I just wanted to share this wonderful article by Deborah Fallows for The Atlantic with you guys (full article HERE). This elementary school is totally awesome and is right in my neighborhood!
"Just 5 years ago, the Sustainability Academy (SA) was known as the Lawrence Barnes Elementary School, one of two failing schools in the needy, sketchy part of Burlington, where about 95% of the kids were on free or reduced lunch (the nation’s most reliable proxy for poverty), test scores were very low and enrollment was declining. The school’s neighborhood is home to a mix of the down-and-out, the frontier-pushers, and is also the first stop for many of Burlington’s constant influx of refugees and immigrants."
"The town and school district were fraught about what action to take for the failing schools. One side suggested the traditional approaches: redistrict or bus kids or shut ‘em down. The other side said transform Barnes and Wheeler into magnet schools so good that parents from all over town will be knocking down the doors to send their kids there. They went with the latter, and Barnes and Wheeler became the first magnet schools in Vermont, with themes of sustainability (Barnes, which is also the first sustainability-themed public elementary school in the US) and integrated arts (Wheeler)."
"By last year, every measure was trending in a positive direction: test scores at SA were way up, as were attendance and morale. The percentage of kids on free or reduced lunch dropped into the 70s. There is a rich ethnic mix of students, including roughly 46% white, 22% black, and 26% Asian. Or as Principal Williams put it another way, 50% from families traditional to the neighborhood; 20% who believe in the mission of the school; 30% new arrivals to Burlington from around the world, and speaking 15 different languages."
Below are images from a recent project the kids got to do for the Burlington International Airport:
Principle Brian Williams
I LOVE these vegetables!! So big and bright! They remind me of the artwork in the kids book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Watch this inspiring video below!