Wangari Maathai Community School

The Wangari Maathai Community School is a new K-8 charter school opening in Providence for the 2019-2020 school year. Our school’s namesake, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize-winner Wangari Maathai, was a visionary who, in concert with her community, and out of a deep sense of responsibility towards her place and people, began the international Green Belt Movement by the simple act of planting trees in her Kenyan village. Bringing ecological restoration to East Africa, and with it, economic stability and peace, her actions embody the model of sustainability we hope to pass on to our students. Viewing sustainability as "a holistic approach to living and problem-solving that addresses ecological health, social equity, and economic prosperity for present and future generations," we are inspired by Maathai’s legacy to provide authentic learning experiences that draw upon and strengthen our students' connections to their "place," the City of Providence.

Through fieldwork, case studies, and service learning projects centered around the rich cultural, historic, and natural resources in Providence, the Common Core State Standards will come alive for our students and develop in them an ethos of stewardship, interdependence and compassion.  Students will not only be academically challenged by learning that is relevant to their lives, they will be actively improving their community and developing the 21st Century skills that are foundational to academic and life success - cooperation,collaboration, problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, and self-awareness.

Wangari Maathai Community School will prioritize the study of Science in all grades and provide direct, authentic learning experiences with urban ecology while nurturing a culture and practice of inquiry across subjects. As we work to elevate the study of Science/Environmental Literacy and cultivate our students’ natural curiosity, we will rely on the expertise of community partners to serve as resources, programmatic advisors, content specialists, and guides to enhance our students’ learning.

Following our school’s guiding principles of Diversity, Exploration, Interdependence,and Responsibility, Maathai Community School will value teachers for their: personal experiences and passions; commitment to lifelong learning;ability to personalize the learning of each student; creativity and professional knowledge; dedication to fostering youthful curiosity; and engagement with the world. We believe that great teaching is the critical lever to student success and that strong, aligned, and authentic curriculum is a key way to support teachers in providing excellent instruction. Starting with comprehensive, detailed, and standards-aligned curriculum across all subject areas, our teachers will have ample opportunities to refine and revise curriculum in response to student needs and their own talents and passions.Curriculum will regularly be reviewed and revised within professional learning communities, or Critical Friends Groups ®, and in collaboration with a certified Principal.

Organization Name: Wangari Maathai Community School
Address 1: 10 Dorrance Street
Address 2:
City, State, Zip: Providence, Rhode Island  02903
Type: Charter
Number of Students: 324
Lowest Grade:
Highest Grade: 8
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