Sustainability Education For All!

by Tom Julius

Love this photo from the Kennedy High School – School of Sustainability blog.

The blog describes the scene as Kennedy Conservation Corps (KCC) students, under the guidance of Director Matt Hall, volunteered to undertake a large scale restoration project in the upper Brice Creek Wilderness area.  In partnership with the Forest Service, the KCC cleared stream banks of flood debris to encourage fish passage, built bridges for hikers, and strove to  improve  overall aquatic habitat and water quality conditions.”

Kennedy High School – School of Sustainability was profiled in Education Week’s recent article Project-Based Learning Helps At-Risk Students. Kennedy is an “alternative school” in Cottage Grove, Oregon that emphasizes opportunities for “kids who need more real-world, relevant kinds of opportunities.” The school engages students in hands-on problem-based learning through beekeeping, growing organic produce and projects like wilderness restoration.

There is lots to like here: focus on skill building rather than credit recovery and remediation, a cohort mentality that fosters collaboration, and a connection to how the systems of people and place work together. The school director, Tom Horn, talks about how their approach stands Bloom’s Taxonomy on its head. They put students into situations that demand skills at the top level: evaluation, synthesis, application and drill down to the knowledge they need to get the job done.

Do you know of other programs like this? Schools that provide these kinds of learning environments for all kids? Let us know, spread the word!


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