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How Green Exhibitions Work

Starting in middle school,  6th and 7th graders begin their Green Exhibition journey by exploring the question: "What makes Boston Green Academy, green?" Working with teachers across all disciplines, students examine the school, photographing elements ranging from the composting program in the cafeteria to the Freight Farm and Outdoor Classroom. They then choose a photo around which to base a photo essay for their presentation to the community. As newcomers to the school, exploring the fundamental question not only helps immerse them in the culture of BGA, it also allows them to fully engage in what it is to be a green school, with all of its successes and all of its challenges. 

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After spending their first year focusing on the school, our older middle school students begin looking outward to their local communities. As with every community, our Boston neighborhoods are already experiencing the effects of climate change, and not in equal measure due to historical forces like redlining and segregation. But there’s a vexing catch-22: as we work to make our buildings and cities greener and healthier places to live, work, and play, the forces of gentrification accelerate, pushing people further from green improvements and even out of the city altogether. Through field trips, interviews with neighborhood residents, and reflecting on their own day-to-day experiences, our students dive deep into interdisciplinary areas such as geography and economics to learn about the ways their neighborhoods have changed over the years. As they grapple with the explanations for those changes, they are also asked to propose policy solutions or innovations of their own to help slow gentrification and move towards more justice-oriented climate policies. Beginning to approach the question of sustainability and futurism in a more focused way, students work with statistics as part of their math classes, surveys and research as part of their humanities classes, and essays and persuasive communications as part of ELA and enrichment classes such as theater and film.

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Ninth grade is when students begin to look far beyond the borders of Boston and New England to consider the regional and global forces that affect the food system they experience locally. With the theme “Food: From Source to Stomach,”ninth graders learn about food justice, food and health, and food in the environment.  Students hear from professionals involved in every aspect of the topic f local organizations including the Allston-Brighton Health Collaborative, the Edgewater Food Forest, Climate Fresk, and the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts. BGA teachers also address the topic in all content area classes, and 9th graders choose a topic on which to focus their own final presentations in the form of elevator pitches, pamphlets, and stop-motion video. 

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In 10th grade, students are ready to look at the global picture. With the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the lens, our 10th graders focus on how the City of Boston and other regions are working to achieve the SDGs by 2030, especially as related to consumption and waste. At the same time, students literally get their hands dirty as stewards of the Outdoor Classroom, learning more about composting and zero waste both from an individual and systemic point of view, and they increase their own civic engagement by sharing their learning and experiences with members of the community. Their final presentations include social media campaigns, public service announcements, infographics, and Op Eds. Together, students and staff explore concepts of regeneration, circularity, and sustainability through the lenses of economics, geography, psychology and behavioral design, communications, and of course science, math, ELA, humanities, and world languages.

Eleventh grade is when all of the exposure and hands-on practice becomes part of the Junior year-long thesis and data analysis project. Incorporating the concept of sustainability and all of its many intersectional iterations into an academic poster presentation provides the opportunity to bring the message to an even wider stage through the Green Action Expo (GAE). During the GAE, students choose a topic that speaks to them, a topic that connects human life with the natural world. They deliver their final poster presentations to an audience made up of parents, elected officials, faculty from our local colleges and universities, as well as our corporate and nonprofit partners. In addition to presenting their findings, students also make suggestions and provide information to enable participants to dig deeper and help make change on the issue(s) at hand. 

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The Green Exhibition experience culminates in 12th grade, when each BGA senior takes part in a five-week internship. Their experience presenting Green Exhibitions since sixth grade, prepares seniors to bring their knowledge, their skills, and their confidence, to a workplace environment where they can both contribute to their host site as well as gain valuable, real-life experience.


Check out a brief video of our 2023 seniors at their host sites, click on the first image below to see the final presentation by one of our seniors, and click here to listen to the podcast, "Behind the Switch with Deylin"

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