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Santa Rita teacher heads to Japan to learn ways to advance sustainability

 Photo of Josh Ruddick and studentsPhoto of Josh Ruddick and students
Josh Ruddick's students create outdoor classrooms at Santa Rita High School.
On June 21, 2016, at approximately 7:40 a.m., Josh Ruddick will be snug in an airplane seat as the wheels go up for the first leg of his trip to Japan. The Agriculture and Natural Management Resources teacher at Santa Rita is one of ten teachers from the country to take the voyage in interest of enhancing curriculum for sustainability in both countries. Ruddick will observe practices in Tokyo and Rausu, a community on the northern tip of Hokkaido, to generate ideas for his own classroom.

The program is held by the Institute of International Education and jointly funded by both Japan's MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology) and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. This past spring, ten Japanese teachers and administrators came stateside for their leg of the trip, visiting sustainability sites in San Francisco and Washington D.C. Josh travelled out to San Francisco in early May for a joint conference to interface with his Japanese counterparts and set a list of expectations for his leg of the trip overseas.
Photo of Josh Ruddick and students

Planting trees in the outdoor classroom
Photo of Josh Ruddick and students
 Ruddick and students head to the outdoor classroom

Josh returned from San Francisco with a list of potential programs he can investigate while in Japan. He then surveyed his students at Santa Rita on which topics they felt the strongest about. Their choices were: water quality, outdoor education and its link to student achievement, school lunches as instructional opportunities, and school gardens as ways to build a sense of community.

Adamant about keeping an open mind, Josh limited his goals for the trip to those his students have outlined, since they will be the beneficiaries of his time overseas. He will return July 3rd with an idea on how to advance sustainability at Santa Rita High School based on his student input and what he discovers while in Japan.

Josh also just kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to bring an outdoor classroom to Santa Rita. For more information about this project, see the Corner project plan (available in PDF). If you'd like to support Santa Rita's desert habitat and outdoor classroom, please visit their crowdfunding page: Santa Rita High School Desert Habitat and Outdoor Classroom - The Eagle's Corner.

Ruddick and students head to the outdoor classroom
 Planting trees in the outdoor classroom
Make sure to check back in with us over the coming days for updates on Josh's trip to Japan!

For more on the agriculture and natural management resources projects for Santa Rita CTE students, watch these two videos:

Trout at Santa Rita

Tree for Tucson comes to Santa Rita