Teens Reaching Youth (TRY) for the Environment: A Model of Youth Engagement

TRY stands for Teens Reaching Youth and is an environmental leadership opportunity for youth in grades 7-12. It is a teen-led environmental education program with an embedded service learning component designed to teach environmental literacy and responsibility to younger youth. TRY for the Environment includes five program areas—energy FUNdamentals, waste solutions, food systems, forest and trees and TRY 4-H20 —to connect young people to real-world environmental problems in which they can be key change agents helping to create real-world solutions. Come learn about this program!

Lauren Traister, UVM Extension, 4-H Teen & Leadership Program Coordinator 
[email protected]
Indira Bush, Camels Hump Middle School
Sylvia Burkman, South Burlington High School 

Zoom Link 

Twinfield Together Mentoring Program: Peer Mentors Make a Difference in Their Community: the Importance of Youth Supporting Youth in Today’s World

Participants will learn the history of Twinfield Together Peer Mentoring Program, and the impact peer mentoring has for both the high school mentor and the younger mentee. Participants will hear stories from youth, and what their mentoring friendship has meant for them and their experience at school. Participants will then engage in a brainstorming session about relevant issues facing youth today, and how older youth can be important leaders and friends to younger youth as they navigate adolescence. We will ask participants to help us create a vision for a Peer Leadership Group by answering the following questions:       
○ Think back to your younger self. What could an older friend and mentor have offered you that would have been helpful? 
○ What are the relevant issues facing youth today?
○ What skills, tools, resources, and collaborations will be helpful for our younger youth in navigating adolescence?
What are some strategies for gaining these skills, tools, resources, and collaborations?

Ana Lindert-Boyes, Twinfield Sophomore & Peer Mentor to Ayla
Gavin Fowler,
 Twinfield Junior & Peer Mentor to Tej
Pam Quinn, Twinfield Together Mentoring Program Director, and Mentor to Hayden

Zoom Link

Vergennes Communicating School Redesign Team: Youth-Adult Partnership

Building youth adult partnership in your school can seem like a hard and almost impossible task. While it might seem that way, once you get started you realize what a world of possibilities it opens, and how much it can begin to change your school. We are Emily Rossier, Walden Project teacher, and Una Fonte student activist. And if you were to have told us that there would be a true youth adult partnership in our school last year, I think both of us would’ve thought it to be almost impossible. Yet here we are just about one year later, and we are reaching a critical mass of belief from students and teachers that youth adult partnership is the way to a future of more equitable and stronger education. In this hands on discussion and activity based workshop we will talk about how a budding youth adult partnership can grow, starting with how to change mental models, and with the focus on how to build a critical mass.

We ask  the critical question: How do you start a new youth-adult partnership in a school from the ground up, and how can you implement that at your school?

As Vermont schools begin to adapt proficiency-based learning and grading with varying degrees of success, it is becoming more and more apparent that it is necessary to communicate these changes better, and that both youth and adults in partnership must be involved together. So, as we all step into the uncertain future of proficiency based grading, we must also step into the world of youth adult partnership. By doing this you will not only learn so much about yourselves and your school, but you will truly begin to implement positive change throughout your entire school community.

Una Fonte, Student, Vergennes Union HIgh School
Emily Rossier, Teacher, Vergennes Union HIgh School

Zoom Link

The Vermont Agency of Education: Student-Designed Assessment

Have you ever had the opportunity in school to say to a teacher, “This is what I want to learn, and this is how I will show that I learned it?” We believe that student-designed performance assessments have the potential for both empowering students and engaging them in the assessment design process in a unique way. We need your help in designing a process that engages students, enables them to demonstrate their learning, and also collects meaningful evidence for teachers.    

Click HERE for Google folder with materials  (Note: to return to this page from Google, use your back arrow instead of closing the tab)

Pat FItzsimmons,
Proficiency-Based Learning Team Leader, Vermont Agency of Education
Sigrid Olson,
Personalized Learning Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education

Zoom Link

Vermont RAYS 

We want participants to leave the presentation with a better understanding of how to engage youth within healthcare and other service programs/projects by describing the method we have used within our youth health council, the VT RAYS.

We will talk about some of the strategies we have used within the RAYS to engage and recruit youth, such as information sessions, relevant questions, site visits, stipends, and volunteer hours.

We will engage the audience by quizzing them about information regarding teenagers. Most of the information will come from the 2019 YRBS.

We will also engage the audience by asking them critical questions regarding the involvement of teenagers. Some of these questions could be like what questions do you think youth are asking the most/what topics do youth have more perspective on than adults.

Julia Shannon-Grillo, Presentation leader
Ewan Miller, Assistant presenter 

Zoom Link

Youth Leadership in Children's Rights Advocacy in Germany 

This workshop will provide background information on UNICEF’s Children’s Rights Advocacy in Germany, and explore the following question: How is youth leadership included in Children's Rights Advocacy in Germany? Our goal is to show the advantages of peer to peer communication and education and give examples of how to implement Youth Leadership in different areas of youth advocacy in our schools. 

Content details:
● Basic information on UNICEF
● How is Youth Leadership included in Children's rights advocacy in Germany?
● What advantages are there?

Intended outcomes:
● Showing advantages of peer to peer communication and education
● Giving examples of how to implement Youth Leadership in different areas of youth advocacy or in schools.

Tosca Neuman

(450 130 3015, Password 618501)

Zoom Link

Integrating Nature and Community into Learning

This session will give an overview of The Walden Project, a 20-year-old public school project that uses the woods and community of Vermont as the foreground for its discourse. This internationally recognized program integrates student voice and passion into a curriculum that emphasizes the core questions of relationship to self, society, and nature. Walden serves a heterogeneous mix of students in grades 10-12 in Addison County. Students and staff will share their work, their experience, and stories about the opportunities and challenges when learning is embedded in the community, as well as when learning is restricted to remote, online settings. Opportunities for discussion will include finding ways to translate these principles to other settings and communities, as well as exploring place-based learning. 

Jenna Abbey-Lowell, youth
Emma Huestis, youth
Marlie Hunt, youth
Rowan Kamman, AmeriCorps and former student, session moderator 
Emma Jackman, youth
Matt Schlein, Walden Project Founder and teacher 

Zoom Link

Conversations from the Open Road: Documentary Journalism Crew Explores Criminal Justice

We will facilitate a thoughtful conversation about the educational merit of this kind of education: a collaborative and personally driven, project-directed experience with an authentic audience. This is a deep exploration of relevant issues of societal justice, learning from the people most impacted and also people enacting progressive, people-centered solutions and community-based learning.

We will explore these questions:
-How this type of education might align with proficiencies? ---How do we create space within the school year to allow for this type of Flexible Pathways?

This will be a deliberative and action-intended conversation about mass incarceration focused on how Vermont can transform its values and practices that underlie our current punitive criminal justice system. We will share our experience through casual verbal presentation and short videos, and planned questions

Asha Hickok, Senior, Champlain Valley Union High School
Christel Tonoki, Senior, Champlain Valley Union High School
Mary Simons, Conversations From the Open Road  

Lindsey Halman, UP for Learning, session moderator