Environmental justice as core curriculum: Launch School and partners unveil vision for new 7-acre campus at Floyd Bennett Field

May 5, 2023

Today, we joined partners and elected officials to unveil a vision for The Launch School at Floyd Bennett Field—a new 7-acre high school campus with anti-racism, climate action, sustainable food systems, environmental justice, and experiential learning as key aspects of its core curriculum.

Located on a former airfield along the tidal shores of Jamaica Bay, the campus would support a new Launch high school, eventually growing to accommodate programming for hundreds of public schools. Developed collaboratively by SCAPE, Architecture Research Office (ARO), and Colloqate with The Launch School’s close-knit community and partner network, the vision proposes a 21st-century campus organized around a series of connective outdoor hallways that knit together buildings and learning landscapes—a model for experiential learning in New York.

Held on EL Education’s Better World Day, a national day of awareness showcasing students’ contributions to positive societal transformation, the event included a Jamaica Bay beach clean-up and visioning activities for 80 Launch sixth graders to paint their personal visions for the future of Launch. New York City Council Members Mercedes Narcisse and Farah Louis joined the celebration, as well as New York State Assembly Member Stefani Zinerman and a number of non-profit partners.

“Launch at Floyd Bennett Field is an unprecedented opportunity to build a world-class educational ecosystem for communities that have historically been denied access to such resources,” said Geoffrey Roehm, Executive Director of The Launch School. “Alongside SCAPE and our partner organizations, we look forward to providing learning experiences that prepare students and community members for green jobs and empower them to build a better world.”

The school’s mission of “learning by doing” is threaded through every aspect of the vision—including a refurbished and modernized central building, an urban farm and outdoor classroom, a harvest and sensory garden, a greenhouse with hydroponics, a ropes course and series of sport courts, a central community hall, and spaces for outdoor art, teaching, performance, and exploration.

Today, the Launch School’s only campus is located in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn—home to many students who have been systematically excluded from opportunities leading to green jobs. At the Launch School at Floyd Bennett Field, students will engage directly with these issues through hands-on learning alongside partnered organizations.

“As a working parent in Bed-Stuy, it’s been incredible to collaborate with a local school taking on big societal issues with such heart, tenacity, and dedication to its students’ futures,” said Alexis C. Landes, Managing Principal of SCAPE. “Working alongside our stellar design team and the Launch community has been a true meeting of the minds—with reflections I know will reverberate throughout our studio for many years to come.”

Programming also builds on active efforts by a wide range of partnered institutions, including The Campaign Against Hunger, EL Education, Transcend Education, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, New York Sun Works, Billion Oyster Project, Solar One, NYC Outward Bound Schools, and Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay.

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For any press-related questions, please contact Zac Roy ([email protected]) and Jackson Rollings ([email protected]).