New Ventures Charter School Begins Semester at Freshkills Park
This week marks the beginning of a new collaboration between Freshkills Park and New Ventures Charter School. For the next twelve weeks, students from New Ventures will report to Freshkills Park four days per week, two and a half hours per day, for environmental science lessons, hands-on fieldwork projects, art activities, and other curricula that tie into their graduation requirements. It is an exciting school partnership and the first of its kind at Freshkills Park.
New Ventures, which promotes “college and career readiness for over-age and under-credited, disconnected and at-risk youth aged 16-21 living on Staten Island”, first began discussions with Freshkills Park in 2018. With its hundreds of acres of grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands, Freshkills Park seemed like the perfect fit for students to fulfill their Living Environment requirements in a hands-on, partly outdoor setting. Through a series of meetings, Freshkills educators and New Ventures staff agreed upon a general course of curriculum that included topics like ecosystems and history of the landfill-to-park transformation, art projects based around the theme of Freshkills, and a potential youth advisory committee in which the students help plan and promote program offerings. These sorts of hands-on, fieldwork projects would not be unfamiliar to the students, as a significant component of their education is comprised of attending courses held at field sites – government offices, historical sites, hotels and businesses, to name a few.
With the school year now under way, the possibilities for both sides to benefit from the partnership abound, and the staff are excited to pass on the many lessons – from innovation and transformation to environmental stewardship – that Freshkills Park has to offer. Welcome New Ventures!