TA’s YATST Group Facilitates Global Conversation on the Purpose of School
May 12, 2021
TA students Mary Bosco and Eldon Crossett, supported by YATST advisors Kate Owen and Rebecca Walter, recently facilitated a global conversation between youth and adults at a conference session focused on the question: “What should be the purpose of school?”
Thetford Academy’s YATST team (Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together) spent the 2020-2021 school year gathering data about students’ school experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the initial data as a starting point, the group facilitated a series of students focus group sessions to learn more. These focus groups explored topics including: What have we learned about school during COVID and what do we want to keep? How can school counselors reach out best to students to support them? How have pod structures changed our sense of community at TA? What have we learned about ourselves as people and as a school community this year?
The wide-ranging conversations inspired students to investigate a broader question: “What is the overall purpose of school?” It was this topic that TA’s YATST team chose for their session in the Power 2 conference, a twice yearly conference hosted by UP for Learning that “focuses on building personal power, partnership, and purpose to support authentic learning and nurture meaningful lives.” The session, attended by adults and youth from both Vermont and Tunisia, took the conversation from local to global. Participants discussed and explored their own experiences with school, and brainstormed ways schools might change to excite and engage students in a more authentic way.
As the school year winds down, TA’s YATST team is already beginning to plan their work for the 2021-2022 school year. They hope to continue to bring student voices to the conversation and TA grows and evolves as a school, so that the TA experience is relevant, authentic, and engaging to our students.