Along with helping to build the systems that will support the work of the Partnership (see the introductory “Welcome” post), a significant part of my time this Fall as the Fellow for Community-Based Learning has been spent connecting with existing partners–and beginning to map how current programs fit together. I believe that the inquiry and design work of the next few years must begin with an understanding of current assets. Which organizations and programs already serve students? How do they interact with the school districts? How do they interact with each other? These lead to another, equally important question: What can we learn from each existing model?
These early conversations have helped me understand the complexity of the learning opportunities and support systems that serve students in Burlington and Winooski. Some, such as Linking Learning to Life and Vermont Adult Learning, work symbiotically with both schools. Others, such as Friends of Burlington Gardens and the Audubon Center, currently provide enrichment, but are excited to establish more deliberate relationships. Others, such as Healthy City, are being folded into the framework of school operations.
As both Districts evolve towards more student-centered approaches, it will be important to learn from the best of what each partner offers. It will be equally important to ensure that our work strengthens these bridges. While the nature of our many relationships may shift, we envision a mosaic of school-community partners that is stronger than the sum of its parts.
– Dov Stucker
As a postscript–Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are connected to a community-partner that would like to be involved as we move forward!