Student Equity Expo
A Message from the SVSU Equity Coordinator, Jonathan Phipps:
Throughout the school year, the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union has worked to promote and advance efforts that would one day lead to a more equitable community environment. Activities have included community conversations focused on complex subjects and our seven-part staff speaker series on equity related topics. We have encouraged staff and students to express and work towards equity-minded initiatives.
The following projects are the culmination of this year's focus on equity. They highlight the work being done in our schools and throughout our community, and hopefully shine a light on what is to come for the SVSU. A special thanks to the staff who helped facilitate these projects, encouraging their students to grow, learn, and "Imagine the Possibilities."
Bennington Elementary Students painted individual popsicle sticks with mood-boosting colors and added positive words or phrases to each one. The goal was to bring their individual pieces together to pass on positivity and support to viewers of their art. Art Therapist Eileen Druckenmiller and Art Teacher Cara DeAngelo encouraged the student artists' inventive thinking and allowed them to make important creative choices.
Sexuality And Gender Awareness Alliance (SAGAA) at Mt. Anthony Union high school had a very active year! With numbers and participation increasing, advisor Chloe West helped students put together this graphic to highlight the club's largest projects of the school year.
Though the mural in the cafeteria is a testament to student creativity and passion, one of the most meaningful efforts was the “I’ll Go With You” campaign. This anti-bullying campaign made a real difference for transgender and gender nonconforming students. Students also helped to create videos with the local news station, CAT TV, and with central office highlighting identity and pride.
Shaftsbury Elementary School Art Club met once a week over six weeks to discuss the meaning of equity and symbolism in different cultures. Students created a large mandala with multiple types of art media as a way of bringing those symbols together.
A mandala is a circular spiritual and ritual symbol traditionally used in Asian cultures. It serves as a visual representation of the universe, with the outer rings leading the way to the center of the circle – or the center of the universe. The students, under the guidance of Art Therapist Eileen Druckenmiller and Art Teacher Emily Umphlett, used their Equity Mandala to denote an equitable, harmonious universe.
Art Therapy students from Monument, Shaftsbury, and Mt. Anthony Union Middle School created paintings and drawings based on the work of Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). Each square shows a different emotion or combination of emotions each student has experienced. SVSU Art Therapist Eileen Druckenmiller then arranged those pieces as one art piece to portray a large range of human emotions.
Pownal Elementary School 1st-graders created a unity quilt, with the help of Pownal Art Teacher Marissa Skaczkowski. Each knot that made up the quilt symbolized unity, while the hand prints symbolized how each member of the community is unique.The style was inspired by Australian Aboriginal art. At such a young age, the goal of the project was to understand that there are unfair things that happen in the world, and for them to recognize the injustices.
Tommy, a third-grader from Mrs. Flynn's class at Bennington Elementary School, created this poster presentation. About the presentation he said "I am 8 years old. I am a third grader at Bennington Elementary. I love to draw and sketch. In my life I improved at drawings from three - five years old. I have drew over one-thousand pictures in my life. The reason I made this project is because [I] have many Gay people in my life but mainly my moms."
Students at Bennington Elementary School helped to create this piece of art after learning about the history and significance of Juneteenth. The 1st and 3rd graders in Cara DeAngelo's art class wove together pieces of paper and then created a collage of handprints. This was meant to symbolize that a single thread can be easily be broken, but when fibers are woven together they are strong.