November 1st was Global Outdoor Classroom Day, so for this month’s “Meet SAGES’ Learning Partner” special monthly segment, we wish to spotlight Sandy Benton — Wisconsin Green Schools Network!
As WGSN’s Director of School Services, Sandy is currently working along-side SAGES’ staff to further enhance our school’s approach to project-based learning as part of agricultural studies and to maximize our Field Study Experiences outside the traditional classroom setting and in local natural areas — our School Forest, Fox Lake, SAGES’ Community Garden, Horicon Marsh, area agri-businesses.
When it comes to environmental education, project-based learning, and understanding how a charter school runs, Sandy brings a rich resume. She founded Fox River Academy (FRA), an environmental charter school, in 2005 with a colleague and currently serves as President of the FRA Governance Board. Her passion for teaching and learning is evident through the work she has done over the years with colleagues from across Wisconsin to create the WGSN. Sandy has served as a coach and consultant to develop and implement rigorous place-based and inquiry-based learning experiences in numerous schools including SAGES!
Beyond her current collaborations with our teachers, Sandy has also shared her enthusiasm and environmental education expertise with our learners. Last spring, Sandy served as a presenter during SAGES’ annual “Pontoon Classroom.” At her stop on Fox Lake, she conducted a “Water Quality Indicators” learning station, where our K-6 learners got to dip net and complete macroinvertebrate explorations. A favorite station by many! [Curious about SAGES’ Pontoon Classroom 2018? Want to see Sandy in action? View a short Pontoon Classroom summary video on SAGES’ Facebook page.]
Sandy’s work and that of WGSN is innovative and much appreciated by SAGES and many others. In fact, Wisconsin Green Schools Network was among 8 “Standing Up for Rural Schools” award recipients recognized during the 10th Annual Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Conference this week, Oct. 29-30, in Wisconsin Dells. [To learn more, read article: Eight ‘Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin’ recipients named.]
Congratulations, WGSN! SAGES is so fortunate to be learning and working with you in the F.I.E.L.D. — Fostering Inquiry and Empowering Learners through Discovery!