- Congratulations! All OSSU school budgets were approved by voters at town meetings this year! Appreciation goes out to the board members, principals, teachers, administrators, families, and community members who engaged in this process.
- School lunch is looking good! The beef stew on this tray at Hardwick Elementary is loaded with local products: organic beef from VT99 Meats and locally sourced carrots and potatoes processed at the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick. These local products are being served at the other OSSU schools as well!
- On March 8, three students from Lakeview presented at the annual school meeting in Greensboro. The findings from their student designed survey are included below, and board members from the Lakeview School Board and the OSSU Board have already reached out to this group to continue the conversation.
Fall 2017 Student Data (OSSU 5th and 6th Graders)
Survey results include the following number of 5th and 6th grade respondents from each OSSU school: Hardwick (27) Craftsbury (14) Wolcott (14) Lakeview (13) Woodbury (8) = 74 total, ~50% response rate
- In December, four ninth grade Hazen students attended the VEEP Youth Climate Leaders Academy and developed an idea for the project of bringing Hazen’s Greenhouse back into production. In the words of student Abigail Demers, as published in a front page Hardwick Gazette article: “It’s a really good thing because it’s kind of student-led and we have Mr. Considine here. We do most of it and he’s here to help us with the bigger steps. It’s just a really great learning experience for us, because we learn how to take charge and get things done.”
Zac Gravel, Abigail Demers, Madison Bartlett, Harley Papineau
- Adjacent to the Hazen Greenhouse, the Hazen composting program is getting up and running with students from science teacher Jay Modry’s class.
- The Hazen Wellness Fair, organized by VSAC Aspirations Coordinator, Michelle Legere, featured a variety of community organizations with resources for physical, social, emotional, and nutritional wellbeing. Here, teachers and students taste-test local rainbow carrots and make carrot necklaces, aka “snack-laces” 🙂
- Student Council Members at Lakeview are collaborating with the CAE on an evaluation project to measure the impact and best practices of place-based learning. In the photo below, they review the data collected in their survey of OSSU 5th and 6th graders, preparing to present their findings to Greensboro residents at the annual school meeting on March 8th. An excerpt from their upcoming presentation: “As part of the Lakeview student council we think the type of learning kids enjoy is important and we asked our peers what learning experiences they want more of. Kids thought that they did not get to learn outside as much as they would like to. They also thought that their schedule needed more science, math, learning about animals, physical activity, field trips and learning about nature. We hope the voters and school board of our town will agree and make some changes.”
Lydia Hall, Anika Leahy, Zola Kehler, Lillian Hayden meeting with Reeve and Bethany from CAE
- Four Hazen ninth graders have formed a team to pursue the goal of working collaboratively with the Hazen Kitchen to increase local food and student participation in the school meals program. They have begun their project by meeting with Food Service Manager Patti Foster to learn about what she is already doing related to local food, develop a deeper understanding of how the cafeteria is run, and brainstorm ways to channel their energy toward shared goals. These students, and Patti, are particularly excited about working to re-establish a program that uses the Hazen greenhouse to grow food for the cafeteria!
- Craftsbury schools have won the latest round of the statewide Breakfast After the Bell Challenge! Student participation in breakfast at Craftsbury Academy is up by 116% since last year and the New England Dairy and Food Council has awarded the schools a grant to support the program’s continuation.
- Local farmer, educator and all around amazing community member Katie Black is our new regional EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) Educator through UVM Extension. She has a wonderful array of food and nutrition resources (including gardening, cooking, healthy eating on a budget, and more!) available for free to school groups, community groups and individuals or families who qualify based on income. These include fun, hands-on, research-based activities tailored to the needs of the individual or group. Katie is already making connections with teachers, schools, and support organizations and would love to hear from anyone else who is interested! email@example.com
- Quotes from Minda Moskowitz’s third graders on a farm to school lesson making yogurt:
“We learned the name of bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus which means heat loving.
We also learned the name of another bacteria called Lactobacillus bulgaricus. We made predictions about how our yogurt would taste.”
“I had a lot of fun making it and tasting it. I didn’t like it alot, but it was cool how it turned out.”
“We learned so much!”
“I am looking forward to making it at home.”
This time, we thought we’d share a few of the results from our project to survey various groups about place-based learning.
From Parent Survey:
How important is it to you that your child’s education is connected to local community resources like farms, businesses and the natural world? (choose one: essential, very important, slightly important, not important)
||High Priority (essential + very important)
||Low Priority (slightly important + not important)
|HES and Hazen
From Teacher Survey
From Teacher Survey:
What supports do you need to engage in school-community partnerships?
- Information about community partners
- Transportation funds
- Curriculum resources
- Administrative support for planning time and collaboration
- Less red tape