Wendell Berry once advised, “Live a three-dimensioned life; stay away from screens. Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in.”¹ At Vermont Commons School, we believe that inasmuch as life cannot be contained within a frame, so too should learning not be confined to what can be achieved with chalk and a board. Here, we’re about finding and removing those walls that get between learners and learning, the biggest being any kind of belief that one needs to wait until some later time to do, to accomplish, and to contribute.
At Vermont Commons, we believe that it is the engaging now—with one’s own hands, heart, and mind, in conscientious, needed, and measurable ways—that contributes best to the future ability to do good for the world, its environment, and its people. Whether learning winter survival skills, spending a semester helping recently arrived refugees find home, or standing waist-deep in a stream studying aquatic ecology, we grow through a constantly repeating and reflexive cycle of learning, thinking, and doing. Hands-on experience isn’t an alternative to learning: it is the path to both learning and future success in college, but also—and far more importantly—in life after the formal schooling is completed.
A world in great need needs Vermont Commons students: their capabilities, their articulateness, their belief in each individual’s ability to do well and to do good. Come visit us, meet our incredible faculty and students, and learn what a difference small class sizes and close, collaborative relationships make. There’s never a better time to be a part of the excitement and vision here, engaging students with the world.
Dexter P. Mahaffey, Ph.D.
Head of School
Check out Dexter’s Blog: Thoughts on Life and Education at Vermont Commons School
¹ “How to be a Poet (to remind myself).” Given. Berkeley: Counterpoint Press, 2005.