Growing Up Green Charter School
Founder & Executive Director: Matthew Greenberg
Co-Heads of the Elementary School: Brittany Tuber & Lauren Barkan
Head of the Middle School: Jennifer Slutak
Associate Head of the Middle School: Steve Viola
GUG ES: 39-27 28th Street, Long Island City, Queens
GUG MS: 36-49 11th Street, Long Island City, Queens
Award: Outstanding School
Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.
Growing Up Green’s core educational philosophy is centered around a “green focus” where children explore and discover through project-based work in science and social studies, and learn about the importance of recycling, composting, plant, and animal life. [Students] also learn through multiple lenses of instruction that include art, music, language, and physical education. Graduates of GUGCS will be prepared to attend high-performing schools where their interdisciplinary academic foundation, knowledge of sustainability, and strong sense of self sets them apart as leaders of the future.
Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.
At Growing Up Green, sustainability refers not only to resources, but to relationships as well. We use the Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs approach school-wide to build social skills and foster a positive learning environment. The Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs approach focuses on the power of teacher language (reinforcing, reminding, and redirecting students) and implementing logical consequences for actions, which has resulted in a positive school culture with limited discipline issues and no school expulsions ever. Additionally, we create a positive school culture by highlighting our Growing Up Green core values. These character values are addressed on a daily basis and integrated into our curriculum at both locations with the hope that they are embedded in the student’s way of life.
Teacher development at GUG has been enhanced, which we believe will inevitably lead to the delivery of stronger instruction and result in students learning at a higher level. To accomplish this very important goal, we have turned to the Marshall Rubric for coaching, which includes self-evaluation rubrics, supervision rubrics, and consistent mini-observations with feedback provided within 24 hours.
What do you love about your school?
First and foremost I love the children. They are smart, curious, serious, funny, and thoughtful. They are the engine that drives Growing Up Green each and every day, and the reason I so love my job. I love the unique diversity of our school community. With over 30 home languages spoken, Growing up Green’s classrooms are as diverse as any in New York. This diversity allows children to learn from each other in so many important ways.