Three years ago a team of eight teachers—all alumnae and students of Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English—began to design a way to connect Vermont secondary students (middle and high school) from across the state to work together to identify, pursue, and advocate for the social issues that matter to them.
The timing could not have been more perfect. Our social action team of educators, one of several sponsored by Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Teacher Network, all hail from Vermont, a state whose legislature in 2013 passed Act 77 (Flexible Pathways), designed to encourage students and schools to begin thinking more flexibly about when, where, and how our students learn and earn credit.
With these powerful political winds at our back, we designed, and are now in our third year of team teaching, What’s the Story? The Vermont Young People Social Action Team, a year-long course that provides students with the tools, resources, and expertise they need to pursue their questions, collaborate with peers across the state, and create compelling multi-media narratives that provoke change in their communities.
We are awed by the transformative impact of inviting adolescent learners to work together to make the world a better place. We are also humbled by the huge amount of resources–human, fiscal, and in kind contributions–that go into making WtS work.