Margaret MacLean, a Peacham resident, is a former Vermont Principal of the Year and former member of the state Board of Education. She is a member of the steering committee for Vermonters for Schools and Communities www.vtschoolsrock.organd a member of the local Peacham self-study group (www.peachamact46.org).
The Vermont state motto, “Freedom and Unity,” is synonymous with how Vermont’s rural towns and communities operate.
When it comes to schooling, we shine when we think locally and balance freedom and unity. Thousands of volunteers serve on school boards, adding value at virtually no cost to our system of education. They are a valuable piece of Vermont’s social fabric that connects our schools and communities. Without the sense of community ownership and voice they ensure, schools could become disconnected from community life, run by a distant bureaucracy.
The construct of the supervisory union is an example. Local school boards with the support of principals, staff and communities work collaboratively to do their best for their communities’ children. Regionally these boards cooperate with their neighbors on common tasks, particularly those that can benefit from economies of scale.
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