Welcome to the Blue Adobe Project

This site will connect you to the core ideas and planning that inform Sky Islands high school, opened in 2008.  I am the founder and director of that school, now entering its 8th year in Tucson, and 3rd year on the 12-acre site of TUSD’s former Rogers school.  I launched The Blue Adobe Project in 2006 in Tucson, Arizona, as the parent organization.  Blue Adobe is the State of Arizona charter holder and the corporate non-profit 501c3 for Sky Islands school.

We believe that by integrating the arts and humanities and sciences together across the curriculum, students make stronger connections to the world and to each other.  They become more confident and are able to step forward from high school better prepared. We have created Sky Islands to be a school where students and teachers both are  respected for their intelligences and their work.   This path follows a strong tradition of combining rigorous academic study with real life, hands-on practice.

Photo by Peter L. Kresan 2006

I have identified four interlocking principles that frame the educational program at Sky Islands:

  • We intentionally design the courses–content and instruction are well-thought out, planned, and highly goal-oriented, leading to greater student understanding and success;
  • We make patterns intelligible–teachers move beyond discrete data within the fields of sciences, humanities, arts, and math to help students see and create coherence;
  • We develop an ecological sensibility–students learn to appreciate connections with the natural and built worlds and with each other;
  • We invest in health–by paying more attention to how we achieve good health and why it matters, students gain confidence and habits that improve their individual well-being.

Why Blue Adobe?

Photography: Peter L. Kresan, Joyce Clements, Ann Markewitz, Fernando Londoño, Alicia Coughlin

Adobe is a building material that returns to its natural state in the earth. As a symbol of this project, adobe is a reminder that we are part of the natural world and share its fate.

Blue is both a color and an image. It is an un-natural color for adobe, and therefore reminds us that the built environment is designed by our hands—that we are its artists and responsible for its beauty.

Falling water "The whole concatenation of wild and artificial things, the natural ecosystem as modified by people over the centuries, the built environment layered over layers, the eerie mix of sounds and smells and glimpses neither natural nor crafted—all of it is free for the taking in. Quickly it becomes the theater that intrigues, relaxes, fascinates, seduces, and above all expands any mind focused on it." —John Stilgoe