Friday, January 7, 2011

Public Schools

Over the years I have probably worked in over 100 schools and over 1000 classrooms as I have supervised students in their classroom field placements. I have very vivid memories of many of those schools I no longer work with and of course, continuing experiences with many of the schools I currently work with. There's one school system, however, that I have a really close relationship with; the Willison Schools , Central School and Allen Brook School.

In 1999, after 17 years teaching at Trinity College in Burlington, Vermont, I as invited by Bob Mitchell, the assistant principal at Williston Central School, to take a one-year position at the schools as Science Education Professional Development specialist. I jumped at the chance because I needed to recharge by batteries, so to speak. The writing was also on the wall for Trinity College which closed two years later. I ended up working at the Williston schools for the next 2 years on a Freeman Foundation grant. Both schools were structured using the British House system (ala Harry Potter Hogwarts school e.g. Gryffindor house). The house system (1-4th grade and 5 - 8th grade) brought students and teachers together from different grade levels for planning, instruction and social events. Designed by Marion Stroud, it was magical place to work where students learned how to be independent learners and love to learn, and respect each other.

To my dismay, the house system was dismantled last year and I thought we would be losing one of the finest educational institutions in new England if not the US. I shouldn't have worried. Things have changed a little but the house system still exists and the same focus on independent learning is still in place. The teachers are as enthusiastic as ever and you feel the same school spirit as you walk the hallways.

My reason for being at the school today was to ask John and Jackie, the two principals if I could place my Schools and Society students there this coming semester. To my delight they agreed which means my SMC students will have the same wonderful experiences working in the Williston school that I had ten years ago. A great start to their career in Education.

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