Andrew West: Middle School Flexible Pathways Coordinator
**Andy has been a Vermont middle level educator for over 35 years. This year he will again be serving as the Flexible Pathways Coordinator at the White River Valley Middle School. He grew up just over the mountain in Rochester, and he and his wife still call it home. He has four children and three grandchildren. He enjoys the change of seasons in Vermont and takes advantage of every opportunity to be outside during the summer months. Andy and his wife frequently ride their e-bikes on Vermont's numerous backroads, paddle its lakes and rivers, or hike and camp in one of Vermont's beautiful state parks. Relaxing on a sandy beach is also a pretty important pastime, but lately, the most rewarding endeavor is playing with his three grandchildren. **
The WRVMS Flexible Pathways Class meets every morning from 8:38-9:23, 5 days each week, for 6 weeks at a time. Every 6 weeks a new group of students will have the opportunity to experience the Flexible Pathways model of learning.
Students in the class have the opportunity to develop a Flexible Pathways Plan that focuses on something they are inspired to learn, challenges them to work cooperatively, share their learning and experiences with others, and better prepares them for the opportunities available to them in high school. Students will spend some time each week in the classroom, and depending on the pathway they pursue they will spend some time each week outside the classroom.
Pathways that students may choose to explore include conducting research on a topic they are interested in learning about, supporting students in the elementary school, learning in the school kitchen, developing a workout routine, learning from a community member, organizing a fundraiser to support a certain cause, learning a new language, taking a VTVLC course, developing a plan to keep our school clean, or learning a new skill. The number of pathways and the focus of each pathway is endless.
Another component of the class that might inspire students with developing new pathways is STEM and Careers Studies. Periodically students will have opportunities to work on designing and creating projects that focus on STEM explorations-robots, mouse trap cars, Scribble Bots, K’NEX, Rube Goldberg machines, marble runs, and Legos are but a few. Students will also have opportunities to learn about various careers through guest speakers who will be invited into school periodically (live or remote) to share information about a specific career path.
Students will reflect on their learning verbally, in writing,in presentations and in methods that best demonstrate their new knowledge and understanding and they will connect this reflection to the WRVSU proficiencies. We are pleased and happy to meet students where they are and help them grow as learners.