Our initial pilot schools are Champlain Elementary School and Lawrence Barnes Elementary School in Burlington, Vermont. Each school continues to explore and implement different approaches to strengthening curriculum, community partnerships, campus ecology and school-wide collaboration. Read more about them by clicking on their links above.
We continue to work with the Burlington School District on the development, documention and implementation of the country's first sustainability-themed magnet school -- Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes.
While increasing the number of schools that we service in Vermont and beyond is important, equally important is sustaining relationships with schools we already serve to support continued innovation. To learn more about some of our additional school partnerships, see the list below.
Hardwick Elementary School teachers and pioneers in food education, attended our Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability and had a radical shift in their understanding of sustainability. Nine key faculty members attended the Institute where they came to a critical understanding of the intersection of environmental justice with economic integrity and social justice. One teacher commented, “We’ve been doing the food thing for a long time. Now we get that food is a great lens for learning about social justice, too.” SSP staff is supporting Hardwick educators to design curriculum, projects, and opportunities for student voice that furthers their collective understanding of sustainability. Inspired by the Sustainability Academy in Burlington, they are seeking funding for a sustainability coaching position that will help them deepen and expand their work in EFS.
Fayston Elementary School has worked with SSP staff to facilitate school-parent conversations on schoolyard transformation using a variety of SRI protocols that will support outdoor learning, growing more food for the cafeteria, and better engagement of students in service-learning on campus. The series of six facilitated conversations culminated in the late spring and has inspired the school to work with a University of Vermont (UVM) professor to bring their design ideas to life.
Reading Elementary School aspires to be the rural model of the Sustainability Academy. Through on-going writing and reflection retreats, we have been working with the staff to develop a scope and sequence for curriculum, project-based learning, and integration with their Farm to School initiative. Additionally, the school has been working with Shelburne Farms staff based at Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park to integrate place-based learning and community partnerships.
Tuttle Middle School’s assistant principal is a champion for EFS and models the idea that “middle school is not just a building.” Employing best practices in middle school education, Tuttle partnered with SSP to support faculty in evaluating and planning place-, project-, problem- and service-learning (P3SL) projects. One team of 6th grade educators has started a sustainability team (Project LEAP) that is leading this effort and hopes to shift the middle school to be a leader in EFS and place-based learning.
Vermont Commons School educators have embraced using collaborative protocols to engage in meaningful conversations and collaboration. Teacher leaders have literally shifted school culture from one of “staff meetings” to meaningful staff conversations.
EDGE Academy Middle School, a team within a traditional middle school, meets with SSP staff regularly to look at how they can meaningfully engage student voice through a negotiated curriculum process and project-based learning that reflects their understanding of the “3 justices” of sustainability. Students have taken a lead role in sharing the program’s impact and success by presenting at numerous conferences including our EFS Summer Institute and the EFS Summit this past year.
Take a look at this video featuring Zach, a student at EDGE Academy, where he describes what education for sustainability has meant for him.
With innovative strategies in place at diverse school sites, we are eager to explore ways the Sustainable Schools Project can support your school. We encourage schools, communities, and families to learn more through this website and by contacting us directly.