1140 Views
  1. Mary Stapleton
  2. http://www.towson.edu/cse
  3. Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Towson University
  1. Kara Berger
  2. Education and Outreach Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Towson University
  1. Joshua Gabrielse
  2. Director of Science
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Baltimore City Public Schools
  1. Adam Lindquist
  2. http://www.waterfrontpartnership.org
  3. Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore
  1. Annemarie McDonald
  2. Education and Outreach Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Towson University
Facilitators’
Choice

Harbor Scholars

NA19NMF4570072

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Adult learners

In this video, we highlight an effective partnership among a university, a non-profit, a large urban school system and NOAA that led to the creation of the unique Harbor Scholars program.  Harbor Scholars supports 5th grade Baltimore City teachers in engaging students in authentic, experiential learning through Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs).

Despite living within a few miles of the Inner Harbor, many Baltimore City students have never personally visited the waterfront which is part of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S.    The Towson University Center for STEM Excellence, located on Pier V in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, provides a unique setting to engage students in learning about the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.  We reached out to colleagues at Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, a non-profit organization deeply involved in connecting the Baltimore community with the Inner Harbor, to brainstorm ways in which we could engage an even greater number of Baltimore City students in learning about this unique ecosystem.  We also reached out to the Baltimore City Public School system (City Schools) to learn more about their specific needs with respect to environmental education for their students and learned they were looking for ways to support their 5th grade science teachers in engaging their students in MWEEs.  In 2019, after collaboratively designing the Harbors Scholars program, we applied and were awarded a Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant (funded through NOAA) that is allowing us to serve over 120 teachers in Baltimore City, creating opportunities for over 3,000 5th grade Baltimore City students to learn about this amazing resource at the heart of their community. 

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (21 posts)
  • Icon for: Anne Kern

    Anne Kern

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 04:45 p.m.

    Hello Harbor Scholars Program,

    Awesome science project involving many organizations and stakeholders! I work with a local tribal community whose local lake and surrounding water bodies have been heavily contaminated by recreation and manufacturing. Most community members do not know about the issues with the lake, so we found by working with students from the community, they tell their elders about the issues.

    Have you found a way to involve parents and families in your projects?

    Cheers,

    Anne

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 13, 2021 | 11:24 a.m.

    Hi Anne,

    I love the idea of involving parents and families.  I think one way our project could do this would be to encourage the teachers we work with to have their students consider how they could involve parents and families in their action projects. 

  • Icon for: Daniel Serrano

    Daniel Serrano

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 06:31 p.m.

    I'd be interested in learning about how the partnership between the university and the pre-college school system came to be!

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 13, 2021 | 11:35 a.m.

    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for your question.  Our programs have been serving students in the Baltimore City Public School system for years in a variety of ways. One way has been by reaching out to teachers directly and encouraging them to utilize the variety of programming we have (field trip opportunities, loaner equipment, PD- you can learn more at www.towson.edu/cse).  But this particular partnership came came from us and our other partner organization (Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore) reaching out with a a general idea (involving students in Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences) but then asking what specifically THEY needed.  I think that was the most important part, as it allowed them to partner with us while maintaining focus on their priorities.  

    I just viewed your video, and I've left some thoughts and comments on your page.  

  • Icon for: Meghan Marrero

    Meghan Marrero

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 09:32 p.m.

    I love seeing projects where kids make connections to their local watersheds. This work is so important!

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 13, 2021 | 01:49 p.m.

    Thank you, Meghan.  It is amazing to be able to work with these students and see how they can connect what is happening right in their own communities with the Chesapeake Bay.  

  • Icon for: Ann Cavallo

    Ann Cavallo

    Facilitator
    Assistant Vice Provost and Director, CRTLE
    May 12, 2021 | 02:25 a.m.

    Nice project! And beautiful views of the bay too! Using local resources in teaching is so meaningful for students as in your project, and will no doubt lead to lifelong learning and care for their environment. There is mention of improving the quality of the waterway in your project. Do you have examples of the types of projects teachers/Scholars will do with students that will achieve this goal? Will all teachers in your program engage their students in field trips to the bay at some point, for example, and what kinds of things will they do there? Will your program involve the teachers in developing curricula about water quality and if so, what will the curricula look like (e.g., project based)? How will the curricula be shared/disseminated to other teachers? How will you measure the impacts/evaluate outcomes of your project? Thanks!

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 13, 2021 | 01:55 p.m.

    Hi  Ann,

    Thanks for your interest! Our focus during the professional development is building teacher skill sets around engaging their students in learner-centered action projects, as well as connecting the action projects to the lessons they learn throughout the unit. All of the teachers will be bringing their students to the Harbor for a field trip at some point (we'll do virtual field trips if Covid is still an issue).  We're using curriculum that was already developed by the City, so teacher won't be coming up with their own. But they will have opportunities to share ideas on how best to facilitate the existing curriculum.  Since our immediate focus is teachers, we'll be using a series of surveys to evaluate the impact of the program on teachers and their facilitation of student-centered action projects.  

  • Icon for: Ann Cavallo

    Ann Cavallo

    Facilitator
    Assistant Vice Provost and Director, CRTLE
    May 14, 2021 | 03:27 p.m.

    This sound great! I do hope all students can make the field trip - there is nothing like actually being there on location. Thank you.

  • Icon for: Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka

    Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka

    Researcher
    May 13, 2021 | 10:02 a.m.

    Mary, this SO heartwarming. I have no insightful question, but I just want to let you know just how much I support this project. As a local Baltimorean and a member of the University System of Maryland, I love see community-engaged work between colleges and the City of Baltimore. Bravo! 

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 13, 2021 | 02:03 p.m.

    Hi Maia,

    Thank you!  It's nice to meet another USM colleague.  I just checked out your video and enjoyed learning about your work involving community college STEM students.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka
  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 13, 2021 | 02:16 p.m.

    Hi all,

    Welcome to our Harbor Scholars project page!  I'm excited to share our work to date on this project.  Our focus for this video submission was the partnership we formed that lead to the creation of the Harbor Scholars project.  I wonder what types of partnerships you all have engaged in that have benefited your work?   What are some lessons you've learned along the way with respect to forming and maintaining effective partnerships?

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Hoadley

    Elizabeth Hoadley

    Informal Educator
    May 13, 2021 | 05:04 p.m.

    Hi Mary and team!

    The Harbor scholars program sounds incredible! I was really struck by the program creating both a cohort of teachers that learn and work together and pairing that with field trip opportunities for their students (for FREE)! I would imagine this really "extends" the life of the field trip and gives the teachers in the cohort resources and confidence to keep the watershed lessons and connections going in their classrooms, further benefiting the students. The fact that the Mayor joined in is awesome, especially that he is comfortable and confident enough to invite students to teach him! I love when leaders are able to make themselves relatable to students. 

    The statement about importance of forming the "emotional bonds" to create future environmental stewards also stood out. How has your programming been impacted by the pandemic? Have you been able to recreate the emotional connections to water in other ways if students cannot visit in person? Has the Mayor continued to be supportive as schools and EE programs have had to pivot to virtual or at home experiences during the past year? 

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 14, 2021 | 12:41 p.m.

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Thanks so much for your thoughts!  Pivoting our programming in this last year to serve students in a distance learning model has been a wild ride! At first, we were really spinning our wheels as we had a difficult time getting our heads around how we could possible create that 'emotional connection' without students actually getting to see it for themselves.  In addition, we really didn't think we could offer a quality teacher professional development program if it all had to be online.  Fortunately, our team didn't give up and we eventually were able to break out of our somewhat narrow thinking (centered around in-person experiences) and got creative with the technology we did have access to.  We created a whole series of online lessons that could be used in a completely virtual teaching environment.  In fact, it was the creation of these virtual lessons that sparked the idea of involving the Mayor.  We were so excited when he agreed to support tour project.  And like you said, it is so inspiring to someone in a position of power being willing to reach out and ask for help, especially from students!   We also created a series of videos that helped to being the Harbor to the students, since we couldn't get the students to the Harbor!  You can check out all of the resources we developed at www.towson.edu/harborscholars.  What we've found is that we can still engage with students through virtual lessons and field trips.  Do I think that the experience is the same as being at the Harbor, in-person?  No.  But I do think there is still a connection being made.  And when students do eventually get a chance to visit the Harbor, they now will be just a little more primed for the experience.  

    As for the teacher PD, we have created a completely virtual workshop which we will roll out this summer.  And we're incorporating all of the lessons we've learned over the past year about how to engage teachers in a virtual PD.  We will be sending out 'teacher activity kits' prior to the PD so that we can still engage the teachers in hands-on learning.  And I'm excited about how our mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning sessions this summer is not only making the experience more convenient for educators (they have much more flexibility in when and how they complete a lot of the work), but it is a natural way to 'flip the classroom' so that much of our synchronous time can be spent having the educators engage with each and share ideas. Without fail, teachers report that it is this type of colleague collaboration that is the most meaningful part of our professional development workshops.  

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Allan

    Elizabeth Allan

    Facilitator
    Professor; Secondary Science Education Program Coordinator
    May 13, 2021 | 09:17 p.m.

    I'm following up on Daniel's question before. What an amazing thing- to have an effective partnership among a university, a non-profit, a large urban school system and a government agency.

    I'd like to know how the partnership was founded and what advice you might have for others as they begin to develop a partnership between critical stakeholders.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Bess Caplan
  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 14, 2021 | 12:21 p.m.

    Hi Elizabeth,

    This is a great question!  This particular partnership came out of several pre-existing relationships.  The Center for STEM Excellence had been serving City schools in a variety of ways for many years.  We'd also separately been partnering with Waterfront Partnership (WPB) on a related project.  But the three of us hadn't all ever gotten together on a single project.  In this case, it just took an email to our contacts at City Schools asking them what THEY needed that they thought we could provide.  Seems pretty simple and straightforward, right?  But our success in this case depended on us having had a strong record and reputation with working with students and teachers, as well as good timing and a good fit for all our organizations.  For someone just starting out, I would the biggest thing is to ASK any organization that you want to 'serve' what THEY need.  And then listen!  Some projects won't be a good fit, and that's okay.  But the more you keep in contact with folks, let them know about the work you are doing the work you want to do, the more opportunities will open up.  

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Bess Caplan
  • Icon for: Alexandra Puritz

    Alexandra Puritz

    Exploration Education Program Manager
    May 14, 2021 | 10:24 a.m.

    What an awesome program! Have you partnered with the National Aquarium as well in this initiative?

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 14, 2021 | 12:25 p.m.

    Hi Alexandra,

    The National Aquarium is doing amazing work in this area!  Both our organizations have NOAA funded projects that focus on engaging students in Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences.  The Aquarium's program has been running longer than ours, and serves 6th grade students.  When we were developing our program, we definitely looked to the National Aquarium for advice and made sure our program for 5th grade students complemented and supported their programming for 6th grade students.  We've shared ideas and best practices so that neither of our programs are re-inventing the wheel and are able to build on what works best for students and teachers in City Schools. 

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 14, 2021 | 12:13 p.m.

    If you are a 5th grade science teacher in Baltimore City, it's not too late to apply for this year's Harbor Scholar cohort!  Visit www.towson.edu/harborscholars for more info and link to application.

  • Icon for: Bess Caplan

    Bess Caplan

    Informal Educator
    May 17, 2021 | 03:18 p.m.

    What a great video (so many familiar faces) and program! These kinds of programs demonstrate how important partnerships are for reaching organizational goals. We can all accomplish more when we work together. Congrats!  

  • Icon for: Mary Stapleton

    Mary Stapleton

    Lead Presenter
    Director
    May 18, 2021 | 09:50 a.m.

    Thanks Bess!  I thought the same thing about familiar faces when I saw your video!  I think it speaks to the dedication of the teachers in our community to life-long learning!

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