Educating for Sustainability Symposium
Woodward Academy held its first annual Educating for Sustainability Symposium on Main Campus in April of 2011. The event was hosted by the Curriculum Action Team of the Sustainability Council, and its purpose was to stoke conversation and action around environmental, economic and social sustainability in the classroom at Woodward.
Some 30 educators from all Woodward schools and subject areas were personally invited to attend the event. A dinner, featuring farm-to-table fare, on Friday night brought administrators from each school as well as President Stuart Gulley. President Gulley kicked off the Friday event with an inspiring personal story of how he came to understand the importance of sustainability from corporate visionary Ray Anderson. Local farmer Rashid Nuri, who supplied food for the dinner, spoke about his journey in urban farming. Woodward's Dining Services prepared the food for the event.
Saturday's main event was kicked off with a keynote speech from four Woodward educators who provided an overview of sustainability curriculum based on their experience as students at the Cloud Institute. This keynote served to broaden the definition of sustainability curriculum beyond just "green stuff." The presenters showed how sustainability links with every discipline, not just the sciences, and how it relates to the shifting paradigm of education.
The participants had the opportunity to choose one of four sessions following the keynote, ranging from workshop to panel discussion. These sessions were led by experts in the field of sustainability and education. The sessions covered the topics:
- School as a learning laboratory - This session, led by Lindsay Wyczalkowski (a teacher at Mary Lin Elementary School), gave teachers an opportunity to explore, through a workshop format, how to integrate outdoor classroom and garden elements into lessons.
- Sense of place - Moving from the Woodward archives to a sensory walk across campus to a live acting experience, the sense of place session invited participants to develop a deeper relationship with the unique place of Woodward Academy's College Park campus.
- Global citizenship and the commons - Participants heard from fisheries expert Mateja Nenadovic about the many problems facing the world's marine fisheries and how education is a key part of the solution.
- Cross disciplinary curriculum and authentic learning - A panel discussion session, moderated by 6th grade teacher Amy Underwood, showed how some educators are teaching students to think across disciplines; a critical skill in solving intractable sustainability problems.
The Symposium illicited important conversations and helped Woodward teachers develop new ideas of how to integrate sustainability into the classroom. The Symposium will be an annual Woodward event.