Rural Schools Collaborative celebrates the good work of Teton Science Schools this past year, and looks forward to working together even more in support of schools and place. TSS is the anchor of RSC's Northern Rockies Hub, and an invaluable partner in connecting teachers and students with the place-based tools and knowledge needed to create thriving and resilient rural schools. Through a place-based methodology, TSS is empowering students, teachers, and schools across the country to continue being the source of community vitality they have long been, including many in RSC's hub regions. The excerpts from TSS's Professional Learning Programs annual report below captures the exciting progress TSS made last year with schools in Alabama, Missouri, across the US, and abroad!
Teton Science Schools - January 21st, 2022
Letter from the Director
Teton Science Schools’ Professional Learning team has a lot to be grateful for as we begin 2022. We welcomed in our new Director of Place Network Charles Campbell. Charles brings extensive school leadership experience to TSS, and he’s diving into getting to know TSS and our network of schools across the US.
We have also been starting to resume in-person programming in 2021 and now in 2022 as well, following a time of being almost entirely virtual for much of 2020 during the pandemic. Our in-person programs and connections seem all the more rich as we re-engage with each other in person and in the same places. The examples from the Place-based Education 2.0 program highlight some of what’s possible for a group to be in person and explore place together.
We are also grateful to be able to expand access to TSS through our online offerings. The Symposium presenters spanned from across the world, and our attendees did too. We were able to offer a virtual course for educators in Bhutan, since we could not travel there in person. Our online programs continue to have a strong positive impact on our teacher participants and their implementation of place-based education.
Most importantly, we are so grateful for the students that we get to work with. A snippet of our Place Network Student Showcase is highlighted in the portfolio. Connecting learning and community is the core of the TSS Professional Learning program - and the examples of student projects from the University Charter School (Livingston, AL) and Glenwood Elementary (West Plains, MO) highlight what is possible when empowering students to connect with place.
Thanks to you for being a part of our continuing journey! We hope to see you in 2022.
Interim Head of Professional Learning
Allie Cunningham is a kindergarten teacher at University Charter School in Livingston, AL and a Grants in Place Fellow. For her place-based project, Allie focused on social-emotional learning and using art as a positive way for her students to work through their problems. Students chose a reading focusing on a social-emotional aspect and then they chose an art medium to express their own experiences with that emotion. Students will be exploring different art features on campus and then hopefully learn how to reflect on how different places can make them feel different emotions. Student art will be showcased and share information about ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences), so people can take their own ACE tests.
“No project is too small! It’s always scary when starting a new project because you feel like you don’t have guidance. But even just partnering with people in other schools and having others you can collaborate with can be a huge resource.”
Bridget Larsen is a middle school math teacher in rural Missouri and is a Grants in Place Fellow. Bridget’s project focuses on the differences in poverty and wealth in their local community as well as in a global context. Students reflected on the presence of poverty and wealth in their own lives, researched social services in their own community as well as at a global level and worked together to design a community impact project to assist families in their community. Students connected the local cosmetology school and The Christos House, a foundation that aids abused women and children, for free haircuts and beauty sessions.
“Be open to changes within the project as you move forward, find an outlet for students that may need more or may need less involvement in the project, and BREATHE!”
RSC is thrilled to celebrate Allie and Bridget, who are teachers in our Alabama and the Black Belt and Missouri Ozarks Regional Hubs, respectively. Bridget also serves on our Young Educators Advisory Council, and both are Celia B. Godsil Grants In Place Fellows. Thank you again to TSS for their partnership and good work!
Be sure to check out the full annual report here. For a complete listing of all TSS's programming, including upcoming student excursions and Place-based educator trainings, please follow this link.