Communicating School Redesign: Shaping Our Future Together

3logos-square copy JPEGA strong movement for school change needs an equally strong and strategic communications campaign—one that engages people in shaping their future together.  This is just what UP for Learning, in partnership with Full Frame Communications and the School Project Foundation, has crafted its statewide communications movement in Vermont called Shaping Our Future Together.  The goal is to build public understanding and support for Act 77 Flexible Pathways and student-centered learning change efforts - orchestrated by youth and adults in equal measure. 

Act 77 strives to bring the highest quality educational experience to all young people in Vermont.  It highlights the importance of real-life opportunities, the power of a personal learning plan for each student, the chance to take both virtual and college level courses while in high school, and meaningful career development and post-secondary planning for every student.

Instead of simply “marketing” this new policy, our approach to communications helps people understand the need for change and contribute to building the movement. Inspired by the YATST model, the Shaping Our Future Together framework is grounded in youth-adult partnership, action research and a dialogue-for-change model.  It is also utilizes an evidence-based communications approach called strategic framing. 

As 11 Vermont high school teams forge ahead with this critical work, they pave the way for every Vermont community to realize the potential in Act 77: not just responding to a mandate, but taking the opportunity to shape their own educational future with students squarely at the center.

The Shaping Our Future Together campaign is being implemented on the local, state and regional levels.

  • Local

    Six high schools (BFA Fairfax, Chelsea, Mt. Anthony Union, Rochester, South Royalton, Whitcomb) are creating local campaigns this year to introduce their communities to Act 77: Flexible Pathways. They have joined the five first-year schools (Colchester, Harwood Union, Hazen Union, Otter Valley, Twinfield Union) with Hazen Union expanding into a second year. School teams are engaging their schools and larger communities in deep dialogue; their aim is to create a shared vision for educational redesign at the local level. These schools each have strong youth-adult teams that are supported by a year long course - “Communicating School Redesign (CSR) through the Youth-Adult Partnership Lens.” The course ensures that teams receive the training and support necessary to undertake this ambitious task. Adults receive masters level credit while students earn dual enrollment credit for their involvement in this initiative (see syllabi below). The prototypes these local schools are developing and piloting are having a far-reaching effect in their communities that informs and inspires schools around Vermont.
  • State

    The Shaping Our Future Together statewide campaign is growing exponentially in scope and influence [this year]. A highly interactive web site features the stories of the CSR schools, and serves as a hub for effective tools and strategies for all Vermont high schools. The recently-updated has a new look, is full of resources, and features “Updates from the Field” along with the “School Stories” and current events on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and in newspapers that include a statewide song in development. A resource guide for leading dialogue about Act 77 and student-centered strategies has been developed in partnership with the Agency of Education, and has been widely distributed to school boards, community groups and educational leaders (students and adults) around the state. The statewide theme has also been introduced to school boards, superintendents and the state at large through press releases, two statewide conferences and various presentations.
  • New England

    The Shaping Our Future Together team has also developed a web-based Public Understanding and Engagement Toolkit that will serve not only Vermont, but also the entire New England region. This work has been spearheaded by Full Frame Communications and funded by Nellie Mae Education Foundation. The Foundation is committed to enhancing public understanding of student-centered learning throughout the region and has adopted the Vermont framework as an exemplar.
  • Funding

    This work is funded by the Vermont Agency of Education, the Bay and Paul Foundations and the Nellie Mae Foundation, in collaboration with the Vermont School Board Association.
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Communicating School Redesign Course 2017-2018

  • Course Flyer

    Course Flyer
  • Course Syllabus 2017

    Course Syllabus 2017
  • Application

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  • Overview of CSR

  • Act 77: Flexible Pathways

  • A New Course Model

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Tools and Resources

  • Vermont's Shift Towards Proficiency

    CSR Year III
  • CSR Data 2016-2017

    CSR Year III
  • CSR Year III

    CSR Year III
  • Act 77 Overview & Infographic

    Act 77 Overview
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What are People Saying About Communicating School Redesign

  • I know that the course is incredibly motivating to keep me mindful of the importance of creating and delivering effective communication about our work.

    Communicating School Redesign Course Adult Participant
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UPLogo with words FINAL 5-1-14

There is no greater power than a community discovering what it cares about. 
-Margaret Wheatley 


Listen UP

  • YATST Student Member

    The student-led faculty meeting was unlike anything I have ever seen in terms of students and teachers holding a discussion about a topic as sensitive as their teaching methods. I heard from a lot of teachers in the “go-around” that they were awestruck about what had just happened.

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