The Boxberry School uses Educating for Sustainability as its framework for curriculum design. We focus on the tenets of 

  • Place Based Education (PBE)

  • Project Based Learning

  • Systems Thinking

  • Service Learning

  • the Big Ideas of Sustainability

Place-Based Education

(adapted from Delia Clarke and Shelburne Farm's Sustainable Schools Project in Vermont)

Place-based education immerses studentss in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities, and experiences,using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum. Its goals are student achievement, community, social, and economic vitality, and ecological health. 

Principles and Promising Practices of Place-Based Education Include:

  • learning taking place on-site in the school yard and in the local community and environment;

  • learning focusing on local themese, systems, and content;

  • learning being personally relevant to the learner;

  • learning experiences contributing to the community's vitality and environmental quality and to supporting the role the community plays in fostering global environmental quality;

  • learning being supported by strong and varied partnerships with local organizations, agencies, businesses, and government;

  • learning being interdisciplinary;

  • learning experiences being custom tailored for the local audience;

  • learning being grounded in and supportive of the development of a love for one's place;

  • local learning serving as the foundation for understanding and participating appropriately in regional and global issues;

  • programming being integral to achieving other institutional goals.

Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking Habits of Mind:

  1. Seeking to understand the big picture

  2. Seeing patterns/trends in systems

  3. Recognizing how a system’s structure causes its behavior

  4. Identifying cause and effect relationships

  5. Surfacing and testing assumptions

  6. Finding where unintended consequences might arise

  7. Finding leverage points to change a system

  8. Resisting making quick conclusions

Service Learning

A method of teaching and learning that challenges students to identify, research, propose and implement solutions to real needs in their school or community as part of their curriculum. (Shelburne Farms, EfS Starter Kit)

Big Ideas of Sustainability

(courtesy of Sustainable Schools Project of Shelburne Farms)

Sustainability is built on the 3 pillars of

  • Environmental Integrity

  • Social Equity

  • Economic Vitality

These Big Ideas support the 3 pillars:

  • Community- a group of living and non-living things sharing a common purpose or space.

  • Systems - parts are connected through larger patterns.

  • Diversity- all systems and places function because of variety.

  • Interdependence- all living things are connected. Every organism, system, and place depends on others.

  • Cycles- every organism and every system goes through different stages.

  • Change over Time- all organisms, places, and systems are constantly changing.

  • Limits- every system has a carrying capacity.

  • Fairness/Equity - resources are shared to meet the needs of living things- across places and generations.

  • Place- natural and human communities together make up one's place.

  • Ability to Make a Difference- everyone has the ability to change or impact a system, community, and themselves.

  • Long-Term Effects- actions have effects beyond immediate reactions.

  • Equilibrium- a state of balance.

Physical Address:
350 Island Pond Road

Harrison, Maine 04040


Mailing Address:

PO Box 2037

Norway, Maine 04268

© 2015 by Boxberry School.
Tel: 207-743-9700