It’s All in the Family in St. Johnsbury

April 16, 2018

For many years, the Arlington and Cornerstone Schools existed separately – less than a mile apart. The students never mixed with each other and the staff only rarely during special trainings. Program Directors Michelle Fox – Arlington, and Jeanne Graham – Cornerstone, began to wonder why the schools didn’t share resources and support each other more. With careful planning and some creativity the two schools are beginning to develop a strong relationship.

After getting to know each other at a Halloween Party hosted by the Arlington students, the teams decided to develop a plan for more frequent collaboration and interaction. The Cornerstone School invited Arlington to their Holiday Boutique and the relationship began to grow.

An emergency mechanical situation in early January – 2 days after returning from the holiday break – at Cornerstone school forced an emergency evacuation into below zero temperatures – with no chance of returning that day. A quick phone call got the students and staff out of the cold and into Arlington! The older students and Arlington staff engaged the younger students in conversation and art activities turning a scary situation into a fun experience. Cornerstone couldn’t return to their building for 4 days after that, but instead of canceling school, the staff of both schools worked together to share the Arlington building! Those four days were wonderful. Students and staff got to know each other, Arlington students attended a field trip with the Cornerstone kids, and teachers shared ideas.

Future activities being planned, include an emergency evacuation drill for Arlington students to come to Cornerstone (and have a surprise thank you party), and a Red Nose Day fundraiser to benefit both schools and the Red Nose Foundation. The activities are fun, but more important are the relationships that are developing. Two separate schools are becoming extended family!