The Whole Schools, Whole Communities Initiative: With funding from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, ELLMS is committed to partnering closely with ten school districts to advance effective learning and teaching practices that lead to academic success, healthy choices, community engagement, and stewardship in students. The focus is on integrating best practices in experiential education in the classroom and outdoors with PK-12 learning for Maine students.
What Do We Hope to Accomplish Together? By partnering with schools and other community partners to connect vibrant school communities with the natural landscapes of Maine–the lands, waterways, and ocean–so that Maine students understand the connection between their health and the health of the natural world, and become engaged citizens of their communities, towns, and regions. Together, we can prepare students to be 21st century learners.
- Academic Success: Improved attendance, academic performance, and graduation rates, and preparation for work and citizenship.
- Healthy Students: Healthy lifestyles, increased recreation, nutritious food choices, improved physical and mental health.
- Community Engagement & Stewardship: Leadership and collaboration skills; an ethic of citizenship, stewardship, and service; contributions to a healthy local economy; volunteers and partners engaged in schools; sustained local education funding.
- The Whole Schools, Whole Communities Process: Each ELLMS partner is collaborating with two local public schools, districts, or RSUs to support the schools and the ELLMS partners in conversations about how ELLMS partners and other community assets can support school curriculum objectives, including Common Core & Next Generation Science Standards, as well as the move toward proficiency-based learning. This will lead to a deliberately planned integration of experiential learning into the PK -12 school curriculum, along with residential experiences for students at ELLMS partner sites.
By creating programs with a time horizon of at least 10 years beginning in 2015, connecting the school curriculum to local natural resources, and including other community partners (including land trusts, municipal entities, historical associations, for-profit and other non-profit partners), we believe we can create systemic positive change in education and social outcomes for children, teachers, schools districts, and communities.