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Collaborative Ground Work in an Urban Green School: Empowering Students as Change Agents

By Sohail Sukhera and William Sterrett

Abstract: This case study provides insights into a collaborative effort involving D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, a public university-run lab school in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. The article overviews the combined efforts of DCVPA staff, university faculty, and community partners to engage the students in unique, hands-on learning experiences, particularly in the STEM areas. Students have taken the initiative to serve as change agents and leaders in the work. Several efforts at the school, including a composting program, a recycling effort, a seedling project, and a mycology lab, provide a window into dynamic experiential learning that has brought the university and school together.

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U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award from 2012, 2013, and 2014: Teacher Perceptions of Ecological and Democratic Principles

By Tania McKey

Abstract: The study was a descriptive and correlational quantitative study of U. S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) teachers’ perceptions of ecological and democratic principles in their schools. Descriptive statistics described the ED-GRS teachers’ perceptions of how the ecological and democratic principles operate in their schools. Correlations were used to look deeper at the ecological and democratic principles and to what extent these principles were related. Teachers in ED-GRS award winning schools reported evidence of ecological and democratic principles. The findings suggested that ecological and democratic principles had a positive relationship among them. In addition, there were seven principles that had strong, positive relationships among each other as perceived by teachers in ED-GRS award winning schools. I concluded from the data that sustaining ecological change requires evidence of democratic leadership and community. This study contributes to the field of educational leadership by providing a descriptive analysis of a newly-created United States Department of Education award. In addition, this study provides schools and school leaders with information as how to make sustainable changes that lead to healthy, high performance schools including a theoretical framework to provide guidance in making the sustainable changes.

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