Environmental Education

We believe students should have the opportunity to be responsible citizens in caring, respecting and learning about the environment. The environmental focus begins in K and progresses and builds upon knowledge of Michigan’s natural resources, environmental concerns and being stewards of the Earth.

  • Every classroom offers environmentally focused lessons such as: weather, ecosystems, landforms, climate change, recycling, energy, and water quality.
  • Students have the opportunity to participate and learn from environmentally focused science events.
  • Community Service: working with Groundswell and Urban Roots.
  • Water recycling: Rain barrel water collection is used to water the school rain gardens.
  • Learning Excursions: Students have the opportunity to participate in learning excursions through grade level field trips in Michigan, e.g. Grand Rapids Recycling Center, Kent County Waste Water Treatment Plant, Blandford Nature Center.

STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century!

Students in classroom doing an art project


New Branches Charter Academy encourages creativity in all students as creativity is an integral part in a well rounded education. We pride ourselves in our unique spin on an art education that combines our environmental science focus with the elements and principles of visual arts.

Eco-Art is an art form that focuses on preserving life, resources, and the ecology of Earth by either using natural items from the environment or creating art inspired by or advocating for the environment. In Eco-Art, students will learn the elements and principles of visual arts through environmentally focused lessons, project based learning, campus projects, and discovery. The Eco-art classroom is not defined by four walls, as the students will spend time outside, on campus, to discover the Earth’s ecology. Students are encouraged to investigate pieces of art, the artists who create them, art supplies, participate in discussions, develop listening skills, respectfully listen to differences in opinions, and develop positive relationships within the classroom.

Health Education

For grades Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, New Branches has adopted the Michigan Model for Health (Michigan Model for Health, 2014), which aims to give students the knowledge and skills needed to practice and maintain healthy behaviors and lifestyles. The model provides age-appropriate lessons addressing the most serious health challenges facing children, including: social and emotional health, nutrition and physical activity, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, personal health and wellness and safety and HIV. K curriculum is PE teacher generated, based on a reduction in concepts of the kindergarten Michigan Model expectations.

Physical Education

At New Branches we take pride in our physical education classes. We realize that P.E. is an integral phase in students’ physical and social development. We are committed to giving our students the best instruction possible. The aim of the physical education program at New Branches is to develop and improve students’ personal fitness and motor skills by providing developmentally appropriate activities through purposeful, creative and enjoyable instruction. By incorporating challenging yet achievable tasks, the students will attain positive attitudes about physical activity and movement. In the elementary years, locomotor movement, non-locomotor movement, manipulative skills, personal behavior, and fitness levels will be monitored and assessed throughout the school year.

Students playing soccer in gym