• Josh Irving and Allison Barton

(Re)creating Again and Again our Role to Meet the Needs of our Community: A Story of Student Support

Updated: Jun 3

Our names are Josh Irving and Allison Barton and we support students, educators, and families at South Rutland Elementary.

We anchor our work in the following beliefs about learning and community:

  • Relationships are imperative to building a strong community

  • Trust is required to form strong foundational relationships

  • Constant collaboration with: staff, students, parents, and the community is vital

  • Inquiry is essential to understanding evolving student needs

  • Inclusion means ALL members of our community


These beliefs continue to evolve and grow as we reflect on how to best support our students.


In our learning story video 'Building Community at South Rutland Elementary,' we share a story that highlights the multiple voices (educators, administrators, CEAs, parents) that we draw on everyday to be as student centered as possible.



Of course, there are so many layers to every story. It feels important to also share a little bit more about how we got to become the community that we are today and where we still hope to go.


Take a look at the intention letter that we wrote earlier in the year to guide our learning this year.


The question that has been guiding us is: “How do we, as support teachers, foster a sense of community working alongside teachers who value relationships?”


We have learned that Important and profound change happens over time. It is a process that requires deep inquiry, empathy, and continued reflection.


Our students, staff and parents have engaged in an inquiry process to help us better understand how to support students.






The feedback from: students, teachers, support staff, and parents have highlighted the importance of a strong community as a primary factor to student engagement and learning.



At SRE, everyone truly does what they can to support students. This often means that we transcend typical boundaries of job “titles”, and this is apparent when you see our CEAs facilitating guided reading sessions, or our principal sneaking into classrooms to work one on one with students.


As we journey through this continuous process of inquiry, reflection, and building community, we find ourselves grappling with as many questions as we’ve found answers:

  • How can we continue to evolve our roles within this framework of guiding values?

  • As our community changes and grows, how can we sustain our practice and processes for holding students at the center?


Our story is embedded in a larger story of learning here at SRE.


We hope you enjoy our stories and we would love to connect with you in the future!


Yours in learning,




by Josh Irving and Allison Barton

May 20th 2021