Our Contributors

Don Taylor

Don is a sustainability and humanities teacher in his 19th year of teaching at Main Street Middle School in Montpelier.  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. 

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. 

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 9

The 2023-24 Middle Grades Conversation series will bring educators together to discuss how we can build supportive learning communities, engage learners and families and integrate equity-based antiracist teaching into our practices. Additionally, we will discuss the impact of climate related events on our communities and how teachers address these issues.

Episode 7 -- Reviewing Themes of Equity and Belonging

This month we discussed and reviewed themes of equity, belonging and social justice. We had guest contributors detailing the difficulties of addressing and teaching these issues in other parts of the country (outside of Vermont) and how important these themes continue to be for our adolescent learners.

Episode 6: Technology, AI and Digital Citizenship

The promise of 1 to1 technology and a device for every student has changed significantly since remote learning and the pandemic. With the onset of AI and the challenges presented by technology, what and how are practitioners doing to promote responsible digital use and citizenship? How has AI entered the classroom and your professional development? Additionally, we plan to preview the topics and talks occurring at the Middle Grades Conference occurring in March.

Episode 5: Addressing Student Behaviors

This month we addressed student behaviors linked to the pandemic and some of the strategies, such as community, leadership and project based learning, that educators are using to continue innovation and educational improvements.

Episode 4: Restorative Practices

This month we took on restorative practices: reviewing common understandings and definitions, how they are being implemented in schools and why restorative practices can help build community, resilience and positive relationships. Our conversation was shaped by the challenges facing our students, schools and communities.

Episode 3: Trauma Informed Strategies

This month we discuss strategies for building relationships, applying trauma informed strategies to our learning communities and methods of promoting health and well-being with students. Our discussion will also include how learning communities are connecting with students and families around student led conferences.

Episode 2: Social Justice, Equity and Antiracism

This month we revisited core principles of social justice, equity and anti-racism with a focus on strategies designed to create inclusive, just and joyful learning environments. We discussed issues around equity, social justice and how teachers are working with these topics in the classroom.

Episode 1: A Fresh Start for the Year

This month’s webinar will focused on how educators are working to engage students, connecting with families and bringing the community into the classroom to develop school-community relationships. We discussed how communities and schools impacted by climate change are addressing Vermont’s July flood event.

Season 8 Episodes