Believing that any successful endeavor begins with asking the right questions, recently the City and Lake Semester teamed up with Burlington School District Administrators to take a deep dive into the most important questions currently driving our work. We opened up our work session at the heart of our project, asking participants to name something that we each love about Burlington. Answers ranged from “the people,” to “the scale of the city,” to “the sunsets,” to “the opportunities,” situating us all, at the outset, in this wonderful place we are fortunate to call home.
Then we rolled up our sleeves and focused on the following questions:
- How can we build a student roster that reflects the diversity of BHS?
- How can we establish a system that supports a variety of learners in the program?
- How can we design and implement curriculum that takes full advantage of the opportunities to learn in, from, and for the city?
- How can we partner with community organizations and businesses in ways that embody our vision?
- What are the existing resources and assets within the Burlington Schools that we should build on?
- How can we ensure that BCL is a viable pathway to graduation?
- How can we design a process for program development that is informed by the city’s diverse communities?
- How can BCL’s progress be shared and communicated in a way that informs all stakeholders, welcomes a variety of partners, and inspires further innovation?
The resulting conversations were robust, and left us with two key takeaways: These are the right questions to be asking; and we have a wealth of resources, experience, and wisdom in our city and district to help us respond to them with sensitivity and care. It is important to us as we build our program to keep the many diversities – of our city and student body in mind, ensuring that it is truly representative of and in service to all of our city. By keeping these questions in mind as we lay the foundations for our curriculum, policies, and relationships, we know we are best positioning ourselves for success.
We will continue to post here, throughout the year, on our progress as we wrestle with these questions. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.