview students through a special program called StoryKeepers in our Schools. In a series of workshops with Natalie, students learned the tools for researching their own family stories and picked a family member to study in depth. At a wonderfully well-attended culminating community presentation, students shared the family stories they had discovered, presented in beautiful scrap-book/portfolio style projects. Natalie spoke about her experience as a writer being inspired by the stories she uncovered in her own family, including the stories sewn into her grandmother’s quilts. Refreshments featuring local ingredients were prepared by students as part of Lakeview’s farm-to-school program through Green Mountain Farm to School.

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Master Chef Junior at Craftsbury: Tina Lyon’s fourth- and fifth-graders have been cooking up math, teamwork, and challenging recipes through a series of Master Chef Junior activities. In connection with CA’s farm-to-school curriculum through Green Mountain Farm to School, these young chefs most recently prepared scrumptious strawberry shortcake. Teams presented the fruits of their labor and their reflections on the collaborative process to a panel of judges.  Impressive results (both culinary and team dynamics) all around!

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Farm-to-School Professional Development Class: For the last session in the farm-to school-series for teachers, the group visited the Vermont Food Venture Center where they toured the facility and learned about its many programs supporting food business entrepreneurs and farmers. They also heard about the opportunity for student groups to work with the Food Venture Center to develop and produce a marketable product. Examples include hot sauce and blackberry syrup produced by students from Montpelier and St. Johnsbury (respectively) using ingredients grown at school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issue #26: Early March

Happy Spring!

A quick post to celebrate the signs of spring sprouting up all around OSSU, even on this wild snowy day… 

  • A STEM class at Wolcott is taking on the project of redesigning and expanding their school garden.
  • Students are designing outdoor learning kits at Lakeview to connect curriculum to nature and stewardship.
  • Service week at Hazen will be held the week of May 13-17, connecting students and community hosts through meaningful work projects.
  • Hardwick Elementary is planning for their Sustainability Fair to be held in June with each class presenting a sustainability themed project.
  • Senior Capstone presentations at Craftsbury Academy will be held on Tuesday, April 9th from 6:00-7:30pm. There will be three rooms of presentations with each presentation covering a thirty-minute time slot. All community and school members are welcome to attend.
  • For their culminating class trip, Woodbury 6th graders have chosen to go to a Nature’s Classroom environmental/ecology “camp” for three days for team building and to support their science curriculum. Support their fundraising efforts HERE!

And an appreciation of the outgoing season with some pics of winter celebrations from around the district:

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Issue #25: February

Woodbury Outdoor Learning: The following letter, sent to families at the start of the school year, offers an inspiring example of integrated outdoor learning at Woodbury Elementary. And check out the accompanying slideshow to see this initiative in action! Thanks to 5/6 teacher Mish Boreanaz for sharing!

Dear Families,

Last year, one major goal of mine was to get our class outside more. To offer a change of pace from the classroom and give students experiences to help them increase their understanding of their natural world and local communities. I had been hearing about classes that were implementing various Outdoor Learning programs and so I began one modeled after some that I learned about. This was very successful and will continue this year as well. Some examples of things we did the last two years that we may do again this year: Math (ratios, measurement, data, percentage), Literacy (lots of poetry, journal writing, reading, etc… ), Science (plant and animal ID, forest ecology, physical science, etc…), Gardening, Observation, Games, Art, Physical Education (Snowshoeing, skiing, hiking), and a lot more! This year, we will plan to explore Woodbury Elementary’s property and surrounding land, but also try to go to other places too (Craftsbury Outdoor Center, local farms, etc…)

We will be going outside for our learning every Wednesday afternoon regardless of weather (except in extreme circumstances). Please help make sure that each Wednesday students are prepared with proper gear to be outside all afternoon! This time of year students should have sneakers or shoes for hiking in the woods and that can get dirty and wet, a sweatshirt or light coat, and rain gear on rainy days (raincoat, rain pants if you have them, mud boots if you have them). As the weather gets colder coats, boots, hats, mittens/gloves, etc.. should start coming. Sweatshirts are not enough for a whole afternoon outside in 35 degree weather, as much as they may think otherwise 🙂 Part of Tuesday’s homework each week will be to come prepared.

There are sometimes weeks when we change the day of Outdoor Learning, for example if the weather is particularly terrible on a Wednesday, but looks fine the next day… There are also times when we don’t do Outdoor Learning: on short weeks, on weeks where we have other field trips, during ski season on weeks when we cross country ski at Craftsbury, and weeks where we have Four Winds. I do my best to keep you updated by email or in my class updates on my website.

I’m looking forward to a great year of getting outside! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

Take care,

Mish Boreanaz

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Hazen Wellness Fair: As part of Hazen’s Winter Carnival, a host of wellness-related local businesses and organizations were invited to share their services. The library was full of energy and bodywork practitioners offering various kinds of massage, aroma and sound therapy, yoga, and acupuncture. Other Wellness Fair activities included juggling lessons, creating a snow mandala, taste tests, iron chef competitions, exercising with pre-Olympic athletes, and more!  The sense of community and well-being among staff, students and guests was palpable and amazing!

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Serving up Bulk Milk and Cutting Down on Waste: Lakeview and Hazen are ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing waste through a switch from milk cartons to local bulk milk. On a recent tour organized by Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District, a group of professionals interested in learning more about implementing bulk milk in schools visited both Lakeview Elementary and Hazen Union. At each school they heard from the school nutrition manager about benefits and considerations involved in serving bulk milk. Thank you to Jeff Roy and Patti Foster for hosting and answering questions! And thank you to John Jose and the folks at CVSWMD for convening this opportunity to share and learn.