On The Point blog
from Rock Point School

Abbey Baker

Abbey has been teaching and tutoring English and writing at Rock Point for more than 12 years. Over the years, she has enjoyed developing the Visiting Writer Series, running the school's Gender & Sexual Alliance, working with the Vermont Young Playwrights' program, and launching a zine-making elective for students to publish and showcase their creative work. Outside of school, she loves spending time with family, exploring Burlington, and trying to keep up with her students' pop culture recommendations.

Recent Posts

Being Seen and Feeling Safe

on November 6, 2023 By Abbey Baker | Open & Inclusive resilience
“When I came to Rock Point, I had a lot of social anxiety that I was pretty good at masking. I was really self-conscious, but I tried to act more confident. When we had our break during morning classes and other students would head to the kitchen for a snack or hang out in the lounge, I would head to the history classroom and read until our class started. Gus, our history teacher, was usually working there and didn’t say much, which was a relief to me. One day, I sat down and took out my book, and without looking up from his work, Gus said, ‘I see you.’ And I knew he did. It made me feel good to know that I didn’t have to talk about it but that he saw me and knew what I needed. I felt that way many times at Rock Point, and I carried that feeling into my work with young people and my parenting. Truly seeing other people is such a gift, and the fact that the adults at Rock Point made an effort to see me for who I was while I was there helped me to grow and feel safe.” - Sarah Carpenter, ‘08
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How to Create a Feeling of Belonging and Inclusion for Young People

on October 20, 2022 By Abbey Baker | Open & Inclusive
During adolescence, many students struggle to see their worth and value and have had experiences where they did not feel they belonged in school. It is a crucial time, as students grow into their full selves, for all young people to feel accepted for who they are. How can older adults help teens help each other to create a place where feeling a sense of inclusion and belonging is the norm? In our residential program and classrooms at Rock Point School, we work to provide opportunities for students to create the kind of community to which they want to belong. For many students, this is work they’ve always been a part of, regardless of where they go to school. For others, this is a new environment, and they are learning how to create an inclusive community for the first time. One of the primary goals of each school year at Rock Point is to create an environment where every student experiences a sense of belonging and inclusion.
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The Rise of Zines for Interdisciplinary and Experiential Learning

on January 9, 2020 By Abbey Baker | academics
During our electives classes at Rock Point, students get a chance to learn and practice skills that go beyond traditional academics. Playwriting, photography, makerspace, and stained glass are regular offerings during this 45-minute morning class. Students produce beautiful creative work, learn new skills, and experience the process of executing an idea. Two years ago, we added a new course to the electives roster, zines.
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The Evolution of Academic Rigor

on November 6, 2019 By Abbey Baker |
Perhaps it comes in the form of a perfect writing prompt, when you see a student’s eyes light up, their pencil start furiously scribbling. Maybe it happens as a student watches a chemical reaction take place in the science lab, or while they’re discussing today’s news in connection with the Civil Rights movement, or as they are guided through a museum and asked to compare the techniques of various artists. As an educator, I know it when I see it: the moment when a student reaches the fine line between challenge and frustration. It occurs when students are interested in the material, supported enough to keep up with the work, and challenged enough that they have to learn and practice new skills. This is when students grow, and when they make true progress. Today, this “aha” moment has become the definition of academic rigor.
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Relationships and Connection Build Confidence in Teens

on June 11, 2019 By Abbey Baker |
As the spring approaches, our students take part in events that showcase their many achievements throughout the year: our annual Art Show, the Vermont Young Playwrights’ Festival, our student-produced prom, and, of course, our weekend of Graduation events. These opportunities for our students to celebrate their success also allow them a chance to be seen, appreciated, and publicly praised by their peers and by the adults who’ve come to know them throughout the year.
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Drawing Out the Quiet Power of Introverts in the Classroom

on April 6, 2017 By Abbey Baker | high school anxiety
Earlier this year, I read an NPR interview with Susan Cain, author of Quiet, and most recently of Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. In it, Cain reveals a nationwide growth in understanding that sometimes quiet students are just as engaged, talented, and successful in school as their extroverted peers. Cain points out that as a culture we’ve tended to value the extroverted person for their willingness to contribute, their confidence, their assertiveness. In school, we often encourage extroverted behavior by grading students on class discussion and presentations. But this approach may have missed something important: introverted students need to be valued for who they are, and then led slowly, rather than pushed, out of their comfort zone.
Read - Drawing Out the Quiet Power of Introverts in the Classroom