Commons Project/Mendocino High School
Images of Students or their Work (typical).
Students, faculty, and administrators met
for over a year with architect Michael Leventhal
and designer Ricia Araiza to plan the commons.
The idea for the Commons Project originated when students participated in a meeting organized by North Coast Rural Challenge Network (NCRCN). The NCRCN is a collaborative network of rural school districts in northern California committed to improving education for all students and creating stronger communities. Formed in 1997 with a grant from the Annenburg Rural Challenge (now the Rural School Community Trust), NCRCN's mission is to support four rural school districts in establishing community-based, and project-based learning that both benefit the local community and keep the needs of students as the driving force for all activity. In 1997, a 3-day inservice workshop was held to help teachers begin planning projects that would actively engage students and community members. The following summer, community members, students, parents, and teachers gathered to hear presentations about the first-year projects. During that meeting, an architect and designer suggested that another potential project could be the redesign of the commons area on the Mendocino High School's campus. Students present at the meeting commented that the school's Student Council had already begun discussing that very same idea. The students were excited to have outside validation of their ideas, and the architect and designer were pleased that their suggestion was timely and well received. The combination of community and student interest opened the door to the Commons Project.

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Project Based Learning