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St. Johnsbury Academy Launches ASPIRE Program
by Richard Boisseau, director of the Center for Academic Improvement, St. Johnsbury Academy - St. Johnsbury, Vermont
St. Johnsbury Academy, recognized as one of the nation’s exemplary schools (source: US Board of Education), has a proud tradition of providing a world-class education to students from more than 20 different countries and as many states. However, like many schools with a diverse student body, including day and boarding students, St. Johnsbury Academy is faced with the challenge of including and empowering parents in the education process. In response, the Academy has launched program ASPIRE (Academy, Student, and Parent partnership project Inspiring Readiness for Excellence).
“ASPIRE seeks to provide more tools and support to parents who have the momentous task of educating their children for the 18 hours a day their student is not at school,” said ASPIRE founder Richard Boisseau, Director of the Center for Academic Improvement. In the early stages of Aspire, the project was awarded funding from the Rowland Foundation. The infusion of these funds propelled the Academy forward in both the intent and mission of ASPIRE.
Recently ASPIRE began offering “The Biggest Job,” a nationally recognized program that addresses character issues of students, parents, and families. Additionally, a “Parent Conference Tip Sheet” from the Harvard Family Research Project was distributed to all teachers and parents. The tip sheet has received positive feedback.
Another example of outreach involves Capstone — Academy seniors are required to complete a Capstone project. To inform the seniors’ parents of Capstone requirements, a Capstone informational evening was offered at the beginning of both the Fall and Spring semesters in 2010-2011. The evening was attended by 75 percent of those invited. One parent responded, “First of all I would like to thank you for the great informational meeting about Capstone. It definitely helped us better understand what (our son) has been working on.”
In the coming months, ASPIRE will expand its scope to include a web presence, improved teacher and parent communication, and programs aimed at involving parents during their students’ transition from middle school into high school.
For more information, email email@example.com or visit www.stjohnsburyacademy.org.
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