Note from Anne Gurnee, Education Director: Your amazing support at last year’s auction helped make a new position possible at Southwest Charter School, the Field Work Coordinator. We were fortunate to hire our own, Sarah Anderson (former 7/8 Humanities teacher) to fill the position. And she has been busy! She will be sending out periodic updates on what she is up to, and below is her first update. Enjoy!
First, I’d like to say how excited I am to take on this new position at SWCS! Ever since I majored in place-based education in graduate school, I have had a great interest in being a field work coordinator. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!By cultivating a love and connection for the place where we live, we can grow young people who are passionate care-takers of their communities. We do this by fostering deeper relationships between our school and local agencies and businesses who we call “stake-holders”. It is through working with them that we can develop authentic, meaningful learning experiences for our students.One of my priorities is to meet with some of these stake-holders to explore the possibility of creating long-term partnerships. This means looking at how we can fuse our curricular goals with larger community goals: how can we support other agencies’ missions through our project work? I am starting with organizations we have worked with in the past. So far, I have met with representatives from:
- South Waterfront Community Relations
- Portland Parks and Recreation
- Tryon Creek State Park
- Johnson Creek Watershed Council
- Classroom Law Project
- Oregon Historical Society
- Mirabella Retirement Community.
By the end of this school year, we should have several partnership agreements in place to support long-term working relationships.
In addition to supporting teachers with their current field work and related curriculum (setting up transportation, requesting speakers, contacting and communicating with sites), I have been helping teachers by looking ahead to winter and spring units. I recently submitting a grant to the Regional Arts and Culture Council for an exciting art/botany project that has the 5th and 6th graders working with the National College of Natural Medicine. I am also working on a grant that will improve access to Cottonwood Bay. Beyond grants, I have been brainstorming with teachers about their curricula and making contacts with community members who would be good resources.Overall, it has been a very busy and inspiring two months! I will report back as more unfolds!Take Care,