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North Branch School hosts talk on student-centered education and its impact on Vermont January 14

MIDDLEBURY — The North Branch School in Ripton is celebrating its 15th anniversary, and as a way to thank the local community is presenting the second of its three-part series at Thursday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m. at the Marquis Theater in Middlebury.
This event, “Revolution in Education — The Power of Student Voice,” will focus on the current move to student-centered education and how schools, educators, parents and students are working to understand and implement this change throughout Vermont and across the country. The program will briefly address the Vermont Education Act 77 mandate requiring all schools to offer flexible pathways to graduation thereby allowing schools to focus curriculum and teaching on the interests, skills and passions of their students.
Tal Birdsey, co-founder and head teacher of the North Branch School, and Josie Jordan, English teacher and one of the co-founders of the Pathways Program at Mount Abraham Union High School, will talk about why the move to student-centered education in schools leads to “Making School a Good Place (Eu-topia)” for kids. Kendra Rickerby, former personalized learning expert for the Vermont Agency of Education, will introduce and moderate the discussion while helping to explain the shift to competency-based and personalized learning across the country.
“We are excited to bring this special discussion to the community,” said Cindy Seligmann, NBS board director and series coordinator. “These exciting changes in education are in the early stages of implementation and our panel of speakers for this event are experts in this field. This is an important and timely talk for all educators, parents, students and anyone interested in the education of our kids.”
Also, Lindsay Pontius, Ed.D., education director for the Town Hall Theater, will present “Learning on Your Feet/ Thinking with Your Heart,” a demonstration of a theater-based arts integration activity used for literacy programs in a variety of settings including the Addison Central and Rutland Northeast supervisory unions, the Addison County Parent/Child Center, and Winooski High School.
The premiere of a new short film about student voice by local filmmaker Ned Castle, digital media outreach instructor for the Vermont Folklife Center’s Discovering Community Education Program, is included in the evening’s event. Food will be served and there will be a cash bar available.
For more information or tickets, go to www.northbranchschool.org. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. Seating is limited.

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