TSS at 50 Years: Our “Why”

The origin story of Teton Science Schools begins fifty years ago with a dozen local high school students learning science in the inspiring landscape of Jackson Hole, WY. Ted and Joan Major brought students into Grand Teton National Park that first summer and experienced a vision of learner-centered education immersed in inquiry. The Civil Rights Act, the Wilderness Act, the Peace Corps and a breadth of conservation and immersive education institutions all originated within a few years of this transformational time. Now 50 years later, a very different world informed by technology and globalization is in need of the next cycle of transformation.

Building on its roots as a small field science school, Teton Science Schools has evolved over 50 years. We teach our students to view the world through a scientific lens across many disciplines. Our students inquire about the world and design solutions around the challenges and opportunities they discover. Originating in nature and the National Parks, today we connect our indoor and outdoor classrooms to community with students exploring all aspects of a place – the ecological, cultural, and economic.

At TSS, we believe place-based education inspires curiosity, engagement and leadership. Curiosity is the foundation of programs inspiring questions and wonder. Increased engagement through learning in our surrounding communities improves student outcomes. Ultimately, in learning through place and investing in our communities, we build leaders to address the multifaceted challenges of today and into the future. As Teton Science Schools launches into our next 50 years, we align our mission to represent the organization we have become and the world that is to be.

TSS inspires curiosity, engagement and leadership through transformative place-based education.

Whether independent school students in a 5th grade capstone project or public school teachers learning how to connect student learning to surrounding communities, our place-based education programs create a learning ecosystem at the intersection of field education, classroom education and educator development. By embedding learners in authentic inquiry and challenge we transform our communities and develop the citizens our world needs.

Read ConnecTSS next month to learn more about our three-year strategic plan (launching June 1st) recently passed by the TSS Board of Directors to build our capacity for impact in our next 50 years.

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