Schoolhouse Learning Center in South Burlington secured its future when it implemented a critical step in its transition from a parent-run cooperative to a board of trustees model-which includes parents, alumni families and community members with an interest in primary education.
The school received a loan from the Vermont Community Loan Foundation for the funds to hire a full-time admissions and marketing director.
Linda Barnes steps into the new position from a career at Rice High School. She accepted the position because of her belief in the school's five-year vision plan.
Beginning this fall, Schoolhouse will no longer require families to actively run the cooperative, which previously put too much onus on working families despite their excitement over the academic programs. Parent participation will continue to beembraced; parents plan to avail themselves of the opportunity to join their students throughout the day including at morning circles, lunch, and recess.
Experienced teachers at Schoolhouse have committed themselves to retaining the best qualities of the school while implementing new programs to harness the power of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) practices.
Parent Bill Church, won a grant for $4,000 this spring to continue his work on the school wetlands in partnership with St. Michael's College. Throughout the year, Church took students to the wetlands to monitor the flora and fauna of the 28 acres of wetlands that abut the campus.
Teachers also workedover the summer in professional development programs such as the Google Teacher's Education Program, a Watershed for Every Classroom and a new initiative in using technology skills and music to document a year-long classroom study of plants and trees.
Innovative Schoolhouse traditions such as elective short courses, research projects, Spanish, music, physical education and displays of student work remain the center of activity at the school, which is famous for its ability to develop students who love to learn.
The school's early kindergarten program also provides a multi-aged learning environment for students who may have missed the age cut-off for other programs.