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NO COMPROMISES >>> Combining High Academic Standards and Authentic Environmental Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "NO COMPROMISES >>> Combining High Academic Standards and Authentic Environmental Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 NO COMPROMISES >>> Combining High Academic Standards and Authentic Environmental Learning

2 GETTING STARTED >>> Who are you? What questions do you bring to this presentation? What is one standard that you would want (your/all) students to master?

3 What are the bright spots? How can we share them? How do schools partner effectively, and how does this generate resources? How does our curriculum change and motivate students? How do you start/work in a community where environmental engagement is limited? How does Common Ground work with other schools to influence others? NGSS standards – are schools waiting, critical, adopting? YOUR MOTIVATIONS >>>

4 OUR ROOTS >>> Common Ground was founded in 1997, one of Connecticut’s first charter schools. Our commitment was to ecology, academics, character, and community.

5 OUR PLACE >>> The Farm. 20 acres that our students can shape. The Forest. West Rock Park. The City. Real-world challenges and opportunities.

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9 OUR CURRICULUM >>> From the start, our curriculum focused on the urban environment, and on core principles of ecology. Sample Courses: Egg & Seed Bioinventory Politics of Growing Food Four Corners

10 OUR CHALLENGE >>> “In need of improvement” Stagnant test scores. Students getting into college, but struggling once they got there.

11 OUR CHALLENGE >>>

12 OUR RESPONSE >>> Embraced standards- based reform: college success & environmental leadership. Challenge our students to develop and demonstrate mastery through active, authentic environmental learning.

13 OUR CURRICULUM >>> Unique Environmental Courses … Ecologia (Ecology, Nutrition & Spanish) Power (Energy Science & Policy) Food & The Environment (Science & Soc. Studies) Biodiversity (Science and Math) Drama (English and Art) Environmental Justice (Science and Social Studies) Environmental Ventures Sustainable Design … as Integral Part of a College Prep Curriculum AP Government, Environmental Science, etc. Math from Pre-Algebra to AP Calculus Reading Workshop, African Lit, AP Composition, French, Spanish, Art, PE, and more.

14 THE RESULTS >>> 6 years of dramatic test score gains, including the largest of any Connecticut high school in 2010. E.g., the % of our students earning proficient scores in reading increased from 37% to 90% over the last 6 years. Our 4-year graduation rate is nearly 10 points above the state average, and 25 points above the city average. 97% of our students gained admission to college last year.

15 THE RESULTS >>> Our students are launching green businesses | writing $100,000 grants | planting 100 street trees | doing climate research in the DR | planning and implementing sustainability practices | creating outdoor interpretive exhibits | working with professional actors to stage Shakespeare.

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17 THIS IS ACADEMIC RIGOR >>>

18 Multiple sets of standards at once – Common Core, Subject Area, School-Wide Leadership, Technology, Real World. Real community and environmental issues, relevant to students. Rooted in experiences in community, work with community partners. Real products and performances for public audiences. THIS IS ACADEMIC RIGOR >>>

19 ACADEMIC STANDARDS, AUTHENTIC WORK >>>

20 BREAKING IT DOWN: UNDERSTANDING BY DESIGN>>> Standards: Common Core. Next Generation Science Standards. Home-Grown Environmental Leadership Standards. National Technology Standards. 21 st Century Skills Embedded Concepts & Skills Essential Questions Enduring Understandings & Big Ideas Active, Authentic Learning & Assessments

21 BREAKING IT DOWN: STANDARDS >>> Standard 4: Effort – Discipline, Strategy, Execution, Grit. Students develop clear strategies for achieving sustainable environmental change, display the personal discipline necessary to lead that initiative, and persevere until its completion. Common Core Math – Use data from a sample survey to estimate a population mean or proportion; develop a margin of error through the use of simulation models for random sampling. NGSS – Humans depend on the living world for the resources and other benefits provided by biodiversity. But human activity is also having adverse impacts on biodiversity through overpopulation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and climate change. Thus sustaining biodiversity so that ecosystem functioning and productivity are maintained is essential to supporting and enhancing life on Earth.

22 BREAKING IT DOWN: STANDARDS >>> Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.... include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

23 UNWRAPPING SKILLS & CONCEPTS>>> SkillsConcepts Planning Drafting Revising Editing Rewriting Trying different approaches for … … Audience Organization Style Purpose Formatting/ Multimedia/ Graphics

24 ANSWERING ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS >>> Who is our community? How can we best communicate to that audience? How can humans in cities sustain and promote biological diversity? What do we need to know to do so? When is a piece of writing done? What does it take to get there? … Especially in culminating projects, some essential questions can be student-generated.

25 TACKLING BIG IDEAS >>> Our community is diverse and powerful. We can write in a way that engages the diversity of our community. Together, we can create an urban oasis for biological diversity. Doing so requires an understanding of the forces that promote and threaten ecological communities. Our writing is done when it engages our community to achieve a purpose – and when we can look back at it proudly when we return for our 10 th high school reunion. Our writing gets stronger when we incorporate feedback from our community and experts – over, and over, and over.

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27 WHAT’S AUTHENTIC ? >>> 1.What do your students care about most? 2.What are the big issues in your school, and on your campus? 3.What is your community – characteristics, assets and challenges? 4.What environmental/sustainability issues relate to your standards? 5.How can you use the community as a classroom, textbook, and teacher? 6.What partners in your community can help students master standards? 7.What leadership capacities will students need to master standards? 8.What real-world product or performance could push students to demonstrate mastery? 9.How are you measuring the quality of student work? Does this assessment reflect real-world standards of quality, as well as academic standards? 10.What is the public audience for student work? Think about families, organizations, community residents, decision-makers.

28 Standards Concepts & Skills Essential Questions Enduring Understandings & Big Ideas Messy, real-world issues Environmental/sustainability themes Relevance to students Community-based experiences Community partners Leadership opportunities Real products & performances Public audiences

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30 AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT>>> The Standard: Argumentative Writing (Common Core – as measured by SBAC) The Work: Can standardized tests fuel school- and community-wide dialog?

31 AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT >>>

32 CRITICAL INVESTMENTS: COMMUNITY-ROOTED LEARNING >>> Human Capacity Faculty Coaches: Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction, Electronic Portfolios. Coordinator, Youth Leadership for Environmental Leadership & Food Justice Director of Development & Community Engagement Structural Commitments One Institution: Community Organization/School Joint Planning Time: Faculty Meetings, Summer Institute Grant Funding for Real Investments in Student Work Partnership orientation, showing up in the community Policy Supports: Single permission slip

33 THE NEXT STEP: GROWING IMPACT >>> We want to join with others to grow our impact. What makes this work hard? What external support would help?

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35 HOW IT WORKS >>> Course Name: BiodiversityDuration: 1 Trimester Course Description: In this course students will learn about the biodiversity of organisms on the Common Ground site and in the city of New Haven. Students will work on projects that involve surveying and counting organisms, learn statistical methods for evaluating the numbers of individuals on a site, and use and create maps that show the locations of the organisms they are studying. …This class will involve frequent outdoor activities, laboratory exercises, research, worksheets, model making and other science and math based activities to accomplish the course tasks.

36 ROOTED IN STANDARDS >>> Course Name: BiodiversityDuration: 1 Trimester Alignment to Standards Math Standard 4.2 Analyze sets of data to form hypotheses and make predictions a. Describe and analyze sets of data using statistical methods b. Analyze real world problems using statistical techniques Standard 4.1 Collect, organize and display data using appropriate statistical and graphical methods a. Create the appropriate visual or graphical representation of real data Science Standard 10.3 Biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats. -Changes in an ecosystem can result from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size. Standard 10.5 – Evolution and biodiversity are the result of genetic changes that occur over time in constantly changing environments D INQ 8. Use mathematical operations to analyze and interpret data, and present relationships between variables in appropriate forms. D INQ 10. Communicate about science in different formats, using relevant science vocabulary, supporting evidence and clear logic.

37 TACKLING BIG IDEAS >>> Course Name: BiodiversityDuration: 1 Trimester Enduring Understanding: Who's here, why are they here, and how are they inter-related? Big Ideas for the Course Biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alteration of habitats The process of statistical investigation helps us to explore the world We can use graphs to determine overall patterns and special conditions There are ways to choose samples to ensure that they represent the entire population without bias. Ecosystems have a natural balance and may change due to outside influences

38 EXPLORING ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS >>> Course Name: BiodiversityDuration: 1 Trimester Essential Questions How can I use statistics to explore the world? How do the graphs I create help me to understand the data I am presenting? What methods can I use to determine what species are present in an area? What is biodiversity and how is it represented on our Farm, in our City, and in the Forests near our school? How is the soil different on the forest, the farm and the Green? How can humans, climate, the introduction of non-native species and changes in population affect the biodiversity of an area?

39 Embedding Foundational Skills>>> Course Name: BiodiversityDuration: 1 Trimester Mapping in :  Non-fiction reading -Anchor texts & vocabulary -New priorities in the context of Common Core?  Non-fiction writing -Argumentative and informative writing -Common Rubric used across disciplines  Technology: Research and Information Fluency--using digital tools to gather, evaluate and use information  Leadership: “Wonder”: Curiosity, Creativity and Vision

40 ACTIVE, AUTHENTIC ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING >>> Monitor biodiversity on Common Ground’s site, in the forests of West Rock Ridge, and in the City of New Haven. Partner with Yale scientists to do independent research on bird and plant diversity. Create a permanent outdoor interpretive exhibit to educate thousands of visitors to our site.

41 ROOTED IN STANDARDS >>> Math Standard 4.1 Collect, organize and display data using appropriate statistical and graphical methods a. Create the appropriate visual or graphical representation of real data Science Ecology - Biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats. D INQ 10. Communicate about science in different formats, using relevant science vocabulary, supporting evidence and clear logic.

42 THE PROCESS >>> Observing Diversity Intro Habit at Migr ation Food Water Edge Effect Explaining Diversity Promoting Diversity Intro Habit at Create Habita t Pollu tion Intro Color ation Song s Nests & Eggs Sexual Dimor phism Looking for birds is fun. It is easy to learn to identify birds because of their different sizes, shapes, colors and sounds. Learning to identify birds helps you open your eyes to the world, and see the diversity of life around you. What is biodiversity and how is it represented on our Farm, in our City, and in the Forests near our school? How can humans, climate, the introduction of non-native species and changes in population affect the biodiversity of an area?

43 MAKING IT WORK ACROSS THE BOARD >>> CourseAuthentic Project Ecologia (Aligned with Spanish and Biology standards) Students work in small student-led teams, growing and cooking from our urban farm – entirely in Spanish. (Photo) Environmental Justice (Aligned with Social Science and Science standards) Students do community organizing and develop marketing materials to promote a new healthy corner store initiative. Environmental Ventures (Aligned with Social Studies/Economic Standards) Students develop small business ventures using produce from our urban farm, and keep a share of the proceeds.


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