Otter Valley Union High School, located in Brandon, Vermont, serves approximately 550 students in grades 7-12. The school’s mission notes that “reflective teaching and learning leads to high expectations for all students and creates enthusiasm for knowledge that encourages success in a global community”. With this mission in mind, the Communications Team of Danielle Eddy, Ben Francoeur, and Isabell Kingsley (students), and Michele Cioffredi (Moosalamoo teacher) took on the challenge of communicating the work of promoting multiple pathways for learning. Otter Valley participated in the Communicating School Redesign class during the 2014-15 school year.
Even before the enactment of Act 77, Otter Valley offered many different venues for learning: online classes, dual enrollment, early enrollment, internships, Extended Learning Opportunities and Moosalamoo, a highly recognized wilderness-based interdisciplinary course. Despite this fact, many reported limited knowledge (or use) of these opportunities.
The Team decided to tailor its approach to helping the Otter Valley community look at Act 77 as a vehicle for all students to have a voice in their own learning. The Shaping Our Future Together coursework helped them to identify the need to educate students regarding the multiple opportunities for all students. They write articles for the school newsletter and developed presentations for both the whole school and the full School Board.
Otter Valley’s faculty survey results showed great excitement for continued movement forward with personalized learning plans and the implementation of advisories school-wide. Professional development has already begun for developing school-wide proficiency-based assessment and graduation requirements.