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Principal's Newsletter

March 2019

VSAC's Aspirations Project at SHS! | Aspirations - Student Focus Group | Community Forum

Work-Based Learning (WBL) - Paving a Path to New Possibilities | Community Service


At Spaulding High School, we strive to provide many opportunities for our students to provide them with learning experiences that are engaging, responsive to their needs and interests, and prepare them for post-secondary opportunities – whether through continued education or the world of work.  We are very excited to offer some new courses next year (to see our full offerings, please see our program of studies at ), expand our Work-Based Learning offerings, increase awareness about college and career readiness through our Aspirations Project and build civic engagement through community service.  We are proud of what we have to offer and how we continue to provide rich learning experiences for our students.  If you would like to know more about these learning experiences, please contact Brenda Waterhouse at

VSAC's Aspirations Project at SHS!

VSAC (Vermont Student Assistance Corporation) is collaborating with SHS to further promote a college and career ready culture.  Tiffany Tillman, one of VSAC’s Aspiration Coordinators, began working with our school in late October and plans to work with staff, students, families and the community over the next few years to help us think about how we prepare students for postsecondary ambitions.  Tiffany is working closely with a Steering Committee to assess Spaulding’s successes, determine areas where we can grow and create an action plan to guide our work over.  The more we talk about college and careers, the more students plan for life after high school.  

As we continue to build programs and opportunities to prepare our students to be college and career ready, VSAC’s Aspirations Project presents as a wonderful resource.  Parents, students and staff will be asked for input and feedback, and given opportunities to participate in activities to help build a culture where all students aspire for post-secondary goals.  We have included a parent survey for parents to provide us with some initial input on we can strengthen our College and Career Culture at SHS.  Fill out this quick survey and be entered to win prizes!   

If you would like to know more about Aspirations, please contact Tiffany Tillman, Aspirations Coordinator, at

Aspirations - Student Focus Group

To get a diverse perspective on what students think the current college and career ready culture is at SHS and to get their ideas and input related to what we could do to deepen that culture, we will be creating 2-3 focus groups. Twenty to thirty students from 9th-12th grades, that represent a diverse group, will be organized to meet over the course of three 30-60 minute sessions in March and April on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11:30-12:30. The groups may determine a project to work on, a message to promote, an idea to be shared, or just provide good conversations and feedback.   Students that are interested in learning more or participating in the focus group can contact their guidance counselor. 

Community Forum

Our monthly community forums are held on the third Wednesday of each month from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM in the cafeteria.  Our next meeting will be held on March 20th. The discussion will be about Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs).  If you would like to recommend future topics for the forum, or have questions about the current topic, please contact Luke Aither at or Jim Ferland at

Work-Based Learning (WBL) - Paving a Path to New Possibilities

Work Based Learning (WBL) allows students to explore careers, connect with businesses, and learn about the functions of an organization through Employee Panels, Job Shadows, and Internships.  WBL provides various opportunities for students to gain the necessary skills and knowledge around new technologies and/or emerging careers within a particular career cluster through workshops and hands on trainings. Organizations such as Vermont Technical College, Dartmouth College, and University of Vermont have opened their doors to our students, so they are better informed about post secondary options, while organizations such as the Generator MakerSpace have supported various trainings around CNC, laser cutting, and design thinking.  The Central Vermont Medical Center and its affiliates have been incredibly supportive of our students who have an interest in Allied Health, by allowing them to participate in the Job Shadow Program which allows our students to learn about health career options as well as the skills that different occupations require.

Students who are seeking the skills needed to enter the workforce and/or interested in particular career clusters, have the opportunity to enroll in Introduction to Work Based Learning.  Topics include:  Career Readiness, Professionalism, Digital Citizenship, Safety & OSHA, Worker Rights, Sensitivity in the Workplace, and developing the soft skills needed in the workplace. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in a series of Employee Panels that expose them to a variety of occupations within our hometown and the state.  Currently, we have over 90 partners, which support our students' interests through a WBL rotation and Employee Panel/Job Shadowing experience.  For those students who pass Introduction to Work Based Learning and have the support of the WBL partner, they can participate in an internship the following semester. This allows them to gain first-hand experience and determine if this particular career/field is still of interest to them. Components of the course include: Preparation and Professionalism in the Workforce, Climate and Confidentiality, required written assignments, a training agreement, evaluations, and a final product that demonstrates how they have addressed specific learning goals in their training agreement.

Regardless of which experience our students opt for, WBL is helping them invest in their future.

Community Service

Community service offers meaningful opportunities for students to engage with individuals in their community on a deeper level and understand the true concept of giving back. Part of SHS’ mission is enabling students to become respectful, responsible, knowledgeable, confident, healthy and ethical global citizens.  Encouraging students to become proactive members of not only the SHS community, but also the surrounding Barre community, is an important component of being a member of society.  Community involvement spurs personal growth, encourages civic engagement, and offers insight into the challenges our communities face.  There is a good amount of flexibility in community service opportunities and students are encouraged to think about making a meaningful impact on the community through creative and innovative approaches. The goal of each student’s service should be to benefit the community, rather than the individual.

Effective the fall of 2019, Spaulding High School requires 40 hours of community service over the course of a student’s high school career (class of 2020 – 10 hours; class of 2021 – 20 hours; class of 2022 – 30 hours; class of 2023 and thereafter – 40 hours) as part of a student’s graduation requirement. Community Service is defined as unpaid work which is meaningful and done for the benefit of others without expectation of repayment whether monetary or otherwise. The intent of this requirement is that SHS students make an impact, however large or small, on the community in which they are volunteering their time. The hours can be accrued through multiple projects or a single project and can be earned over the course of multiple years or in one year.

Some opportunities will be offered through the high school collaborating with community partners and other opportunities will be arranged by individual and/or groups of students.  If you would like to know more about our community service requirements or projects, please contact Brenda Waterhouse at