Summer 2012 Professional Development Recap

Professional Development Updates


It was a busy summer for professional development here at Shelburne Farms.  Here are the highlight, recaps, and notes on upcoming Shelburne Farms Professional Development.

 We kicked off the summer with 60 educators, food service providers, and community members, representing ten VT schools, coming together to launch the Nutrition Education Institute.  Participating schools will be working with mentors from Shelburne Farms, VT-FEED, the School Nutrition Association of Vermont, and the VT Department of Education, to define best practices in wellness and nutrition education.  This program will continue throughout the school year, schools will be applying for the USDA’s Healthier US School Challenge award, and wrapping up with a final gathering in June 2013.

 In July Community Works’ annual Service-Learning Institute brought folks from around the country together to learn about and develop service-learning programs and curriculum.  SSP’s Emily served as the EFS Faculty Member in Residence for this Institute and helped bring the lens of sustainability to the program.

 Eleven early childhood educators from across the country joined in a three days Project Seasons Summer Workshop.  The participants embraced the entire farm as a classroom as they explored food and natural systems.  SF staff facilitated opportunities for teachers to build their background knowledge about soil, gardens, compost and connecting farms to their classrooms.  The workshop included readings on pertinent topics relating to nature and agricultural based early childhood education and opportunities for networking across the country.

 At the end of July into August, SSP hosted our first four and a half day Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability (extended from three days in previous year) with a record thirty seven participants.  Read participants' comments  on the Institute in this newsletter.

 Every Classroom programs are underway, with Watershed for Every Classroom (WEC) in full swing, with the next workshop taking place in October.  This cohort will wrap up in May 2012.  The Park for Every Classroom (PEC) program has really come to life in helping parks to think differently about community partnerships and engaging schools - there are 8 parks actively engaged and another six parks joining in the spring.  The Forest for Every Classroom (FFEC) program will also be starting a new cohort this spring.  Also underway are plans for an Every Classroom Manual, which will live in cyberspace and serve as a way to distribute materials and share information among all of the Every Classroom programs.

 VT-FEED Professional Development courses continue to grow in popularity.  Last winter SSP’s Emily and FEED’s Danielle Pipher piloted the first Level II course focused on using the Backwards Design method to develop food, farming, and nutrition curriculum.  As of press time there are six PD courses around the VT scheduled to start in January, including two Level II courses.

 SSP presented a various schools and conferences this summer, including the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference.  We’re also continuing to provide custom-designed professional development at area schools, including Sustainability Academy, Tuttle Middle School, Vermont Commons Schools, and The Edge Academy at Essex Middle School.  Contact us if you’re interested in custom designed PD for your school or team!



 Farmer Project Seasons will be held October 21-23, 2012.

 Shelburne Farms’ One-Day Professional Development Series:

 Geology with Colleen Cowell, October 5, 2012

 Food Systems & Cycles,        February 1, 2013

 Amphibians & Aquatic Ecosystems, May 2, 2013

Contact Jen Cirillo at or 802.985.0315 for more information or to register.


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