High schools across Vermont are removing teachers from instructional positions to enable students to create their own course. The curriculum? Whatever they want it to be; self-directed learning classrooms are designed to allow students to choose their own path of study. In this model, teachers become facilitators to help students structure their projects and set realistic goals to produce tangible results.
These classrooms allow students to learn subjects or experiences that their schools do not offer. Students choose to pursue internships, language classes, studying a specific historical period, learning a new instrument; the possibilities are vast.
CVU has implemented its own self directed learning environment with Nexus.
Peter Booth and Troy Paradee are two of the four teachers in the program. “Our mission statement is to provide a space and support for students to pursue interests that are not already available in our curriculum,” says Paradee.
Booth explains the other factor that started the program. “Part of the idea is to – as a school – recognize that kids do lots of [learning outside of school] where they learn stuff unrelated to school. Why can’t the school say, ‘Hey, look at this thing this kid did,’ and give them credit?” Nexus bridges the gap between student interests (outside of school) and students’ academic world.
In May of 2019, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed Bill S.86 into action, a bill that increased the legal age for buying and using cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and all tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age. Businesses are now implementing the changes outlined in the bill and establishments around Vermont are examining their guidelines, including CVU.
Although similar legislation failed in 2016 and 2017, the issue has never been completely dropped in Vermont. In 2016, a measure to raise the tobacco purchasing age passed in the Vermont House by a vote of 81-61. According to his deputy chief of staff at the time, then Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vermont) did not support raising the smoking age. Without his support, the bill did not pass in 2016 or the year after.
This year, Vermont legislators Sen. Deborah Ingram (D – Chittenden) and Sen.Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden ) worked hard for preliminary approval of the legislation that would gradually raise the tobacco smoking age to 21. Jessica Brumsted (D-Shelburne) presented the bill on the floor of the House on April 23, 2019. In her opening statement, she said, “Our aim is to reduce tobacco use by youth and protect developing brains, which are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of nicotine and nicotine addiction.” After making it through several rounds of legislation, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed ‘Tobacco 21’, making it final on May 21st, 2019.
It is no doubt that recent evidence has pushed lawmakers to address the obvious issues this year. Recent studies have linked lung and respiratory issues directly with e-cigarette use, and the number of high school students now using these devices has skyrocketed. The National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2018 revealed that in the U.S. from 2017-2018, e-cigarette use among high school and middle-school students increased alarmingly – 78% and 48% respectively. Now, as more and more specific cases present themselves throughout the country, evidence emerges about the harming effects of e-cigarette devices.
At the end of this past 2018-2019 school year, 4th through 8th grade teachers across the Champlain Valley District gave their students an optional book to read over the summer. The students came together on September 5th, 2019 at CVU in a celebration of the Common Read. At the day long celebration, students collaborated on their thoughts and ideas about this year’s topic, Social Justice.
Students were given a variety of books by different authors. Incoming 4th graders read Preaching to Chickens, written by Jabari Asim. Incoming 6th graders had the option of reading Ghost Boy, by Jewell Parker, or A Good Kind of Trouble, by Lisa Moore Ramee; incoming 8th graders had the choice of reading Ghost Boy or March, by Andew Aydin and John Lewis. Families were encouraged to help their child choose an appropriate book.
The goal of the CVSD Common Read is “to inspire and unify students and community members through envisioning, planning and collaborating on works of literature or art that educate about important themes of our time” as well as “to discover and learn interdisciplinary subject matter and real-life skills through collaborative design projects”. Participating in the Common Read will help kids achieve these goals and to be able to engage in the group discussion.
Debbie Donnelly, a 5th through 8th grade teacher at Williston Central School, attended the event with her students, “I am not sure if it will help kids read over the summer. With that being said, supplying students with books of their own, to keep, certainly promotes reading over the summer,” Donnelly hopes that giving students a book to keep will encourage students to utilize it, and it will help educate young people about important topics.
“ Hearing the cheers and support from the fans the night of the show made all the hard work worth it,” designer Delaney Brunvand, a CVU senior, recounted from the night of September 7th, when she and four other students from CVU showcased their designs to a supportive crowd in the annual Art Hop fashion show, known as ¨Strut¨.
Students filled the Generator Maker Space leading up to the 6:30 and 8:30 shows to see their classmates and friends model or display their designs.
This year’s catalog of talented designers included five CVU students- Cam Cuttitta, Cassidy Frost, Cole Glover, Delaney Brunvand, and Emma Destito- all of whom were assisted by other students who modeled their designs.
“ As a high schooler, I never dreamed of doing something like Strut. The fact that there are students who plan for this all year long to show their work and then go on to pursue a career in the arts is incredible,” commented Strut coordinator Wylie Garcia on the large amount of student involvement in the show.
This year Strut celebrates its 15th year as a popular annual event featured as a part of Art Hop in Burlington.
In partnership with Seven Days, the show is put on by the South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA), who on their website describes themselves as “ dedicated to promoting Burlington’s Pine Street corridor and growing its number of artists and businesses-large and small.”
Vermonters in Chittenden County are fortunate to have services that cover every town at every hour of the day. Whether it’s a first responder, rescue, fire or police department, someone will be there for you when you are in a time of need.
The Emergency Medical Service (EMS) is a refined system that provides acute out-of-hospital care to patients with illnesses and injuries, according to the Prehospital Emergency Care textbook. The tasks required of EMS providers span from emotional support to Physiological First Aid (PFA), to full resuscitative efforts. So, how does someone become an EMS provider?
Christine McCarthy, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) professor at the University of Vermont and an Advanced EMT (AEMT) for over twenty-nine years, stated that her career in EMS wasn’t something she’d ever thought of doing before.
McCarthy stated, “I had never expressed an interest in EMS. The idea of helping people like that was not on my radar, and I wouldn’t have even thought I’d be good at it.” McCarthy recalled that it was a friend who randomly signed her up, which McCarthy reflected had forever changed her life.
Images from The Citizen
However, not everyone gets involved unexpectedly. Gavin Cote, a senior at CVU and soon to be EMT said, “I became interested in EMS around a year ago when I took my wilderness first aid class. It’s a very rudimentary class designed to help in backcountry emergencies, but after I took it, I became hooked on the idea of helping people.” Cole suggested that others can really bring out the best in oneself, and add an aspect to life that is truly fulfilling.
Many CVU students are being awarded sports scholarships and have been recruited by big schools, although most of their friends, teachers, and fellow students haven’t even seen them compete!
Ella Miller (pictured), a CVU senior and strong backstroke swimmer at The EDGE, has excelled in her swimming career. After being recruited and committing to Auburn University in June 2018, Miller has a future set in swimming. “Honestly, I swim because I love it. I’ve been swimming for almost 10 years and my love for [swimming] hasn’t changed.” It’s clear enough to see her love for the sport and not hard at all to see why someone like Miller would stick with it.
On March 19, 2019, Miller went down to Orlando, Florida to compete in the National Club Swimming Association event (NCSA). She placed 75th out of 197 competitors in the Women’s 200 Yard Backstroke.
According to swimming teammate, Riley Machanic, Miller not only supports her team through her swimming abilities but through her leadership skills as well. “She’s really great with the [little kids], she always helps out, and she’s like a role model for the whole team,” Machanic said.
The Chittenden South Supervisory Board once again gives their support to students’ creative and flexible pathways for learning by signing off on a new course, allowing the freedom for students to excel in their individual artistic passions.
Beginning in 2019, the CVU Art Department has been given the go-ahead to provide a new course for all types of art media, according to Jen Bickel-Hayes, a CVU Nichols House Guidance Counselor.
Studio Block is offered during second block on red days and is taught by Jason Fearon, an art teacher of four years at CVU. Three of the four art rooms are available for use during that time. “I think we were really lucky, it just happens that the photography room and the ceramics room are open at the same time. Having all three of the spaces is really fantastic!” said Fearon. He explained that the class is designed to give students the freedom to work on independent projects based on their personal artistic goals, not goals set by the instructor.
Students should understand that this is not only open to those enrolled, but for any CVU artists in need of a space to work. “I also like that students are coming into the class who aren’t assigned to the class, but are using it as a time to be in a room where they can ask a teacher questions and that teacher isn’t going anywhere, that I’m dedicated to helping them. I hope that also grows!” Fearon assured. He sees the value in providing space for student learning without whole class instruction involved.
HINESBURG VT– Over the past year, there has been a drastic rise in the number of students who are vaping on school grounds, as a result of the new phenomenon known as the ‘Juul.’
Taking hits on the bus, taking drags in the bathrooms; these are now common phrases used around CVU when referencing where vaping occurs. Unlike smoking cigarettes, vaping flavors range from neutral to bubble gum, cremes, and cucumber. As a result, teens are intrigued.
Image from Partnership for a Drug-free America
“When people see others doing something, they are naturally curious. There is this internal pressure with wanting to fit in within social groups,” said Tim Trevithick, Student’s Assistance Program Counselor at CVU. “This trend has come on extremely fast and hits all of the social groups. I don’t see the trend dying down anytime soon at the moment.”
Trevithick mentioned that it is difficult to gather specific data on just how many high school students are currently vaping or have vaped in the past. “Current data does not represent correctly what is happening now, as it is such a fast trend.” Trevithick voiced his concern regarding long term effects, mentioning the lack of studies that have been done and the lengthy time period that is required to gather evidence.
Hinesburg, VT — The Champlain Valley Union High School’s Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team took their opponents to the cleaners during the Capitol City Classic tournament on Sunday.
The Redhawks won their first game of the tournament 15-0 against Burlington High School’s junior varsity team. CVU wrapped the game up in about 45 quick minutes thanks to the 15 points they put away early on.
“We started out a little unsure of our abilities since we’d only had one other game together as a team, but within the first few points we fell into our roles effortlessly, which was surprising since half our team had never played before,” said Grace Washburn, cutter for the CVU Redhawks.
The Redhawks went on to win the second game of the tournament 14-1 against the BFA Varsity team.
“It was a really exciting time for the team to finally win a tournament, this added lots of mental strength to our team early into the season,” said Claire Rocheleau, 4th season playing for the Redhawks, “Seeing the CVU team develop [over that last four years] has been amazing.”
On October 6th, 1998, 21 year old Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming. Six days later, he passed away due to head injuries, and the story shook the country for a big reason: not only did people find the murder itself horrific, but horrific turned to devastating when people learned Shepard was killed because he was gay. Twenty years later, the story continues to leave a mark, as it’s hard to forget what happened in the small town of Laramie. This year for the spring play, CVU decided to put on The Laramie Project, a show that depicts the aftermath of the death of Matthew Shepard.
Matthew Shepard. Image from the BBC
The play was created by The Tectonic Theater Project, and the script is verbatim theatre: it’s crafted from actual interviews, journal entries, and news reports from after Shepard’s death. The authenticity of the script of the play puts audience members right into the story, thus making it more moving.
The cast is comprised of an ensemble, and each member plays multiple characters, which along with the structure of the script, creative blocking, and use of projections, provide a unique representation of the event. Candy Padula, director of the play, states, “I was alive when this incident happened and I remember the world wide reaction to the beating and murder of this young University of Wyoming Student, Matthew Shepard, because he was gay. The reaction was enormous.” The Laramie Project allows for both those who remember and those who don’t remember the event to feel its message and importance through the stage.
This year’s 2018 “UVM Outstanding Teacher Award,” goes to Sarah Malcolm, a science teacher at CVU. Every year, Vermont offers awards to teachers to highlight their notable teaching skills recognized by other staff members and students around the school.
Malcolm has been teaching science for 14 years at CVU, and first started teaching in Massachusetts. What got her into teaching was coaching field hockey while she was injured playing field hockey. She liked working with high school students and fell in love with the idea of helping kids and being a mentor for them. “I really liked science and a bunch of other subjects, but primarily I loved science and working hands on with some math and vocabulary, and there’s a lot of skills embedded in science, and I liked putting all them together,” said Malcolm.
Malcolm both coached and taught here at CVU, and at prior schools for the first half of her teaching career. She then stopped coaching once her children got older, but continued to bring her teaching skills to the classroom everyday.
Malcolm loves many things about being a teacher. What she loves most of all is spending time with her students. “One thing I love is the environment that gets established in a classroom after some time. I also love the team aspect that occurs and that students find ways to collaborate together. I love seeing them pushed to as far as they can go,” said Malcolm. She never fails to keep students awake and alert during class with her funny humor and remarks.
Malcolm has many strengths as a teacher. “Things that I feel very confident about is my establishing of relationships with students and them establishing relationships amongst each other within class. I feel very confident about the subjects that I teach and my understanding and knowledge of those subjects. I also love strategizing and planning for what we actually do in class and how we get there,” said Malcolm.
Although Malcolm has many strengths, every teacher has some things they could work on. “I think that over time, time has become an issue, and so I’m really into systems and being super efficient. It’s been very hard to differentiate pace in class and that’s something that I’ve been working on to do better with lack of time. I also think there’s a lot of different ways to communicate and I’m not doing all of them well so that’s an area that I’d love to improve on as well,” said Malcolm.
Being a science teacher, Malcolm loves things a certain way and values being organized with her students’ work. She also values knowing what the class needs to work on in order to get better and understand the content she’s teaching. Malcolm has some areas with teaching she could improve on, but she continues to show CVU her outstanding teaching skills.
Malcolm enjoys teaching at CVU and is very appreciative of what CVU has to offer. “I really like the people at CVU. I love the students and faculty here. I think we have an excellent faculty and staff. I like collaborating with my colleagues and having the opportunity to be creative, and I think there’s a lot of things you can try here that you can’t at other schools,” said Malcolm. Malcolm also loves being able to express herself in class with her students. She feels very comfortable being herself which is something she values. “It’s been a very good fit for me and I’ve enjoyed my fourteen years here,” said Malcolm.
Malcolm is a very well rounded teacher who inspires students to work their best every day. She knows exactly how to create the perfect learning environment that keeps students engaged and excited to learn, which is a very hard skill for teachers to achieve.
Hinesburg VT — For two weeks at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, CVU students will not be having traditional classes. Instead, they will be participating in a program called “RISE,” which consists of teacher-run activities that students may not have access to inside or outside of their regular classes.
RISE (Reflective Interest-based Student Experiences) is a newly implemented program at CVU as of 2018. Carly Rivard, the personal learning coordinator at CVU, claims that RISE is very much needed, “Based on the research [taken over the past two years] that Peter [Langela] and Abbie [Bowker] conducted as part of their Rowland Foundation work, as well as the current understanding of what jobs and careers will look like for current students, it is clear that students need a set of skills that are not always practiced regularly in the more conventional school system. Students also need more time to take low stake risks that allow them to discover and develop interests, core values, and [their own] purpose. RISE is one way to provide more opportunities for students to use their voice to achieve their own personal goals.”
The data collected by the Rowland Foundation found that, according to Langella, the majority of CVU students do not feel that they possess the freedom to choose what they study in class. CVU faculty saw this information and used it as a catalyst to fill the void left in many of its students academic aspirations. Langella shared how he thinks RISE can be helpful to students. “Students can use RISE to explore a topic of interest that you are curious about, or you can use it to further your understanding of a topic you already have experience in.”
Every-other Tuesday at 10:00 am, CVU Student Body Co-President and Student Council News Anchor, Nicole Eaton, is hard at work. Along with notorious CVU AV expert Gary Lambert, Nicole produces bi-weekly news segments in order to inform the student body on the goings-on of the CVU community.
This is Nicole’s first year anchoring, and she was selected not only due to her Student Council position but also because of her strong interest in broadcasting and her experiences within the field. She says that while filming this year’s welcome video, she talked with Gary regarding her college plans to study communications as well as her experiences during an internship she had with FOX 44 and ABC Local 22.
The CVU anchor position was still yet to be filled, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity. “ I [love anchoring the SCN], just because this summer, when I was watching the anchors for the FOX 44 and ABC Local 22, it was really inspiring, and I didn’t really get a chance to actually practice the skills that I was seeing them use… [Now] I’m using [those] skills and it’s fun that people get to see me and that I get to see myself do something that I want to do in the future.” For Nicole, anchoring is not only an enjoyable extra-curricular activity, but also a great addition to the resume of a future communications major.
The United States has been sculpted by the press. The truth cuts through the clouds of illusions and misconceptions, and provides the necessary clarity in the midst of national and global confusion. School publications are incubators for these writers, teaching skills, ethics and providing first-hand experience. However, a debate has been sparked between administrators and journalists: does a school administration have the right to censor student reporters.
Justin Chapman, the Advisor for the Champlain Valley Chronicle, is strongly opposed to the practice of censorship. He has often preached the necessity for freedom of press, emphasising its relevance inside and out of CVU. “We have to pursue the truth,” he said, emphatic and passionate, “[censorship] is somebody imposing their values on somebody else.” He cites issues such as libraries banning books, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) imposing “Hayes Code,” a series of provisions that banned sensitive material from it’s screenplays. “You have to allow for the discussion rather than stifle it,” he asserted.
Chapman has been associated with the paper since the early 2000’s, and has commented on the environment of respect here at CVU for its student journalists. “[Journalists] have a lot of freedom and support,” he commented, emphasising the largely civil relationship between CVU’s administration and the press.
The principal of CVU, Adam Bunting, has accentuated the necessity for freedom of press, citing it as both a school and national concern. “Journalism and the press are one of the key processes in a democratic system, [we need] truth opposed to sensationalism,” he insisted.
HINESBURG, VT— On Sunday, October, 28, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series with a 5-1 blowout match against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is the team’s first win since 2013. While some of the students at Champlain Valley Union High School— located 220 miles from Boston— are thrilled with the outcome, others are quite upset and some couldn’t care less. Nevertheless, this World Series win is a big deal at CVU.
Ian Parent, a senior at CVU and a player on the varsity baseball team, said enthusiastically, “I am a huge Red Sox fan! I’m just so excited for the city of Boston because let’s be honest, we don’t win enough.” He elaborated by talking about some of his favorite players on the team, “Alex Cora is the greatest manager of all time, especially as a rookie and David Price came in clutch.” In the series, David Price, 33, only allowed 3 runs in the entire series and pitched 3 of the 5 games. It was truly a spectacular series for Price who, in terms of sports, is quite old.
The Red Sox Victory Parade, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Another life-long Red Sox fan, Brendan Tivnan, stated, “My parents grew up in the Boston area and therefore have been fans their whole lives, so have I. I love watching [the Red Sox] and all of its players. They are a great young team with a lot of great young players. Also, I am glad that they beat the Astros and the Yankees because I hate both of those teams!”
Yummy! Nothing tastes sweeter than being able to make a difference in a furry friend’s life… Except for doing it while eating a delicious waffle from the CVU Cafe! Every year, Leo LaForce and the CVU Student Council team up to set up Cafe for a Cause, where the profits of all purchases at the cafeteria for one day go to a certain charity. There is also a raffle managed by Student Council and this year there was a donation table as well. This year, the charity was the Humane Society of Chittenden County.
Photo by Elyse Martin-Smith
Cafe for a Cause has been an annual CVU tradition since 2004 or 2005. Leo LaForce, head of the CVU Cafe, has worked very hard to make this a successful event at CVU to give back. “I’ve worked in restaurants my entire life, which is always for profit… so there has really never been an opportunity,” says LaForce. His idea for this contrasts his past work, so he turned to his core values to gain inspiration for this event. “I’ve always felt people should give to the community, or give back in some way”
One thing that makes this event possible is the support of the community, which became apparent when LaForce approached the Chief Operating Officer for the CVSD district, proposing the idea. “He said ‘go for it!’” LaForce recalls. The Cafe relies on donations to make this possible, which makes community involvement even more valuable.
This year, the Humane Society was chosen by Leo LaForce as this year’s lucky charity. Some years, like last year, it is selected by the CVU Student Council. Last year, the profit was actually split between the Richmond and Hinesburg Food Shelters. However, this year, the Chittenden Humane Society was the sole organization receiving profits. The mission statement of the Humane Society is “to foster compassionate treatment of animals and prevent animal suffering; to strengthen the human-animal bond; and to further the cause of responsible animal ownership through education and public awareness,” according to their website. I mean, who doesn’t love helping animals find a forever home or helping provide them with proper healthcare?
LaForce felt this was a really great fit for this year’s donations. “It’s not just helping animals; it’s helping people! Everyone knows how important a pet is to them.” It is also very local, which some people may not know. The Chittenden Humane Society, although the same organization, is not directly affiliated with the National Humane Society in the realm of donations. “They have to raise money for what they do for their own individual charity,” Leo comments, highlighting the importance of helping the local strands of the larger organization.
Cafe for a Cause can help make a significant difference for whatever charity is chosen that year since it raises a lot of necessary funds. According to Leo LaForce, “We raised $347 through Raffle sales and $7,403 through Cafe sales to total $7,750 dollars.” Considering the current student enrollment, there was a good turnout. “Out of 1308 students we served 357 breakfast meals (27%) and 774 lunch meals (almost 60%)” and “out of 300 adults we served 38 breakfast meals (almost 13%) and 75 Lunch meals (25%),” Leo LaForce mentioned in a school-wide email. These numbers are impressive in comparison to some recent years, and it can significantly help the Humane Society.
Putting on such a large event requires the support of many people and groups. Student Council helped to put together the morning waffle bar for Cafe for a Cause and assembled a large raffle. The raffle included prizes ranging from a FitBit to a french press, all due to generous donations from many businesses. Jessica Ke really lead this project and expertly organized the student aspect of this event. Her efforts were greatly appreciated this year in helping it run smoothly.
Although this event was a success, there is always room for improvement. Andre LaChance has consistently assisted with organizing students, as well as the critique of the event so that it can run more smoothly next year. This is extremely helpful in many ways. Compared to last year, there was a significantly higher profit this year, showing that things are already improving. Also, many a variety of new local businesses donated products to the raffle, creating new bonds within the community.
Overall, Cafe for a Cause was very successful this year, and a great idea that has been well refined at CVU. Simply by eating some delicious tortellini or enjoying a cup of coffee, the lives of precious pets are improved. Just in time for “giving season” and CVU’s Attitude for Gratitude Week, this event furthers the idea of giving and gratitude. Leo LaForce said his “favorite part is seeing the amount of support from the CVU community, the amount of students that come in, the amount of adults that come through, and the amount of joy they seem to be taking in that event.” He was very grateful for everyone who helped out with this event. He was also able to spread the kindness.
LaForce said that another one of the most rewarding parts of this is “the joy we see them experience and seeing what it can do.” With this in mind, take this as inspiration to spread a generous and gracious mentality like this event does. Finally, remember to look out for Cafe for a Cause at CVU in future years!
Interested in the cause? Visit the Chittenden Humane Society webpage at the link below!
Every Monday morning in the CVU fitness center, King Miln can be found leading a group of students in a strength workout. He decided along with fellow Nordic Ski coach, Sarah Strack, to make use of the extra hour on late start days at CVU for strength training.
One skier, Celia Cote, 15, from Williston, says she wants to improve her core and upper body strength since “those are important for skiing and I don’t always work on that during [the off season].” Another skier, Geneva Cote, agrees that she needs more upper body and core strength because she “doesn’t really work on them on [her] own” and they are “really important for Nordic.” Miln says that 50% of the skate ski motion is upper body because you need your arms to push just as much as you need legs.
Miln says that the workout is tailored specifically for Nordic Skiers. “[These workouts] build less injuries, more endurance, and more speed for the ski season.” He says that the coaches work together to pull different types of exercises from NENSA, the New England Nordic Ski Association, and the US Ski Team, to create a circuit of moves that help skiers build muscles that are most important for the sport. “We’re trying to do more upper body, because that’s where [the team] is weakest in, guys and girls.”
Imagine moving to a foreign country all alone for nine months and not being able to speak in your first language. Why did over one million students in the US decide to take this risk, and what are the potential benefits? Frans Lindberg, an exchange student at CVU, explained his reason for why he made the decision to come to the US. “It is a family tradition, both my older brother and sister went abroad for a year.” He said that playing for the soccer team in particular was a great experience that made his year.
Jan Bedard, the Regional Coordinator for Education First (EF) exchange student agency, explained how the process begins. “It all starts with having a potential American family express interest in hosting, which is pretty rare. Once I have determined that they are likely a suitable family and genuinely interested, I make contact with the school to be sure that they have a space for the student and are willing to work with me and my organization. All four of my kids graduated from CVU and I have been supervising EF students at CVU since 1993. We hosted before that, so CVU is pretty easy. Other schools may not have any spaces left or not want exchange students.”
Not only is CVU an easy school for the agency to work with, but the students find it to be a great place to live and learn as well. Lindberg said, “The teachers are great and if I have a question in class I do not hesitate to ask. The language barrier was small at the beginning of the year and has got increasingly smaller as my time at CVU goes by.” CVU is great for exchange students, and exchange students are great for CVU. They provide a different perspective on the world and help other students at CVU see themselves from a global point of view.
With seniors gearing up to graduate and juniors starting their college search, many teens are left wondering what they should be looking for when trying to find the right college for them. While searching for colleges can be hard, there are some things to consider about a school to make the picking process easier.
One of the Chittenden Guidance Counselors, Sarah O’Hara- Hughes, says a few things to think about are the size and location of schools. Where a college is located is one of the most important things that a person should take into account. Another important trait of a college is majors. If you know what you want to major in, you have to make sure that the college you choose offers it.
A sample Naviance “scattergram”
Hughes commented on what she thinks is important in finding the right school. “The size I think is important too. Are they looking for small, medium, large? And this can all be done in a college search, particularly the one [CVU] uses is Naviance.”
Hinesburg VT– Although Grad Challenge has changed from a research process to a reflective one, some students say the stress and anxiety for them has not changed, even though they may see the purpose of Grad Challenge.
CVU senior, Liam Freeman says, “Grad Challenge has being going well. I have met all the deadlines so far, since I am passionate about my topic: Fly Fishing.”
CVU senior, Clark Schmitt noticed some overlap of having both RISE and Grad Challenge in the same year. “The RISE program allows people the same opportunity as Grad Challenge. It would be cool if they incorporated the two together, so students could work with seniors on their Grad Challenge.”
The ultimate truth is that kids don’t want to go to school just to sit inside in a dark classroom all day. Most American schools follow the same model where the day is split into blocks of class, with a small break for lunch, and bells telling students when it’s time to move on. This is an incredibly outdated system left over from the Industrial Revolution when rapidly growing factories needed a way to control the large amount of workers moving through their facilities. Most class schedules are designed without regard to the multifaceted needs of a student today.
Students need a schedule and a space to learn that helps maintain a healthy lifestyle and mindset. A large part of this is getting outside and moving around. An experiment by the Department of Hygiene and Public Health at the Nippon Medical School found that students who were sent into the forest for two nights (know as forest bathing or “Shinrinyoku” in Japan) had lower levels of cortisol (a stress marking hormone) than those who spent two nights in the city. The constant buffer of our dark classrooms is stressing students much more than needed.
If everyone was given a break to spend an hour outside every day, we would all be much less stressed as the research shows. The time allows kids to have a mental and physical break from the blocked out back-to-back schedule. Instead of going from one class to the next, never giving their brain a chance to rest, they would be able to have a moment to simply breathe. Healthguide.org asserts that exercise decreases depression, anxiety, and stress. It would also allow students to get up and move their bodies which could reduce fidgeting in classrooms.
For many kids at CVU, coming back after the summer break is hard. Many of them spend their free days enjoying the warm Vermont weather outside. During break, kids are free to move about to their hearts’ content because of all the extra time they have. Students can spend time getting exercise, being outside, seeing friends and family, exploring new places, and learning about things that interest them.
The big thing is that this is all possible even with a persistent schedule. For example, I had a job this summer. I was able to stick to my daily schedule at work and then have free time to do what I wanted for the rest of the day. I was also able to pick a job that I enjoyed. I worked outside because that is what is important to me. The stress of school life doesn’t allow for people to make these types of choices.
However, one way our school is addressing this issue is the new RISE program. For the two week, end of school period, students can choose to take classes in many different subjects that interest them or do an independent study. It allows kids to have a well deserved break from stress while still learning.
Although this is a good step forward, RISE doesn’t fix the fact that we are cooped up inside all winter and fall, having our energy drained by fluorescent lights and plastic chairs. Whether it’s the incorporation of a green space, an extended lunch/recess, or the elimination of homework to give more personal time, there’s no doubt that there needs to be a way to let our brains and bodies rest throughout our busy school days to come.
For the Library, Change is Constant and Connections are Consistent
The CVU library is a place students come to study, socialize, and collaborate with one another. “[It] is a place where people can connect,” said Peter Langella, a CVU librarian. “Students can connect with the school, with other classmates, and with themselves.” Though it may not seem like it at first to many, there is a lot more that goes into keeping the library such a great place. The CVU library is constantly adapting in order to fulfill the needs of the entire student body.
Over the past couple of years, the changes to the library have been noticeable. Whether it be the new rooms in the back or the new tables in the front, the library continues to keep people guessing with refreshing new layouts. “The changing environment of the library makes the learning environment better,” Langella says. “I’ve read some studies that claim people’s brains function better in different environments, and it’s different for every person.”