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Residency Program Awarded VT Grant

A partnership between Circus Smirkus and the Winooski (VT) School District has been awarded a grant from the Vermont Agency of Education to demonstrate how an engaging learning opportunity – like the circus arts – can support a school’s shift toward personalized learning experiences for students. This change encourages students to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning and educational goals.

In this project, Circus Smirkus and the Winooski Middle School will be aligning their offerings around important content and skills and developing ways to track students’ individual progress toward their learning goals. As an engaging series of skills that drive personal motivation and goal-setting, the circus arts lend themselves to self-directed learning. Smirkus will be building upon the work that we have been doing to integrate the teaching of circus arts with the development of Social and Emotional Learning which not only drives classroom engagement and learning but are critical life skills that support kids’ journeys well beyond their school years.

Through the partnership, Circus Smirkus continues to show that it is not only a celebrated leader in youth circus but also an innovative force in arts education for kids everywhere.

Below is the press released published by the Vermont Agency of Education:

Fourteen Supervisory Unions, Districts Awarded Flexible Pathways Expansion Grants

 For Immediate Release April 20, 2017

BARRE, Vt. – The Agency of Education today awarded Flexible Pathways Expansion Grants to 13 supervisory unions and school districts through Vermont. These awards will be used to support 14 projects to expand SUs/SDs’ capacity to provide meaningful, personalized learning opportunities and better clarify flexible pathways for students in Vermont. These grants represent the continued effort to support schools and communities in their efforts to implement the Flexible Pathways Initiative – Act 77.

More than 26 applications were received in response to three categories for proposals: Developing Work-Based Learning at the Secondary Level, Developing and Scaling Career Advisory, and Integrating Expanded Learning Opportunities into Personalized Learning Plans. The projects awarded represent the combined and collaborative efforts of 27 schools, 10 21st Century programs, four career and technical education centers, three higher education institutions, and 13 other community and state organizations, professional networks, non-profits, and agencies.

“I am delighted to be able to shepherd state funds toward each of these worthy projects,” said Deputy Secretary Heather Bouchey. “After a rigorous review process, these projects were selected because they offer the most promise in terms of engaging students, enhancing experiential learning and ultimately improving Vermont’s postsecondary attainment rate. This is exactly the kind of innovation needed in our schools today.”

In line with Governor Scott’s priorities of affordability, protecting the most vulnerable, and growing the economy, these Vermont educators are also pursuing creative solutions to creating more equitable opportunities for students in Vermont. A common theme in all of the projects is that expanding equitable opportunities requires a collective effort.

A core requirement for all of the projects is to create artifacts and opportunities to share what has been learned with the field. All awardees have identified how their efforts will be shared, and all will be working closely with the Agency of Education who will host their work on the website for access.


Work-Based Learning grants

Chittenden Central Supervisory Union

Lamoille North Supervisory Union

Springfield School District

White River Supervisory Union

Career Advisory grants

Burlington City School District

Milton Town School District

Richford Town School District

Windham Northeast Supervisory Union

Expanded Learning Opportunities grants

Addison Northwest Supervisory Union

Burlington City School District

North Country Supervisory Union

South Burlington School District

Windsor Central Supervisory Union

Winooski School District

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