Chris Palmer, BFA-Fairfax

posted Nov 6, 2016, 10:57 AM by PLP Pathways   [ updated Nov 7, 2016, 1:43 AM by Don Taylor ]
My name is Chris Palmer.  I’m a fifth-year educator at BFA-Fairfax Elementary/Middle School in Fairfax, VT.  My first four years as an educator, I’ve taught seventh and eighth grade science at BFA-Fairfax Middle School, along with being an assistant varsity baseball coach at BFA-Fairfax High School.  This year, I’m doing a one-year internship as an administrative intern — under the mentorship of BFA Elementary/Middle School principal Tom Walsh — to complete my Masters in Educational Leadership at UVM, which I will complete in May 2017.  Previously, I received my Masters in Secondary Education from UVM in 2012 and my bachelors in Engineering Science from Tufts University School of Engineering in 2008.

As part of my administrative internship, I am helping to lead BFA-Fairfax Middle School's transition to proficiency-based, personalized learning and reporting.  I serve as a member of the BFA-Fairfax proficiency-based learning leadership team that has worked with Bill Rich of Red House Learning for the past year and a half.  Last year, with the recommendation of the proficiency-based learning leadership team, BFA-Fairfax Middle School moved to proficiency-based report cards, among many other exciting ventures.  

I believe wholeheartedly in the transition to student-centered, personalized instruction happening in the state of Vermont since the passage of Act 77.  Since Horace Mann’s Common School movement in the 1840s, education has been viewed as a transfer of knowledge from teacher to student.  We have 170 years of evidence that this dynamic works for some students, but not others.  Part of my work this year is to seek out educators in at the forefront of personalized, proficiency-based learning and technological integration in the state of Vermont; to meet with these teacher-leaders; and to bring back components of their success to BFA-Fairfax.  I believe that there is astounding potential to transform learning, rooted in the individual knowledge and experience of talented, committed educators.  It is about connecting these educators with one another and with teachers and school leaders who want to do what is best for their students but aren’t sure where to begin.  Part of my work this year is to make as many of these connections as I can and to leverage the knowledge and passion of educators around the state of Vermont to help lead the dedicated teachers at BFA-Fairfax in our mission to provide a truly student-centered learning environment in which all students feel valued, engaged, and able to thrive.