UPdate from the UP for Learning Team
April 5, 2020
“Intentional adaptation is the heart of emergent strategy. How we live and grow and stay purposeful in the face of constant change actually does determine both the quality of our lives, and the impact that we can have when we move into action together."
- Adrienne Maree Brown (Emergent Strategy)
This is the quote that I have been coming back to again and again this week. On Thursday, I was grateful to spend the day in a virtual retreat with educators from across VT who are taking part in the yearlong professional learning for Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability (a partnership with UP for Learning and Shelburne Farms). We have used text from Emergent Strategy throughout our year of learning together, and it felt particularly important to return to this powerful text as we considered the possibilities for creating engaging and relevant learning over the next 8 weeks (and beyond!).

So many important lessons from the chapter on Intentional Adaptation resonated with all of us and I would like to share them with you:

  • Now is the time to keep our values at the center of our work. Our reactions to change and uncertainty can create shifts in our practice which do not always reflect our core values. Brown reminds us to “create space for opportunity, possibility and continuing to move toward your vision."  We need to keep the focus on a hopeful vision for the future. 

  • Listen for the opportunity. In my conversations with our youth partners over the past weeks, young people are asking for connections, support, and conversations about the challenges of isolation. This is also a time to identify what matters most, and use this as an opportunity to support our youth in engaging and relevant learning while they are away from the school building. Our partners at Lamoille Union High School shared their Core Philosophies for Distant Learning, and with their permission, we share them with you. The educators at LUHS have captured what is at the core of this opportunity. 

  • Move into action together. When we choose to see this crisis as an unintended opportunity for reimagining education, we are hopeful that it will motivate, inspire, and create engaged educational communities.

As the very definition of community is being rewritten, we at UP see tremendous value in safely mobilizing our youth, now no longer constrained by a school building or the conventional structures of the school day. How might youth explore their curiosities, develop real-world skills, contribute to solving real-world problems, or connect young people with rich networks of adults in their community and beyond? This moment provides an unprecedented opportunity for young adults to educate and be educated, connect and be connected to the community, learning, growing, and exploring a world they’ve helped create.

We hope you will join us on the journey.

With gratitude,

UP for Learning's Youth Advisory Council (YAC) has created a survey for Connecting Youth Across VT during this time of physical distancing. The YAC is hoping to cultivate connections across schools so that young people can share their expertise, talents and interests with one another.

Please share this survey widely!!
6th Annual Power 2 Summit - VIRTUAL!

May 15, 2020 / 9AM - 12PM
Request for Proposals to present & facilitate an online sharing session. 
(Proposals due: Friday, April 17, 2020) 

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. 

In this new learning environment, the Power 2 Summit planning committee encourages proposals from individuals, school teams, educational organizations and other stakeholders which share their experience in this new environment and highlight the impact of youth voice and youth-adult partnership in education. 

Preference is given to presentations co-facilitated by youth and adults.
For more information, contact Harry Frank .

Our Shared Humanity
35-Minutes to Pause, Reflect, & Connect
Join educators, school leaders, consultants, school staff, community partners, and parents from across Vermont to Pause, Reflect, & Connect together every week. 

Join us every Thursday at 1 PM. It’s free and facilitated by members of Vermont’s own Restorative Approaches Collaborative.   

Each session will include:
  • 5 minute guided mindfulness
  • 5 minute inspirational reading or reflection
  • 15 minutes to connect and share in break-out rooms of 3-4 people
  • 5 minutes for closing and appreciation

“See” you there! Annie O’Shaughnessy and the members of the RAC!

Structures and Routines for Virtual Advisories

Over the past week, UP has been asked by many school partners for ideas on how to structure their advisory on a virtual platform. We spent time this week putting together a resource that we hope will provide you with some ideas for structure and routines to maintain connections and support for all learners. Please reach out to Lindsey Halman with any questions or additional needs.
As we try to make our way through these new experiences, we would like to offer free Life Coaching with Amie Conger, a certified Life Coach, to anyone in a school currently working with UP .  

Coaching focuses on what is happening right now and helps you find ways to move forward that work for you. It is an opportunity to reflect, process your experiences, and then create realistic and manageable action steps toward your desired outcome. If you are interested in a coaching session or just want to learn more,
Contact Amie at  amie@upforlearning.org

Helpful Community Resources for Youth and Adults:

  • Greater Good Magazine: How to Help Teens Shelter in Place Teens are not made for isolation, which makes COVID-19 especially hard on them. Here's how to help your teenager to see the bigger picture.

  • Youth Voice on the Internet This article shares information about youth voice on the internet, including types, expressions, and a continuum of youth voice online. It was written by Adam Fletcher for the Freechild Institute.

  • Search Institute Nurturing Relationships Online shares survey results of youth thoughts about how online connections help or hurt their friendships. Search suggests looking at their answers to prompt thought about our own changing interactions and relationships in the time of COVID.

  • Vermont Folklife Center: The Listening in Place Sound Archive will preserve recordings submitted to us by Vermonters, creating a living document of how Vermonters are coping with this global reality. We invite people to send us audio recordings of interviews with the people they are sheltering with, exploring their lives during this time of pandemic. We also encourage people to record the sounds that punctuate their lives in these unusual times—board games and birds, cooking and pets—whatever fills your ears.