4th Grade Teacher
“At VSNB, we work hard at valuing the individual student. We are not a ‘mass-production’-oriented environment here. We care about the individual, and we try very hard to help families and they reciprocate back.
We have an incredible system of support among our teachers and staff here at the school as well as from the outside—the parents and the community at large. What helps is that VSNB is in a small setting and it’s a ‘walking school’—meaning that there are no busses; our students either walk to school or their parents drop them off. We’re within a neighborhood and in a community that supports and values education. And, here at the school, we’re lucky that we create many different environments that give the parents, teachers and other staff an opportunity to meet one another and know each other. It’s very warm and friendly.”
Retired Assistant Head of School and Human Resources
“What makes this school unique is the way the staff connects with the kids—I’ve worked as a public school administrator for over 30 years and I’ve never witnessed a staff like VSNB’s that will literally do anything for the kids. What struck me when I first arrived here to work was how very positive and welcoming the atmosphere is. Almost anyone can walk into any classroom or office and feel welcome—and that simply doesn’t happen in a lot of public schools.”
Grade 2 Teacher
John Ulrich has been at the school continuously since 1989, as the 2nd grade classroom teacher.
“The great thing about VSNB is that it offers you the freedom to do certain things as a teacher that other schools might not. Like taking the kids camping, for instance. There are fewer roadblocks to helping the kids experience these kinds of things.
I think the fact that we have a school that’s open and accessible to everyone is a real point in its favor. And because we’re small, the kids get recognized. They’re respected and never lost. The 6th-grade teacher knows most of the first or second-graders, for instance. In a larger school, that’s just impossible. All my three kids went here, and, in that experience as a VSNB parent, it was absolutely to their and my liking.
This community is crucial to the school from a support perspective. We have a good number of businesses locally that are connected to the school in different ways. They help out in the classrooms and on trips. And there’s history and longevity here, which is important to any school.”
Kindergarten Teacher & Pre-K Director
A teacher at the school since 1984, Lori Elwell is presently the kindergarten teacher and director of the pre-school program.
“The environment within the school is extremely supportive. We teachers support each other and communicate with one another, so we’re able to coordinate our programs.
Likewise, the community outside the school is incredibly supportive of us. I try and immerse my ‘little guys’ in the community, because, for instance, not many of them have been inside a post office before to see how it works. Or we take field trips to have them pick apples, or visit one of the local restaurants; or to the grocery store or fire station . . . we learn what’s in our community and why it’s here.
As for the pre-school, having this kind of option at VSNB is a real benefit to children and their parents. It’s flexible, so some children attend all day, some go just for half a day, and then they can vary it during the week, too, so that some attend all five days and others two or three days.”
School Principal from 1991-2003
“Back in the 1990s, when schools were facing dollar crunches, many schools around us were repeatedly cutting arts, music and other types of creative programs. We’re grateful that we were able to go to the board and actually increase time for art, music and all the special needs areas of learning. It simply was because we strongly felt that it’s the arts and creativity that humanize education. They add that vital element of humanity to children’s education. It’s our strings program, our vocal and arts programs that really lend the ‘soul’ to academics.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of the Village School of North Bennington is not only how much the arts and creativity are ingrained within the school’s philosophy and curriculum, but, also, how much the school reaches beyond its walls to bring so many unique and diverse creative experiences to its students. Happily, the community at large makes so many of its resources available to VSNB and its students—everything from the arts programs at Bennington College and the history at nearby Park-McCullough House, to the Vermont Arts Exchange and Hiland Hall Gardens. And these are just four examples of the array of creative and explorative outlets the school embraces.”