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Reflections on the New Jersey
EIC Demonstration School Program
- A Final Summary -
"Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for learning" (EIC) is a nationally recognized school improvement model for increasing student learning and teaching effectiveness. The model was developed by the State Education and Environment Roundtable (SEER), a cooperative endeavor of sixteen state departments of education. New Jersey's Department of Education has been a SEER member agency since 1996.
Ten diverse schools, representing K-12 public and private education in New Jersey, have been selected to participate in a two-year (2001-2002) program that is being planned and implemented by a school team using the seven primary EIC principles. These principles and other key components of the EIC program are highlighted on the SEER website. Each school's program is student centered, and is under the direction of an EIC team of three teachers, one school administrator, a local environmental educator, and a variety of community resource people drawn in to support the program.
This program is made possible through a collaborative partnership between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education, and the New Jersey Commission on Environmental Education. It is supported by a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
The EIC Approach focuses on a local environment concern or issue that is identified by the school team, and around which all learning takes place. The effectiveness of this program is enhanced by the multi-curricular collaboration of the three teachers who comprise the instructional part of each EIC school team. Another unique aspect of New Jersey's EIC approach is the active participation of an environmental education mentor selected to 'partner' with each school team for the duration of the program. EIC mentors are professional environmental educators who represent environmental organizations or agencies throughout the state (i.e., parks, nature centers, museums, zoos, environmental education centers, etc.)
Based upon research conducted by SEER, a school improvement program that uses the "Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning" model results in:
Better performance on standardized measures of academic achievement in reading, writing, math, science and social studies;
Reduced discipline and classroom management problems;
Increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning; and,
Greater pride and ownership in individual and group accomplishments, as well as in the surrounding community.
For information on the schools selected click HERE.
Environmental Education Program
Office of Communications
PO Box 402, NJDEP
Trenton NJ 08625
SEER Home Page: www.seer.org
National Network of EIC Model™ Demonstration Schools