UPdate from the UP for Learning Team
April 12, 2020
“This is not home schooling. And it’s not online schooling. Teaching and learning in a time of COVID-19 is what we’re doing, and we’re figuring it out day by day."
-Hilary Hughes and Stephanie Jones (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
This week, our partners at Vergennes Union High School (ANWSD) shared this opinion piece with their PLP Action youth-adult team as a reminder of how their work during this time can and should look different. I thought about the conversations I have had with our youth and adult partners across the state over the past few weeks and want to share a few pieces from this article that have connected to the theme of learning to be, and centered in these conversations. Vergennes PLP Action Team
  • "Learning to be could be paying attention to the ups and downs of emotions, the highs and lows of motivation, the grief of losing routines, of familiarity, of human touch, of loved ones.” This theme has risen to the top in all of my conversations with youth over the past weeks. There is a lot of grief - the loss of traditions/rites of passage, missing face-to-face time with peers and educators, not knowing if they are doing “enough.” It is imperative to listen to this message and pay attention to these emotions, and to find space and time for youth to express them. Last week, UP shared a resource for Creating a Remote Advisory to provide opportunities for youth and adults to find ways to connect and share with one another.  
  • “Learning to be could be not stressing about messes (or assignments), thinking of creative ways to connect with each other, letting kids explore and do things that are of interest to them.” Last week, our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) sent out the Connecting VT Youth Survey to youth across Vermont and the response has been heartening and tremendous! UP’s YAC leaders are working over the next weeks to connect Vermont youth with each other to explore and do the things that are of interest to them (academics, creative pursuits, and activism).  
  • “[Learning to be] could be wearing pajamas all day some days and getting dressed other days. It could be reading together or alone, dancing, making YouTube videos, building forts (inside or outside), singing, playing video games for hours, snuggling pets, watching old movies, cooking weird and new things, writing bad poetry, learning about something you’ve always wanted to know more about, playing board games, making board games, texting, napping, walking, riding bikes, and doing whatever works for you and yours." Truth! This week I watched my nine-year-old plan and lead a virtual dance class for 3-6 year olds with her friend and this theme hit me hard. I witnessed her create a lesson plan, a playlist, choose a story, and develop a flow for a class consisting of seven little ones. That was learning to be for my child!
At UP for Learning, our team has chosen to see this crisis as the unintended opportunity it is for our mission of reimagining education. We are working toward meeting our mission in new and creative ways that will motivate, inspire, and create engaged educational communities. 
With gratitude,

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 .
UP's Remote Community Engagement/Dialogue Resource

The UP team has been supporting our teams in reimagining ways in which to engage their community in a dialogue event. We have created a resource that provides you with some ideas for how you can use powerful virtual tools to engage community members in relevant and engaging ways. In creating this resource, we started to think about the potential of these types of connections even post-Covid-19. Perhaps these virtual protocols could engage even more members of a community, creating more equitable opportunities for engagement?
If you have questions or want to connect about this resource,
please contact Lindsey Halman
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.
(UP for Learning is a member of the Coordination Team for the RAC).

Here is the web page description and last week's agenda if you would like more information.
Helpful Community Resources for Youth and Adults:

  • COVID-19 Support: Vermont PBS At-Home Learning Vermont Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) are partnering to support continuity of learning for our students and school communities. This partnership provides access to free educational programming through Vermont PBS At-Home Learning. The Main channel delivers Pre-K through grade 8 programming that is aligned to national standards and includes interactive lessons and suggested activities. PBS Plus (WGBH) is airing standards-aligned educational programming for grades 6-12. Teachers can create unique accounts with their school email or Google account through PBS LearningMedia. Accounts are free and provide access to a range of additional features. Please contact Pat Fitzsimmons or Heather Duhamel.

  • Living Justice Press - Creating Online Restorative Circles: Over the past two decades in the Restorative Justice movement, we have been nurturing relationships as the basis of healthy community and as a critical part of any response to the disruption of healthy community. That relational work has been done primarily in physical face-to-face presence with one another. The COVID19 pandemic has severely limited our ability to be physically present with one another. Consequently, many people are seeking ways to continue relational work by other means—other than being in the same physical space

  • KidsVT: Advice for Navigating At-Home Education by Kathleen Kesson: We will undoubtedly be faced with more crises in the future that require us to think in new ways about all aspects of our social life: How do we create strong communities? What do we collectively value? How can we build networks of support so that all are cared for?And in terms of our youth, and their education: How do we create educational approaches that value human development, equity and joy over test scores and academic achievement? What is worth learning, and how can we best prepare young people for the actual future that is evolving before our eyes? What needs to be in place to match up learners with the right resources at the right time, so that they might become self-directed and fulfill their dreams?

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