From top left to bottom right: Paul Hammond, EdD: Barnes Co-Researcher and 8th Grade Science Teacher, Team Leader & Department Leader, Riverside Middle School, VT; Adam Norwood, EdD: Coordinator for the Barnes Initiative for Collaborative Learning and UVEI faculty member; Aimee Gonzalez: UVEI MEd Candidate, Barnes Co-Researcher, and 4-8 French Teacher, Crossroads Academy, NH; Taryn Sidney: Barnes Site-Leader, UVEI alumna, and 3rd Grade Teacher, Burke Town School, VT; Jen Stainton, EdD: Barnes Co-Researcher and Director of Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment, Windsor Central Supervisory Union, VT; Terha Steen: Barnes Site-Leader and Academic Dean, Lyndon Institute, VT; Caty Sutton: Barnes Site-Leader, UVEI alumna, and Co-Principal, Randolph Union Middle & High School, VT; Kristy Duris: Barnes Site-Leader and K-12 Library Media Specialist, Linwood Public Schools, NH; Corin Benedict, Barnes Site-Leader, UVEI alumna, and 9-12 Science Teacher, Hanover High School, NH


On September 21, the 2022 – 2023 Barnes Initiative for Collaborative Learning officially launched! This year’s Barnes Initiative aligns with UVEI’s institutional focus for the year: Workforce Development Within the Education Sector: Attracting, Supporting, and Retaining Educators Across their Careers Throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. This year’s cohort comprises a diverse group of eight educators from Vermont and New Hampshire, affectionately known as The Barnes Bunch.

Embedded within this year’s research topic is a problem of practice that the cohort is working to identify and address through a designed intervention. This work started with a needs assessment distributed to over a dozen schools which received responses from 112 educators. Several all-day meetings with the cohort were used to comb through the mountains of qualitative and quantitative data to make sense of the responses from the needs assessment, hinting, at least at this point, that teachers across sites place a high value on opportunities for collaboration with one another. Could this be a way to help with attracting, supporting, and retaining educators in Vermont and New Hampshire? The cohort will continue to investigate this idea as they hone in on a specific problem of practice.

And speaking of a problem of practice, last year’s Barnes cohort explored Designing Deeper Learning Opportunities for Students with an Emphasis on Equity, Justice, and Democracy.  The cohort’s work identified ways for educators to engage with each other throughout the curriculum design process through a lens of deeper learning while using Learning for Justice’s Social Justice Standards as a framework.  This resulted in teachers developing a greater sense of self-confidence and a deeper understanding of effective ways to design learning experiences for their students.  Perhaps some of the takeaways from last year’s project will be reflected in our approach to this year’s project: educators are better together than they are apart…apropos of the spirit of the Barnes Initiative for Collaborative Learning!

What’s next for this year’s Barnes cohort? Once a problem of practice is identified, it will serve as a starting point for creating a plan for addressing an identified need across sites through a theory of action.  We’re looking forward to seeing where our work takes us!