From Vermont to Monteverde
Field Research has been the cornerstone of this little school in the Green Mountains of Vermont–at the grassroots level within its small flourishing community–to the State Capital and the Nation’s Capital–to the Atlantic coast and the shores of NYC–and finally to Central America–in its capstone work for graduating students.
This spring research trip for 22 Junior High students centers around the question: Vermont to Monteverde, How are we connected? To unravel this question, 7th and 8th graders have been studying international trade—focusing on coffee and tourism—and the influence of human behavior on local and global ecologies.
“Schools have always tried to foster responsible citizenry, and more than ever we must consider what it means to be a global citizen,” says Principal Francie Marbury. “Our middle school curriculum fosters global awareness through culture, economics and ecology. Students learn learn basic skills, and prepare for their the future in the best way—by being actively engaged in real world problems and solutions.”
- Practice of Democracy: Students make real decisions about the classroom, fundraising, and the parts of the curriculum using a government they chose.
- Spanish Language: Nothing makes a foreign language more relevant than traveling. While in Central America we will be visiting schools and using the language skills we have been developing in class to get to know the people and places of Costa Rica.
- Social Studies: From an understanding of world trade from the Silk Road to the Atlantic Slave Trade, we look specifically at the economics of the coffee & tourist trade as they connect the United States and Costa Rica.
- Ecology: Due to global warming and deforestation in the lowlands, the montane cloud forests of Monteverde are particularly vulnerable with numerous rare species threatened. This illuminates the unintended impact of human activity on ecosystems–a theme for ecology our classes.
For many students, this will be their first time out of the country or their first time on a plane. Some will credit this journey for shaping a lifetime of world travel and study. Others will mark it as their single trip abroad. ALL will return home with a broader perspective of the world in which they live and a greater sense of what it means to be a global citizen.
With 2 months left to go, the students have already raised close to 75% of the overall costs, enabling all students to participate regardless of ability to pay.