Organization’s Social Mission
Birmingham Covington School is designed to offer a clear choice in educational structure and philosophy to parents and children seeking a rigorous academic challenge. Rooted in research and experience that have validated the effectiveness of interdisciplinary learning and teaching for elementary children and young adolescents, the school emphasizes the connections among academic subject areas and fosters inquiry and collaboration for students who enroll. Within this context, students experience not only the basic skills in every key academic discipline but also focus their efforts on the integration and application of knowledge. For example, students explore themes of significance such as global interdependence from a variety of perspectives–literature, history, science, mathematics, and the arts–and blend these new understandings in the development of projects that unite all the disciplines.
BCS has a special emphasis on comprehensive science and technology instruction based on the Association for the Advancement of Science report Project 2061. Instructional strategies and student activities include discovering practical solutions to scientific problems, in-depth understanding of key scientific concepts and principles, and student-generated investigations. As students practice the principles of scientific inquiry, design, and application, they develop an increasingly complex understanding of the relationship among science, technology, history, communications, and the human experience.
Student groupings offer flexibility that matches developmental needs and promotes collaboration with supportive teams of teachers responsible for organizing, coordinating, and delivering appropriate instruction. As they plan a program that integrates knowledge and supports student engagement with subject matter, these teams of teachers encourage hands-on learning, student participation in defining and solving problems, and mentoring opportunities inside and beyond the school environment. Teachers emphasize the link between the classroom and the international community, encouraging students to use their expanding knowledge of global issues, literature, the arts, and the Spanish language to reflect on their connection with others. The school’s philosophy thus embodies a rigorous academic curriculum that challenges children to learn in an interactive atmosphere of cooperation, curiosity, excellence, and concern for others.
BCS is proud to be a Michigan Green School!
The state of Michigan now has an official Michigan Green School Law which encourages all public and private schools to participate in easy to administer energy saving and environmental activities in a suggested 20 point plan. Any school that achieves 10 of these points in an academic year will receive an official Michigan Green School Designation.
Covington has achieved Michigan Green school status for the last two years through:
- Recycling paper, plastic, batteries, cell phones and eye glasses
- Curriculum projects involving the students in performing energy audits at home and at school
- Curriculum projects that promotes the health of a Great Lakes Watershed
- Curriculum projects about alternative energies
- Observing Earth day in April
- Maintaining updated ecology materials in the media center
This year, with the help of all members of our community we hope to achieve Emerald or Evergreen status. New initiatives we are working on this year include:
- Adopting an endangered species
- Student Green Council
- Creating an outdoor Michigan natural habitat that will support endangered indigenous species
- Creating a community wiki
- Earth day poster competition
- Waste free lunches through the Trash Free Friday Campaign
- Expanding the recycling program to include cans
- School energy reduction plan
In order to coordinate and support the many efforts of the BCS community in their efforts to increase awareness and understanding of environmental issues, a Green Committee was formed this year. Members of the committee include teachers, parents, administrators and members of the wider BPS community. The committee meets every month to discuss progress with current projects and to determine new ways that BCS can promote responsible environmental stewardship practices.
This year BCS will have its own Windspire wind turbine installed, providing us with a wonderful opportunity to make a statement about our commitment to protect the Earth. The Windspire wind turbine generates power when wind blows against its vertical airfoils causing them to spin. One of the distinguishing features of the Windspire vertical wind turbine is that it was engineered as a complete system. It includes more than a rotor that turns in the wind and a generator to generate power. It also includes an integrated inverter, the complete pole and structure, and a wireless monitoring system.
It will be used to enhance and promote curriculum, in particular 5th and 6th grade science curriculum regarding renewable/non renewable energy sources, and Engineering Technology curriculum regarding the generation of electricity.
Students, staff and parents are very excited about the potential the turbine has to help the whole community consider the potential of wind energy. We hope to get the students, teachers and parents talking and thinking about future clean energy technologies, thereby promoting a more responsible attitude towards the environment.
Rouge Education Project
BCS is involved in the Rouge Education Project (REP) which is a multidisciplinary, school-based initiative to raise young people’s awareness of pollution in the Rouge River and encourage them to take action to restore and protect the river. The project’s focus is the study of the Rouge River, its history, current issues, how to monitor its health, how to restore it, and how to become its steward. As a water quality monitoring and watershed education project, the REP engages students’ interest, concern and commitment through real-world education.
In both spring and Fall, 220 students are taken to our designated River Rouge site in Linden Park. At the site, students investigate the health of the river. They monitor for up to nine chemical parameters, participate in a physical assessment of the river, and survey benthic macroinvertebrates (aquatic organisms) living in the river. From their results, they calculate a numerical value that indicates the relative health of the river section surveyed.
As students learn about the sources and levels of pollution in the river, they also learn how a polluted river affects the safety, health, well-being and economy of their community. Students work in teams to identify individual and community actions that will help clean up the river and prevent further pollution. They develop skills in teamwork, problem solving and decision making as they move together from a goal, through planning, to action. The REP also exposes students to the power of networking in support of environmental protection. Further, students enter data they collect online, strengthening their skills in information technology. They may also use the Internet to communicate with students at other participating schools.
Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge
The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge gives students the opportunity, tools and inspiration to become agents of change. Beginning September, 2009 through March, 2010, one hundred and twenty BCS students will be participating in the Siemens Challenge. They will be learning how to create sustainable, reproducible environmental improvements in their classroom or school, and local community.
BCS teaches the students that as citizens and future stewards of our planet, they are in a unique position to become active agents of environmental change. As part of the challenge process we examine climate change; polluted air, water and soil; endangered species; shrinking coastlines; and a rapidly increasing population to learn about the many issues that threaten our global environment.
The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge offers students the opportunity to make a sustainable change, matched to science, math, and reading/language arts concepts and skills students are required to learn. It also allows them to share their ideas and success with classes everywhere by posting them on the Challenge web site.
Student Green Council
This year BCS is initiating its first student Green Council. Every student will have the opportunity to be a member of the green council. They will be the voice of their class on the Green Council and their responsibilities include:
- Gathering suggestions and recommendations from their class members
- Representing their class at committee meetings
- Reporting back to their class members and keeping them fully informed
- Encouraging support for Green Initiatives
- Planning and managing activities
- Updating and managing the Green School Notice Board
- Writing announcements for Green Day on BCS’ daily news program, BCS News Now!
The purpose of the Student Green Council is to provide leadership opportunities and to give the students a voice in how we move forward as a Michigan Green School. We want them to know that they are agents of change and to gain a sense of responsibility for the actions and decisions we make as a school.
The Green Committee is working on the creation of a wiki designed to be a useful resource for students, teachers and parents. Everything from hyperlinks to lesson plans and videos can be shared on this wiki, with each member of the BCS community pitching in his or her own contribution. We aim to create a space that students can use to help with the curriculum and as a space for them to share their knowledge. We hope teachers can share online resources, lesson plans and ideas to enrich their curriculum. We want parents to contribute in ways that are useful and meaningful to them. For example: How can we recycle at home? What can we recycle at home? How can we extend and support the curriculum at home?
Green Day Announcements!
Every Tuesday our school announcements are dedicated to special environmental news. The children report on special news and events both within the school and local community. Eco-heroes are honored as people in our school community who are agents of change. Movies and music of the day have environmental themes and the anchors also share interesting facts and easy changes we can make in our daily lives to become more environmentally friendly.