VAI Celebrates the New School Year

Van Andel Institute for Education (VAI) has always sought to empower educators, and recent events have only strengthened this conviction. As we take our first steps into the new school year, VAI would like to begin by celebrating student success and reaffirming our commitment to educators. Our mission is to supply them with the support they need, and this year is no exception. By working together, we're confident that we can build classrooms where curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking thrive!

Recently, VAI was proud to discover that one of our former Afterschool Cohort students has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. Eli Bieri will participate in a two-year Masters program at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. There, he'll be working with Dr. Jodi Rowley to study how aggressive wildfire suppression may be having a negative impact on the country's amphibian population. Along with the danger of massive wildfires like those seen in 2020, Eli suspects that the absence of small, natural burns is causing amphibians to lose important microhabitats. This makes them far more susceptible to disease. The two hope their research will lead to better, more sustainable practices for both humans and amphibians alike.

VAI is also currently providing programs to assist administrators as they navigate the uncertain waters of unfinished learning. This wide variety of resources is designed to meet their targeted needs as they confront the challenges of the 2021-22 school year. These resources include:

Better Together: A Virtual Event for K-12 Administrators
Administrators are invited to join us for a FREE 1-hour virtual event on October 13, 2021, to learn and share what's working, what's not, and how best to address the most important issues facing K-12 administrators this school year.

VAI's Admin Guide: Beyond Learning
Loss:  Six Ways Schools Can Thrive in the Aftermath of the Pandemic
This comprehensive guide can help administrators rethink, refocus, and reimagine teaching and learning this fall. Create a plan to focus your efforts and equip your teachers with practical instructional resources.

VAI's Learning Loss Recovery Plan
VAI's Education Recovery Plan is a customized solution aligned to ESSER Funding that brings together Flex PD, Instructional Resources, and Ongoing Support that help administrators transform instruction.

Let's use this time to reimagine teacher training in our schools. We can invest in our educators and admins by giving them the tools to succeed and accelerate learning in the classroom. Most importantly, when facing the challenges of the new school year, let's remember that we are all better together!

Ryan Duncan works as an Editorial Specialist at Van Andel Institute for Education, a Michigan-based education nonprofit which strives to empower teachers and build classrooms where curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking thrive. For more information on Van Andel Institute for Education, visit us at