Essex Heritage & NPS “Elusive Inclusivity” Presentation at Valley Forge National Historic Site
Essex Heritage Education Coordinator Beth Beringer and National Park Service Education Specialist Maryann Zujewski gave a joint presentation at a recent training for National Park Service employees, community partners and teachers at Valley Forge National Historic Site in Pennsylvania. Their presentation, entitled Elusive Inclusivity, highlighted their work to support teachers in using a place-based service learning framework with a focus on inclusive approaches. Attendees were part of the Park for Every Classroom program, an initiative aimed at encouraging educational partnerships between National Parks, community-based organizations and schools.
The two presenters explained strategies they have used for helping teachers pay particular attention to the rich learning that can occur when students are asked to explore a place from multiple points of view. They gave examples of how potentially marginalized students such as English language learners become engaged in their home communities when project-based curriculum asks them to make relevant connections to their community’s resources. The presenters acknowledged some of the difficulties in communicating and implementing this inclusive framework with teachers, students, National Parks and other community sites. They encouraged training attendees to think collaboratively about ways to improve this process.
National Park Service and Essex Heritage Public History Presentation at UMass Lowell
Education Specialist Maryann Zujewski of Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Education Coordinator Beth Beringer of Essex Heritage met with Professor Chad Montrie’s Historic Methods students at University of Massachusetts Lowell last month to explore the “promise and pitfalls” of public historic interpretation at Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Using the administrative history of Salem Maritime- the first National Historic Site in America- as an historical artifact itself, the presenters helped students examine how this history impacts the interpretation that visitors encounter at the site.
The presenters then highlighted two education-based initiatives, The Caribbean Connection program and the Park for Every Classroom program, as first steps toward alignment with recently-articulated National Park Service goals to fully represent the nation’s ethnically and culturally diverse communities and to exemplify historic inquiry as an on-going process. Students were encouraged to respond to the ideas and concepts presented, and were asked to make connections to their own work in historical inquiry.