There is a new charter-type school coming to Denver this fall called the Denver Green School – and if I had kids I would definitely send them there! DGS is a Neighborhood Performance School, which means that while they get to create their own education program different from regular public schools, it still has to be approved by the Denver School Board. They have the freedom to teach core subjects such as Literacy, Math and Science through a project-based approach that is more relevant to the way we all learn and work today… which sounds a lot more exciting than the way I learned those subjects! Education for Sustainability Standards will be embedded throughout the curriculum, which are as follows:
Education for Sustainability is a dynamic system of core content, competencies and habits of mind coupled with a pedagogical system that is learner centered and inquiry based (just two of the instructional attributes that characterize it). The best way to engage with teaching and learning for sustainability is through the development of learning communities that develop over time. We say this because, though we know a lot, we do not know enough – and, we don’t know what we don’t know. Therefore, we must create new knowledge and new ways of thinking, we must be able to analyze synthesize and transfer knowledge from various fields, we must be able to work with others and learn from their perspectives and we must be able to think and act “outside the box” to create new understandings and new behaviors that complement the enduring common sense with which many of us are still familiar.
The inclusion of the word “green” in the official name of the school means that DGS wants to focus on, and educate, both the student AND the community at large in living sustainably upon the earth. They are also partnering with local eco-experts like Earth Force and using their building and neighborhood as laboratories for the study and implementation of carbon footprint reduction and sustainable living. I have always said I wouldn’t ever want to go back to school again, but the concept of this school makes me wish I was a kid again!
Denver Green School takes ownership and responsibility for improving our natural, built and social environment. We engage learners to address real-world problems and achieve sustainable solutions for our school and our community.
While I hope that more schools are created like this around the country (I am sure there are some already), I love the fact that there is one starting up here in Denver. Implementing sustainability education in elementary school is of the utmost importance if we want to have a chance at cleaning up our planet. Good luck to DGS – and if/when I ever have kids, I will certainly sign them up!