Park staff know their park’s resources and understand how to communicate their importance. Teachers know their students and understand how to help them learn. Community partners know local needs and assets. Together we can provide educator professional development aimed at deeper learning opportunities for students that use authentic experiences in the parks and communities.
National Parks are referred to as the "gems" of our country, offering historical, cultural, and natural treasures. National parks can provide tangible resources and illustrate complex issues, helping students to make meaningful connections to their place. With Park for Every Classroom's engaging work environment and methods, teachers, park staff, and community educators can share expertise and resources, learn about innovations in education, and plan together to make a direct impact in their communities.
Park for Every Classroom
After a decade of exclusively serving NPS-school-community teams across Region 1, Park for Every Classroom (PEC) is launching a nationwide program focused on equity-centered climate change education. This pilot program, supported by WASO IE&V and co-facilitated by Shelburne Farms and the NPS Stewardship Institute, serves to complement and advance climate change response work across the NPS by engaging park partners and resources to develop teacher professional development aimed at cultivating student stewardship. Eight parks will be selected to participate in the national pilot. Learn more here or by emailing Emma Beck, PEC Communications Coordinator. The application deadline is January 24.
Educators are the primary audience for the PEC program. The PEC model involves teachers on multiple levels ranging from first-time participant in a park program to serving as teacher-leaders as part of the PEC planning team. The investment in professional development and relationships with a single teacher can touch the lives of hundreds of students who enter their classroom throughout the course of their career.
The PEC program directly addresses NPS priorities related to education, relevance, stewardship, and professional development. Participation fosters understanding of what partners, teachers, and students need; helping make the park more relevant, visible, and valuable to the community. Education and interpretive programs connect to student's curriculum.
Partnerships are essential to the PEC approach. Partners increase and leverage resources and provide opportunities that a single organization cannot support. PEC community and educational partners helped to plan professional development, offered technical expertise, created links to specific schools and new networks, and created a sense of importance of place-based learning to all the stakeholders.
The PEC program aims to give teachers the tools, resources, and support they need to create experiential and engaging curriculum that enhance student learning and provides for opportunities for them to become active stewards of their parks and community. Early evaluation results from the PEC pilots report positive impacts on student learning.
Pec team Locations
PEC is adapted to fit the specific needs, assets, culture, and goals of each site. Although our Community of Learning, Inquiry, and Practice partners share similar foundational premises and overall aspirations, each team has created its own distinct PEC program for their unique situation.