Rowland Foundation

2012 Rowland Fellows

Current Fellows 2012

Alison Bromage Alison Bromage, Vermont Adult Learning

How do schools deal with students like "Corry?" He is a self-described "real Vermonter" who dropped out of a favorite forestry class because the teacher made him take off his hat. Corry hunts coyotes for bounty and talks poetically about being in the woods at dusk as the deer come out. He is by no means an underachiever; he wants his high school diploma, but can't stand to be in school.

I write individualized graduation plans for students who need alternative routes to earning their high school diploma at Vermont Adult Learning (VAL) in Middlebury. As a High School Completion Plan Manager of ACT 176, I've come to realize that helping Corry earn his high school diploma is the easy part. What he really needs is a community mentor—a game warden or a professional taxidermist—somebody who can show him that there is work to be had doing the things that he loves.

Being connected and finding work is especially hard for students who have tenuous relationships with their schools and who have no job experience or soft skills training. Most of my students in Addison County want to be connected to those around them and they want to have a job, but they do not have basic training in networking, job searching or communication.

As a 2012 Rowland Fellow, I plan to design internship opportunities for VAL students so they can earn school credit—and money—while learning professional skills that will nurture their passions and help them succeed after graduation. I want to set up cooperative learning opportunities within the Addison County community wherein a student can shadow, intern, and apprentice with an organization while earning high school credit for his or her experiences. The ultimate goal is to get students like Corry connected to his community and prepared for a life of work and self sufficiency after he graduates.

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Karen Budde Karen Budde, The Danville School

In some students' minds school is a waste of time. School has become an environment of unconnected and unrelated disciplines or content. In addition, students are learning more about themselves and their futures outside of the school building. Danville School realizes that it needs to connect students to personal learning plans as not only a part of an alternative means to graduation but also as a means to show that school is relevant to their futures.

One's high school education should not be viewed as a four year prison sentence! It is not a time for holding students, but to engage with them to find their individual journey and prepare them for their futures. Our project involves transforming our high school program to support personalized learning plans where students are creating their own path and building individualized educational opportunities between themselves and their community with their futures in mind.

As a 2012 Rowland Fellow, I will expand my knowledge and experience to create a vibrant, relevant, and authentic learning environment for all of our students. Working with the faculty teams, the guidance counselor, the community, the students, the parents, and the administration I envision a shift from the traditional educational delivery system where students choose a high school track, follow the course selections diligently, move through the building as the class bells ring and the semesters change, and prepare for their futures sometimes only marginally, to a new model where students are purposefully creating their own pathways to graduation and discovering their passions, interests, strengths, weaknesses and directly focusing on the knowledge and skills that they will need to succeed in their futures.

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Jennifer Kravitz Jennifer Kravitz, Rutland High School

Rarely is life so segmented as it is in our current school design with each subject existing in a vacuum. When they are grown up, our students will work together in collaborative groups as they link their learning together, considering the past, mistakes, and the future. As a history and civics teacher, I believe that students must understand the world in which they live - locally, regionally, and globally. They must be global citizens, understanding different cultures and beliefs, engaging in their communities, advocating for their positions, and participating in the democratic process. Given this reality, I will spend my fellowship developing a Global Studies program for Rutland High School.

This program will provide students a chance to learn in the way they will live their lives. Relevance in skills and content is central to a Global Studies program. Now, students are rarely asked to link their education together, or to work together and solve meaningful problems - problems that exist in their local communities as well as in the wider world. Students will learn how to become responsible global citizens. A Global Studies program will prepare students to be active citizens, regardless of whether they become diplomats in another country or teachers in Rutland County.

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Laura Mina
Lauren Parren
Laura Mina and Lauren Parren, Mt. Abraham Middle/High School

Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School is poised for transformation. We have pockets of innovation from Pathways and electronic portfolios (for students) to Grade Level Friends (for teachers). Our three guiding principles are Student-Centered Learning, Multiple Pathways to Graduation, and Standards Based Assessments. Although our teachers know the school is changing, they don't yet see what the re-imagined school might look like. Many are wondering, "What does it mean for me? What will happen to my curriculum?" Laura and Lauren will be agents of change, making the theory visible, both by personalizing professional development and creating the physical space for it.

We will be using the funding from the Rowland Foundation to transform our school library into a full service library media center. As our school moves forward in its own transformation efforts, our intention is to develop the library so that it serves as a centrifugal point for professional development, collaboration, and student exploration. Our vision is that when a teacher signs up for time in the library with their class, they will be signing up for collaboration as well. Each teacher will work with both the technology integration specialist (Lauren Parren) and the library media specialist (Laura Mina) to create student centered learning experiences. These learning experiences will be formed around the individual teacher's content and will integrate technology, research skills, and opportunities for students to creatively show what they know. Our goal is to act as a solid link between the school's initiatives, teacher implementation, and student growth. We will provide professional development programs to support the former and lesson planning and team teaching to support the latter. In order to carry out our plan, we will conduct research, visit schools and libraries, and develop a new library floor plan that will accommodate transformation.

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Jill Prado Jill Prado, Essex High School

My project is to launch a virtual global campus for Essex High School and a sister francophone school that will support ground-based as well as online learning. In the virtual environment, students, parents and teachers will sign on concurrently, step onto a virtual campus, and participate in a virtual cultural exchange. The virtual environment will enrich foreign language instruction; integrate other academic disciplines; engage our Nextgen learners; possess the potential to include other Vermont high schools; and generally serve as a bridge to a truly global learning community.

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