The calendar page may have turned from May to June, but the energy from our recent community visioning session still feels like fresh wind in the sails. Every one of the teachers, educational leaders, community partners, and students (16 of them!) brought their own energy and curiosity. Not surprisingly, we were left with a quite a lot to digest. If our goal was to come away from that day with greater collaborative energy and deeper questions, then we succeeded mightily. But along with that success–not surprisingly–comes more work. (Isn’t that the way things go?)
A handful of questions emerged on that day. Most were issues that were on the BCL Project Team’s radar, but those who were present on 5/30 helped us identify questions for Burlington City & Lake Semester that are rich, complex, and right.
In no particular order, here are a number of questions that we will be leaning into in the coming weeks/months. (One additional note: Some of the questions that seem small actually point to larger questions of philosophy, values, approach, and/or priorities.) We’re grateful for the direction they provide.
- How can we work to ensure that the participant group reflects Burlington’s diversity (across identities, backgrounds, neighborhoods, etc.)?
- How should we balance student participants’ independence/autonomy with shared/collaborative experience?
- How should we balance exploration/inquiry with service/purpose?
- How can we ensure student voice throughout the design process?
- How can we bring in other people and resources that were not present on 5/30 (including, but not limited to City government, arts organizations, non-profits, business leaders, elders, and the formal and informal leaders of our diverse communities?)
- How can we work to ensure that this unique program “fits” within the existing structures of the BSD (e.g., semester vs. year-long course offerings), even as it seeks to help those systems evolve?
- How can this program build community among students and in the wider community?
In the months ahead, we look forward to seeking answers, drawing on insight from all corners of the city and its many voices. We hope yours is one of them.
- Dov Stucker, BHS teacher