The Boggs Educational Center Project Team of Detroit, Michigan, is developing a community-based school on the East Side of the city. The development phase currently consists of planning and design in the areas of community outreach, business and management preparation, enrollment, and programming, including development of a locally sustainable food service and urban gardening education program.
The project will be funded in part by a $150,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.
“We need to give children a better reason to study than simply to get a job or advance individual wealth,” says Project Team member Julia Putnam. “Children need to develop a desire, even a passion, for lifelong learning. They need to learn to read and write with the purpose of communicating their ideas with people in their neighborhoods, their country, and the world. They need to learn about themselves in order to understand their identities and how those identities mesh with others in society. Their lives should be enriched through investment in the community. They need practice in making smart, thoughtful decisions, so that when it is their turn to run the country, they understand the delicate intricacies of resolving conflicts, while creating a world that works for all.”
The mission of the Boggs Educational Center is to nurture creative, critical thinkers who contribute to the well-being of their communities. BEC will implement “Place-Based Education,” a nationally renowned and research-based model, which immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of academic subjects. The school hopes to open in the fall of 2012.
BEC will be an institution that nurtures and supports the whole community, including families and their neighborhoods' economic, aesthetic, cultural, and agricultural stability. Students will:
- Learn how to be academically, socially, and emotionally prepared for their futures
- Be prepared to run the country through practice in owning and transforming their neighborhoods
- Reach their highest human potential
In her book, The Next American Revolution, 96-year-old community activist and the school’s namesake, Grace Lee Boggs, presents a radically different vision of education: “Just imagine how safe and lively our streets would be, if, as a natural and normal part of the curriculum from K-12, school children were taking responsibility for maintaining neighborhood streets, planting community gardens, recycling waste, rehabbing houses, creating healthier school lunches, visiting and doing errands for the elderly, organizing neighborhood festivals, painting public murals….This is the fastest way to motivate all our children to learn and at the same time turn our communities, almost overnight, into lively neighborhoods where crime is going down because hope is going up.”
The Boggs Educational Center Project Team is a nonprofit organization formed in 2010 by five Detroit educators to develop this school. More information can be found at www.boggseducationalcenter.org.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa. For further information on the foundation, please visit www.wkkf.org.