Seven Generations Charter School offers an innovative educational alternative to traditional public education. We strive for excellence in all academic subject areas and the fine arts, while also focusing on sustainable living principles, including environmental stewardship and respect for all living things.
The foundation of our rigorous educational program is the research-based “using the Environment as an Integrated Context for learning” (EIC) curricular framework, proven to increase student performance on standardized measures of academic achievement in reading, writing, math, social studies and science; improve development of problem-solving, critical thinking and decision-making skills; expand engagement and enthusiasm for learning; reduce discipline and classroom management problems; and heighten students’ demonstration of greater pride and ownership in schoolwork.
The EIC curricular framework was developed by the State Education and Environment Roundtable (SEER). EIC is a research-based model for an interdisciplinary, hands-on, and engaging experience that employs a school’s particular environment and community as the context for all learning.
EIC also employs the “best practices” of successful educators nationwide. Evidence gathered from the SEER study of 40 schools around the country – including four Pennsylvania public schools – indicated that students learn more effectively within an environment-based context than within a traditional educational framework. Like other Pennsylvania public schools, Seven Generations uses the standards-based assessment of the PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) tests. However, the EIC model also encourages nontraditional assessments such as rubrics and portfolios that help provide a more in-depth view of a student’s individual strengths and progress.
Using the EIC model, Seven Generations transcends the barriers between disciplines that exist in the traditional public school, as all teaching and learning is centered on common projects. Lessons across disciplines are intertwined, and all classes at a grade level are coordinated with one another as they do their part in bringing a project together. Interdisciplinary learning fosters students’ ability to see connections between subject matter, to synthesize disparate knowledge, and to develop creative approaches to problem-solving that are essential in the real world. This approach to education allows teachers to embrace a collaborative teaching style often absent in traditional public schools.
The project-based component of Seven Generations’ academic program also sets it apart from traditional public schooling. Students are engaged in real-world investigations that regularly take them out of the classroom, into nature and the community. This approach fosters critical thinking, creates an atmosphere of collaboration, and engages and empowers students and teachers alike. Because projects grow out of student-driven questioning, students have an investment and sense of ownership in their learning.
Project-based learning also fosters community relationships, as students work side-by-side with partners on environmental remediation projects and other ventures beneficial to the community. These partners might be parents, farmers, environmental scientists, town officials, local artists, heads of businesses and non-profits, senior citizens, etc. Numerous community organizations have formed partnerships with us, and the list continues to grow. These types of collaborations enable the students to become key players in improving life at their school and in their community.