Al Kennedy Alternative High School

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Kennedy school of Sustainability
1310 S 8th Street
Cottage Grove, Oregon, Lane County 97424
United States
Coordinates 43°47′10″N 123°03′34″W / 43.786244°N 123.059503°W / 43.786244; -123.059503Coordinates: 43°47′10″N 123°03′34″W / 43.786244°N 123.059503°W / 43.786244; -123.059503
Type Public
Motto School of Sustainability[3]
School district South Lane School District
Principal Tom Horn[1]
Grades 9-12[1]
Number of students 78[2]
Mascot Bear

Al Kennedy Alternative High School is a public alternative high school in Cottage Grove, Oregon, United States. The curriculum is organized around the core theme of sustainability and stewardship.[3]

Student learning[edit]

Kennedy organizes its learning around aspiration; engagement; and experiential learning:[4]

  • Students cultivate their personal identity as a “global citizen” who is contributing to a sustainable future.[5]
  • There is an emphasis on solutions to challenges of sustainability.[6] Sustainability themes are integrated in each core curriculum area.[3]
  • Students are connected with adult practice communities that are engaged in sustainable development activities.[7]
  • Large amounts of curriculum are organized around experiential and service learning. Activities like conservation management; organic farming and forestry; environmental monitoring and mapping support key curriculum elements.[3]

Kennedy focus: five educational domains[edit]

The school is "dedicated to creating future leaders in the area of sustainability as well as well-rounded academics.".[8]

Sustainable agriculture[edit]

Kennedy High School incorporates organic farming practices into a curriculum designed to involve students in the organic farming/agricultural process; from testing soil samples, planting and growing crops, measuring outcomes, and finally marketing.

In 2008 Kennedy partnered with Healing Harvest,[9] a nonprofit organization based in Cottage Grove, to design and build organic gardens at elementary schools across South Lane District, including a master garden on campus.[10]

Sustainable architecture[edit]

The school engages in sustainable architecture activities, which teach students the historical aspects of alternative building practice, while participating in local building projects such as a sustainable housing prototype for low-income communities.[11]

Sustainable forestry[edit]

The school is working with local landowners to manage their forested and open lands for future generations. Students immerse themselves in all aspects of land stewardship: from walking the land with owners to figuring the trigonometry of easement boundaries; rebuilding animal habitat for local fauna while inventorying forest species; working with local conservation agencies to draft management plans and helping land owners to implement them.[12]

Sustainable energy[edit]

Kennedy High School partners closely with Lane Community College’s Energy Management Program. Beginning winter trimester 2009, Kennedy offered a College Now course “Sustainability 101″, which offers Kennedy students an opportunity to work with college and high school instructors in studying conservation and energy systems.[13]

Sustainable community[edit]

Kennedy High School's community-based projects help people, students, and community members gain the skills and resources they need to find solutions to sustainability.[14]

Kennedy Conservation Crew[edit]

The Kennedy Conservation Corps engages students in the workings of regional and national conservation organizations. Kennedy has engaged in a number of fee-for-service projects with the U.S. Forest Service, Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council,[15] and private landowners.[16]

The Kennedy Apiary[edit]

The school has installed three beehives on campus in March 2010 to start a beekeeping program. The Kennedy Apiary promotes vegetable growth in the neighboring community garden, and the beehives allow students to get a hands-on experience to study the ecology of the honeybee.[17]


In 2008, 44% of the school's seniors received their high school diploma. Of 48 students, 21 graduated, 21 dropped out, and 6 are still in high school.[18][19]


  1. ^ a b "Oregon School Directory 2009-2010" (PDF). Oregon Department of Education. p. 117. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  2. ^ "Oregon School Directory 2008-09" (PDF). Oregon Department of Education. p. 139. Retrieved 2009-05-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d
  4. ^
  5. ^ Haas, T., & Nachtigal, P. (1998). "Place value: An educator's guide to good literature on rural lifeways, environments, and purposes of education." Charleston, WV: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools.
  6. ^ Orr, D. W. (1994). Earth in mind: On education, environment, and the human prospect. Washington, DC: Island Press.
  7. ^ Smith, G. A., & Williams, D. R. (Eds.) (1999). Ecological education in action: On weaving education, culture, and the environment. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Dewey, J. (1915). The school and society (Rev. ed.). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "State releases high school graduation rates". The Oregonian. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  19. ^ "Oregon dropout rates for 2008". The Oregonian. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-07-01.