This past fall, Evergreen Community Charter School was selected as one of only 23 schools in the network to receive a special EL credential acknowledging the notable accomplishments of our students and teachers. Our staff provided extensive evidence of remarkable achievement in the traditional sense, such as the annual state assessment, but also in the areas of character and high-quality work.
Evergreen has served as an EL Mentor School since 2013. As a Mentor School, we document and contribute examples of our exceptional teaching practice and student work to EL’s national library of resources, and have hosted hundreds of visitors from across the country. Evergreen is a fully-developed testament to the EL core belief that engaging students in work that is challenging, adventurous, and meaningful results in authentic learning and achievement. By finding complex, rigorous ways to engage with the local community and the natural environment, our students achieve more than they thought possible, becoming reflective, active contributors to building a better world.
We are grounded in the EL Education standards:
Learning is active: students are scientists, urban planners, historians, and activists investigating real community problems and collaborating with peers to develop creative, actionable solutions.
Learning is challenging: students at all levels are pushed and supported to do more than they think they can. Excellence is expected in the quality of their work and thinking.
Learning is meaningful: students apply their skills and knowledge to real-world issues and make positive change in their communities. They see the relevance of their learning and are motivated by understanding that learning has purpose.
Learning is public: through formal structures of presentation, exhibition, critique, and data analysis, students and teachers build a shared vision of pathways to achievement.
Learning is collaborative: school leaders, teachers, students, and families share rigorous expectations for quality work, achievement, and behavior. Trust, respect, responsibility, and joy in learning permeate the school culture.
Field work is an important aspect of our design. Each class participates in many field trips throughout the year to experience the subjects being studied. Most classes also take an end-of-the-year overnight trip that challenges students to apply the lessons of their expeditions and to demonstrate their independence as learners and community members.
Habits of Scholars
Habits of Scholars, the most recent EL Education practice to be formalized at Evergreen, has provided consistency in the language and practice of character development, which has always been grounded in EL Education's Design Principles. Evergreen students graduate with strength of character grounded in a deep sense of community (developed in classroom meetings, community circles, community based expeditions, and service learning).
Crew Not Passengers
At Evergreen, we echo the words of Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn in approaching education as “Crew not passengers.”
Just as crew on a ship, our students are not just “along for the ride” but wholly engaged in the journey, and responsible for reaching destinations through their collaborative and individual efforts. One way we embrace this philosophy is by assigning each student to Crews. Crews are groups of approximately 12 students from the same grade level, led by a faculty Crew Leader. Crews meet throughout the school day and provide students with peer support.