6 Organizations Striving To Make Schools Better For Students

Education should be both enriching and enjoyable, but schools too often make learning into a chore that only wears students down. Fortunately, a number of organizations are working to improve the educational system to better serve kids' needs and interests. Located across the country, the ones included here develop and support programs that engage youth through STEAM, poetry, agriculture, and more. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Groups Working Toward Better School Education

Organization Location Mission
UnifiEd Hamilton County, Tennessee Achieve equitable and excellent public schools for Hamilton County students by creating systemic change through advocacy, grassroots organizing, and building community power
Green Bronx Machine The Bronx, New York City, New York Build healthy, equitable, and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and 21st-century workforce development
Get Lit Los Angeles, California Engage young people by providing a creative outlet, community, and real-life work experience, transforming students into activists, scholars, and stars
The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs Atlanta, Georgia Develop and support a standardized structure for school-based athletic competition to improve the wellbeing of students with physical disabilities
The American Association of Chemistry Teachers Washington, DC Create a community by and for K-12 teachers of chemistry
Green Our Planet Las Vegas, Nevada Increase student academic performance in STEAM subjects as well as conserve and protect the environment through project-based STEAM education, which includes nutrition, financial literacy, and conservation education in pre-K-12 schools

The Idea Behind Green Bronx Machine

The Four Types Of Learners

  1. Visual: Prefer to look at information and visualize concepts
  2. Auditory: Prefer to listen to information
  3. Reading/Writing: Prefer to absorb information through text
  4. Kinesthetic: Prefer to learn through hands-on experiments

Tips For Teaching Kids

  • Find material that will give them the right level of challenge
  • Study up on the subject yourself
  • Use games and toys to stimulate their natural curiosity
  • Stay positive and give encouragement
  • Empathize with them when they're having a hard time

Opportunities Created by Adapted Sports at School

In Depth

School districts often have to grapple with extremely austere budgets, forcing educators to cut special programs that focus on athletics and the arts. Luckily, there are several organizations working to improve curricula for students, through project-based learning and special extracurriculars. In no particular order, here are several institutions working to improve schools all over the globe.

At #1, we have UnifiEd, a grassroots organization of parents, teachers, and residents of Hamilton County, Tennessee who want every child to have great public schools. This goal can be broken down by a four-point vision: ensuring there is a excellent teacher in every classroom, guaranteeing equal opportunity to all students, increasing transparency on behalf of the school board and local government, and prioritizing funding for education.

UnifiEd also serves as a hub of information about what's happening within the Hamilton school system. One can follow the group on Twitter and Facebook to get up-to-the-minute reports about the agenda during Board of Education and County Commission meetings, allowing for a direct line into the policy and budget changes that affect students.

UnifiEd also serves as a hub of information about what's happening within the Hamilton school system.

Our #2 entry is Green Bronx Machine, an organization working in the Bronx borough in New York City to build healthy, equitable, and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and 21st Century workforce development. Its school-based model uses urban agriculture aligned to key school performance indicators. Founder Stephen Ritz has over 20 years of experience as an educator and administrator.

Green Bronx Machine operates a Food for Others Farm in the Bronx which provides training and Summer Youth Employment generating over 5,000 pounds of vegetables annually. In addition, the organization partners with Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital to produce 400 bags of student-grown leafy greens and vegetables every month, which are distributed locally to food insecure senior citizens recovering from cancer and living in public housing.

Coming in at #3 is Get Lit, a Los Angeles-based organization that develops poetry-based, common core-aligned curriculum for schools. It offers a 12-week "teach the teacher" program which includes comprehensive training and professional development by the staff, as well as continued support and resources throughout the academic year.

Schools can also book a residency with one of Get Lit's staff mentors. Residencies include a 12-week or 24-week program taught by a certified and highly trained teaching artist along with access to the curriculum. Get Lit believes that students grow and develop as writers and readers by working with its mentors.

For our next entry, #4, we have the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, located in Atlanta, Georgia. It provides equitable opportunities in school-based athletics for students with physical disabilities. School districts and associations that participate in the program expand extracurricular athletics for students with physical disabilities by adapting games based on the AAASP recommendations.

The AAASP employs athletics through a system called the adaptedSPORTS Model. This award-winning model, which has its origin in Paralympic and adult disability sports, supports the concept that school-based games are a vital part of the education process and the educational goals of students. Some of the activities covered by the AAASP framework include handball, basketball, and track and field.

Some of the activities covered by the AAASP framework include handball, basketball, and track and field.

At #5, we have the American Association of Chemistry Teachers, a professional community by and for K12 teachers of chemistry. Science instructors can use the AACT to connect with peers and discover quality classroom resources. Membership is open to educators and anyone in the United States and around the world with an interest in primary and secondary school STEM-based education.

The American Association of Chemistry Teachers was born in September 2013 at the American Chemical Society national meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. The AACT includes a directory of conferences, events, grants, awards and scholarship opportunities for science educators. In addition, the organization shares webinars with topics such as "Teaching Chemistry in a Textbookless Classroom" and "A Teacher's Toolbox for Lab Safety."

Our final entry, #6, is Green Our Planet, an organization which helps schools establish comprehensive outdoor garden, STEM, and nutrition programs throughout the United States. When the produce is ready to harvest, students set up farmers markets after class, selling the school-garden vegetables to their families and neighbors. Students can access additional content from Green Our Planet's experts with video lessons on gardening, hydroponics, and more.

When the produce is ready to harvest, students set up farmers markets after class, selling the school-garden vegetables to their families and neighbors.

The nonprofit is based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was started in 2013 by Kim MacQuarrie and Ciara Byrne, both documentary filmmakers. Green Our Planet's outdoor and hydroponics school garden programs have won accreditation by STEMworks, which means that the southwest-based nonprofit now runs the only STEMworks accredited school garden and hydroponics programs in the country.