The SEMIS Coalition facilitates school-community partnerships to develop students as citizen-stewards of healthy ecological-social systems. — SEMIS Mission Statement

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Essential Question:
What is stewardship in the 21st century?

Principal: Peggy Knuth

About Divine Child High School
Divine Child High School comes to the SEMIS Coalition with a strong commitment to service and community engagement.

Teacher Team: Jacque Lupinacci-Mooney, Matt Mooney

Stewardship Projects
Click on the project titles to read more and see related media & resources!
Click here to view SEMIS Project Portfolios!

The PSA Project: Ethics & Values in Media

This past fall, we were able to work on a unit about food, asking where our food comes from and whether our food is produced sustainable and appropriately. We created a project where students would research one of six food staples that we identified; these included: wheat, corn, soy, beef, poultry, and pork. Students worked in groups to research each industry and create a report as if they were presenting to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on whether these industries should continue to do “business-as-usual”, or if there should interventions made. The resulting student projects as a whole touched on many ethical dimensions of sustainability.

Some of the students created videos that were quite powerful. We will continue to this project on food systems, but we would like to add other areas of research including water as a way to deepen students’ understanding of stewardship and diversify our knowledge. These PSAs are being made available to the public at large through YouTube and other means. This is demonstrating to our students that they can reach a large audience with a message of the importance of stewardship.
– Teacher, Matt Mooney

Student Work: U.S. Poultry Industry

A Deeper Shade of Green: Connecting Art, Community, and Tree Planting

Students at Divine Child High School are engaged in place-based learning in partnership with the Greening of Detroit and the Center for EcoJustice Education. The school curriculum, which already has a service component, is being extended to include sustained service opportunities that connect with work the students are dong in the classroom. Students who were inspired by the Youth Day at the Bioneers conference decided that service needed to have local stewardship as a core objective. Evidence of that happening at Divine Child is coming together as students are teaming up with community organizations to implement community-based learning.

We are hoping to get involved in the tree planting and come up with some regular schedule where we can consistently send out to participate in the tree planting, so they are are a part of this movement instead of just doing it one time for service hours and then come back to the school and turn in their form. It’s real service…
- Teacher, Matt Mooney

Art teacher, Jacque Lupinacci-Mooney, is teaching Woodworking courses in the school’s progressive art program. She is working through an Eco-art perspective to educate and connect students with wood as a living medium. Students in her classroom will be studying trees and the diverse types of wood as they work inside and outside the classroom with the people at Greening. Jacque says,

“they work in the art curriculum in connection with a local living resource. The students get to connect with the medium in a living way that includes learning about that medium, trees, and their importance in our neighborhoods. It’s just perfect because the students are working in other classes on water-use which is totally connected with what they are learning about trees. It just reinforces the interconnection of everything”

Some of the projects in the works are for students is to host a cross coalition art show at the 2011 SEMIS Community Forum design and to design and install rain garden on the school grounds that could serve as an outdoor classroom. Jacque’s hope is that these projects move her courses towards a full curriculum in Eco-art that works across disciplines and with other SEMIS schools.

Jacque expressed, ”

“An Eco-Art curriculum is the dream, and the more we are all out in the community and learning from other SEMIS schools we are getting closer and closer to making it happen here at DC” – Teacher, Jacque Mooney

Student work will be showcased at the SEMIS Community Forum in May.

Youth Leadership in Water Stewardship

Following the school’s essential question the students and teachers at DC are teaming up with Greening of Detroit for sustained learning in the community while they develop student run educational programming and that engages the entire school community in moving toward stewardship of water and trees in Southeast Michigan.

Community Partner, John Lupinacci of the Center for EcoJustice education is partnering on the project. He tells us, the Youth Leadership Group will:

Engage students in group work that evaluates current school structures and opportunities for community-based learning to suggest school changes toward increased community based ed in the school. The D.C. leadership team is working to plan and organize a Global Youth Day of Service. We will also partner with Greening of Detroit to co-write a grant to provide funding to send students from SEMIS school teams to the Global Youth Day of Service.

The students will work toward leadership that collaborates with other students across the state to draft policy suggestions in regards to water quality and the health of the Great Lakes.

Global Youth Service Day


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