Sign In

Place-Based Extensions of the Academic Classroom


Our unique Great Journeys Begin at the River curriculum means that lessons in the watershed are an important component of ALL classes - whether science, English, math, foreign language - hands-on projects and creative, outside-the-box thinking ensure that school is fun, and that lessons take hold. A Christchurch student has "the heart of an explorer." Do you have the heart of an explorer?

Students especially love our Place-Based Extensions of the Academic Classroom lessons - P.E.A.C. 

P.E.A.C. lessons break down the walls of single teacher classrooms and utilize natural and social resources in our region to enhance classroom effectiveness and relevance. 

P.E.A.C. lessons lead to greater student engagement and emotionally charged, meaningful experiences. 

P.E.A.C. lessons expose students to relevant people and communities and facilitate building of those relationships.

P.E.A.C. lessons are focused extensions of the Immersions trips, grade-level themes and points of conflict.

Dave Cola
Director of Place-Based Education; River/Outdoor
Year Appointed: 2008
Washington College - B.A., M.A.
Dr. Keesee's Senior Honors History Seminar - the class visited Gary and Susan Grabb, the owners of the infamous Parrot Islands near the mouth of the Rappahannock River. Through the school's use of the islands we have established a great relationship with the Grabbs. Tee more we have gotten to know the couple, the more we appreciate their exceptional approach to balance and life. Highlights from this PEAC included a personal tour of the Grabb's sustainably inspired home, learning about aquaponics in Gary's reconditioned indoor pool, hearing about countless projects that the couple has created to insure a high quality of living while remaining in tune with the natural world and sharing big ideas about inspiration and drive during a beautiful picnic lunch. The trip was intended to bring practicality, relevance and life to several of the core concepts in Dr. Keesee's course. 

9th grade - trip to Historic Jamestown - time with archeologist, historian, Native Virginian

Volleyball Team - using our place to reflect on a forming team

Mr. Carey's 9th Grade Science Classes - saltwater wetland ecology and biodiversity

Dr. Silverman and Mr. Clark's science classes - Menhaden as a keystone species telling the Chesapeake Bay 101 story

Sophomore Class to Historic Christchurch - pre-revolutionary social structure and seeds of rebellion

Mrs. Byers' English - Into the Wild, Emerson, Berry and transcendentialists

Mr. Schaefer's Advanced PreCalculus - using tidal veriation and variables. How are they connected to natural and human systems to better understand the complexicty of decision making and potential for math to be incorporated?

Ms. Sinnenberg's Sophomore English Classes - interviewing to gain the skill and empathy/awareness of local perspectives - Native American, African American, Watermen

Ms. Bacon's ESL Class - introducing William McDonough's work, ecological identity and cumulative impacts

Sophomore Class to Prince George National Forest and National Museum of the Marine Corps - changing priorities with changing times

Mr. Schaefer's Math Class - mock board meeting focused on measureing and quantifying the priorities of sustainability when designing a new building on campus

Mr. Kempe and Ms. Sinnenberg's English Classes - class writing in and about a pristine natural environment in order to complement Cormac McCarthy's novel, The Road.

Ms. Olsen's Honors Biology Class - visiting Fossil Beach on the Rappahannock River and focus on the geology of our region.

Mr. Goodrich and Dr. Keesee's Senior History Classes - investigate conventional agriculture at Corgin Hall Farm and then contrast with visits to Piankatank River Aquaponic Farm and Day Spring Organic CSA Farm. Consider evolving priorities regarding sustainability and capitalism. 

Ms. Olsen's Honors Biology class - investigate how the Dragon run ecosystem can inspire us as young scientists and Great Journeys students.