By Nabila Mahmud
A new pilot course titled “Green Scholars” is immersing students in the logistics of sustainability while they interact with the community. Founded by curriculum director Scott Morrison and Green Team founder Eric Magers, the honors level class assigns different projects to each student.
“It is an outstanding program that exposes students to the importance of recycling and taking care of our environment. It is very forward thinking. There are very few school districts across the Commonwealth that are taking part in this type of program. I’m pleased that we are on the cutting edge,” Assistant Principal Paul Murphy said.
The course allows students to independently work during a school block. The grading system is based off of Status Reports where students explain what their accomplishments were throughout the work. Also, active participation is graded along with attending weekly meetings.
According to Magers, the course is designed to engage and motivate students to become “proactive, innovative and entrepreneurial problem-solvers” who are able to address environmental challenges while employing critical thinking and leadership skills.
The Green Team is a part of the green school alliance whose “mission is to create greener and healthier learning environments through education and awareness” according to its mission statement.
The class, stemming from the threat of environmental issues, utilizes students by giving them each an individual task or project. Each student is assigned a community partner who he or she can connect with.
“Community partners are a crucial component of the Green Scholar program because they provide to the scholars a level of expertise in a specific content area. Working in concert with the school, our community partners help the scholars to engage in skill building and allow the school and the community to work together toward a common goal,” Morrison said.
The partners are specific to the project each student is assigned. Projects range from interacting with the community with tasks such as planting gardens, aiding restaurants in becoming more eco-friendly, and reducing waste in public areas. In order to raise awareness about the program, there are projects where students engage in business ventures such as producing environmental documentaries, and writing grants.
“The program allows students to work independently on projects that have a clear purpose. Green Scholars allows students to feel as if they are actively learning something imperatively useful,” Manchester-Essex junior Shauna Rice said.