Vermont Commons School opens with new digs and increased admissions

A Vermont Commons School classroom. The school has a new arts wing, physics lab, classrooms and outdoor space. Courtesy photo
A Vermont Commons School classroom. The school has a new arts wing, physics lab, classrooms and outdoor space. Courtesy photo

Just last December, Vermont Commons School launched its Campaign for Arts and Science to raise $850,000 by summer with the goal of completing the work by opening day, Aug. 25.

Though the students had their first day of school at Oakledge Park, a buffer in case the project didn’t stay on its timeline, the school is finished and the Grand Opening Celebration is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 8 8:30am. The public is invited.

Vermont Commons School is an independent middle and high school in South Burlington serving students in grades 6-12. The school offers an academic curriculum that includes a focus on community service and experiential education.

“While we pride ourselves on recognizing that true learning often takes place beyond the four walls of a classroom, there is also undeniable merit in having the structure fit the quality of teaching and learning,” said Dexter Mahaffey, Head of School. “I am happy to say our building is now complete with learning spaces fully conducive to the kind of creative, experiential and rigorous learning our faculty fosters.”

Mahaffey is pleased with the remarkable surge in admissions this year. The school is opening with record numbers, up 19 percent since last year, a very different trend than many local schools. “With a mission that speaks to the concerns of the day, faculty who are passionate about their subject matter, as well as the world at large, and a fully engaged community of students and families, we can’t help but attract some of the finest students in our region of Vermont and beyond,” he said.

Jill Strawbridge, Director of Admissions, said, “Part of the reason for the increase is the opening of our new sixth grade. Though we have been teaching middle schoolers for 18 years and doing it very well, we have filled that sixth grade class, and are happy to now provide a full middle school experience. Beyond that there just seems to be a Vermont Commons School buzz these days. And remarkably, it is often the students who are finding us and bringing along their parents.”

Strawbridge said despite school starting this week across the state, she is still receiving inquiries daily.

Vermont Commons School draws its students from the following towns: Alburgh, Burlington, Charlotte, Colchester, Duxbury, Ferrisburgh, Fletcher, Essex, Essex Junction, Georgia, Grand Isle, Hinesburg, Jericho, Lincoln, Milton, Montpelier, Moretown, New Haven, North Ferrisburgh, Richmond, Ripton, Shelburne, South Burlington, South Hero, St. George, Underhill, Vergennes, Warren, Waterbury Center, Williston, Winooski, Keene Valley and Plattsburgh, NY, and Shanghai, China.

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