Our Professional Development Center, which is known for its unique ability to facilitate school reform initiatives, recently collaborated with Big Picture Learning in South Burlington, Vermont, on a one-of-kind event on service- and project-based learning.
In particular, our focus was on helping two students — South Burlington High School seniors Olivia Decell and Ella Downey — facilitate the Service Thesis Project Conference, which was held in the spring at Burlington College in Vermont. The event was designed to help high school students create relevant and exciting Service Thesis Projects and help educators implement service/project-based learning into their classrooms.
At the May 2014 conference, participants shared ideas and had the opportunity to observe some very good examples of successful thesis projects. That’s one of the things we do best; Eagle Rock has been working with Big Picture Learning in a variety of capacities since 2006, so we’ve quickly acquired and honed our knack for such conferences and get-togethers.
In fact, over the past few years, we have helped several schools develop conferences that have become an engine of self-renewal for students and staff.
In this latest endeavor, our Professional Development team facilitated the planning of the conference with Ella and Olivia, the two Big Picture South Burlington students. During the conference itself, students and staff engaged in a workday designed to construct a vision of success by building off of the positive attributes of each individual while exploring the Business Model Canvas.
Participants were given the opportunity to present dilemmas in small group settings, allowing for constructive dialogue and real-time problem solving.
What we think we accomplished while saying our goodbyes at the Vermont conference was a defined action-step to implement. Or, in the words of one Big Picture student, a “renewed sense of passion” for their Service Thesis Project.