Building Community Advocates
Our schools are our communities, and our communities are our schools. This interconnected reality makes it essential that we lean into the strengths of our community as opposed to sheltering our students from its weaknesses. In doing so, it is quickly unearthed that today’s students will play a role in the long-term sustainability of the vitality of any community.
Growing sustainable communities through deep school partnerships can result in growing a more just community in a number of ways. Student voice can speak into the social justice needs of the community. Preparing students for the job needs of the local community supports the economic justice needs of the community, and this often grows a student’s sense of place where they are more compelled to support and be an active community member for many years. Having students involved with conversations around sustainable communities also brings a host of environmental justice issues to the table.
All of these conversations and interactions between the schools and community supports growth and stability. It also promotes new ideas and fresh solutions. Building this type of culture and mindset requires schools and districts to begin early. Kindergarten students can be thinking about sustainability at their developmental level, so that as high school students, they can be implementing solutions in the community.