School of Environmental Studies

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SES is an optional public school in Independent School District #196. It enrolls approximately 420 grade 11-12 students and is located on the grounds of the Minnesota Zoo. Students choose to attend SES and primarily come from the surrounding south suburban cities of Apple Valley, Eagan, Rosemount, Burnsville and Lakeville, though increasingly the SES student body is comprised of students from across the metropolitan area. The school day is divided into four 90-minute blocks. Two of these blocks of time are spent in integrated studies of environmental topics. Traditional high school electives are offered during the other two daily blocks. 

Curriculum that examines environmental topics in experiential and authentic ways is a hallmark of SES. Throughout the year students have the opportunity to travel on field studies around the world, and, closer to home, student assessments often take place in partnership with the community. For example, longitudinal data collected on area lakes and ponds is shared with local municipalities and an annual conference on human population, held each January and presented exclusively by SES seniors, attracts both students and participants from the community at large.

Long-term community partnerships also add depth and vibrancy to SES. A wind turbine and solar array on campus, constructed in partnership with Dakota Electric, serve as a renewable energy demonstration site for the community. A community garden on the SES grounds both produces food and provides a learning resource for SES students. A partnership with the Will Steger Foundation has led to a field study experience in the arctic for SES students and more recently, to the accreditation of the SES Education Foundation (SESEF) to send credentialed SES student delegates to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change international climate negotiation meetings and conferences. The SESEF is a strong partner of SES programming, sponsoring events and activities that support the mission of the school.

School of Environmental Studies
Topic Areas: 
Environmental Studies
Environmental Health
Environmental Sciences
Service Learning
Target Audience: 
Grades 10-12
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School of Environmental Studies
12155 Johnny Cake Ridge Rd
Apple Valley, MN 55124

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