Coming Soon

Austin Green School is in the beginning stages of development and planning. We hope to open our doors by fall 2013. Our school will be kinder through high school with the possibility of an early childhood center.
If you are interested in helping us in any way please email us at
In the mean time please enjoy our blog as we make public our efforts and experiences.
We know the road ahead will be filled with many challenges but we are determined to give the community of Austin
the gift of a progressive educational community. Wish us luck!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Creativity as important as math and literacy and the need for an organic education as opposed to a standardized "fast food" education: Sir Ken Robinson

As we develop AGS we are inspired by educators around the world and often watch videos from If you have never visited this site we strongly recommend it. We have posted a couple of Ted Talks given by Sir Ken Robinson who is an amazing speaker. If you have time this weekend and wish to be inspired watch these videos!
 Above Sir Ted Robinson talks about the need for an Organic education as opposed to a standardized "fast food" education. Below he talks about the importance of valuing creativity as much as literacy and mathematics. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Visual Arts: Inspiration from the College School

Beautiful Art Studio (Altelier) from the College School

 As we develop Austin Green School we look for inspiration from schools around the country and the world. The College School in Missouri is a wonderfully progressive and innovative school that is also inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and is committed to sustainability. We plan on using The College School as a resource to guide us when developing our own visual arts curriculum. The following is copied from the College School website so you can read about their visual arts program from which we gain such great inspiration!

Visual Arts

The visual arts are very important throughout The College School. Students both work with one of three art teachers in specific art classes and also in various thematic classes where the arts are integrated into the subject matter.  Working in small groups, students are engaged with a variety of materials and creative processes.
  • Key Stage One (Pre - 2nd Grades) - Students are introduced to color mixing, using both watercolor and tempra paint, drawing from observation, and a variety of clay experiences which can include functional pieces or more typically small animal forms.
  • Key Stage Two (3rd - 5th Grades) - Students continue their exploration of all the above materials at a higher level of understanding. They are challenged with self-portraits, wheel throwing and more advanced clay sculpture, architecture and drawing.
  • Key Stage Three (6th - 8th Grades) - Students have three semesters to choose classes in the art room. Among the classes offered are: Drawing, Architecture, Graphic Design, 3-D Art - including clay, stone, glass and wood, Digital Photography, and 2-D Art. They can also select a third semester where they work with artists from the community where they look together at how life influences ideas in art.

In addition the 4th and 5th grades collaborate with sets and props each winter in the art room as part of the 4th  /5th grade play theme. They mix colors, design, and paint the sets.  They are also responsible for researching and creating props for the play out of a variety of material.

Some recent projects in the art room have included creating famous artist portfolios complete with student reproductions of major works, tile mosaic designs for our front entryway, and 3-D clay vacation postcards. Students have also worked on intricate drawings of knots in climbing ropes and have painted their interpretations of musical compositions or various plants growing in our greenhouse.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Outdoor Inspirations

As I have written before we believe that the environment is the third teacher. When we think about the environment we usually think of indoor spaces but we should have the same level of intentionality when creating spaces for children of all ages to explore, research and play while outdoors. As you all know I love pinterest! I have a board for all of my inspirations for outdoor spaces at Austin Green School and I am happy to share with you some of them today!
Seating and meeting area
Bird feeders and butterfly water supply using recycled materials
Notice the bamboo fence
Natural materials for climbing and balancing
Beautiful garden

Outdoor reading nook

Natural materials for building

This is an outdoor studio, art and work space

The teachers here used leaves, which are great natural materials for this provocation of a maze

Beautiful outdoor area

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Global Thinking in Science Education

 What do you remember about science in elementary, middle school and high school? I remember sitting in the back of a classroom taking notes and then memorizing parts of plants, animals and humans. Every once in a while we would dissect a frog or have a science fair but generally class was boring and in the end I remember very little from all those hours of memorization. I believe that students need to feel connected to what they are studying. They should also be involved in the process of deciding what they are studying and investigating and encouraged to make a difference in the world around them. As part of our science curriculum we plan on using the Global Thinking Project to help engage students in authentic science inquiries where they will also be given the chance to make an impact on the Austin Community. 

Click on the red to visit global thinking sites!

"The Global Thinking Project was based on an authentic model of learning in which students and teachers work together to solve real problems in their own community, and by means of the collaborative nature of the Internet, interact with peers in other countries. In a study of authenticity as an important idea in science teaching, researchers make a valuable contribution to our understanding as reported in this study: The Value of an Emergent Notion of Authenticity: Examples from Two Student/Teacher-Scientist Partnership Programs. As these researchers conclude, after an analysis of two authentic science programs, authenticity remains an important concept that can help us think of science teaching in ways if understood as emergent. It leads to a science education that has something to do with the real world of students, and is meaningful to them."

Chart taken from the art of teaching science website please visit this site for more information on the Global Thinking Project

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our journey, background and inspiration

Well, we did it! We are officially here! Our move to Austin was successful and we finally have the internet (being without for almost 2 weeks was very hard for me)! We are so excited to bring to Austin all of the knowledge and experience we have gained the past few years in both Colorado and San Francisco. I thought that this is probably a good time to reflect on the past and share information and resources about our backgrounds. As developers, owners, directors and teachers of our future school, Austin Green School, we want you to know where we came from. So here you go....

I (Jackie Jacobs) went to University of Colorado at Denver to earn a master's degree in early childhood education. While at UCD I was lucky enough to be accepted as an intern at Boulder Journey School, a world renowned Reggio inspired school. It was here that my passion for progressive education was fueled. Following is some info on BJS....

Please copy and paste to read about the teacher education program that I completed, see pictures of BJS and read about their conceptual framework. This is an amazing school and I highly recommend visiting the site.  

Also this is an amazing blog that highlights many progressive schools. Here they highlight the works of BJS click to view BJS Highlight

 Please watch the  below video from a talk given by a mentor  at Boulder Journey School

You may also enjoy this "Google Tech Talk"  given by Dr. Ellen Hall, Excecutive director and owner of Boulder Journey School and Dr. George Forman, "Playing your way to Harvard"

Rob Noelke (Co-Owner, Developer and Director) went to CIIS in San Francisco California to study Integrative Health and Holistic health practices at the master's level. It was here that he gained knowledge and practices that benefit the human mind, body and spirit. Rob felt a deeply positive impact on his own life from this newly acquired information and lifestyle and has developed a strong desire to share his experiences and expertise with all people regardless of age. He believes that wellness and spiritual practices should be an integrated part of any progressive curriculum and should contribute to the foundation for a better life. 

Here is a link to Rob's program Integrative health

Rob also has a certificate from sound and conciousness institute, is a certified life coach and licensed heartmath provider. If you would like any further information on these practices please email Rob at or