As BFA Fairfax High School continues to move forward with all components of Vermont’s Act 77, the role that Up for Learning’s YATST (Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together) initiative is playing in our high school transformation continues to be a strong example of how important the role of student voice is in the change process.


The goal of Up for Learning is to “increase youth engagement by developing youth-adult partnerships in learning to ensure that each and every young person has the skills, self-confidence, and opportunities to assume meaningful roles in shaping their learning and their lives.”

High school proficiencies.
High school proficiencies.

Did you know this is the third initiative, sponsored by Up for Learning, that BFA Fairfax has participated in? The first was Communicating School Redesign, next was M3: Mindset, Metacognition & Motivation, and now YATST.

The students this year have designed and completed a Freshman Dialogue Day on Rigor, Relevance, Relationships, and Responsibility in Proficiency-Based Learning, attended several trainings, are planning a school survey and communication blitz, and have been working on the role of student agency in the Proficiency-Based Classroom.

Last week, Kiana Labor and Natalie Bates, along with Danielle Kicsak, were invited to fly to San Francisco to participate in Pioneer Lab Training, which focuses on student-centered educational transformation.

Kiana Labor and Natalie Bates are participating in Pioneer Lab Training in San Francisco.
Kiana Labor and Natalie Bates headed to Pioneer Lab Training in San Francisco.

In February, student representatives will join the PBGR Oversight Committee.

The PBGR Oversight Committee
The PBGR Oversight Committee

If you are a teacher at BFA High School, you probably have some of our YATST members in your classes: Mahlia Parsons, Natalie Bates, Kiana Labor, Theresa Trenholm, Abby Sweet, Jarrett Sweet, Samantha (Sammy) Bidwell, Samantha (Sam) Langlois, and Delaney Sweet-Werneke. You know their advisors, too: Danielle Kicsak, Linda Keating, Dave Buckingham, Harold Vance, and Mark Ladue. Please talk to the students and their advisors about the work. Ask them questions about the work. Tell them what would you like to see happen.


Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together

Kiana Labor would like you all to know that engaging with YATST  is a way for students to have input on the proficiencies that are affecting students at BFA Fairfax High School. The group’s goal is to give voice to our peers, and also notice what our peers are struggling when it comes to proficiencies. Having students and teachers on the same page when it comes to proficiencies is very important.


The students and advisors encourage teachers, students, and administrators to please feel free to drop by YATST meetings in Mr. Ladue’s room on Mondays from 11-11:40 and Thursdays from 2:15-2:55 if you have questions or ideas.

FWSU Action Plan Target 2: Student and Adult Leadership – FWSU students and staff lead innovative, personalized learning opportunities, both locally and globally.

Indicators of Success for this Target:

  • Students and staff act as coaches, facilitators, collaborators, and co-learners in a personalized learning environment.
  • Student and staff leaders innovate and take risks when faced with new challenges.
  • Students and staff design and implement plans together.
  • Students and staff monitor their initiatives and reflect together.
  • Students and staff lead as engaged and responsible citizens.
  • Students explore greater understanding of community, social issues, and the self in community.
  • Student voice has the power to impact the perceptions of others.

Linda Keating


Linda Keating is the Director of Curriculum at FWSU. She is a regular contributor to the FWSU Blog. You can follow her on Twitter @Educate4ward

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