VRP NEWS and SCHOOLS UPDATES
VRP News and School Updates
Be sure to check out the latest news updates from VRP schools below. For older items visit our School News Archive And don't miss our LATEST VRP Newsletter check it out here
18th Annual Learning in Place VRP Conference, May 5, 2017
Our 2017 conference will take place in May. (for adult/student teams) Share the enthusiasm of rural students showcasing real world initiatives and contributing as engaged members of their communities. Hear about student-designed projects including a playground and an eco-center.
Contact For Nene Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org l download conference flyer
News from VRP Schools [Be sure to visit VRP's News Archive for older stories]
VRP 2015-16 Grant Peer Review—Participatory Democracy
VRP is participatory democracy in action! To receive funding attendance is required because together we are a powerful learning community, a network of educators and students who energize and support each other's work, have substantive conversations about practice, and build social capital together. This year's grant meetings were no exception; there were rich conversations about methods, materials and networking, interspersed with specific feedback about the grants themselves. read more
Curriculum Grants Up to $2,000 Awarded to VRP Schools in 2014-15
Our partnership uses a collaborative approach to grant review. Past approved projects were funded, though sometimes revision or further clarification was requested by the peer reviewers. Improving outdoor space is a theme that runs through many of the projects this year, along with developing a community ice rink, a seed exchange and a chicken husbandry project. 2016's annual meeting gave rise to a great discussion about the art of holding back and letting students take the lead. Best wishes to all the VRP teams with these great community projects--and holding back to let students move forward! grant rfp l grant planning guide
GREENSBORO, VT via WCAX-TV- Students at Lakeview Union School made their way to Caspian Lake Monday for a hands-on educational program. It's part of a school-wide effort to educate kids about their community and how they can have a positive impact on the environment. "Kids learn math, reading, Science—all the academic subjects—by studying in great depth the place where they live, which includes the town of Greensboro, Greensboro bend and Lake Caspian," said Lakeview Union School Principal.Eric Erwin. view complete article and video
Hyde Park ECO Program Builds Real World Problem Solving Skills
On the verge of a major March snowstorm, Hyde Park students gathered on the soccer field at the edge of their town woods to the beat of the drum. It was ECO class for three fifth grade teams: The Flying Squirrels, The Fourteen Hunters and Over the Ledge. After circling up, the 35 students and 10 adults played a game of Bats and Moths, as a way of tuning their hearing. Then as the snow fell in big fat flakes, students found a "sit spot," took out their journals, and listened to the sounds around them. read more
At Newark St. School Students Cherish Traditions and Connect to the Wider World
Three teachers and 45 students moved into the Newark St. School in 1980 from a traditional two-room school just down the road in the center of town. Thirty plus years later, the school has five classroom teachers and 55 students. But one thing has not changed: The school is still the heart of the community. People see the school as a great resource, according to teacher Amy Gerhardt. When asked what students would like others to know about their school, they were quick to respond that the sense of community and family makes it a great place. "Everyone knows everyone, and we get along," said Paul, a seventh grade member of the leadership team. read more
Cara Cookson: A Young Rural American Committed to a Rural Future
Cabot School graduate and former VRP student participant Cara Cookson says she remembers sitting with a group of students talking about where they were from during her first week at Mount Holyoke College. “I felt proud of my small school,” she says. “I got something in my education that the other students didn’t get from their big suburban schools.” read more
YATST Expands to Become Up for Learning
YATST (Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together) has become the signature training program for Helen Beattie's UP for Learning or Unleashing the Power of Partnership for Learning. UP for Learning is the new name for the arm of the Vermont Rural Education Collaborative focused on elevating student voice. Its mission is to increase student engagement by developing youth-adult partnerships in learning to ensure that each and every student has the skills, self-confidence, and opportunities to assume meaningful roles in shaping their learning and their lives. Other initiatives in the UP for Learning repertoire include Getting to Y, and a graduate course for adults and students. Check out the new website: upforlearning.com
Following Margaret MacLean Across the World
Where might you find Vermont Rural Partnership's Margaret MacLean when she is not attending State Education Board meetings or working with VRP schools here in Vermont? The answer this October would be Ghana and Zambia. Margaret is passionate about supporting educators who want to professionally collaborate here at home, and around the world. Follow her blog
VRP Principals' Annual Meeting in Hardwick
On September 11, 2013 VRP principals met to build connections and learn about new opportunities available through VRP. From left to right, Peacham's new principal Judy Ross, Shawn Gonyaw of Barnet, Cat Biddle, doctoral student from University of Pennsylvania, and Erin Dezell, Up for Learning's new assistant director. Based on Chris Koliba's evaluation, the Vermont Rural Partnership is offering some new opportunities this year. There will be a Critical Friends Group established for principals and led by Margaret MacLean. Joseph Kiefer will be offering professional development around place based learning and curriculum development, based on interest. Helen Beattie showcased some new programming for middle school students around Great Expectations and Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Analysis. Contact Margaret, Joseph or Helen if you would like more information.
Vermont's Smallest Island School Has a Fascinating History
Isle La Motte principal, Edorah Rubin, cites peer connections and leadership opportunities as key needs for the three sixth graders at her tiny school. Students do participate in an "Abnaki Day" with the other sixth graders from the Lake Champlain Islands, but they would also welcome a relationship with other small VRP schools. This year's 4/5/6 class (below with teacher Jeremy Flax) has six students, and the whole school population PK-6 is 32.
An exchange might very well center around the unique geography and history of each school. When asked about their town, Isle La Motte students immediately point to the 480 million-year-old fossils found on their island's Chazy Reef. The reef is a mecca for scientists from all over the world to study primitive reef formation, shedding light on a fascinating period in the history of life on earth. In addition, the first European (French) fort in Vermont was Forte Ste. Anne on Isle La Motte.
Help From the Community, and For the Community, at Doty Memorial
Students at Doty Memorial School have been studying the document that deeded their school property to the town by the widow Doty in the early 1960s. They used the deed to walk the boundaries of the land this winter, as they plan for an outdoor classroom to be built this spring. They have enlisted the help of a local forester, Rick Dyer, and their lunch program manager, Karen Dyer, who is also a trained forester. Chris Eaton, a neighbor and local carpenter, is creating a three dimensional representation of the plans for the classroom, based on designs created by the students themselves. They will solicit donations from local businesses for the materials they need; they might also use brook stones, saplings, and other natural materials for the project. As are many other VRP schools, Doty is looking forward to the snow melting and warmer temperatures, so that they can organize a community work party and bring their plans into reality!
Doty students toured the school land looking for the best site for their outdoor classroom. Students have thought a lot about how they will use this classroom--for everything from art and science classes, to school assemblies and community Halloween events. They have another important purpose for this site that will serve the community and the local environment. They hope to situate the classroom near Minister Brook, where students have already spent time at the river bank tearing out Japanese knotweed. A specialist is coming to school next week to speak to them about what more they can do to contain and eradicate this invasive bamboo-like species. Karen Dyer, Josie and Charlie met with Nene Riley to update VRP on the school's outdoor classroom project.
BE SURE to visit VRP's News Archive for older stories.
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