The motto, “Using the outdoors and community as a classroom,” reveals the motto of The Watershed School, a K-8 school. What has gained national attention and distinguishes this school from other schools is the focus on Environmental Education. The curriculum is more thematic and more hands-on than the conventional school system. It places emphasis on combining classroom science lessons with explorations outdoor and studies conducted through connections with the community.
The Watershed School began its operations in the year 2009. The name Watershed came into being partly because of the natural science and interdisciplinary themes designed, based upon the ecological systems within the Tanana Valley Watershed. The school’s academic policy committee reviewed the curriculum standards of the state and district, and came up with a curriculum suitable for Fairbanks.
Following the concept of place-based education that develops a sense of place through the study of local knowledge, the Watershed School follows a locally relevant curriculum, which focuses on cultural studies, Watershed studies, the public process and local economy. The science content includes biology, geology, physics, chemistry, anatomy and astronomy.
Structured with straight-grade classrooms, the middle school students explore an invasive plant species issue, while the 7th and 8th graders study state, national and international topics. Children also learn to understand and appreciate world cultures and issues. A series of thumps and clinks lead to children practicing their hammering skills, while others go camping.
4975 Decathlon Ave.
Fairbanks, AK 99709