Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA)

United States
Social Justice

In 2013, as part of SSP's goal to strengthen connections between co-conspirators dedicated to transforming education, we deepened our work with the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA). The 2012-2013 IDEA Vermont year began with IDEA Camp, held in Burlington in October.  The team’s approach for the year was to amplify unheard voices and build connections among practitioners throughout the state.  

In addition to monthly team meetings, they organized three major events over the course of the year.  In February and June the team, in collaboration with Big Picture South Burlington and the Eagle Rock Professional Development Center, hosted two Proficiency Based Learning Work Days, both held in South Burlington.  Roughly 150 educators, administrators and students came together to collaborate on building proficiency-based learning into the work of their schools.  In May of 2013, the Vermont team hosted a Learning Tour (formerly known as Innovation Tours), bringing 30 educators, organizers and students together for a full day of learning and reflection.  The tour highlighted two Vermont schools, both of which are long time SSP partners.  The day began with a visit to Montpelier High School and featured the work of Tom Sabo and the connection between academic programs based on students developing a greenhouse and classroom-based gardening project. The afternoon was spent at the EDGE Academy with Lindsey Halman and featured a student led project fair.  The day ended with conversations, reflection and networking over dinner at Shelburne Farms.  Throughout the year Shelburne Farms offered professional development support, project management, and strategic partnership building to the Vermont IDEA team.

 In addition, Sarah Kadden, EFS Partnership Coordinator, attended the North Dakota Study Group meeting in Detroit in January, allowing SSP to develop relationships with the Boggs School, an emerging urban place-based charter school in Detroit, and Detroit Future Schools, a professional development project, as well as build relationships and networks with innovative educators throughout the country.  Jen Cirillo, now on the VT team, attended the Learning Breakthrough Series (LBS) in Jackson, Mississippi this past fall where she worked with another VT team member to design a potential strategy for a statewide project in VT.  

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