Mayor Miro Weinberger kicks off Week in School

NEWS RELEASE — OFFICE OF MAYOR MIRO WEINBERGER
March 18, 2013

Contact: Mike Kanarick
802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger Kicks Off Week in School with Gov. Shumlin, House Speaker Smith, other Community Leaders and Hundreds of BHS Students Goals Include Connecting Students, Teachers with City Government and Highlighting Work of Partnership for Change

Burlington, VT –Mayor Miro Weinberger today kicked off his Week in School with an assembly in the Burlington High School (BHS) auditorium, where he was joined by Governor Peter Shumlin, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, other state and local elected officials and educators, as well as hundreds of BHS students. Beginning this morning, Weinberger moved the Mayor’s Office to BHS and began highlighting the work of the Partnership for Change, a transformational education initiative in Burlington and Winooski high schools.

After receiving a warm welcome from Burlington School District Superintendent Jeanne Collins and a key to the school from BHS Principal Amy Mellencamp, Weinberger stated: “I am very excited about moving the Mayor’s Office to Burlington High School and using this opportunity to shine a light on the important work of the Partnership for Change. I look forward to learning more about what it’s like to be a student at BHS, and to hearing the thoughts, concerns, and suggestions of the students, teachers, and other members of the Burlington School District team and community. I’m also eager to share with the school community the workings of City government.”

The large crowd gathered in the auditorium was treated to performances by BHS students who are members of a 42-piece BHS band, the African Brothers (hip hop/contemporary world music group), Poetry Out Loud, and the Burlingtones a cappella group, as well as the debut of a new Partnership for Change video.

After the video, Governor Shumlin shared the following thoughts as part of his remarks: “I applaud Mayor Weinberger’s Week in School because it puts into practice the very theories of education that research shows are good for our children and our communities. By offering students the opportunity to engage with City government and civic leaders in their own classrooms, cafeterias, and on their sports fields, we knock down walls and throw open windows to the knowledge, creativity, and career opportunities that every Vermont child deserves. There is no greater responsibility that we have as elected representatives than ensuring that our children have the best education available in the country.”

Weinberger’s goals while spending one full week at BHS include: connecting the BHS students with the inner workings of City government; learning more about and celebrating the great work the students and their teachers are doing at BHS; and raising public awareness about the redesign process underway with the Partnership for Change, a Nellie Mae Education Foundation grant-funded initiative.

In addressing the Partnership for Change, Weinberger added: “I believe the promise of the Partnership for Change is that we remodel the educational experience so all our children leave the doors of our schools knowing how to secure knowledge, think critically, communicate effectively, and pursue their dreams. If we succeed with this promise, we will provide our children foundations upon which they will thrive as those dreams and the world around them evolve and expand in the years ahead.”

Additionally, Martha Maksym, Partnership for Change Steering Committee Chair and United Way of Chittenden County Executive Director, explained the goal of the Partnership as follows: “The Partnership for Change is the bridging entity that will bring our two schools, our two communities and other sectors so critical to student success to the same table. Together, we will implement a new system of student-centered learning, one that recognizes that each student learns differently and that learning happens all the time, everywhere. Our ultimate goal is to make sure our children have the skills and competencies they will need to succeed.”

After her remarks, Maksym introduced Mike Decarreau, Winooski School Board President, who stated the following: “Delivering education has been a one-size-fits-all approach. Today, delivering the same information to each student is no longer the best method. Rather than teaching our students what to learn, we must move toward teaching them how to learn.”

During the Week in School, Weinberger and his Mayor’s Office team – Assistants to the Mayor Carina Driscoll and Mike Kanarick and Administrative Assistant Jennifer Kaulius – will conduct their daily City business at BHS from today through Friday, including a monthly all-department heads meeting and a number of other regularly-scheduled meetings. The Mayor’s Office team has set up its operations in Assistant Principal Nick Molander’s office.

Additionally, Weinberger will host a business roundtable and a town hall meeting closing ceremony. Further, Weinberger will join students and teachers in their classrooms, convene a Youth Advisory Council lunch, meet with students and community members in the BHS cafeteria during “Bagels at BHS,” which will take the place of his weekly New North End “Mornings with Miro” public coffee, meet with UVM President Tom Sullivan, ride the bus to school one morning, and even get some exercise participating in pitcher/catcher practice.

Students already have begun volunteering for the Mayor during the week. For example, student staffers are helping brief the Mayor for upcoming meetings, keeping the Mayor to his schedule, escorting him to meetings, and sitting in on those meetings when possible. Members of the student press corps were on hand this morning and will join the Mayor’s team throughout the week, as they tweet, blog, post to Facebook, write articles, and take photographs chronicling the Mayor’s week. The Mayor invites the public to join him and BHS student tweeters for a schools conversation through Twitter: #bsdvt; #Mirobsdvt; #MiroBHS; #winooski; @partnershipvt; and @MiroBTV.

Student reaction to Weinberger’s Week in School has been very positive, as noted by Emma Galvin, Co-Chair of the Youth Engagement and Leadership Implementation Team of the Partnership for Change and BHS Senior Class Student Government Representative, who stated: “As a student leader with both the partnership and student government, I am thrilled with Mayor Weinberger’s visit to Burlington High School. This is such a wonderful opportunity to highlight the good work that goes on in our schools every single day. But what we must remember is the work doesn’t stop after this week. The conversation between City, school, and community is constantly progressing, and everyone has a role to play.”

Tobias Muellers, BHS Junior Class Student Government Representative, added: “I am really excited to have Mayor Weinberger come to BHS. His visit is a great opportunity for students to interact with City government, and also a perfect time for BHS as a school to show the Mayor how we are striving to become a better school. He will see some of the student and administrative struggles firsthand and appreciate how hard BHS is trying to adapt to these challenges. Putting the Mayor in touch with everyday high school students will help him see issues through their eyes, and students will have the chance to voice any concerns to the one person with the most power in the City to do anything about it.”

Superintendent Collins’ earlier comments had indicated similar feelings on behalf of the school administration: “We appreciate the Mayor’s commitment to our community schools and welcome him and his team for the week. We’re fortunate to have such a unique occasion to share our accomplishments, challenges, and goals with the Mayor and other City leaders through the lens of the Partnership for Change, as we seek to improve our educational opportunities for all students.”

Partnership for Change
The purpose of the Partnership for Change initiative is to establish Student-Centered Learning at Winooski and Burlington High Schools. Student-centered learning is a bold new approach that aims to reshape education for the 21st Century. The principles behind student-centered learning embrace the fact that different students learn in different ways, including:

Being flexible about how time is used for both students and educators, including learning opportunities outside the traditional school day and year; Harnessing the broader community to support and deepen learning experiences; Using curriculum, instruction, and assessment that promotes the skills and knowledge needed for success in college, work and life; and
Advancement based on demonstration of proficiency in skills and knowledge, not only on credits and “seat-time.”

The Partnership believes that innovative, rigorous, year-round student-centered approaches that draw on the resources of the larger community will bring about a more equitable system to help meet the economic, social, and educational challenges facing society.

To learn more about the Partnership for Change, please visit their website.

Mayor’s Week in School Schedule

Events open to the public are bold

Monday, March 18

7:30-9:00am LCRCC and GBIC Legislative Breakfast – Sheraton Hotel, South Burlington

9:45-10:30am Mayor’s Week in School Kick-Off – BHS Auditorium

11:00am-12:30pm Mayor’s Office Staff Meeting – BHS

12:50-1:20pm Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council Lunch – BHS Cafeteria

5:00-6:00pm Parents for Change New American Leaders Dinner – BHS Gourmet Café

6:00pm Board of Finance Meeting – BHS Auditorium

7:00pm City Council Meeting – BHS Auditorium

Tuesday, March 19

7:15am Mayor rides the bus to school – corner of Howard and St. Paul Streets

9:40am Mayor reads BHS announcements

10:00am-12:00pm Department Heads Meeting – BHS Auditorium

12:00pm Department Heads Lunch – BHS Cafeteria

1:00pm Meeting with Peter Owens, CEDO Director – BHS

2:00pm Architect Tour of BHS with Principal Amy Mellencamp

3:15-4:15pm BHS Faculty Meet & Greet – BHS Gourmet Café

Wednesday, March 20

7:45am Pickup basketball with BHS students – BHS Gym

7:50am Mornings with Miro – Bagels with BHS students – BHS Cafeteria

8:50am Freshman Academy class participation – BHS

11:15am Meeting with Superintendent Jeanne Collins – BHS

12:00pm Lunch meeting with Burlington and Winooski School District and City leadership, Partnership for Change leadership – BHS Cafeteria

1:40-3:00pm Mayor’s Business Roundtable: Connecting School and Community – BHS Auditorium

5:00-7:30pm Partnership for Change Steering Committee Meeting – Winooski High School

7:30pm COTS 30th Anniversary Gala – Burlington Hilton Hotel

Thursday, March 21

9:40-11:00am Class participation – BHS

12:00pm Meeting with UVM President Tom Sullivan – BHS

1:00pm Lunch meeting with City Council President Joan Shannon – BHS Gourmet Café

3:00pm Clubs and Activities – BHS

4:30-5:00pm BHS Pitcher/Catcher practice – BHS

Friday, March 22

8:30am-12:00pm We All Belong Training – Miller Recreation Center

12:00pm Meeting with Doreen Kraft, BCA Executive Director – BHS Cafeteria

1:30-3:00pm Closing Ceremonies / Town Hall Meeting – BHS Auditorium

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