Page 2 of 2 Previous
In a world filled with video games, the hands-on aspect of environmental education resonates with students, said Comstock.
“You can go outside, and there’s no right or wrong answer,” said Kay Dicke, another fifth-grade teacher at Jeffers Pond. “The kids are using their senses to learn … and taking ownership of their education, and that’s really important.”
There are also extracurricular activities, like the Junior Naturalists at elementary schools, led by Dicke and Comstock at Jeffers Pond. The club’s third- through fifth-grade members take charge of recycling and meet monthly to work on projects. There are similar organizations at the middle and high schools.
“We’ve had students whose interest in nature started here, and they carried it throughout their educational career,” said Comstock. “The best thing is, they’re developing lifelong habits.”
Efforts to bring science into kids’ daily lives are working, said Gruver. Since 2008, students have scored at least 10 percentage points higher than average on Minnesota’s standardized science test. Last year, 68 percent of the district’s students were proficient.
And there are real-world indicators. Often Warner hears from parents that students encourage their families to recycle and reduce waste at home, she said.
“I know our children leave here knowing how the environment is being impacted by the choices they make each day,” Gruver said.
Erin Adler • 952-746-3283