How Place-Based Education can be Adopted by Your Community

The Teton Science Schools Place Network is a collaborative network of rural K-12 schools that connect learning and communities to increase student engagement, academic outcomes and community impact.  Schools that join the network will have access to sample curriculum, consulting and implementation, research to inform practice and online communities. We believe that a network of schools learning from one another can accelerate student impact.

The exemplary practice of the TSS Place Based educational model (PBE) is a testament to the impact it can have on practitioners and students’ whole child development.  The beauty of PBE is the aspect of design thinking that allows for deep exploration of topics relevant to a school community as well as cultural perspectives from around the world. PBE prepares students to be comfortable experiencing another’s perspective while still being proud or confident in their own cultural identity.  

Charles Campbell, Director of School Network at TSS has seen first hand the impact of place-based education, “Time and again I have seen how effective PBE instruction not only benefits students directly via mindful scaffolding around vital social emotional skills, but it also benefits students indirectly by facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration among their teachers.” Charles is emphatic that the PBE approach to education can be applied to any school in any community. “I have seen how this approach helps foster an atmosphere of inquiry and reflection in K-12 classrooms in rural as well as urban schools.”

Wildwood Academy in Hood River, Oregon is an amazing partner school in our Place Network. They describe their independent school as “a place-based educational laboratory where learning occurs through passionate inquiry, physical movement, cultural engagement, and ecological stewardship.” Wildwood has taken the principles of PBE and applied them to their specific community, tailoring their curriculum to the environment around the school. This example is beautifully illustrated in the school video created by Wildwood.



Wildwood Academy is a place-based and innovative independent school that is constantly creating a culture that is applicable for the challenges our students will face in the 21st century. With the Columbia Gorge serving as a vivacious (and vast!) learning laboratory, students and teachers learn in partnership through exploratory projects which capitalize on the passions of their learners and the needs of the environment and community.  

Rather than being the “knowledge emparters,” Wildwood teachers support their students in constructing their own understandings of the humanities, arts, sciences, and math. This is achieved through lessons designed to provoke critical questioning, creative problem solving, and collaborative thought. With clearly established academic and non-cognitive goals as their guides, students work to anchor discipline-specific skills that build confidence and innovation to apply to future learning. The aim is for students to not only “know” but to take that next step to “apply” their learning to novel situations. This builds the foundation of the lifelong learning and adaptability we want for all of our children.

To find out more about place-based education join TSS for our 2022 Place-based Education Symposium: Education for a Just, Vibrant, Sustainable World.  The virtual symposium will take place on Friday, April 22nd, 2022 from 4:00 – 7:30 pm MT. Please register in advance. If you are interested in learning more about the TSS Place Network and how it can be applied to your community or school, we would love to start a conversation. We exist to provide an equal opportunity for all learners to make a difference in the world!

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