News & Events

Fresh Faces: New Staff 2019

New Staff 2019We are excited to introduce you to our new staff members! They have been through two weeks of training and meetings and are ready to dive into the school year. Each one brings new energy and perspectives to our staff and it has been awesome to hear them share their ideas as we get ready to welcome students on Sunday.

From left to right in the photo:

Jeanine Garella started at Rock Point School in the spring on the Residential Staff. She has been teaching Physical and Outdoor Education for the past 17 years at an independent school in Pennsylvania. She enjoys year round outdoor activities and loves to encourage students to get outside, and challenge themselves with new adventures.

Alyssa Barrett grew up in Vermont and joined our Residential Staff this summer after being a field guide at True North. She is passionate about the intersection between the outdoors and mental health and wants to share her love of Vermont with Rock Point students through hiking, running and more!   

Michael Coleman is starting at Rock Point as our Math Tutor! Mike has taught undergraduate students in applied mathematics and mechanical engineering at Cornell University and The University of Vermont. Most recently, he has been the vice-president of E.A.S.Y.  LLC, a company he co-founded, that produces freehand drawing technology and learning materials for the blind and visually impaired. Mike loves working with students one-on-one, trying to adapt to their learning styles and finding ways to meet their learning needs in concert with them.

Hans Manske is the newest member of our academic team! Hans moved to Burlington in 1998 to help open Vermont Commons School where he designed the Environmental Science and Math curricula. For the last six years, Hans has been the owner of SoYo Frozen Yogurt in Burlington’s South End. Hans is excited to be back in the classroom again and can't wait to help our students have fun with math.

Same Mission, New Language

image_67213313You may have noticed our mission statement has changed! After consulting our students, staff, families of students, and board members, we felt it was time to update the language in the mission statement which has been central to our school for decades. While the mission of the school remains the same and continues to be the "north star" for what we do here, we know that the language we use matters.

The first change you may note is that we have changed the description of who the school is for from "teenage girls and boys" to "young people." This phrase was chosen as an all-inclusive term for the teenagers we serve and to eliminate terms that are linked to gender identification.

The final change is that we have removed the word “necessary” because it seems “unnecessary" (haha). The word seemed to imply that we “know best,” when, in fact, we hope to provide a range of rich and varied programming and experiences that help students grow.

So, without further ado, the new and improved mission statement is as follows:

The mission of Rock Point School is to provide a small, supportive, educational community for young people, where they can become successful students and learn skills for living in a community with peers and adults. The school is committed to providing academic, cultural, spiritual, and recreational opportunities to accomplish these goals.

Rock Point School Featured by Local Film Crew

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Anyone that's visited or been to Rock Point School can tell you that the beauty of summer in Burlington is captured perfectly on the school's campus. A local film crew seems to agree! Rock Point School and a few other Burlington locations, were the setting of a pilot episode for a new TV series. The series centers around students at a fictional all-girls boarding school, which made RPS an ideal setting.

IMG_2001"Local film crew films new pilot episode in Burlington" was the lead on CBS-affiliate WCAX-TV Channel 3 News on August 17th. The interior and exterior of Rock Point School's iconic stone  building were featured prominently in the news segment as were the surrounding campus grounds. You can read more about the series, tentatively titled "Zodiac" in the Burlington Free Press.

The local director, Jac Skyyler said it best "Rock Point School was really excited about being involved in and helping". We love any chance to share our unique campus with others.

To the right is a behind the scenes shot with our Head of School, C.J. Spirito, and one of the stars of the series, Corbin Bernsen!

 

The Epidemic of Teen Suicide and Depression: What We Can Do

Presentation by Maya Christobel on Sept. 25, 2019, 6 - 7:30pm RPS Library

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Maya Christobel is a Harvard Psychotherapist, having done her Master’s and Doctoral work and Harvard Graduate School of Education in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has practiced privately for 33 years focusing on teens and young people on the spectrum. Maya is also a pioneer in the field of bio-technology and trauma, as well as a writer, author and filmmaker.

Currently, Maya is a consultant with Filmblanc, a documentary film company in the process of making a film called Connecting the Dots. This revolutionary film is on teen and childhood depression and suicide. Maya has been a central researcher who has interviewed hundreds of children, parents and professionals all over the world to discover the roots of this global epidemic. She is currently focused on the innovations around the world that address depression and suicide and has been developing new inroads to understanding the issues and the root cause of this phenomenon.

Join us on September 25th from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm in the Rock Point School library for a presentation and discussion.

Maya's presentation will share her findings as a psychologist and represent the voices of the young people she has been interviewing for two years. She will discuss the immediate findings of her research, give an overview of other experts in the field and their contributions, highlight the hazards of technology addiction, the neuroscience of the developing brain, the emotional trap of social media and address the unique challenges facing parents. But, more importantly, Maya will speak to the collective despair and hopelessness in millions of young people and children around the world and suggest innovative solutions, looking at the controversial challenges facing parents, teachers and health care providers. Maya will end with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and discuss this critical topic.

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Wiffle Fest is a Tournament with Heart!

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Wiffle Fest 2019 was our 22nd annual gathering and it was a big success. Thirty-two teams of 2-3 players each, ranging in ages and skill levels spent the day playing on a comfortably sunny and breezy Saturday at the end of June. The teams competed in the “World Series” with Quinn Wardwell and Alex Leamon winning the Majors Division and Isaac and Michael Wood-Lewis winning the Minors Division. Although these teams had each played before, both were first time Champions at Wiffle Fest.  The play was competitive and also filled with good sportsmanship and lively banter. 

The teams and sponsors netted $4,000 to benefit Rock Point School.  We would like to thank the generosity of all the players and our sponsors, including: Kathy Hartman, Burlington Electric Department, Advanced Sprinkler, Summit Fire and Security, ATC Group Services, Northeast Benefits Management, and New England Floor Coverings.  

All of the funds raised go to providing transformative educational experiences for young people at Rock Point School. Our students are bright and creative people who walk to the beat of their own drummer and are overcoming challenges with anxiety, depression, or a host of other curveballs that life may have thrown them. Wiffle Fest is a great illustration of how our students and staff respond to such pitches ... when life throws a curveball, we show them how to smack it over the fence!

Remembering Alice Rouleau

IMG_1446It is with great sadness that I write to you that Alice Rouleau passed away on July 10th. Alice was the beloved wife of John Rouleau, our former Head of School, and contributed to our community in many ways over the years. She will be missed by all of us, especially John and their daughter, Becky.

Alice and John moved into Rock Point in 1971, when Becky was just a baby. Alice always had a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye. When people spoke with her, they always had her undivided attention. Alice had a way of curiously inquiring about people’s lives and perspectives, without being judgmental. We walked away feeling heard, encouraged and affirmed 

Initially, she worked as a dorm staff and English teacher while John taught music. Pretty quickly they both wore many hats as teachers, nurse, dorm staff. In 1972, they moved out of the dorm into the house on the Rock Point property where they raised their daughter, Becky, and lived for nearly 40 years, until 2011 when John retired from his position as Headmaster. During those years Alice branched out to work at Trinity College and then Middlebury College as a detail oriented and caring registrar.

All the while, Alice and John’s welcoming spirits and abilities to share their plethora of interests and skills engaged students and their families for all these decades at Rock Point School. Alice modeled getting outdoors by walking, cross country skiing and biking on the Point and bike path, as well as birding all over. We saw her out and about daily like clockwork.

In addition to provoking interesting and fun conversations with her depth of knowledge about such topics as literature, art, films, and society, Alice also taught many of us how to sew, cook, and preserve food. Those blackberries! Alice loved to pick them, eat them fresh, make pies with them, and especially make blackberry jelly to eat and share broadly.  

We are heading towards the end of July, which means one thing, “It’s Blackberry Jam Season, Buddy!”

For more about Alice, you can read her full obituary here.

Alice was a gift to us all. For those of you who would like to attend, a service of thanksgiving and celebration for Alice will be held at Saint Paul's Cathedral in Burlington, Vermont on Saturday, July 20th at 11 a.m.  

 

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C.J. Spirito, Head of School

A Visit to the Green Monster!

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Rock Point School traveled to Fenway Park last night to take in a Red Sox game! C.J., our Head of School, met up with alumni, former staff, and trustees to see the Sox victory over the Blue Jays. The game ended with a 10-8 score, with lots of hits to keep the crowd happy, including an exciting grand slam! It was a beautiful night to catch up with old friends.

Save the Date: Rock Point School Reunion 2020

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Mark your calendars for June 13, 2020 for the Rock Point School Reunion! All former staff, students, and families are invited to join us as we celebrate, connect, and share stories. The building will be open from June 12-14th, with the main events (BBQ and games) on June 13th from 12 - 5 p.m.

More details and an opportunity to sign up to stay in the building will be coming. In the meantime, mark your calendars and spread the word to fellow alumni!

18595424429_e46e655771_kPhoto from the 2015 Reunion

Summer Reading, July 2019

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Summer is the perfect time to pick up a book and explore some big ideas, escape to a foreign land, or dive into history. We have some reading recommendations for everyone, no matter what your interests!

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: Read this book if you like memoirs! This one will make you laugh, while revealing truths about what it was like to live under apartheid in South Africa. The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari: This book spans over 100,000 years of history, tracing the origin of our species and bringing us through the radical cognitive, agricultural, and scientific revolutions that have brought us to the current moment.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: The perfect book for sci-fi lovers about a band of misfits bound to become heroes in a futuristic space landscape. Part heist, part adventure, and lots of fun!

Black is the Body by Emily Bernard: UVM Professor Emily Bernard writes deeply personal essays about race in America. From growing up in the South, to attending Yale, to adopting children from Ethiopia and her own marriage to a white man from the North, Bernard explores the complexities and paradoxes of race and racism.

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok: This book is a blend of page-turning mystery and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. As Amy searches for her sister, Sylvie, family secrets are revealed and Amy gains a deeper understanding of her own identity.

Look for more book suggestions this summer!

5 Under 50: Get to Know Small Boarding Schools

June 5 Under 50 in New Jersey

Hillary Kramer, our Director of Admissions, has been working with four other small boarding schools in New England to create a group called "5 under 50." These schools are teaming up to spread the word about the huge impact small schools can make in the lives of their students. Throughout the year, representatives from the schools will travel to meet with Educational Consultants to share what makes their schools unique. The next meeting takes place in New Jersey on June 24th.

Where: The Grand Summit Hotel, Summit, NJ

When: June 24, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Who: Hampshire County School, Oxford Academy, Shortridge Academy, The Woodhall School, and Rock Point School

If you are interested in more information, please contact Hillary Kramer at hkramer@rockpoint.org or Helen Waldron, Director of Admission at Oxford Academy, directorofadmissions@oxfordacademy.net