As students and teachers across Essex County are wrapping up the school year, some are also celebrating their work with collaborative place-based, service-learning projects that utilize the rich heritage resources of the region. These teachers participated in the Park for Every Classroom program offered by Essex Heritage and the National Park Service. “This program demonstrates how partnering between Essex Heritage Commission, National Park Service Rangers, local schools and community partners helps strengthen stewardship learning. The Park for Every Classroom model has been duplicated as a great way to support place-based learning. I’m excited to see what creative projects next year’s participants will develop.” said Paul DePrey, Superintendent of Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Using the training they received, the educators worked with their students and community partners to implement unique projects that align with curriculum, engage in their local place, and serve a “real world” need.  Three hundred seventy-one students were served by the program this year.  Some of those students, teachers and community partners showcased their work at the Salem Visitor Center on June 8 in a celebratory event.


2015-2016 Park for Every Classroom Projects:

  • Marblehead:

    • Village School fourth grade students investigated a historic farm that abuts the school.  The students turned what they learned about Robinson Farm’s history, animals and ecosystems into essays and websites using iPads. They also presented their project before the Marblehead Board of Selectmen meeting.  The project culminated in guided tours run by the students for members of the public and Council on Aging. Teachers: Annie Pugh, Mary LeBlanc

  • Haverhill:

    • Hill View Montessori Charter Public School students spent the year exploring life on the estuary in the Merrimack River to better understand the important ecosystems, history, and human impacts in our local salt marsh and aquatic environments.  They shared what they learned at a World Wide Water Day celebration to create awareness about these issues in the larger school community. Teacher: Germaine Koomen

  • Lawrence:

    • High School students tackled the topic of immigration by conducting research about the historic and present-day challenges that immigrants face in Lawrence, as well as services that are available.The created a Public Service Announcement based on their findings. Teacher: Jerry Hayes

  • Peabody:

    • Middle School students continued working with the Northshore Mall to expand a technology based “Mall Walk” so that mall visitors can learn about the history of the property from the 1600s- present day using QR codes. Teacher: Anthony Furnari

  • Danvers:

    • High School students were connected to the town of Danvers and its history through hands on investigation of objects at the Rebecca Nurse House and the Concord Museum. Teacher: Wendy Waldron


  • Georgetown:

    • Students partnered with Director of Food Services to address the lack of effective single stream recycling in the school cafeteria, and the problem of students generating significant amount of food waste on a daily basis. Teacher: Sandra Schwarzkoph

    • High School students created a quest for younger students in their town aimed at critically evaluating the ways in which we remember history. Teacher: Chris DiFranco

  • Lynn:

    • Students at Breed Middle School addressed the city of Lynn’s history and pondered the best way to include diverse stories such as those focused on the slave trade in the North Shore and how these stories are memorialized at the Lynn Museum. Teacher: Jenny Winter