Partnering with Students:

Partnering with Students: Cultivating Student Aspirations through Responsive Middle Grades Practice -- A core theme of the UVM-GEAR UP initiative

John Downes, University of Vermont
Sarita Austin, Counselor, Essex Middle School

Presented to the Vermont School Counselors Association
Dartmouth, September 22, 2009

Abstract: This presentation describes an approach to heightening middle school student post-secondary aspirations by working directly with young adolescents and middle grades teachers. In this initiative students serve as consultants and experts to teachers interested in changing their practice. A school counselor who participated in the project presents her experience with implementing her learning over two years at her middle school. Participants will come to consider the model and consider the implications of cultivating student voice within their own settings. This interactive session targets middle school counselors. The model embraces responsive pedagogy and student voice as powerful levers to raise aspirations and lower long standing barriers to college access.

Short Powerpoint resentation with a link to a Google Doc site with resources.


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Middle Grades Collaborative
Saint Michael's College
Education Department Box 281
One Winooski Park, Colchester, VT 05439
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