My name is Ryan Pleune, I work as the Maryland Green Schools Coordinator for the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.
I am a high school teacher by training. I came into education through the outward-bound tradition brought to the United States by education philosopher Kurt Hahn and he always started with a quote. This was written by 19th Century poet William Wordsworth:
"There was a time when meadow, grove and stream
The earth and every common sight
To me did seem,
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream"
I am here to request the endorsement, support and strong leadership from the Anne Arundel County School board to help facilitate the first annual Maryland Green Schools Youth Summit that is scheduled here in your county on the 4th of June from 9AM - 3PM at Sandy Point State Park. The atmosphere will be the Green Schools of the Past hosting the Green Schools of Today and the Future. This is the first time that we will open up our doors for the celebration to every school in the state of Maryland. Over the last 12 years many of you may have participated in the Maryland Green School Ceremonies where we hand out awards to people like the woman just recognized as teacher of the month who teaches at a Maryland Green School as well as to other teams of teachers and students at schools through out the state who have done a tremendous amount of work to change the culture of learning at their school.
It is an open invitation to all schools in the state, especially reaching out to underrepresented schools; That is schools in counties that are underrepresented in the Green Schools program (you can reference the map of MD Green Schools by county in the folder on file) as well as other schools that might come to mind when you think of the categories of under-priviledged, under-served, at-risk etc.
In the Baltimore’s Child magazine a recent article from their March 2010 edition, the reported note that “students last year at Lithicum Elementary School in Anne Arundel County received financial support from Aetna health insurance and Evergreen Genes a garden center and a landscape contractor in Glen Burnie to create a model rain garden to slow run-off and provide a community education resource”. That is coming from an interview with principals and teachers in this county as well as Baltimore and Prince George’s.
I share this with you to point out that the Maryland Green Schools program helps systemically allocate resources in schools to complete projects and engage in professional development that they might not get otherwise.
I am quoted in that article as “The Maryland Green Schools coordinator who has worked in education for ten years is not surprised by the results of the study ‘What is clear to me about learning and student achievement is that students especially students who are struggling must feel and urgent need to learn something before they will go through the hard work of learning it. The Maryland Green Schools Program provides a map for schools to develop a culture of learning that is compelling and creates a desire to learn. That is just a background of what the Maryland Green Schools Program is and I will provide some hand-outs about our partners and members that are in reference to the tentative agenda each of you received earlier this morning.
Current brain research and what I’m studying in graduate school shows that students need to feel safe; they have to feel accepted; and then they have to feel actively engaged; physically engaged, in order access the full capacity of their brain and develop higher order thinking skills.
The youth summit, and the Maryland Green Schools Ceremony is a giant celebration for schools that captivate this type of current brain research in the culture of learning in their school. They are doing these types of differentiated projects all day every day, Earth Day does not only occur on April 22nd it is being celebrated all the time.
What I’m here to do is to ask for your formal endorsement of the Maryland Green Schools Youth Summit on June 4th at Sandy Point State Park. I feel that this will show leadership within your county, within the state, nationally and globally. The kind of learning that these schools engage in is cutting edge 21st century learning and highlights all of the 21st century learning skills you will find in teacher training for most master’s programs. Apparently you are honoring that by awarding teacher of the month to a participant in the Chesapeake Connections program and a master teacher at a certified Maryland Green School.
If you’ll look at the agenda, you’ll see there are three components, a ceremony from 9:30-12:30; Environmental Literacy learning stations for grades k-6; and a youth leadership portal for grades 6-12, which speaking to global education there is a TEDx pavilion “Dedicated to Ideas Worth Spreading” –It started in Berkely CA 25 years ago bringing people together from Technology, Entertainment and Design, now it is being coordinated independently and locally world wide - youtube.com/watch?v=K3wXI82Y8_0&feature=PlayList&p=C426936A3AD7BC9B&playnext_from=PL&index=5 – You can go online to the youtube and vimeo clips to get the feel for that.
At the end there will be a report out from the 3 youth leaders in each of those strands, with summaries, action items and goals for next year; a governor’s address and a school board visionaries recognition which I’d like to add your name to.
We will end the celebration by creating Art for the Sky a giant human made art from visible only from the sky - designed by Maryland students and coordinated by artist Daniel Dancer - inconcertwithnature.com/
“I guess what we can do as kind of a consensus of the board is to send these invitations out to schools and who wants to participate can participate.”
“Have you talked with Steve Berry yet?”
“All-right we’ll send it out”
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