by Joey Phoenix
The Phoenix School, whose small numbers provide a rare opportunity for in-person and predominantly exploratory outdoor learning, recently announced that they are moving to their new location at 28 Goodhue Street near Mack Park in Salem.
While teachers, and educational staff nationwide have been debating how to safely educate students this fall during a global pandemic, the micro-urban Phoenix School has been navigating the uncertain waters with ease, being able to guarantee their students health and safety in accordance to CDC precautions, while still the upholding education standards that has set them apart for the last 40 years.
“We are enormously thrilled with the many benefits our new school holds for us,” the school stated in a press release describing the new location, before going on to list exciting features the space provides including a 3,000 square foot classroom space in an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly building, a green space immediately behind the building and 5-minute access to Salem’s 26 acre Mack Park, and near proximity to community volunteer opportunities and to the resources of downtown Salem.
“What is really unique about [this new location] is that we will be able to do a large portion of our school work outside,” said Mistral Dodson, Director of Admissions and Marketing for the Phoenix School. “There are so many things that the students can learn from the environment scientifically just from looking at plants and animals or observing the way things grow.”
Another element that the school is especially excited to integrate is partnering with local organizations where the kids can expand their knowledge by volunteering in projects and North Shore initiatives.
“Phoenix has always been a place that looks for community connections and different ways we can partner with people or other community members,” Dodson said, “and this location affords us new ways to be able to do that locally.”
Coping with The Challenges of COVID
In the Spring, the Phoenix School was able to quickly pivot to distance learning when COVID-19 restrictions first went into effect in March. This was both due to its uniquely small size – a student body of less than 30 – and because of the already existing collaborative learning relationship the faculty had with the students and their parents.
This year, the school hopes to continue in that vein, while incorporating new innovative ideas into their already expansive, hands-on curriculum.
“In some ways COVID is really challenging us as teachers to examine new opportunities for our students,” Dodson explained. “We are no longer able to fall into the old patterns of things we would always do. Instead we’re exploring new and different and innovative ways to overcome challenges.
“And what’s unique about our school is that the kids get to be a part of the decision making, and a part of coming up with those new patterns that we get to create together,” she added.
If you’d like to get an insider perspective on a day in the life at The Phoenix School, you can join them every Thursday morning on their Facebook Page for a student lead tour from 9:30 am – 11:00 am.
About The Phoenix School
Phoenix revolutionized education almost forty years ago when the prevalent teaching methodology was turned on its head, and students were given an active voice and role in the classroom and their education. Today, we continue to pioneer our innovative, experience-driven learning community.
Phoenix provides students with the tools, ideas, and encounters to help them be the best versions of themselves. With teachers as their partners in the PK-8 education equation, students learn to emphasize process over product, executing project-based learning through a robust curriculum. Phoenix helps students think critically, explore deeply, work collaboratively, contribute globally, learn from failure, and celebrate success. Thier core values are creativity, perseverance, citizenship, innovation, and empathy.