Danielle Levine

Aurora School
Middlebury, VT

Project Description:

Levine’s project, “Year of You (Empowering the Individual Through Community)” focuses on how individual elements within a system work together to make a whole. The students start with a “macro-me” section, using their surroundings to examine roles within community systems; towns, families, teams, churches and especially the school itself. The school operates on the principle of “we are all one team,” and the school rules all begin with the word “help”. These rules and the principle themselves reflect the philosophy that an individual within a group or system must be responsible for themselves and responsive to the group as well. The project consists of various stages where students are able to examine themselves in an empowering way through communication, cooperation, commitment and care to achieve goals together. The first stage is a trip to Nature’s Classroom at the Sargent Center where they specialize in teambuilding. The last stage has the students looking at themselves as components within the system and sharing their observations, findings and questions, and creating a vibrant scientific community within the school. This project links academic and social learning in a powerful way. It creates for students a pattern that pervades all they see and empowers them to view themselves as important components in many different and vibrant systems. Levine hopes that as her students see their importance in the bigger system, they will see the responsibilities they have within it. Levine resides in Middlebury.