Intro by Jaimie P. Cloud
I work in the field all the time. I see happy teachers and beautiful units and courses that educate for sustainability. I see authentic assessment instruments carefully crafted to capture student learning, and I see student work as evidence that children and young people are thinking differently and contributing to sustainability as a result of what they are learning in school. What I don’t have the opportunity to see too often is letters like the one below. I am sure this is not a rare occurrence but it certainly is nice when people share what happens next…
I worked with Brent Powell of the Derryfield School in Manchester New Hampshire during our Summer Design Studio and then again a few more times during a series of follow up coaching sessions with him.
This Environmental Studies course was innovated (sustainablized) to prepare students to play a role in creating a healthy sustainable future for humans and the living systems that support life. The overarching question for the course is: What Kind of Future will we Invent?
The course is divided into four units of study:
- INTRO TO SUSTAINABILITY
- ENERGY: What will it take to create an energy system in New Hampshire that contributes to our vision of the future?
- FOOD: What will it take for New Hampshire to secure a food system that supports the vision we have for our future?
- CONSUMPTION AND THE MATERIALS CYCLES: How can we produce and consume responsibly within the means of nature?
Letter from Brent Powell
As we wrap up the year I [wanted to let you know] that the work we did last year made a big difference in my course. So thank you! Below you'll see a note I just got from one of my student's parents. I thought you might enjoy seeing it.
Letter from the parent of one of Brent’s Students
I thought you might enjoy hearing about the impact you have had on my daughter this year.
“A” was studying for her final this afternoon when her Grandfather stopped by to visit. He asked “A” a few questions about the Environmental studies class. It was initially met with humor and sarcasm as she expected. By the end of a two hour conversation, which attracted my husband and a few other guests, “A” landed herself a summer job.
“A” will research the cost of putting solar panels on all of the commercial real estate properties her grandfather owns. She challenged her Dad and Grandfather to really consider changing their environmental footprint. She debated until they really did begin to look at the difference that was possible. So although small changes in lighting were put into place this year, she has encouraged them to consider more.
I was impressed and so proud of her. Thank you.
* Thank you Brent for sending this to me, and Thank you “A” for taking responsibility for the difference you make. *