Washington West Schools Partner With Everyday Democracy

WWSU Kick-Off Meeting Highlights

April 28, 2015 | 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Duxbury, VT

LOCATION: Harwood Union High School



The Washington West Supervisory Union is part of a regional effort, supported by the Nellie Mae Foundation, to strengthen school community engagement.  Nellie Mae believes that stronger public engagement and school-community partnerships are essential to improving schools and better preparing students to be successful learners, workers, and leaders.


Everyday Democracy is working with WWSU over the next several months to offer coaching, support, and training to help the district: a) develop a shared understanding about the principles of effective engagement; b) build an equitable and diverse organizing team; c) identify goals to strengthen community engagement, and d) create an implementation plan. 


The planning process began with a kick-off meeting that took place at Harwood High School on April 28, 2015.  The meeting was attended by a diverse group of 27 community members including parents, educators, and school administrators. Participants had connections with all the schools in the supervisory union, including Crossett Brook Middle School, Fayston Elementary School, Harwood Union Middle and High School, The Moretown School, Thatcher Brook Primary School, The Warren School, and Waitsfield Elementary.  


During the meeting, participants mapped out current engagement activities, learned about key WWSU initiatives, and expressed their hopes and concerns for WWSU as well as their thoughts about the benefits of strengthening the school’s engagement work (see list below). 


Benefits of engagement

  • Multiple perspectives will be heard
  • There is a shared vision about needed changes
  • Initiatives will last and lead to better outcomes for students
  • Communication will lead to understanding and “buy-in”
  • Students will be more engaged
  • There will be better coordination across schools and the district


Participants were invited to return for an all day workshop on June 18 to learn more about effective engagement, establish engagement goals for the SU, and map out an implementation plan for the coming school year.  It is hoped that many of the participants will continue to work with this group during the implementation phase of the initiative.