Our School’s Mission and Vision

Grove ElementaryOur mission is to utilize the natural resources, history, arts, and civic stewardship of the community as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, art, and other curriculum subjects.  The place­-based learning environment will be student­ centered, designed by teachers, and reinforced and supported by the local community. But perhaps you wonder, “What does this mean?”

A Place Where Children Thrive

At River Grove, teachers know best! Decisions are made by the people who are directly working with the kids every day.

Teacher-Powered Schools:

  • Empower teachers to decide how the school functions, determine the curriculum, and focus on the the delivery that gives kids more engagement in their own learning
  • Enable innovative, responsive, and personalized teaching methods
  • Increase teacher investment and responsibility for student outcomes

At River Grove, the teaching team will be responsible for the learning program and have the autonomy to make specific decisions influencing the school’s and therefore each child’s success. When teachers are the decision-makers, they are innovative, use resources effectively, collaborate and engage more, and redefine success. Our teaching team, including the school administrator, will set the schedule, evaluate colleagues, determine and broaden assessments, thoughtfully blend e-learning with traditional learning strategies, and promote positive discipline. They will select and integrate the curriculum into the place-based education model and will develop a scaffolded curriculum where students will build on prior learning experiences to meet state standards, such as identifying characteristics of living things (grade K), observing and noting changes as living things grow (grade 2), and controlling variables to note how environment impacts growth (grade 5).  The teaching team will determine school-level policies, set the budget, address issues in direct and respectful ways, and (with help from the community) will design and implement enrichments for students such as art, field trips, music, languages, and campus maintenance. The will also have the responsibility to identify needed professional development. Please read more about our school’s structure here.

Marine on St Croix

Going Beyond the Classroom

At River Grove, students engage in local heritage, cultures, indoor and outdoor environments, and experiences to expand their learning opportunities.

Place-Based Education:

  • Gets students out of classrooms, turning communities into settings for reading and writing, math, science, art, music, and other subjects
  • Energizes educators and students
  • Bonds students, teachers, parents, and the community, creating a sense of belonging
  • Brings learning home, personalizing it and making it relevant

River Grove will implement authentic, accessible, place-based education and enhance learning by integrating community resources (local history, arts, natural resources, and civics) into the content areas (math, arts, health and physical education, reading, language arts, science, and social studies). Examples include using math and science skills to build and place birdhouses in the forest area behind the school and regular visits to local museums to explore artifacts that directly impacted the history of our town and state.

Research has shown that place-based education has many benefits to student learning, including fostering lifelong civic engagement and helping boost student academic achievement. An extensive list of volunteer community resources has been compiled and will continue to be built upon by parents, community members, the school administrator, and teaching team and staff. The teaching team will be responsible for determining how to best use these community resources and for implementing the resources into the curriculum.

Project Based

Learning by Doing

Using grade-appropriate settings, River Grove students use a stimulating, hands-on approach to create a presentation or performance, or investigate a question or problem.

Project-Based Learning:

  • Significantly increases student outcomes and understanding of underlying concepts
  • Links learning to real-world exploration
  • Values creativity, natural inquiry, and teamwork

Project-based learning is an effective way to engage all students in the learning process as they embark on real-world exploration. Research shows that students led in a project-based approach developed greater content knowledge, showed more engagement, and demonstrated greater reasoning skills than students experiencing more traditional forms of instruction.  For this interdisciplinary approach to be most effective, devoting a time of day (such as during normally scheduled science or social studies content, depending on the topic) and varied learning spaces (such as indoor “maker-space” or outdoor forests, gardens, or historical buildings) foster authenticity and immediate application in an environment with a wealth of opportunity for learning. The teacher’s goal is to motivate students toward 21st century skills like critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration along with the basic skills of research, reading, and writing for a specific purpose.

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