Academy of Environmental Sciences

Where Wonders Grow

DFES Beliefs

  • We believe that all people deserve to feel safe, valued, and loved.
  • We believe all children are curious about the world around them.
  • We believe learning is a social process.
  • We believe inquiry fosters an environment of noticing and questioning.
  • We believe learning should be viewed from multiple perspectives.
  • We believe in learning through authentic primary sources.
  • We believe in encouraging learners to take risks and discover their own learning.
  • We believe reflection should lead to change and growth.
  • We believe that learning should lead to social action.
  • We believe our actions should be aligned with our beliefs.

DFES Academic Goals 2014-2015


  1. Raise student math achievement.
  2. Sustain and build upon student writing achievement.

We are seeking to accomplish these two goals by:

  • inquiring into writing engaging curriculum for and with students through environmental education (units of study)
  • inquiring into instructional strategies (highest effect size)

Tag Ceremonies

Our tag ceremonies are one example of how our student are made to feel valued. Hopefully through reflection and coaching they can make changes that will lead to their growth over the next marking period.

Thanks to each of your for your respective roles in making this event a success for students and families.

Heidi Mills

Monday, Nov. 3rd, 8-10am

DFES Conference Room

We look forward to Heidi thinking along side us Monday. Below is the email from Heidi that I forwarded October 20th:

Greetings! I am writing to share our vision for my work with you in November and December. You are such a large school and have so many engaging projects going on, I thought it would make the most sense to write to you directly. Julius and Sally both know I want to be as effective and responsive as possible during my time with you so we designed a plan for November and December. The more we plan together, the more I can be genuinely helpful. Here’s what we are thinking:

On Monday, November 3, I will meet with grade level teams again to reflect on your current units and envision what’s next. We will openly and honestly share celebrations and challenges. Please bring student artifacts that reflect your kids’ growth and change. It would also be lovely if you came prepared to share insights or strategies that have made a difference for you this year as well. We’ll begin by theorizing from practice with your classroom celebrations then move to challenges you have encountered. We will conclude by focusing on the development of your next unit of study.

On Monday, December 1, I would love to invite teachers to sign up for classroom visits. Since I can’t visit all classrooms in a day, Julius, Sally and I will create a schedule and invite you to invite me in. Then, at the end of the day, I would love to hold a grand conversation about my visits with the teachers who participated. I want to validate your thoughtfulness and respond to your questions or concerns. In other words, I want to be truly responsive.

I will work with you on Tuesdays in the spring so we’ll resume after school meetings for everyone then.

I look forward to sharing in your journey across the year. Cheers!

4K Tag Ceremony

Monday, Nov. 3rd, 8:30-9:30am

DFES mini theatre

First Grade Saluda Shoals Touch stone experience

Monday, Nov. 3rd, 11:30am-1:30pm

5605 Bush River Rd

Columbia, SC

Student and Staff Holiday/Election Day Tuesday, November 4th

2nd Cup of Coffee

This is an opportunity designated for parents to inquire about school matters most pertinent to them. We will meet in the media center from 7:30 - 8:30 on Wednesday, November 5.

Fall Make Up Pictures Wednesday, November 5

Scott out of office Wednesday, November 5

I will be out of the office for the second half of the day to attend principal's meetings. See B. Poore should you need assistance.

Science and Social Studies Observations

Friday, Nov. 7th, 8am-2:30pm


Melanie Sanford (Social Studies Coordinator) and Beth Boland (Science Coordinator) will be in this Friday to observe science and social studies instruction. Both observe in all elementary schools to support science and social studies instruction.

Please let us know of any schedule changes that may have taken place.

Birthday Wishes!

  • 11/4 Dr. Rood

Mission Statement

We develop students who care about the world we live in and express critical thinking through natural curiosity and wonder.