As we all plunged into the new realities and complexities of the pandemic back in March, this regular blog report took a hiatus to make way for the urgent flow of information being communicated to navigate the crisis.
The significance of the work our schools and communities (you!) have done to come together in moving through this difficult time can not be overstated.
Thank you – for taking care of each other, for holding on to hope, for prioritizing our young people, and for wasting no time in providing incredible learning and community building experiences for our kids despite the fraught circumstances of reopening. Here are just a few examples from around OSSU:
Hardwick Elementary community garden projects at Atkins Field.
REACH! Afterschool Program Apple Fest activities at Woodbury, Lakeview, Craftsbury and Wolcott.
Wolcott School fall garden work projects:
Craftsbury students are getting outside in all kinds of ways, including team building activities led by Sterling College students majoring in outdoor education. The Craftsbury Academy Woodlot is another rich context for outdoor learning where students regularly meet with forester Jared Nunery for lessons and explorations of the forested landscape. (Hope to have some photos of this to share soon!) In the management plan for the woodlot, the overarching goals of the plan include:
The woodlot should be managed to provide demonstration of exemplary practices of land stewardship, as well as natural areas to observe and learn about natural processes.
Building on the first goal, this land should serve as a place of doing, a place for students to get their hands dirty and learn from the natural world, within the natural world, and be a part of any management actions within the woodlot.
Hazen has expanded the Pathways program this year through additional teacher collaboration and a significant increase in students doing independent-based learning (IBL) projects and community and work-based learning. Some IBL experiences also include collaborative projects. For example, one group is looking at community food access and connecting learning proficiencies to a project around creating community meals.
The “Dare to Be Me” class and the Hazen Arts Collaborative programs are two, new, multi-disciplinary learning experiences launched this year.
- Taking place off campus at the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro, the Hazen Arts Collaborative was recently visited by Vermont PBS to interview students about project-based and immersive learning. Stay tuned for info about when the story will be broadcast…
- The “Dare to Be Me” interdisciplinary class, “aims to help students develop an ‘I can’ attitude and the courage to be themselves. All activities are geared towards fostering health and wellbeing, a positive sense of self, independence, and a sense of connection and purpose. As much time as possible is spent in Nature and blends many different exercise routines with opportunities for mindfulness, quiet introspection, and meaningful conversations.”
Woodbury and Lakeview, members of the OSUED district and further linked through shared principal, Justine Guthrie, are prioritizing the value of collaboration – both schools now have the opportunity to work together in Professional Learning Communities, and the collaboration between schools has cultivated a positive and growing community of practice.
The OSSU Leadership Team has begun regularly incorporating facilitated equity work and practice into team meetings, recognizing this lens and learning as critical to seeing ourselves, our community, and the impact of our schools more clearly in doing the collaborative work of creating and supporting educational systems that serve all of our students.
And a huge shout out to the Student Services Team and Special Educators who have been designing and amending learning plans to reflect the current educational model as well as contingency plans for 100% remote learning and/or hybrid learning. Thank you for climbing this mountain in service of our kids!
And finally, some inspiring artwork to send you off with a bit of beauty: natural mandalas made by Wolcott School third-graders:
P.S. Check out this free resource:
During Agricultural Literacy Week, November 16 -19, each night will feature a free webinar bringing together the voices of our community. Click on the links below for each workshop to learn more and register. All events are free and open to the public!
11/16 6-7:30 pm: Exploring Abenaki Foodways Cooking Class, Guest Speaker: Chef Jessee Lawyer
11/17 6-7:30 pm: #MilkwithDignity: Advancing the Human Rights of Farmworkers while Fostering a Sustainable Northeast Dairy Industry, Guest Speakers: Migrant Justice
11/18 6-7:30 pm: Building Soil Health Resilience, Farmer Panel: Misse Axelrod (Drift Farmstead), Nic Cook (Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center), Tyler Webb (Stony Pond Farm), Kate Spring (Good Heart Farmstead)
11/19 6-7:30 pm: Gender, Agriculture, and Food Access, Guest Speakers: Ike Leslie, Postdoctoral Researcher in Food Systems at the University of New Hampshire; Tatiana Abatemarco, Visiting Faculty of Food Studies, Bennington College; Bennington College Students taking course Gender, Subsistence, and Agriculture
Agricultural Literacy Week is a project of NOFA-VT, the Vermont Department of Libraries and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.