Thursday, September 14, 2017
Read the full case study report here
Prepared for Antioch University New England and the Wellborn Ecology Fund by PEER Associates with primary author Amy Powers, August 2017.
"....Many people know Ludlow, a town of about 2000 in south central Vermont, as the home of Okemo Mountain ski resort. There’s a smaller (both in number and stature) group of people who know it as the home of Dirt City. “Discovered” by a pair of local kindergarteners, the main attraction at Dirt City is not a ski hill, but a giant pine tree, whose tipped-up root ball stands 10-12 feet high, with a gully and a trickle of water running beneath. Every Friday, the townspeople of Dirt City, Ludlow’s kindergarten and first graders, spend the school day running along the length of that downed pine tree, dodging in and out of the branches, spotting woodland neighbors, all the while solving problems together, reading and writing, and
learning the difference between a risk and a hazard. According one of their teachers,
"They really believe Forest Friday is their world, and their classroom. I try to make the [indoor] classroom theirs, but in their mind it’s still mine, not theirs. They join me in the classroom, but out there, in Dirt City, they have ownership. They find these places and they name these places."
These young Vermonters are taking part in an emerging wave of Forest Days programs cropping up across Vermont and New Hampshire. While playing and learning in the woods is still a novel concept in today’s schools, in Vermont it is a time honored tradition almost as old as the hills themselves....."
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Ludlow and Black River Schools
45 Main Street
Ludlow, Vermont 05149
I hope your summer was filled with family, friends, fun and relaxation. The faculty and staff are looking forward to a great school year. Both the Ludlow Elementary and Black River Union High School and Middle School have been preparing for the start of a new school year.
This year the Union 39 and Ludlow School Boards have taken the first steps towards a more efficient and collaborative practice with the restructure of the administration in both buildings. There is now an Administrative team for the schools. John Davis is the Assistant Principal and I am the Principal of the pre-k through 12th grade system. Melissa Ryan will remain the Leadership Liaison for the elementary level.
It is this administration’s vision that moving towards a pre-k through 12 program will create more learning opportunities for all students, faculty and staff. This undertaking will take time, and collaboration between boards, faculty and the community., Sso looking over the next several years the Ludlow and Mount Holly school systems can develop a system that is collaborative and efficient.
The first of many steps for this year is the full implementation of Proficiency Based Education (PBE) and expanding Personalized Learning Plans (PLP). The PBE will be in full swing at the secondary levels (grades 7-12). The secondary levels have worked on these proficiency standards for over two years and are excited to move this work forward.
At the elementary level the work is just beginning. The teachers will be working throughout the year identifying the enduring proficiencies that students will need to be successful in the following year. This is extremely complicated and requires collaboration with the other 3 elementary schools in the Two Rivers Supervisory. Union. This year this work will be done on early release days and winter sports days. The early release days will be the first Tuesday of the month starting in November. Please look over the calendar carefully for those days.
As we move forward in the future planning, the Ludlow School Board has charged the administration to find innovative ways to become financially efficient, meet the present tax structure, and to continue a strong school community.
One example of the change in this direction is piloting a cluster class with grades 4 and 5. The fourth and fifth grade class will combine for science. This will allow both classes to have the benefit of two teachers’ planning and collaborationg. The one teacher is a nationally awarded Science teacher and the other teacher is a Highly Qualified special educator who will support all students in the classroom. To further explore opportunities to be more collaborative and to maintain a strong school community, the entire school will meet on the playground and gather around the flag pole for morning meeting and announcements as well as having schoolwide recesses and lunches.
With change comes anxiety and excitement. At both levels the faculty, staff and administration is up to the challenge. We truly appreciate our students’, parents’, community’s and Boards’ support as we move forward over the next several years.
Please mark on your calendar for Thursday, September 7th, for our school wide pre-k through 12, Welcome Back barbecue and informational night.
Karen Trimboli, Principal