There aren’t many charter schools out there that are earth friendly and where students learn about the environment as part of their education. Ridge and Valley Charter School (RVCS) offers this. The students at RVCS love the environment. We take community action.
We have fundraisers running all the time, such as for animal shelters, food drives, and for people that are in need. We take everything we learn to work on different projects. This year we had to form our own Essential Question and research it. Then we had to work on a community action piece based on our question to help our community.
The garden, compost, and solar panels are three very important parts of RVCS. Our garden is for all the students to use. During our social studies and science parts of the day, class groups will sometimes go up to the garden to harvest and plant fruits and vegetables. Our school also has a compost and three solar panels, we use the solar panels to power the school, we use the compost to get rid of food that we didn’t eat, and/or weeds we find and pull. We use the soil from the compost to make other soil richer so that we can produce more fruits and vegetables.
Earth friendly projects and activities isn’t all RVCS has to offer. We have all the same content requirements as other public schools, but we get to learn through an earth centered curriculum. We have small classes, with help from each other and guides. We get to work independently on areas of our interest, while still covering the content standards.
Most schools have cafeterias. RVCS doesn’t have a cafeteria. We eat with our class groups and bring a bagged lunch every day. We have a no waste lunch system. Junk foods, juice, Gatorade, you name it, not allowed. Food, the community, education, these are all important things RVCS has to offer, but what about the people? RVCS is all about, sharing, caring, peace, love, and respect for each other and the earth. Everyone is nice to one another, people don’t question you for who you are, we accept people with different attitudes, not everyone is the same. The students and teachers are really close at RVCS. The teachers are good at teaching and always know how to have fun! RVCS is more than just a school; it’s a caring, loving community.
Veronica is an 8th grade student at Ridge and Valley Charter School (RVCS) and getting ready to graduate in a few months. She has been a part of the RVCS community since 6th grade. She wrote an essay recently as part of a contest being run by the NJ Charter Schools Association. Veronica gave permission to me to share her essay here. She is sharing what she and her peers feel is important about RVCS and why they love their school.