BEAVERTON — Jesuit High School was recently honored by the State of Oregon for its commitment to sustainability. The school was named an Oregon Sustainable School, the only Catholic and private school in the state to receive the award.
The recognition honors schools for reducing environmental impacts, keeping students safe and healthy, educating for sustainability and fostering social justice.
The award is about more than just teaching students to recycle or turn out classroom lights, says Jennie Cournia, physics teacher and chair of the school's sustainability committee. The idea is to incorporate sustainability into teaching and learning.
"It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behavior and take action for sustainable development," Cournia says. Students are formed to take part in critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way.
"Jesuit has made a concerted effort to incorporate the mission of our school in every aspect of what we do," Cournia says. "Through this focus, we foster within students a holistic view of their place in creation, and encourage them to be engaged stewards of and active citizens in their world, equipping them to be leaders in creating a sustainable future."
All Jesuit students take classes to challenge their understanding of social literacy and, through the school's Christian Service program, spend a minimum of 65 hours (per student) with a marginalized population.