In the Classroom - and Beyond

Sustainability is infused in a number of required and elective classes. Student activities and clubs also embrace sustainability and related issues of environmentalism, global responsibility and global leadership. Faculty and staff model sustainability through various initiatives.

Sustainability Banner2.jpgCURRICULUM
The science department offers Advanced Placement Environmental Science. This course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course usually taken by biology majors during their freshman year. The two main goals are to develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and to gain experience and practice of biology through experimentation and inquiry. The content explores and weaves together the four big ideas of biology: (1) Evolution drives the diversity and unity of life; (2) Organisms utilize energy and molecular building blocks; (3) Organisms retrieve, transmit and respond to information; and (4) Biological systems interact and these interactions create complex properties. By questioning, hypothesizing, observing, performing experiments, graphing and statistically analyzing data, and drawing logical conclusions, students develop and refine testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena.

The history department offers three courses which support student learning about the state of the planet and the challenges it faces. Geography and Global Issues 7 is required of all seventh graders. The course centers on the study of physical and human geography and how they relate to past and current global issues. The different fields of human geography — population, political, urban and economic geography fields — are stressed and provide tools for examining current issues. Students learn the basic methods geographers use to study the world, including the five themes of geography, and then explore the role of geography in creating civilization. With this strong foundation, students begin to study different regions of the world, mainly non-­western. Globalization and Sustainability: This seminar course for seniors examines the rise of capitalism and a global market beginning in the late 1980s, the expansion and influence of multinational corporations, global population increase and its regional and global implications, the growing issue of wealth distribution and disparity around the  world, free trade policies and an increasingly interconnected world economy, and global warming — its impact on the planet, and its political, economic and social effects. The central question that underlies the course and all topics is: to what extent can human beings develop economic, social, political, environmental, energy and other policies that better lead to world-wide sustainability? Urban Issues and Design: Using the St. Louis metropolitan area, this course for seniors examines poverty, crime, homelessness, education, economic development, transportation, pollution and revitalization efforts. Students explore these issues, their causes, and how they are being addressed in the St. Louis area. Students learn how the modern American city came to be, what are the current trends in urban design, and how urban design can either exacerbate or mitigate the problems afflicting cities.

The sophomore Diversity Seminar seeks to introduce students to many facets of the development of human identity, including what it means to be a responsible global citizen in the 21st century.

Basic Gardening creates a model of local and decentralized food production: This course introduces beginning gardening — sowing, maintaining and harvesting crops. Students learn about seasonal and regional crops, how to compost and the pros and cons of organic gardening. Students also learn how to start seedlings, preserve foods and study horticulture. The raised beds for this class were built by students in the Industrial Technology & Engineering Department.

Industrial Technology & Engineering offers course segments in sustainable architectural design; reuses materials in its Robotics Challenge and other projects; and builds furniture and equipment for the school, including bluebird houses for the campus, tables for the dining room, benches for our art galleries, the raised beds for the gardening class and a mantel for the fireplace in our student Commons.

IMG_3743-250p.jpgOur Outdoor Education Program seeks to foster a deep appreciation and understanding of the natural world. It includes 7th grade orientation at Drey Land; the Expedition Program (backpacking, hiking, canoeing, spelunking, climbing, biking and other weekend adventures to state parks and nearby wilderness areas); white water paddling and technical tree climbing instruction; and trailblazing.

Students for Sustainable Change Organization provides support and strategies to individuals who want to take immediate and direct action to make lasting and positive changes to improve the quality of the environment of the school and local community. Activities include school-wide recycling and composting, presenting a wide range of sustainability related programs to the school, field trips to sites of interest, petition-signing, carpooling and bike-to-work days. Initiatives are constantly evolving.

KIVA is one of almost 200 field partners that lend small amounts of money to entrepreneuers in developing countries via the Internet.

The Montgomery Plan, the school's community service program, organizes student volunteers who regularly weatherstrip low-income residences, clean up the Mississippi riverfront, work in inner-city gardens, organize drives to serve the needy and provide support at functions sponsored by SLARC, the Special Olympics and an area nursing home, to name a few. 

Global Youth Leadership is a national program that nurtures collaborative leadership for global communities and assists schools in their missions to inspire socially responsible young people.

St. Louis World Food Day is hosted annually on the Burroughs campus. In a single day, more than 1000 community volunteers package more than 250,000 rice/soy protein meals to benefit hungry children locally and in Tanzanzia.

The Super Mileage Vehicle Club builds a car to compete in the annual State Super Mileage Vehicle Competition. Burroughs' cars are powered by bio-diesel fuel and our teams have won multiple awards.

Since the fall of 2009, JBS has been recycling its cafeteria waste oil into biodiesel fuel used by the plant operations department to power lawn mowers and its tractor. The student-designed and student-built super mileage vehicle also runs on the biodiesel fuel and has achieved more than 1OOmpg during the annual statewide competition. Biodiesel fuel is cheaper, carbon neutral and cleaner burning than petroleum diesel, and the school has eliminated the need for waste oil disposal. This undertaking has also added a creative educational segment for 8th and 10th grade chemistry classes. Faculty sponsor: Eric Knispel (science)

BeeKeeping_049_11090-200.JPGBurroughs built and hosts three bee colonies on the north side of campus. Honey has been harvested since 2010 and our English and science classes take "on campus" field trips to the apiary. Burroughs' honey took fifth place in the summer 2013 Missouri State Fair competition. Faculty sponsor: Michael Dee (English)

An herb garden was designed and installed on the south side of campus in 2010. The garden features three dozen herbs, including five types of basil, three thymes and four edible flowers and three apple espaliers. SAGE, our independent food service, harvests the garden for both our lunch program and special events. Faculty sponsor: Anne Martin (fine arts, chair)