LANSING, Mich. — For decades , the Lansing School District has provided students with a true camping experience at the Ebersole Environmental Center in Wayland. Now the district is hoping to add a new purpose to the location; overnight school.
“Over the past 45 years, the center has served over 160,000 kids from the Lansing School District and a camp like environment,” said Director of the Ebersole Environmental Center Ben Botwinski.
Now officials with the Lansing School District think the Ebersole Environmental Center will be serving even more kids through a night school program that’s in the works.
“So we are planning to launch the Ebersole Institute,” Botwinski said.
The Ebersole Institute will allow 40 seniors; 20 boys and 20 girls from the Lansing School District, to spend Monday through Friday at the center and take advantage of a year-long, residential, learning experience.
“During that time, of course, we would do their core instruction but we would also add a really robust set of elective and enrichment experiences revolving around social and emotional learning and environmental education,” Botwinski said.
Botwinski would have help from two full time teachers, a mental health specialist, two on-site naturalists overnight supervisors and an on-site nurse. Botwinski is hoping the staff and the program will help give these graduating seniors a taste of the “real world.”
“Responsibilities, independence, taking care of themselves,” he said. “There’s not going to be anyone picking up after them. So all of those skills are really, really important.”
Boys and girls will sleep in different dorms and each kid will be provided with three meals a day.
The Lansing School District has committed to funding the institute, which means each kid will get to attend for free.
“We haven’t really done the numbers on what it’s going to cost us yet, but we do know the investment is worth it, in terms of being able to provide this unique learning experience for our seniors,” Botwinski said.
The district hopes to start the institute this fall.
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