News & Events
Most science classes include instruction in scientific methodology and discussion of the advantages this system of problem solving presents. However, it can be a challenge to keep this topic fresh and relevant. In Chemistry, our class has tackled scientific methodology from the ghoulish and fascinating perspective of toxicology.
We began this unit by learning about the history of forensic toxicology in New York City. Through the excellent PBS documentary, The Poisoner’s Handbook, we heard the story of the rise of chemical use in everyday society in the early 1900’s, and the explosion of accidental and intentional poisoning deaths. The heroes of this story are an incorruptible medical examiner and a scientifically trained chemical toxicologist. Their scientific methods led the way for forensic science.
In our lab, we endeavored to replicate these pioneered methods and the spirit of scientific investigation . Students tried their hand at testing for cyanide in autopsy tissue, analyzing blood samples for carbon monoxide poisoning, and identifying unknown powder samples collected from suspects. This unit on poisons allowed the Chemistry class to execute correct laboratory safety, exercise their scientific observation skills, and practice scientific methodology. While our analyses didn’t use real hazardous materials, the skills students practiced were true to scientific laboratories!
We kicked off our first Major Activity on Saturday, September 28 with the Great Vermont Corn Maze located in Danville, VT. Nine students traveled to this 24 acre maze, ready for the challenge. The weather was pretty wet, but after walking almost 5 miles and getting very muddy, students completed the maze and rang the "Bell of Success" at the end. They celebrated with ice cream and goat cuddles on the farm.
Although the maze is a fun fall activity, it also reinforced the importance of team work, resilience, and determination! We are already strategizing our approach for the maze next year.
On Friday, September 20, Rock Point School students participated in the Global Climate Strike. This international day of protest against climate change and the inaction of global leaders was led by young people around the world and inspired by a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist named Greta Thunberg. Many Rock Point students advocated to be allowed to take the day to participate in Burlington's strike and, as a school, we decided the strike reflected our environmental and social values. The teaching staff made it possible for the entire student body to attend the strike, either as participants or observers.
The Rock Point student body walked and biked downtown to a discussion and information session, had a picnic lunch on the waterfront, and then joined in or witnessed the strike at Burlington’s City Hall. Whether students were actively demonstrating or observing the protest, it was a historic moment for climate protests and a remarkable example of youth-led activism. After returning from the strike, the school discussed the sources of power for change (i.e external, collective, and internal) and what some possible next steps might be for personal and institutional action against climate change.
On Tuesday, September 17, local artist Emily Anderson brought her “Fairies & Demons Workshop” to Rock Point School. All of our students took part in this drawing workshop, which encouraged them to draw their ‘demons’, or challenges they face, as well as their ‘fairies’, or positive energies that they want to call toward them. In addition to giving students a platform to discuss what’s hard in their lives and what helps them through, they got to practice Emily’s signature drawing style, which involved drawing with their non-dominant hand. The technique allowed them to let go of the pressure to make their work perfect, and simply see what comes out when given a channel.
We will host part two of the workshop on Tuesday, September 24, and the material generated will be used as part of Kingdom County Productions’ new project Listen Up Vermont. We are excited to be involved in Listen Up, as well as to have the amazing opportunity to work with Emily, and to summon our fairies to guide us through the school year!
What: Interactive Workshop
When: October 17th 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.
Where: Rock Point School Library
Join Rock Point School for an interactive workshop designed to help families and community members increase their fluency with LGBTQ+ inclusive concepts, terminology, and practices. The workshop will be hosted by Mara Iverson, the Director of Education at Outright Vermont. Participants will learn and practice approaches for making home and community environments LGBTQ+ affirming; and will identify specific opportunities for and challenges to inclusivity. We hope those who attend will leave with broader knowledge of LGBTQ+ youth topics, methods for recognizing gaps in inclusivity, and ideas for how to apply affirming practices to fill those gaps.
Get ready to run! The Ooky Spooky race will be on Saturday, October 19th. Come to Rock Point School for a spooktacular 5k run through our beautiful campus, located in Burlington, on Lake Champlain.
Each year, we host this fun, costumed, 5k race to benefit COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter). Families and children of all ages are welcome! There is also a "fun walk," for people interested in exploring the Rock Point property and watching the race. As usual, prizes will be given for best costumes, as well as to those with the best time in each category.
We encourage interested runners to register early. Payment and release forms will be collected the morning of the race. If you have any questions, please call the school at (802) 863-1104 or email C.J. at (email@example.com). For more information and to register, click the link below.
We 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.
You 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.
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.
"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!