Landmark College, Greenwood School Join Forces to Bridge Gap from High School to College for Students Who Learn Differently
By Mark DiPietro
Just four miles from Landmark College’s campus in Putney, Vermont, stands another premier institution for students with learning disabilities (LD): The Greenwood School, a boarding and day school for middle and high school boys with diagnosed LD. Yet despite similar educational missions, Greenwood and Landmark have only informally collaborated through the years. That changed on Wednesday, Sept. 25, as Dr. Peter Eden, president of Landmark College, and Stewart Miller, headmaster of the Greenwood School, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that makes official a partnership that will provide opportunities for Greenwood School middle and high school students as they transition to college, and for Landmark College students to gain professional experience – and for both institutions to collaborate in strategic ways that help them further establish their positions as leaders in the LD field.
“Stewart and I have known each other for two years, and from the beginning we were amazed that in this small town in Vermont there are two world-class institutions focused solely on teaching and learning for students with LD,” said Dr. Eden. “We both believed, from the beginning, that we should have a strategic alliance and that we should develop programs which allow a continuum of learning – from middle school to high school to college – for students with LD.”
The agreement between Landmark and Greenwood outlines four domains of collaboration and engagement: Internships and applied learning opportunities for Landmark College students in a progressive environment at Greenwood; educational technology discovery and application, and e-Learning for students with LD; transitions from school to college through immersion in the college setting for Greenwood students; and research and professional development for faculty and staff at both institutions.
“This is a vision we’ve had for a year,” said Miller. “Now that the Greenwood School has completed its evolution to a grade 6 through 12 school, there are just so many more opportunities available for our institutions to collaborate. We’re thrilled – I think we both feel we’re stronger together than apart.”
The agreement underscores four primary areas of collaboration between the institutions:
- Landmark College Internship Program at The Greenwood School: Landmark College students will be selected for internships at Greenwood after a precise review process by leaders at both institutions. Landmark students who are chosen will work in a variety of positions at the Greenwood School, including as teaching assistants in enrichment areas (such as digital arts, studio art, music, woodworking, outdoor leadership, and athletics); as student activity assistants in residential life; and as teaching assistants in mathematics.
- Educational Technology and eLearning: Opportunities for Landmark College faculty and Greenwood School instructors will include mutual visits between campuses to learn best practices for educators and students in the LD space; collaborations in education technology in action at the post-secondary and middle and high school levels; online teaching and learning research and development applications.
- Preparation and transition from school to college: Greenwood School seniors will be eligible to enroll in Landmark College courses and earn college credit, or attend “college for a day” at Landmark. Students at both institutions will work collaboratively on various projects.
- Research and Professional Development: The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) will offer professional development to Greenwood School staff, including training sessions in executive function coaching model; exploration of grant opportunities; and pilot e-learning programs for students with LD.
Dr. Eden emphasized that because Landmark added a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts last year, if Greenwood School students want to earn a two-year degree at Landmark in STEM, business or other areas, they’ll have the expanded option of staying on for a B.A. “And if they do come here to Landmark, they can go back to Greenwood as an intern as part of our agreement. We can keep this connection going in the ever-changing world of LD education.”
Randolph Leigh, a Landmark student who initiated his own internship at the Greenwood School last year, attended the signing ceremony and said he was eager to see the relationship between the two institutions solidified.
“As we were figuring this out administratively, Randy was already doing an internship,” said Miller.
“Randy was way ahead of us,” Dr. Eden joked.
The professional development piece of the agreement got under way at the beginning of the fall semester: Karen Boutelle, associate director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training, has been providing training sessions to Greenwood’s faculty on using a coaching approach to support students in developing their executive function skills. "Executive function impacts every aspect of a student's life at school -- academic, residential, and social -- so helping students find ways to independently get things done, stay organized, and manage their emotions and behavior is essential. Greenwood's staff is already doing so much and is so well informed that it's a pleasure to work with them on this."
Dr. Eden said the formalized collaboration between Landmark College and the Greenwood School means “we’re going to be able to change lives even more.”
Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today Landmark College, offering two and four-year degree options, a graduate level certificate in universal design with technology integration, and summer programs for students who learn differently, is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, ADHD, and ASD. Students, faculty, and other professionals from all over the world are drawn to Landmark College for its innovative educational model—designed through research and practice to help all students who learn differently become confident, self-empowered, and independently successful learners.