Teaching and Learning


History Class out on the frozen lake

















Conserve School Instructional Model

The following principles form the foundation for teaching at Conserve School:

Inspiring Environmental Stewardship and Engagement with the Outdoors

Conserve School instructors believe in the transformative power of outdoor education. Conserve's strikingly beautiful Northwoods campus serves as the integrating context for learning, and sets the stage for an innovative educational experience. At Conserve School, nature serves as students' inspiration, their course materials, their classroom, and their laboratory.

Hands-on/Active/Experiential Learning

Conserve School courses use a teaching framework that stresses hands-on, active learning. Traditional teacher methods (like lecture) are appropriate at times, but a variety of more student-centered techniques should be used regularly as well, including problem-based or project-based learning, simulations, dramatizations, and creative expression.

Equitable and Challenging Learning

Conserve School learning experiences provide all students with challenging and equitable learning opportunities that align with our school mission and national disciplinary standards.


Conserve School instructors believe that all students can learn. Conserve School instruction responds to the various backgrounds and talents of students by planning and implementing differentiated lessons. Therefore, lessons, materials, assignments, and expectations will often vary from student to student.

Conserve School instructors:

  • Demonstrate sensitivity to cultural backgrounds, learning styles, learning profiles, and personalities by being flexible and empathetic
  • Vary their teaching methods
  • Maintain a positive attitude toward struggling or troubled students
  • Provide scaffolding, when necessary, for students who come to Conserve School with emerging mastery of some academic skills and concepts
  • Strive to understand each student's unique personality and needs
  • Build a positive, one-to-one connection with each student
  • Are attentive to perceptions of favoritism, and reach out equally to all students in and out of class.

Classroom Management and Discipline

Conserve School instructors respond to disciplinary situations in a diplomatic and effective manner that focuses on education and learning opportunities rather than blame.

Communication and Collaboration

Conserve School instructors communicate and collaborate formally and informally in an even-tempered, productive, and professional manner. Many Conserve School teachers and staff have been trained and certified as National School Reform Faculty Critical Friends Coaches and group participants. Critical friends collaboration is a formal process designed to promote communication and collaboration in the interest of creating meaningful learning experiences. Conserve School instructors collaborate with one another to promote interdisciplinary learning to improve student learning, where and when appropriate.

Professional Development

Through reading and other forms of professional development, Conserve School instructors stay up-to-date in content areas, teaching methods, educational technology, and theories of adolescent development. Conserve School instructors engage in regular professional reflection and development, with the goal of continuous improvement.