The Partnership for Change supported the work of remodeling public education in Winooski and Burlington, Vermont in order to better prepare our young people for success in today’s rapidly changing world. Established in 2012, we were a broad and diverse group working together to build a more prosperous future for our communities. In the fall of 2016, our grant approached its sunsetting phase. The external resources are diminishing and the work is now being supported, in large part, through new systems and structures embedded in the districts.
We will create innovative, collaborative, and equitable learning organizations that inspire all learners to lead their communities to a dynamic and sustainable future.
We will remodel Burlington and Winooski School Districts by establishing a student-centered learning system that enables all learners to develop the skills, knowledge, and relationships necessary to become confident, motivated, and self-sufficient learners who are successful in college and careers and are engaged in their communities. We will draw upon the collective wisdom, courage, and compassion of learners, teachers, families, and community partners in supporting every learner to pursue excellence.
Burlington and Winooski are distinctive communities, but their school districts face a similar challenge: how to prepare young people for today’s world in a system that was designed for the past. Recognizing this shared concern, the two districts came together to think about remodeling their schools for the 21st century. They envisioned moving from a one-size-fits-all model of education that reaches only some students to a more personalized environment that puts all students at the center of their own learning. Together, students, teachers, parents, administrators, and community leaders participated in two years of planning and discovery, which led to the establishment of the Partnership for Change. The Partnership represented a commitment on the part of both communities to bring to life a once-in-a-generation dream: creating schools in which every young person can discover a sense of purpose that will lead to a lifetime of learning.
A generous grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation enabled us to jumpstart this work. These resources allowed us to do much more than would otherwise be possible and to do it much more quickly. The Foundation joined us in recognizing that our educational system and our quality of life are intertwined. Society as a whole will benefit greatly when our schools provide all of our children with a world-class education.
The Partnership for Change believed that we have a responsibility as a community to prepare our children-and our cities-for future success. To fulfill this responsibility, the Partnership joined a growing national movement to establish student-centered learning in our schools. Student-centered learning is a bold new approach that aims to reshape education for the 21st century. The fundamental principle behind student-centered learning is the belief that different students learn in different ways. Using technology to tailor learning to each student’s style and interests, we can ensure the success of all students. By expanding learning opportunities beyond the walls of the classroom, we can make the learning process more relevant to the real world. We believe that innovative, rigorous, and year-round student-centered approaches like these will prepare all learners to meet the economic, social, and educational challenges that we face together as a society.