Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Courtney Krahn's Opening Volley

  • My name is Courtney Krahn, and I teach English at Middlebury Union Middle School.  I'm a mentor on our WtS? team.  I am most excited about working with students to develop meaningful relationships and pursue important issues. 
  • Highlights from my summer included taking a yoga class, eating all the delicious Vermont summer foods, accomplishing projects such as pressure washing our decks, lots of reading, and spending lazy stretches of time with friends and family.  One of the best moments of summer was jumping off a colleague's sailboat into Lake Champlain on a hot July afternoon.   


Tim O'Leary's Opening Volley

My role on this team is as Lead-Teacher, which means that I collaborate closely with Bill and develop the scope and sequence of the course, keeping an eye on the finest of details and staying focused on where we are sailing and when to readjust our course and/or our technique in getting there. It is also so rewarding to work with such wonderfully intelligent and passionate mentors who give critical feedback on what we are doing and plans for gatherings as a way to tune that trajectory. Mostly, I love the young people with all of their the struggles, energy, and intensity to see parts of their worlds for the first time and see themselves as meaningful parts of those worlds

Like Emily, I am stepping out of the classroom this year, which has been soul shaking. I have loved teaching more and more every year for 15 years, so it still confuses me, sometimes to a gut-wrenching degree, why I chose to do this. The situation presented itself, and I'm always one to try something, if nothing else... that's the most concise way I can explain why this transition is upon me. I step into a new role with our school district (Addison Central Supervisory Union, soon to be Addison Central School District) as the only Technology Innovation Specialist as I work to strengthen the capacity of educators across 9 schools to employ technology in meaningful ways and deepen their students' learning (no small task). It's all new to me and the district. It's a monumental work-in-progress.

Best summer moment: spending time with friends and family. Feet up on the beach in Cape Cod or Fenway or on our back patio: all good times to energize. For those of you who know Michael Armstrong, attending a celebration of his life at Bread Loaf was one of the more moving moments of the summer.

What excites me the most about the coming year: I really think that WTS transitioned a whole lot from year one to year two, which has set the platform for not just refined and nuanced movements in our work together and with students this year but will allow us to also compose and package ways to tell Our story for others to borrow and imitate and make their own. Already, Paul Barnwell is replicating a WTS experience in Louisville, KY during this coming academic year. I look forward to creating open-source material not just for Paul but for anyone willing to invest so deeply in the ideas of young people and give them the unyielding syntax and resources to let those ideas take shape and take off.

Emily's Opening Volley

Hi! I'm Emily, and I work at CVU in Hinesburg, and throughout the CSSU district. This will be my first year in 19 years not teaching students. I am 50% instructional coach at the high school, and 50% instructional coach at the four K-8 schools that feed into CVU. My focus is on helping the district transition to standards-based learning, a transition that is now complete (though still a work in progress) at the high school! I have been involved in WtS for 2 years, and I'm excited to be involved as a mentor again this year.

I had a great summer, and one of the highlights has been spending quality time with our dogs. Stella is getting old, so we have been enjoying every moment with her.

I'm excited to meet the new group of students and see what they are passionate about changing in the world!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bob's Opening Volley

Happy new school year, all. I'm Bob Uhl. I teach seventh and eighth grade English at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington. This will be my second year on the What's the Story? team, and, as I did last year, I'll be serving as a co-instructor this time around. Bread Loaf Santa Fe was easily the highlight of my summer, but aside from that I'd rank the hike I took to a place called Trampas Lakes. What most excites me about being a part of WTS? is the chance to work with a variety of young people from around Vermont who are interested in making real social change. Looking forward to our kickoff event at Middlebury next month!

Nate's Opening Volley

My name is Nate Archambault.  I teach at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, VT.  I will be a mentor on the team this year.  I had a great summer at Bread Loaf and had a wonderful time working with Andrea, Dixie, Tim and others in a class titled Writing and Acting For Change.  I'm excited about reconnecting with and working with young people and educators from across the state.

Casey's Opening Volley

My name is Casey O'Meara, and I am a social studies teacher at Middlebury Union High School. I am most looking forward to participating in a hybrid learning model where personal experiences are valued as "content." I am excited about learning the role of a mentor in this type of learning environment and am happy do so as part of a team. 

Ben's Opening Volley

My name is Ben Krahn, and I'm an English teacher at Middlebury Union High School. Starting my 13th year of teaching in high schools, I'm excited also to join Team What's The Story in my second year as a mentor. I'm most excited to see the topics that students choose this year. I love watching the initial curiosity turn into actual learning. Here's to the beginning of a great year!

Kicking Off 2016-2017

Welcome to Pause for the Cause: Our Team's Learning Space

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Pause for the Cause, the digital place where we--this year's What's the Story? team--will make sense of how we and our learners are doing. At certain points throughout this year, we'll pause to consider a few timely prompts to make sure we're in sync with each other and our learners. (Feel free to look back at last year's prompts / posts to get a feel.)

To kickoff this year, please follow these directions for making a post, sharing a photo, task by the end of Tuesday, September 6.

1.  Make a Post
  • To make a post, look at the upper right hand corner of the blog screen (way up there in small print)  and you'll see: "New Post." Click on that there thing. 
2.  Title Your Post 
  • Let's all go with the same format / title: "My Name's Opening Volley" (example: Bill Rich's Opening Volley)
3.  Post a Photo in Your Post
4. Write and Publish a Response to These Three Questions
  • Remind all of us, in a single paragraph: Who are you, where do / did you teach, and what's your role on this team?
  • One of your best summer moments? 
  • What  most excites you about being on this team?

If I can lend a hand, please email (redhouselearning@gmail.com) or give a call (578-9786).

Bill Rich
Director VT-BLTN