Conversations

Our Contributors

Don Taylor

Don is a humanities educator in his 16th year at Main Street Middle School in Montpelier, Vermont. 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. 

Maura Weiler

Maura is the Proficiency-Based Learning and Technology Integration Coach at Lamoille South Unified Union. She works at the district level to support teachers and administrators K-12 in developing curriculum anchored in personalized and proficiency-based learning. 

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. 

Lindsey Halman

Lindsey is the Executive Director of UP for Learning. She joined the UP team after 15 years as a middle level educator and advocate for transforming education. Prior to joining UP, she co-founded the Edge Academy at Essex Middle School which served as a model a for integrated education for sustainability and the arts. 

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 7

Episode 9: Year in Review

In our last conversation of the 2021-2022 school year, contributors will look back on our third year of teaching through a pandemic to reflect on the state of middle level education. We will review strategies and ideas that have met with success, share our professional development plans and make predictions for the 2022-23 school year. Join us as we share our challenges, successes and hopes for the future

Episode 8: Meet the Learning Lab

Join the Middle Grades Collaborative Conversation crew as we hear about the inquiry, educational innovation and professional development happening with The Tarrant Institute’s Learning Lab. Guests Susan Hennessey and Bill Rich will discuss their current work, how the Learning Lab benefits students and educators and the implications of guided coaching on educator practice.

Episode 7: Unconditional Positive Regard This month we reviewed Alex Shevrin Venet's (https://unconditionallearning.org/) keynote address at the Middle Grades Conference and how those ideas can impact learning communities.

Episode 6: Supporting New Teachers: Guest contributor, Kait Roukey, a new teacher at Brown’s River Middle School, speaks to the challenges facing new teachers and how they can be supported more effectively.

Episode 5: Equitable Learning Practices: discussion on implementing equitable learning practices in the classroom and review of classroom management strategies being utilized in the midst of a pandemic.

Episode 4: Antiracism, Activism and Advocacy: Last month we had an excellent conversation with Noel Riby-Williams, a Ghanaian activist raised in Montpelier VT who is currently studying Health Science at UVM. Ms. Riby-Williams discussed her educational experiences in Vermont and how those fed her journey into activism and advocacy.

Episode 3: Healing, Social Justice and Equity -- Can school be a place of healing for students, teachers and the community? This month, we will explore that theme a bit more deeply and focus on how educators are exploring social justice, equity and antiracism in an effort to create inclusive learning communities.

Episode 2: Teaching Through a Pandemic This month contributors will consider how teachers are meeting the challenges of teaching through the third year of a pandemic. Questions include: How has this situation created opportunities for student voice, leadership and teacher innovation and transformation? How are teachers utilizing trauma-informed instruction and tenets of social emotional learning to create the positive learning experiences that our students deserve? How has our work for equity, social justice and antiracism continued?

Episode 1:  Restarting School Join the Middle Grades Collaborative Conversations crew as we discuss the restart of school amid the continuing COVID 19 pandemic. We talked about changes in school structure, transformative opportunities and how schools have responded to the challenges presented by teaching in these times.