Elle Shafer, Place Network of Teton Science Schools faculty member, traveled to Cambridge, Wisconsin from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to work with Koshkonong Trails School staff on integrating place-based instruction into the daily activities of this innovative new school. Koshkonong Trails School is a member of the Place Network Schools and will be working with Teton Science Schools faculty and other small and rural school teachers from across the nation.
The Place Network Schools is a collaborative network of rural K-12 schools that connect learning and communities to increase student engagement, academic outcomes, and community impact. Within an innovative place-based approach, competency-based assessment and project-based learning are implemented with a common learning model to ensure collaboration, fidelity, and quality across the network. Place Network is a project of Teton Science Schools, a 501(c)3 located in Wyoming and Idaho, with additional Place Network Schools in Wisconsin, Alabama, and Illinois.
Koshkonong Trails is a project-based middle/high school in Cambridge, WI that focuses on the environment and agriculture. The school, which is a public charter and affiliated with the School District of Cambridge, will offer high quality, rigorous, authentic learning opportunities for students interested in and motivated by project-based, hands-on learning. In addition, the school strives to provide a place-based, experiential education built around conservation, stewardship, and agriculture.
Jenn Scianna, Director of the Severson Learning Center, an idyllic school farm, has shepherded the development of the Koshkonong Trails School, and Laura Emrick has been hired as the school's inaugural head teacher. Dr. Bernie Nikolay, Cambridge school superintendent, and the School District of Cambridge board have been instrumental in bringing this innovative effort to fruition. The Koshkonong Trails School will be based out of the Severson Learning Center.
The Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC) is working with Teton Science Schools to build out the Place Network Schools through RSC's regional Action Hubs. The RSC administrative office is located in Cambridge, and Koshkonong Trails' participation in the Place Network Schools provides an excellent opportunity for RSC to share the value and impact of place-based engagement with other small districts through its Action Hubs, which are located in ten distinct regions throughout the country.