- Craftsbury Woodlot – On June 13th, a bus carrying the entire Craftsbury Elementary School pulled up to a clearing on a forested hilltop outside of town. A sign at the clearing’s edge reads, “Craftsbury Academy Woodlot,” but it has been many years since this piece of land was used regularly as part of the school program. Now, with the collaborative investment of teachers and Craftsbury residents, the woodlot is being reintroduced to students. As the group stepped off the bus they were greeted by a group of community members, each with something special to teach the students about this piece of land – tree identification, forest crafts, forest stories and history, forest games, and a little bit of forest magic. We look forward to seeing how this beautiful outdoor classroom continues to be utilized for rich learning experiences and community connections!
- Woodbury Dairy in the Classroom Field Trip – After five weeks of exploring the many facets of dairy farming in Vermont, Woodbury students and teachers in grades K-2 were welcomed to the Laggis Brothers Dairy Farm in East Hardwick for a culminating field trip to see cows and farmers in action! Students learned about how nutrients are recycled on the farm and how farmers work to promote animal health and productivity throughout the lifecycle. The Laggis family has been a wonderful partner to OSSU, hosting corn gleaning and many field trips over the years.
- Hazen’s J-Term, now in its second year, offers students two weeks of experiential learning at the end of the year. This year the program has expanded to include the high school as well as the middle school and students each choose from an array of engaging seminars designed by teachers, often with elements of community collaboration. Hazen’s website homepage currently features some great photos of J-Term activities, from fly fishing and watershed conservation to cheesemaking. Take a look!
- Wolcott School Board and admin, inspired by the Lakeview Student Survey (previously featured in issues 1, 7 and 8), is planning to collaborate with CAE on a student survey project for next school year! Three cheers for the importance and power of student voice and participation in decision making!
- What are you most proud of about your school? I asked OSSU school leaders this question, and heard responses that reflected both the individuality of each school and the strength of a shared vision for providing high quality education. Two themes stood out clearly among the many points of pride:
- Cultivating an empowered, motivated staff culture that increasingly supports innovation, collaboration, risk-taking, and adaptive leadership for facilitating authentic, meaningful learning experiences with children.
- Opportunities for student leadership and student voice.
I hope you will ask yourself this same question and use it to spark some great conversations!