BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University’s mission of “creating a sustainable future for all” extends to its new K–5 public laboratory school — the Appalachian Academy at Middle Fork.
This spring, educators and administrators at the academy will receive leadership development in sustainability thanks to grant funding provided by JustPax Fund (JPF).
Mel Falck ’14 and Dr. Vachel Miller, both of Appalachian’s Reich College of Education (RCOE), will facilitate the leadership development.
Falck, an undergraduate teacher education adviser in Appalachian’s James Center for Student Success and Academic Advising, which is housed in the RCOE, received $4,830 in funding for the project. He is also a student in Appalachian’s doctoral program in educational leadership.
Miller is an associate professor in the RCOE’s Department of Leadership and Educational Studies and director of the department’s higher education graduate program.
For the project, Falck said they “will utilize a combination of leadership training and community dialogue, the main objective of which being the exploration of the incorporation of sustainability into the curriculum and culture of the academy.”
The leadership training sessions will include advice on implementing school gardens, making connections with local farms, introducing healthy, organic food in school lunches, arranging science field trips with a sustainable focus and more, Falck explained.
“Our vision for the utilization of community dialogue is to help foster discussion surrounding what sustainability for this community might look like, while the training conducted by our partners will help bring to life environmental stewardship in a school setting,” he said.
“The intention of this initial project is to eventually build toward a larger teacher training with a bigger audience. This particular project serves as a smaller scale endeavor meant to build collaborative relationships between the academy and other partners, serving as a launching off point for something greater.”
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About the JustPax Fund
The JustPax Fund provides financial and logistical support to individuals and organizations working for effective change in the realms of gender, environmental and economic justice. Through monetary grants, JustPax invests in projects and initiatives that not only ameliorate the effects of environmental, economic or gender-based injustice, but also create innovative and replicable pathways to transforming old systems of oppression while empowering those affected to create more sustainable and vibrant alternatives. Learn more at http://www.justpaxfund.org.
About the James Center for Student Success and Academic Advising
The James Center for Student Success and Advising at Appalachian State University, located in the Reich College of Education, works to recruit, advise and retain teacher education majors during their tenure at Appalachian to ensure success for a career in education. The center, which also provides professional development seminars for education majors, is home to the Appalachian Educators Club, two Residential Learning Communities — Appalachian Community of Education Scholars (ACES) and Transfer Educators — and the Educator Peer Ambassador program. It is named for Appalachian alumna Judy James, who earned her B.S. in elementary education in 1969, and her husband, Steve James. Learn more at https://jamescenter.appstate.edu.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.