There is nothing happier for some than to have their hands covered in soil, open wide to the blossom of life in the spring time. Gardening, landscaping, nature in general, it is a spiritual experience for many people, a satisfying hobby, lifestyle or job. For the Kennedy School of Sustainability, a high school in Cotton Grove, Oregon, a connection to sustainability and nature is how students are learning real-world skills, being engaged, loving learning and bettering their communities.
At the Kennedy School of Sustainability, students are separated into five cohorts, with each cohort addressing a project with the theme of sustainability. The five cohorts are agriculture, energy, forestry, architecture, and water. Within their cohorts, students are undertaking such projects as beekeeping and tilapia farming. One cohort is building Aleutian kayaks and using them to navigate the river and test the riverâ€™s water quality in their community.
While the kids at Kennedy are gaining undoubtedly useful skills and knowledge, they Kennedy school was not always such a place for success and learning. It was through the vision and innovation of the schoolâ€™s principal,Â Tom Horn, that Kennedy was transformed from a troubled school battling high dropout rates to a blossoming school building a sustainable community. Hornâ€™s vision, determination, and dedication to education reminds me candidly of the innovation and spirit of REEP students.
I am inspired by the story of the Kennedy School because itâ€™s just the kind of change I imagine REEP graduates effecting in their communities, and the kinds of revolutionary schools I know REEP graduates and students are building.
Get inspired! You can read the full story of the Kennedy School here at EDweek.org!