2009-08-20 / Schools

Earth science magnet school to open

EARTHS, the Environmental Academy for Research Technology and Earth Sciences, a K-5 public magnet school in Conejo Valley Unified School District, will open its doors in Newbury Park on Aug. 27.

An environmentally friendly ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 8 a.m., followed by a Principal’s Coffee at 8:30 a.m. after the students have started classes.

The 500 students transferring by choice from other schools within the district will take part in an interactive, multisensory, discovery-based education process.

Earth sciences and technology will be taught with handson learning in state-of-the-art indoor, outdoor and communitybased classrooms.

The school features a newly renovated science lab, six biolabs, technology labs, smart boards, interactive and projectbased learning expeditions, school uniforms, parental participation contract, a small personalized learning community, and partnerships with universities, corporations and other community partners.

While EARTHS receives public school funding on par with other schools in the district, this school is also working with community sponsors and businesses.

In partnership with the Full Option Science System (FOSS) and the Lawrence Hall of Science, EARTHS has created an integrated science curriculum.

The Boeing Company has financially supported this program both in curriculum and with instructional materials such as a weather station and dissecting microscopes.

The Discovery Center collaborates with EARTHS and supports science outreach for students and their families.

Pepperdine University has chosen EARTHS as a professional development school and provides an internship at the school for its Westlake student teaching candidates

The Natural Resources Conservation Service partners with the school to sustain the six biolabs on campus.

The National Park Service is the liaison to a community native habitat where students engage in cross-curricular studies and a service learning program, SHRUBs.

In SHRUBs (Students Helping Restore Unique Biomes), fifth-graders work with park rangers and restoration staff to collect seeds, work in the park’s plant nursery, and plant and care for native species within a quarter-acre restoration site in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Students participate in lessons taught collaboratively by the National Park Service and EARTHS teachers on native flora and fauna, geology, impact of invasive species on native plants, animals and water cycles, scientific methods, public speaking and basic camping skills.

EARTHS teachers were selected for their science orientation and interest in innovative teaching strategies. Teachers participated in a weeklong retreat this summer that covered content knowledge, curriculum development and team building.

The first day will launch several EARTHS programs, including Walk to School Wednesdays, Back to Biking, EARTHS After Dark Speaker’s Forum and The EARTHS Core e-newsletter, part of the school’s paperless communication system.

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