Grades 6-12
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Community Engagement

Vermont Commons School is proud of our long standing relationship and connection to Shelburne Farms. Mark Cline Lucey, a member of our faculty, is featured in this video, which highlights the 40th anniversary of the farm. Click here to watch!

Science 7 Leads Green-Up at the School House

Friday, our 7th-graders got to be the big kids for a change as we worked with the School House during Green-Up Day. School House alumni Mason Hill and Will Shayne led a group of School House kids along with three other adult-led groups as we scoured the campus for winter and spring trash. The VCS students did a great job as Turtle Ambassadors, especially at a meeting afterwards where each VCS student complimented a student or three from their specific groups.

Posted by Peter Goff

Research & Service Class Featured on WPTZ News

Students in the Environmental Engineering Research & Service class have been conducting a survey to assess potential sources of contamination to the Bartlett Brook watershed, which is a natural and recreational resource for the City of South Burlington, and the drinking water source for 70,000 people. WPTZ Channel 5 recently spent an afternoon in the field with the students and featured their story on the evening news. Click here to watch the video.

Students in the Trees

The Tree Research & Service class has been busy helping the trees around the Burlington area. This month, we started by meeting with Kit Anderson, a professor at UVM. She taught us about relationships between trees and humans, such as the Live Oak society in Louisiana, made up completely of live oak trees. Then, we worked with Branch Out Burlington (BOB!) at the Burlington Community Tree Nursery. We removed the winter tree guards from the trees and then loosened the trees from the dirt so that the head arborist of Burlington can quickly remove them and transplant them to the streets of Burlington. In the past month we also climbed the large pine trees on the south side of the school. We learned about harnesses and the safety of climbing trees from Warren Spinner, the head arborist of Burlington. We learned three different styles of climbing trees: leg hook climbing, harness climbing, and belaying up. Finally, we worked at Perkin’s Pier. We mulched the bushes and trimmed the trees that had invasive pests. It has been a fun month with Ruth, and we are going to continue helping Burlington’s trees for the remainder of the year.

– posted by Eli Hulse and Justin Decatur

Students Work With Immigrant Children at the Sustainability Academy

In this Research & Service class, we have been working with immigrant children at the Sustainability Academy (SA) as well as with adults from the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV). We have been having discussions about where this population comes from, how they might have ended up here and why. We also began preparing a little for our work as ESL instructors with the Buthanese/Nepali adult group from the AALV. After a few weeks, we started working with the kids at the SA, assisting them one-on-one in the classrooms and in the library, or as a group in the art room. We read books, engaged them in conversations about their interests, and also helped them go through their regular activities in class. Continue reading

Film Screening – Miss Representation March 29, 6pm

Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (90 min) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors. Read more about the film at

There will be a discussion panel from 7:30-8 with former Vermont Governor, Madeleine Kunin, WPTZ TV Anchor, Stephanie Gorin, UVM Lecturer in Women’s and Gender Studies Annika Ljung-Baruth, and Burlington Mayor-elect Miro Weinberger.

Students Work With VT Department of Environmental Conservation

This semester, a hearty band of seventh, ninth, and eleventh – graders are working in our local watershed to better understand some recent changes and how we might be able to address some of those changes.

We started the semester with a workshop led by Jim Pease of the VT Department of Environmental Conservation. Jim has worked with VCS for at least a decade on various projects (you can see him in one of the four posters when you walk into the school). He has tasked us with recording the erosion in the lake-ward streams in our watershed. As you can see in the photo, the lack of snow this winter really helped us effectively document aggradation, degradation, and other stream-wide changes. Continue reading