Montpelier High School participated in the Schools of Success Showcase in Nashville, Tennessee, May 4-7, 2011. View their presentation (PDF, 4.5MB).
Montpelier High School is located in central Vermont. It has been identified as a "Silver Medal" high school by U.S. News and World Report, based on the degree to which the schools serve all their students well, using state proficiency standards as the measuring benchmarks and assessing the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work. Teachers work in professional learning community teams, resulting in a focus on student learning rather than on teachers teaching. MHS has been involved in service-learning for the last six years.
Service-learning is strongly supported by the district's administrators, who consider it a best practice in teaching and learning, and it is considered part of the "core" of the district academic programs as well as part of the "core" during budget deliberations. Schools in the district are increasingly focusing more of their service-learning projects on renewable energy, growing and eating local foods, composting and recycling. In the fall of 2009, Montpelier High School held a Fall Harvest Festival that included a luncheon prepared by both MHS students and food services staff, followed by a series of workshops and guest speakers who spoke on topics relating to a variety of food and sustainability issues. The harvest lunch fare highlighted lots of food grown and harvested by students, right on the MHS campus. Several classes were involved in the preparation for the event.
A teacher educational leader provides professional development at faculty meetings and in-services, in addition to mentoring and supporting colleagues in planning and implementing service-learning projects."SL 101" training has been a part of the new teacher orientation for the past four years. District leaders have taken part in administrators' workshops focused on service-learning and all have taken part in the SL 101 workshops.
The district administrative team has committed to extensive community outreach and education. Through their support of numerous community trainings, the team is helping to create a network of potential community partners that students can partner with on authentic community service-learning projects. Vermont Migrant Education Office, the Nature Conservancy, the city of Montpelier and University of Vermont are examples of strong partnerships that have been created.
Montpelier High School sees itself as a part of a district-wide service-learning effort. Goals include continuing to talk about service-learning as part of the core district educational program that is integral and not outside of learning in the curriculum. Staff look forward to utilizing the expertise and models from other participants in the Schools of Success Network and to sharing their own models of ensuring service-learning is an integral part of every student's experience in the district.