LUDLOW, Vt. – Six months ago, the Expeditionary School at Black River the Pathways to Possibilities initiative, a fundraising campaign charged with raising the monies needed to operate in 2021-22. A recent donation from Ludlow’s Rotary of $2,500 to Black River helped the school obtain its goal of $150,000. The local Rotary’s commitment to strengthen their community provides many more students with opportunities to learn how to “serve to change lives” – their logo’s tagline, which synergizes nicely with what we are aiming to achieve here at Black River.
Likewise, Rotary International’s mission, as published on their website, states that it is “where neighbors, friends, and problem solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change.” A statement that embodies what continues to motivate Black River’s founding Board of Trustees. By forging mutually beneficial partnerships with the local businesses, our vision for economic vitality begins with aligning our courses to relevant and career-ready learning opportunities.
Prior to making this donation, incoming President Art Randolph, who is also the Vice President of People’s United Ludlow Branch, has been teaching financial literacy to every student enrolled in our school. Financial literacy is a requirement for graduation, and each year a student is enrolled here they will be expected to demonstrate proficiency in banking basics, personal wealth management, and budgeting essentials.
The financial literacy curriculum is the FDIC Money Smart Program, which aligns to education standards and learning outcomes, including Common Core State Standards and National Financial Literacy Standards. When it is taught by industry professionals like Art, students gain knowledge in personal finance and confidence in money management skills that helps build a strong foundation that leads to healthy financial behaviors.
Thanks to Ludlow Rotary’s donation, Black River’s leadership team is now also talking with Ludlow Insurance Agency about how to infuse lessons about the insurance industry’s content into our coursework. From the onset, our Board of Trustees mobilized with the intent of redesigning the relationship between the local school, the business community, and taxpayers in general.
As we enter into our second year, Habits of Work will continue to be the centerpiece of how we communicate a learner’s progress toward proficient career-ready skills. While we are equally committed to instilling the foundational academic knowledge needed to advance one’s career, the critical thinking and problem-solving skills expected of today’s workforce are essential features of our assessment design. This is because we recognize that success starts with teaching students to be accountable for their own learning. Work ethic and respect for others are key aspects of our school’s expectations for student conduct each and every day.
Thank you, Ludlow Rotary, very much for underscoring this community’s commitment to our mission. We look forward to working with you to create a quality of life that invites everyone to be able to feel and benefit from these positive changes.
Written by Kendra Rickerby, Head of School