YouthWork&Learn – More Detail

General Information 2016-2017

What: YouthWork and Learn – Farm & Forest is a comprehensive, experiential educational program utilizing principles of place-based and work-based learning. It is run by The Tutorial Center (TTC) of Bennington and Manchester, Vermont, and builds on years of work-based programming at the Smokey House Center in Danby, Vermont as well as The Tutorial Center’s expertise in education including field studies and the Youth Agriculture Project. The program provides:

  • A full-day program for secondary level students
  • Place-based and work-based learning within the context of the Farm & Forest environment
  • Integrated academic content
  • Project-based skills development, relevant to career success
  • Personalized and individualized learning plans within a guiding structure
  • Focus on personal and social development
  • Flexible pathways to high school graduation
  • Curriculum meeting Common Core standards, with a focus on demonstrated competencies and performance outcomes

Who: This program is for middle school and high school students:

  • Who are not thriving in the traditional structures of their schools
  • Who benefit from individualized attention in a supportive environment
  • Who want to see more relevance to “real life” in their academic work
  • Who enjoy being outdoors and being physically active
  • Who need a new personal or educational challenge

Where: YouthWork&Learn takes place at the Smokey House Center in Danby, Vermont, located on 5000 acres of Farm & Forest land, including three working farms and an educational center. Our students have access to both modern technology and the best of the Vermont working landscape.

Schedule: For the 2016-2017 school year, the program is structured to offer flexibility in meeting a variety of student educational needs. The school year is divided into twelve 3-week sessions or POD’s (Personalized Ocupational Development), each with a theme related to farm and forest. Students may enroll for one POD, for several or for the full year. They may enroll for five days/week, which includes three days at Smokey House and two days with individual tutoring in math and language arts at TTC in Manchester. Or, students may enroll for three days/week.   See below for details on POD themes and content.

Assessment: POD’s are designed to meet graduation proficiencies in accordance with proficiency-based graduation requirements (PBGR), Common Core standards, Equipped for the Future (EFF) standards, and Next Generation Science Standards. They can be written into graduation plans with appropriate evidence of achievement. Each POD is designed to earn .5 traditional high school credits. A narrative assessment, including documentation of learning and recommendation for credit (if applicable), is completed at the end of each three-week session. Students in the 5-day program earn math and language arts credit/proficiency mainly through the individual tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Enrollment: The program is currently accepting new students for the 2016-2017 school year. Students stay enrolled in their sending school or program (such as HSCP). YouthWork&Learn becomes part of their graduation plan. At the completion of each POD the sending school or program receives a report and recommendation.

Partners: This non-profit program is supported by a partnership between the Smokey House Center (SHC) and The Tutorial Center (TTC). At its foundation are the years of experience from SHC’s Youthwork and TTC’s Youth Agricultural Project and field studies programs.

  • The Tutorial Center of Bennington and Manchester is nationally recognized for its educational programs. Founded in 1971, TTC is a non-profit organization that provides essential, quality educational support to individuals and families in southern Vermont and upper New York State. TTC’s fundamental mission is to enhance literacy, work readiness, and other basic skills of adults and children in order to help individuals and youth succeed, strengthen community assets, and support workforce needs of employers.
  • The Smokey House Center encompasses 5,000+ acres of conserved forest and farmland in Southern Vermont. In addition to managing conserved forest and farmland, Smokey House Center’s fundamental purpose is to maintain a working landscape that promotes sustainable agricultural and forestry practices while engaging people in meaningful educational programming that enables them to develop the skills needed to be self-sufficient and productive members of their communities.

Guiding Principles of YouthWork and Learn – Farm & Forest

The Connected Learner:  The academic, personal, and work-based learning that takes place at Smokey House puts the learner in the center of an interconnected network.

  • Know Yourself
  • Know Your Community
  • Know Your World

Key Educational Principles:

  1. Meaningful Relationships with Skilled, Caring Adults
  2. Real Work/Relevant Work
  3. Personal Learning Plans
  4. Safe and Supportive Environment
  5. Active Engagement and Communication
  6. Integrated and Applied Learning
  7. Ongoing Assessment
  8. School/Service Provider Collaboration

Youth Work & Learn Program Structure – 2016-2017

Integrated with the theme of each POD:

  • Farm and forest activities and experiences.
  • Food preparation and preservation.
  • Use of technology for research and communication, including blogging and presentations.
  • Informational readings.
  • Pre-tech skills and experiences related to agriculture, forestry, culinary, construction and/or other career interests.
  • Interaction and instruction with professionals.
  • Development and application of personal assets and workplace skills such as collaboration and teamwork, organization and planning, goal setting, perseverance, problem-solving, and leadership.
  • Care and management of the facility.
  • Short field trips.

Academic content: Language arts are well-integrated in each theme, with regular journaling or blogging, research, presentations, and discussions. Math is embedded in practical applications, from managing market money to measuring lumber. Most POD’s have a mixed science and social studies content. In science, the emphasis is on biology, botany, ecology and environmental science, with some physical science and chemistry. For social studies, the emphasis is on local and regional history, economics, and aspects of sociology and social systems, including government. Physical education and health are embedded in various activities. The arts are primarily engaged through technical arts, including woodworking, culinary arts, and photography.

POD’s can be a practical route for high school credit recovery. Individualized plans can shift a student’s focus to one content area or another to meet the requirements of the student’s sending school.


For more program details, contact:   Juanita Burch-Clay

    • 802-293-9300
    • TTC at Smokey House, 408 Danby Mountain Rd., Danby, VT 05739

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