What is Place Based Education?

Emerson-Hubbard High School students in Nebraska received Grants in Place support to expand their literacy program, Rural Lit RALLY, to community members.

What is Place Based Education?

And why is it necessary in rural schools?


The Place Network learning model puts both the learner and local place at the center of the experience. Supporting the model is (1) personalized pathways to build strong capacity in literacy, mathematics, and technology skills, (2) Habits of Success where leadership and self-awareness competencies play an equivalent role to other knowledge and skills competencies - the whole child matters, (3) project-based learning as the core integrating methodology to support community impact, and (4) mastery as a competency-based assessment system where advancement is based on demonstration of mastery rather than time period.

Here are five reasons why place based education makes sense for rural schools:


  1. Local and global challenges need innovative solutions.
    The challenges and opportunities faced by the world are immense. As articulated in the Goals for Sustainable Development, professionals in the future will need both the skills and dispositions to create innovative solutions to local challenges. To do this, students need to complete real projects that address real challenges to be prepared for the modern world. We believe that this must happen on a local level, everywhere.
  2. Learners need a different model.
    Students need to move from a standardized, inflexible, compliant, and disconnected curriculum to an adaptive, innovative, personalized, learner-centered model.
  3. Communities need involvement and engagement.
    Local hands-on community engagement and participation has dropped over the last fifty years.
  4. Students are not connecting with local places.
    While online educational models are rapidly increasing there is a corresponding decrease in students engaging in the world outside of their homes and schools - both natural and human built.
  5. Learning networks need to expand opportunity from school to entire communities.
    The entire community around a school can be engaged as a learning opportunity to increase personalization, relevance, and engagement.

Educational Approach: Place Based Ed

What do we mean by place-based? Click below to learn about the six principles of place-based education. See more on the Teton Science Schools web page.

Click to scroll through the principles of Place-based Education

Click to scroll through the principles of Place-based Education

Click to scroll through the principles of Place-based Education

Click to scroll through the principles of Place-based Education

Click to scroll through the principles of Place-based Education

Click to scroll through the principles of Place-based Education