Learning goes on in Vermont

Vermont-NEA has donated $5,000 toward Hurricane Irene relief efforts. Darren Allen, the association’s director of communications, sent this note on Sept. 15.

“I’m sure you’ve all heard about Hurricane Irene’s effects on our small, beautiful state. Maybe you’ve also heard about the heroic efforts of the state’s teachers in ensuring that students have a school to attend. I just came back from one such school in tiny Moretown, a community hit hard by the Mad River (in the heart of the most beautiful valley in the state) that was devastated by flooding.

“The school building is still uninhabitable (the only such school so-designated in the wake of the flooding), but the school itself is in session. I’ve attached a picture of an elementary art teacher doing her thing in a large tent — one of a half dozen that substitute for classrooms. It was pouring rain today, but teachers, students, and even the principal wore smiles. And the flooding hasn’t hurt attendance: only one absence was reported this week, and that because the student’s family couldn’t make it because of a washed-out road. The principal gave the teachers the option of not starting school until the building was ready, but the faculty enthusiastically and unanimously said they’d rather work.

“At this time when our members are facing an unprecedented attack, unrelenting pressure, and economic setbacks, it is heartwarming to see when teachers are left alone to do what they do, extraordinary things happen.”