Four schools in Greater Rutland Central Supervisory Union: Proctor Elementary School, West Rutland School, Middletown Springs Elementary School, and Wells Village Elementary School are participants in UP’s Personal Power & Community Connections (P2C2) Program this year. P2C2 guides and empowers youth and adults to create positive change in their communities. Using an asset-based approach, school teams identify strengths and opportunities in their learning environments, and brainstorm actions to improve their areas of concern. In this way, youth and adults gain empathy and connection with their broader school community as they learn how to nurture their own skills and increase collective agency.

This past week, West Rutland School and Proctor completed their school climate survey and data analysis. UP will meet with the adult partners  in the coming weeks to think about what structures are already in place to make sure that the actions the team decides to take are feasible. A youth who has participated in the middle/high school Getting to ‘Y’ program, Lily Belden, helped to facilitate the retreat. The school’s principal, Jay Slenker, has also been very involved with the group and also participated in the data analysis. 


As part of the P2C2 process, Middletown Springs fifth and sixth graders and Wells Village fourth graders completed their Circle of Courage. The Circle of Courage is a model for empowerment based on Native American and First Nations teaching traditions, in which youth are provided opportunities for mastery, independence, belonging, and generosity. The students identify where in their lives and school community they find these opportunities. Some of the examples the youth listed were rock climbing, horseback riding, and making dinner with their family. This activity is resonant for this particular age group, as they are heading into middle school, and are constantly considering who they are and how they belong with other people. 

One of the highlights of these P2C2 teams is watching how they engage in each activity and make it their own based on their interests, developmental stage, and individual identities. We can’t wait to be back in Rutland County with these teams in March as they move into the next phase of their work together!