We see the opportunity to improve sustainable community conditions, meet the goals of local government, and catalyze green business development while simultaneously improving student achievement. To restore Puget Sound and reduce the social, environmental and economic impacts of climate change, we need greener buildings, compact communities, stormwater pollution solutions and a better informed, more engaged citizenry. Meanwhile, schools are preparing for the Common Core, STEM and the Next Generation Science Standards.
All of these new drivers, environmental and educational, invite students to interact with primary source material such as scientific data, engineering and design challenges, policy frameworks and performance measures, and to apply 21st Century skills - critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication - to build meaningful and productive lives.
Why educate the same citizen three times?
In our current disaggregated system, we educate the same citizen three times; once by our school system to produce a standardized graduate; a second time by local government to encourage civic engagement; and a third time by employers to develop the skills actually needed in the 21st century work environment. The systemic challenges facing our region are too complex and the need for collaborative response too critical to continue operating in silos.
The New Three R's - Rigor, Relevance and Relationship
Student motivation for academic rigor increases when what they learn in school is relevant to what their communities need to get done and when they form relationships with real people in their community who are making a difference.