New Super School focused on coastal restoration coming to south Louisiana

By Elizabeth Van Cleve, Communications Manager, Ecosystems, Environmental Defense Fund

It’s a great day for coastal restoration and education!

Today, XQ: The Super School Project announced the winners of its Super Schools competition, including a new school in the greater New Orleans area, New Harmony High, which will have a focus on coastal restoration and protection.

The 10 winning schools, selected from nearly 700 proposals, will each receive $10 million over the next five years to help turn their dream school into a reality. Because of this award, New Harmony High will be opening to Louisiana students in the fall of 2018!

“The selection of New Harmony High as an XQ Super School is powerful recognition of the linkages between education and coastal restoration,” said Steve Cochran, Campaign Director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta, Associate Vice President at Environmental Defense Fund and member of the New Harmony High design team. “This school will combine the importance of Louisiana’s coast to its economy and culture, the critical element of climate change in our lives, and the essential need and benefit of engaging young people and education in this fight.”

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New Harmony High will combine the central concept of child-centered learning with the fundamental challenge facing south Louisiana – coping and living with land loss and sea level rise. The school aspires to be a game-changing public high school for the students of Louisiana that uses students' passions, talents and skills to address our state’s coastal land loss challenge.

The Super School will be located on a barge complex in the Mississippi River, with associated sites in real-world settings such as community service centers and internships. The school’s design will be deeply rooted in feedback from local community members, and its students will develop critical problem-solving skills by applying their lessons to the issues of coastal protection and restoration and their effects on Gulf Coast economies, ecosystems and culture.

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“South Louisiana is at the epicenter of sea level rise, land loss and coastal restoration,” said Richie Blink, Plaquemines Parish Community Outreach Coordinator for Restore the Mississippi River Delta and also a member of the design team for the school. “New Harmony High will allow students be directly involved in their future and provide a learning environment focused on community involvement and coastal restoration and protection.”

Next steps include extensive engagement by the New Harmony High team with local communities to ensure the school incorporates community feedback and puts students at the center of their own learning.

Learn more about the vision behind New Harmony High, upcoming community meetings and follow the school’s progress at www.newharmonyhigh.org.

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About XQ: The Super School Project:

XQ: The Super School Project launched in September 2015 as an open call to rethink and design the next American high school. Thousands of School Builders, and tens of thousands of supporters from towns and cities across all 50 states have united to take on this important work. Teams of students, teachers, parents, community leaders and many more came together to conceptualize innovative models for 21st century learning. For more information, visit www.xqsuperschool.org.