Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable Education’

In the world we live in today- the one where oil spills and landfills are commonplace, and fast-food dominates- it’s a breath of fresh air to know a person who is concerned and determined to make schools (and the people who populate them) responsible for improving our environment.  Mr.Dimitri Snowden and his Green360 curriculum has conjured up a way to instill environmental respect and appreciation at an early age, which I strongly believe can only prove beneficial for all stakeholders, but perhaps more importantly, for future generations.

Green360 boasts a promising curriculum for all students, regardless of age.  It teaches them the importance of taking care of our planet, with a hands-on, and practical approach.  Thinking back to my own days in grade school, I remember how far-fetched and threatening it seemed for me as a child to simply recycle.   There weren’t accessible recycling bins, and to care for our earth seemed like more of a hassle than a remedy.  After all, where would I get the tools to live a green lifestyle if nothing around me supported the movement?  Green360 has taken the intimidation out of protecting the earth, and gives the students the tools they need to make a difference. From compost bins and a paper-recycling program to rechargeable batteries,Green360 turns the students into knowledgeable teachers!

With Green360, the mystery of our role in environmental sustainability is removed.  It makes it so that students can learn easy and meaningful ways to be “green”, regardless of what is happening around them.  Paramount School of Excellence (PSoE) is a prime example of Green360 in action.  When you first arrive on location, you are swept off your feet by five 40-foot tall wind turbines!  In a city like Indianapolis, wind turbines stand out on their own, making passersby curious as to what goes on inside this school building.  The 2500-watt turbines push electricity back to the city’s electric company (IPL)!  Now of course, in this case students don’t have to do anything directly to claim environmental responsibility, but they are able to witness first-hand the benefits of wind power, and how it all works!

Additionally, PSoE has a garden (Give Forward Garden), a pond (Paramount Pond) and green room (Green360 Room). Each entity has been created to give students a chance to learn about, manage, and appreciate the life cycles of plants and animals, regardless of their city or neighborhood’s typical landscape.  The Give Forward Garden will influence nutritional well-being, and even core values such as patience!  How does this work one might ask?  Simple.  Each grade level will have their own plot of land to cultivate fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs.  The students will be responsible for caring (and waiting) for the produce to grow!

The Green360 Room is a unique part of the building that is home to three species of butterflies, lizards, tree frogs, insects, and a tortoise just to name a few, as well as live plants and trees.  An interesting aspect of the room is the fact that the animals and insects (except the free flying butterflies) will be housed in cleverly stocked terrariums!  What is a terrarium?   A terrarium is a sealed but transparent container that allows the insects and animals to be seen but not touched!  Very clever!  The Green360 room itself has at 30×15 glass wall that lets in an abundant amount of filtered sunlight, and probably the most impressive in terms of respecting the environment is the 4,000 lbs of recycled rubber on the floor made to resemble grass, dirt, and mulch.  What most of us visitors wouldn’t know (but any PSoE student can tell you) is that the use of this recycled rubber has actually kept 200 tires from ending up in a landfill!

Mr. Snowden teaches the difference between various types of robots to a group of second grade students.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I think about the condition our world is in at this very moment, I cringe.  It scares me to think what we as humans have done to contaminate the waters, mutilate the land, and scar the planet forever.  But I firmly believe there is hope.  Even if we can’t reverse the damage already done, we can definitely work to make sure we leave this place better than we found it.  And that is what Green360 is doing; providing the much needed hope to inspire compassion for the world we live in, and to cultivate the next generation of responsible, environmental stewards!  I find it comforting to know that the students that benefit from Green360 will be the leaders of tomorrow.  They are learning so much about the environment, which can only mean that they have much to teach us.  Parents, community members, and other school communities across this nation can learn a thing or two from the students at PSoE.  My hope is that Mr.Snowden continues to spread the power and inspiration of the Green360curriculum, and that one day, it serves as a model for the reformation of our public school systems, here and abroad!

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When I think about school buildings, I automatically get a picture in my head of square classrooms, long hallways, the principals office, a cafeteria, maybe an auditorium, and definitely, a gym.  When I was grade school (which wasn’t that long ago) every school I attended had a gym.  Some of these schools had playgrounds too, while others didn’t, but a gymnasium with athletic equipment including cones, jump ropes, and balls of all sorts was definitely part of the scenery.  But was I spoiled?  I’m thinking back; I was a high-mobility kid whose family was always on the move.  I attended 11 schools in 13 years, and not once did I attend a school that didn’t have a gym!

Nowadays, young people need physical activity more than ever because our society is inundated with electronics, video games, cell phones, computers, fast, processed food, and crime (yes!) and childhood obesity is on an unrelenting rise!  Children need to be active, and what better place to be in motion than a place they spend most of their time anyway- school!  This is one school that needs YOUR help.  They have a beautiful campus, a green curriculum, and a dedicated community, but there isn’t a gym…

Paramount School of Excellence submitted a grant called “Our School Needs”, and what they need is gym and a quality sports program.  This isn’t much to ask for considering everything they give back to the community each day.  PSoE sits in a neighborhood where it isn’t always super safe to just go out and play, so the one place these students (and every student) should be able to depend on to get active is at school!  Check out this article which discusses the grant, and gives a strong argument for why a gymnasium shouldn’t be a luxury!

New School Rock is a spinoff blog of TheSummary (blog) dedicated solely to education.  As an educator myself, I understand that we are in a tough times when it comes to preparing our young citizens to compete globally for jobs, but far more importantly, existing in this universe as knowledgeable, caring, empathetic, and easily adaptive citizens of the world.

This blog seeks to inform on the current state of education, what people are doing nationally and globally to prepare citizens of the world, sustainable education practices, education reform, non-traditional or alternative educational practices and programs, and news pertaining to the state of education.  In this blog you will find links to fascinating articles, educational websites, opinion pieces, and in general, a fresh perspective with which to approach education.  This blog is not meant to institutionalize or indoctrinate what comes naturally to us as humans- our desire to learn.  And unlike it may seem, we are not doomed if we evolve.  The School House doors may have locked you out, but there is hope!  It’s now time for New School Rock!

-TheSummary

PSoE is a charter school in Indianapolis practicing sustainability,  environmental responsibility, in addition to rigorous and technologically advanced curricula.  Read more here>>>