The Encounter Week program provides some of the most innovative and memorable experiences for Vermont Commons School students. During three individual weeks each year, regular academic classes do not meet. Instead, students form into multi-age groups and, along with faculty, embark on a variety of “encounters” outside of the classroom walls.
Ranging from studying tidal pool ecology in Acadia National Park to exploring art in New York City, from back-country skiing through the Adirondacks to filming a documentary on wind power in Vermont, Encounter Weeks immerse students in new ideas, cultures, and challenges. These week-long adventures provide myriad opportunities to develop the leadership qualities and skills needed to work together effectively as a group.
As part of the annual Encounter Week offerings, Vermont Commons School also designs three “big” trips to destinations beyond Vermont and upstate New York. In the past students have traveled to our sister schools in Peru and China, as well as Belize, China, Great Britain, Italy, and domestic locations, such as the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, the Teton Science School, the Virgin Islands National Park in St. John, and New Orleans. Students fill out applications during the spring for subsequent year trips. A special fund exists to support students who receive Financial Aid for their tuition in order to help offset the cost of Big Trips.