Education notes: VSAC selects Bellows Falls Union High School for its Aspiration Project

VSAC selects Bellows Falls Union High School for its Aspiration Project

WESTMINSTER >> For the second year in a row, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation has launched its' Aspiration Project in a Vermont community and has selected Bellows Falls Union High School to be the recipient of the pilot program this year.

The program was launched last year in Lamoille Union High School and will continue there in addition to the Bellows Falls Union High School. The Aspiration Project aims to develop strategies to encourage parents to begin conversations about education and training after high school as early as possible. They also aim to explore alternatives for how, who, and when to provide career and post-secondary education information and adapt the delivery of this "aspiration curriculum" to meet the individual needs of the school and its students.

The Aspiration Project kicked off the school year in Bellows Falls with a welcome to the freshman class and a dinner and information night. The next event will take place during Jan 25 at 1:40 p.m. The all-school assembly will feature singer-songwriter, Jared Campbell, who will deliver a heartfelt inspirational message through his folk songs and dialogue. Campbell's Blue Project reaches students through the power of music with songs he's written about some of the most crucial elements in living ones life with purpose. His message focuses on overcoming obstacles, anti-bullying, respect, leadership and having an amazing outlook on life. Students are captivated not only by the music and lyrics but also by the videos that are projected to bring the listener into the songs. Jared's heart is to reach the young people of today and encourage them to never stop dreaming and continue pushing forward to living out your purpose with passion, according to his website at

"Everybody has a Bellows Falls Future" is the slogan for the Aspiration Project campaign. VSAC research found an alarming geographic differences among Vermont's 14 counties in aspirational goals of the students in continuing education beyond high school. This pilot program will become the basis for future efforts at similar schools in Vermont as they look to increase awareness of postsecondary opportunities and the financial aid resources for students and parents. To learn more about the Aspiration Project in Bellows Falls, go to or search #BellowsFallsFuture.

South Londonderry native receives Jerry E. Flanagan Service Award

JOHNSON >> Patrick Rogers, newly named director of admissions at Johnson State College, has received the Jerry E. Flanagan Service Award for 2015 from the Consortium of Vermont Colleges.

The annual award — the highest honor bestowed by the statewide organization of professional staff from 20 colleges and the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. — is given annually to a CVC member "who has shown exemplary leadership within the field of college admissions counseling in Vermont and has gone above and beyond in service for the Consortium." It was established in 2013 in recognition of the retirement of the longtime vice president for enrollment at St. Michael's College, who played an integral role in establishing the CVC.

Rogers, whose hometown is South Londonderry, graduated Green Mountain Union High School in 2000, and was recently appointed Director of Admissions at Johnson State College.

In presenting the award at the group's Jan. 6 meeting, CVC President Michael Stefanowicz, assistant director of admission at St. Michael's College, noted that Rogers is admired as a "professional mentor and student-centered counselor who greets everyone with a smile and with infectious enthusiasm, and gives his time to anyone in need of it — a student with lots of questions at the end of a college fair, a parent who calls at the end of a work day, or a colleague who needs someone to talk to.

Rogers started as an admissions counselor at JSC in August 2005 after earning his B.A. in business with an A.A. in technical theater there. He steadily moved up the ranks, first becoming assistant director, then associate director and, in 2012, senior associate director. This December, he was appointed to the newly created position of director.

In addition to being a steadfast ambassador for JSC throughout this time, Rogers has served as campus advisor to the men's and women's Rugby Clubs, which inspired the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees to pass a resolution naming the JSC rugby pitch in his honor in 2013. He also has been an active member and past-president of the CVC. He also chaired the group's Professional Development Committee in 2010 and co-chaired the 2010 CVC bus tour that takes visiting guidance counselors to campuses throughout Vermont. And recently he took on yet another role at JSC: advisor to the college's Hockey Club.

"Rogers embodies what it means to be a JSC Badger and truly exemplifies the traits of service, leadership, and mentorship within the CVC and the admission field that this award recognizes," Stefanowicz said at the awards ceremony.

The mission of the Consortium of Vermont Colleges is to collaborate in promoting the wealth and diversity of higher education opportunities in the state and the appeal of the Vermont as an ideal place to attend college.

Hinsdale resident achieves Dean's List at Saint Anselm

MANCHESTER, N.H. >> Melanie A. Smith, a senior and a French major, was named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2015 semester at Saint Anselm College. Smith hails from Hinsdale, N.H.

American Legion scholarships available for college expenses

BRATTLEBORO >> This is the time of year when parents, grandparents, and other friends and relatives of high school students should encourage the youngsters to get busy with applications for scholarships. Through numerous scholarship offerings at the State Department and national levels, the American Legion is able to help our citizens of tomorrow get the higher education they need to participate in tomorrow's society.

It is good common sense that boys and girls acquire all the education possible. Through the combined efforts of the student and parents, and others such as the Vermont American Legion Scholarship Program, this goal can be accomplished. The American Legion believes that more students will continue their education if they are given a helping hand. Through the cooperation and support of the entire American Legion Department of Vermont Membership, this scholarship program has been made possible.

Scholarship awards will be paid directly to the post-secondary school of the award winner's choice, upon verification of enrollment from the school. These payments will be made over a period of two or four years.

Available scholarships include: Charles Barber Scholarship at $1,000; Ray Greenwood Scholarship at $1,500; and 10 department scholarships at $500 each.

The student must have been accepted at an approved and accredited school or college at the time of consideration. The deadline for applications is Arpil 1. For more information, visit, e-mail, or call 802-223-7131.

Compass School Pilots localvore software to support student proficiencies

WESTMINSTER >> SchoolHack Solutions of Bristol recently partnered with Compass School and a number of other schools in Vermont in the launch of its LiFT education technology.

"We are excited to work with Compass School in offering the LiFT platform to their students and teachers," said David Lipkin, CEO of SchoolHack Solutions. "LiFT helps schools not only develop personalized learning plans that truly empower and engage students but also offer a way for teachers to assess the learning proficiencies students are able to demonstrate."

"We've been doing proficiency based 'paper and folder' portfolios for years," says Rick Gordon, Director of Compass School. "This is the perfect tech tool to help students take ownership for their proficiency tracking and reflecting on their learning. We were able to customize the program for our school needs so that it is easy for students to organize thinking about their learning and growth. Our students seem to love using LiFT. As one said, I finally get why proficiencies matter."

SchoolHack Solutions is working together with Green River of Brattleboro in the development of the LiFT platform.

"This is a perfect match for SchoolHack," said Lipkin. "Green River understands the value of the personalized learning experience, and sees their technology as the way to create diverse, personalized educational opportunities. We couldn't be more excited about working with Green River as we build and add features to our LiFT platform."

Compass is one of a number of schools and organizations around the state who are using LiFT to inform students and teachers about student engagement and interests, while helping the school develop relevant and student-centered curriculum options. LiFT is an easy to use, mobile software platform where students track their progress on their own goals while rating their interest in activities both inside and outside the classroom. LiFT's unique proficiency assessment tool allows teachers to track and assess skills related to this learning and to help students develop their own learning plans, goals, and career possibilities.


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