In August, the New Visions Charter School, in North Minneapolis, broke ground on the Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots science classroom. With a 1,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art indoor classroom and an outdoor classroom and rain garden where students can study the environment, the addition will bolster an already strong science program for the 235 kindergarten through 8th-grade students. More than 90 percent of the students at New Visions, founded in 1994 by the A Chance to Grow organization, are economically disadvantaged.
New Visions director Bob DeBoer says the effects of the project will “permeate everything we do.” Students will learn about the energy being generated by new photovoltaic cells installed on the school, New Visions preschoolers will do monthly science projects, and DeBoer hopes environmentally minded community groups will also use the new space. “This is an example of how school can further students’ understanding of the kinship of all life, how we build our buildings and take care of our plants,” he said.
The project was made possible by a $500,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Education, which also covers energy upgrades for the whole school.