Edge of the Schoolyard
Exploring the learning happening at the schoolyard’s edge, where education, policy, and community mingle
Why Write From the Edge of the Schoolyard?
Edge of the Schoolyard is a place to explore how learning happens amidst efforts to meld together education, policy in practice, and community in American schools. Sprinkled throughout are articles about connecting children with nature to strengthen learning and health, for individuals and communities. The writing reflects my experiences as a network strategist and communications consultant in my professional life, and my efforts as an active grassroots activist and school volunteer in the 10th largest school district in America, Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.
In Newport News, VA, a shipyard company is revolutionizing what it means to create a workforce pipeline. Recently I spent the day on-site with company staff in a jaw-dropping experience, as part of my monthly Sorensen Institute Public Leaders Program. The company,...read more
It’s a term I coined years ago to encompass the holistic components I saw that students need to succeed in school, beyond the academic portion of learning. I define it as: Ensuring access and time to eat healthy food during the school day, Respecting the need and...read more
There is so much writing, research, and advocacy happening lately to promote the role of physical activity and play in the school day. In Virginia in the 2018 legislative session, we experienced an amazing achievement from the efforts of tireless parent advocates and...read more
A colleague recently challenged my intention to include environmental stewardship as a vital component of public education. She asked why it should take such a central role, more so than say, art or music.
I had a difficult time mounting a defense for my positionread more
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Perhaps like you, I used this retort as a kid, most memorably at the morning bus stop when I was being made fun of for something trivial. I was fortunate to not be a target for bullying, but like most kids, I had my moments of being teased.read more
It’s true: jobs DO exist, if we educate our students about opportunities and inspire them about the areas where they can find in-demand, fulfilling careers. I see it in my day job working to introduce STEM concepts to K-8 students so they are inspired to seek classes...read more
After dismissal recently, I led a tour of nearby Wolftrap Creek for my school's teachers. They were interested in learning about this haven for outdoor learning literally across the street from school property. I had offered to lead this tour to my principal two weeks...read more
Trash or treasure? This is a game I play with students when we are out walking. On a beach, the options could be seashells, balloons, or sticks. Near a creek, we find plastic bottles, newspaper, or smooth glass. Some finds are more easy to categorize than others. This...read more
You know how important it is to make our schools healthy places to learn and work. You also know how urgent it is to protect and repair our environment. But the fact is, change takes time. Ugh! What’s a school sustainability champion to do? Well, I’m here to tell you...read more
Join a 5 minute tour led by @Melanie4Edu, of the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center (@AEchoEnvEdAACPS) in Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Maryland.read more