We took the teachers at these schools through a sample of the ADK Futures materials and process with the idea of working them into the curriculum of middle school and high school students this year or next. We discussed various ways we might work with the schools to bring ADK Futures to students.
The new common core standards for schools emphasize learning through real-world problems that are relevant to the students’ lives rather than abstract or fictional problems or topics. Our work provides some great content that can be integrated across a number of subjects: science, math, civics, history, social studies, arts, physical education, etc. Going through a process like scenario planning would teach students to work in teams and allow them to become more engaged in the efforts to improve their communities and the region. But the greatest benefits, we feel, would come from students feeling more empowered to participate in the creation of their own future.
Students would need background information on many aspects of the Adirondack Park region prior to participating in some form of the process. We were pointed to the Adirondack Curriculum Project which already provides a great deal of relevant material, already organized into the lesson plans. As we work with a school, what we develop with them can be reused by other schools. Over time, we could have a pretty complete set of modules that any school in the region can use. Ultimately, we might have a youth planning summit in which students from multiple schools come to debate the best future for them as they grow up and the ways in which they can work to make that future happen.
We look forward to continuing these discussions with these two schools and others.