Tri-Valley school, so far, has impressed me with its place-based learning that the teachers and community partake in. To start the year off, the entire high school went into Denali National Park for 3 days and 2 nights, breaking up into small groups each led by a park specialist. Each group studied a different aspect of the park: geology, plant life, sound pollution, etc. It was a great way to immerse themselves in what they were studying.
In my host teacher’s classroom, we started the year off by participating in the GLOBE project’s green-down data collection. Students each chose a site in the forest behind the school and are monitoring how certain leaves are changing throughout the fall. They are also observing other plant life in their site, identifying certain plants and seeing how the general area changes throughout the season. This is a lesson in observation and data collection.
Although these are just two examples of it, I have heard and seen other examples from previous years, including trips to the local coal power plant, and the building trades class in which students build cabins for the park service from scratch, etc.
There is always room for improvement, but I think Tri-Valley is on the right track!