Grades 6-12
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Certificate Programs

Vermont Commons School offers three certificates of concentration recognized through association with a graduate’s diploma at his or her graduation ceremony. These allow our most dedicated students to dig deeply into their passions and explore an area of interest with faculty mentorship and independent work at a high level of scholarship over a multi-year period.

Fine Arts Certificate

The visual arts curriculum at Vermont Commons School is based on direct studio experience. This experience is not founded on a fixed axis of ideas. The axis of the studio is moving and malleable, allowing projects to transform through creative action. Ultimately, the process used in the studio questions certainty and demands the artist to seek beyond the conventions of what is expected. In the Vermont Commons School visual arts program, students develop a visual grammar that inspires creative confidence, forming a template for a meaningful relationship with the arts.

Instruction in the studio involves exploring the use of a variety of media and materials. Original concepts that involve attentive, critical thinking are the basis for every project we work on. Duct tape collage, sequential observational drawings of figures with umbrellas using charcoal and watercolor, photo-emulsion on canvas, and large format oil paintings of self-portraits using a light projector are just a few of media used by students. During the formation of these projects, students develop their composition through hands on instruction, student critiques and the study of art history.

Sketchbooks are another integral part of our course work. They serve as visual journals in which we reflect on our projects, practice our observational drawing studies, and create new studies in the field for projects fashioned in the studio. Students are given assignments on a weekly basis that support and complement the artist’s practice in the studio and creative confidence.

Students’ work is proudly exhibited in the hallways of our school, and this exposure of work encourages other artists in the studio to think beyond conventional models.

2014-9-VT-Commons-0173Naturalist Certificate

The Naturalist Certificate of Concentration recognizes students who have met the goals of the VCS Science Mission Statement of producing Naturalists, students who study above and beyond the traditional science curriculum and are awarded a certificate upon graduation.

This program provides recognition and an incentive to students who are committed to the environment and take their interest in Ecology out of the classroom and laboratory and in to the natural world culminating in the Naturalist Project. Student will positively affect our local ecosystem.

Certificate Requirements

Science GPA of 3.0 – Naturalists must demonstrate a mastery of the fundamental science concepts that will enable them to effect positive change in their environment. As part of this curriculum, students will successfully complete the equivalent of high school biology, chemistry and physics and will take AP Environmental Science in their senior year.

Naturalist Project – Students will design, carry out and communicate the results of an independent project which demonstrates their ability to effect real change in their environment. This project could take the form of the VCS ‘Senior Project.’ If this Project is not the VCS Senior Project, it must meet similar requirements and standards.

Naturalist Tour – During the spring semester, the student will design and lead a tour of the local watershed for the VCS community. Naturalists will demonstrate their knowledge, with special attention to geology, flora/fauna, and the history of humans in the Champlain Valley.

Global Citizen Certificate

The Global Citizen Certificate of Concentration challenges and supports Vermont Commons School students to more deeply develop their capacity as engaged citizens of the world.  We believe education in this century must place, at its core, global literacy and competency.  Vermont Commons School seeks to develop global understanding and empathy, nurture an appreciation for the diversity of cultures, and challenge students to take action to address global needs.

General requirements:

  • An independent project that explores and addresses an issue or development of global significance
  • Community presentation/exhibition of learning

Plus two of the following three:

  • Participation in Model United Nations
  • Cultural immersion
  • Study of a world language beyond the VCS offerings