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Fall Program 2020

While the Fall Semester of 2020 may be unlike any other, our dedication to fulfilling our Mission–and teaching and learning according to our Guiding Principles–is exactly like any other period of learning in the life of Vermont Commons School.

We have been carefully evaluating the options for the Fall Semester. Our team, which consists of the Executive Committee, Admin team and Faculty, has been meticulously tracking health and safety information, participating in discussions around state-level guidance, and relentlessly and creatively developing learning models which best reflects the School’s commitment to scholarship, community, global responsibility, stewardship, leadership and collaboration.

Our stated goals driving the decision of the Fall Program 2020 were:

  • Uncompromised Scholarship
  • Reignited and Sustained Community
  • Minimized health risk to Students and Faculty

We came to a powerful consensus.  We believe the best option for our School for the Fall Semester is to implement a carefully curated approach with both online learning and in-person outdoor experiences. The Fall Program 2020 is an exciting, mission-fulfilling educational roadmap for Vermont Commons School, one true to our heritage, our identity, our culture, and our long-term future. 

Key points:

Five Days of Engaged Learning

    • Core Classes (online) Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, morning of Fridays
      • Schedule designed with experience of this spring in mind (efficient use of online time creates space for in-person community)
      • Classes run 8:30-2:55 
      • 20 minutes between classes
      • Dedicated opportunities for extra help at the end of the day (3 – 4 pm)
    • Encounter Experiences (in-person) Wednesdays: full-day, outdoor, experiential education days 
      • Short courses in four-week blocks
      • Selected by students, like with Encounter Weeks
      • Small groups of 10-12 students on average;  multi-age groups spanning Core Groups
      • Encounter Ex’s from Mountain Biking, Art, or Creative Writing to Hiking, Music, and Social Justice Activism, among others
      • Short courses interspersed with Wednesdays of Core group and/or Advisory meetings
    • Flex Time: Friday afternoons, from lunch-on, for clubs, office hours, honors classes, extended art and music, events and more
    • Option for students to be totally online
    • See a Sample Student Schedule

For more details, please see:

Fall Program 2020 Presentation

In addition, for folks who were unable to attend our rollout webinar on July 29th, we have made a recording of the midday session available for you to view! Click here to go to the webinar, and use the password VCS2020! to access.

We are confident that this model will offer our students the creative outlet and human connection they need that is unique to Vermont Commons School, while also respecting available medical guidance and individuals’ personal health and safety preferences.  We will continue to evaluate and assess the situation on a semester-by-semester basis, ensuring we are compliant with guidelines and providing a safe learning environment, while also being able to return to in-building learning quickly in the future.

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

At Vermont Commons School, our goal is to engage students with their world. We achieve this through programs and a curriculum grounded in local and global involvement.