George Washington Carver School of Arts and Science (GWC) is a small, innovative charter high school in the Sacramento City Unified School District. GWC, which opened in 2008 by absorbing a failing high school, is the first public high school in California to use Waldorf methodology. With this approach, the school has successfully created an interdisciplinary environment that integrates practical, artistic and conceptual learning experiences.
A small collection of images from the Sam Mazza Garden at
The school’s culture and curriculum are based on critical thinking (exercising students’ heads), creative expression (opening their hearts) and wholesome action (using their hands). The Waldorf method has not only fostered academic achievement, with 95 percent of students now passing the California High School Exit Exam, but it has created a community where students and faculty contribute to societal and cultural renewal.
The innovative methodologies and quality of education at GWC are due in large part to grants from the Sam Mazza Foundation. The grants give students access to resources and opportunities that fall outside the realm of public funding but have proven instrumental to their success.
The foundation has sustained the school’s Summer Arts Academy, operated in partnership with the City of Sacramento’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The Summer Academy, which orients new students to the Waldorf approach through intensive arts exposure, is considered one of the finest enrichment programs in the district. The foundation also enabled the school to use nature as a textbook by providing the planning, development and start-up funding for its garden. The Sam Mazza Garden is a school-wide project aimed at increasing GWC’s edible landscape. It creates a space for practical, relevant learning in nature. All of the students work in the garden sowing seeds, composting, building bird and bat houses, and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Students also organize and run farmers markets and participate in community action days where they contribute to their neighborhoods’ sustainability initiatives.
The Sam Mazza Foundation’s support for GWC exemplifies its commitment to strengthening communities through the support of well-designed education initiatives that help equip young people with the skills they need to make a positive contribution to an ever-changing world.
Learn more about GWC at their website by clicking here.