For the second year in a row, Essex Heritage collaborated with Salem Maritime National Historic Site to plan and facilitate a very successful teacher professional development four-day workshop that introduced Essex County educators to a Place-Based, Service-Learning (PBSL) pedagogy. Teacher participants ranged from pre-school to high school levels and came from eight different local districts. Evaluations completed by teacher participants showed overwhelmingly positive ratings, and all teachers plan to implement projects using local resources with their students based on their experiences at the workshop.
Essex Heritage and Salem Maritime are part of a larger Park for Every Classroom (PEC) network of National Parks, teachers, and community partners across the Northeast Region focused on implementing PBSL-based programing. Please visit this link to view the Conservation Study Institute’s report on the piloting of the PEC program.
During the workshop, teachers connected with local resources themselves, analyzing water quality using wet chemistry at Derby Beach, geocaching at Salem Maritime, and creating poems about special places. They learned about the PBSL goal of creating a synergistic network of students, teachers, community organizations, and other local partners working to meet each other’s needs. As participants became immersed in the ideals of stewardship, service, and intellectual rigor, they were inspired to share these ideals with their students. One teacher participant noted about the workshop experience,
“What a gift to be surrounded by other educators looking for a better way to plant the seed for life-long learning and civic engagement.”
Teacher participants who work with community partners to implement projects in the coming school year based on their learning at the workshop have the option to receive graduate credit and apply for a stipend provided by Essex Heritage.