John P. Parker Celebrates New Vision 2020 Focus at Open House

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John P. Parker School in Madisonville invited the community to learn more about its new Vision 2020 focus, Global Environmental Literacy, during the CPS Magnet School Open House on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.

“I’m so excited,” said Dr. Kimberly Mack, principal. “We have partners representing different aspects of our Global Environmental Literacy program in the gym and library. We’re also getting acclimated with our new video conferencing system to show our parents how it works and how students will be using it in future projects.”

A large part of the evening was introducing all of the new aspects of the program to parents. In every classroom and down every hallway, the students were showing their parents the technology they are using, activities they’ve worked on over the past few weeks and other nuances of their learning spaces. Teachers shook hands, explained projects and talked about individual students. 

John P. Parker is one of nine schools that launched a specialized program for the 2017-2018 school year through Cincinnati Public Schools’ (CPS) Vision 2020: My Tomorrow program. Students, parents and community members collaborated to determine Global Environmental Literacy as the school’s specialized program of choice. The curriculum incorporates innovative technology, problem-based learning and field excursions into instruction so students can build the skills needed to claim their place in a global society.

“Our program really hinges on the social studies and science curricula to inform the students’ reading, language arts and math; so we’re finding ways to make our curriculum authentic,” said Dr. Mack. “[Global environmental literacy] is about integrating and using project-based learning to make sure our students understand concepts.”

Students don’t have to go far for that integration. John P. Parker sits on 13 acres with established gardens that the students manage. Garden beds abundant with eggplants, tomatoes and peppers provide the perfect learning space. New this year, the students also are growing pumpkins. Their environmental focus is not just local to the community of Madisonville, or even Cincinnati.

“Next year, we’re going to be participating in a global climate change project,” said Dr. Mack. “The kids will be interacting with students from all over the world around issues related to climate change in those particular areas. We’ve already been linked to schools in Peru and the Philippines, England, Israel and others.”

Organizations such as the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Rising Stars of America, the Boys Scouts of America, Girl Scouts and the Cincinnati Children’s Home were on hand to show their support for John P. Parker and its new curriculum.

To learn more and keep up with John P. Parker throughout the school year, visit https://parker.cps-k12.org/.

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