Why the Environmental Charter School?

We believe school can be different.  We believe that 21st Century learners need a different environment in which to learn and thrive --different from the industrial model that currently exists.  

Are you interested in building an educational foundation for your child that explores and values critical and creative thinking?  Do you see the power of investigating a content strand deeply rather than broadly?  Are you open to new ways of assessing students to understand growth and development over time?  Do you want your child to engage in outdoor learning experiences --in all kinds of weather? Do you value curriculum content, thinking environment/instruction, and culture equally? ECS provides a educational experience that is unlike any other in the city of Pittsburgh.  We aren't interested in producing tree-huggers; we strive to create a thoughtful, active, engaged citizenry. We want to develop extraordinary little people into extraordinary big people.  

Unique Indicators that Make Us Special

  • Our Art Educator and Design Coach, Shannon Merenstein, was named SCIENCE Educator of 2013 by the Carnegie Science Awards
  • ECS logs over 1000 outdoor education experiences each year. That doesn't include recess, or fun hikes!
  • ECS joined the Green Building Alliance's first cohort of the Green Schools Academy.  A diverse team meets monthly to dive into actions and opportunities to develop a culture of sustainability throughout the organization --from student to administrator to building manager to food service director to parent!
  • ECS launched the first of its kind, The Thinking Lab, as a space to foster the intersection of science, art, technology, and design.  Rather than going to a "special," students attend a Thinking Lab session, co-taught by a science/social scientist and art educator
  • ECS walks the talk, even when it comes to our cafeteria.  Challenging the status quo of what school lunch looks like, ECS Food Service Director, Kelsey Weisgerber refuses to put a processed, unhealthy school lunch on any tray.  This is no easy feat with compliance standards,  few businesses providing healthy options, school nutrition standards and the fact that ECS does not currently have a from-scratch full-service kitchen!
  • ECS goes after the brightest and the best educators, and works tirelessly to retain them. We don't just hire teachers; we hire educators that are interested in being a catalytic force for the profession.  Our retention rate is hovers at 95%.  
  • Education doesn't happen in a vacuum.  In fact, ECS connects with the rich fabric of organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in the city to grow our educational experiences for students and to remind students of the vibrancy of the city in which they live.  Click here to view a list of our community partners.
  • ECS uses Human Centered Design techniques via Luma Institute to approach professional transformation for faculty, and to explore ways of seeing, thinking, and making with our students.

Traditional Outcomes to Review

Our outcomes suggest a reliable tradition of excellence from traditional measures. For the fourth consecutive year, ECS celebrated meeting the benchmark for yearly progress (AYP) on the Pennsylvania System of State Assessment. In 2012, in Mathematics 79%; in Language Arts 77%; and in Science 92% of our students were proficient or advanced on the Pennsylvania System of State Assessment measure.  Our School Performance Profile is 85 for for 2012-2013 school year.  This means ECS meets or exceeds annual growth for students --as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.