Addison Central School District and Middlebury College kicked off a new phase in their longtime partnership at a gathering on August 24.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Addison Central School District and Middlebury College formalized a longtime collaborative relationship this week at a kick-off meeting on Thursday, August 24 at the Middlebury Inn. Superintendent Peter Burrows and Middlebury President Laurie Patton jointly hosted the small gathering that included senior administrators from the school district and faculty from the College’s Education Studies Program to sign the Addison Central Middlebury College Partnership (ACMP).

Patton and Burrows began discussing the partnership in 2015 to explore how the district and college’s working relationship could evolve to meet the rapidly changing needs of both organizations. They were especially interested in ways the College could support the district through its transition to become an International Baccalaureate World School district—one of just 10 such districts in the U.S.

“This is a wonderful partnership for Middlebury in several ways,” said Patton. “We are both a global liberal arts college and an active participant in the local community and this plan will strengthen the school district and the opportunities for our own students who are aspiring teachers. This is an ideal collaboration where both partners are focused on a common educational purpose.”

The ACMP is built around the establishment of a school-college partnership model for continuous professional development—known in the field of education studies as a Professional Development School (PDS)—and the district’s implementation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

“I am extremely excited about the ACMP as an extension of our ongoing relationship,” said Superintendent Burrows. “This will have a profound impact on the students in our communities.”

Planners, including both district personnel and Middlebury faculty, believe the PDS model will result in a stronger pre-service teacher education program at Middlebury College, one that prepares graduates to teach in IB schools or to carry the IB vision and practices into other educational contexts. Additionally, they believe the PDS will increase access to high quality, local professional development for ACSD faculty and create more formal opportunities for ACSD teachers to serve as “teacher leaders” supporting Middlebury pre-service teachers in local schools. Education Studies professors will have new opportunities to engage in research centered on the development and implementation of an innovative model for teacher education and aspects of International Baccalaureate.

In addition to the benefits presented by the PDS, the agreement envisions additional opportunities of the AMCP partnership, including partnerships between the district and Middlebury’s language programs and the Center for Community Engagement’s “Language in Motion” program to enhance “international mindedness,” a key element of the IB program. The partnership will also explore targeted program collaboration opportunities such as connecting the district’s IB program with College programs such as MiddCORE, the Center for Creativity, Innovation, and Social Entrepreneurship, and the mentoring programs of the Center for Community Engagement.

“In the years ahead,” notes the partnership agreement, “it is our explicit goal that this partnership will evolve and respond to the needs of our students in a manner that is shaped and determined by our shared historical commitment to academic excellence for every student in our community.”