Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rachel Carson: A Middle School Mentor

"No child should grow up unaware of the dawn chorus of the birds in spring."  -- Rachel Carson

This photo displays about a third of a prominent mural on our town's middle school. My interest in reading about Rachel Carson lately results from the fact that my daughter is starting 7th grade at the school. Rachel Carson is the guiding spirit of the 7th grade year. The students will learn environmental science and cap the year with a trip to Cape Cod for hands-on study of the seashore environment.

Each year at the school, students have a heroic mentor. In 6th grade it's Henry David Thoreau (at the right edge of the photo above). The 6th graders bike to Walden Pond (9 miles each way) and study Thoreau's simplicity and individualism throughout the year. Martin Luther King Jr. is the 8th grade mentor. Eighth graders read his letter from the Birmingham jail in English class and study slavery and the civil rights movement in history. The year culminates in a Justice-based Washington, DC trip where the students visit King related sights, the Holocaust museum, the Japanese Internment Memorial and more.

For there to be real justice and peace, every child throughout the country and throughout the world should attend schools with such engaging, holistic programs and motivated teachers and administrators.

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