Community Based Learning

Winooski Students Explore WCAX

On November 11th the ELL Newcomer class travelled to the WCAX news channel in South Burlington as part of our weather unit. 14 students took a tour of the station. The producer explained the process of preparing for a live newscast. Read more.

Winooski Science Welcomes All

Over 300 people showed up to the Winooski STEM Family Fun night to explore what it’s like to learn science by doing science. Starting with a free dinner and culminating with a much anticipated Egg Drop competition, Family Fun Night was a local version of a mini-hands-on-science museum for our community.

Jack-O-Lanterns

Winooski Middle School students carved up some pumpkins to donate to the Winooski Senior Center. For many middle school students, this was their first time dissecting a pumpkin and carving a design of their own creation. Carving ideas ranged from school mascots and logos to middle school slang and pop music.

Go Green, Save Green: Energy Efficiency Design Challenge

This year Burlington High School physics teachers Lisa Carpenter and Richard Meyer took the risk of moving beyond lecture, labs and textbooks. They opened their classrooms to collaborate with community partners in order to make their energy efficiency units more relevant and rigorous.

At Play with DNA: The Burlington Barcoding Project

Students at Burlington High School got to play with DNA and move learning beyond the textbook for their Genetics class this year. Science teacher Molly Heath came across the Urban Barcoding Project from New York City last year, and it inspired her to look for ways to engage her students with the Burlington community in a similar manner. She applied for grants to fund the right equipment and earned grants through the Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering and the Partnership for Change.

Adversity by Design

I had the chance to take a workshop on Adversity by Design with ninth grade physics teacher Scott Swaaley at the original High Tech High. Scott is a former engineer who’s been teaching at High Tech High for two years. His approach to adversity intrigued me. Embracing and seeking adversity seemed an interesting approach. The philosophy at High Tech High is that students and teachers must be taken to an uncomfortable place or they will check out and not be challenged. Students participate in semester long interdisciplinary projects. Projects by design need to be perceived as difficult in order for students to develop tangible skills. Projects should not be “dumpster” projects, meaning posters or disposable products. Projects should have a sense of permanence or sustainability that can be displayed or shared. Scott runs what he calls the GRIT Lab: Growth, Resilience, Intensity and Tenacity.

iPads: Not Just a Fad at BHS

Today all freshmen and sophomores have access to 1:1 technology through iPads. And it’s changing the way students and teachers learn and communicate. It’s creating more rigor, creativity, equity and accountability for teachers and students using iPads responsibly in the classroom.

Cross-site Community Based Learning with Vermont Young Playwrights

Eve Berinati is no stranger to youth engagement, community based learning and flexible teaching and learning environments. She frequently empowers her students with opportunities to share their voices in flexible physical and digital spaces outside the tradition classroom walls of Burlington High School. Some of these include NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), The Young Writers Project, Theatre of the Absurd and Vermont Young Playwrights.

A Look at Personalization Through Mount Abraham’s Pathways Program

It is nearly impossible to discuss education today without mentioning personalization. Act 77, also known as the Flexible Pathways Initiative Bill was signed into law in June of 2013. This bill will require all Vermont students grades 7 through 12 to have personalized learning plans by November of 2015. Read more.

Empowering Teachers and Students to Solve Authentic Problems Using Design

Design thinking is the process of solving authentic problems using design concepts. Designers work together to find solutions to challenges using empathy, open ended brainstorming and ideation, rapid prototyping and implementing solutions. This process is not only used in the design world, but in many other fields, such as engineering, healthcare and education.