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How Schools Across the Country Are Thinking Outside the Classroom

From investing in inter-generational mentorships to leveraging joy to boost test scores, schools are finding new ways to better serve their students—and communities.

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In partnership with
American Journalism Project

Experienced educators know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. And yet, the tens of millions of public school students in the United States have fairly similar class structures. One teacher per classroom, desks facing front, and testing each spring to grade the students’—and school’s—progress.

These norms are hard to change. But that doesn’t stop educators, administrators, and non-profits from figuring out ways to shake things up in order to better serve students. In Houston, that means bringing Mariachi programs into schools, allowing students access to new music skills and cultural connections. In Vermont, it looks like fresh local eggs, fruits, and meat on the school lunch trays of Woodstock-area students. And in Montana, a new state-funded program helps public middle and high school students overcome financial barriers that stand in the way of their career goals.

Read on to learn more about these innovative paths—as well as some of the longer standing ones, including New York City's Hospital Schools program, that continue to impact the lives of students and their families.

Pocket has teamed up with the American Journalism Project to bring some of the best local journalism from across the country right to you—no matter where you live. Each month we’ll highlight deep dives into local stories with national impact—the kind of journalism that brings nuance and context to the major issues we face on a national scale. Read more about our partnership here and browse past collections to get your local fix.

Local Food on the Menu for Woodstock-Area Schools

Valley News
VT Digger

“Though household access to fresh, healthy, local food is often striated by income, public institutional food service, and Vermont’s K-12 schools in particular … (have) the unique ability to equalize this access within its cafeterias.”

American Journalism Project

The American Journalism Project (AJP) is the first venture philanthropy dedicated to local news. AJP makes grants to local nonprofit news organizations to build their revenue and business operations, partner with communities to launch new organizations, and mentor leaders as they grow and sustain their newsrooms. Learn more about the independent, community-driven nonprofit news organizations AJP supports.