Our school is more than our building. Experiential education requires us to expand the idea of “classroom” and make spaces for teaching and learning in the community. Downtown Greensboro, 301 S. Church Street, in particular, is the ideal location for our school. Our classrooms are open in design, with lots of flexible seating options, communal spaces, and freedom of movement between class areas.
The building, itself, holds a rich history of Greensboro and in its more recent past provided access and services for its residents. Dorothy Bardolph, the building’s namesake, was a formidable presence in Greensboro. She was a professor at Women’s College (UNCG) and Bennett College (from which she retired after 21 years). She was a long-time city council member and mayor pro tem, as well as an unapologetic advocate for racial justice and economic access. The history of place is just as important to us as the future of place and we will be infusing this into the archives of the school for student learning. The area is rich with resources our students can access as they do project-based learning, work with experts-in-residence, preform service, and participate in internships. Best of all, we can walk with students to a variety of museums, galleries, businesses, parks, theaters, community organizations, and universities. We can use public transportation and the Amtrak system to facilitate travel to areas beyond our immediate neighborhood.
To make this expanded classroom possible, our school nurtures relationships with local museums, universities, community organizations, and businesses. We look forward to partnering with Elsewhere Living Museum, Greensboro Children’s Museum, the Center for Visual Arts, Triad Stage, GreenHill, and the International Civil Rights Museum–just a few among a growing list of folks who have expressed interest in developing programming with us. Our school also serves as an intellectual and experiential hub for educational researchers, future and current teachers, and interested community members who want to learn more about our practices and how to implement them in other spaces. Downtown Greensboro is a central location for the colleges and universities in the region, allowing educators a local place to research and practice experiential education.