Hazen Union is located in Hardwick, Vermont, often referred to as the gateway to the Northeast Kingdom. The school serves approximately 350 students in grades 7-12, with staff and students who appreciate the value of a small school. The current communications team for the 2015-16 school year is: Molly Stanciu, Russell Shopland, Clara Lew-Smith, Ryland O’Connell (students), Mike Moriarty (Principal), Chris Miller (Director of Guidance), and Jen Burton (Technology Integration faculty).
The Hazen Union Communications Team is in its third year of engagement with the Communicating School Redesign course. They were one of the pioneering schools during the CSR 2013-2014 year and re-formed to participate in last year’s coursework in order to take their plan to the next level. This resulted in a team-led Hazen faculty meeting and a district in-service to illustrate the “why” of Act 77: Flexible Pathways, and proficiency-based learning. Subsequent data showed that, while these efforts were effective in explaining the “why” of school change, more needed to be done to communicate the “what” and “how” of personalization.
To that end, the Hazen Leadership Team developed a Teacher Student Advisory program and a long block schedule, building Hazen’s capacity to support Flexible Pathways and Personal Learning Plans. The CSR team organized recruitment of students from each advisory who were trained in engaging strategies to introduce their peers to Act 77 and a more personalized approach to their education. They also produced a very effective video to introduce the study body to PLPs.
Hazen is the only school team to avail themselves of the CSR course for a third year in a row, due to administrative turnover and a desire to ensure that this work become embedded within the school infrastructure. They also have merged their communications work with the “Mindset, Metacognition and Motivation” initiative, based on survey data that indicates that fostering a growth mindset culture is key to Act 77 and proficiency implementation.
Hazen plans to use the district’s Professional Development Academy model to help faculty further personalization efforts. The school has received a 1:1 technology grant to support the implementation of Personal Learning Plans going forward.
Resources developed by the Hazen CSR team to engage their community in dialogue to develop support and understanding of Act 77 can be found on there web site. Specific resource links are noted below:
Student Teacher Advisory Activities: Communication Team students and student leaders from Teacher Advisory periods worked together to build knowledge of and enthusiasm for Flexible Pathways, Personalized Learning Plans, and Proficiency Based Learning at Hazen. Student leaders facilitated a series of activities that engaged students in critical exploration and dialogue about Act 77.
The Hazen CSR team presented at a supervisory union School Board Meeting. The presentation included activities that they had been conducting in their student-teacher advisory.
As a part of an ongoing series of community focus forums, the Hazen team held Community Forum on Act 77. The forum was attended by parents, school board members, and community members.
The Hazen team wrote letters to the editor in the Hardwick Gazette. Each letter discusses Act 77 from a different stakeholder group
Letter 1: Team Introduction – Jan 14th
Letter 2: Teacher Perspective – Feb 4th
Letter 3: Student Perspective – Feb 18th
Letter 4: Board Perspective – Mar 18th
Letter 5: Principal Perspective – Apr 8th
Hazen’s presentation to the Vermont State School Board on May 17, 2016