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Project Design Lab / June 24-28

Burlington, Vermont

Project Design Lab project with The Salisbury School — Lindsay Pontius, Teaching Artist

Thriving Communities Projects help people come to know each other, build trust and respect, foster a sense of belonging, and change our collective story.


These projects bring your school and community together with a teaching artist to make things they care about.


This creative process  making things we care about strengthens our ties to each other and improves community well-being  the community of your classroom, your school, your town.

How Do I Know When I Belong?

How do Thriving Communities Projects work?

  • Build a team of three or more educators from your school or district to attend the Project Design Lab.

  • Design your project in collaboration with a teaching artist at the Project Design Lab, June 24-28 in Burlington.

  • Co-lead your project with your teaching artist and team members during the 2024-25 school year.

  • Celebrate your project with a public culminating event for the whole community.

What do we mean by thriving communities and well-being?

A thriving community has access to well-being, which comprises:

  • RELATIONSHIPS – individuals feel seen, heard and valued; a sense of belonging

  • SUPPORT – individuals feel people have their back

  • ENGAGEMENT – individuals feel a part of something bigger than themselves


Thanks to Tasha Golden for inspiring this definition of thriving communities and well-being.

Interested in learning more?

​If you are interested in brining a Thriving Communities Project to your school, please complete the Interest Form and we will be in touch to answer any questions and help you begin the process of organizing a team and selecting a teaching artist.

What Educators Say
I'd recommend this experience to anyone who wants to collaborate with a teaching artist to co-create a transformative experience for their school community.
– Jesslyn Mullett / Middle School Math & Science, Marlboro School

What To Expect

Design and implement a creative project that strengthens your classroom's and school's culture of empathy, respect, and the sense of belonging.

Collaborate with master teaching artist to refuel your creativity and imagination.

Reimagine how creative engagement can strengthen your school culture. 

Rejuvenate and have fun!

The Fence 2.JPG

How can we make our school a welcoming place for everyone?


Through puppetry and visual art, Randolph Union students explored their role in building a school-wide culture of safety, relevance, joy, creativity, and respect.

More Project Snapshots

CEL Peoples theater vignette 2.jpg

What makes my community sustainable and what is my role?


Through photography, pop art and theater, Peoples Academy students explored their role in making their community sustainable.

More Project Snapshots




Educator teams and teaching artists at the Project Design Lab have designed and implemented over 40 creative school projects that have served thousands of students and community members.

Read more project descriptions with different types of educator and teaching artist teams here.


Educators Say

"This week has given me new ideas about how to build community, relationships, and belonging with my new group of students."

 – Amie Milizia-Fisher / Math & Science, Browns River Middle School

"It was incredible that we built such a community and sense of belonging within our group within a short time."

– Melissa Hunkins / Science, Peoples Middle School

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"This is energizing my curriculum for next year, and into the years to come!"

– Dorcey Hogg, Georgia Elementary School


Joyfulness at the Project Design Lab

TCP Details

The Details
2024 Project Design Lab

June 24-28 / 9:00am - 4:00pm

University of Vermont / Burlington


  • $2,000 - Three graduate credits

  • $1,790 - Certificate of Participation for 40 hours re-certification credits


Includes breakfast and lunch and an private air-conditioned dorm room at the University of Vermont.


Thriving Communties Projects require a team of three or more educators from a school or district.

eams can be from the same grades and content areas, or mixed, and can include classroom teachers, councilors, paras, special educators, staff, and administrators.


Teams may include educators from different schools in the district if you want to design a multi-school residencyFor examples of teams, visit Project Snapshots.

Teaching Artist or your school's Arts Specialists

Thriving Communities Projects require a collaboration with a teaching artist for a multi-day residency or a school/district team that includes a school arts specialist (visual, music, dance, theater). 

If you would like to engage a teaching artist to collaborate with your team, complete the Interest Form and we will contact you to discuss the teaching artist options and funding sources your school may qualify for to cover the teaching artist residency fee. 


Visit the PDL FAQ page for answers to questions about team participation, tuition & fees, lodging & meals, daily schedule, teaching artist selection, and more.

Project Snapshots

See examples of previous projects created at the Project Design Lab here


Complete the PDL Questions Form and we'll be in touch soon. 

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We invite you to let us know about specific accommodations you may need to participate in the Project Design Lab when you complete the Registration Form, and we will make every effort to honor your request. 

Accrediting Institution

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