May 15, 2017
by Kyle Callahan
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Our Cafe Classroom

The following was written by Rachel, one of our Phase 3 students, for publication in the local papers.

The roaring passion for immersive education within the Entrepreneurial Program at LiHigh School has manifested in the form of classroom known as the Localmotive Cafe. It’s no ordinary business; it’s a multifaceted, dynamic, and ever-evolving adventure in progressive education.

For the past decade, LiHigh School has integrated hands-on experiences into its curriculum to support student development. Students intern with professional mentors, volunteer with organizations throughout the community, and participate in social activism from town halls all the way to the state house. When education goes beyond the classroom, students gain confidence in their abilities and improve on a plethora of essential skills, such as perseverance, integrity, professionalism, and adaptability.

Along with learning how to make and serve coffee and espresso drinks, running Localmotive Cafe connects various topics such as accounting, business management, sales, and more. The retail aspect of the cafe helps students in the Culinary and Arts programs participate in student negotiated and organized commerce. This opens new avenues for students to pursue projects based on real world situations; for example, one student, Elijah, 18, is currently in the process of collecting data to analyze sales in relation to weather patterns. Another student, Zoe, 11, dreams of one day owning a bakery, so she happily experiments with various recipes and sells her baked goods at Localmotive. Another student, Danny, 15, the school’s resident Mr. Fix It, reflected on his experience at the cafe, saying he’s “more prepared to work [and] more confident,” and that within the cafe “whatever needs to be done, [he’s] doing it”.

The greatest asset of the cafe is that it has brought the school community together. It has changed the relationship between staff and students, as well as between the students themselves, who now say they are more connected than ever. In addition, the cafe offers a welcoming space for the Poultney community to interact with the students, and vice versa.

While the cafe has been having a soft opening for the last month, Localmotive’s grand opening will be on Saturday, May 27th. Be sure to stop on by and say hello!

May 10, 2017
by Kyle Callahan
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LiHigh School Summer Program

As some of you know, LiHigh School offers a summer program every year where students generally take a break from their academics to engage in more hands-on, outdoor, and community-service activities.

Much of our time this summer, as it was last summer, will be spent at Camp LiHigh down in the hills of Wells, where students can garden, swim, kayak, climb trees, hike, build things in the woods, barbecue, etc.

Students will also spend some of their time in Poultney, contributing to the Localmotive Cafe and working on any academic skills that need enrichment before the start of the next school year. In addition, we like to take field trips at least once a week with students who are interested and able to take longer hikes around the state.

The Summer Program starts on Monday, July 3rd. The students will have July 4th and 5th off, and then resume on Thursday July 6th. The program runs five days a week from 9am to 1:45pm, and will end on Friday, August 4th. Space fills up fast, so if you’d like your student to participate, please let us know as soon as possible by calling (802) 287-2411 or by emailing Greg, our School Administrator.

May 4, 2017
by Kyle Callahan
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Matt’s Nature Quote

One of our students, Matt, really wants to share this idea with you that he wrote in his English class.

Nature is not just a place to hang out but a place to connect with others. Once you get out in it, with the birds singing, and the beautiful sunsets, it brings it all together, including your relationships with other people. When you’re talking to someone over a fire, with the sparks flying and the central focus of the flame, it sparks shared laughter, and the shared focus on the flame keeps a shared focus in the conversation, connecting everyone.

April 6, 2017
by Kyle Callahan
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Our Therapeutic Goals

Before anything else, LiHigh School is a therapeutic school, which means that all of our students, along with developing their academic skills, also actively work on their social and emotional skills.

Each student, regardless of which program they’re in, has up to three therapeutic goals assigned to them. In some cases, the therapeutic goals are guided by the student’s IEP, but in other cases, they come from the student’s experiences here at LiHigh School.

All of our teachers are aware of each student’s therapeutic goals and work to embed the social-emotional learning into our academic classes.

The therapeutic goals also inform what kind of extracurricular programming the students are able to access. For example, to attend field trips and overnight camping trips, students must be able to, among other things, use respectful communication, respect others’ safety, and be responsive to redirection when they’re escalating towards aggression.

As explained by the Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning:

Research shows that [Social-Emotional Learning] not only improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students

A lot of schools are forced to ignore social-emotional learning in order to stay on target for “the test.” But here at LiHigh School, we realize that every student, regardless of their special education status or lack thereof, needs to be an active participant in their own holistic growth, and without a firm commitment to improving their social-emotional skills, they’ll have difficulty developing into the healthy and flourishing adult they’d like to become.

If you have any questions about how we integrate social-emotional learning into our day to day activities, we invite you give us a call at (802) 287-2411.

March 9, 2017
by Kyle Callahan
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Seeking Support for Our New Garden

We’re starting a school community garden this next season to grow food for our students and school kitchen at our off-campus site in Wells. This project will be a lesson in not only how to grow food, but also how to consume the food grown. LiHigh staff with expertise in gardening will help guide our students in growing the veggies, while the school kitchen will work with students to teach them how to prepare the veggies grown.

The students involved in the garden project have been corresponding with local farmers, such as Kris Jacoby-Stevenson at Old Gates Farm in Castleton and Scout Proft, the Farm to Community Mentor from NOFA VT, to gather as much knowledge as we can from our local farmers. As the students plan our garden, they’ve received generous donations of garlic seed from Purple Burdock Farm and vegetable seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds.

Not surprisingly, there’s a lot more to gardening than just seeds. Our students would like to continue to reach out to the local community for more support. They are looking for compost to enrich the garden soil, a hula hoe and weed wacker to help weed the rows, trays to start seeds, a garden rake, a sharp hoe, and a broad fork.

If you would like to help out the students in their garden endeavors, please contact Colleen or Monica at (802) 287-2411 or email Colleen at colleen.adams@lihighschool.org. Our students would love to talk more with you and share their vision for their garden!

Thank you in advance for your generosity

February 27, 2017
by Kyle Callahan
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Games in School

Like many teenagers, a number of our students are avid video game players. Some of these students have challenges when it comes to learning traditional subjects, such as Math, Language Arts, and Social Studies. A gamer herself, our program guide Ashley Converse quickly discovered that all of these traditional elements can be addressed with the use of certain age-appropriate video games.

For example, the popular game Minecraft has proven itself to be effective for math. In one assignment, Ashley’s students had to recreate their classroom by translating its measurements to Minecraft. In another, she asked them to design a house using certain dimensions and requirements. A third assignment tapped into multiple subjects, calling for the students to be critical thinkers while building a village fit to sustain itself during a zombie apocalypse. For this assignment, students not only had to build the village within Minecraft, but they had to address a list of issues that Ashley created and write the backstory of their village’s origin.

Ashley has also found roleplaying games (RPGs) to be powerful and enjoyable tools for students. For reluctant readers, RPGs provide an interactive story with written dialogue, and during gameplay, Ashley discusses the storyline and character development with the students. The students also respond well to brainstorming ideas for original RPGs, to the extent that we are looking into purchasing software that would allow our students to create their own games.

Social Studies is a subject where many students struggle when it comes to interest and application. Ashley has found that the computer game Civilization V provides both. Her students select a major world power and literally build it from the ground up. The game begins in the ancient era, allowing the players to develop their land, culture, economy, military, technology, and religion over thousands of years. Famous quotes are integrated into the gameplay, as well as an encyclopedia that explains the history of each civilization and all of its elements. Students also improve their geography skills by learning how to read maps and deciding on settlement location based on defensibility and access to natural resources.

Despite their often negative reputations, video games can be powerful learning tools, often reaching students in ways that traditional instruction cannot. Whether they are tackling a specific academic subject or conducting a therapeutic class in Video Game Reviews, our program guides have discovered yet another vehicle to engage and connect with our kids.

February 6, 2017
by Kyle Callahan
Comments Off on Announcing the Localmotive Cafe!

Announcing the Localmotive Cafe!

LiHigh School is providing a real world education with our new cafe, Localmotive. Located on Main Street in Poultney, you can find Localmotive where the old Mad Hatter Cafe was. With the new cafe, our students will be learning the ins and outs of running a cafe. They will be driving the creation of the cafe by building the business plan, preparing the space, brewing the coffee, cooking the lunch and breakfast items and baked goods.

The students want to create a place for the community to enjoy quality Vermont coffee, tea, freshly made food, and other refreshments. There will also be consignment items from students, staff, and the community for sale, which could include clothing, artwork, and other items.

We will have a soft opening at the end of February with a grand opening to follow a few weeks later. Hours will be Monday through Friday 9AM – 3PM. In the future, we are planning to expand our hours, accept phone/email orders for carry out, and we are looking to host community events like open mic nights, art showcases, poetry slams, and live music. We also encourage community members to contact us about hosting discussions, classes, and workshops at the cafe.

Get on track and start your day with the Localmotive. See you soon!

August 25, 2016
by Kyle Callahan
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Now Hiring For Licensed Special Educator

You’ve never worked in a school like ours.

Because our students are unlike anyone else’s. Most of them — but not all of them — are diagnosed with behavioral, emotional, and/or learning disorders, and some of them are on the autism spectrum, all of which means our students need to work with incredibly patient and incredibly empathetic people, people who can move beyond the student’s oftentimes challenging behavior to a place where they’re able to develop mutual trust.

And because our work environment is unlike anyone else’s. First, due to the nature of our students, you’ve got to be ready for anything. Second, our staff (who love to collaborate with one another) are given an unprecedented level of freedom to develop the content and scope of their classes (most of which are one-to-one or with very small groups). Third, our campus is — quite literally — boundaryless. While it includes two main buildings in the heart of Poultney and a seven-acre camp on a large private pond in Wells, we expect our staff to take advantage of all of the learning opportunities Vermont has to offer.

There’s so much more we could tell you about LiHigh School, and you can find out a whole lot more on our website: http://www.lihighschool.org/therapeutic-program/, but until you’ve seen our school for yourself, there’s a real chance you simply won’t believe it.

Licensed Special Educator

We now have an immediate opening a Licensed Special Educator for middle-school and high-school students. If you are open minded, creative, self-guided, and an excellent communicator who loves to collaborate with an energetic team, please contact us ASAP by sending a cover letter, a resume and two to three references to our co-director, Greg Rosenthal, at greg@lihighschool.org.

Seriously, this place isn’t like any other school you’ve ever heard of. It’s LiHigh School. And we’re now hiring.  

LiHigh School is an approved independent school for ages 11-21. Selected applicants must have a cell phone, valid driver’s license and a reliable car, as well as a willingness to transport students to and from school in their own vehicle. Applicants must also be able to pass a background check. Positions are part time at roughly 25 hours per week (not including compensated transportation of students), with the potential to become full time for those who consistently demonstrate a commitment to the growth and excellence of the school and our students.

July 14, 2016
by Kyle Callahan
Comments Off on We are now hiring.

We are now hiring.

You’ve never worked in a school like ours.

First, our students are not like anyone else’s. Most of them — but not all of them — are diagnosed with behavioral, emotional, and/or learning disorders, which means our students need to work with incredibly patient and incredibly empathetic people, people who can move beyond the student’s oftentimes challenging behavior to a place where they’re able to develop mutual trust.

Second, our staff is not like anyone else’s. While it is true that we’re a school, we don’t necessarily require that our teachers have experience as…well, teachers. What matters more is that they are great communicators who are passionate about learning and deeply interested in developing real and lasting relationships with their students, making them less like teachers and more like mentors. You don’t have to be a certified teacher to work here, but you have to love — and we mean love — working with kids, as well as be absolutely committed to learning and growing as an educator.

Finally, our environment is not like anyone else’s. First, due to the nature of our students, you’ve got to be ready for anything. Second, our staff (who love to collaborate with one another) are given an unprecedented level of freedom to develop the content and scope of their classes (most of which are one-to-one or in very small groups). Third, our campus is — quite literally — boundaryless. While it includes two main buildings in the heart of Poultney and a seven-acre camp on a large private pond in Wells, we expect our staff to take advantage of all of the learning opportunities Vermont has to offer. We want them to take our students to explore its rivers, hike its mountains, bike its roads, climb its trees, visit its museums, and most importantly, converse with its great and gifted people.

There’s so much more we could tell you about LiHigh School. But until you’ve come to see it for yourself, there’s a real chance you simply won’t believe it.

While you should be prepared to offer classes outside of your comfort zone, we also have some very specific needs, for which we are now interviewing candidates. If you share any of the following passions, please get in touch with us as soon as possible:

Carpentry & Practical Arts
We are searing for someone who truly understands and loves the craft of carpentry and who is also comfortable with a variety of practical arts, including electricity, plumbing, auto mechanics, metalworking, etc. You’ll be expected to help our students develop visions and plans for their own hands-on projects and help them realize each step of those projects. You’ll also be expected to develop projects that our school requires to achieve the greater good, projects that may come from anywhere but which will still involve authentic learning opportunities for your students.

Game-Based Learning
Our kids love games: video games, board games, role-playing games, games of chance, and just about everything else. And we love using games to provide them with valuable lessons about the real world. But now we want to hire someone who is just as passionate about gaming as they are about working with kids, someone who speaks the language of games and who is capable of going toe-to-toe with an autistic 12-year-old boy about the relative merits of various Pokémon. You might teach a class where the lessons are best delivered through games of MineCraft or Civilization or Dungeons & Dragons or Chess. Maybe you’re even working with the kids to develop games of their own. But at the end of the day, regardless of what you’re playing or sharing with the students, you remember to stay focused on helping the student make real advances in their understanding of and negotiation with the real world.

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics
You are a STEM person. Some people are poets. Some are painters. Others are ballet dancers. But you…you’re a STEM person. You’re interested in things like robotics, chemistry, algebra, physics, nanotechnology, astronomy, and everything else that makes our world and our universe work. You’re just as comfortable helping a 14 year old explore the structure of the atom as you are helping a struggling 16 year old memorize her math facts. You know how to lead students through testing the soil in our gardens, as well how to use the construction of a chicken coop to deliver lessons on geometry. When a student tells you they want to build their own drone from scratch, your first question is, “When do you want to start?”

Fish & Game
When you think of your dream job, maybe you see yourself kneeling on the shore of an out-of-the-way pond, helping a teenager decide which lure to try this morning. Or maybe you’re teaching a young girl how to draw back a bow. Or maybe you’re snowshoeing with a small group of students through the woods, pointing out various tracks. It’s not the subject that really matters to you — because you’re comfortable with all of it; no, for you, it’s about where you are and who you’re with. You want to be out in nature, engaging with the rivers and forests, and passing on your experiences and your native wisdom to the next generation of Vermonters.

Seriously, this isn’t like any other school you’ve ever heard of. It’s LiHigh School. And we’re now hiring.

LiHigh School is an approved independent school for ages 11-21. Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and three references. Selected applicants must have a cell phone, a valid driver’s license and a reliable car, as well as a willingness to transport students to and from school in their own vehicle. Applicants must also be able to pass a background check. Positions are part time at roughly 25 hours per week (not including compensated transportation of students), with the potential to become full time for those who consistently demonstrate a commitment to the growth and excellence of the school and our students.

Apply today!

June 2, 2016
by Kyle Callahan
Comments Off on Meet the Class of 2016

Meet the Class of 2016

We’re proud to introduce you to our two graduates for the class of 2016! Both of these students have worked very hard to reach this milestone, and we couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments.

Hannah Strohmaier

1604659_1603154226582058_4679373850014358545_nHannah joined LiHigh School just thirteen months ago, but in that short time, Hannah has become an integral member of our communty, serving as unofficial notetaker and caregiver to both the students and the advisors. Hannah has also been a role model of academic focus, demonstrating every day to the younger students what it means to organize one’s tasks and accomplish one’s goals.

For the senior capstone project, Hannah developed an online support group for LGBTQ youth. The project utilized Hannah’s strengths in technology, communications, social networking, and empathy.

Hannah has already started taking college courses at Vermont Community College, with plans to transfer into a four-year college a little later down the line. But for now, Hannah’s main goal is to travel throughout the country and see what the world has to offer.

Ariella Zarfati-Eirmann

IMG_0774Ariella has been the longest-attending student in LiHigh School’s Social Entrepreneurial program, joining us as a ninth grader in our second year. Over the past four years, Ariella took more college classes and participated in more projects than any other student: almost 90 different projects, seminars, and courses over four years, including an academic trip to China!

For her senior capstone project, Ariella created a public art project that she titled, “I Dream Of…”, where she asked members of the community to share their dreams, which she then printed onto a piece of wood, with each dream accompanied by a portrait of the dreamer. She mounted the finished pieces on the fencing in front of LiHigh School on Main Street, giving everyone in the community the chance to learn more about the people they see everyday.

This fall, Ariella will begin her college career in the highly selective Global Scholars Program at American University in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to the class of 2016!