UPdate from the UP for Learning Team
April 19, 2020
There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.
Ask: “What’s possible?” not “What’s wrong?” Keep asking.
Notice what you care about.
-Margaret Wheatley
An email from a colleague this week brought me back to the poem UP uses with so many of our teams to explore both the power of youth-adult partnership and spark hope as they seek to reimagine the future of education. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented myriad challenges on multiple fronts. Yet, it has also provided a unique opportunity for us to reimagine how we serve our youth. Revisiting “Turning to One Another” by Margaret Wheatley , helped me as I navigated this past week, and I would like to highlight a few lines that reverberated with our youth and adult partners that I recently had conversations with.

Treasure curiosity more than certainty. During my weekly team meeting with a high school team, one senior expressed the concern to the group that in this time of learning during COVID-19, “being fascinated by learning something new has been lost. ” Another middle school youth expressed the desire to "have academic freedom." Now is the time to support youth in directing their own learning so it is relevant and meaningful. We cannot recreate the conditions of the school building at home, and perhaps, this is permission to not even try. Let's lean into curiosity and wonder.

Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible. The UP Youth Advisory Council (YAC) has been showing up, and we are so grateful for their leadership. They are designing a P2 Virtual Summit that is sure to be epic, and they care deeply about connecting Vermont youth through the survey they designed. We are so grateful for our youth partners and hope that we will continue to grow our YAC leadership each year. This short video from Erubey Lopez, captures the importance of youth leadership.

Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something. We are now learning during COVID-19. Why not make this the focus of the learning, since this IS what is relevant? Andrea Purcell and Kurt Holland from Big Picture Learning shared this resource this week and I hope it inspires you too:  High School in the Time of Coronavirus - Shared

Know that creative solutions come from new connections . The UP team has been supporting our partners as they reimagine ways in which to engage their community in dialogue events. Last week we shared a new resource that provides you with some ideas for how to use powerful virtual tools to engage community members in relevant and engaging ways. In creating this resource, we started to think how these virtual protocols/resources could engage even more members of a community, creating more equitable opportunities for engagement now and into the future.

We continue to work every day toward meeting our mission in new and creative ways that will motivate, inspire, and create engaged educational communities. We hope you are finding your own motivation and inspiration at this time.

With gratitude,

6th Annual Power 2 Summit - VIRTUAL!
May 15, 2020 / 9AM - 12PM
 Our goal is for everyone to see, hear, and feel the power of youth voice and youth-adult partnership in learning and decision-making. Learn about tools and strategies that can be used in our homes, communities, schools, and organizations to make learning meaningful and useful. 

For more information, contact Harry Frank .
Helpful Community Resources for Youth and Adults:

  • It’s time to explore A New Way Forward. On April 28th, join the leaders at Boundless, Design39Campus, Getting Smart, Education Reimagined, Altitude Learning, and Big Picture Learning for a free virtual summit for educators, parents, and students who are ready to explore new and powerful ways to think about education and learning. If you believe education transformation needs to happen now and are itching to take action, this is the event for you.

  • From Outright VT: At times like these, when our rhythms and routines are wildly off, showing up can be a real challenge. We want you to know that we are here for you, in spite of – and because of – it all. Outright VT promises to keep showing up in meaningful and authentic ways. Will you tell us what that should look like in these new times? We want to hear from you - LGBTQ+ youth (up to age 22). Please fill out this QUICK survey so we know how to be in your corner right now: bit.ly/34loiLD - To learn more about the support and community you can find at Outright, visit www.outrightvt.org. You'll find Friday Night Groups and pop-up programming for youth, family programs, and so much more! 

  • Virtual Youth Forum with Lt. Governor David Zuckerman Young People in the Time of COVID-19: Thoughts, Concerns, and Looking Ahead
  • Prep Session for Youth: Thursday, April 23, 2-4pm
  • Virtual Youth Forum: Monday, April 27, 2-4pm: The idea behind the virtual Youth Forum is to create a space for young people (ages 9-26) from across the state to share about their experiences during the COVID-19 crisis and their thoughts on what they hope policy-makers and others are taking into account when we look ahead. Learn more here.

  • QuaranTeen Time: UVM Cooperative Extension/4H is hosting a weekly series of QuaranTeen Times. UP for Learning will be sharing Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability(see flyer ) with our partners from Shelburne Farms and youth from VT on May 5th! More information can be found here.

UP for Learning has created a resource page on our website where you can find the resources we have shared in past newsletters.