The Ins & Outs of an Environmental High School

Goodwin College’s magnet high school, Connecticut River Academy (CTRA), will continue to impress in 2017 with innovative, collaborative programming, forwarded by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant. The EPA is an organization that endeavors to protect human health and the environment, and does so by developing and enforcing regulations, gifting grants, studying environmental issues, sponsoring partnerships, teaching, and publishing. In a mission-focused move in December 2016, the EPA granted six public environmentally-focused high schools across the Northeast region $75,000 – Connecticut River Academy being one of them. Together, the environmental high schools will lead by example and produce a special project called, “Teaching Our Cities.”

Connecticut River Academy, in partnership with other sustainability-driven schools in CT, will incorporate a question and answering process into their curriculums as they investigate individual challenges related to environment and community, which are often the same across states. Through blogs, videos, and reporting, the schools will publish the results of their workshops and research to help other urban public high schools learn from their experiences.

This grant recognition just goes to show how Connecticut River Academy has been setting the bar higher in environmental learning with each graduating class since 2014. The breadth of understanding that students gain at an environmental high school like CTRA branches into categories such as advanced technologies and field experience, and promotes college and career readiness. For any young person interested in learning more about the environment, Connecticut River Academy would be an exciting choice.

In this technology magnet school, CTRA students not only get to experiment in college-level science labs, but they also each benefit from a personal laptop computer. With technology at their fingertips, students tend to stay focused for longer periods of time. This is especially important for the math and sciences, which are intertwined in an environmental education, because these subjects require students to exhibit diligence and in-depth concentration. With digital tools, teachers have the flexibility to make math and science activities more specialized, rewarding and exciting, promoting further student achievement.

As an early college high school, Connecticut River Academy requires students to complete a capstone project in their senior year, which incorporates environmental learning “in the field.” Scholars identify a real-world endeavor with a mentor that they would like to take on and expand their knowledge and confidence through that experience, reflecting orally and in writing. The capstone process is unique in that it helps teens develop a self-directed focus within the environmental sciences, and gives them individualized agency in their academic interests.

An environmental high school education has far-reaching possibilities for teenagers. National Geographic reports that there are many fast-growing careers in the “green,” or environmental sector, including water quality technicians, natural scientists, and wave energy producers, just to name a few. Students at Connecticut River Academy will already understand the basics for these kinds of careers upon graduation, and will step onto campus with a true advantage. A career in environmental protection is not only rewarding for the world and oneself, but it is also a smart choice given the current global job climate!

Through parent testimonials, we hear that parents believe they made a great choice in sending their children to an environmental high school. One CTRA mom says that her son’s interest in the environment and marine biology made the school a perfect fit for him. She also remarks on the smaller classroom sizes, and is impressed by the state-of-the-art research vessel used for water ecology studies. The positive classroom environment, beyond academic subjects, was also noted by another mother, who explains that learning at Connecticut River Academy was comfortable and inclusive for her daughter.

As an environmental high school, Connecticut River Academy asks students to contribute to a more just and sustainable world, and promotes the values of awareness, diversity, and action. Molding teens into aware, resourceful, compassionate communicators and leaders continues to be the goal at CTRA. Being recognized for its good work by the EPA is a major achievement, and just one more reason why those students and families who have an interest in sustainability in education may be moved to find their futures at Connecticut River Academy.

Located on the Connecticut River, Connecticut River Academy offers scholars in-field, hands-on learning and outdoor observation, allowing them to experience first-hand what environmentalists actually do in their day-to-day careers. If you are considering a Connecticut environmental high school for your teen, think Connecticut River Academy: where the sciences and state-of-the-art technologies are at the forefront of our curriculum. Learn more by signing up for a parent information session here or start an application today!