Live from the Everglades

Live from the Everglades

News from the Everglades Travelers...

News from the Everglades Travelers…
If you didn’t catch us LIVE on Facebook today, here’s the link! We Facetimed with our older students from the Anhinga Trail at Everglades National Park and recorded it live on Facebook. It was really great to hear from them, even though we were envious of the 85°F and sunny skies! Take a look and a listen in to their experience.
Imagining and Examining the Everglades at the Phoenix School

Imagining and Examining the Everglades at the Phoenix School

Imagining and Examining the Everglades at the Phoenix School

by Joey Phoenix

Spring is finally here and the students at The Phoenix School are gearing up for their annual adventure. This year, they’re trekking down to the Florida Everglades.

Trips like these have been part of the school’s curriculum for years now as a way to create an engaging project that’s adaptable across age, ability, and learning style. This year’s trip focus is on the ecology, including both flora and fauna, as well as the issues of social and environmental change affecting southeast Florida.

These young students are such an incredible voice for change, and their trips to these places equip them with knowledge and experiences they can bring back with them to reshape their world.

So for the past few weeks, all of the students at the school have been researching and prepping for their journey. The 6th-8th graders will actually be traveling to the southern tip of Florida where they will spend several days exploring Everglades National Park, and the Kindergarten through 5th graders will be taking part in an imaginary trip which will take place in the school also during that time.

The older kids will be basing their operations at a youth hostel just outside Everglades, and from there they’ll be able to make day trips to explore different aspects of the National Park. One of the highlights of the trip is a 15 mile bike ride though Shark Valley where they’ll get to see lots of things, including tiny alligators who frequently cross the path in search of new watering holes.

Last year, the students spent time snorkeling and kayaking at the Catalina Island Marine Institute.

While the older kids are encountering alligators in the wild, the younger kids will stage an Everglades trip of their own, imagining everything from going through airport security, making plane tickets, flying a plane (and often “crashing” it in Florida to the accompaniment of Google Earth on the projector. They also will transform their benches into imaginary kayaks, use long poles and pool noodles to make pretend oars, and go on a make-believe kayaking trip through the Mangroves.

To prepare, the students have been creating research guides, where they create visual aids to help them understand what they’ll be seeing on the trip, take notes to explain the visual guides and keep track of any new vocabulary they learn along the way.

Each of the research guide’s requirements is modified to fit the student’s learning styles and level. More advanced students will create elaborate visual aids and will work on shortening their notes and writing in their own voice, while younger students will learn about composition and observation.

This way, everyone can get those kinds of lessons doing their own research. It’s also important to recognize that one kid’s work doesn’t necessarily need to look like another kid’s work for it to be well done, they’re going to do it at their own level and think about the kind of things that interest them. For example, some students may focus on the chemistry aspect of the research while others will want to look into flowering plants or regional wildlife.

If each student has their own learning style, way of processing, and special talents and abilities, they should be allowed to do the kind of work that allows them to develop those skills on their own merits, and projects like these are just one more thing the Phoenix School does to make that possible.


About the Phoenix School:

Phoenix is an experience-driven learning community that gives kids the tools, thoughts, and experiences that will help them become the best versions of themselves and fosters their development as contributors to society. At Phoenix, we emphasize process over product, implementing project-based learning through our curriculum to help students think critically, explore deeply, challenge themselves, contribute positively to their world, and learn more from their failures and celebrate their successes. Our core values are creativity, perseverance, citizenship, and empathy.

Trails and Sails 2018 is here!

Trails and Sails 2018 is here!

Each year Essex National Heritage Area opens its “doors” to our county, over two weekends, to us all, for Trails & Sails. At the heart of the Phoenix philosophy, “Learning in an Adventure” and “Anywhere Can be a Classroom”, so…we ask that you all engage in learning together and participate in a Family Extended Learning Assignment.

Enjoy a variety of guided walks, paddles, historical tours and other adventures for all ages, skill levels and interests, that will connect you to the spectacular places, history, and heritage that define the Essex National Heritage Area—the 34 cities and towns of Boston ’s legendary North Shore. It’s all FREE and it’s all located within the 34 cities and towns of Essex County.

Please plan to visit one of the several locations listed on the Trails and Sails website either this weekend OR next and complete a journal entry together. A journal entry can be submitted as an email and should include drawings, words, and a creatively worded reflection from each family member and send to Leslie, this is an awesome way to participate in a typical Phoenix School exercise!
Have fun!
The Phoenix School Family Grows

The Phoenix School Family Grows

The new school year welcomes two new teachers and promotes a new Head for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Phoenix School in Salem – known for its challenging academic curriculum, designed as an experience-driven learning community that gives kids the tools, thoughts, and experiences that will help them become the best versions of themselves and fosters their development as contributors to society – welcomes two teachers and promotes a new school Head for the 2018-2019 school year.

Joining the team are Mike Smith and Mistral Dodson, while Leslie Levesque becomes the new Head of School. The schools founders Betsye Sargent and Barbara McFall retire and join the school’s Board. Levesque has been with The Phoenix School since 1995 and is thrilled to continue to further the mission with the help from Dodson and Smith.

Sargent and McFall are excited to be handing over the baton, the claim, “After 37 years of growing The Phoenix School, we cannot think of anyone more qualified than Leslie Levesque to carry on our mission. May she blend her vision with ours. It’s comforting to know that under Leslie’s watch there is a commitment to stay the course as she, Mike, and Mistral develop new and exciting curriculum and experiences for our future Phoenix students.

Since opening in 1981, The Phoenix School makes use of community resources and remains a vibrant part of downtown Salem. The students can often be seen walking around downtown using the city as their classroom by visiting the Salem Common, the YMCA, the Peabody Essex Museum and other downtown institutions. Founded by Betsye Sargent and Barbara McFall, the school’s goal has always been to help build students who think globally while acting locally.