The curriculum of the City & Lake Semester is integrated, emergent, and linked to real-world issues. This means that no two semesters are the same.

  • We typically use a systems thinking framework to study Burlington’s many systems (e.g. housing, transportation, economy, government, food, energy) and identify key challenges and leverage points for change.
  • We identify project opportunities that address real community needs and work alongside adult partners to achieve real impact.
  • Students pursue a series of independent Inquiry projects that stem from their curiosity and connect to core program themes.
  • We interact with a diverse group of community partners who share a range of perspectives on current issues.
  • Each cohort typically pursues a culminating art project and presents it to a public audience.

Some memorable projects have included:

  • Marking a new nature trail through Burlington’s Intervale and consulting with Burlington Wildways partners on ways to improve equitable access to the City’s natural areas.
  • Consulting with City officials on Burlington’s first-ever Equity Report.
  • Providing youth input to the renovation of the Moran Plant on Burlington’s waterfront.
  • Making a video about racial justice in Burlington.
  • Completing a native species restoration and climate resilience tree-planting with Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department 
  • Restoring reptile habitat at Delta Park
  • Collecting data on microplastic contamination at North Beach with the Rozalia Project.
  • Representing youth voice in a global sustainability network.
  • Consulting with Public Works and private consultants on the redesign of Main Street.
  • Creating original podcasts about business and education in Burlington.
  • Convening a session with nine different community partners, representing seven organizations, to explore the future of the Urban Reserve. 
  • We have also collaborated with artists to produce: 

    • a community light show
    • a series of large-scale portraits
    • a story slam
    • a sculpture installation
    • a mural
    • an immersive theater performance
    • a series of zines
    • a podcast, and more! 

Through these projects and many more in the future, we aspire to positively impact the Burlington community, turning learning into legacy.