Paramount Brookside was designated a 2021 US Department of Education
National Green Ribbon School!
The award focuses on three pillars our learning community exemplifies through its culture and approach toward educating our students:
Pillar I: Efforts to Reduce Environmental Impact and Costs
Pillar II: Improved Health and Wellness
Pillar III: Effective Environmental and Sustainable Education
Paramount Brookside exemplifies the community school model by blending a consistent and dedicated focus on the community with a desire to protect and grow the academic environment. Use of exciting components, like community fairs, neighborhood clean-ups, and farm activities, focus scaffolded excitement alongside academics to support the challenging pace within our classrooms.
Student and staff wellness is highly valued. This is evident from the moment you walk in the front office and see the fully staffed nurse’s office, in addition to the two full time counselors and our partnership with Community Health Networks’ behavioral and sports health departments. These support systems allow for teachers to maintain their capacity for content, as well as providing and protecting a more supportive and stable learning environment. The school maintains support outside of the classroom for students, teachers and families. One way we accomplish this is through our Family Allies and Community Team that organizes a variety of monthly meetings with topics that range from student health and extracurricular opportunities to financial planning and academic supports.
At Paramount Brookside, we grow thriving students and communities. Excellence is not determined by our students’ zip code. It is available to anyone willing to put in hard work. Our goal is to instill values that make our students, graduates, parents and staff continue to seek excellence throughout their lives. Excellence is found in the school’s inspired learning and inventive approach that is focused, supportive and proven. And because excellence does not happen in a day, at Paramount we work toward it every day.
At Paramount Brookside we accentuate alternate learning perspectives in how subject matter is presented to students. Learning through traditional “teach and preach” models is NOT within Paramount’s structure. Sensory integration and observation are two fundamental ways in which children learn from their environment. At Paramount Brookside, we believe in academic culminations involving integrated sensory learning whereby students may touch, see, taste, hear, and smell what they are learning. Students can understand life cycles and growth patterns in the EcoRoom as they monitor and groom greenhouse plants and practice in the growth and release of butterflies. The EcoRoom features a green landscape, grow wall, large floor planters, lizard terrarium, demonstrative beehive, and a butterfly hatchery.
The farm is in peak production during the summer and so are the STEAM participants. This is a summer mentoring program that allows chosen students to continue to connect to the natural world, even when school is not in session. Participants take on various tasks around the farm, with the majority of the focus on our food garden. The ability for students to sow seeds, nurture their plants to maturity, and harvest food for sale at our on-site market is an invaluable lesson in patience and cause and effect. This experience gives students a better understanding of where food comes from along with a respect for the hard work involved in sustainable food production. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for learning how pollination works and how ecosystems are dependent on one another.
The idea for the Paramount Peace Park was conceived with the vision of creating a welcoming space for community residents. A neglected and overgrown campus area was transformed into an artistic landscape spanning two city blocks. Among the forestry of the pocket park, visitors can view seven large-scale art installations and sculptures at street level or from two elevated observation decks connected by walkways. These walkways are accessible from stairs that come up from a public picnic area or by an ADA compliant sidewalk that starts at the north end of campus and brings visitors past several of the art installations as well as giving a closer look at aspects of the school farm.
Working with several local organizations as well as volunteers and student STEAM employees, continued mitigation of invasive exotic species and plantings of native perennials occur annually. Efforts to bring back the flora and fauna that can be found along the adjacent Pogue’s Run waterway and throughout the natural areas of Indiana complement our commitment to community engagement and the vitalization of our neighborhood.