“Mountains to Sound” is a phrase that describes the Waskowitz Environmental Leadership & Service program in Washington state’s Highline School District. That’s because high school students start their first year learning in the forest, then the second on the waters of Puget Sound.

All the while, they are learning leadership skills in an active way, starting as freshmen by mentoring sixth-graders and finishing as seniors by developing outdoor leadership skills.

What do students have by the time they finish? Lots of place-based learning experiences to help them choose their next steps, which are often toward teaching, outdoor recreation, marine technology, ecotourism or environmental science.

Waskowitz Environmental Leadership & Service (WELS) is a program for students who stand to benefit the most from the use of an active curriculum, a smaller more supportive learning community, alternative learning formats and a new peer group.

Read more about WELS by Roberta McFarland at Getting Smart