What is S2S


Student2Steward, known as S2S, is a series of online learning modules focused on helping educators create engaging, high-quality place-based service learning projects for students.

S2S features learning modules filled with lessons, resources, videos, tips and tricks that will help teachers understand how to incorporate place-based education within existing curriculum, while tying the results to the issues and needs of the local community.


Step 01


Make your way through modules related to the six key tenets of utilizing place-based education in your classroom.  Each module contains three sections -- LEARN what the tenet is (Level 1)...SHOW how to connect that tenet to a community issue (Level 2)...and complete/BUILD a section of a project plan related to that tenet (Level 3).

Step 02


In each module, you’ll complete two simple quizzes to assess your understanding of the information presented in that section.  Completing these quizzes successfully means you can begin to build your project plan. After completing quizzes 1 and 2 in each module, you’ll then be able to complete your quiz 3 project plan, where you create a real project plan as you progress through the modules.  This planning process will enable you to frame the project you and your class will undertake.

Step 03

Get Funded

Once you have completed all the modules quizzes, and built your approved project plan, you can get your project funded from community stakeholders, local businesses, parents, schools, and others using the S2S Crowdfunding platform.  This sister site to S2S allows you to create and publish your project for interested donors to help fund your project.  You can send a link to your project page directly to donors to inform and raise funds.  On the crowdfunding site, donors can use PayPal to make donations of any size.  You'll be able to monitor donors and funds you have raised, and once you are underway you will be able to easily provide project updates to all your supporters.

Step 04


Once your project plan is completed, approved, and you've raised the funds you need, now is the time to IMPLEMENT YOUR PROJECT!

Step 05


Throughout your project, document your progress and outcomes of your undertaking using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more).  Keep a record of your project’s progress so you can share what you have learned with other teachers who are considering PBE projects for their classrooms using the S2S website, as well as updating contributors to your project through the crowdfunding platform!

Member benefits: Why S2S Rocks

Professional Development

The content for S2S is connected to Groundswell’s ongoing professional development for teachers who are doing place-based service learning projects in their schools.  Since the scope of Groundswell can’t grow as fast as the interest and relevancy of environmental education in West Michigan, the creation of S2S allows for the delivery of similar (and exciting!) content.  Contributors to the S2S learning modules are existing Groundswell teachers.


Place-based education is for everyone, whether you work in a school where Groundswell projects are currently underway or you’re venturing out as the first teacher in your school interested in doing service learning. The knowledge, skills, and experiences garnered from doing the S2S learning modules and resulting project, put you on the path to being a teacher-leader in your school.  With resources from this site and assistance from the S2S team and Groundswell teachers, you’re well on your way to helping grow the movement toward experiential education tied to your community.


The entire concept for this site and this program is built on growing today’s students into stewards of their surroundings and their communities.  The lessons here help you, as an educator, transform standard curriculum into something greater.  Through student voice, questioning, planning, and action, you help guide your class into an understanding of the shared responsibility of managing, safeguarding, and valuing our natural resources.


Teachers know the following to be true: students who are excited and engaged in their learning perform better behaviorally and academically.  A survey by the Horatio Algers Association found that 95% of students (ages 13-19) said opportunities for more real-world learning would improve their school. (Community-Based Learning Report). S2S allows you to expand your teaching methodologies and practice, while working to connect your students more closely to real-life issues and solutions in their communities.

Classroom Resources

Throughout the site, you’ll find “reminders” to print out specific resources which can be used in planning and managing your instruction, your students’ interests, and your service-learning projects.  We encourage you to keep your resources in a Place-based Education binder.  CLICK HERE for your first resource to print and keep!

New Project Funding

We realize that getting funding can be challenging and time consuming.  While S2S does not directly fund projects, in order to reduce that burden and increase the number of successful projects, we have created a S2S Crowdfunding platform for you to use at no cost!  A concise and thorough project plan increases the likelihood of fundraising and overall project success. Once your project plan has been reviewed and approved by S2S, you will have the knowledge necessary to create a dynamic "pitch" via our crowdfunding site and approach members of your community for funding.  Clear objectives and goals addressing a specific local issue will help gain the interest of those in your community, including families, businesses, organizations, and others!  Using the crowdfunding tools made available through S2S makes the fundraising simple and easy.

Who we are

S2S Partners

The S2S projects are supported by a number of partners comprised of local schools, higher education institutions, businesses, community organizations, government agencies, and foundations.  The ongoing success of place-based education and service learning in West Michigan is dependent upon the contributions and resources of each group and individual with whom we work.

S2S Team

Located in the Center for Educational Partnerships in Grand Valley State University's College of Education, the S2S team has vast experience in working with  local communities, the environment, hands-on learning, and ensuring the success of students in K-12 schools.  Each team member has worked with teachers, students, and partners to ensure project success.