As first quarter comes to an end, the pilot Student Consultant program is off and running. As a cumulative presentation on the work and learning that has been done during first quarter, all the Student Consultants put together a brief Presentation of Learning to share with the rest of us what their goals for the year are, who they’ve connected with, and what they’ve accomplished for first quarter.
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.
Part 2 of this four-part series will examine how comprehensive high school advisory programs impact academics and personalization. I will also discuss how Vermont’s new educational legislation Act 77 relates to high school advisory.
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.
This is the first in a four-part series about high school advisory programs. Some parents, teachers and community members have heard bits and pieces about advisory programs and asked to learn more. This four-part series aims to answer questions about the following: 1) what advisory is, 2) the status of advisory programs in Vermont, 3) how advisory impacts academics, personalization of learning and connectedness to learning, 4) the roadblocks to successful advisory programs, 5) the future of advisory and personalization with Act 77 and 6) a look at the model of advisory and intervention at Vergennes High School. Throughout the series recommendations will be made based on empirical research and human needs theory.
As I consider the defeat of the Burlington School district budget on town meeting day 2014, I am concerned how the state increase in school tax rate may soon impact the community satisfaction of the city of Burlington. In my fellowship with the partnership for change this year for family school partnerships, I have come to recognize how important maintaining a strong and vibrant school is to that partnership as well as to the community as a whole. We all know that one benefit of a strong school system is seen in the property value.
At Edmunds Middle School in Burlington, Vt. the standard format of having inservice days peppered throughout the year has been replaced with a model of early release Wednesdays, teacher driven committee work and professional development. Under the direction of principal Bonnie Johnson-Aten the new model combines the Wednesday early release format with the weekly faculty meeting. The work accomplished during this extended block of time rotates on a monthly schedule: committee work, professional learning community (PLC) work, supporting the one-to-one technology environment, and teacher-led professional development.
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.
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.
My name is Adam Provost and for over 20 years I've worked to help students, adults, and schools learn to explore the creative capacity of technology and new approaches to "school" and "learning." I signed on in late August at Burlington High School as a Technology Integrationist (helping teachers innovate), and also as a member of the Partnership for Change Initiative… and I've been busy!