Issue #23: Early January

HES Farm to School Case Study: Hardwick Elementary is one of five Vermont schools featured in a farm to school case study project just released by the VT Farm to School Network in partnership with VT FEED and UVM Extension. These studies were produced in order to represent and share examples of the many ways Vermont schools are successfully embracing Farm to School integration. Go to the case study website and scroll down to the third study to find HES’s story! (The pictures below are just a snapshot of the first few pages. Click the website link to see the full study!)

 

 

OSSU schools are a huge source of support for the Hardwick Area Food Pantry! This holiday season alone, students organized food drives and fundraisers totaling over 1000 pounds of food and $676 dollars in donations. But that’s not all. Student engagement with the pantry over the last year has included gleaning and processing local veggies, a community bread baking challenge, classroom and career cafe presentations with the pantry director, and student volunteers working on data entry, client intake, and stocking. Teachers or students who are interested in connecting with the pantry about possible collaborations or volunteer opportunities are welcome to reach out to director Laura Wilkinson: laura@hardwickareafoodpantry.org.cornday3

 

HES Student Council: A group of fifth grade students has been working to form a student council at HES. Their mission states: “Student Council will provide opportunities to have student voices heard. We will work to help students know that they matter and feel like they belong. We want to make our school feel welcoming and safe for everyone, a school where all people are respected.” At a recent community meeting, the group gave a presentation to share this mission and introduce their first project, a student survey to gather information about what is important to the students at Hardwick Elementary. The council plans to use the survey to determine what issues to work on. Inspiring to see these young people taking on leadership that prioritizes listening!img_2602

 

Career Cafe: Hazen’s weekly “Career Cafe” guest speaker series has continued to create space for students and community members to connect and learn. Over the last few months, students have played an increasing role in shaping the program. At a Career Cafe Student Feedback Forum, many ideas were hatched to add value and increase engagement for students, including new suggestions for guest presenters, a communications plan to reach students more effectively, and leadership roles identified for students within the Career Cafe program. As a result, there are now two student members on the Career Cafe Planning Committee, monthly posters and in-person announcements to classrooms are raising awareness, and several student-identified speakers are on the calendar, including local Representative Chip Troiano and Hazen student entrepreneurs who currently run their own businesses.

Other recent guests include motivational speaker and magician Steve Taubman, Hardwick Area Food Pantry Director Laura Wilkinson, and upcoming presenters include Craftsbury Outdoor Center rowing coach Steve Whelpley, Creek Road Auto owner Joel Hodgdon, and Lynn Delaricheliere from the Hardwick Village Restaurant.

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Upcoming opportunities!

Do you know of students who would like to attend? Support is available! Please reach out to reeve@hardwickagriculture.org for more information.

 

Issue #22: December 2018

Warm wishes to all of you heading into the new year! May we continue to see each other more clearly, practice gratitude and find joy in working together. Here are a few more OSSU stories of place-based, community-connected education to share out as 2018 comes to a close. 

 

Thinking Globally, Walking Locally:  Submitted by seventh graders, Jocelyn Franks and Cassandra Royer.

Hazen’s 7th grade class has been working together to fundraise for a non-profit organization called Water For South Sudan founded by Salva Dut.  Our class read a wonderful book called A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.  This book tells about Salva’s life before he founded his organization, and it really moved us to take action.  As a boy, Salva walked thousands of miles to escape the 2nd Sudanese Civil War and is now helping to bring fresh, clean water to those in Sudan who don’t have it by drilling water wells. 

This year, our class is participating in the Iron Giraffe Challenge, a challenge to raise $1,000 or more to have a chance at winning a visit from Salva Dut himself! The money that we fundraise will go toward drilling new water wells. Everyone has been so generous, and it has made it possible for us to exceed our highest goal of fundraising over $5,000 (partial well sponsorship) and all of us are still going strong with everyone’s helping hands. On November 20th, our entire 7th grade class, teachers, and our principal walked 10 miles from Hazen to Caspian Lake to bring awareness to our fundraising and what residents of Sudan have to endure just to obtain water.

We couldn’t have gotten as far as we have without our community’s help! After we finished our walk, we were rewarded with a special lunch, an appreciation ceremony, and a visit from two of the “Lost Boys”, Peter Keny and Garang Mabag. We are all very thankful that we have the chance to participate in these amazing opportunities and we hope to continue helping others! If anyone is interested in donating, our website is as follows: www.classy.org/team/196850.  We hope that what we did will inspire others to take action and help those in need!

For a VIDEO of Principal Perrigo’s speech at the end of the walk, click HERE.

 

Trailblazing Tuesdays! Hardwick Elementary School is mostly surrounded by parking lots and streets and downtown buildings, but that doesn’t stop students and teachers from getting out in the woods as much as possible. Second grade is one of the many classes doing ECO programming (Educating Children Outdoors) with training and coaching from the North Branch Nature Center. On a recent Tuesday, the second graders geared up for their weekly Trailblazing Tuesday learning journey to the Hardwick Trails, a ten minute walk from school. At the edge of the woods, a story was shared to introduce the concept of hunting as something humans can do by having the endurance to keep tracking a faster animal until it tires. Students then practiced finding animal tracks in the snow, tracking their teachers, and collecting ‘dead and down’ wood of the right size for fire-building. Before walking back to school, the forest activities closed with a circle and song of gratitude. How wonderful to see these young people soaking up learning from nature and being given this opportunity to develop a relationship with their natural environment on a weekly basis as part of school curriculum!

 

Giving Season: Hardwick Area Food Pantry Director, Laura Wilkinson, and her service dog, David Bowie, visited the class formerly known as Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp (now known as Connections) to accept handmade pumpkin dog treats cooked up by the students as a donation for the pets of pantry clients.

 

Issue #21: Late November 2018

Thank you all for such a great response to the request for feedback! Congratulations to raffle winners Doug Safford, Maria Johnson and Rinky Black!

Student-Run Wreath Business: Hazen Students in the Service Learning in Math and Science (SLIMS) class, are learning about craftsmanship and entrepreneurship by running their own wreath-making business this season. Students have harvested brush, crafted decorations, managed orders and deliveries, and met with a guest expert to learn about marketing. This is now officially the best smelling classroom in the school! For more information or to place an order, please click HERE.

 

 

News from Woodbury Elementary: (contributed by Amy Masse and Mish Boreanaz)

  • Community Harvest Lunch: “We had a well attended Harvest Lunch this year. Vegetables including potatoes, squash, carrots and garlic were harvested from our local vegetable gardens which staff and teachers put great effort into. Students and staff help prepare the food and serve. We are also thankful for the community volunteers that come work with us to make this day such a success. We are so thankful for the gardening experience that supplies us with such good food.”
  • Compost Design Challenge: “At Woodbury Elementary, the 5/6 students are in charge of monitoring the compost and trash at lunchtime. I thought that things were running pretty smoothly, but students began sharing with me that the design of the system made it difficult to do their job well. As a group, we decided that it was time to redesign the waste station using the Engineering Design Process. We identified the large problem: Our cafeteria waste station doesn’t work well. Then students identified all the smaller problems they wanted to tackle as well as other things to consider and limitations in the new design. Students got into small groups to create new designs. First, they worked to research other waste stations in schools. They got information online and from John Jose from Central Vermont Solid Waste Management, who came in multiple times to provide support. Second, they addressed all the problems that were identified. Third, they drew a design for their new waste station. And lastly, they came up with a way to share it with others. We had John come back and invited a few other staff from the school to come listen to groups present their ideas. We spent some time discussing the presentations and taking suggestions and ideas from the audience. We are now at a point where we have a few questions to answer, so before the holiday break we plan to have Larry help us build a rough prototype to test out and answer some of those questions. Then we can build a more permanent system!”

 

 

Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp lives on into the winter! In contrast to the wintery landscape outside on a recent Friday at Hazen, one classroom buzzed with  summer energy where the students from the Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp were gathered for one of their monthly reunions. (This group includes students from OSSU elementary schools who had such a successful experience together last summer that the school system has made it possible for them to continue to learn together periodically throughout the year.) Between now and winter break, projects include learning about different winter holidays, preparing related food, and challenging themselves to give or do an act of kindness everyday. Potatoes from the summer garden will be used to make latkes and enjoyed with applesauce that they will also prepare. Homemade dog treats will be donated to the Food Pantry for clients who have pets. Below, the kids sing a song (in English and French!) about making a pizza.

 

 

Farm to School teachers take a field trip: During OSSU’s second PD Academy day of the year, the Farm to School class of 14 teachers went on an adventure to experience the activities and curricular connections that are possible on a farm field trip. Sterling College provided a great location for exploring a variety of farming components and practices, including bee-keeping, heritage seed-saving, composting, fiber arts, greenhouse growing, soil management, crop planning, and a variety of livestock including sheep, hogs, and cattle! Sterling Farm faculty led an interactive tour and shared their wisdom on farming as a rich educational context.

 

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Issue #20: Early November 2018

Happy 1st Birthday, Blog!

Celebrating OSSU through this blog has been an amazing experience over the past year. Thank you for reading, for contributing and for doing so much celebration-worthy work! I know that the stories and pictures in this blog are only the tip of the iceberg and I hope to learn and share even more in year two.

On that note, here is what the blog wants for its birthday: to hear from you!  

** Send feedback about the blog (of any kind!) to reeve@hardwickagriculture.org and be entered in the birthday raffle for a chance to win one of three awesome or yummy prizes! **

Here are a few feedback prompts to consider: What do you think of the blog? Has it been valuable to you in some way? Do you have suggestions for what should be included? Was there a particular story that you enjoyed or have questions about?

November 30th will be the last day to enter the drawing.

And here is some year-in-review inspiration 🙂

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Issue #19: Late October

‘Women Can Do’ Conference: Hazen Sophomore Olivia Davison writes:  Recently, I got to go to a conference called ‘Women Can Do’, hosted at Vermont Technical College (Randolph Campus). There were many different workshops hosted there, but every girl only got to go to two (from their top 5 list). One of my favorite things that I got to do at this conference was something called the Action Expo. At the action expo, all the girls got to walk around and interact with different people from different professions ranging from pilots, to computer designers, to welders. Two of my favorite things that I learned from the Action Expo was; learning how to put handcuffs on someone else from a Vermont State Police Officer, and I got to learn how to build a computer from computer designers that work at a computer company called Logic. There were many other people there from many other professions, and other people from their professions were teaching the workshops. I would highly recommend that any girl in High School go to this conference, it is a great experience and you get to learn many new things!”

 

HES Harvest Dinner: 

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On Thursday night, the Hardwick Elementary School gym (freshly refinished by VT Natural Coatings!) was filled with art and food and 350 community members, gathered to share a delicious, homemade feast. Special guests included farmers, veterans and local representatives. The menu included a beautiful array of dishes homemade by each class, often with ingredients from the school garden or local farmers who have hosted field trips or provided donations. This year’s menu featured:

Fifth Grader Sadie Gann spoke to the assembled crowd and delivered this message in celebration of the harvest:

“Over the years, I have been involved in several food related activities at school. I have helped to take care of the school gardens from planting, to weeding, to harvesting and preparing food.

I have been to Riverside Farm and learned about good farming practices and planting seeds.

I have been to the Laggis Farm, where our class picked and processed over 800 pounds of corn and fed our school many times.

I have helped make many loaves of homemade bread that were donated to the Food Shelf and served at Harvest Dinners.

And what I really like the best, is spending time with adults and friends working hard and having fun indoors and outside.”

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CA Food Science: At Craftsbury Academy, science students are exploring chemistry, physics and the scientific method through… pancakes!?! This year, a new food science class taught by Ethan Self is using food as an engaging, relevant and applied lens through which to grapple with science concepts. Last week, groups were cooking up experiments with pancake batter, manipulating experimental variables and creating procedures to hold other variables constant. Hooray for brain food!!

 

Lakeview Food Team: Over the last few years, Lakeview School has been working with a group of community partners to increase the amount of local calories served in school, engage students in learning experiences connected to where their food comes from, and strengthen school culture through a values-based meals program that brings students and the community together. Recently, this group met to reflect on the work that has been done and consider next steps. With the voices of farmers (one of whom is a student), school leaders, and community support orgs at the table, the conversation centered around weaving community, student leadership and the practice of gratitude more deeply and intentionally into the experiences students have with food at school. Stay tuned for more on where this momentum leads!IMG_20181022_190212

This gathering was made possible with help from the VT Farm to School Network, a statewide network providing leadership, coordination and advocacy toward the following goal: By 2025, 75% of Vermont Schools will lead the cultural shift to a values-based food system that engages 75% of our students in integrated food system education; community-based learning; nourishing universal meals; and the experience of self-efficacy; purchasing at least 50% from a socially just and environmentally and financially sustainable regional food system.

Issue #18: Late Sept/Early Oct

  • Hazen Harvest Meal: Remember back in August when the full OSSU faculty used the Open Space format to connect with each other and dive deeper into topics of interest with their colleagues? One result of those conversations was a team at Hazen who wanted to coordinate the first annual Harvest Meal at Open House. The result was an amazing feat of collaboration, with administration, teachers, students, school chefs and community partners coming together to put on a lovely meal featuring squash soup with veggies from the Hazen Greenhouse and Pete’s Greens, side dishes and desserts made by TSAs, leadership and coordination from NHS students, and pizza fired in the school’s outdoor oven with yummy toppings from Jasper Hill and VT99 Meats. The meal was a great success and brought the community together in the kind of way we all need more of right now.fts.pd.pizza

 

  • HES REACH Cooking Class: Afterschool students at HES have been cooking up a storm with fresh, local ingredients during a weekly activity with Suzanne Bader. Check out their pickle-making session and garden scavenger hunt in the photos below!

 

  • Manufacturing Day: A bus load of Hazen Students visited Vermont Natural Coatings on Oct. 5th for a tour and workshops being held as part of National Manufacturing Day. On this day around the country, thousands of manufacturers host events to introduce youth to career opportunities. At VNC, students learned about the chemistry of finishes, marketing and sales, technical skills, ecology, and the variety of career paths and local opportunities within the wood flooring industry.

     

  • Wolcott School 3rd Annual Fall Garden Workday: Always an amazing, productive, joyful day when the full faculty and student body takes time to work together in tending to the school garden. This time, activity focused on weeding, planting garlic, weeding, setting up and planting the low tunnel with late season greens, weeding, treasure hunting for carrots and radishes and worms, weeding, planting fall flower bulbs, weeding, and sowing a cover crop! This winter, the school is excited to collaborate with a local architect who will work with students on a new garden design to be built in the spring! Can’t wait to see what they come up with!

     

  • Hazen Union Career Cafe: The Partners in Learning Committee, a result of the Hardwick Vermont Community Rural Development visit in 2016, is proud to present the Career Cafe at Hazen Union. The series furthers the committee’s mission to diversify the student learning experience and understanding of opportunities in the Northeast Kingdom. The Career Cafe is a weekly forum during which students hear about diverse career paths from community members. This program will include entrepreneurs, business and trades people, and experts in their field. This project is in collaboration with WonderArts, Hazen Union, the Center for an Agricultural Economy, and Green Mountain Technology and Career Center. Hazen students have heard from Andrew Meyer of VT Natural Coatings, Game Warden Russ Shopland, and health care professional, Betty Stewart.

Copy of a table forIf interested in being a Career Cafe speaker, contact Jen Olsen, the Work Based Learning Coordinator at Hazen Union. Phone: 802-472-2716 Email: jolson@ossu.org

 

  • Atkins Field in Hardwick is a fifteen acre community space managed by the CAE that hosts farmers markets and events, community gardens, hoop house and orchard, a bicycle pump track, and more. After listening, learning and building community partnerships, a redevelopment project is underway to add an open-air pavilion, parking lot, and history and nature trails. This video promoting the project features some local OSSU students and teachers talking about what Atkins means to them!            FinalImageSWSketchfullcolor

 

 

Issue #17: Early September 2018

Update on the The Great Greenhouse Pumpkin Adventure: On September 14th, HES third graders returned to the Hazen Greenhouse to harvest the pumpkins they had planted as second graders in the spring. Not only were they gleeful to discover the big, beautiful fruits of their labor, they also discovered evidence of squirrel, groundhog, and bear friends who had clearly been equally gleeful to find the delicious bounty. Despite unexpected donations to the wild animal community, there were still plenty of pumpkins to meet our human needs, and the harvest of over 70 pumpkins was distributed to both Hazen and HES cafeterias as well as to the Hardwick Trails for the annual community Pumpkin Walk.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the fantastic and multi-faceted collaboration that was at play throughout this pumpkin adventure:

  • Hazen Green Team – ninth graders catalyzed project to revitalize the greenhouse
  • Service Week workers- Hazen student teams cleaned and prepped beds
  • HES teachers and students – started pumpkin seeds in their classrooms, fall harvest
  • Hazen engineering students – built irrigation system for greenhouse
  • Hazen Teachers – greenhouse systems support, coordination of student involvement
  • Summer Services Greenhouse Learning Camp – greenhouse summer care
  • Summer Employment Opportunities Program – greenhouse summer care
  • Community gardeners – greenhouse summer care
  • CAE – project coordination
  • High Mowing Organic Seeds – seed donation
  • Hardwick Trails Committee – use pumpkins for Pumpkin Walk
  • Hazen Kitchen – prepare pumpkins for community meal
  • HES Kitchen – prepare pumpkins for community meal
  • Bears, woodchucks, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew – keeping it real

 

Near the Wolcott School Garden last week was spied this evidence of teachers putting their Farm to School professional development work into action! This “Brown Bag Botany” activity combines a relay race with an exploration of the six plant parts and their functions. You can also see the new raspberry patch planted by students in the background 🙂IMG_20180910_140403

 

For many years, HES students have been going to Laggis Farm to pick corn for the school cafeteria. Last year, they picked enough corn to last for two years of school meals (!!!) so this year a new corn partnership was formed with the Hardwick Area Food Pantry. In the pictures below, fourth grade students are processing corn with Food Pantry Director, Laura Wilkinson, who was pleased to have another fresh, local product to offer her clients. Yum!

 

The PLACE Program, a project of UVM and Shelburne Farms has come to Greensboro Bend!  This program is described as, “Working directly with local schools, town commissions, historical societies, and conservation organizations, PLACE staff members develop an integrated series of presentations, field trips, workshops, and visioning forums designed to celebrate and honor a town’s cultural heritage and ecological potential.” Graduate student Lauren Sopher, sponsored by the Greensboro Conservation Commission, has been the on-the-ground PLACE researcher in Greensboro this past year. Recently, as one component of her project, Lauren has engaged with Lakeview School, CAE, WonderArts, and the Bend Revitalization Initiative to explore ways to bring youth voice to community initiatives. She is also developing community-based curriculum in collaboration with Lakeview school, one example being a workshop that weaves the concepts of forest ecology together with food systems by exploring the relationship between Jasper Hill and the local sawmill that produces the bark wrappers for some of their cheeses.

 

Issue #16: August 2018

Happy New School Year! Already so much to celebrate!

  • Congratulations to Hazen Union for being one of fourteen Vermont recipients in a competitive grant program through the Northern Borders Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership for economic and community development in northern ME, NH, VT and NY. Hazen’s project is a multi-year collaboration with local organizations and businesses to build a community-based, entrepreneurship and artisan career academy within Hazen’s course of study that will align student interests and graduation requirements with the skill needs of local employers, focusing on entrepreneurship, mentorship and work-based learning experiences. Governor Phil Scott, Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Peter Welch were present at the award ceremony to congratulate recipients.  FullSizeRender
  • Six weeks of OSSU’s new Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp culminated with a beautiful meal of stone soup and salad prepared by the twelve students and shared with family, community partners and school leaders. The program was so successful in connecting kids to healthy habits, rich learning and new friendships that teachers and administrators are moving forward with plans to extend program components throughout the school year!

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School Food News:

  • The Hazen Cafeteria is now serving fresh, local Kingdom Creamery milk – supporting local farmers, nourishing kids, and reducing waste!IMG_20180828_112957
  • Local beef from VT99 Meats has been featured in all of the OSSU schools over the last year, and this year Wolcott and Lakeview are switching fully to sourcing their beef locally! Yum!
  • Starting this fall at Hardwick Elementary School, the meals program will be expanding to offer a nutritious after school meal, free to all enrolled students! It takes a lot of work to plan, apply for and implement a new school meal, so thanks to Val Hussey, the OSSU business office, Hunger Free VT, HES school board, REACH, and teacher and parent focus group members for helping get this going. Stay tuned for more details about the program as it gets up and running in October!
  • Check out Woodbury’s flourishing school gardens! Without an in-house meals program (meals now being provided by HES), Woodbury is getting creative with ways of incorporating their school garden harvest into learning activities and classroom projects!  

     

    Spotlight on August Inservice Week: Witnessing teachers in action as they prepare to launch a new school year is pretty incredible. Here are a few highlights from last week:

    • On Tuesday over one hundred teachers from OSSU participated in a process called Open Space. First, teachers identified topics of interest, from “bringing more joy to your work,” to “outdoor learning opportunities,” to “restorative justice/restorative practices in schools.” Then each person self selected the conversation they wanted to join, and colleagues engaged in small group dialogue – the rules being: Whoever comes are the right people, whatever happens is the only thing that could have, and if you are no longer gaining from or contributing to the conversation you must move to a different one. Debriefing the experience together, teachers described Open Space as a valuable, respectful use of their time that fostered rich conversation, connection, creativity and commitment. 
    • On Wednesday, OSSU’s PD Academy launched this year’s amazing set of professional learning courses, including:
      • Walking with Horses: An Equine Assisted Approach to improving classroom relationships
      • Bringing Back Books
      • The Harkness Method of Classroom Dialogue and Mindfulness for Teachers
      • Intro to MTSS (Multi-Tiered Support Systems)
      • M3: Mindset, Metacognition and Motivation
      • Relevance and Rigor through Farm to School Integration
      • Restorative Practices in Schools
      • Transform your Practice through Action Research
      • Proficiency-Based Learning Assessment and the Collaborative Classroom within Music Education
    • On Thursday, HES teachers joined partners from CAE to explore local, walkable outdoor learning spaces at Atkins Field and the Hardwick Trails, planning for building more cohesion and energy into their school-wide work around sustainability themes.

      May we all feel increasingly connected to each other, energized by our communities and inspired by youth as this new year begins!

Issue #15: July 2018

  • Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp: OSSU elementary students participating in the new Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp are meeting their summer learning goals through a program built around cooking, nutrition, gardening, and outdoor exploration. Based at Hazen with access to forest trails, a kitchen classroom, greenhouse space and summer meals, lead teacher Cindy Osgood and her team are piloting an amazing model for socially and intellectually rich, integrated, engaging summer services. Nutrition and wellness activities led by Katie Black of UVM Extension have also been a wonderful weekly component of the camp. You may remember reading about the planning for this program in prior blog posts; now it is so exciting to see those plans manifesting with such spectacular results! And these kids made it onto the front page of the Hardwick Gazette!

    A big thank you to the Summer Learning Camp students for helping keep the Hazen greenhouse watered during this hot summer. As you can see, the pumpkins are going wild!

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  • School leaders headed to EFS Leadership Academy: Amy Masse (Woodbury Principal) and Patrick Pennock (HES Principal) have begun a year long professional development program through Shelburne Farms in which they will be part of a cohort of educators from around the country studying Education for Sustainability (EFS) and leadership strategies for school transformation. EFS includes aligning educational goals with ecological integrity, economic vitality, and social justice. Last year Eric Erwin and Heather Freeman participated in this program, along with Reeve Basom from CAE. With Pat and Amy attending this year, the EFS community of practice in our local school system is truly growing and deepening.  

 

  • Summer Meals: Did you know that free meals are available throughout the summer for children 18 and under (and for adults at $4 per meals, after all children have been served)? The summer meals program in our area is coordinated by Christine Shatney with support from Hazen Union, VT AOE, and Hunger Free Vermont. Sites at Hazen (11:30 – 12:30), HES (11:30 – 12:15) and the Greensboro Methodist Church (11:30 – 12) serve up to 250 lunches per day, including meals coordinated with local summer activities and camps. The Hazen site also has breakfast available between 8-10 am. This summer, the program runs through August 17th, and there is a weekly raffle for participants with items donated by local businesses. Donated local products also make it into some of the meals – yesterday’s mac ‘n cheese was made with delicious cheddar from Jasper Hill!

 

  • VT Digger Article on Work Based Learning: This recent article takes a look at the growth and impacts of work-based and community-based learning in Vermont. While the examples they cite are not from our region, the stories resonate with the work unfolding in OSSU. Check it out!

Issue #14: Late June 2018

It may be summer break, but the list of things to celebrate about OSSU never ends!

 

  • Woodbury has completed some major upgrades to its school garden hoop house. Despite school meals no longer being prepared onsite*, the Woodbury staff are strongly committed to growing and integrating food into their school programs. As teacher John Kordet wrote about the hoop house project, “I’m really looking forward to the fall when I can get the kids out there and explore agronomy with them. What an asset it will be!”
    *Woodbury meals are now prepared by the Hardwick Elementary School Food Service team and delivered daily.

 

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  • Student Survey: You’ve read about the Student Survey Project in several past posts and seen the resulting data that shows a strong desire for outdoor and nature-based learning experiences. One final piece to report out is how the students who led this project were impacted. In a debrief session at the close of the school year, the student survey team reflected on what the project meant to them. Highlights of the experience included:
    • being seen and taken seriously
    • feeling accepted, appreciated, important and happy
    • having conversations with adult audiences
    • changing people’s thinking
    • being known as, “The kid that made a change, not just so-and-so’s daughter.”

The team also thought about what they could improve on or do differently next time, including getting more kids involved in leading the project, surveying more students, presenting to additional audiences, and more practice responding to anticipated questions from the audience.

 

  • Effects of Farm to School on Student Behavior: As part of a collaborative project with Green Mountain Farm to School, the CAE has been collecting and analyzing data from several schools (both in and out of OSSU) to compare behavior referral rates on days with and without farm to school activities. Our initial findings are exciting and do seem to show a trend: the rate for office behavior referrals on days with farm-to-school activities in specific grades are about half the rate for other days. This initial work is exploratory and our first round of data has limitations, so we are curious to hear your thoughts and reactions. Can you think of factors that might lead to a false trend showing up? Do you have anecdotal or other evidence that this trend seems to make sense, or not? Are we barking up the right tree? We appreciate all feedback as we explore the idea of a larger study.

 

  • A visual update on the Hazen Greenhouse: getting jungly!

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