The John D. Perkins, Sr. Academy of Marlow or simply, Perkins Academy, is a K-6 public school dedicated to integrating the concepts of sustainability: environmental stewardship, social equity and justice; and local economics in all aspects of learning. The school revisioned itself in 2015 in order to offer the students and families a unique learning environment that values place based, project based and service learning for all children. In collaboration with our many community partners, the Perkins Academy is creating and sustaining a special learning community in the beautiful, rural town of Marlow, NH.
The school benefits from the support of a very active community group called the Friends of Perkins, a proactive school board and the citizens of this small, rural town. Perkins School educates students in kindergarten through grade six. Upon graduation from Perkins School, students in grades seven through twelve attend the Keene Middle and Keene High Schools.
The school is arranged in multi-age grouping that allow students and teachers to develop a rapport which guides the students’ educational journeys allowing them to reach their individual potentials. This year the grouping are: Kindergarten-grade 1 (Primary); Grades 2-3 (Elementary) and Grades 4-6 (Intermediate). The kindergarten program is a full day program. There is a school lunch program for all students followed by a 20- minute recess. Students also have classes in Art, Music, Library, Technology and Physical Education one day each week.
What is Education for Sustainability (EfS) ?
Education for sustainability is learning that links knowledge, inquiry and action to help students build a healthy future for their communities and planet. It helps teachers bridge grade levels and subject areas, curriculum and school operations, and parent and community partnership.
Teachers learn about the community’s vision and strategies for a sustainable future, then bring this larger dialogue into their curriculum with a focus that’s appropriate for their students. This fosters ongoing school- community partnerships that gain staying power from their ties to the curriculum and to each other and these partnerships create learning opportunities for students in their community. With each lesson learned, students develop understanding of how all things are connected and their role.
Education for Sustainability is: Experiential Education
Place Based Education:
Place-Based Education (PBE) occurs when students, teachers, and adults in the community use the social, cultural, and natural environment in which they live as an inquiry-based learning laboratory for students to gain knowledge and skills across the curriculum. The goal is to gain understanding of one’s own place in order to better understand the natural and human systems that make up our local communities and, by extension, the world. The goal is to create opportunities for students to think independently (inquiry); collect, analyze, synthesize, and critique information (data); address community opportunities and concerns, and create knowledge and innovative ideas.
Project Based Education:
“Project-based learning is an instructional approach built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and general reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside of the classroom. Project-based learning is synonymous with learning in depth. A well designed project provokes students to encounter (and often struggle with) the central concepts and principles of a discipline. Project-based learning teaches communication and presentation skills, organization and time management skills, research and inquiry skills, self-assessment and reflection skills and group participation and leadership skills” (www.eduvisionsschools.org)
Education for Sustainability brings together knowledge of place with the skills and strategies of experiential education to focus on improving our communities and our future. Service learning combines the principles of experiential learning with service learning with service to the community to support students’ personal, academic and social development. It helps students make connections between what they are learning, what is happening in their community, and how their own lives will be impacted. (Sustainable Schools Project)
The Goals of Education for Sustainability
Sustainability is often though of as having the following intertwined goals:
- Economic Prosperity
- Environmental Integrity
- Social Equity
At Perkins Academy, we aspire to the 4Cs as outlined by the Sustainable Schools Project
- Curriculum Development – Continuously, finding ways to integrate the BIG ideas of sustainability and practices with the Common Core standards.
- Campus Practices and Culture – Continuously, finding ways to bring the ideas of sustainability and its practices into the school through energy and waste management along with student leadership.
- Community Partnerships – Continuously, building relationships with partners here in Marlow, Cheshire County, NH or around the state.
- Collaboration – Continuously, working with students, teachers, families and community members as we create meaningful educational opportunities.