Our Contributors

Don Taylor

Don is a sustainability and humanities teacher in his 19th year of teaching at Main Street Middle School in Montpelier.  Don is working hard to create an innovative, integrated, and dynamic learning environment for all students. His attempts to make education relevant include the development of curriculum tied to sustainability, social justice, integrated literacy, and technology. 

Meg O'Donnell

Meg teaches humanities to 7th and 8th grade students at Shelburne Community School in Shelburne, Vermont, where she has taught since 1994. Meg cherishes the opportunity to co-create meaningful learning experiences with students and colleagues, with a particular lens on opportunities that foster community and instill social justice and equity. 

Kevin Hunt

Kevin is a generalist teacher on Swift House, a 5-8 team, at Williston Central School. He is an advocate for personalized, project-based learning and values being a life-long learner. Most recently he’s integrated ways of cultivating pathways to equity and social justice to his teaching practices. 

MGC Conversations

MGC Conversations is a collaboration of MGC faculty and middle grades educators who meet on a monthly basis to discuss issues related to middle level education.  All of our conversations are posted to the Middle Grades Collaborative YouTube channel.

Season 9

The 2023-24 Middle Grades Conversation series will bring educators together to discuss how we can build supportive learning communities, engage learners and families and integrate equity-based antiracist teaching into our practices. Additionally, we will discuss the impact of climate related events on our communities and how teachers address these issues.

Episode 1: A Fresh Start for the Year

This month’s webinar will focused on how educators are working to engage students, connecting with families and bringing the community into the classroom to develop school-community relationships. We discussed how communities and schools impacted by climate change are addressing Vermont’s July flood event.

Season 8 Episodes

Episode 9: Reflecting on the Year

As is our annual tradition, for our final webinar we will reflect on the year. Did we meet our goals? What was different about this year than others? What is our outlook for the future and how do our practices continue to evolve?

Episode 8: Transitions Between Life and Learning Stages

With the end of school in sight, many students are preparing for the traditions, events and processes that mark the transition to their next life and learning stage. How are educators and learning communities supporting these transitions? What structures are in place and how are students encouraged to reflect on their growth and learning?

Episode 7: Project and Community Based Learning

This month we reviewed alternative instructional strategies including community-based and project-based learning. These strategies have been utilized effectively to engage students, teachers and communities impacted by the pandemic.

  • How are these being implemented in your learning community and what have been the outcomes?
  • How are teachers ensuring equitable experiences for students?
  • What challenges occur when adopting or implementing these strategies?

Episode 6 Review: Middle Grades Conference

Based on the theme of the conference: schools seeking to center equity and justice and become trauma-informed, what were our takeaways from the Conference? How do teachers continue to “meet students where they are” but still hold to high expectations, standards and proficiency-based learning approaches? Finally, how are restorative practices being utilized to support positive learning environments?

Episode 5 Progress Report: How are Schools Managing Post-Pandemic

With almost a full, fourth year of pandemic learning behind us, what is the vibe? How have schools responded to issues related to the pandemic? Have student behaviors changed? What have been some of the challenges and successes observed by folks in the field?

Episode 4: Social Justice, Equity and Anti-racism

We revisit core principles of social justice, equity and anti-racism with a focus on strategies designed to create inclusive, just and joyful learning environments.

Episode 3: Strategies for Building Relationships

This month we focus on the importance of building relationships, applying trauma informed strategies to our learning communities and methods of promoting health and well-being.

Episode 2: Supporting Colleagues and New Teachers

We will dive into the expectations for professional development and responsibility, reflect on the support we provide for our colleagues and hear what schools are doing to help teachers thrive in challenging environments.

Episode 1: Engaging Students and Families

This month’s webinar will focus on how educators are working to engage students, connecting with families and bringing the community into the classroom to develop school-community relationships.